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Entertainment Weekly

TV Recaps

Grey's Anatomy premiere recap: 'Break Down the House/'Get Off on the Pain'

Richard Cartwright/ABC

Posted on

We gave it a B

Grey's Anatomy

3/27/05 - 1/1/70

TV Show
genre new
Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers, James Pickens Jr.

Grey’s Anatomy is back! The season premiere opens with Owen and Amelia still at Madigan Army Medical Center, waiting for his sister Megan (Abigail Spencer) to be wheeled off an Army helicopter. Owen rushes to Megan’s side, but when she looks at him, she asks, “Who are you?” Before he knows what to say, Megan breaks into a huge smile and says, “Sorry, I had to do it.”

And so kicks off the 14th season, which the cast promised would be “lighter, funnier, and sexier,” and hooah — did they deliver.

Once Megan is set up in her temporary room at Madigan and is chatting with her brother and Amelia, it isn’t long until Nathan shows up. “Hey stranger,” Megan offers her estranged fiancé by way of a rather casual greeting, considering they haven’t seen each other for 10 years. They hug and he apologizes to her before Megan tells them all that there had been a bombing and she took some shrapnel in Iraq. “It didn’t heal so well,” she says before lifting her gown to show us what an incredible understatement that is.

Back at Grey Sloan Memorial, Bailey is addressing the staff as she stands on the stairs between the fourth and fifth floors, thanking them for keeping their heads during last night’s explosion, complete with crispy rapist. As she continues to rattle off the considerable damage done to our beloved hospital, Arizona and April chat about Minnick’s firing.

Jo walks into the meeting late and tells Alex that Stephanie was airlifted to a burn center in Texas. Owen also shows up late and tells Webber that his sister was airlifted to Grey Sloan Memorial, and she’s being taken to CT. As Bailey is wrapping up, she tells people to stay away from the neuro wing as it’s unstable — just before part of the ceiling above them comes crashing down in splendid fashion. Hospital makeover time!

While Nathan is running Megan’s CT scan, she asks him if he’s met anyone significant. In what will continue to be a theme throughout the premiere, Meredith exhibits wonderful timing by entering at that exact moment to find out how Megan is doing. After she leaves, Nathan tries to avoid the question, but Megan presses before he finally admits, “I did meet someone. She’s not you.”

Amelia is finally back at work, examining a young ER patient with DeLuca. Beau Martinez is having serious head pain that no amount of drugs will take care of. His dad tells Amelia and DeLuca that people think he has a drug problem. Spoiler: He doesn’t.

After Meredith, Bailey, and Webber talk it over, they all go to Megan’s room with a plan to reapproximate the abdominal wall, take down her fistula, and reverse her colostomy. Megan’s mom states the obvious about how risky this all sounds, but Megan tells them she has to get back to Iraq, and she’s not going to be able do it with an open abdomen wound. And why is she desperate to get back? She says she has a child, named Farouk, whom she took in six years ago when he was 4. Nathan asks her why she didn’t bring him with her, and she snaps back, “Tell that to immigration laws.”

Meanwhile at the OR board, a blossoming friendship is developing between Ben and Jo, who is desperately seeking a replacement for her bygone BFF Stephanie. Alex interrupts them to whisk Jo away so she can meet his 7-year-old patient, Max, who needs a Ladd’s procedure. Likely still feeling guilty for tracking down her abusive ex and hiding it from her, he tells her that she can do the surgery on her own.

The hospital hierarchy is something we’ve seen in play since season 1, but just when we thought there was nothing lower than an intern, we meet the sub-interns, a.k.a. sub-Is. Back in the role he loves best, Webber tries to take them under his wing, but the old-school in him is confounded by their new-school technology dependence.

