Following the shock news this week that Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw would be leaving at the end of the season, Grey’s pulled its joint lowest ratings ever this week. This episode was by no means the best of the season but was by no means the worst either, so whilst we can’t be sure that this was the sole reason behind the drop in viewers, it would seem like a very big coincidence. The overarching medical storyline of Kimmie’s (Nayah Damasen) brain tumour advanced very little this week but it was the romantic relationships between many of the characters that really changed this week, for better or for worse.
One of these relationships is between Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Owen (Kevin McKidd), who are not long divorced, though on incredibly amicable terms. Since the very first episode Grey’s has used the elevator as a plot device to introduce sexual tension between characters and this remains the case fourteen seasons later, with the pair flirting on dangerous levels, talking about how much they miss sex, before April (Drew) steps in with a comment about how this “constitutes a hostile work environment”. April’s recent descent into darkness was later compounded further this week by her temporary suspension from the hospital; if you’ve been following her story over the past few weeks, you may be surprised however to learn that it was not entirely her fault. A group of teen rugby players have been bought into the ER following an incident during a game. One of the guys has been brought in with a fractured leg and the teen coach has been brought in with a swollen ear. April, working to drain fluid from the ear is getting more and more frustrated with the rugby players, who ignore her repeated demands to stop throwing the ball around in her ER. No sooner has she asked a second time than it has disastrous consequences, the ball deflecting off a paramedic on to April, who proceeds to accidentally slice the coach’s ear clean off. Turning around to help stop the bleeding, DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti), steps on the ear, slipping and getting a concussion for his troubles. April, however, does not report either one of the injuries, and it is the main reason Owen gives when sending her home for the day. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) is talking to legal, and an injured surgeon could bring lawsuits of its own.
The first concern DeLuca expresses to Amelia after his fall is whether Sam (Jeanine Mason) witnessed his comical slip, and Sam later asks Amelia if she can go and check on DeLuca and make sure he isn’t suffering any incredibly rare, life-threatening complications from his concussion. Amelia turns matchmaker and agrees, saying that while she’s there she should tell him she’s in love with him as this pretence isn’t helping them or her project. Before Sam can speak, DeLuca beats her to it, telling her how much they’ve both grown up since they were first together and how much she means to him.
Having sent April home, Owen is now having to deal with the rugby players starting a full-blown argument in the middle of the ER. After taking no notice of him telling them to cut it out, he takes matters into his own hands, knocking one of them to the ground with a stool and holding him down with one foot, telling them that he is a military doctor and if they don’t stop he will be taking them out of the ER on a stretcher of their own. They all meekly mutter “yes sir”, leaving Amelia staring at Owen with pure lust in her eyes at this display of authority. The rugby player with the broken leg starts yelling with pain, and Owen soon discovers he has compartment syndrome and quickly grabs a scalpel to slice the leg open to remove the pressure and save his leg. When he is panicking in the operating room when we next see him, the rugby player tells Owen about all the things he never said to people when he had the chance and Owen thinks instantly of Amelia, telling her afterwards that he was grateful of how easy she made things when they were getting divorced. “Grateful enough to give me sex?” Amelia asks him hopefully. After a moment’s thought, Owen closes the door and pulls her onto the couch – it’ll be interesting to see where this relationship goes from here.
The title of this week’s episode related to the ‘game night’ at Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), Amelia and Maggie’s (Kelly McCreary), which was really an excuse for Meredith and Amelia to assess whether the new man in Maggie’s life was really a good guy or a serial killer in disguise. Although both Meredith and Amelia never make it to game night, Maggie soon finds out for herself that Clive (Blake Hood) isn’t all he seems to be. Whilst April – who has most likely been drinking since she was sent home – has been doing her best to make game night as excruciatingly painful as possible for everyone, and Koracick (Greg Germann) – who seemed to invite himself to the party – has enjoyed egging her on (I’ll eat my hat if we find out those two haven’t had sex next episode), the evening is really brought to an end when a mysterious woman knocks at the door and shocks everyone by announcing the she is Clive’s wife. Clive is very quickly ushered to the door by Jackson (Jesse Williams) and everyone else soon follows, leaving Maggie alone with her thoughts. The long-simmering and opinion splitting relationship between Jackson and Maggie was hinted at even more during this episode, with Sarah (Giselle Bonilla) AKA the girl whose ear was sliced off, commenting that she could feel vibes between them and April laughing hysterically and sarcastically proclaiming that their parents must be delighted when she sees them answering the door together and assumes they are a couple. The tension finally comes to a head when Jackson returns to Maggie’s alone, having just told his date that he can no longer see her anymore as he can’t stop thinking about Maggie. After weeks of build-up, Jackson finally tells her he’d like to take her on a date and they share a kiss. This will certainly cause some awkwardness around the family dinner table!
Though romance took front and centre stage this week, this is first and foremost a medical drama, and Kimmie’s storyline continued this week with her asking Alex (Justin Chambers) point blank if he can get her medical marijuana to ease her pain during chemo. Although hesitant at first, Alex agrees and goes to ask Bailey, in front Grey Sloan’s full legal team if he can get permission to give a twelve-year-old marijuana. Somehow he gets the relevant permissions, but when he goes to get the final signature from Kimmie’s grandmother (Marilyn Tokuda), he is surprised to discover her furious at the notion, especially as Kimmie told him it was her who came up with the idea in the first place. She fires Alex on the spot and tells him she will find another hospital, but Alex eventually talks her round by telling her of his own parent’s troubles with addiction and how he knows how much she cares about Kimmie.
Meredith looks to have finally made some progress with her mini-liver project this week. Though she has still not obtained the patent, she has used it anyway to experiment with the procedure on a mouse, discovering to her delight that it works, and the mouse has survived for five days with only mini-livers. Helm (Jacy Elliot) comes in and immediately rains on her parade when she tells her that the doctor in Madrid who held the patent has died and his daughter (Rachel Ticotin) is now the one who holds the patent. When her daughter shows up at the hospital, however, Meredith is surprised to discover that she is someone she knew as a pseudo aunt when she grew up and was great friends with her mother – or so she thought. Meredith makes an impassioned plea for the patent, but when she is told that she can’t sell it to her on theory alone, Meredith brings out the mouse as a last resort. Whilst she remarks that using the patent was illegal, Dr Cerone looks impressed. Meredith walks about the hospital with a spring in her step following this outcome, but when she bumps into Richard (James Pickens Jr.) he tells her that he was surprised to see her here as she hated Ellis’ guts. Meredith immediately assumes that she has been played now that Cerone knows everything there is to know about her project.
And finally, while all these will they / won’t they, relationships take centre stage, we are reminded of one relationship that will never change – the undying friendship between Richard Webber and Miranda Bailey. The scene with them laughing hysterically watching the CCTV footage of April slicing the ear off and DeLuca slipping on it was a joy to behold.
Grey’s Anatomy returns next Thursday, March 15th at 8/7c on ABC