Thursday, November 1, 2018

Grey’s Anatomy 15x06 Review: “Flowers Grow Out of My Grave” (Blast From the Past) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Flowers Grow Out of My Grave”
Original Airdate: November 1, 2018

For the first time, Grey’s Anatomy celebrated the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, which was perfect, considering the episode aired on the actual holiday! This tasteful hour paid tribute to the past, present, and future in surprising ways. As in every episode this season, a lot happens with all the characters, as each continues to see their stories grow. Meredith is front and center this time, but you’ll have to jump to the bottom of this article to find up why her latest storylines are more important than ever. The other significant character moments deserve a shout-out even though they pale in comparison to Meredith.


The interesting medical case of the episode features Bailey and Jo reviving a dead liver to make it suitable for a transplant. The two doctors are excited to finally give their patient — a woman dying of Wilson’s disease — a new liver. The patient has had several potential transplants thwarted by UNOS, including one near the beginning of this episode. Bailey and Jo are disappointed for their patient, but Bailey gets a rather crazy idea when she walks by one of her other patient’s rooms and learns that he passed away a few minutes prior. She remembers that this patient was an organ donor and had the same blood type as the patient who needs a new liver.

Bailey gets Jo, Parker, and the surrounding nurses to help her give the dead patient CPR in an attempt to keep the liver alive by recirculating his blood. They get the family’s consent to try and make the liver suitable for transplant, and Bailey looks like her old self when she brings the liver back to life. She is elated at her success, but then makes the mistake of promising the liver to her patient before clearing it with the transplant committee. When Alex finds out what Bailey and Jo are up to, the current chief of surgery tells them to shut their project down because a formerly dead liver is too risky to transplant into a living patient. Since the old Bailey has returned, she decides to go behind Alex’s back and perform the transplant anyway.

Thankfully, the surgery is a success and another patient is saved. While Alex may have disapproved of the procedure, he is very proud of Jo. After the surgery though, Bailey panics about Ben’s safety as a firefighter and seems like she is on the verge of having a complete mental breakdown; she really needs to get some help before things go sideways.


Two of the more surprising moments of the episode come from the orthopedics team. Intern Schmitt is on Link’s service for the day and gets nervous when Nico starts following them around, which Schmitt should have anticipated considering Nico is the ortho fellow. The three men are treating a young boy with a broken arm and discover a mass on his X-ray. A biopsy reveals that the boy has an osteosarcoma, which causes his mother distress.

While trying to console the distraught mother, Link reveals that he too had an osteosarcoma when he was little and that he overcame his disease. He tells the mother that his cancer was diagnosed later than her son and that his tumor was much larger, yet he is still alive and well today. Link’s story is a huge surprise and comes out of nowhere, but it does explain his very happy and positive outlook on life. He goes on to answer his patient’s questions about what will happen next. When the boy asks if he will lose his hair and look silly, Link shows him that looking silly is no big deal by grabbing a pair of scissors and cutting off a few locks of his own hair. Link is a good-hearted character who has a lot more to offer than just being the guy who asks out every female in the hospital.

The second big moment is a kiss between Nico and Schmitt. After another episode of will-they-or-won’t-they, Schmitt finally makes his decision and goes for it with Nico. Schmitt reveals that Nico is his first same-sex kiss... which leads Nico to break off all flirting immediately. Nico says that he has already had his coming out story and doesn’t want to get caught up in someone else’s. Schmitt is pretty shocked and reveals that he really enjoyed his time with the ortho team, finally feeling like he found somewhere he belongs. This is most certainly going to be an ongoing romantic endeavor.


The always chaotic Hunt-Shepherd residence gets thrown for another spin in this episode; Amelia freaks out when she gets a call from Betty’s school saying that she didn’t show up. Amelia interrupts Owen and Teddy's conversation (that was headed toward Teddy telling Owen that she is pregnant with his baby). Poor Teddy keeps getting sidelined and she has three failed attempts to tell Owen her secret in this episode alone. Teddy goes along with Owen and Amelia to lend a hand in looking for Betty. The trio goes to the park that Betty likes, but there’s no trace of the teen. After an all-day search, Amelia loses it when they can’t find Betty. She thinks that Betty could be dead from a drug overdose. Things stay dramatic: the love triangle continues without Teddy telling Owen the truth at the end of the episode, and with Betty still missing.


