Fun Fact: the human heart beats roughly 115,000 times per day. Grey’s Fact: “Eventually a heart full of scars stops working,” per Meredith Grey. In this episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “Old Scars, Future Hearts”, Maggie, Jo, and Alex tackle a complicated case together; Meredith discovers more about the relationship between her mother and Maria Cerone; Owen and Amelia have lots of ex sex; and April’s encounter with Tom Koracick takes a completely unexpected turn.
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Slay the Dragon!
Full disclosure: The Patient of the Week “A” Story is, by far, the least interesting part of this episode. Drawn in broad strokes and stretching credibility to the breaking point, the plight of heart patient, Charlie, takes center stage as Maggie, Jo, and Alex come together on this pediatric cardio case. Maggie’s all set to perform a “mastery-level” surgery, called the Dor procedure, on Charlie who is eager to “slay the dragon” that is his medical equipment. Teen Charlie and his boyfriend, Henry, are caught up in the blush of first love and also have a flair for drama. They dress up in costumes, quote Shakespeare and make grand, sweeping statements about being together forever because they are meant to be. Just as the final touches are being put upon the preparations (Miranda’s clearing her calendar to watch the surgery unencumbered by interns who are not in this episode away taking exams). Lo and behold, a donor heart becomes available that very day. What are the odds?
But wait. Ridiculous Twist #2! Charlie is so devoted to Henry and their future that he rejects the idea of a heart transplant out of fear that the new heart won’t love Henry. Seriously? Karev dryly points out that that’s not romantic. It’s stupid. And quicker than Charlie’s mom can tell him he’s having the life-saving transplant, Henry breaks up with Charlie, saying he can’t love a person who rejects science. A devastated Charlie agrees to the surgery and it’s going well until the donor heart is literally too big for his chest having taken on fluid. Yikes! The team opts to keep Charlie’s chest open all night (!) as they cover the gaping opening with the equivalent of plastic wrap. Then Maggie will reconstruct the chest cavity, meds will reduce the swelling and Jackson will cover the whole chest with a flap. What could possibly go wrong?
A tearful Henry shows up at the ICU and claims (as anyone with an ounce of sense could have predicted) that he didn’t mean anything he said. He broke up with Charlie so Charlie would go through with the surgery. Happily, Charlie makes it through the second surgery fine and he and Henry reconcile. But it turns out that all of this was really just a construct to introduce the audience, via flashback, to Young Maggie, Young Jo, and Young Alex.
Young Maggie dissects a cadaver she and lab partner/crush, Steve, nicknamed Leonard. Since “Young Maggie” isn’t all that different from “Current Maggie,” she pretty much acts like the genius geek that she is as she awkwardly tries to convey to Steve how she feels about him. Misinterpreting her odd poetry as a sign of necrophilia, things don’t work out with Steve, who turns out to be gay anyway. Current Maggie survived her college nickname of “The Zombie” and continues to circle around Jackson. Jaggie admits that they are mutually “undone” by the other and Jackson finally convinces Maggie that they should go out on that dinner date.
Young Jo lives in her car and meets a boy named Chris when he pays her parking fines. They make a connection even though she is homeless. He introduces her to his parents. He and Jo even plan to live together while he starts college and she finishes high school. But on the day they are to embark on this adventure, Jo never shows. She cuts and runs, which ties into the present-day story as Current Jo prepares to apply for fellowships all over the country, which brings us to…
Young Alex is dealing with his paranoid schizophrenic mother who, if she doesn’t take her medication, has disturbing visions of people who are out to get her. Alex’s girlfriend witnesses an incident with his mom and is understandably shaken, but when the girl badmouths Alex and his mom to a party full of teens, a devastated Karev overhears the whole thing. He returns home to tend to his mother who, in a moment of clarity, calls Alex her “sweetest boy.” Gah! The cherry on top? Young Alex (played by Tommy O’Brien) not only looks like Justin Chambers but channels his voice and mannerisms, too.
Current Alex doesn’t want to hold Jo back in her career, but he’s shaken by the thought of her leaving Seattle. Meredith tells her bestie to relax. Jo’s not Izzie. #AbandonmentIssues Jo realizes that even though in a post-Paul world she can go anywhere she wants, she no longer has to keep moving to have her big career. “I always wanted to run…until I met you. You are my home,” she tells Alex. She puts the engagement ring he tried to give her ages ago on her finger and proposes to him. It’s a Jolex engagement!
Sins of the Mother
The implication that Marie Cerone is a snake in the grass may have been a misdirection on the part of the writers. Imagine that. Marie returns as promised to deal with Meredith, who confronts her about the falling out with Ellis. Don’t let a “petty” disagreement get in the way of a “landmark medical breakthrough,” Meredith implores. Marie, however, sees things differently. She and Ellis were BFFs. Then Ellis took work they had developed together and, with it, won her second Harper Avery Award. That severed the friendship permanently. Marie wants the legendary Grey Method that is Ellis’ legacy to be renamed the Grey-Cerone Method. If Meredith is willing to issue a statement to that effect, Cerone will give Meredith the patent for the polymer she needs for her mini-liver research.
Meredith doesn’t know whether or not to believe Marie’s claims. She runs things by Richard who had heard the rumors, but never believed they were true. Alex draws the parallel of Ellis and Marie to Meredith and Cristina. Asking if she could ever forgive Yang for that kind of a betrayal, Meredith admits she could not. Still, Ellis is no longer alive to present her side of the story. Meredith refuses to sully her mother’s legacy. Marie understands but tells Meredith she will not sell her the polymer patent. Marie has the polymer and Meredith’s methods. The mini-livers breakthrough which will inevitably come to pass will be known as the Cerone Method. Eeesh.
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Crisis of Faith
Remember when April’s virginity was a thing for seasons of this show? Those days are over as April has now moved on from Intern Vik to Tom Koracick, who offers to make frittatas even though April’s refrigerator is filled only with “vodka, baby food, and questionable cheese.” To April’s surprise, Tom remembers meeting her months ago when Amelia made her Power of Attorney during Amelia’s brain tumor crisis. Amelia trusted April with her life, Tom reasons. He then begins a parlor game of sorts to decipher how that April turned into the party girl April now standing before him. What did it? Alcohol? Drugs? Death? Mental Illness? Crisis of Faith? We have a winner!
April bitterly goes on a rant about how “God’s off making a bet with the devil while good people eat crap sandwiches” and claims that God’s, “…not dead. I just hate Him so much I wish He was.”
Tom tells April that he lost his faith for awhile after his son died in a freak accident at ten years of age. Both April and the audience are gobsmacked as Tom delivers an epic monologue (expertly played by Greg Germann – just wow) about his son dying, his marriage falling apart and how church and God became a haven in that time. “I don’t think God left me or I left God. I just think we got in a fight. That’s all.”
April doesn’t tell Tom about Samuel dying or her marriage to Jackson crumbling…yet. But I sure hope that’s coming. April is the most riveting character on this show right now. Why exactly did the writers decide to write off her character before season’s end? Color me perplexed. I hope April survives and part of me hopes she starts a new career at Maryland Shock Trauma in Baltimore. Mentor Owen Hunt was a superstar there back in the day. He can give Kepner a good referral. And Tom Koracick works at Johns Hopkins, also in Baltimore. I like this End Game. Who’s with me?
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.
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(Image courtesy of ABC)