Richard Cartwright/ABC
January 18, 2018 at 11:25 PM EST

Grey's Anatomy

TV Show
run date
Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers, James Pickens Jr.
We gave it an A-

Tonight’s episode is the first in the history of Grey’s Anatomy not to be named after a song title, but as you know after watching, it’s for important reason that Shondaland chose this particular installment to break with tradition.

The last time we saw Jo she had just run into her estranged abusive husband Paul (Matthew Morrison) on her way to delivering life-saving information about Frankie, the 7-year-old with a blood vessel disorder. The episode opens with her still dumbstruck by the fact that Paul is standing in front of her, beaming like a cat that just ate a canary. Before Jo can even really begin to form any words, he quickly introduces his fiancée, Jenny (Bethany Joy Lenz). He proceeds to tell Jo — who still hasn’t closed her mouth — that they can’t plan a wedding when he’s still legally married.

Suddenly Arizona comes out nowhere and starts fangirling over the fact that the Dr. Paul Stadler is standing in front of her. She playfully chides Jo for not telling her that she knows Paul, who, like many abusers, instantly uses the opportunity to chip away at Jo’s credibility by telling Arizona that Jo was a big partier back in the day. After Arizona is finished being completely clueless, Paul tells Jo they should find someplace quiet to talk and sign divorce papers. Even this comment, which is delivered with such a distrustful slickness, makes me want to scream at Jo to run and never look back. But she’s done that for long enough.

Meanwhile, Meredith is still in the OR with Schmitt (more popularly known as Glasses) hooked up to an IV in order to give much-needed blood to the poor woman on the operating table with the enlarged spleen. But he passes out because the hackers have apparently also turned up the hospital thermostat to a stifling 90 degrees. For the rest of the episode, everyone at Grey Sloan Memorial looks as slimy as Paul actually is.

Bailey is trying in vain to get in touch with Jackson, who, if you recall, was last seen with Maggie getting an impromptu blood bath in a medevac helicopter after their patient Claude’s tube came loose. They were transferring him to another hospital, which they’ve finally arrived at, looking like extras from Carrie. Because Jackson is MIA and the FBI is apparently useless, Bailey ends up getting help from an unexpected place: an intern named Casey Parker, who asks her if the FBI has tried overriding the security system. Turns out Casey served two tours of duty in cybersecurity in the Air Force and knows a thing or two about hacking.

As Paul is leaving the hospital, Webber stops him to also fangirl and then give him a tour of Grey Sloan Memorial. Seeing an opportunity to torture Jo further, Paul asks Webber if he can stay and help since clearly they’re still suffering from the effects of being hacked.

Karev is prepping for surgery with Amelia on Frankie after getting annoyed at Jo for not showing up on time with the right information when who should sit down next to him but Paul! Because Karev once went on that stalking journey at a convention to confront Paul, he recognizes him immediately. Karev is called into surgery before he can do anything, but he instructs Helm, the perky blond intern, to find Jo, bring her to him, and never let her out of her sight.

Paul goes in to Meredith’s OR to help her, but as soon as he introduces himself, Meredith remembers his name and coldly tells him, “I know who you are. I’m friends with Jo Wilson.” Completely unfazed and without missing a beat, Paul launches right into his spiel, obviously attempting to undermine Jo’s credibility. “So Jo Wilson said something about me? Was she drunk when she told you?” he begins, slithering his way across a long-winded story involving rehashing Jo’s tumultuous upbringing and how much he wanted to save her before finishing with a lie about Jo stealing money from him.

Helm finally finds Jo in the gallery above Meredith’s surgery, watching Paul below. Jo texts Karev while he’s successfully finishing up Frankie’s surgery to tell him that she’s okay.

Arizona is in line to donate blood when Carina saunters up to shamelessly flirt with her. At this point I wonder if this woman has an off button because she is always on. Clearly a spark still crackles between them, just like the electricity used by Casey the wonder intern, who manages to essentially hot-wire open the blood bank by using a defibrillator machine. He’s like MacGyver, only nerdier.

At the other hospital, Jackson and Maggie are sharing high school war stories as they operate on Claude. Well, Jackson is telling Maggie how amazing he was (varsity baseball, freshman prom king) while Maggie tells him he’s a human superlative. After they’re done operating, they somehow wind up in the locker room together, wearing only towels. Maggie’s idea of flirting, though, is to tell Jackson that cell phones have 10x more bacteria than the average toilet seat, and you suddenly understand why she’s been single for so long. This sad back-and-forth goes on for a while until one of the hospital staff finally brings them their personal belongings from the medevac. Jackson sees he’s missed 27 calls from Bailey. Oopsy. I still can’t believe it took them as long as it did to get their stuff, but I gotta say I wasn’t mad about having to watch two beautiful humans lounging in towels.

Speaking of “finally,” Meredith is done with the spleen surgery and runs into Alex. They start to compare notes on Paul when they’re interrupted by Jo, who assures them that Paul is lying, that he takes the truth and changes it to fit his own story. In yet another moment that drives home why Meredith is still and will always be my favorite, she grabs Jo and says, “You are Jo Wilson. I know exactly who you are.” (Recap continues on page 2)

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