We’re all chasing something; bounding one foot in front of the other in search of what we believe will make us happy. For some, this sprint is meant to create distance between them and something they aren’t willing to face, all the while hoping happiness lies beyond the ever-illusive finish line. This week, our favorite physicians and their patients find themselves on this track, and the hurdles are fierce.
Maggie, who recently became aware of formerly faithless April’s attempt to seduce her ex-husband, is giving Jackson the cold shoulder despite his continued efforts to point out that she’s overreacting. After all, he pulled April into that supply closet to discuss her irrational behavior, not to initiate a quickie (i.e. more irrational behavior on her part). As if she knew he needed the distraction, Amelia calls upon the young Avery’s help when Rebecca Froy, a Chicago-based surgeon and Amelia’s only hope to remove Kimmie’s tumor since Koracick has refused to operate, refuses to work with her because Grey Sloan is connected to the Harper Avery foundation. She’s tight-lipped about why this is a deal breaker, only saying that she signed an agreement not to speak on a mysterious matter during a prior legal exchange with Jackson’s late grandfather. When he asks his mother about the Dr. Froy, she brushes off the lawsuit as a “dust up over research,” but when he later informs her that he had their lawyers waive the agreement so that Dr. Froy can help Kimmie, the look on Catherine’s face implies a much more colorful backstory.
Meanwhile, Kimmie is sick of waiting. The theater-obsessed songbird has shed her optimistic outlook and is ready to live however much life she has left beyond the walls of a hospital room. Alex begs her to wait just a bit longer, but she and her grandmother check out of the hospital anyway without telling him. When Jo catches them on their way out Kimmie delivers a line that nearly broke my heart into a million pieces: “Can you tell him I said thank you, and that when I said it I was smiling?” Alex is heartbroken when he finds out, but Jo lifts his spirits by telling him she wants to start a family with him and wants to take his last name because she’s never had the last name of anyone who’s loved her. My heart is so full of feelings about these two — as well as a sense of betrayal about those engagement party scenes being cut.
In the lobby, Meredith and Miranda are introduced to Agent Martin Fields, an immigration officer intent on speaking with one of the surgical interns: Sam Bello. Although Sam is law abiding and protected under DACA, she spirals into a panic attack. Miranda tries to soothe her worries by suggesting that Agent Fields’ visit might be harmless, but Sam has friends who’ve experienced a harmless visit from immigration turn into a one way ticket back to a country they have no connection with beyond genealogy. She’s terrified. Grey and Bello take refuge in an operating room while they devise a plan while Miranda distracts Agent Fields in her office, assuring him that Bello will meet with him once she’s finished with a complicated and lengthy surgery.
The return of Matthew — new father and April’s jilted ex — to Grey Sloan has torn open a few poorly healed wounds amongst the staff. His daughter, Ruby, is experiencing “failure to thrive.” Although Arizona delivered the baby, being near her is painful reminder of his wife’s death. Matthew requests a new doctor, and Robbins asks Hunt to takeover. This leaves the pediatric surgeon available to obsess over the status of the mother-to-be currently in her care. Despite Carina’s judging eye, Arizona demands that a crash cart be kept on hand at all times. Matthew’s wife didn’t show any signs of trauma, and Arizona refuses to be unprepared again. Nearby, April is doing what she can to keep her distance from Matthew, while also keeping an eye on the health of his daughter. Her guilt about leaving him for Jackson and the death of his wife drive her desire for him to have at least one happy ending.
Back in Bailey’s office, Agent Fields is getting impatient. When he pops an antacid for what he describes as a chronic stomach issue, Miranda suspects that an issue with his heart is causing the problem. She takes his pulse and determines that it’s irregular, but he thinks that she’s making things up to distract from Dr. Bello. To prove her concerns are genuine, Bailey informs him of her recent heart attack and shows him the scar the surgery left her with. A quick EKG and a consultation from Maggie reveals blocked arteries in the officer’s heart. He needs surgery immediately. Bailey’s honesty and the severity of his medical situation softens Fields’ heart enough to break protocol and reveal why he’s checking up on Sam: the meticulously law abiding intern unknowingly ran a red light after working a 36-hour shift at the hospital.
Still hiding in an OR, Bello, Grey and now Deluca are frantically thinking of ways to save Sam from possible deportation. Meredith suggests the two get married (which is particularly yikes since they just defined their relationship less than a month ago), but dreamers aren’t eligible for legal status through marriage. Jo suggests she fake her own death and live under a new identity, but Sam’s desperation hasn’t clouded her integrity enough to resort to that. Deluca suggests that they head for the Canadian border, but Grey won’t allow Bello to become a fugitive and throw away her career. “Don’t become what they’re trying to make you,” she says.
In another, equally tense OR, Agent Fields is on the table as Maggie uses a non-invasive surgery to clear his arteries. With Bailey at his side, dutifully watching over her patient, Fields reveals that he used to love his job, but recent changes to immigration laws have left him feeling less like a hero and more like villain. “I don’t know what we’re doing anymore,” he admits. The work of the Trump administration isn’t mentioned by name, but Shonda doesn’t miss a beat.
Surprisingly, Arizona’s “unnecessary measures” save the life of a pregnant patient who randomly began bleeding, causing her to realize something that — no shade — I thought was obvious: You reduce the likelihood of a tragedy if you’re properly prepared for a trauma to occur. That same train of thought leads her to ask some tough questions about her and Carina’s relationship. As her brother often points out, the brilliant Italian beauty has never had a long-term relationship. Carina assures Arizona that she won’t need an emotional crash cart. I’m not sure I believe Carina can confine her free spirit, but time will tell.
April uses her motherly instincts to accurately diagnose Matthew’s daughter by way of Owen. Later, she finds her former fiancé in the hospital chapel. Having heard of her concern for his daughter, Matthew doesn’t protest when April joins him on the pew and the two begin to pray silently.
Miraculously, Meredith emerges with the solution to Sam’s problems. With the aid of Cristina Yang, a forged application to a prestigious surgical program in Zurich has yielded an acceptance letter and plane tickets for the next day. Deluca tries to convince Bello that he’ll follow her to Zurich, but she insists that he abandon his life because she has to abandon hers. Maggie walks in on their heart wrenching goodbye and is inspired to find Jackson and stop resisting the urge to be with him.
Owen (in desperate need of a new story line) is in the beginning stages of adopting a child, which is a refreshing alternative to him hopping from marriage (Cristina) to marriage (Amelia) and demanding babies.
Richard has spent the entirety of the episode in his AA sponsor Ollie’s hospital room, refusing to leave her side despite her being unconscious. When she takes her final breath in his presence, the former chief of surgery sobs painfully into her bedside. He seeks out his wife for comfort, but Catherine needs comforting of her own.
“Jackson has ruined us,” she says. “We are ruined.”
It seems that whatever Catherine — and, by extension, the Avery family — has been running from has finally caught up.