On this episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “Who Is He (and What Is He to You)?,” Jackson and April travel to Montana to perform life-saving surgery on a young girl, but Jackson’s head isn’t in the game as he reunites from a figure from his past.
Things have been tense between Jackson as April (thanks in large part to Catherine), and the two are thrown together on a trip to Montana where Avery is scheduled to do a throat transplant. April is a last-minute fill in for Grey who, according to Catherine, cancelled at the last minute to take care of a sick Zola.
Jackson and April Clash Over a Patient
One of the perks of being an Avery is having access to a private jet, and April is understandably impressed. Jackson, who goes back and forth between throwing his name around to get what he wants and disassociating from the family legacy to forge his own way, downplays the luxurious travel accommodations. When April eagerly accepts some champagne, Jackson chastises her, reminding April this is all business, and they’re heading directly to the hospital once they land.
April and Jackson arrive at the Avery Medical Center and meet Dr. Corridan who is so excited to have the throat transplant donor and recipient at the same hospital. He also drops the bombshell that he needs April and Avery to get the donor’s father, Eric Young, on board. It turns out that Corridan hasn’t been entirely forthcoming, telling Jackson that the father had agreed when, in truth, Mr. Young thinks April and Jackson are there to save his child, Brian.
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Young is relieved to see the docs and informs them it’s his son’s birthday. It appears a skiing accident has resulted in Brian being brain dead. Young questions what treatment plan the two docs have in mind, and April breaks the news that after reviewing Brian’s scans, there’s nothing they can do. Young questions why they are even there, and April brings up Brian becoming a donor. Mr. Young gets upset, and it’s Jackson who is able to empathize with what Young must be feeling. Jackson makes it clear that they will support him whatever his decision, but says when he lost his son, all he wanted was to find a little meaning in it. Mr. Young agrees to the donation.
The recipient is a young girl named Caroline. Her mothers, Risa and Mary, are grateful Jackson has come so far, but their daughter has met dozens of doctors. All of them have put her daughter through a ton of tests and a lot of hell. The end result is always the same — making promises they had no business making. The women want the tumor gone, but their daughter also needs her voice, and they don’t want another rug yanked out from under Caroline.
Jackson reassures the women that not only is he professionally qualified, but he’s a dad. He wouldn’t have come all this way if he couldn’t help their daughter, and he doesn’t make promises he can’t keep.
Mary and Risa aren’t exactly on the same page regarding the possible risks, but Jackson is convinced the transplant is the best shot for Caroline to survive as well as to get her throat and life back.
April is annoyed that Jackson is using their children, especially Samuel, to charm people into getting what he wants. Jackson argues he used his life experience to help Mr. Young make his decision and help the moms find a little comfort. If April has a problem with it, he doesn’t care. She’s not supposed to be there anyway. Jackson says he has somewhere to be and leaves a dumbfounded April wondering where Jackson needs to be in Montana.
A Long-Lost Avery
Jackson arrives at a local diner where he shows a keen interest in a man (Eric Roberts) working there.
April gets a call from the hospital, and it turns out there’s a lesion on the donor’s throat, making the transplant no longer an option. Mary is frustrated and angry after being talked into the procedure. Jackson promised this was supposed to be the solution, and now that there’s no donor. How does April plan to fix her daughter? April believes a procedure that would remove Caroline’s vocal cords is Caroline’s best chance. April is left to clean up Jackson’s mess, offering the women a course of action they never wanted.
An irate April searches everywhere and finally finds Avery drunk at the diner. Their case is falling apart, and Jackson has checked out. He’s also completely unapologetic. She questions what is wrong with him, reminding him they have a patient counting on them. Avery replies that there’s no organs, there’s nothing he can do and she should just leave him the hell alone. April accuses Jackson of bailing, and he loses his temper and leaves.
The man Jackson obviously came to see notices a medical textbook on the table, and reveals to April he used to be a surgeon. She wonders why he would give it up to run a diner, and he says it’s a different way to offer people comfort, the hours are better and nobody dies. They introduce themselves, and he reveals his name is Robert Avery.
April Confronts Jackson
The next morning, Jackson pounds on April’s door. Now he’s determined to find a way to help Caroline. As they spitball ways to avoid removing Caroline’s vocal cords, April questions why they had to come all the way to Montana instead of moving her to Grey + Sloan when she was still strong enough, trying to get Jackson to open up about the real reason behind this trip.
