Grey's Anatomy recap: 'Hold Back the River'
Team Amelia performs groundbreaking surgery on a young cancer patient, while an old patient forces Webber to face her grim fate.
As Kenny Rogers sang, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,” and tonight we saw Grey Sloan Memorial’s brightest struggle with this lesson.
Owen is back from Berlin, but can’t get rid of it — literally — as he can’t remove the airport tag from his bag. Amelia tells him not to give up, and when he insists it’s over, she calls Teddy. After a brief, one-sided discussion, Amelia hangs up and announces, “Yeah, that’s not happening. Sorry.”
What’s also not happening is sexy time for Bailey and Ben. Instead, as they’re in bed, he excitedly hands her a box. Inside are pill organizers for her “heart pills and statins.” He’s so adorably proud of himself for thinking of a covert way for Miranda to take her heart medicine that I almost forgive him for making Bailey lose her lady boner.
April’s back…in the chapel again, and she’s on a 12-step-like mission to apologize to everyone she’s been irrational with or just plain mean to for the past few months.
Meredith, Jo, and Hellmouth are trying to keep their place at the poker table by keeping their mice alive, but Jimi Hendrix has just died. Yes, the women have named their rodents after famous rock stars because they’re easier to remember that way.
At the hospital, Ben is on ambulance duty and brings in Webber’s AA sponsor and longtime friend, Ollie (Emmy winner Mary Kay Place). She collapsed at an AA meeting, and despite wanting to fold her hand via a DNR, they resuscitated her anyway. Oops.
Last seen in season 2 after having a shunt successfully placed by Webber in lieu of the liver transplant she so desperately needed, Ollie’s heart is now failing her as a result of her liver dying. She tells Webber she decided on a DNR eight months ago, but he refuses to accept this and enlists the help of Meredith and Maggie.
Liz and her son, Noah — who has the seizure laughs — are getting ready for Amelia and Koracick to perform the groundbreaking ultrasound wave procedure to see if they can obliterate the tumor that way. While Karev tries to assure the mom it’s non-invasive, Amelia gets Liz to sign the consent forms by being honest and telling her that it’s dangerous, but it’s Noah’s only chance. What she doesn’t tell Liz, though, is that Noah is basically a guinea pig. They’ve never done this, and none of them have any idea as to how this might go.
Buoyed by the confidence Amelia displayed, Karev tells his other child cancer patient, Kimmie, that this same wave procedure may finally be the hope she’s dying for. But Kimmie doesn’t buy it and thinks she’ll just be back in the hospital with yet another tumor. What she does ask, though, is if there’s a chance she can “last long enough” to go to New York City to see Dear Evan Hansen with her friend.
In the ER, Arizona is surprised to see a former patient there with her wife and their infant being attended to by Owen. The three were in a car accident after Dana got sick because she had just finished chemo. Dana’s airbag is the only one that didn’t deploy. As if that wasn’t bad enough luck, Dana also has stage 2 breast cancer, and while she’s miserable, she’s not above singing the praises of her oncologist who’s promised Dana and her wife, Peggy, the world has far as medical results. “He cured my friend without surgery,” Dana boasts. Intern Glasses remarks how amazing that is, but Owen doesn’t buy it and asks Glasses to get her medical records.
Jackson and Maggie are headlong into being head over heels, and Jackson is promising Maggie he’ll be telling April about them soon.
April, meanwhile, starts off her Apology Tour by telling Koracick she’s sorry for using him for sex. After she calls him Koracick, he jokes, “April, please, we’ve had sex. Call me ‘Dr. Koracick.’” He’s clearly pleased, though, that she’s made up with God.
Amelia, DeLuca, and Koracick get prepped for Noah’s procedure by doing the Superhero pose. After all, as Koracick said, “They’re so far out on the edge, no one’s ever been there.”
Unfortunately, even the initial stages prove difficult as there’s nowhere for the heat that they’re sending into the boy’s skull to go. They’re rightfully incredibly worried about boiling little Noah’s brain. (Recap continues on next page)
Glasses still can’t get Dana’s medical records from Dr. Hanson’s office. Arizona walks into to both check on Dana and tell Owen she talked to Teddy. “I can’t believe you double dipped within 24 hours,” she chides. But Owen’s not yet ready to joke, especially after Owen sees Dana’s scan. “I would bet my license she does not have cancer,” he tells Arizona.
Meredith and Maggie are trying to come up with a solution for Ollie, but Ollie wants them to find a new sponsor for Webber, instead. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Maggie implores before assuring her there’s still hope. But Ollie doesn’t want hope; she wants acceptance from Webber. She needs to know that he’ll get through her death without the bottle.
April continues her Tour by apologizing to Owen and then Intern Casey Parker for her irrational behavior on Trauma Cert day. Casey says that he just assumed she was having a nervous breakdown. File under things you don’t tell one of your supervisors after they generously apologize to you.
