Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Grey’s Anatomy 17x07 Recap: “Helplessly Hoping” (The Hero) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Helplessly Hoping”
Original Airdate: March 11, 2021

If you’ve been missing the drama of Grey’s Anatomy for the past three months, then this midseason premiere is for you! The two-hour Station 19/Grey’s Anatomy crossover event is a must-see for all fans. It’s intense, emotional, and one heck of a pulse-pounding ride. Haven’t seen both episodes yet? I can’t stress how important it is to watch the midseason premiere of Station 19 first, so make sure you carve out some time to watch for the sake of closure.


The story of the crossover picks up immediately on Station 19 from the endings of the previous Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy episodes before carrying straight through the end of the Grey’s Anatomy hour. This will more than likely be the case with the next episodes on March 18. Both episodes take place over the course of the same day. For those who missed Station 19, Carina and Andrew DeLuca continue their chase of sex trafficker Opal. They stealthily follow her car as she drives through Seattle to meet up with another potential player within the sex trafficking ring. All the while, the siblings try to get the authorities to help but the Seattle PD is about as helpful as they were the previous day when the Station 19 crew suspected a kidnapping situation. 

The exasperated siblings get in touch with Station 19’s Captain Maya Bishop, who is Carina’s girlfriend. The firefighters don’t want to wait for the police to get involved, so they decide to jump into action. Ben Warren and Jack Gibson set out in an ambulance to find the DeLucas and provide backup while Maya continues to hound the police and eventually gets the cops and the FBI involved. The DeLucas eventually follow Opal to a train station and board the same train as her and tell the firefighters to meet them at the next station. Opal starts to suspect that she is being followed and makes a phone call while on the train before getting off at the first stop. Andrew quickly runs after her with Carina not too far behind. He gets within a few feet of Opal when a burly man runs right into him. Opal walks out of the doors where the cops and firefighters are and is promptly arrested. Inside, Carina finds Andrew on the floor bleeding. The man that walked into him stabbed him in the abdomen, and he’s losing blood quickly. Luckily, the Station 19 crew runs in and transports him to Grey Sloan Memorial in their ambulance, which signals the end of the first episode.

Grey’s Anatomy picks up immediately with Ben, Jack, Maya, Carina, and Andrew in the ambulance on their way to Grey Sloan Memorial, and Andrew is now coughing up blood. We are then treated to a nice montage of what the other doctors were up to that morning: Maggie and Winston are enjoying some grown-up time, as are Nico and Schmitt, a hardcore workout is Jackson’s way of coping with the events of the previous day, Teddy FaceTimes with her kids, Bailey is passed out in a chair at Meredith’s bedside, and Mer is enjoying a gorgeous sunset (or sunrise) on her beach. 

Jo is still treating Val, the new mother whose baby arrived prematurely in the first half of the season. Val is now septic and very disappointed that she can’t see baby Luna until she beats the infection. The scene changes back to Winston and Maggie’s happy hotel room, where they are oblivious to the outside world. Winston has ordered room service breakfast and Maggie is the happiest she has been in a long time, especially because she was able to shut her brain off for a night. She picked the wrong night though, as she still isn’t aware that Mer was put on a ventilator. Amelia has been attempting to call and text Maggie for hours to no avail. Amelia starts to lose her cool about not being able to get in contact with one sister and having another sister on the brink of death, and Zola accidentally overhears the conversation. Poor Zola asks whether her mom is going to die, and Amelia is so shocked that she doesn’t know what to say.


Back at the hospital, Owen and Schmitt wait in the ambulance bay for the incoming trauma. However, they were not aware who they would be treating until the rig’s doors opened and Carina, Ben, and Maya jumped out and wheeled Andrew’s gurney out. Carina tearfully begs Owen to save her brother before they go inside. In a trauma room, Owen quickly finds that Andrew has fluid in his abdomen and around his heart. He’s still bleeding profusely and has a hemothorax, which means Owen will need to put in a chest tube with his patient conscious. Ben helps Owen while Maya and Carina watch in horror. Owen wants to move Andrew to the OR immediately, and Helm happens to walk past and see what’s going on.

Upstairs, Richard goes to visit Mer but is stopped in the doorway by Helm who informs him about Andrew; Richard quickly runs off to help. The scene shifts back to Mer’s beach. Mer is looking out at the ocean and the crashing waves with Andrew standing next to her. He asks her if they are alive, and Mer believes they are. The fact that they can talk to each other should be a hint at Andrew’s current situation.

