The quintessential scene for any TV character with cancer seems to be the head-shaving one. It’s the rare moment that exudes both vulnerability and bravery — especially for female characters (think Samantha on Sex and the City). So it’s only fitting that Amelia, a similarly strong, tenacious, and independent woman, would have her moment in front of the mirror with her girls, Meredith and Maggie, looking on. Unfortunately, in what is also a very Amelia moment, she doesn’t follow through with the full buzz cut and winds up looking like, well, someone who’s a tad out of her mind.
Her strength, though, remains unwavering as she makes her arrogant surgeon, Tom, DeLuca, and the entire OR staff stand like superheroes — something she once told Stephanie improved performance — for a few minutes before her surgery. Seeing them all stand with their legs shoulder-width apart, arms defiantly at their hips, and their chests out, staring up at the gallery where Meredith and Maggie look anxiously on, made all of us feel ready for what was to come.
As Tom goes to work, we bear witness to April praying in the hospital chapel that she doesn’t have to unplug Amelia since she has power of attorney. We watch as Owen gets chastised by Megan for avoiding the operation. And, in a much-needed respite, we get to tag along with Bailey and Webber, who are starting to interview interns — the first of whom showed up 45 minutes early. Bailey and Webber see him giving himself a pep talk before deciding not to even bother since the candidate is clearly not a “functional human being.”
Back in the OR, Tom is digging away at the tumor while sadistically listening to the Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun.” In the gallery, Arizona and Carina look on while discussing the fact that it was Carina’s masturbation study that diagnosed Amelia’s tumor. Mamma mia, can’t that woman do anything for a minute without invoking sex somehow? We get it; Italians are sexy!
Even with a baited-breath scene that involves clipping some vessel, it’s a relief when Amelia’s surgery is finally over and she’s in post-op. It’s quickly clear that we’re watching from Amelia’s point of view as April, Maggie, Owen, Meredith and Tom are looking down on her. Amelia keeps responding to what they’re saying, but they are not hearing her. “Oh, crap, am I gorked?” we hear Amelia ask herself.
Really, isn’t that what we’ve been wondering about her for a while now?
But in all seriousness, hearing Amelia’s inner dialogue as she is unable to communicate with anyone gives us serious concern for her well-being, as we recall that’s how Derek’s final moments were after his accident. He kept trying to tell the medical team working on him that he was in pain. And for a good part of this episode, Amelia has the same issue. We get frustrated as she keeps trying to connect with Meredith, but fails. We hear her break down as DeLuca fulfills pre-op promises he made to her to push her after the surgery, unwittingly causing her significant pain. The parallel is both eerie and brilliant. Props to Shonda and the episode’s writer, Marlana Hope.
The intern interviews continue with a nerd who tells Webber and Bailey when he lost his virginity and a bro who tries negging Grey Sloan Memorial in order to land the job. Bro has got to go.
Catherine and Jackson are back from Harper’s funeral, and besides Webber, it seems Tom is just as happy to see Catherine. Apparently, the two had enough of a thing at one point for Tom to jokingly ask how old Jackson is in order to make sure he’s not his.
Wasting no time whatsoever, Alex asks Jackson how much money his grandfather left him. “Did they just back up a truck of silver spoons?” Rightfully ignoring him, Jackson asks Meredith why she paged him. Turns out she’s trying to publish Megan Hunt’s surgery, which might be eligible for a Harper Avery Award. But, she wants to remove Jackson’s name from the article in order to ensure its eligibility.
Megan is still not fully recovered, and her low-grade fever and elevated blood count indicates an infection, causing Meredith to start her on IV antibiotics. Megan asks Meredith if she’s heard from Nathan and after saying no, Meredith asks Megan the same. Each says they sent him to the other before laughing about “breaking his brain.” This is probably the strangest Grey’s triangle yet, and that’s saying something.
Jo is worried about the antibiotic affecting Meredith’s article, to which Meredith tells her that it won’t, and not to worry because her name is going on it as well.
Even though she’s unable to verbally communicate, recovering addict Amelia still refuses to take any pain medicine, much to the chagrin of Webber and Maggie. Since Webber also did AA, he understands Amelia’s stance, but tells her AA does not have a firm position on pain medicine as long as you follow your physician’s orders. The way she tells him to “please stop” with her eyes, though, is heartbreaking as you realize the layers of pain she’s enduring.
Since Amelia and Megan seem to be the only patients at Grey Sloan this week, Meredith, Alex, April, Arizona, and Maggie are all chatting over coffee when Nathan calls Meredith on her cell. She lets it slide to voicemail, though, because DeLuca pages them all: Amelia is finally speaking!
Sacré bleu, though, ’cause Amelia is only speaking in French. Turns out all the Shepherd children went to French preschool. Apparently this isn’t a weird phenomenon after brain surgery, though. What is a surprise, however, is Maggie being able to understand her. She asks Amelia if she can speak English, and Amelia responds in French, “I didn’t even know I could speak French!”
Megan starts to rip her IV out because her adoptive child, Farouk, is in the hospital and she wants to get to him ASAP. Apparently he’s anemic. Meredith convinces her to not make any rash decisions and tells her how she once kidnapped her own daughter. That Megan trusts Meredith after all she keeps revealing is just incredible. (Recap continues on page 2)