Alex Karev has earned a happy ending. Hear me out. He may have entered our Thursday night line up 14 seasons ago as an arrogant, selfish, womanizing piece of mildly attractive garbage, but through numerous heartbreaks, family strife, and the gradual evolution of his loyalty to his friends, the guy has grown on me. His work as a pediatric surgeon has increased the size of his little Grinch heart tenfold, and I’m excited to see him and Jo Wilson joined in blissful matrimony.
Aside from the wedding, this finale also had the burden of capping off the storylines of two major characters: April Kepner (Sarah Drew) and Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw). Needless to say, there were a lot of moving parts, so I’ll dive right in. But first, I’d like to note that the last time that Jackson Avery took a girlfriend to a wedding he left with the bride. I entered into this nuptial-centric episode with justifiable caution and a prayer for Maggie Pierce.
First surprise: April bounced back from the life-threatening accident that had viewers across the nation sweating through their PJs and quit her job at Grey Sloan Memorial. Apparently, she is now helping homeless patients at a local shelter. Although her career path has changed, her commitment to micromanaging Alex and Jo’s wedding has not. Second surprise: Meredith doing Zola’s hair. I’m always excited for some ZoZo airtime, but I was also very happy to see that Mere can handle her daughter’s luscious curls. As her mother sweeps her hair into two perky puffs, the flower girl asks if Meredith would ever get married again. Mere swats off the question with a spiel about having already had a great love and not wanting to be too greedy, but Zola hit her with an adorable dose of wisdom. “Mom, I don’t think love is like candy,” she says. “I don’t think you can be too greedy for it. And I don’t think you could fill up on it.” UGH. I’m officially starting a petition for more Zola content.
Suddenly Jo shows up at Meredith’s house, interrupting a sweet moment between Alex and Arizona, the latter of which will be catching a one-way flight to New York City following the wedding. Sidestepping complaints of it being bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding (Meredith and Derek got married on a Post It. Clearly traditions aren’t a priority), Jo shares exciting news: She’s been chosen for a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Everyone is thrilled, except Meredith. The idea of Alex, the last member of her intern class she’s been able to hold on to all these years, moving to the other end of the country with his soon-to-be wife struck chords of anxiety and loneliness in her heart. Her first attempt to make him stay features the return of one of my favorite Cristina Yang quotes, but it doesn’t really have the same effect in this situation. She’ll have to come up with something more persuasive.
As Alex and Jo slip into some fancy duds for the ceremony, the staff of Grey Sloan has assembled to watch them wed. Jackson, Maggie, Bailey, Ben, Richard, and Katherine have filed into church pews to await the nuptials. Even a few interns made the cut. When the church doors open and the procession begins, music begins to play in the background. It would have been a beautiful moment…if only they were at the right venue. Yup. Apparently a typo on the invitation’s GPS link not only delayed the caterer, but also made wedding crashers of our favorite physicians. After a few frantic texts from April and an embarrassing revelation, the crew tries (and fails) to make a discreet exit from the chapel mid ceremony. Ben and Miranda are the last to leave their seats and they were almost out the door when the mother of the bride (Tisha Campbell-Martin) collapsed in the most cinematic way possible, forcing the two to swoop in and rush her to the hospital.
Elsewhere, Amelia and Owen are congratulating Betty, the mother of his foster baby, on receiving her 30-Days-Sober chip. Later, while waiting for the real, obviously delayed ceremony to begin, Betty pressures Owen about why he and Amelia aren’t together. As he digs up excuses such as her tumor and their marital woes, Betty implies that just because their past has been complicated, doesn’t mean their future has to be. By the look on Owen’s face, this is an idea he’s not opposed to considering.
Meredith is still scheming to keep Alex in Seattle. Her next approach? Bribery. Mere bursts into Jo’s bridal suite to offer her a position as an attending at Grey Sloan. Initially, Jo thanks her, but she’s suspicious that Alex is trying to manipulate her decision, which leads to her confronting him while wearing her gown (more bad luck). Alex calms his fiancé with the assurance that he did not ask Meredith to offer her a job and reiterates his support of whatever she decides is best for her career. It was a moment just sweet enough to stir up the urge for a quickie. The two sneak off to find a spot where April can’t break up their illegal rendezvous and happen upon an old shed. Alex kicks in the door, and the couple makes the dusty, pitch black room a temporary love shack.
At the hospital, Bailey ushers in the fallen mother of the bride on a stretcher, hypothesizing that she might have suffered from an abdominal aneurism. In urgent need of a cardiac consult, Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) miraculously appears fresh from a 12-hour flight. It’s during surgery that she reveals that she’s come back to Grey Sloan looking for a job opening, apparently finding nothing presumptuous about hopping on a plane, randomly showing up at a hospital and expecting to be given a job. Miranda reveals that she’s also seeking a lifestyle change. She believes that her being in the wrong chapel at the right time to save this woman’s life is a sign that although she’s changed her health habits since her heart attack, she hasn’t been fully taking advantage of being alive. Later, after the fallen matron emerges from surgery, Bailey watches as she urges her daughter to still get married that day and be grateful for the life she is living. Miranda needed no further persuading. She has decided to take a sabbatical from her managerial duties to “fall in love with the OR again,” and Teddy’s arrival has provided a suitable candidate for Interim Chief of Surgery.
