Friday, September 27, 2019

Grey’s Anatomy 16x01 Recap: “Nothing Left to Cling To” (One Month) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Nothing Left to Cling To”
Original Airdate: September 26, 2019

As Grey’s Anatomy begins its sweet sixteenth season, life is anything but sunshine and rainbows for our favorite television doctors. By the end of the season fifteen finale in May, viewers were left wondering whether Meredith would face jail time for insurance fraud, where Jackson disappeared to in the fog, whether Maggie and Jackson could make up after a horrendous fight, and if Jo checking herself into the psychiatric ward would help her overcome the trauma of learning about her past.

Thankfully, the premiere episode wastes no time in providing answers to all the questions you might have while taking the audience on a one-month journey through the recovery of all the characters.


The season premiere opens on the night where the May’s season finale left off. We first see Jo checking herself into the psych ward at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Then, the scene changes to Maggie searching for Jackson in the middle of nowhere while calling out his name. When Jackson responds, Maggie finds him and a woman holding onto a rope attached to a man that is hanging off a cliff. Aid Car 19 pulls up just in time, and Victoria Hughes of Station 19 jumps out to help Jackson pull the man to safety. The couple is badly injured and transported to Grey Sloan immediately. Meanwhile, Richard attends a late-night AA meeting to rant about getting fired earlier that evening. He’s quite upset that his wife sat quietly by Bailey’s side as he was fired for his part in Meredith’s insurance fraud. It’s obvious that there will be a lot of bad blood between Richard, Bailey, and Catherine for the foreseeable future.

When we last saw her, Meredith was telling an imprisoned DeLuca that she was going to turn herself in and accept the consequences for her actions as she professed her love for him. Meredith follows through on her pronouncement by meeting with a lawyer that same night and confessing to the crime. She is surprised that her lawyer thinks she can get off easy, and without jail time, as long as she is apologetic for her actions. Alex and Link then go for drinks to discuss Jo’s situation, which doubles as a nice moment of support from Link. I’m hoping this is a sign that Alex and Link will start getting along a lot better and become friends, especially for Jo’s sake. Link tells Alex that he thinks his relationship with Amelia is over, which he will find out shortly he was dead wrong about.

The last part of the first night’s events occurs in Teddy’s hospital room. Amelia brings Leo to meet his little sister, but the happy moment is ruined by Bailey busting in on the family get-together to announce that she fired Meredith, Alex, and Richard and needs Amelia and Owen’s help with the incoming traumas of the two climbers. As the three doctors leave the room, in comes Tom Koracick, who — you might remember — was not called when Teddy went into labor or after the baby was born. Tom must have superpowers because he comes in knowing that the baby must have been born since he hasn’t heard from Teddy in a while. He also correctly guesses he wasn’t in the loop because Teddy and Owen want to get together. While Teddy cries over the mess she’s made, Tom tells her that he isn’t going anywhere and will be waiting for her once her fling with Owen ends because he loves her. It’s a pretty crazy whirlwind of events.


After a short time jump, Alex drops Jo off at a thirty-day rehab facility to continue her treatment. However, it is unclear why she left Grey Sloan to go to this new program. Before going inside, Jo tells Alex that he deserves someone better in his life than her, and gives him an out of their marriage by saying they aren’t technically married since they never got a marriage license. Alex is quite shocked by his wife’s words, but surprisingly doesn’t react or say anything before she leaves.

Back at Grey Sloan, Link, Nico, Amelia, and Jackson have a frank discussion during a surgery. Amelia tells Link that she in fact did not break up with him the week before and simply wants to properly date him instead of jumping in too quickly — which is the most reasonable decision she has made in a long time.

It is then revealed that Teddy is living in a hotel with baby Allison instead of at Owen’s house, and she tells him through sobs that she can’t live in the house that he bought with Amelia. Teddy is having a difficult time being a new mom, which leads to some good moments of levity throughout the episode. Richard has found a new job working for a health app and making house calls to patients, but he is completely miserable. Maggie and Jackson’s relationship is still on the rocks, since they appear to not have talked in the week of that has passed in-show. DeLuca is finally out of jail and attends Meredith’s hearing, which doesn’t go quite the way the lawyer predicted. The judge assigned to Meredith’s case is particularly tough and becomes more so when he sees that Meredith isn’t apologetic for what she has done. He sentences her to community service and puts off a ruling on her medical license.


