Grey's Anatomy star Caterina Scorsone on those mean Shepherd sisters
SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read further until you’ve watched season 15, episode 21 of Grey’s Anatomy, “Good Shepherd.”
In tonight’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) reunites with her two sisters — Kathleen (Amy Acker, making her debut) and Nancy (the returning Embeth Davidtz) — as well as her mom, Carolyn (the returning Tyne Daly). And boy, is it one mother of a get-together. We talked to Scorsone about the dinner sequence and what, if anything, Amelia took away from such a hostile encounter with the Shepherd women.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why are your sisters so mean?
CATERINA SCORSONE: I don’t know! I had that same thought. I went, really? We had a blast off-screen. I think probably deep wounds in their psyches. Usually, when people are mean to other people, it’s compensating for something they feel sad or scared about. I can only imagine the kind of trauma that comes from losing your father at such an early age. That created some pretty hard wounds for them. They want to blame her or categorize her to keep themselves safe. That’s my psychological analysis.
What, if anything, did Amelia learn in that moment with her sisters?
What I thought was a really beautiful moment in that whole sequence was… if she consciously forgave herself for her childhood. She is still carrying around this idea that she was bad and it was all because of her. She has a really clean side of the street, for the most part. She’s a neurosurgeon and has wonderful friendships. She takes care of people. She’s a good person at this point. Going back and seeing that her sisters are still stuck in time, they won’t let her escape this narrative that they have written for her. I think she is able to release the part of herself that is pulled back into that story. Instead of going, “Why isn’t she likable enough for them?” She was able to go, “Okay… whether or not I am likable enough for them, the way they treat me makes me feel like I don’t want to participate in this. I don’t like them. So why am I trying to paddle upstream and prove myself to people who are mean to me?” That was a liberating moment for her. She doesn’t have to spend the rest of her life trying to earn acceptance from people who don’t understand her.
Did she get closure from her mother?
I think so. First of all, working with Tyne Daly was one of the absolute highlights of my creative life. She is such an incredible woman. We have so many incredible conversations. I think Amelia didn’t even know she needed to see her mom. Her mom offered her apology generously and courageously. After the trauma she received when she witnessed her father murdered in front of her at five, her mom was not able to parent Amelia the way Amelia needed to be parented and loved. That had all kinds of psychological consequences for Amelia. Her mom was able to say that, that it was not all Amelia. She participated in a broken psyche. She’s sorry for that and she believes in her, that she’s smart and strong. Amelia can put these puzzle pieces together and go on and have a fantastic life. She validated her experience.
Will we see your sisters again?
I hope so. That dinner scene, they were so brutal to Amelia! I would hope there were room in the next season or two to have some sort of reconciliation, mostly because I love those actresses so much.
Does Linc [Chris Carmack] remain a possibility in Amelia’s life?
So far, he remains a possibility in her life. Nothing is set in stone. I think Chris Carmack is great. He is so fun to work with. But the writers keep saying we don’t know! I say, “Is it happening? Is Owen happening?” And they said, “We don’t know.”
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.