Meredith is stuck in silence after suffering a brutal attack
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ELLEN POMPEO

Most Grey’s Anatomy episodes feature multiple plotlines, sometimes even too many plotlines. But this midseason premiere didn’t run into that problem at all. That’s because the midseason premiere is all about Meredith, a character who has gone through so much that she’s earned an entire hour of TV completely focused on just her. And lucky for her, it’s a damn good hour.

The episode starts out normal enough, with Meredith tending to a patient named Lou who starts seizing on her watch. After the seizure ends, someone goes to grab him new sheets (peeing the bed isn’t just for toddlers!), and another also leaves. This leaves Meredith alone with him, which ordinarily would seem fine. Doctors are in rooms alone with their patients all the time, and this Lou guy seemed pretty sweet just a few minutes ago when he was going on about his two daughters. But even the sweetest person can fall victim to post-seizure hyperaggression, apparently.

Lou gets out of bed and starts throwing Meredith around like a toy. It goes on and on until we eventually see her on a bed with everyone doing their best to save her life. The scene is stressful and emotional, sure, but it’s also not that stressful or that emotional because Grey’s Anatomy obviously isn’t about to kill off its title character. The stakes aren’t as high as, say, when McDreamy ended up in the ER. (Although a few episodes before he died, I was pretty adamant they wouldn’t kill him off, but… Well, we all know how that turned out.)

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After that initial post-attack scene, a portion of the episode goes on in complete silence as seen through Meredith’s point of view. Remember when Derek was in the hospital and we saw what he was seeing? That’s the same technique guest director Denzel Washington uses here, and it’s especially powerful because of the lack of sound. Meredith sees her friends’ lips moving, but she — and we — can’t hear a word they’re saying. It’s incredibly uncomfortable, something that makes a panic attack she has later on in the episode all the more understandable.

That panic attack happens when her kids come to see her after weeks apart. The problem is that her kids don’t really want to see her — at least not the way she is now, with a cast and a jaw completely wired shut. Arizona and Karev eventually escort them out when it becomes clear that a happy reunion isn’t in the cards for that day, and Meredith begins to hyperventilate as soon as the door closes. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you’ll recognize the physical agony. If you’ve never had a panic attack, then, well, now you know what it looks like. Fun!

NEXT: Penny (yes, Penny) saves the day

Penny comes in the room to find Mer struggling for air and ends up cutting the wires in a moment of compassion. Jackson soon scolds her for cutting them, but whatever: For once, Penny did the right thing. For once, she wasn’t the most annoying character to ever appear on Grey’s. (One day I’ll come around to Penny!) (Maybe.)

Throughout Meredith’s entire stay in the hospital room, Amelia has been pacing outside. The two had a nasty blowout in the midseason finale, and Amelia is struggling with both that and that she was supposed to go help Meredith with Lou the day of the attack — well, kind of: She was given the choice of either going to Meredith’s patient or another trauma, and she chose the other trauma because of her beef with Mer. If she had gone there instead, maybe Meredith would be a-okay.

Weber tells Meredith this in an attempt to get her to forgive Amelia for, as he says, “being the wrong Shepherd,” but even his characteristically wise and thoughtful advice can’t force forgiveness: Amelia visits Meredith one last time before she’s let out of the hospital, and they tell each other they’re not ready to forgive just yet. Perhaps next week?

Meredith is willing to forgive Lou though, whom she agrees to meet while her jaw is still wired shut. He apologizes with his wife and two daughters by his side, and Meredith responds by grabbing his hand. It’s a gesture that doesn’t sound like much on paper but that speaks volumes when you actually see the two exchanging a quiet, charged moment.

By the end of the episode, Meredith is back home and telling Alex — who has been as good of a friend to her as ever these past six weeks — to go and be with Jo. You can have more than one person, she says. I’ll be fine. But just because you can have more than one person doesn’t mean Karev does: Jo might be ready to move on from Karev at this point. If that’s true, though, it could give Meredith a chance to take care of Karev for a bit. And let’s be honest — Meredith and Karev’s platonic relationship is much more compelling than Karev’s romance with Jo, no matter how dreamy they are together.

Extras:

  • Amelia showed up drunk to the hospital the night after Meredith’s attack, signaling that another addiction plotline was in store — but by the end of the episode, she was telling Mer about being sober for 30 days. Good for Amelia.
  • Because the episode was so Meredith-centric, we didn’t get any super-juicy updates on April and Jackson, except for that he apparently served her divorce papers without warning. They sure make marriage look like a blast, huh?

Episode Recaps

ELLEN POMPEO
Grey's Anatomy

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

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