Grey's Anatomy recap: The surgeons fight to save one of their own
The doctors fight to save April as Arizona makes a big announcement.
We’ve had two months to process the news that we’d be losing April and Arizona (#aprizona), but were we truly ready to say goodbye? Tonight put us to the test, that’s for damn sure.
As Meredith’s voiceover opens the episode, explaining how surgeons try to minimize scars and not leave any trace of injury, we watch as April sends out Jo and Karev’s wedding invitation before leaving her apartment. The evite is elegant and pretty, and as such it’s so not Karev and Jo, who joke upon seeing it that they should put themselves down as a “maybe” to attend.
At Owen’s house, Amelia arrives to find Betty sitting remorsefully on his couch. “Are you high?” she asks the teenager. Betty tells her that she tried to get a fix, but when she was unable to do so, she wound up sweating it out on her friend’s couch. She insists she came back because she missed Leo. “I don’t want to get high,” Betty admits, “but I really want to get high.” Amelia decides then and there that it’s going to be Bring a Teen Mom to Work Day.
Speaking of work, back at Grey Sloan, Bailey is tickled by the invite and shows it to Arizona. Arizona blindsides her by telling her that she has to give her something: her notice. She goes on to explain that she’s moving back to New York because Sofia has been so miserable, and asks Bailey to be happy for them. Bailey delivers the first of many of the evening’s great speeches by telling Arizona that when she first met her she thought Arizona was a Pixy Stix — an empty vessel full of sugar — but it’s become one of her greatest privileges in life to know Arizona and work with her.
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Maggie is getting coffee outside of the hospital when Jackson walks up with Harriet. Maggie asks Jackson if he’s going to go to the wedding, and he admits that he assumed they were going together. When Maggie points out they’ve never gone anywhere together with the rest of the group, Jackson tells her, “That’s perfect then.”
Webber is upset that Arizona didn’t tell him about her plans, but Amelia interrupts his chastising with Betty in tow. Webber cuts out, while Arizona and Amelia discuss the fact that Dr. Nicole Herman (Geena Davis) is back at Grey Sloan Memorial, but they don’t know why.
When they enter Dr. Herman’s exam room she immediately knows it’s them and tells them they look great. They ask if she can see, but no, she was just pulling their leg. She’s still as “blind as an earthworm.” Turns out she’s come back because she’s been having headaches and dizziness. And though she’s failed to keep in touch with Arizona, she’s kept tabs on her, rattling off that Arizona’s performed 76 procedures since she last saw her. Dr. Herman’s symptoms make Amelia worry that her tumor is back so she orders a scan.
Vik Roy is shadowing Bailey who’s out with Owen, waiting for an emergency to arrive. Before the ambulance comes, Owen asks Bailey for parenting advice to which she delivers her second great speech of the night. As Bailey explains, the black lace-weaver spider lays 50-100 eggs and eventually, after she gives them the go-ahead, they swarm her and suck her up “like a milkshake,” leaving her a “dead husk” before going on with their lives. “That’s parenting,” Bailey finishes before being interrupted by the ambulance.
The patient being brought in is none other than EMT and former April Kepner fiancée, Matthew Taylor. The EMTs explain he rolled his car. After they wheel him into one of the rooms in the ER, Matthew overhears Bailey tell Vik to go get April and in a haze he asks if April was brought in, too.
Bailey, Meredith, Webber, and the EMTs debate April’s whereabouts before Bailey tells Vik to take Matthew to get a CT, but Webber volunteers to do it. Owen takes off with the EMTs to go back to the scene of the accident to see if he can find April. (Recap continues on next page)
Jo asks Karev to weigh in on some shades for the wedding, explaining that April wants them to pick a base for their color palette. She tells him that he’ll need to do the cake testing since she’ll be operating on a burn victim with Jackson.
In the park Owen is like some kind of Kepner homing device and manages to find her at the bottom of a ravine relatively quickly. Simultaneously, Meredith approaches Jackson at the hospital to ask him if he’s seen April. He tells her that he’s had Harriet all weekend and that she was doing some volunteer work. Just then, Owen texts Meredith to tell her that he found April and it’s bad. Meredith chooses not to tell Jackson until she knows more.
