Original Airdate: March 9, 2017
The thirteenth season of Grey’s Anatomy has been defined by the changing relationships of everyone in the hospital. This theme was highlighted in “Civil War,” as almost every character gets caught up in one fight or another. The relationships that blew up in this episode, and could continue to boil, are: Jackson/April, Jackson/Catherine, Richard/Catherine, Richard/Arizona, Meredith/Riggs, Alex/Riggs/DeLuca, and Owen/Amelia. These seven relationships are at a crossroads, with some willing to throw in the towel and others gathering their pitchforks. The following is a brief recap of where the relationships are at by the end of the episode.
Jackson has had it with April and Catherine over their lack of support for Richard and wants to try to get the board of the hospital to get rid of Minnick. Richard doesn’t want to be at home with Catherine, as she is still trying to force him out of his job. He also catches Arizona and Minnick kissing, which should make things more awkward in the next episode. Alex and Riggs disagree on how to treat a newborn, which puts DeLuca in the middle of an attending battle. Meredith reads Riggs the riot act after Alex tattles about the situation, but Riggs doesn’t care what Alex thinks. He tells Meredith that he is willing to go the distance and make a relationship work with her. Finally, Amelia and Owen are in the most awkward of phases, but more on that later.
The best part of the episode was April, Jackson, Catherine, and Richard working together on an intense surgical case. The bickering between the two sides was unbearable at times, but the dialogue was very revealing as to why each character feels the way they do. It was good to hear the opinions fully vocalized, because it helps make the greater plot make more sense. There is so much discontent in the hospital that it becomes a dysfunctional work environment that somehow allows Minnick’s methods to shine, as Ben shows in the operating room. The doctors are slowly starting to think that maybe Minnick’s program is worth their while, but not everyone is ready to conform. At this rate, everyone should just accept the new rules because the fight is getting a little stale.
The biggest story of the week is the long-awaited reunion between Owen and Amelia. After Maggie asks her to help with a case, Amelia finally returns to the hospital and continues to avoid Owen. When she does see him, she jumps into his case to help a patient and start repairing their relationship. This was very confusing because Amelia hasn’t talked to Owen in weeks, didn’t want to talk to or see him, and wasn’t ready to face him after leaving him. In a matter of a few seconds, she goes from possibly not wanting to be married and have a family to wanting to completely fix things with Owen. The decision seems to come out of nowhere, but Amelia has always been very unpredictable.
To no one’s surprise, Owen isn’t accepting of Amelia’s change of heart. They need some serious couple’s therapy if they want any chance of their relationship surviving. It isn’t clear why Amelia changed her mind, which is beyond frustrating. I have found a lot of plot points this season to be increasingly confusing and frustrating because they aren’t explained for several weeks. A great example of this is Jackson’s real feelings finally being revealed in this episode while he has been fighting Minnick for several episodes. While it seems that some stories are coming to a close, Amelia and Owen’s relationship is still a massive question mark that has been avoided.
The problem is that there are too many storylines and relationship problems this season. They all can’t converge at once, which means they have to be spread out. This wouldn’t be a problem if every week showed a little piece of each story instead of only using one or two per episode. Everything is stretched out, so it feels like nothing has actually been accomplished. Maybe it is time for another major tragedy to strike to get the doctors on the same page, or at least working better together.
Overall, this was one of the better episodes of the past few weeks, as a lot of ground was covered. The major issues with each relationship finally came up, which was a good shake-up. The acting was good across the board for a change. I really liked the writing and story structure in this episode, as it was much stronger than the past few weeks. Things are moving in the right direction for the show, yet there’s still a lot of ground to cover.