After another one-week time jump, a lot happens. The rock climber husband, who was still in the hospital recovering from his injuries, suffers a series of small strokes and appears to be brain dead, much to the chagrin of his doctors. Catherine reveals to Bailey that she has hired Tom as the new chief of all the Catherine Fox hospitals. Bailey is very upset that Tom is her new boss and feels slighted by Catherine, who is now upset — two weeks later — that Bailey fired her husband and two of the hospital’s other top doctors. Why Catherine has waited this long to voice her opinions is beyond me. After her confrontation with Catherine, Bailey runs into DeLuca, who wants to, and gets, his job back.

We then get to see Meredith performing her community service by picking up trash in a park. And, to no one’s surprise, Maggie and Jackson break up. That relationship was on life support for the past few weeks of the show's universe, so it’s about time.


A third one-week time jump begins with Owen finding Amelia in the ER, describing his troubles trying to help Teddy and the baby. Owen says that he offered to milk Teddy to relieve some of her pain (which Amelia tries very hard not to laugh in his face about) in what might have been the single best moment of the episode. Surprisingly, Richard goes for an interview for the chief of surgery position at Pacific Northwest General, which is Seattle’s lowest-ranked hospital and would be a huge downgrade for Richard. In an even more astonishing moment, Jackson and Victoria Hughes start becoming rather good friends in a very short amount of time. They meet up for a lunch date, which might be a glimpse at a possible cross-series relationship down the road.  Jo’s treatment finally makes its way back into the story when Alex visits her. Both are rather upset at the current situation, and Jo gives Alex a second chance to leave her. It really is sad to watch Jo profess how she isn’t worthy of Alex’s love, but it’s good to see her working through her problems.

While one couple struggles, another starts to bloom when Amelia and Link go out to dinner. They seem to be getting along much better these days. The conversation then randomly turns to Amelia describing a patient she treated many years ago with similar symptoms to their current brain dead rock climber. Amelia reveals that her former patient presented with strokes, but it wound up being fat embolisms instead. Link and Amelia rush back to the hospital to examine the rock climber and arrive as Schmitt is about to take him off of life support. Upon examination, Amelia and Link find a rash under the patient’s arm that indicates he has fat embolisms in his brain, which could mean he could wake up.

Meredith continues doing community service and seems to be enjoying it, while Teddy visits Bailey to complain about how much she hates being on maternity leave. Richard then drops by Alex’s apartment to discuss the two of them going back to work. He wants Alex to take the chief of surgery job at Pacific Northwest General and then hire him as an attending. Alex isn’t committal about the potential new position, as he’s a bit distracted by his meeting with Jo.


The final time jump of the episode is more hopeful than the other segments, which is immediately apparent by the rock climber husband waking up. The doctors think he will make a full recovery, which is a nice ending to that story. Jo then gets out of the rehab facility and is met by a very dressed-up Alex. He proposes to Jo for a second time to show his commitment to their marriage and her ongoing recovery. Jo happily accepts his proposal, but warns him she isn’t magically better after a few weeks of treatment. After spending much of the second half of last season showing Jo’s downward spiral, it’s upsetting to not have seen more of her getting through the steps to recovery. Yes, she still has a ways to go before she will begin to heal, but it feels like a disservice to not get to see her start the process.

Owen shows up at Teddy’s hotel room and announces that he has put his house on the market so they can find a new place for a fresh start together. The gesture is very moving and leaves Teddy in tears. Carina mentions several times throughout a conversation with Amelia, that she thought Amelia might be pregnant... which makes Amelia realize that she probably is. This shocker comes out of nowhere and poses the question of who the potential daddy is: Link or Owen? As if Owen didn’t have enough on his hands already.

Catherine finds out that Alex and Richard are taking jobs at Pacific Northwest General and lashes out at Richard over his decision. She feels incredibly betrayed that her husband is going to work at a hospital that she doesn’t own, yet it’s her own fault for letting Bailey fire him and not offer him a position at another one of her hospitals. Richard and Catherine’s marriage could be in jeopardy, as they have a lot of issues to work through. The episode ends with Meredith and DeLuca discussing how well the community service is going and how lucky she has been.

Their happy conversation is interrupted by Meredith receiving a message saying that the medical board is going to pursue action against her license, which was to be expected. Meredith shouldn’t get off so easily for breaking the law, as a doctor in a similar situation in real life would have to face the consequences. This seems like an issue that will be ongoing for part of the season, as Meredith is going to have to fight to keep her medical license and find a hospital willing to employ her.


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