Over at the Grey/Shepherd/Pierce residence, Amelia manages to calm down Zola and finds Link outside again walking Scout around to get him to fall asleep. Amelia continues to freak out about not being able to contact Maggie. She also doesn’t know what to tell Zola. Link convinces Amelia not to go hunt Maggie down; instead, he will find a way to get in contact with Maggie.

Back at the hospital, Schmitt runs into Ben and asks him to tell Carina that Andrew is stable and heading into surgery. Ben is looking at a photo of Opal on his phone, which Schmitt sees and instantly wants to throw up when he realizes who it is. He immediately thinks that Andrew’s injuries are his fault because he treated Opal the night before and let her leave the hospital. Ben assures him that Schmitt did nothing wrong, but that doesn’t stop Schmitt’s downward spiral.

Teddy has finished her shift and decides to visit Tom in order to be in a room where someone doesn’t hate her. Tom looks like he is doing much better today and starts chatting up a storm. He even admits to visiting Mer the day before, which is probably the source of his good mood. Teddy informs him that she had to put Mer on a vent a few hours ago, which upsets Tom. He asks Teddy to have a seat and picks a heck of a moment to have a hard-truth conversation. Tom explains to Teddy that he doesn’t hate her but he needs to hear her admit that she never loved him in order for him to move on. He doesn’t expect her to say it right this second, but wants to hear it soon so he can start over if he beats COVID. Teddy looks broken but is paged away before anything else can be said.

Richard finds Owen on his way to the OR and asks to scrub in on Andrew’s surgery. Owen explains that Richard hasn’t operated in some time and this will be a complicated surgery that will need surgeons that know how to operate as if they are in a war zone. Richard tries to convince Owen that he’s the best man for the job because Bailey is still sleeping and Teddy just got off a 24-hour shift that ended with putting Mer on a vent. He also wants to repay the favor of Andrew saving his life a few months prior. Owen isn’t moved by Richard’s pleas and asks him to get Teddy since she will be able to handle the situation no matter what mental state she is in. It also appears that Owen has been acting like he’s in a war zone since the pandemic began, which explains why he has been so emotionally unavailable. 

Intern Khan brings the latest set of Val’s labs to Jo, which shows that their patient’s liver is failing. Hayes then walks up and informs Jo that Luna needs an operation to remove a small growth on her lung and wants to know if she would like to tell Val with him. They go to Val’s room, and Hayes tells her that Luna’s surgery should be simple. Val is distraught that Luna can’t be held and that she still can’t see her. Jo decides that enough is enough and that it wouldn’t cause much harm to let Val see Luna for a few minutes before the surgery. In an on-call room, Nico consoles a distressed Schmitt. He recalls the previous night’s events and feels that he should have put the pieces together. Nico tells Schmitt that he’s not in a state to scrub in on Andrew’s surgery and that he’ll find a surgeon who is up for the job.


Andrew’s surgery gets underway with Owen, Teddy, and Khan, who is the perfect choice to replace Schmitt with his background in vascular surgery in Pakistan. Even though she was running on fumes moments earlier, Teddy seems ready to go and is immediately in the zone. The three surgeons try to work as fast as possible to repair the extreme damage. The injuries are far worse than they imagined: the knife went through Andrew’s spleen, stomach, diaphragm, and pericardium. They quickly realize Andrew’s spleen needs to be removed, and they give him six units of blood in a short span of time. Richard watches the surgery from the gallery and prays for God to not take Andrew. Carina and Maya wait for news in the chapel, where Carina is a total wreck. She’s not processing the day’s events well, and who can blame her. She tells Maya a very moving story about how her and Andrew are two halves of the same whole in another grab the tissues moment. 

Andrew’s blood pressure begins to rise, which is great news for the audience and the surgeons. Teddy places a drain to finish the surgery, and Andrew survives the touch-and-go procedure. Owen and Teddy bring the good news to Carina and Maya and tell the overjoyed couple that the damage was more extensive than they thought, but Andrew will live. Carina’s reaction is beyond relief, and she looks like she wants to smother Owen with love. On the way out, Teddy thanks Owen for letting her in on the surgery. Owen ruins the nice moment by saying that he only did it for Andrew, not her.

Maggie and Winston are still enjoying each other’s company when they are interrupted by a knock on the door. Winston opens the door to find a confused Jackson standing there. Reminder: Jackson and Winston have not met and aren’t familiar with each other. Neither man makes any effort to introduce themselves to the other, and Jackson thinks he has the wrong room until Maggie pops into view. Jackson says that Link called him to help find her because Link and Amelia need her to go home. Maggie, Winston, and Jackson arrive at the house and are greeted by Link, who immediately picks up on the extremely awkward situation and gets them all beers even though it is still morning.