The most important plots of the episode are Meredith-centric. First, Richard tells Meredith that he found out from one of his AA friends that her father, Thatcher, is dying from a non-treatable form of leukemia. He is in hospice care with only a few weeks to live. Meredith is very conflicted about the news; she hasn’t talked to Thatcher since Lexie died. (Thatcher hasn’t been seen on Grey’s Anatomy since 2011. Granted, actor Jeff Perry has been a busy man as a main cast member of Scandal for seven seasons.)

Meredith spends the day contemplating whether she should call, or even see, her father before he dies. Considering that it was revealed before the season began that Perry will be back for at least one episode, it’s safe to say that Meredith will decide to see Thatcher before he dies. The news spreads quickly: Meredith discusses her dilemma with Maggie, who tells Jackson, who tells Alex, and so on. Maggie takes the news especially hard because it reminds her of her dead mother, and she spends the episode rejecting Jackson’s attempts to pamper her.

With her dying father on her mind, Meredith teams up with Alex and DeLuca to treat a young Mexican girl. The patient’s entire family is at the hospital to celebrate the Day of the Dead, and even make an ofrenda in the girl’s room. We get to see another side of DeLuca when the girl develops a crush on him and doesn’t want him to see her insides during surgery. Being the sweet guy he is, DeLuca opts out of the surgery to keep his patient happy. There also may also be a promotion coming in DeLuca’s future when it is briefly mentioned that there isn’t a current chief resident.

Throughout the day, Jo encourages Link to pursue Meredith romantically because she thinks they would be a good match. Link finds Meredith before her surgery and boldly asks her when they are going to go out on a date together. Meredith turns him down again and basically tells him that she doesn’t want anything to do with him. She then goes out on another blind date, which ends up being a funny disaster when she only talks about her dying father. When she returns to the hospital for the surgery, Meredith is surprised to see that DeLuca is sitting out to please a patient. The smile on her face and the way that she has been treating him like an actual human all season hints at Meredith possibly having feelings for DeLuca (who definitely has feelings for her).

After the surgery, the patient’s grandmother tells Meredith all about the Day of the Dead and its meaning. She gives Meredith a marigold so that her loved ones can be with her on this day too, and Meredith puts the flower behind her ear. While waiting for the elevator, Meredith is approached by Link again, who steals her phone and promptly puts his number in her contacts. Meredith allows it only because she asks Link what happened to his hair and finds out that he haphazardly cut it for a cancer patient. She seems to be impressed with Link. Just then, DeLuca strolls by and stands on the other side of Meredith. The two men declare their intentions to win her heart by both holding the doors of the elevator open for her. An amused Meredith thinks the situation is a little much and decides to take the stairs.

It appears that we have the start of a new love triangle on our hands. However, it might be more of a love square since Meredith is still going on blind dates and doesn’t seem to have any intention of dating either DeLuca or Link. I don’t necessarily want to see Meredith end up with either guy at the moment, but their antics to win her over are worth watching.

The big moment of the episode occurs at the end. As Meredith is making her way out of the hospital for the night, her dead loved ones make brief appearances: George, Lexie, Ellis, Doc the dog, Mark, and Derek all appear for a short moment via archive footage (with the exception of Kate Burton and the dog getting new footage). Meredith doesn’t interact with the ghosts; instead, she walks right past them. The scene plays out with a beautiful Spanish rendition of the unofficial Grey’s Anatomy theme song “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol.

This sweet moment is huge for two reasons. First, while the show’s former characters are mentioned from time to time, none of them ever appear back on screen (with the exception of Ellis, who did appear when Meredith won her Harper Avery Award). Grey’s Anatomy never gives fans another chance to see their favorite deceased characters, which is why this is a significant moment. Having the dead characters appear pleases the fans but is also a plot device.

Second, this scene will be viewed and picked apart by fans for a long time in order to determine the meaning. The scene is intentionally shot with ambiguity, allowing everyone the chance to have their own interpretations. I believe that the scene indicates that while Meredith constantly thinks about everyone who has died in her life and she will never forget them, she is ready to move on and start anew. That fits with the season of love theme.

The tear-jerking scene was the perfect way to bring the Day of the Dead to Grey’s Anatomy. The episode brings all the feels and does end on a light-hearted note. Meredith goes over to Alex and Jo’s home because she doesn’t want to be alone with her thoughts. She is surprised when she walks in and sees that Link is also hanging out with the Karevs. Jo is attempting to fix Link’s hairdo, and Meredith takes over for her and cuts Link’s hair.

This episode certainly packed an emotional punch and leaves a lot of questions unanswered; there is a lot for Grey’s Anatomy to cover in the last two episodes of 2018!


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