April knows Jackson doesn’t even want her there and this leads to an argument about April’s chummy relationship with Catherine. April points out that she and Catherine were close long before she and Jackson became involved. April respects Catherine and everything she’s built. April reveals that Catherine has said the difference between April and Jackson is he was born with money while April had to earn it. It’s why Catherine and April are more alike.
Their fight is interrupted by the news that Risa and Mary are moving Caroline to another hospital. Jackson and Caroline are convinced Caroline is too sick to be moved. The possibility of her choking on her own tumor and dying is a very likely outcome. Mary wants a reason why they should stay, and April’s answer that removing Caroline’s vocal cords being her best chance for survival just isn’t good enough.
Avery announces he’s got an idea, one he’s sure will work. All he needs is some time. Caroline’s parents give him a little over 24 hours to move forward with his plan, or they’re leaving.
It turns out Jackson has no plan, yet. April can’t understand why Jackson seems insistent on torturing Caroline by making a promise he knows they can’t deliver. She brings up Jackson’s dad and the fact that that’s the only reason they are in Montana. Jackson’s response that he made the trip to help a patient is unconvincing to say the least, and April calls him out. They are only there because of his deadbeat dad, and now Caroline is going to die.
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Later that night, the two are no closer to a fix for Caroline, but Jackson does open up about Robert. He sat in the diner, watching his father and waiting for some sign Robert recognized him. But all he got was “You good?” Just something Robert would say to any other patron.
April urges Jackson to talk to his dad. Jackson admits he wanted to. He went, he sat there and waited. He’s got a million things to say. He’s been thinking about the moment his whole life when he could tell Robert what an ass he was for walking out on his family. So, Robert couldn’t hack it as an Avery. So what? He still could have shown the hell up. That’s what he was going to say, but then Robert looked him right in the eye and didn’t know his own son. April advises Jackson to make Robert know him.
They go back to the diner, and Jackson tells April to leave, but she refuses. He might not think it’s her business, but they’ve got a job to do, and Jackson’s head won’t be in the game until he deals with his family drama.
This time when Jackson comes face to face with Robert, he tells the man he’s his son. OMG is his initial reaction. He embraces Jackson and chuckles. The guy is eager to chat Jackson up, wondering why he’s in Montana and if Catherine is there as well. He wants to know everything about Jackson and says it’s good to see him.
Jackson begins to talk about his career, but Robert wants to know the personal stuff: kids, family, etc. Is Jackson happy? Jackson says he is and asks his father the same question. Robert is happy which is probably not exactly what Jackson wants to hear.
Robert explains he couldn’t do the whole “Avery thing,” but if it works for Jackson, that’s great. Robert reminisces about when he first met Catherine. Robert may have been born into the life, but Catherine was born for it. Catherine’s expectations were “crushing.” Jackson suggests that Robert not talk about his mother anymore.
Jackson doesn’t unleash with all the things he planned to say. All he can come up with is “I don’t know you” and leaves. He’s not interested in rehashing the details with April who figures out it’s best to back off.
No Guts, No Glory
The following morning, Jackson is more…sedate. He also seems focused on the task at hand — saving Caroline’s voice. But when April asks if Jackson wants to talk about what happened, he opens up. As he throws out ideas about Caroline, he offers snippets of his conversation with Robert. Robert was warm, polite and happy. Jackson didn’t expect such happiness. And while Robert talked a lot, he had nothing to say about his son. It never occurred to Jackson the man didn’t miss him nor did Robert pretend otherwise.
Jackson couldn’t bring himself to tell the guy what an ass he was when Robert was just smiling at him. Jackson tells April he just stood there with his guts in his throat. Ding, ding, ding! Jackson has an epiphany about how to help Caroline. They’re going to use Caroline’s intestines to make her new vocal cords.
The surgery is a success, and after an emotionally-fraught journey, the two have another epiphany — they want to have sex (and they do.)
There’s no regret or walk of shame the next morning. The two lay in bed together, and Jackson figures out why Catherine sent April. His mother had to have known what was going on and sent April as back up. April also reassures Jackson that he’s a great father, and even with everything that’s happened between them, he never bailed. She also encourages Jackson not to leave until he does what he set out to do.
Jackson pays another visit to his father. He tells Robert about Harriet and he is happy to learn he’s a grandfather, but Jackson makes it clear that isn’t the case. Avery tells Robert that having a child is making a promise, and he never breaks his promises. That’s the real difference between them. But Jackson is glad they got to meet.
Do you think Jackson and April are back together for good? Was it a mistake for them to sleep together under the circumstances? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC. Want more news? Visit our Grey’s Anatomy page on Facebook.
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Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.