In the NICU, Hayes is angry with Jo for suggesting that they allow Val to see Luna and explains that he needs to look out for the baby. Jo claps back by asking if he was nice before his wife died and goes on to say how she too lost the love of her life and that he might as well have died, but she still cares about other people. Hayes brings up how Mer was fine one minute then went on a vent. Jo wants to know if he would act the same way if it were Mer’s kid that he was taking care of, which effectively ends the argument. Hayes agrees to let Val see Luna for five minutes and doesn’t answer Jo’s question.

Teddy finds Richard in the COVID ward and tells him that Andrew is awake. Richard hasn’t woken up Bailey to tell her any of the day’s events yet. Back on the beach, Andrew and Mer walk side-by-side and have a great conversation about everything that is wrong in the world. Like the hero he is, Andrew backs up his decision by saying, “What I did — following that woman and not letting her get away with it, not letting her get away, not letting her harm another single human being. Yeah, it was dangerous, but it made sense. It's the only thing that made sense. So I don't regret it.” His speech is Andrew at his finest and is him right to his core. It’s really touching to see him be able to process his actions and be unapologetic for saving countless lives even though it wasn’t his job to do so. The scene changes to the ICU, where Carina visits her brother. He is on a vent, but is awake and responsive. Carina reveals that Opal and the guy who stabbed Andrew have been arrested, which is a great ending to the sex trafficking arc.

Teddy visits Tom again, and he wants details on the surgery. She cagily says that it was a trauma that went well and doesn’t tell him who her patient is. Tom’s oxygen saturation is up, which is another good sign for his recovery. Teddy then blurts out that she did love Tom and tried so hard not to because she also loved Owen. Tom doesn’t want to hear the truth; he only wants to hear what he wants her to say. He very rightly retorts by telling Teddy that she and him would be together if she really loved him. Tom explains again what he wants to hear from Teddy and why. So Teddy, with tears in her eyes, says the one thing she never wanted to say. Tom thanks her for telling him that she never loved him, even though Teddy’s face says that she didn’t mean a word of it.

Link, Jackson, and Winston are awkwardly hanging out in the backyard with Link still bouncing Scout so he won’t become a human ambulance (which is also the best one-liner of the episode). Link wants to know what will become of his life if Mer doesn’t survive. Jackson wants Link to give himself a break and says that Mer is also family to him. They all have reasons why they want Mer to survive and not all the reasons have to be selfless. Link doesn’t want the kids to grow up without both their parents and then apologizes to Jackson for having him find Maggie. Winston wonders why Link said that and comes to the realization that the man sitting next to him is his girlfriend’s ex. Inside the house, Amelia and Maggie are having their own private conversation in one of the bedrooms. Maggie feels that they need to step up and tell the kids what is going on. She explains that Mer told the kids everything about Derek, so they owe it to the kids to be truthful about Mer’s situation. 


Before we get to see Amelia and Maggie follow through on that conversation, the scene goes back to the hospital where Jo and Hayes are bringing Luna to see Val before her surgery. As they approach Val’s room, alarms indicating a code start going off. Jo rushes to help and finds that Val is crashing. Owen visits Andrew, who seems to be comfortable. Out of nowhere, Andrew starts crashing and blood starts pouring out of his nose. Owen calls some other doctors in and starts ripping staples out of Andrew’s body. With the chest cavity open, Owen starts throwing clumps of clotted blood onto the floor and thinks Andrew is going into cardiac tamponade. He yells for someone to page Teddy and have her meet them in the OR.

As he starts transporting Andrew, Owen has the other doctors enact massive transfusion protocol. There’s blood all over the hallway as they rush to the OR. Teddy bursts into the OR a few minutes later, and Owen exclaims that Andrew has gone into DIC. They work furiously to save their colleague’s life, but Andrew starts to crash again. Owen starts cardiac massage in an attempt to get Andrew’s heart beating normally. At the same time, Jo and Schmitt try to save Val and shock her a few times to restart her failing heart.

The action is interrupted by a quick scene showing Amelia and Maggie telling Zola that Mer was put on a vent that morning. Zola is familiar with what a vent is and wants to know if Mer will come off it because her dad never did. Her aunts truthfully explain that they don’t know, but they hope she will. Zola asks them to not tell Bailey and Ellis unless it is necessary because they are too young to understand. It’s incredible that such a mature thought comes from such a young child. Zola cries while Maggie holds her hand and gives her a hug.

