By Lincee Ray
April 16, 2021 at 12:15 AM EDT
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When a show like Grey's Anatomy hits season 17, one can assume every medical story there is to tell has already been told. We've pretty much seen Meredith and the gang do it all. That's why I think the showrunners have no problem spotlighting the injustices that grapple with our country today. Do you think 12 episodes of COVID are emotionally powerful? Try adding police brutality and racially motivated violence to the storyline and see how you feel.

There's a movement in Seattle, and protesters rally together holding signs that read, "I can't breathe." With a clear nod to the tragedy surrounding George Floyd's death, the episode focuses on each doctor's point of view. To march or not to march. That is the question.

Richard senses that something important is happening, and he doesn't want to miss it. He leaves the hospital in Bailey's capable hands and heads to the streets. Avery spies the protestors on his way in but figures the hospital needs him more. A few moments later, he's stitching up Cormac's head, which is bleeding thanks to an unfortunate mishap with an anti-protestor. Cormac refuses to let his sons go back into the crowd. Things are too rowdy. 

That's an understatement. If the gaping hole in Cormac's head is Exhibit A, the older woman named Nell with a tear gas canister protruding from her neck is Exhibit B. Richard brings her in, and Avery steps up to help remove the object. Richard angrily shares that Nell was marching peacefully. Things were actually organized and beautiful before it turned into a frightening mess. 

As they work on Nell in the operating room, Richard tells Avery that the truth brings people together. And it's important to stay energized. He haphazardly comments, "You know?" Avery stares for a very long time and responds, "No, I don't."

Avery has never been to a protest. He was always working, studying, or writing checks instead of being in the crowd. During Nell's recovery, Avery, Webber, and even Cormac gather around to celebrate a successful surgery. Richard promises Nell she can get back out there soon. Then they start to compare battle scars. Literal battle scars from protests. 

Nell's eyes shine with tears, remembering the day her mother took her to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak. Yes, she was present during the renowned "I Have a Dream" speech, and yes, it was amazing. The three men stand a little straighter when she recalls how the air "felt like possibility." Richard smiles. Cormac decides to let his boys continue to protest if they want. And Avery fights with his mother, demanding to know why they don't have any scars. He gets in his car and sets the GPS to an unknown destination that we hear is 11 hours away. 

I think the record should also show that Catherine Fox pushes back against her son, reminding him that her battle scars look slightly different. She's been fighting so people like Avery, Bailey, Richard, and Maggie can even practice medicine inside the hospital. The moral of the story? Do not underestimate Catherine. She always has a plan. 

Maggie also has a plan, and unfortunately, Winston is royally screwing up her timetable. With the heightened violence infiltrating the entire nation, Maggie does not feel comfortable with Winston driving his things from Boston to Seattle. She doesn't care that he's found them a house. She wants him to stay put until the world calms down.

Winston doesn't, and while he's on the phone with Maggie, he's pulled over by two police officers. Maggie begs him to keep her on the line. Winston does everything right. License and registration in his hands, both hands on the wheel. 

One officer walks a drug dog around the car, as the other questions Winston. He's not happy that Maggie is on the phone and asks Winston to hang up. Winston wonders why he has to hang up, and the officer immediately accuses him of failing to comply. Winston carefully and slowly takes one hand off the wheel to sever his connection with Maggie.

She has every right to freak out. Naturally, a kid who took a rubber bullet to the chest is rushed into the ER, and Maggie panics further. She grabs Ortiz and demands the resident call Winston until Maggie returns. Of course, she saves the kid's life, but when she gets back to Ortiz, there's no word from Winston. 

The kid goes into v-fib, and Maggie is needed again. She has Richard paged, and before she takes the kid into surgery to save his life a second time, she melts down. Richard takes her phone and promises to keep calling. And if he doesn't hear from Winston, he will go looking for him.

Thankfully, once Maggie is out of surgery, Winston has been reached. Maggie launches into a completely logical "you're alive" montage, followed by a dozen questions. Winston informs his fiancé that the police made him unpack his entire car, and they went through every tiny little piece of his existence. Then they left it all on the side of the road. Winston mumbles that he's okay between every sentence. 

Winston is not okay. Maggie realizes the situation's immediate gravity and walks Winston through a few calming breaths as she hears him fall apart on the other end of the line. She confidently declares that he is okay. And she is right there with him. 

If this isn't emotionally exhausting enough, we still have COVID woes. And my ever-present aggravation that Meredith is still not awake. I'm going to start calling this show Bailey's Anatomy and be done with it. 

Bailey has a patient who 100 percent thinks COVID is a scam. He believes the government pays the hospitals and doctors to make people sick on purpose in exchange for a little side change. Bailey sarcastically complains to Teddy. What did COVID give them? A nervous breakdown and a dead mother. Ouch.

Bailey walks the guy through all his aliments, explaining that they are all symptoms and side effects from COVID. She shows him his positive COVID test, an ultrasound of his leg, and the blood clot that will eventually kill him, and he straight-up asks her whose leg is on the screen because it's not his. Bailey pleads to let her treat him. He may think it's a scam, but what if he's wrong?

It turns out he is wrong. Doctors find him outside the hospital, not breathing after he walked out of his room against recommendations. He later dies. Bailey loses it. Just when you think you're over the hill, something else knocks you back down. 

Bailey needs a hug.

Perhaps Schmidt should be the one to give it to her since he's displaying a delightful bedside manner with Meredith in the hyperbaric chamber for a little oxygen time. The fact that they are sharing the space with another patient and a new guy is annoying. The fact that the patient's stomach bursts open and his guts fall out is really annoying. 

The new guy is useless. Schmidt freezes. This is the moment I think Meredith will wake up and put the man's intestines back into his body cavity. No such luck. Schmidt channels his inner Grey. He listens to his mentor's words in his head, quick to put the man back together again. 

Schmidt is hopeful he will be a good doctor one day. Avery is hopeful that he can make a difference. Maggie and Winston are hopeful they will always be okay if they have each other. Bailey is hopeful the world will once again be normal. Cormac is hopeful for the future. 

They are all taking steps to build a world worth living in. Let's never stop believing that world can exist. 

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Episode Recaps

ELLEN POMPEO

Grey's Anatomy

Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 17
rating
  • TV-14
genre
creator
  • Shonda Rhimes
network
  • ABC
stream service

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