'Grey's Anatomy' recap: A death, a cancer diagnosis, and a breakup
Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC

If the majority of the Grey’s Anatomy cast hadn’t been absent from the episode, I would have sworn it was the fall finale. We experienced three shocking moments, none of which were happy-go-lucky. People who work at Grey Sloane Memorial, beware because pain and sadness cling to anyone and everyone wearing scrubs.

Take Frankie, for example. She’s the head nurse who’s been popping up here and there in previous episodes. Being 28 weeks pregnant doesn’t slow the woman down. In fact, she’s bolder than ever and easily calls Weber out for acting weird. Before he can answer, she doubles over in pain. Cue every nurse within earshot running to her aid.

Weber takes matters into his own hands and an ultrasound confirms that Frankie’s baby boy is nice and strong, but his mama has a twisted spleen. Weber wants to perform surgery, but Frankie puts her foot down. She knows the risks and she doesn’t want to put her baby in any danger. She can handle the pain and since she doesn’t have a husband to count on, she’d rather not be weighed down by hospital debt if she can help it.

Against his better judgment, Weber doesn’t take her to the OR. Instead, he admits her and watches as the nurses tenderly dote on Frankie. When Weber kicks them out of the room to perform another ultrasound, Frankie lays into him again. She clicks through all of the usual suspects (family, kids, job) and finally lands on the problem: Weber is sad because Ollie died. Of course, Frankie understands. Ollie was her patient too.

Weber leaves but is quickly called back when Frankie begins to writhe in pain. The culprit? Fluid in the abdomen. The baby is in distress and Karev is called in just in case things get dicey. Frankie doesn’t want to go to the OR. This time, Weber puts his foot down and a crowd of nurses gather to help make things go as smooth as possible.

Karev wants to take the baby, but Weber won’t let him. He removes Frankie’s spleen and all is well for exactly 10 seconds. She begins bleeding uncontrollably as Weber frantically tries to locate the source. Now the baby’s heart rate is compromised so Karev begins shouting at Weber to let him save the baby before it’s too late. Weber concedes. Karev works fast with the hope that Weber can save Frankie once the baby is out.

Weber is frantic. He shouts at Karev, begging him to give him an update on the baby who is clearly not breathing. Karev remains very calm and does his job. The baby begins breathing on his own and is placed immediately in an incubator. Weber tells Frankie that her baby is safe.

That’s when she crashes and dies.

That’s right. FRANKIE DIES. The nurses weep and hug each other. Weber loses it and heads straight to an AA meeting. A woman shares that she knows of a bar that gives you a shot for every year you have been sober. The audience (and me) are shocked by this horrific marketing stunt. Weber gets up and leaves in the middle of the meeting.

We see him in front of the bar with the makeshift sign that reads, “Chip for shots.” Weber hands over his chip and the bartender notices that he’s eight years sober. He pours eight shots of vodka and leaves Weber to fight with his demons.

And Weber does fight. He takes a bat and he trashes the place. He berates the bartender for messing with people who are trying to hang on with everything they’ve got, as he breaks all the bottles of alcohol. Then he lets out a guttural scream. For Frankie. For Ollie. For sobriety. (Recap continued on next page.)

While Weber is getting himself arrested, Catherine is in LA, poised to cut the ribbon on the newly refurbished Catherine Fox Medical Center. She’s mysteriously summoned both Meredith and Dr. Koracick to California for a special VIP consultation. The patient is a 65-year-old female who has been suffering neck and back pain for a while. A CT scan shows a tumor in her spine and Catherine wants to know how Meredith and Koracick would handle the situation.

Oh, and Catherine is the patient. Surprise!

Koracick takes a biopsy of the tumor, just to see what they are working with, requesting that backseat biopsy driver Meredith not worry until there’s something to worry about. Once Catherine is out of her anesthetic haze, they go to the bar and drink tequila while they wait on the results. They play the “worst case scenario” game since Catherine insists that the truth can’t be worse than what she’s already imagined.

Sadly, it is the worst case scenario. The cancer is big, bad, and deep. It won’t respond to chemotherapy and if Koracick can manage to cut it out, Catherine will more than likely be paralyzed in the process. Meredith insists it’s time to call Weber and Jackson. Catherine agrees but makes sure to cut that ribbon first before sharing the most devastating news to her recovering alcoholic husband and her wandering son.

Speaking of Jackson, things aren’t going well with Maggie. After hearing his phone beep multiple times, she picks it up and reads a text message from Kate who misses Jackson with three hearts. THREE HEARTS. Who is Kate and what is going on?

According to Jackson, Kate really is just a friend. There is absolutely no funny business going on. He simply talks to her about things he can’t share with Maggie. Kate understands what he’s going through.

Excuse me, Jackson? That is one lame excuse. Maggie agrees with me, explaining to Jackson that no woman in the history of ever sends “miss yous” and heart emojis (THREE!) unless she wants more than a conversational relationship. PS: Why won’t he talk to Maggie about his feelings?

According to Jackson, it’s because Maggie doesn’t listen. She runs away and buys milk. Touché.

Maggie takes a breath and explains to Jackson that she’s always been ahead of everyone else in life. And “that girl” doesn’t have many friends. Therefore, she never learned how to fight or to love. She believes Jackson is five steps ahead of her and she will never catch up.

So Maggie attempts to listen even after Jackson warns her that what he’s about to say is messy. You see, the one big mishap in his relationship with April was the fact that she believed in God and he didn’t. But now he does believe in God and she’s off the market. She’s married and happy. He’s grieving their lost relationship. He’s grieving raising a kid with her.

But he truly, madly, deeply loves Maggie. And he had no clue how to talk to her about these messy, messy feelings. Then those gorgeous blue eyes look longingly at his girlfriend and turn tragically sad when she gets up, puts on her coat, utters “I can’t,” and walks out the door.

First Frankie dies and Weber freaks out. Then Catherine is diagnosed with cancer. And now Maggie and Jackson are dunzo. That’s a lot of heartache. We need a pallet cleanse? I say we bring back Scott Speedman for Meredith during the fall finale. It’s the logical choice.

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