At the hospital, Hayes and Luna return to the NICU after a successful surgery. Jo sadly tells Hayes that Val didn’t survive and that the baby is going to need to be a trooper. Hayes says that he was nicer before his wife died, which answers one of Jo’s earlier questions. Jo apologizes by saying she shouldn’t have made that comment and they make up. Hayes exits the NICU, and Jo sanitizes her hands so she can touch Luna’s hand while tears stream down her face. Oddly, neither doctor seemed to have any idea that Andrew was in critical condition all day.

Nico walks into an on-call room to console a distraught Schmitt for the second time. Schmitt can’t believe that he and Jo lost Val and that Andrew was okay and now he might not be. He goes into full breakdown mode and gives a speech about wasting so many years trying to be someone else and being afraid of what people would think. He feels that he has been wasting all the time he was supposed to be happy. Nico hugs him, which doesn’t seem to be enough.

Bailey finally wakes up after sleeping the day away, and Richard is standing there waiting to talk to her. He tells her what happened to Andrew, as the scene quickly flashes to the OR to show Owen and Teddy needing to push a round of epinephrine directly into Andrew’s heart. The scene shifts again to Mer’s beach, where Andrew is trying to build a sand castle before the tide comes in. The tide swells and wrecks the castle, which is the perfect metaphor for him having more to do in life and his time is running out. The moment the sand castle gets destroyed is when you should know Andrew is probably not making it off the OR table. 

Andrew launches into a beautiful speech which also indicates he is saying goodbye. “I don't know what happens from here, Meredith,” he says. “No matter what happens, I want you to know that I've never felt seen the way you saw me. I've never felt inspired the way you inspired me. You made me want to be not just my best self, but better. And yeah, I felt small around you sometimes. I felt insecure. I wanted something from you that I needed to give myself. But here, now, on this beach with you, I get it. I don't just get it, I feel it. I know who I am, my strength.” Mer is the only one with dry eyes at this point, and she asks him if he would like to take a walk and watch the sunset. He wants to feel this moment first and hold onto it a little longer.

Back in the OR, things are not looking good for Andrew. Teddy and Owen shock his heart several times. We are then transported back to the beach where Mer and Andrew are sitting and watching the sun set. A woman calls out from the other side of the beach, and Andrew recognizes his mother in the distance and is very happy to see her again. “I’ll miss you. If I go back and you don’t, I’ll miss you,” Mer says. Andrew responds by saying, “You’ll be okay, Meredith. I have to go.” Andrew gets up and runs down the beach to embrace his mom in a huge hug. Mer watches and smiles, accepting the fact that Andrew has made his choice.

We cut back to reality, where Andrew has been down in the OR for 40 minutes. Teddy and Owen look at each other with exasperated expressions because neither knows how to restart his heart. She begs Owen with her eyes to keep trying to save Andrew, but Owen slightly shakes his head in shocked acknowledgment that there is nothing more they can do. No one in the OR wants to call the time of death, and the flat lining buzz sound is incredibly ominous. Khan decides to call time of death. The episode ends with a shot of Andrew and his mom walking away together on the beach. He looks back at Mer just long enough to wave before walking away forever. 

Andrew DeLuca’s death comes as a massive shock. I never thought the repercussions of Andrew trying to stop a sex trafficker would lead to his untimely death. The show handled his demise beautifully though by allowing him to die a brave hero instead of a broken man in the midst of a manic breakdown. Andrew was able to turn his life around this season and showed what an amazing doctor he had turned out to be. His loss will be felt tremendously through the fanbase and the fictional hospital. It will be interesting to see how the loss will affect the characters, and we know that the death will put one over the edge. Best bets are Bailey, Richard, Maggie, Teddy, or Schmitt who were already teetering. Also, if Mer wakes up, how will she handle the loss of her ex-boyfriend? Will she handle it as well as her mother’s death, who she similarly saw pass on in a dream-like state? 

For those of you that are heartbroken, showrunner Krista Vernoff has said that this will not be the last we see of Andrew DeLuca. He will appear again this season, whether through flashbacks or on the beach remains to be seen. Last but not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a quick shout out to the incredible Giacomo Gianniotti for his brilliant work as Dr. Andrew DeLuca. He brightened every scene he was in over the past six years and will be sorely missed. 


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