On this episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “Bad Reputation,” Jackson and Catherine Avery attempt to salvage the legacy and mission of The Harper Avery Foundation in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal, the return of Nurse Olivia stirs up trouble for Alex and Jo, Owen experiences an unexpected complication as he fosters baby Leo and Arizona considers how to best help Sofia, who is miserable at school. Meanwhile, as the hospital staff is flooded by unwanted media attention, the truth comes out about Jackson being the anonymous donor who funded the Grey Sloan Surgical Innovation Contest.

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Someone’s Going Down For This

As the episode opens, it becomes immediately clear that Casa Meredith has a new resident: Andrew DeLuca. Despondent since Sam left town, Andrew’s been calling in “sick” to work and singing forlorn songs in Italian while accompanying himself on the guitar. Why, Zola wonders, do she and her siblings have to take baths since Andrew doesn’t have to? Meredith cracks in passing about him being European (!), but truth be told, Dr. Grey has other things on her mind today as she prepares to return the Harper Avery Awards won by her and her mother, Ellis Grey, explaining to Zola that they’re like spoiled milk. 

In related news, Catherine is in full damage control mode of the “Category 5 Storm” that has arisen following the news that Harper Avery sexually harassed numerous women and then entered into settlements and non-disclosure agreements with them. Catherine’s trying her best to somehow save the foundation and the 72 hospitals under its umbrella. She’s brought in Olivia Pope Erin Mason to do Crisis Management and the news isn’t good. The public will expect someone to take the blame for Harper Avery’s misdeeds and Catherine is willing to fall on her sword to preserve her life’s work.

Jackson, however, isn’t having it. He doesn’t have a solution yet for the crisis but the answer is definitely not “to let a successful black woman take the fall for an old white man who couldn’t keep it in his pants.” As he considers what to do, Jackson agrees to take on a case arranged by Erin Mason as a PR Stunt some positive press in a difficult time. Diego, a young man from Venezuela, needs craniofacial dysplasia excision for a massive tumor on his face. 

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Meredith, whom Jackson has enlisted to help him, wants to remove the whole tumor, despite the inherent risk, because it would benefit the patient in the long run. “Surgery is risky!” she insists, but one go is a better bet than bringing him back for multiple procedures during which he could bleed out each time. She encourages Jackson to abandon the “safe option, solid odds, and glowing press” of doing a surgery of smaller scope and smaller risk but also with lesser benefits. Jackson finally agrees. When Angels of Humanity (the organization responsible for bringing Diego to Seattle in the first place) balks at paying for the surgery because of the sexual harassment scandal, Meredith and Jackson agree to do the surgery pro bono. 

Meanwhile, Miranda wants to put a stop to the surgical innovation contest, worried that if the press finds out that Jackson “secretly funded” the contest he “entered himself,” it would be another PR disaster for Grey Sloan. Unfortunately for the Chief, Maggie overhears this news and – in a game of “telephone” gone horrible wrong – the scoop spreads to April, to Richard, to Meredith, etc. in record time.

Later, Maggie apologizes to April for assuming she knew about the funding and was complicit in a scheme. April defends Jackson to Maggie saying that he can be a complicated person, but not morally. “He deserves the benefit of your doubt.” Kepner’s ire is reserved for Richard who “played me like a bassoon.” Maggie cooks dinner for Jackson and tells him that both his surgical skills and good intentions are “hot”. She’s not wrong. 

Jackson finally convinces Meredith that his reasons for funding the contest truly were to change medicine for the better. Sure, he wanted to compete with the best surgeons for the sport of it. But innovations such as Richard’s cancer pen, Meredith’s mini-livers project, and Arizona’s post-natal care carts are not to be taken lightly. He will not apologize for helping people. He and Meredith also offer Catherine an alternative way out of her PR mess. A statement will be issued dissolving the Harper Avery Foundation and establishing the Catherine Fox (her maiden name) Foundation in its place. It’s continuing mission, in addition to continuing the care and research already being done, will be to “repay, retrain and rehire” the women affected by Harper Avery’s misdeeds. Sounds good. Can it actually work in practice?

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The Syph Nurse Returns

Alex and Jo are thrown for a loop when “syph nurse,” Olivia, laid off after the merger between Seattle Grace and Seattle Presbyterian Hospitals (waaaay back in Season 6) arrives at Grey Sloan. She’s married now and living in Sacramento, but she’s in town visitng her parents. Her young son, Milo, swallowed a squeak toy and needs immediate help. As Chief of Pediatric Surgery, Alex Karev is assigned the case and is immediately the recipient of Olivia’s pointed barbs about their past. Jo is treated to an earful from Olivia as she recalls being the hospital pariah after Alex gave her syphilis. She also claims that Alex cheated on his “first wife” (Izzie) which, while not precisely accurate, contains a kernel of truth. Olivia’s surprised that Alex switched to pediatrics from plastics and that he managed to get engaged to someone like Jo. 

“She’s too good for you,” she says.

“You think I don’t know that?” he replies. 

There’s a slight thawing as Olivia thanks Alex for helping her son, who is contrite over having done something as dumb as swallowing a squeaky toy. Alex reassures them, “We all do dumb things…and then we outgrow them.” You’ve come a long way, Evil Spawn.

Lightning Round

  • Alex and Jo are stressed over planning their wedding so April offers to take over – just give her a date and a budget. While figuring out how much he can afford to contribute to the wedding fun, Alex discovers an abnormally high amount of money in his bank account. His mother hasn’t been cashing the checks he sends her each month. She’s either dead or something else is amiss.
  • Owen shows up at the hospital to take Leo for a checkup. Leo’s birth mother is invited to attend the appointment and she shows up, having bought a dress for the occasion. Amelia discovers pretty quickly that the young woman, Betty, is on drugs, having recognized the signs from her own former drug use. Turns out that Betty took painkillers after a sports injury and became hooked on opioids. She’s on the streets. Amelia takes a leap of faith and offers to take Betty in and become her sponsor. Owen agrees that Betty cares about her son and that he and Amelia should try to help both Leo and Betty. The four of them are going to live at Owen’s house as Owen and Amelia try to help Betty get back on her feet and stay in Leo’s life.
  • Sofia is resisting going to school. Arizona is at her wit’s end, doesn’t know what else to do and is troubled by Carina’s seemingly indifferent attitude towards the child. Carina counters that she doesn’t even know Sofia and that Arizona coddles her too much. That goes over about as well as you’d expect. Perhaps Arizona/Carina isn’t endgame after all?
  • As she leaves the hospital after a long day, Miranda is served with notice of a lawsuit. Dr. Vik Roy is suing the hospital for wrongful termination after being fired last week. I don’t like the sound of that.

Can the Avery Foundation rise from the ashes as the Fox Foundation? What’s the deal with Alex’s mom? Will this latest lawsuit bring down the hospital? Hit the comments! 

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC. Want more news? Visit our Grey’s Anatomy page on Facebook.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Janalen Samson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV