Thursday, March 26, 2020

Grey’s Anatomy 16x19 Recap: “Love of My Life” (Hot in Hollywood) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Love of My Life”
Original Airdate: March 26, 2020

The latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy is an unconventional one. We are immediately dropped into the middle of the action as Richard, Maggie, Teddy, and Hayes arrive at a swanky Los Angeles hotel for a medical conference. Most of the episode tells stories about the four doctors; then the hour ends with a truly devastating twist witnessed by some of our favorite doctors who didn’t make the trip south. Hang on tight because this episode is one wild and, at times, confusing ride.


Four Seattle surgeons have made their way to Los Angeles for a medical conference where Richard will be presenting his path pen for the first time. Yes, it has been quite a while since we have heard any mention of the surgical innovation contest that took over the back half of season fourteen. But it appears that Richard has been working on perfecting his entry ever since. For those that don’t remember, the path (pathology) pen can identify the type of tissue cells that it is touching, allowing for surgeons to know whether they are looking at cancerous or normal tissue and if they have clean margins during surgery. The path pen was also designed to identify cancers too.

Richard looks very happy for the first time in a long time as he and Maggie walk into the hotel. They are slightly bummed that Meredith’s babysitter has the flu, which has forced her to stay at home, but Richard won’t let anything keep him down. Hayes enters the lobby with his two boys, which triggers a quick flashback to the first time he saw his future wife at a similar medical conference years ago. Teddy goes to say hi to Hayes and is curious why his kids are with him. Hayes explains that his sister-in-law lives close by, so he thought his kids would like to visit their aunt. The four doctors go their separate ways, which is when things start to get crazy.

Richard is practicing his speech in his room when he hears a knock at the door, and it turns out to be Catherine. Richard isn’t the only person in disbelief about his estranged wife’s appearance. Catherine announces that she has come all the way to L.A. to apologize. She regrets her behavior and is truly sorry. Richard admits that something almost happened with Gemma, but assures Catherine that nothing happened or will ever happen. He apologizes for not telling her sooner. The newfound honesty prompts Catherine to tell her husband that she wants to fix things and doesn’t want him to feel like she is controlling him. Richard reminds her that she literally bought Pac-North to get back at him, and the couple laughs over their expensive fight. They kiss, and apparently their relationship has been repaired in roughly two minutes of screen time.


If you think Richard and Catherine’s reunion is weird, just wait until you see Maggie! Teddy meets up with Maggie for happy hour, and the two start chatting about how great medical conferences are. Maggie thinks medical conferences are like summer camp. Teddy starts talking about how lots of people hook up at conferences, when Maggie spots a handsome doctor on a balcony. Maggie recognizes him as one of her former residents from Tufts Medical Center, but she can’t remember his name. Teddy urges her to find out if he’s single and hook up with him.

Mystery doctor shows up behind Maggie, who remembers his name is Winston, and Teddy leaves the two alone. Winston tells Maggie that he has been looking for her at medical conferences since she left Tufts because he has had a crush on her since his first day of residency. He couldn’t ask his boss out, so he wants to know if he has a shot now and can buy Maggie a drink. Maggie puts the drink that is currently in her hand down and accepts his offer.

Winston and Maggie make their way to one of their hotel rooms and immediately get hot and heavy. The speed and passion is pretty intense. Later, Winston and Maggie are enjoying a stroll around the hotel’s pool. Winston announces that they have 36 more hours to get to know each other, so they go full force into the what-do-we-have-in-common game. It turns out that Winston’s mother died from ovarian cancer two years ago, and Maggie shares that her mother died from breast cancer three years ago. Winston admits that he is falling hard for Maggie in one night, and Maggie surprisingly says that she is falling for him too. At this point, I think I speak for everyone: we need to know what they are putting in the drinks at this hotel.


After two happy love stories, the episode quickly changes to show the backstory of Cormac Hayes. Teddy and Hayes are hanging out in the hotel, and Teddy asks Hayes why he came. Bailey asked Hayes to represent peds at the conference, so he didn’t think he could say no. Also, it gives his boys a chance to see their aunt, so the getaway is worth it. A pharmaceutical rep comes over to Teddy and Hayes, which triggers flashbacks from Hayes’ memories. We first see a younger Hayes meeting his future wife Abigail for the first time. She approaches him at a bar at a medical conference and offers him a pen from a pharmaceutical company that her friend works for. Abigail, who is a mixed media artist, tagged along to the conference to make some extra money handing out pens.

Things then flash forward to several years later. Hayes sits on his wife’s hospital bed with his lab coat on, while their young boys are sitting nearby playing. Abigail isn’t convinced that the hysterectomy surgery will go well, so Hayes tries his best to assure his wife that she is in amazing hands. Another flash forward reveals that Abigail is dying of cancer a few years later, which is roughly two years ago in the show’s time. The boys are older, Hayes is no longer wearing an awful wig or his lab coat, and Abigail does not look like she has much time left. It appears she has been living in her hospital room for some time, as the walls are full of pictures that the boys drew. Abigail sends her kids out of the room so she can have a difficult conversation with her husband.

She knows that the second clinical trial that she is currently in isn’t working and that Hayes might be a single dad soon. Abigail wants Hayes to make sure that the kids know it is okay to cry and feel every emotion. She doesn’t want them to lock their emotions up and asks Hayes to not be strong, but rather be a mess to show their kids that it’s alright to fall apart. Hayes asks his wife to not have this conversation, but Abigail feels it all needs to be said. She wants Hayes to promise that the boys can visit her sister after she’s gone because even though she can be problematic, she loves them too. Abigail also suggests that any time Hayes has trouble with the kids that he should call his mother for help because he is proof that she knows what she is doing. If you hadn’t been tearing up yet, that ought to do it.

Abigail continues to say that Austin, the younger sibling, can quit piano if he wants and that Hayes needs to keep an eye on older son Liam’s temper. The last part of the conversation is the most beautiful, as Abigail tells Hayes that he has her permission to fall in love again. She wants him to know that it is okay, that he doesn’t have to feel guilty, and that he deserves to be happy. Hayes is in tears and doesn’t want her permission. In a final flash forward not too long after their conversation, Abigail has passed away. Hayes has finished packing up her hospital room with his kids. Austin isn’t ready to go home yet, while Liam thinks it’s creepy to stay any longer. The family winds up gathering on the empty hospital bed, and Hayes hugs his kids as they cry.

Back in the present, the pharmaceutical rep brings Teddy and Hayes drinks and wants to talk to them because they work for a Catherine Fox hospital. The rep reveals that his company wants to develop medical devices alongside a hospital and wants to use them to get an in with Catherine. This immediately triggers Hayes, who says that the company’s medical device for minimally invasive hysterectomies has problems because it doesn’t know whether it is hitting cancerous or benign tissue. Hayes says the device was used on Abigail and that it eviscerated his wife’s cancer, causing it to spread throughout her body, resulting in her death. He blames the device for Abigail’s death, which scares the rep away. Teddy is a bit stunned at Hayes’ uncharacteristic anger, and he apologizes before walking away.


Teddy’s story is the second most shocking plotline of the episode. She has made her way back to the bar and is surprised when someone walks up and says her name. A flashback to September 11, 2001 shows Teddy and her colleagues at a hospital in New York City watching live TV footage of the Twin Towers falling with horrified expressions and lots of tears. A woman walks up to Teddy, sees the footage, and starts crying. Back at the bar in present-day, we see it’s this same woman, Claire, who recognizes Teddy. They hug and sit down at the bar to talk. It’s obvious that it has been a long time since Claire and Teddy have spoken even before they say that they haven’t seen each other since their best friend Allison died in the terror attacks. Claire moved away from New York and has since settled in North Carolina with her wife and their shared medical practice.

Teddy reveals to Claire that she joined the Army and went to Afghanistan, as that was the only thing she could do after Allison died. We’ve never actually heard the full Allison backstory through all the years we have known Teddy, so now is a great time for a flashback to September 10, 2001. Claire, Teddy, and Allison live together in a New York City apartment; we see Allison and Claire kiss, and we learn that they are a couple. Teddy and Claire get pages from the hospital they work at, and Claire leaves to go to work. After Claire leaves, Allison and Teddy kiss, which is quite surprising considering Teddy has never given any indication that she is bisexual.

Back in the present, Teddy tells Claire that she has a baby girl and named her after her best friend Allison. Claire wants Teddy to drop the charade and admit her relationship with Allison, which Teddy has been hiding for 20 years. Claire knows that Allison and Teddy were also together and isn’t too pleased about it. Another flashback to September 10, 2011 shows Teddy and Allison in bed together. Allison wants Teddy to join her at the World Trade Center tomorrow, but Teddy says she has to work and can’t. They talk about how they quickly fell for each other, and Teddy doesn’t want to keep sneaking around and lying to Claire anymore. Allison decides that she wants to tell Claire the truth tomorrow, but Teddy thinks that’s a bad plan, even though she is the one that doesn’t want to sneak around behind her friend’s back. Allison doesn’t want to keep lying to Claire either and reveals that she loves both women, but loves Teddy more.

Teddy and Claire continue their conversation in the present day with Teddy wanting to know how long Claire knew about her and Allison. Claire says she knew for months. She says that she found out for sure when she got Allison’s phone records after she died and saw that Allison tried to call Teddy at 8:57 a.m. as the towers started to fall. Claire knew in that moment that Allison loved Teddy more than her. She says that Allison was the love of her life and Teddy was the love of Allison’s life. With that, Claire tells Teddy to take care and leaves her one-time friend alone at the bar in tears.


