It’s no secret Shonda Rhimes is a Hamilton fan (honestly, who isn’t?), so it’s clear this week’s episode title is an homage to the hit Broadway show. However, if you tuned in tonight thinking you’d hear a Hamilton reference or five, you were mistaken — in tonight’s captivating, wrenching episode, The Room Where It Happens is the OR.
Structured like a bottle episode, all of this week’s action takes place during a surgery at Grey Sloan. The patient’s an unnamed John Doe who could have either caused a car accident or been a victim of it, but either way, he’s in bad shape. Mer and Owen are scrubbed in and both running on very little sleep, so it’s not surprising when neither is happy to hear Webber — who comes in to help on what quickly becomes a very high-risk case — is well-rested and fed.
Mer and Owen argue over what course of action to take, while Webber tries to push them to teach Edwards, who’s also scrubbed in on the case. He chastises them for treating the man like he’s just a “sack of organs on a table” and suggests they play a game with John Doe — since they don’t know his name or anything about him, that they give him a name and backstory.
His choice? Gail. And once they settle on it, the white male patient’s face transforms into that of a black woman who smiles at him. “Well, this is going to be fun,” she tells Webber. (Here’s when I raised my hand and asked, “What the heck is going on here?”)
So, John Doe is now “Gail.” Gail plays the cello and has three young kids; she teaches music lessons but dreams of performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As they talk about her, Webber keeps seeing her, well-dressed and poised, playing her instrument or talking to her children.
He’s not the only one seeing things. As Webber and Meredith argue over what to do next to try and save John Doe/Gail, Owen’s mind drifts to his time operating in the field during his Army days. And while it’s there, he sees his sister (played by Bridget Regan), who sasses him as he’s performing surgery. “You only bring me around when you feel guilty,” she tells him, pressing to find out what’s wrong. “New wife isn’t working out?” Ouch, dream sister. Ouch.
NEXT: Gail’s not who we think she is