Grey's Anatomy recap: Black sheep of the Shepherds
If you’re not on the Amelia and Link bandwagon, get ready to be highly disappointed. Link handles a night with the Shepherd family like a pro and Amelia is impressed. She better lock that down tight, before one of her sisters puts a ring on it.
Amelia and Link are in New York City prepping for a complicated surgery they will be performing the next morning. I’m sure they were going over their notes while rolling around in the sheets. Remember: this is just sex. In no way is Amelia going to sleep in a bed with Link, even if their rooms are adjoined. Not happening.
Link settles for a breakfast date at his favorite pizza joint. He tells Amelia about how the city holds a special place in his heart. She confesses that the city is the exact opposite for her. It was the worst of times.
The pair saunter into the Catherine Fox Medical Center and are greeted with an excited, “OMG!” Amelia turns around to find her sister Nancy standing there. Does Nancy work at the hospital? Nope. She’s filling in for a friend. Lovely. Amelia fast-talks her way through the conversation, and quickly introduces Link. As her husband. Whose name is Owen.
Ever the thespian, Link rolls with the flow and channels his inner Owen, minus the forehead squint. Nancy insists they come to dinner, but Amelia lies, explaining that they have to get on a plane that night after surgery. Darn it! Nancy waves goodbye and implores the “kiddo” to give their mother a call because it’s the nice thing to do.
Whatever. Amelia and Link head upstairs to meet Jonah, who has severe scoliosis. His brother Brady has been taking care of him since their parents died in a car wreck. Jonah is happy to have Dr. Shepherd operate on him so he can head off to UC Berkeley and hopefully live a somewhat normal life.
Amelia and Link agree that they should be done by 5 o’clock, with a 24-hour follow-up the next day. Of course, Nancy happens to hear this news (is she spying on them?) and re-invites her sister and her fake husband over. Nancy will not take no for an answer. And neither will Amelia. Link thinks pretending to be married at a dinner party with Amelia’s sister is a ludicrous idea.
Now, this puts Amelia in an interesting position. She must process through an array of emotions, regarding her dysfunctional family and Link’s unwillingness to be her buffer. Since her blue room is all the way across the country, she decides to talk it through with Link while she’s operating on Jonah’s spine. Through a surgical mask, she turns on the charm by promising she will make it worth Link’s while in very creative ways.
Cue the couple in a cab on their way to Nancy’s house. Amelia quizzes Link about the basics of their relationship. Of course, Link responds to her questions with his own answers and is brutally rebuffed by his fake wife. He must answer as Owen. Duh. No, you do not like the blues guitar. You like World War II movies on PBS. Get your head in the game, Link.
Just as Link knocks on Nancy’s door, Amelia blurts out that what they are about to do is a terrible idea. Nancy welcomes them into her home, noting that “we” were just about to have appetizers. Curious. Nancy said that her husband and the kids were away. Who is this “we” she speaks of and why has Amelia turned a wicked shade of green?
Why it’s Kathleen! The other snarky sister. Nancy informs the group that their other sister Liz is out of town and their mother wasn’t invited. So Amelia only has to reflect the insults from two people. Game on.
Kathleen immediately starts asking Link questions about being in the Army and the weather patterns in Iraq. He dodges the moment by excusing himself to go to the bathroom. Amelia joins him and they pep talk their way into confident human beings. Amelia is not a black sheep. This is not high school. They are surgeons who cut people open and stuff. Surely they can handle a few hours of sibling rivalry. Also, medical emergencies happen all the time. Can’t one pop up in thirty minutes? Contingency plan, CHECK!
Amelia heads to the kitchen to talk to Nancy. Link is cornered by Kathleen. She drones on and on about how Amelia is unpredictable. She congratulates Link for Amelia even agreeing to marry him, let alone walking down the aisle. Kathleen thinks Amelia peaces out when things get too difficult. She’s like Houdini.
As if on cue, Amelia comes into the room and notifies Link that they need to head back to the hospital to check on their patient. Link encourages her to stay and visit with her family. He pretends to look at scans on his phone, but secretly types “TRUST ME” on a text message. With great trepidation, Amelia agrees and everyone sits down to dinner.
Amelia tolerates a few digs courtesy of Kathleen and then takes an emergency call from Owen. After she tells him where to find Leo’s favorite stuffed animal, she heads back downstairs, noticing a bookshelf of photos. Amelia’s picture is one from when she was a young girl. Everyone else is up-to-date.
