Grey's Anatomy recap: COVID gets personal
Every once in a while, the Grey’s Anatomy writers tackle current topics, weaving relevant storylines into 60 minutes of drama. The coronavirus has dominated season 17, and viewers have experienced a tiny sliver of what actual medical professionals are going through during an unprecedented time when the world feels like it’s falling apart.
We need to remember this time. We remember the ones on the front lines who risk their lives every day. We remember the reality that hospitals are reaching capacity. We remember that ventilators are in short supply. We remember those who have died from this horrific virus.
And we have the privilege of knowing their identities because Grey’s Anatomy showrunners made a conscious decision to list names in the final moments of the episode. Hundreds of names scrolled over a black screen. It was an incredibly sobering moment.
The thread leading up to the tribute revolved around Bailey’s mother. She learns that the assisted living facility where her parents reside has positive COVID cases. Bailey frantically calls Ben to rescue her mom and dad (in the fire truck) and take them to her hotel. Unfortunately, it’s too late. Bailey's mom is positive and in really bad shape.
Ben brings her to the hospital instead, and Bailey calms her agitated mother, who has Alzheimer’s by the way, by singing “My Girl.” I am gutted. After a few rounds of treatment, Maggie breaks the news that Bailey’s mom has organ failure. She doesn’t want to be plugged into a bunch of machines in the ICU. Bailey is forced to face the fact that she has to tell her father that his wife will not make it through the night.
Bailey visits Meredith, who is responding nicely to the new treatment but remains in deep sleep most of the day. We see the pair in Meredith’s beachfront dream world, and Meredith offers to be Bailey’s sounding board. Bailey confesses that she never told Meredith about her mother’s condition because she knew it would be painful for Meredith to hear. But she wishes they could talk since no one else knows what she’s going through.
Later, Bailey holds a tablet up so her mom can see her dad. Bailey whispers that it’s okay if she wants to go. Her mom stammers back, “I want to go home.” This lucid moment sends Bailey into a tailspin. She bounces ideas off of Maggie, questioning every decision she’s ever made.
She doesn’t want her mother to suffer from Alzheimer’s anymore. But she doesn’t want her to die of COVID, either. Why does her mother have to be another statistic? Was it her fault her parents were exposed to the virus because she moved them to Seattle?
She and Maggie reminisce about growing up as women of color and how their mothers taught them to be strong young girls. Maggie believes the brave thing to do is for Bailey to let her mother go.
Bailey confides in Richard that her mom should be surrounded by love and family. She shouldn’t be dying in a hospital with her only child in protective gear by her bed. Richard encourages Bailey to be with her mom. If she isn’t in the room when her mom passes, she will never forgive herself.
That’s when Richard follows the chief into the room and sings “My Girl” with Bailey as her mother takes her last breath. Bailey is crying. Richard is crying. I’m crying.
In other news, Koracick appears to be on the mend. Although he had a seizure due to COVID, Amelia checks out her former teacher/lover’s brain and confirms he will be fine. Teddy sits beside a sleeping Koracick and expresses every feeling she has for Tom, willing him to be her friend again. He hears her spiel and asks Teddy for a sponge bath. Classic Tom.
Jo is still feeling fatigued from the pandemic. Even though she performs a rare surgery that saves a woman’s life, her spirits remain low. That is until a nurse grabs her from the hallway and demands she deliver a baby STAT. When the little guy lands in her arms, something inside Jo shifts.
According to Jo, that feeling is joy. Since regular old surgery is no longer filling her bucket, she decides to take a page from “Queen DeLuca’s” book and switch programs to be an OBGYN. That would make her happy.
And isn’t that what we all need in the world right now? A heap of happiness sprinkled with joy.