Saturday, February 18, 2017

Grey’s Anatomy 13x13 Review: “It Only Gets Much Worse” (Start to Finish) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“It Only Gets Much Worse”
Original Airdate: February 16, 2017

As the rivalry between the attendings and Bailey’s new residency program continues to heat up, egos get in the way of the most important thing: the patients. After a surprising betrayal from one of their own, the attendings are left to figure out the next steps in getting Richard his title back. Minnick, meanwhile, is starting phase two of her residency plan, which echoes the past. Tensions rise steadily throughout the episode, but everything winds up back where it should be by the end.


With Meredith suspended and stripped of her chiefdom, Bailey appointed April as interim Chief of General Surgery. Naturally, this does not sit well with any of the main attendings, as April was on their side the day before. April accepting the position is a huge blow to the credibility of the group of main characters who are fighting Bailey and Minnick’s takeover. While dealing with the label of being a traitor, April is tasked with taking over Meredith’s full responsibilities, which she isn’t prepared for.

To say that April’s first day on the new job was rough is an understatement. She gets called out by all of her friends and even a patient who wants to know why Meredith isn’t there to do her surgery. Jackson is furious with April for changing sides and only thinking of herself, which is a very un-April thing to do. He thinks that his mother is behind April getting the position (after finding out from Richard that she put Bailey up to the task of finding a new residency director). Even though Catherine denies putting the seed in Bailey’s head, April doesn’t totally buy it — and neither do I. It is reasonable to think that Catherine, who has always liked April, dictated Meredith’s suspension and April’s rise to power.

I’ve always found April to be a very unlikable character, but she is even more unbearable now that she is flipping sides. April thinks that she can have a flashy new title, completely follow Bailey’s orders, and still support Richard. She’s delusional and needs a reality check. Like Jackson says, it’s not like April had to take the job. The interesting part of Bailey’s job offer is that April is only the interim Chief of General Surgery, not the outright Chief. Based on the promo for the next episode, it is possible that Bailey will give Meredith her job back and could have had that intention since the start of the chaos.


The focal point of the episode is Minnick’s phase two: letting the residents perform a surgery solo from start to finish. Her goal is to have each resident be the lead on a case with an attending supervising. As any Grey’s Anatomy fan will recall, this is something that Richard’s program also included. Each resident did a solo surgery when Richard felt they were ready, not just at random. Minnick has chosen Ben and Stephanie to have the first solo surgeries, and — as the past suggests — it won’t all go well. I really liked the foreshadowing in this episode because it directly played on the original group of interns/residents’ (Meredith, Cristina, Alex, George, and Izzie) first solo surgeries.

Tensions flare when Ben is assigned to take over one of Richard’s surgeries. Neither Ben nor Richard is particularly thrilled about the assignment, so Bailey decides to intervene and observe the surgery in order to stick it to Richard. During Ben’s surgery, Bailey and Richard quarrel over teaching methods instead of focusing on their student. Richard feels that he has failed as a teacher, while Bailey doesn’t like that Ben may not be on her side. She confronts Ben about the situation when they get home from work and asks for him to be honest about whose side he is on. When Ben doesn’t answer, his opinion is clear and it disappoints Bailey. With Ben being stuck in the middle of the conflict, it’s no surprise that he can’t support his wife. This might serve as a good reality check for Bailey now that she knows she has lost the support of the most important person in her life.

Stephanie has a much rougher time with her first solo surgery, which never should have happened. A child with gall stones is examined by Murphy in the E.R., and it is determined that he will need surgery. Minnick takes the case from Murphy and assigns Stephanie to do the procedure. Depressingly, it was obvious that this case wasn’t going to go smoothly because Stephanie and Minnick’s egos were through the roof. Arizona hears that a resident is going to operate on a pediatric patient and rightfully tears Minnick a new one. I agreed with Arizona that a resident shouldn’t be operating on a child by themselves because it is too dangerous to risk the life of a child.

Things go south quickly in the operating room, and the boy bleeds out on the table. The moment is very revealing for both Minnick and Stephanie, as they have both experienced their first loss of a child on the table. Stephanie is instantly in tears and doesn’t know what she did wrong, while Minnick has a breakdown and runs away. Arizona is able to console Minnick and helps her get through her grief. This is another good example of why Minnick’s judgment isn’t the best and why she really shouldn’t be in charge of the residency program. As a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon, she really shouldn’t have the right to be throwing residents on surgeries outside of her specialty.

Stephanie seeks solace in the one person she knows she can trust: Richard. As we have all seen many times before, Richard is the calm, rational, wise teacher that swoops in when one of his own needs him the most. Stephanie learns the most during the episode from Richard, as he teaches her how to cope with losing a patient and how to tell the family. She steps up by taking full responsibility and discusses the surgery with the parents, with only Richard by her side.

To me, this was a full-circle ending that showed that even the residents who want change the most know who to turn to in a time of need. Richard has always been the steady anchor of the show, and it was good to see Stephanie realize that. With the loss of a child during a solo surgery, the attendings still fighting against her, and Ben not being on her side, Bailey has a lot to ponder about how she is running the hospital.


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