Back at Alex and Jo’s wedding venue, the hospital staff has finally arrived, which leads to an awkward exchange between Jackson and Matthew, April’s once jilted fiancé, now rekindled love who April once left at the altar for her now baby daddy Dr. Avery. I half expected Maury Povich to waltz up with lie detector results and a bowtie for the occasion. Luckily, the two were able to maneuver the situation maturely. Since Matthew is too Christian to give Jackson the black eye he deserves, Jackson offers up the news that he just lost his fortune as an olive branch. All is well.
How’s that premarital quickie going, you ask? Well, Alex and Jo are in a compromising position; the door is jammed shut and no one can hear their screams for help over the wedding band. Alex finds a mud-caked window to break through, hoping to make their screams clearer, but as the sunlight fills the love shack, the skeleton of a long-ago departed man is revealed. That’s one way to check “Something Old” off the bridal check list. Trying very hard to distract from the fact that they just had sex next to a withered corpse, Jo starts going through the man’s wallet to learn more about him. Alex starts to scold her for not taking their predicament seriously, but quickly realizes nothing this ridiculous should be taken seriously. They dissolve into hysterical laughter, and Alex points out that his wife-to-be can find the silver lining in any situation.
Somewhere in the beautiful woodland venue of Alex and Jo’s stalled wedding, Meredith turns to Richard for support in trying to keep Alex in Seattle. Bad idea. Instead, he serves her a lecture about not manipulating Jo’s career for her own selfish benefit. Amelia tries to stick her nose in Meredith’s business, but this backfires when Meredith deflects by accusing Amelia of falling back in love with Owen. It seems Amelia and Owen might have a second chance at love in their future.
April has finally caught wise to Jo and Alex’s disappearance and enlists Arizona’s help in searching for them. Meredith finds Jo’s shoes in Alex’s room and quickly deduces that they’ve snuck off to do the deed. But where?
In an attempt to entertain dozens of guests with no wedding to attend, the wedding planner asks a drunken Deluca to make a speech about the happy couple. After a few minutes of his babbling about the pain of lost love and his connection to the happy couple by way of Alex’s fists, the planner yanks back the microphone. However, this is only to make a much more dramatic speech. She’s allergic to shellfish, but somehow eaten an shrimp hor d’oeuvre. What better place to collapse into anaphylactic shock than at an event crawling with doctors? At this point, I’m blaming Jo and Alex and their blatant disrespect of wedding-day superstitions.
As her airway closes up, April is forced to cut her chest open with nothing but a knife and vodka for sanitization. She grabs a nearby pinwheel, also doused in vodka, to puncture the wedding planner’s lung so she can breathe, and rushed her to the hospital for better care. It was the most bizarre Smirnoff advertisement I’ve ever seen.
When Meredith takes Deluca on a walk to talk him out of his drunken funk about love, he mistakes her concern for flirtation and throws his mouth on hers. I hope that sounds as sloppy as it was. After politely rejecting his advances, they seem to have wandered close enough to the shed to hear Alex and Jo screaming for help. Deluca kicks in the door, and they’re finally free. A quick commercial break brings on a change of location to a Ferry Boat. Meredith apologizes to Jo for offering her the job and Alex assures her he’ll never stop being there for her, no matter where Jo’s career leads. After an impromptu online ordainment, Meredith takes on the task of marrying Alex and Jo on the high seas. “If the two of you can take this day and turn it into lemonade, then you can do anything,” she says.
Back at the abandoned wedding venue, Matthew finds April sulking about the disaster the day has been. However, when he drops to one knee, her mood does a complete 180. “I loved who you were five years ago, and I love you even more today,” he says. Overwhelmed with joy, she agrees to marry him. The minister, who apparently was also duped by the incorrect GPS link, walks in at that moment and Matt and April take it as a sign of fate. The altar once meant for Alex and Jo is now where they exchange vows, as Jackson and Arizona bear witness.
Arizona and Sophia have plans to head to the airport directly after the wedding, but Dr. Robbins is troubled by the prospect of a rekindled romance with Callie. They’re both single and suddenly every text Callie sends her brings a smile to her face. Richard and April use their pasts of pain and healing in love to encourage her to embrace the feeling. I wish more than ever Sara Ramirez had given fans the cameo they were craving for this moment.
Back at the hospital, Teddy is holding an iPad so that the spontaneously ill other bride can watch her daughter wed on a live stream set up by Bailey and Ben. It’s during this emotional moment, that Teddy gestures to her abdomen. When asked if she’s expecting, her answer is yes, effectively hitting pause on that uncomplicated future for Owen and Amelia.