Friday, February 3, 2017

Grey’s Anatomy 13x11 Review: “Jukebox Hero” (Alex’s Fate) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Jukebox Hero”
Original Airdate: February 2, 2017

Calling all Grey’s Anatomy fans! The episode that we’ve been waiting months for is finally here! If you’re like me and have been dying to know what Alex’s fate will be, then you will be happy to know that it is partially answered. Yes, partially — because the full story isn’t out in the open quite yet, but it’s pretty clear what happened. If you have not seen the episode, don’t read on until you do because the following is a look into Alex’s future.


Before I get into the big reveal of the episode, there are a few key moments that need to be mentioned. First up is Eliza Minnick’s first day at Grey Sloan. In the midseason finale, Bailey hired Minnick to take over the residency teaching program that Richard Webber runs, which obviously didn’t go over well with the attendings the show focuses on. Pitchforks and torches are brought out to protest Minnick’s employment in a variety of ways on her first day.

The anti-Minnick clan — led by Jackson, April, Maggie, and Arizona — spend the day devising plans to force Minnick out. First, they block her from being present in any of their operating rooms. Then, they start dropping residents from their service who are promoting Minnick. Finally, when Bailey calls an emergency meeting with all the attendings to hash out the day’s conflicts, no one shows up. Richard is the only one who attends, and with fighting words, to make a point to both Bailey and Minnick that his job can’t be taken over that easily.

It’s obvious that over the years, none of the characters are open to change. Any minor change to the hospital is like the apocalypse to the characters, so it’s no surprise that all-out war is coming. The question that remains is will the doctors eventually cave to Minnick’s protocols, or will they be able to boot Minnick out? Richard is masterfully playing good-cop-bad-cop with Minnick throughout the episode in hopes of rattling her. There’s even the use of a great hockey metaphor about Richard being the enforcer trying to take out Minnick, the skills player. However, this metaphor is ruined when Richard actually announces it and his plan in the operating room with Minnick present in a classic example of too much exposition. Even though most of the doctors don’t want to conform, Arizona finds herself unexpectedly playing right into Minnick’s plan.


It’s been a rough 48 hours for Arizona. First, she had the tough day in last week’s prison episode... which seems to have never happened in this episode. There is a bit of a time warp issue in “Jukebox Hero” because it appears that the day from last week’s episode doesn’t exist. Both Owen and Meredith make it clear that no time has passed since their worlds have started to cave in on themselves. It appears that Amelia left the day before and Alex went to take the plea deal yesterday as well. On the other hand, Jo and Arizona are extremely shaken up by Alex taking the deal, and Ben spends the episode trying to console Jo. So, some characters have had a day pass while others haven’t, which equals a major timeline problem.

But back to Arizona and her problems: another tough day ensues after she tries to help a pregnant woman over the phone. The woman is in labor in a taxi, en route to the hospital. Arizona’s advice for comfort leaves the woman severely injured and the baby in jeopardy after the taxi gets plowed by the husband’s car. Arizona spends the day trying to save both the woman and her baby while blaming herself for the accident. Back-to-back tough situations get worse when the baby starts to go downhill after delivery. Without Alex to save the baby, Arizona has to put her faith in Murphy, who has never performed procedures on a newborn. Thankfully, everyone comes out of this episode just fine. Minnick later thanks Arizona for being a team player in her teaching strategy by letting Murphy do the procedure herself, which really makes Arizona’s day worse as she’s supposed to be supporting Richard. When stuck between a rock and a hard place, Arizona goes home to pour her feelings out to DeLuca, who winds up being surprised and puzzled that Alex went to take the plea deal.

Owen also had a rough day in this episode because he can’t track down Amelia, who left him unceremoniously in the middle of the night with just a goodbye note. Owen has a feeling that Edwards knows something about his wife’s whereabouts, but she doesn’t cave until about halfway through the episode. It turns out that Amelia is crashing with Edwards and taking a leave from the hospital to avoid Owen, who simply wants her to come home. It’s depressing to see Owen’s life falling apart again. He deserves a little happiness for once. Both Owen and Amelia are crazy, so they would definitely work as a couple if Amelia can get over herself.


Everyone in this episode has a terrible day in some way, but no one is having a rougher time than Meredith. She spends her day hunting through Washington State for her best friend with minimal luck. Maggie helps Meredith in locating Alex through the state’s online archive of criminal activity. They find that his trial has been “indefinitely suspended,” which makes them assume that he took the plea deal. Meredith is devastated and goes into a frenzy trying to find which jail he is in when they can’t find the information online.

After going to multiple local and county jails, Meredith is out of luck and has no more information than she started the day with. She is clearly heartbroken by the loss of her best friend and confidant, which we already knew from her tear-jerking voicemail that she left Alex in the midseason finale. After a long day, Meredith returns home with little hope of finding Alex. She asks Maggie if she has any success, which she coyly answers with, “You’ll find him tomorrow.” Meredith retires to her room to, presumably, cry her sorrows away and flops down on her bed. To her surprise, she lands on Alex, who says he spent the whole day sleeping in her room. The two friends lovingly embrace, and I half-expected Meredith to kiss Alex. Anyone else think that was going to happen?

That’s where the episode leaves us: in limbo yet again. It’s great that Alex isn’t in jail, but the big question is still looming. Based on the facts, it appears that DeLuca dropped the assault charges to let Alex walk free. He is clearly puzzled when Arizona tells him Alex was going to take the plea, and Alex did go to turn himself in, only to be sent home a free man. The question that remains is if DeLuca did drop the charges, why the change of heart? This conflict has been going on for months now and all of the sudden DeLuca is going to forgive Alex? Or, is he also trying to protect Jo from facing her past? The other looming questions: will Bailey give Alex his job back? Will Jo and Alex get back together now that he is a free man? What is Jo’s real name and past? And, when is her past coming to get her?

I feel that Jo’s past is going to result in a huge character arc sometime in the near future. Shonda Rhimes isn’t just going to let that bombshell walk away and not present itself. It’s only a matter of time before stuff hits the fan more for Jo, so it will be interesting to see what happens. The struggles for the characters are only going to continue through the back half of the season, and I’m sure more questions will arise before any are answered.


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