The episode where Derek died felt like a finale. The two-hour episode following that one felt like a finale—a series conclusion, even. But this? No, this felt like… well, a regular old episode. And that’s not what I expect out of a Grey’s Anatomy season finale.
This isn’t to say it was bad, because it wasn’t. The episode focused on romance more than anything, which was a nice change of pace in a way—it’s much easier to watch an hour of couples fighting over whether they should stay together than an hour of doctors fighting over whether to give a dying Derek a CT scan. And because of how stressful, how tragic the last few episodes have been, it makes sense that Shonda Rhimes and co. would want to end this season on a relatively hopeful note as if to say, I know I put you guys through hell, but it will get better. And it already is getting better for most of the Grey-Sloan crew.
Bad news first though: Jackson and April are on the rocks. Remember when she was, as Bailey puts it, “all pigtails and bunny rabbits”? Ever since she got back from serving in the Army, April has a newfound toughness to her—and a newfound desire to get back to the military. Jackson knows this, and he confronts her about it in an extremely supportive way. She admits that, yes, she does want to get on a plane and go back to the Middle East. “When we lost Samuel, a light went out in you,” he tells her. “And whatever it was over there, whatever it is, it got re-lit.” He’s happy she’s found it—but he also has limits.
They have this sweet conversation about how great it is that she’s found this new passion and how if she wants to go, she should go—and then Jackson kind of springs something on her: If she does decide to go, he doesn’t think he can be there when she returns. In shock? So is April, who argues that it’s only going to be a couple months. But we all know what happened last time you said that, April (if you, by chance, don’t know: She stayed much longer than two months).
Turns out Jackson’s been bottling up a lot of emotions the past year or so. While she went away and had what he calls a “life-altering journey,” he was stuck home trying to deal with the loss of their son all alone. To make matters worse, she didn’t ask him how he was, how he was coping. This seems to be a common problem on this show. Readers: Learn from April’s mistake and always ask those close to you how they’re doing. It’s not that hard, really.
April apologizes, but it’s too late at this point. Jackson has an idea of marriage, and that idea is that he and his wife will cope together and be together. But April left for months and months, and that didn’t happen. So now he’s stuck giving her an ultimatum: Leave and break up, or stay and make it work.
That second option doesn’t really seem to be an option though. He’s upset about her not being there for him, and that’s not magically going to fix itself if she stays—especially because she’ll likely feel some resentment that he made her choose between passion and love.
I didn’t used to like Jackson and April. I actually used to really, really dislike April. But over the seasons, I’ve come to appreciate their relationship and all its complications. I still feel no real attachment to them as a couple, but the idea of them ending does make me feel something. His disappointment makes sense—partners are supposed to be there for each other in sickness and in health and all that jazz—but her behavior makes sense, too. She needed to heal, and she found a way to do it. It’s just unfortunate that her way isn’t one that involves Jackson.
The episode doesn’t wrap up their story, and instead leaves us hanging: Will April stay or will she go? In happier news though, Alex and Jo are making some progress. They weren’t doing so well at first because she was upset about him letting Meredith and the kids move in, but then he saved the day with a romantic speech (okay, romantic by Karev’s standards, at least) that includes a line about how he wants to have “someday a dog, maybe” with Jo. Aww.
Later, Jo brings him to a loft—a rather grimy one—and says she’s used all her money to make an offer on it… and she wants him to pitch in, too. In other words: She wants to live in this loft with just Karev (and someday a dog, maybe?). And judging by the kiss they share following her proposal, he wants to live there with her, too.
NEXT: Webber and Catherine say “I do.”