Arizona goes to Minnick’s apartment to check on her after her firing, only to find out that she’s ghosted — “no note, no text,” as she later explains to April in the cafeteria. Ouch — wonder if she can get that burn treated? But not to worry, because guess who’s back? Teddy (Kim Raver) is back, back again. And Arizona isn’t the only one who’s happy to see her. Owen is thrilled to see his old friend, who had gone back to military duty after her husband died. Teddy tells Owen she came back because of Megan, but we all know it’s because she still has feelings for him. (Recap continues on next page)

On the other side of the cafeteria Jackson and Maggie are dancing dangerously around their attraction that manifested at the end of last season. As Maggie gets extra Maggie in her awkwardness and stares at him, Jackson asks her if he has something on his face. She tells him his face is perfect before running away.

Amelia and DeLuca are trying to help Beau, who has what Jackson says is an inoperable tumor that will require jaw reconstruction. Alex suggests treating it with radiation, but Amelia is confident — perhaps too confident — that doing so will be sending him to die. In a last-ditch attempt to stop Amelia from operating on Beau, Jackson shows her a similar surgery he did: The patient has almost no jaw left. This doesn’t deter her. She is a Shepherd, after all.

Jo’s surgery on Max is off to a decent start; she keeps her cool, even with the sub-Is standing around the OR table watching her. Things get decidedly more complicated, though, in what is arguably the worst TV surgical screw up since Seinfeld and the Junior Mint: One of the sub-Is leans over, causing his glasses to fall into the patient! Thankfully Jo is able to save both the kid and the sub-I by (surprisingly) calmly removing his spectacles.

Poor Megan remains clueless as to Meredith and Nathan’s relationship for half the episode — causing considerable disagreements among everyone over whether or not Meredith performing Megan’s upcoming surgery is even ethical — until Meredith decides to go to Megan’s room and tell Megan the truth. Megan asks Meredith if she’s in love with Nathan. “I had one great love of my life and he died,” Meredith answers, which seems to satisfy Megan. After finding out that Meredith is also a mom, Megan decides to move forward with Meredith as her surgeon.

Before we get to the surgery, though, let’s revisit the brewing complicated love triangle: Because she hates to be left out of things, Maggie decides to be upfront with Jackson and tell him that April told her that Jackson is into her and that she can tell Maggie is into Jackson. And for the second time this episode, poor Jackson is left dumbfounded by Maggie.

The epic surgery starts with Nathan watching from the gallery and Owen hyperventilating in an office. Don’t worry, though: Teddy is there to comfort him, which of course Amelia happens to witness as she walks by.

Nursing her breakup wounds, Arizona heads to Joe’s bar, where she meets a sexy brunette with an Italian accent, whom she winds up taking home. Later on at Joe’s, Jo is watching Alex play darts when Levi, the sub-I, offers to buy her a drink to make up for his surgical screw-up. Instead of taking him up on the drink, though, she lets him bring her back to his place…in his mother’s basement.

Back in the OR after nine hours of surgery, Owen, Teddy and Nathan rush back into the gallery to watch as Meredith realizes she doesn’t have enough tissue to close.

We’re all just as frustrated as Meredith as she yells, “Dammit!,” taking us into the second episode of the season 14 premiere: “Get Off on the Pain.”

Megan wakes up in her room and quickly realizes that the surgery didn’t work because, well, her abdomen is still open.

Meredith, meanwhile, takes her frustration over the failed surgery out on the coffee mugs in the break room as Maggie and Webber listen to the ceramics shattering. Maggie wants to comfort her sister, but Webber tells her that like her mother, the legendary Ellis Grey, it’s best to leave her alone.

Back at Arizona’s apartment, DeLuca is yelling in Italian at Arizona’s bar pick-up because, as it turns out, she’s his sister, Carina (Stefania Spampinato). They argue some more before he storms out. In true sister fashion, Carina tells Arizona that her brother’s real name is Andrea and not Andrew before they finish their romp on the couch.

