Derek’s back, and Meredith’s feeling blessed—for a little while, at least.
She starts off the episode yapping to Maggie about how great her life is, how she has everything she’s ever wanted. It’s true: She’s kicking ass at her job; she has a dreamy house with a dreamy husband to match, and two beautiful kids. What more could a gal want? A day without death, that’s what.
That’s not what Meredith gets though. Instead, she and the other surgeons get three cops badly injured in a bank robbery. There’s Pete, who dies first, then Brett. To make matters even more depressing, these two were brothers—and their mother, Mrs. Gibson, plays a big part in the episode.
Medical dramas rarely take a look at the grief associated with what goes on in hospitals. We see Weber and Grey and co. telling family members their loved ones have passed, but we don’t usually see these family members dealing with the loss. Because of this, it’s refreshing to see Mrs. Gibson, a grieving mother, do more than cry when she’s delivered the news—heartbreaking, yes, but refreshing.
Her moment to shine comes when Grey asks her if her sons would have wanted to be organ donors. This is something Grey has to do anyway, but Bailey has an extra request: She wants to ask for one of their livers to donate to the 15-year-old, Jared, who shot the two brothers.
Bailey’s all about separating the story from the human—her job is to save people regardless of their wrongdoings—while Meredith is intent on not making things any more difficult for Mrs. Gibson. Both perspectives are understandable, and it’s a tricky ethical situation. Meredith appears to win though: At first, it seems like Mrs. Gibson will get through the day without anyone asking her to donate her son’s liver to her son’s killer. But then Bailey storms into Meredith’s meeting with her once Mrs. Gibson’s agreed to have her sons’ organs donated.
Bailey starts off vague, suggesting Mrs. Gibson assign the liver to a 15-year-old boy. Initially, Mrs. Gibson’s sympathetic. He’s so young, she says. Then she asks what happened, and she starts to put two and two together. “No, he’s not getting anything,” Mrs. Gibson says, furious. “You can go to hell.” Good try, Bailey?
Meredith’s pissed, but then she has a talk with another cop—Dan, played by Southland alum and The Returned star Kevin Alejandro—who says Brett actually had a connection with Jared. Brett (and Dan) tried to help him through his struggles, and Dan says Brett would be here to help him out of this if he was still living. This changes Meredith’s perspective on the whole situation. Yes, Jared’s bullets are what ultimately caused Brett’s death, but if what Dan’s saying is true, Brett would probably still want to give him another chance.
NEXT: Mrs. Gibson makes a decision.
Mrs. Gibson feels this way too after talking with Dan, and Jared gets the liver. At this point, Mrs. Gibson must be ready to hibernate—but Grey and Bailey give her some relatively good news to end her day with. “37 people got to go home to their families today because of your sons,” they tell Mrs. Gibson, referring to the other people in the bank at the time of the robbery. Between those people and the organ donor recipients, Mrs. Gibson’s sons went out the way she thought they lived: as heroes.
Although this story line takes up the majority of the episode, the other doctors aren’t just sitting around: Derek’s back and trying to get used to playing employee to Amelia, who’s now his boss. Amelia, as we know, houses a lot of insecurity regarding her brother, but Derek does his best to make her feel respected. He does what she tells him; he makes it clear that he knows he’s her subordinate. He’s a good brother.
And he’s a good brother outside of their workplace, too. The episode ends with the two siblings hanging out on the porch, laughing about their mom, and discussing more serious things like saving the world—or rather, not saving it. “I don’t need to change the world,” Derek says he realized. He mentions the not-so-exciting procedures he did that day that, despite their level of ease, still managed to give someone a second chance at live. “When did that stop being enough? Saving someone’s life. That’s more than enough.”
That’s how he ends a speech about how much he wants to be a family man, and it’s hard to tell whether he’s being genuine or whether he’s trying to convince himself that’s what he wants. Right now, I think it’s the former: After all, he is the one who made the choice to return to Seattle. But it’s still difficult to imagine Derek giving up on trying to be the best in the field cold turkey.
His revelations become more poignant after Amelia admits she’s falling in love with Owen—and that she’s afraid it’s going to destroy her. “It wouldn’t be love if it didn’t,” Derek smiles at her. Ah, cryptic Derek. Happy to have you back.
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