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'Grey's Anatomy' recap: 'Staring at the End'

It’s time for Herman’s surgery—and Amelia’s not ready.

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Richard Cartwright/ABC

Grey's Anatomy

TV Show
run date:
Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers, James Pickens Jr., Kevin McKidd, Jessica Capshaw
Current Status:
In Season

At one point in this episode, Edwards gives Amelia a stern talking-to that ends with, “Get it together, Dr. Shephard”—and that sentence might as well be the tagline for the entire hour, which was filled with Amelia freaking out over Herman’s surgery.

That’s not to say Herman’s surgery isn’t worth freaking out over—it totally is. What Amelia’s about to do seems to be impossible and crazy and, if successful, groundbreaking. Or at least this is what I gathered from her many lectures throughout the episode—not my own medical knowledge. For all I know, Amelia could be hyping up something that turns out to be as simple as an appendectomy. But back to Amelia freaking out: She’s going mad. She’s under a lot of pressure, and everybody keeps suggesting she call big bro Derek for help—something she absolutely doesn’t want to do. She grew up in his shadow; she doesn’t want him to take the spotlight away from her potential legacy if all goes right with Herman. Who would?

Someone who is completely selfless and egoless, that’s who. But that’s not Amelia, and it might not even be anyone (except for Mother Teresa, probably). Sure, the point of being a surgeon is to save lives and all that jazz, but it’s also first and foremost a profession. And everyone—good or bad—wants to get ahead in their profession. So, yes, Amelia doesn’t want to ask for Derek’s help even though it could make her life easier, make the surgery go smoother. And that’s okay.

What’s less okay is her reaction to Edwards, who she snaps at and calls an “idiot resident.” This could have easily been a moment where Edwards slinks away in embarrassment, but instead, it became a chance for Edwards to talk some sense into Amelia—via an intense monologue, of course. “Stop pouting because you don’t understand what to do,” Edwards tells her. “Be worthy of being believed in, of being looked up to.” (Adding this to inspirational quote board right now.)

Edwards’ speech works, because this is a show where all anyone needs is a minute or two of verbal ass-kicking, and Amelia’s ready to defeat Herman’s tumor… kind of. She spends a lot of the episode giving the hospital talks on what she’s planning to do, which was kind of a bummer because listening to lectures in real life is boring enough, let alone on a TV show that’s known for being dramatic and emotional—not a televised version of that course you slept through in college. But, if anything, her lectures do show us the one side of Amelia, the one that’s all confidence—not the one that we see when she’s alone with Edwards or Owen, the one that’s terrified of screwing up.

While Amelia’s struggling, Herman is, too: She gets in a couple tiffs with Arizona about death and time (the usual), and she is having a bad time with the radiation. Her hair’s falling out, she’s not feeling well—and this all goes against her attitude that she wants to make the most of our little time left on earth. So she backs out of radiation, and gets in some tiffs with Amelia too. Tiffs everywhere!

There are some tender moments, too, though, like when Arizona and Herman get drunk and laugh away. Herman’s story line hasn’t been the most compelling, and there are times when I’d wish Arizona would go back to Africa, but it’s hard to be cranky about it all when I see the odd couple giggling over a bottle of vodka. 

NEXT: The good times don’t last for long.