At home, Meredith is sulking in her bedroom while Alex and Maggie keep her company. She keeps picking at the wall behind her headboard (where Derek’s tumor once hung). Alex was supposed to patch it, but he did a terrible job. He tells her to stop picking at it and, in a roundabout way, consequently winds up helping her figure out how to fix Megan’s open abdomen. Meredith rushes to the hospital to get Webber, Bailey, and Teddy on board with her plan to do an abdominal wall transplant, a groundbreaking surgery that has only been done three times before.

Jo wakes up in Levi’s bed, totally disgusted with what she’s done. As she tries to sneak out, she accidentally steps on and breaks the poor guy’s glasses. At the hospital, she confesses her walk of shame to Ben but doesn’t realize that Alex is standing right behind her. “You slept with Glasses?” he asks incredulously before laughing. (Recap continues on next page)

As she’s walking through the hospital, Arizona is surprised to see Carina in Bailey’s office, but DeLuca, who happens to be walking by, explains that his sister is an OB-GYN. Turns out that Carina is there to ask Bailey if she can continue her funded study at Grey Sloan Memorial. The study looks at the role sex stimulation can play in pain control for women, and she wants to have women masturbate in their MRI machine so she can study their brains. Bailey, who is on a feminist tear over uncomfortable shoes and being the female chief of surgery, tells her emphatically, “Yes, DONE.”

With everyone on board, Meredith is in Megan’s room, promising her killer abs if she can find a suitable abdomen donor. Because they can’t use UNOS, she enlists the help of the sub-Is to find a match. She offers them added incentive: Whoever finds a match gets to scrub in on the surgery. Webber sadly has to explain to them that this is a good thing. Unsurprisingly, this goes horribly at first, with one of them bringing her a patient who had a gunshot wound…to the abdomen. Duh.

But finally Glasses comes through, though Jo sharks the donor from him, presenting the match to Meredith as though she had found it. Glasses tries to cry foul, but Alex quickly puts him in his place.

Meanwhile, poor Beau is still in incredible pain, and Jackson is still dead set against the surgery. DeLuca worries about Amelia’s judgment, but he’s unable to stop her from moving ahead with the surgery.

Nathan finds himself kneeling next to Megan’s bed as he proposes for the second time in their relationship. Before she can answer, though, Meredith interrupts with the news that they’ve found a perfect donor!

The episode’s two surgeries are shown in tandem, with Meredith’s finishing first and receiving applause from the gallery. Amelia’s surgery, however, winds up being a little more complicated, as she holds up a piece of Beau’s jaw and tells Jackson she can’t make it fit. Eek!

Jackson helps her out, and Beau is finally relieved of his pain. While Jackson is happy it went well, he tells Amelia when they leave his room that she got lucky — which is exactly what she does when she later volunteers for Carina’s masturbating MRI study.

After discussing their wreck of a marriage, Owen makes a move on Teddy, explaining that Amelia said she no longer wants to be married to him. While they kiss, Teddy puts a stop to it and tells him she won’t start their relationship with an affair.

Because everyone seems to be getting their truth out, Alex confesses to Jo in the locker room that he found Paul, her ex-husband. She asks Alex if he was violent towards Paul and is so relieved to find out he wasn’t that she sleeps with him.

As Meredith leaves the hospital for the night, she sees Nathan sitting on a bench. He tells her that Megan told him she doesn’t want to be with him because Megan thinks he’s still in love with Meredith. In truth Meredith fashion, instead of dealing with it, she walks away.

Jackson’s day also ends on a sour note when April tells him that she’s still hurt over their tryst in Montana — he can’t be the baby daddy and sometime lover. Bottom line? The current living arrangement is not working for her, and she tells him she has to move out.

But the person who ends up having the worst day of all? Amelia. After picking out a hot pink sex toy with which to participate in the sex study, her MRI reveals why she’s been acting so erratically. “That’s a beautiful tumor,” Amelia says to Carina, completely clueless. “Whose brain is that?”

Head here for Kevin McKidd’s thoughts on that twist ending and what’s next for Owen and Amelia.