Shondaland takes on gun control

By Ariana Bacle
April 22, 2016 at 02:23 AM EDT
Richard Cartwright/ABC
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“You didn’t mean to,” Amelia says a couple times in this episode. It’s what she says when she wants to absolve someone of guilt, when she wants them to remember that accidents happen. The main accident in this episode is a big one, though — so big that recovering from it will take a lot more than just a mantra.

Two 8-year-old boys find a gun in the house, and one ends up shooting the other while the babysitter is cooking them food. The victim’s mom kept one locked in a drawer in her bedroom, but apparently that hiding place wasn’t as good as she thought it was. He ends up surviving, though he will probably never walk again. Meanwhile, his friend — the shooter, Peter — is terrified. What child wouldn’t be? Here he was, probably thinking that the gun was just a fun new toy, harmless. And now his friend is paralyzed. This is heavy stuff for anyone, especially someone as young as this.

At the end of the episode, Amelia sits in front of Peter to tell him what happened. That’s when she advises he keep telling himself, “You didn’t mean to.” Amelia isn’t always my favorite person, but in this moment, she is kind and sensitive and says exactly what Peter needs to hear. She’s the same way later when Owen admits to her that he’s the one who told his sister to get on the chopper, to do it to get away from Riggs, and that he blames himself for her disappearance. “You didn’t mean to,” she says, hugging him from behind. Amelia’s usually the one struggling, so it’s refreshing to see her in the caretaker’s position for a change.

The whole shooting incident riles up everyone — including Maggie, who’s realizing how attached she is to Meredith’s children. She basically interrogates the poor babysitter, asking what was so important that she turned her back on the two boys long enough for them to find a gun and shoot it. Riggs luckily sees what’s happening and steps in but not soon enough: The babysitter is visibly upset because this emotional doctor is essentially accusing her of letting this happen. Someone needs to get her a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, stat.

Afterward, Maggie calls the babysitter for Meredith’s kids just to check in. Later, she expresses to Meredith how she doesn’t know how to handle her love for them, that she worries she would die if anything happened to any of them. “I don’t know how you live like this,” she says. This is kind of coming out of nowhere, but maybe it just feels like that because we rarely see them actually interact with the kids aside from very occasional glimpses. Either way, Maggie’s intense love for them is incredibly sweet, and it’s genuinely heartwarming to see her and Meredith have a conversation about it.

NEXT: Can’t Callie and Arizona just get along? 

While Maggie’s worried about keeping her sister’s kids alive, Callie and Arizona are worrying about keeping their kid in their preferred city. Callie tries to talk to Arizona about what to do about Sofia, but Arizona keeps shutting her down. She won’t even look at the brochures for New York schools Callie brought to show her. In other words, she’s acting like a baby. This isn’t to say this isn’t a bad situation — it totally is — but Callie is really trying to make this a discussion, and Arizona is just denying her at every turn. Eventually, Arizona gets a call from one of those New York schools and discovers Callie already sent in an application. That’s enough to make Arizona shut down completely: The next time she sees Callie, she hands her her lawyer’s business card. She also says something along the lines of, “You started it,” because that is what adults say to each other, duh. Why can’t Callie and Penny just move to New York and end this Calzona drama for good? Why can’t we have nice things, Grey’s?

Now, back to the gun control story line: Owen, Amelia, Karev, and Jo start talking about guns in the OR, where Jo reveals she has one. The response? Silence. Like, silence so dramatic that you’d think she just announced she’s a convicted serial killer. Even Karev is disappointed, especially once he finds out that her gun is hiding underneath their shared bed. I get that they respond this way to make a point, to show that Grey’s is definitely, definitely anti-gun, and that’s good — this show has never shied away from political statements, and it shouldn’t. But at the same time, having everyone basically shun Jo comes off as petty and unrealistic. This would be a chance for them to have a nuanced conversation; instead, they just look at her like she has a third eyeball.

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It gets better toward the end of the episode when Karev comes home to find Jo holding the gun. She explains why she has it — she was living in her car when she was 16, and it made her feel safe — and then decides that she doesn’t need it or want it anymore. She returns the gun to its box, and then the two embrace. Look at that! Gun safety bringing two people together! (Note: Hopefully she knows how to safely dispose of that gun. We don’t need a part two to this episode that involves another kid finding a pistol in the dumpster.)

In non-gun news, Warren gets a gig as an anesthesiologist at the hospital despite Bailey’s insistence that he stay away from the premises, so he’ll probably be sleeping on the couch for a good while. April’s opening up to Jackson and even invites him to her prenatal appointment, and Edwards is getting it on with that cute patient, Kyle, she’s been texting. The world might be a messed-up place, but at least we have Wilmer Valderrama guest-starring.

Meredith. Alex. Bailey. Arizona. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.
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