Now that all four characters have had their own stories play out, it’s time for them to come together. Winston’s talking to Maggie about the time she let him scrub in on a piggyback transplant surgery. Maggie confesses to be a neurotic mess in real life even though she seems composed in the OR. Winston doesn’t see it, which makes Maggie admit that she hasn’t been neurotic around him for the past few hours. Maggie’s phone goes off and she realizes that she has spent the entire night with Winston. They start to quickly get ready to leave since they are both going to Richard’s path pen talk. Maggie is glad that Winston will be there, though it might be awkward for him to meet her father on their first date. Both doctors agree that it has been a weird and perfect night, which prompts them to sleep together one more time.

Richard wakes Catherine up with breakfast in bed courtesy of room service. Catherine has decided that it is okay that they fight a lot because maybe when they stop fighting, that will be when they have a real problem to worry about. Her speech gives Richard an idea about how cancer cells grow even in ideal situations and how they continue to grow when normal cells stop. Richard goes to his computer to start writing his big idea into his speech, making him more chipper than ever.

Maggie and Teddy are in the lobby for a buffet breakfast, and Maggie reveals that she spent the night with Winston. She still can’t believe that she likes someone so much while knowing so little about him, which means reality is starting to set in. Claire walks by, sees Teddy, and turns around and leaves the area.

Teddy goes to find her friend and offers her an apology. Teddy says that Owen helped her fill the void after Allison died. She admits that she loved Owen so much that she felt guilty to feel half as much for him as she did for Allison. Teddy never thought that love could be divided, like Allison’s was, but she believes it now that she’s in a similar love triangle. She apologizes profusely to Claire and wants her to know she never meant any harm. Claire forgives her, and the friends hug it out.

Back in his hotel room, Richard thinks he has finally made his speech perfect and tells Catherine. Things quickly turn upside down when Richard turns his head and Catherine is nowhere to be found. It becomes immediately clear that Richard has been hallucinating his wife the entire episode. The uneasiness that the scene makes you feel comes hard and fast because the beloved doctor is much sicker than we thought. Maggie meets up with Richard right before he is ready to go on stage. Richard is feeling quite energized and can’t wait to show the world his ideas.

Winston asks Maggie to move to Boston with him or he could move to Seattle to be with her. Winston’s seize-the-day attitude is mind boggling, especially after he says that he just knows that he wants to be with Maggie and that they would be a great couple. He is quite convincing, even though they literally just met. Maggie explains how she is the type of person who needs time to weigh her options. Surprisingly, Winston is totally fine with her taking all the time that she needs to make a decision because his feelings aren’t going away. Winston kisses Maggie on the cheek before walking away, capping what has to be the fastest relationship in Grey’s Anatomy history. I do hope we see more of Winston in the future because he seems like a great guy and Maggie does deserve to find an equal.

It’s finally time for Richard’s presentation, and Teddy, Hayes, and Maggie are all sitting together while Winston sits a few rows away. We see that a bunch of doctors back at Grey Sloan Memorial including Jackson, Catherine, and Bailey have gathered in a conference room to watch a live-stream of Richard’s presentation. Meredith and Zola are watching together from their living room with a big bowl of popcorn too. Richard takes the stage, and Catherine tells Jackson that Richard looks good, which is the last thing her son wants to hear. Richard starts his speech by saying that with the help of his wife, he believes that he has found a way to cure cancer. Everyone at Grey Sloan Memorial looks confused, especially Catherine. Richard pulls up sketches on the screen to present his idea, but we see that they are childlike drawings that have nothing to do with medicine.

At this point, the other doctors in the audience and at home are starting to realize that something is wrong. Catherine thinks that Richard might be drunk. Zola asks Meredith what is happening because she even realizes something is wrong with Uncle Richard. Meredith goes to grab her phone, while Richard’s next slide is a picture of roughly drawn heart with Catherine’s name crossed out in the middle. Maggie starts to run down to the stage and tells Teddy to go get an oxygen tank. When she gets on stage, Maggie tells Richard that she wants to take him home because he isn’t feeling well. Things go from bad to worse when Richard doesn’t recognize Maggie. Hayes comes on the stage to help, but Richard gets defensive because he doesn’t recognize him either.

Maggie yells to the audience that she thinks her father is having a stroke and asks for someone to call 911. Richard is wheeled out on a stretcher and wants to know what is happening. He realizes that Catherine was never there, which is another sad moment. Everyone at the hospital is in shock, Meredith is in shock at home, and every member of the audience can’t believe that we might have witnessed the final fall of Richard Webber. Here’s to hoping that this isn’t the beginning of the end of Richard’s story because it would be too unbearable to lose him and Alex in the same season.


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