Glasses and Helm are debating why Glasses didn’t receive an invite to Jo and Karev’s wedding when Meredith and Bailey pull them in to help with the incoming ambulance carrying April. “I’m gonna tell you who’s on that rig, and you’re not going to lose your minds,” Bailey instructs the interns. As soon as April is unloaded, Meredith hops on the stretcher and starts doing compressions. “She’s not dead until she’s warm and dead,” Meredith says determinedly.
The interns can’t find a vein, and when Glasses resorts to trying to numb the area and Helm tells him that April can’t feel anything because she’s dead, you remember that Meredith rightfully dubbed her Hellmouth.
Still, everyone continues to work on April as Maggie walks in and is immediately in shock at the sight of her colleague and new boyfriend’s baby mama on the stretcher. She eventually pulls it together to stop them from making grave mistakes.
Jackson meanwhile is in the OR with Jo, completely unaware of what is happening as Bailey watches him from the scrub room.
Deluca and Amelia are looking at Dr. Herman’s scans when Amelia admits she’s going to need to tell Dr. Herman about her own brain tumor. Betty is surprised to learn that Amelia had a grapefruit-sized tumor of her own. “So you did brain surgery when you needed brain surgery?” the astute teenager asks. Deluca reiterates the “had” portion of Amelia’s condition.
Bailey interrupts Matthew’s surgery to tell Webber about April’s condition. Vik is visibly upset by the news. When they see that Matthew’s spleen is in worse shape than they thought, Bailey offers to scrub in. As they’re operating, Webber laments how bad Matthew’s luck is. He’s also frustrated by the lack of information they have regarding April’s condition, and Bailey responds with her last great speech of the night wherein she explains how every time Ben leaves their house, she has to concentrate on the facts. The facts as she knows them are that Ben went to work to save peoples’ lives and he’s good at it. In April’s case, Maggie, Meredith, and Owen are working to save her life and they’re very good at it. “You’re a good chief,” Webber tells her.
Speaking of April’s case, she’s been moved to the OR where the doctors are switching off doing manual compressions while Maggie has her on bypass. Meredith leaves at one point to get more help and brings back Karev. They’re still trying to avoid telling Jackson because as Meredith says, “We don’t need emotions, we need people who can help.” As Karev takes his turn doing compressions, he tells everyone how he hated April because he wished he had been more like her. “She was all the things I wasn’t. She was just born that way,” he admits. Meredith corrects him and tells him to stop saying “was.”
After her scan, Arizona confronts Herman about not staying in touch. Herman admits that after the blindness, she went very dark — no pun intended — because her entire existence was wrapped up in being a surgeon. Then she kept hearing about Arizona’s success, and Herman realized that she had downloaded her entire brain into Arizona in mere months. Arizona, in turn, saved a ton of babies, making Herman realize that teaching the Arizonas of the world meant she, herself, could save more babies. So, basically, Arizona saved Herman’s life. Well, Arizona and Amelia.
Amelia is frantically looking for a tumor, which isn’t showing in Herman’s scans. She’s still debating telling Herman about the tumor, and Betty points out that telling her isn’t going to make her less blind. Amelia orders a spinal tap to rule out a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid, and decides that if it is a tumor, she’ll tell Herman about her tumor.
Jackson and Jo are leaving the OR, joking about Jackson being “broke” in rich boy’s terms when they overhear Casey arguing about supplies. The intern tells a colleague that they need to save Dr. Kepner’s life, and Jackson immediately busts into her OR.
Maggie fills him in on their trying to get rhythm now that her blood is finally circulating. When Karev says that there’s nothing to do but wait, Owen replies “and pray.” It is, after all, the Kepner way.
What is supposed to be a considerable time later, Jackson sits defeated next to April in the OR. There’s baited breath as Maggie insists she saw a rhythm. She keeps up the defibrillation, insisting that April is back until she’s finally right. She manages to find April’s rhythm.