Hearing laughter, she enters the dining room and watches as Link impresses her sisters by deboning a fish in one fail swoop. The girls are in love with Link. Kathleen even deems him as the hottest of all the husbands. All seems well, until another voice echos through the entry hallway.
It’s Mama Shepherd. Who may or may not have accidentally been invited by Kathleen. She is super excited to see Amelia after all this time and is equally confused by the man Amelia introduces as “Owen,” when Mama Shepherd knows the man before her is not Dr. Hunt.
The cat is officially out of the bag and the sisters pounce. They attack Amelia for lying about Owen, question her if she was ever even married, and then berate her for getting a divorce seconds later. Amelia does her best to defend herself, even blaming the brain tumor on some of the dirty laundry piled before her.
Except her family didn’t know about her brain tumor. Round two begins.
The Shepherds dig up every horrible story on Amelia and all agree that Fake Owen is the most demented. They wish they could blame it on a tumor or the drugs. Alas, this is just Amelia being Amelia.
Amelia pops up from the table and reminds her family that she is not the fourteen-year-old in the picture upstairs. She is sober, responsible, and Chief of Neurosurgery. At this outburst, Kathleen adds, “Only because Derek was moving and gave you a job.”
Amelia is too shocked and hurt to respond. So Link takes one for the team and starts listing every wonderful thing he knows about Amelia. He calls her brilliant, beautiful, kind, and strong. He also tells them that the surgery they did that day can only be performed by very few humans IN THE WORLD. Amelia is authentic, and caring and did a wonderful job raising Betty and Leo.
Except her family didn’t know about Betty or Leo. Round three begins.
Amelia bolts for the door and Link follows. He tries to talk about the night in the car, but Amelia is wound too tight. She reminds Link that he is just her human version of a blue room. Mental cleansing. No strings attached. At that moment, both get paged. Jonah is in respiratory distress.
The new rods they put in his body didn’t last a day, so adjustments have to be made. Link warns him that they will have to put the old rods back in, just as Amelia offers her advice: a titanium case around one of his vertebrae. It’s a risky, complex surgery that could end in paralysis or death. But it will permanently correct his deformity if it works.
Brady refuses but Jonah is 18. He quickly gives his consent and is rolled away to surgery. Link is not a happy camper. He is concerned that Amelia is trying to prove something to her sisters, who don’t care that she’s a different person that she was two decades ago.
Amelia calmly tells Link that Jonah deserves a life that is more than cycles of surgeries. She knows she can do it. And she does. Apart from that one moment when everyone thought he was paralyzed, but it’s cool. Jonah has a straight spine thanks to Dr. Shepherd. Both were very brave.
Amelia and Link walk out of the hospital together. She suggests they get something to eat, but he wants to be alone. When he exits out the door, Amelia hears that familiar voice calling to her through the lobby. It’s her mother. She wants to talk.
They find a nice bench in Central Park and discuss life. Mama Shepherd recalls Amelia learning to ride a bike. Even though Amelia fell over and over again when she first learned, she always got back up. She came back stronger. She was never afraid of falling. That was also a characteristic of Papa Shepherd. And after Papa Shepherd died, Amelia reminded Mama Shepherd of her deceased husband. So when Derek said he would watch out for Amelia, Mama Shepherd let him.
Her biggest regret was not being there for Amelia. Amelia smiles at her mother and tells her all about Betty. She also admits that raising her was the hardest thing she’s ever done and praises her mother for handling all the turmoil Amelia put her through.
Mama Shepherd affirms Amelia, telling her she is worthy of love. And if she feels she doesn’t deserve it, that’s on Mama Shepherd. Amelia needs to accept that and move forward.
Amelia: What if I can’t?
Mama Shepherd: Then that’s on you.
Amelia hugs it out with her mom and then heads to Gotham Donuts for, according to Link, a box of the best glazed donuts she will ever eat. She climbs into the private plane and shyly approaches. It’s her turn to affirm him, just as he did at dinner the night before. Then she apologizes for calling him a human blue light. He motions for her to sit next to him and then shoves an entire donut in his mouth.
Whether it was the apology or the donuts, we will never know. What we do know is that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. And maybe more.