It’s commonly known that every Grey’s Anatomy episode is named after a song, but this time there was a twist. Originally titled “Four Seasons In One Day,” the mid-season premiere was renamed (at the suggestion of Giacomo Giamiotti, who portrays Dr. Andrew DeLuca on the show) to “1-800-799-7233,” which is The National Domestic Abuse Hotline. Interestingly, “1-800-799-7233” also happens to be a song sung by The Uppity Blues Women, so the pattern continues through Episode 302. More importantly, Jo Wilson’s story was the centerpiece of this episode, a thoughtful and restrained portrait of domestic abuse.
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Aren’t You Paul Stadler?
As the episode opens, we pick up exactly where we left off. The hospital is being held hostage by hackers who want a king’s ransom to restore order. Patients are being evacuated to other hospitals and Jo Wilson is, to her horror, face to face with her husband, Paul, from whom she ran away in order to save her own life. Jo is completely in shock as Paul (Glee’s Matthew Morrison, cast chillingly against type) smiles broadly while introducing Brooke Jo to his fiancee, Jenny (One Tree Hill‘s Bethany Joy Lenz). Paul proclaims to be thrilled that Jo is doing so well. He was so glad to receive the papers from her attorney. All he wants is a divorce, so he can marry Jenny.
Unfortunately for Jo, things somehow get worse as Arizona arrives on the scene and begins to gush over the Paul Stadler. AZ’s a fan of the renowned surgeon, who is apparently a pioneer in the field of minimally invasive surgery procedures. Paul is handsome, charming, and professionally successful. Unbeknownst to Arizona (and Richard, too) there’s a terrifying layer of menace lurking just underneath the surface as he tells Jo, “We can talk later. I’ll find you.” Jo manages to gather herself and finally connects with Alex, who has realized his patient, young Frankie, should not have had Heparin. Karev is off to surgery and Jo doesn’t tell him about Paul.
Paul, ever-helpful, volunteers to jump in and lend a hand since the hospital is in crisis. It doesn’t take long for him to run into Karev. Paul doesn’t remember meeting Alex in Los Angeles at the medical conference, but Alex sure remembers Paul. Alex immediately orders an intern to find Jo and bring her to Alex. The intern is not to leave Jo’s side. Soon, Stadler ends up assisting Meredith in surgery. When Paul introduces himself, however, Mer wastes no time him, “I know who you are. I’m friends with Jo Wilson.” Paul spins a tale of Jo being a partier and a drunk, who “craved stability” after being abandoned by her mother and vanished without a trace with a great deal of Paul’s money.
Jo pleads with Alex and Meredith to believe her over Paul. “He takes the truth but he twists it and changes it to fit his own story,” she says. Jo needn’t have worried. Alex and Meredith have Jo’s back and they form a plan. Jo will not be alone with Paul. Alex will stay away from Paul. Meredith will be with Jo when she signs the divorce papers. That all goes pretty well, but as Paul and Jenny move to leave, there’s a look in Jo’s eyes. She’s clearly conflicted about Jenny. Enlisting the help of Arizona who is charged with distracting Paul, Jo confronts Jenny with the truth about Paul.
Jenny, not surprisingly, thinks Jo is crazy but Jo asks only that Jenny listen. Methodically and heartbreakingly, Jo outlines Paul’s physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. Rage, jealousy and manipulation. Blaming Jo and making her doubt herself and believe she was the crazy one. Eyes swollen shut, broken ribs, and an almost ruptured kidney from the beatings. Jo ran before Paul could kill her. And now she offers to help Jenny escape Paul, too. There’s a tense moment as Arizona can stall Paul no longer. Jenny tells Jo to leave so they’re not seen talking when Paul comes back.
Finally, Meredith and Jo are in the Residents’ Lounge. As they go to leave, Paul and Jenny are there. Jenny has told Paul what Jo said. A stammering Jo still tries to protect Jenny, saying she did nothing. It was all Jo. Paul rounds on Jo, his anger spilling over as he confronts her about changing her name and disappearing and what that did to him and his reputation and his career. Meredith calls security, but Paul says they are leaving. On his way out he tells Jo that he’ll keep the card with her cell number, so he’ll know where to find her. Alex insists they’ll keep Jo safe and Meredith says they’ll get a restraining order, but Jo knows she’ll never be safe from Paul and wishes he was dead.
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Miranda solves the hospital crisis with the help of a Dr. Parker who has a background in cyber security. (Is this doc one of the interns or some random doc? I honestly don’t know. Feel free to help me out in the comments.) Parker manages to get the blood bank open by frying the circuits and makes some astute suggestions to Bailey on how they might stop the hackers. But when Bailey begs him for help, Parker demurs, saying he (hypothetically) has a sealed conviction for hacking and can not engage in such behavior. Since Parker’s crimes did not include children, sex, drugs, robbing old people or Nigerian princes, Bailey overlooks his criminal history and Parker agrees to secretly and anonymously help her. After the hospital’s systems are restored (hoorah!), Bailey asks why Parker hacked into the DMV. It turns out that Dr. Parker is a transgender man. He hacked into the DMV because they refused to change the gender on his drivers liscense from female to male.
Jackson and Maggie survive helicopter turbulence and are covered in blood. They have lots of talks, including a funny exchange about Jackson being the only person on the planet who didn’t have a rough time in high school and how Maggie never went to her prom. They have to shower and there are no scrubs in the locker room, so they sit around in towels and talk some more. At the end of the day they are still talking. Jackson floats a trial balloon and asks to get a drink. Maggie wisely acknowledges that Jaggie would be all kinds of complicated. She doesn’t say no. But she doesn’t say yes either. She goes out on a date with Clive from Tinder as Jackson looks after her, pining. I’m not feeling it. #TeamJapril
Everybody’s patients live. Take that in for a moment.
Sam and DeLuca continue to spar. I’m not feeling that either, but I’ll give it time. DeLuca is the New Edwards and Sam wrote something in med school that impressed Amelia, so now they are #TeamShepherd
Richard tricks April into running Bailey’s Big Contest because he’s not well enough to do it he wants to compete in it himself.
Owen and April’s time in war zones is acknowledged. I love #TeamTrauma. Hmmm…
A new day dawns and when Meredith arrives for work, Alex and Jo are staring at April who is working on the victim of a hit and run accident: Paul Stadler.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays 8/7c on ABC.
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(Image courtesy of ABC)