Deluca performs the spinal tap, and Herman’s spinal fluid comes shooting out, indicating that it was just a buildup of CSF. Before relief can register for Arizona, Webber comes and plucks her to deliver the news about April.
When Arizona reaches April’s room, Owen explains what happened. Everyone assumes April had been doing volunteer work with Matthew, but Arizona tells them that, no, they’ve actually been seeing each other. “She lost a child and he lost a wife,” Arizona explains. “They knew each other’s pain…and how something bad can come from something good. She’s in love.”
As everyone sits vigil in April’s room, waiting to see if she’ll wake, Meredith tells Alex how all this time she thought she had been robbed, but after she was able to come back, she knew that all the years she had Derek, the kids, and their marriage was a bonus.
Even Ben comes racing into Grey Sloan Memorial to see how April is doing, and his embrace with Bailey is all the facts that she so visibly needs in that moment.
They decide to give Jackson the room, and when Amelia asks if anyone’s called her family, it hits me that we might actually lose her. It apparently has the same effect on Arizona who bursts into tears as Webber steps up and offers to call April’s family.
But it’s Jackson’s pleas when he’s alone with April that wrecks me. He and April never saw eye to eye when it came to religion, and it was absolutely a factor in their downfall as a couple. So when Jackson starts to pray to God to ask for April to be saved in exchange for his faith in God’s existence, it’s heartbreaking. The tears fall even harder when April squeezes Jackson’s hand before opening her eyes, and I realize I was not ready to say goodbye. Yes, there’s only one episode left, but I’ll take it. April deserved so much more than dying this way, and I’m so grateful they didn’t end her like this.
Everyone gathers at her bedside once more to ask her what it’s like to die and come back. She insists she didn’t die and come back to life because there’s only one person who’s ever done that. Not wanting to overwhelm her, they decide to give her time to rest, and when April tells Owen, “You always come and bring me back,” I remember how incredible their relationship has always been.
Jackson rushes into the hospital childcare center to pick up Harriet and hug her, and later on we watch as he carries her out, past the chapel, only to double back and enter. It’s a perfect moment as he doesn’t do anything but give a subtle hug to his daughter.
Amelia is happy to tell Herman that all she’ll need is a shunt, but she refers Herman to Koracick, rather than opt to do the procedure herself. When Herman reveals she knows about Amelia’s tumor because she slept with Koracick and also knows that Amelia “hit that” as well, it’s all tumor humor until Amelia abruptly announces she has to make an angry phone call. After she leaves, Herman reveals the real reason she came to Grey Sloan Memorial: She received a grant and wants to start the Robbins-Herman Center for Women’s Health. She would’ve called it the Herman-Robbins Center, but realized that makes them sound like a man. Arizona asks her if they can do it in New York, and after Herman agrees, Arizona bear hugs her like Charlie hugged Willy Wonka when he gave him the keys to the candy factory. Looks like Arizona will get her sweet ending after all.
Amelia catches up with Teen Mom, and asks her if she’s ready to go. Betty admits that she lied earlier as Amelia hands her a coat. “I came because I was cold,” Betty tells her as Amelia says she knows.
Maggie is checking on April when Bailey brings in Matthew. Meredith begins her voiceover, telling us about how in Japan the cracks in broken pottery are filled with gold. The potters, she says, see repair as something beautiful because they know that change and the unexpected happens. As Meredith talks about the potters understanding that nobody gets through this world in one piece, we see Bailey and Ben in bed together. Bailey reaches out for her husband. Change doesn’t have to diminish, though, the voiceover continues as we first watch Jo and Karev looking at their wedding book before it cuts to Meredith entering her bedroom. She opens a drawer and we see the Post-it of vows she signed with Derek. As she lays his scrub cap on top, Meredith sees us out with, “The cracks are a part of our history. They will always be with us. They made us stronger. They made us something new.” The last scene we’re treated to is April and Matthew in their beds, side by side, holding hands.
Thank you, Grey’s Anatomy, for taking care to fill our cracks with gold.