Grey’s Anatomy has never been a show in need of a villain. Rather, the villain of this story is simply life and the way that it screws us over on a daily basis. The villain is heartbreak. The villain is bad luck. The villain is coincidence. And occasionally, the villain is tequila. Well, that is, when it isn’t busy being the hero.
In other words, the villain is what puts the hospital’s victims at risk, and it’s what keeps our doctors going day in and day out. It’s the thing that killed Denny and the reason Cristina decided to move away. It’s not something we can see, and it’s not something fans can actively hate, but that’s what makes this show work. And yet, this episode seemed to forget that.
By taking so many of our favorite characters and pitting them against each other, this show is putting viewers in a very strange, very uncomfortable position—the position of disliking the new girl, or dare I say it, the position of disliking their McDreamy. It’s not a position we’ve been in many times, and it’s not one that makes the viewing experience enjoyable. Yes, it does make for good drama, but it’s the sort of good drama that you’d rather not watch for an hour.
And as Jackson put it, this week could very easily be broken down into battles: Meredith vs. Maggie, Amelia vs. Derek, Owen vs. Callie, and Karev vs. Bailey.
Meredith vs. Maggie
Ironically, what could have been the darkest and most dramatic face-off of the episode ended up being the most enjoyable, mostly because watching Karev adapt to being Meredith’s person—which means letting go of any sort of personal boundaries he might have—is fun, funny, and feels so very right.
With Meredith, we spend the episode at Alex’s house, a.k.a. her childhood home, where she catches him up on her life story while he takes a shower. Now, give Karev a moment or two to warm up because he is new to this whole “being Mer’s person” thing, and no one should blame him for not wanting to do it naked. Then again, he’s still a man, so one compliment about his “junk”—no matter how sarcastic—and suddenly, he’s all ears.
Once he’s out of the shower, the duo heads downstairs to spend the day drinking and plotting since Meredith took a sick day and Alex, well, doesn’t have a job. Over tequila, Alex practices his pitch for the board spot while Meredith informs Alex that she hasn’t told Derek about her sister drama. According to her, they’re not talking because Derek’s decision to stay in Seattle is the equivalent of Derek forfeiting and therefore, they both lost. She’s not grateful that he’s home because her career is just as important as his. “I’m the sun, and he can go suck it!” Ah, yes. A drunk Meredith is the best Meredith.
But instead of hopping up and doing what a drunk Meredith typically does—dance!—Meredith has to adapt to having a twisted brother this time around. So what’s Alex’s next move? Breaking into the hospital’s files to look up Maggie’s birthday. It’s then that we realize exactly what happened in the flashback that kicked off the season: Ellis was being treated for slitting her wrists when she discovered she was pregnant. And with that, Meredith realizes she has a sister and quickly calls Richard, who has spent the day wowing Maggie with his years of surgical experience.
At first, Mer’s furious with him for not telling Maggie the truth, but it becomes evident that Richard’s just as mad at Ellis for not letting him know that he was a father 30 years ago. But as much as we can blame pretty much everything on Ellis Grey, Richard has had a number of chances to tell Maggie, and that’s exactly her reaction when he finally comes clean. Correction: Her reaction is that, but way more dramatic. Sure, Richard should’ve told you the moment he realized, but the man was in shock. And now you’re jumping to conclusions that he’s known all along? Calm down, Maggie. You might be new here, but Richard’s kind of the best. And what’s with the storming off? She, unfortunately, got that from her mama.
NEXT: Shepherd vs. Shepherdess