Bailey tries again to seduce Ben, but he falls asleep instead. Poor Chief!
Noah’s brain is still undergoing ultrasound brain waves, and while Amelia wants to go another round, Koracick tells her that his brain will become stew if they continue. Amelia runs out of the room and throws up from the pressure. Now they all just have to wait for Noah to wake up (“If he wakes up,” Koracick tells the Bello the intern) to see if it worked.
Meanwhile, Jerry Garcia has died — again. Yes, the mouse whose namesake is the Grateful Dead frontman has passed, and Team Meredith only has three more polymers to try. But they’re still not ready to cash in their chips like Jerry, and Meredith, Jo, and Hellmouth continue to find a solution in their race with Marie Cerrone.
After still waiting to see the outcome of Noah’s procedure, Bello and DeLuca wake up in the on-call room. Bello finds out that DeLuca’s been living there because both of his former roommates (Owen and Arizona) were sleeping with his sister. Bello asks him to move in with her.
Speaking of Owen and Arizona, after finding out that Dr. Hanson is not a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Arizona makes an appointment for herself in order to get to the bottom of Hanson’s miracle work. She and Owen pretend to be a married couple. As they’re waiting to see the oncologist, Arizona tells Owen her suspicions were aroused because Hanson has five stars on Yelp. Even Owen has only 3.5 — just like her dry cleaner.
As Owen broods in the exam room while Hanson checks out Arizona, they manage to successfully continue their ruse until Hanson tells her that she has a lesion in her left breast. Incredulous, Owen demands to see the screen and it isn’t until his face falls that Arizona believes she actually has breast cancer.
Back at Grey Sloan, Webber is still arguing with Ollie over her prognosis, despite being told by Meredith and Maggie there is really nothing for them to do. As Maggie tries to figure out how to handle Webber’s refusal to accept Ollie’s looming death, Jackson empathizes, revealing that that is how he felt when he was treating Maggie’s mother before she died.
Arizona and Owen rush back to the hospital and have April perform an ultrasound, but there is no tumor in sight. Hanson, it turns out, fakes the ultrasound. Owen decides to take all his frustration over Teddy out on Hanson as he storms off.
In a retribution scene that finds us reveling in Owen’s military background, we watch as he surprises Hanson at his office before forcing him into a patient chair. Owen threatens to inject Hanson with chemo. “You pump that poison into a completely healthy person just to make a few bucks,” he growls before tossing the needle to the floor. The police then show up to really take care of the good doctor.
Arizona gets the best revenge, though, by being able to tell Dana that she doesn’t have cancer.
Much to everyone on Team Amelia’s relief, Noah wakes up and is laughing at a movie with his mom. Now Karev is excited for it to be Kimmie’s turn, but Koracick and Amelia decide it’s too dangerous. Kimmie’s tumor is different than Noah’s was, and while they were able to successfully take care of Noah, they’re years off from being able to handle a tumor with the difficulty of Kimmie’s. But Karev refuses to accept this, and he grabs Koracick by the labcoat, and pushes him into a table, knocking everything to the ground. “Do what you gotta do,” a resigned Koracick tells him. Surprisingly, Karev does what he’s supposed to: nothing.
April runs into Jackson outside of the hospital daycare. She wants to pick up Harriet, and she explains to Jackson how her losing God made her feel like that meant Jackson won. “Even when it felt like He wasn’t there,” she explains, “you were. So, thank you.”
Maggie uses Jackson’s insight to help her speak with Webber. She tells him how she didn’t want her mother to give up either and as a result, ended up robbing her of the ending that her mother really wanted. “All that suffering, putting her through that pain, when all she wanted was peace and to know I would be OK — that’s my only regret,” she admits.
Shaken over the fight between Karev and Koracick, as well as not being able to help Kimmie, Amelia toys with the idea of giving up on her sobriety. She calls in Webber who in turn calls in Ollie, ultimately allowing Webber to give Ollie what she really wants and needs.
Refusing to fold turns out to be highly beneficial for Team Meredith as Mouse David Bowie successfully manages to grow a new tiny liver. Turns out they never needed a polymer! They’re going to save a lot of lives and beat Marie Cerrone — let’s dance!
Bailey is also refusing to give up and pages Ben home for some sexy time. She assures him that her heart is strong and powerful and that they’re going to celebrate being alive while also being naked.
But just before the house closes for the night, there’s one last hand to be played: April happens upon Maggie, who’s waiting for Jackson. She apologizes for her behavior during Maggie’s game night and goes on to explain how she acted irrationally by sleeping with the intern (the “douchey one”) and Koracick, and then she confesses that she even jumped her ex-husband in the closet.
After April leaves a stunned Maggie standing there, mouth agape, Jackson returns and asks her if she’s ready, and you can almost hear Kenny singing, “Know when to walk away, know when to run.”