Well, that was a tearjerker.
You know how people stuff popcorn into their mouths when they go to the movies and something bad happens onscreen? Replace popcorn with Goldfish, and that’s what I did the final 10 minutes of this episode. But before we get to that emotional, tear-inspiring ending, let’s start from the also emotional, also tear-inspiring beginning.
April’s in charge of the monologue tonight, something that foreshadows some sad things to come. “There’s a thing we say when someone dies,” she says. “We say, ‘I’m sorry for your loss.'” The loss she’s referring to? Her own. Last week’s episode ended with Herman telling April and Jackson that their baby was essentially doomed. This week’s episode found April and Jackson dealing with that news—and ultimately doing something about it.
Avery’s usually stone-cold mom, Catherine, is in town and comforts her son and daughter-in-law with surprisingly kind words. She respects April’s religion, advising her to induce labor and hold her baby son “until God takes him.” And this is where the tears begin. The three are huddled together in this dark room, trying to make sense of something impossible to make sense of, and April’s proposing there could be a miracle—that maybe her baby boy won’t die after all. Jackson shoots his mom a look when April says this, but he shouldn’t be surprised: Of course April, a God-loving woman about to lose her unborn baby, is going to wish for a miracle. Wouldn’t anyone—religious or not—wish for a miracle when things are that undoubtedly awful?
No one knows how to help April and Jackson, because there is no way to help. Ben suggests flowers, Callie suggests cooking, but Amelia quietly jumps in to suggest they all light candles in the chapel and simply give the couple their privacy. Amelia doesn’t talk much in this episode, but when she does, she comes off angry and detached. Something is very obviously up, but it’s not until the final minutes we find out why (and, no, she’s not back on drugs—as far as we know, at least).
When Amelia’s not hanging out in the chapel though, she’s trying to give a patient back his vision. She doesn’t think she can do it, but she does think she can shrink his brain tumor and therefore extend his life by a few years—and she ends up succeeding at both. His problem was one of the more interesting of late—as Amelia explained, he can technically see but what he sees goes straight to the subconscious—so this would have been a good opportunity to expand on that. Like, how can someone’s subconscious see a pen fly through the air? Teach us, Grey‘s!
His vision’s return is one of two “miracles” that happen in this episode, with the other one involving a newborn—but, sadly, not April’s. A woman’s rushed into the O.R. after her husband accidentally shoots her, and the doctors soon discover she’s pregnant and ready to give birth. The woman repeatedly screeches she can’t be pregnant, it’s impossible, but then out pops a healthy little girl. How she didn’t know she was pregnant is beyond me, but there’s an entire TLC series built around women not realizing they’re pregnant until a baby comes out, so it must be possible?
On the note of babies, Meredith’s looking for someone to take care of her kids while she goes and has what she calls “emergency sex” with Derek across the country. No one can or wants to except for Maggie. Maggie, who loves kids and likes to bake and has some Girl Scout badges and counts Meredith—her half-sister—as her only friend in Seattle. These admissions prove just how dissimilar she is to Cristina—and just how much sense it would make for her and Meredith to become best friends. After all, Meredith doesn’t need another kid-hating, cynical person. She’s already got one. What she needs is a baker who likes to babysit.
NEXT: Now back to the heavy…[pagebreak]
While Meredith’s running around trying to figure out how to go have sex with her long-distance husband, April and Jackson are dealing with much heavier stuff: signing their child’s birth and death certificates. Herman whips out the death certificate like it’s no big deal, insisting that it’ll be easier for them to sign it beforehand so they won’t have to deal with any heart-wrenching administrative stuff afterward. And she has a point—watching your baby die in your arms and then having to sign a paper confirming what just happened sounds like a way to add even more heartbreak to something already so utterly painful. And April has a point, too, when she freaks out in response. What she’s doing isn’t easy, and there’s no way to make it easy—despite Herman’s best efforts.
She and Jackson eventually sign the papers and head to the hospital room where they’ll induce labor. They have some cute back-and-forth about what they should name their son until April’s mention of him getting teased in school brings the banter to a halt: He’s never going to be teased or go to school. It’s a moment we can all understand, that moment of taking a minute away from a present hardship to distract yourself, only to soon realize that there’s no escaping. That, in April’s case, you’re naming a baby who’s never going to say or hear or write his name.
This reminds her that there could be a miracle, that maybe inducing labor is a bad idea, and she runs. Jackson, feeling powerless and devastated, retreats to the chapel to pray—or try to pray; he’s not really the talking-to-God type. But he does it for his wife: “Show up for April,” he addresses God as his eyes well up with tears. “Please.” It’s a moment of tragic desperation, and also of sweet devotion: He’s putting aside his own beliefs to honor his wife’s, who we can probably all agree is in need of some extra help right about now.
But there is no miracle—at least not explicitly. While Jackson was praying, April was hanging out in the E.R. and talking to someone Ben thought was an intern but is actually a patient dressed in scrubs. Turns out, this woman’s husband died the night before and she responded by hiding out in the hospital, thinking she could blend in—which she did, until April saw the look on her face and realized what was going on. April might be annoying some—okay, a lot—of the time, but she has an admirable capacity for empathy, something that’s on full display when she gives some compassionate advice about loss to this grieving woman. And that’s all it takes for April to be ready to meet her baby boy.
They decide to name him Samuel Norbert Avery, and their eyes glisten with both joy and pain as they hold him for the first and last time. The moment’s mostly silent, except for when April announces he squeezed her finger—and then let go. With that, little Sam is gone.
Amelia understands: As she tells Owen in the episode’s final moments, her baby lived for 43 minutes. That’s why she was coming off angry and detached. That’s why she knew to give April and Jackson privacy. Owen grabs her hand, and they share a look of sadness and, in a way, hope. Could Owen and Amelia be the next hospital couple? They’re both in recovery from some pretty intense problems, so they are kind of perfect for each other—struggling together is better than struggling alone.
Struggling together is what April and Jackson are doing now, leaving the hospital as new parents without a child. This is what they’re going to continue to do in the coming episodes as they try to figure out what to do next, what this means for April’s relationship with God, and what this means for their relationship together. It’s going to be rocky, probably full of tears, and hopefully occasionally uplifting. Maybe there will even be a miracle or two.
- The man with the brain tumor thinks he smells lilac perfume, but Edwards actually reveals it’s her lavender shampoo—just like Meredith (or at least Meredith circa season 2).
- Catherine and Weber had that intense falling out six months ago, but it seems like April and Jackson’s tragedy is bringing them together: They leave the hospital together after she asks him to hold her.