Friday, December 17, 2021

Grey’s Anatomy 18x08 Recap: “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” (Happy Holidays) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”
Original Airdate: December 16, 2021

We’ve made it to the midseason finale of Grey’s Anatomy, and it’s another season with a doozy of a cliffhanger. Every major storyline of the season goes downhill in epic fashion in typical Grey’s Anatomy style. Let’s dig into the chaos we will be thinking all winter about until the medical drama returns on February 24, 2022.


This biggest storyline of the episode has to be the return of the classic Grey’s car crash. We haven’t gotten one of these juicy scenes in a few seasons, but every time they roll around, viewers are in for a dramatic treat. The Grey’s Anatomy car crashes always shake things up for better and worse, and this one could have big implications. Farouk is still on ECMO, and Megan hasn’t left his side in weeks. She looks terrible and beyond worn down. Hayes comes into the CCU to check on Farouk and suggests that he stay in the room for a bit so Megan can take a little break. Megan refuses to leave and instead tells Hayes that she does not plan on living without Farouk. She doesn’t want to survive the pain of losing her child, so she has decided to commit suicide if Farouk dies. Hayes is extremely concerned for her safety, and it’s quite a haunting moment for the viewers too.

Owen and Teddy spend the morning getting ready for Christmas at home and wrapping presents for the kids before going to Noah’s funeral. It’s sad that Noah didn’t make it, but Teddy feels that his wife might be a bit relieved that he isn’t in pain anymore. Owen doesn’t want to talk about the subject at all, and we will find out why by the end of the episode. When the couple gets to the hospital, they both get paged by Winston to go to Farouk’s room. They find Megan sobbing and find out that they have found a donor heart for Farouk in Tacoma. The Hunt family rejoices at the news, then Owen and Teddy get ready to go retrieve the donor heart themselves. Hayes catches them as they get in a car to leave and decides to go along since Farouk is his patient. 

The three doctors are driven by some random guy whose job and name are never given. It takes half an hour of Hayes listening to Owen and Teddy talk about how great it is that Farouk is getting a new heart before he decides to bring up the real reason he tagged along. He doesn’t know how to tell them what Megan told him, so Hayes tries to explain how worried he is about Megan. He believes she is deeply depressed and needs real help. He stops short of saying her plan as Owen says that the new heart will fix her mood. Owen also tells Hayes that Megan already goes to therapy and will be fine. He didn’t convince me or Hayes though. 

They retrieve the donor heart and are on their way back to Grey Sloan Memorial when tragedy strikes. Out of nowhere, the driver of the car starts having some sort of medical issue. Owen, who is sitting in the passenger seat, tries to get the man’s attention, but he passes out. Owen grabs the wheel of the car and swerves to avoid the other cars on the road while the driver’s foot is still on the gas. The car sharply turns, hits a tree, and stops on its side right on the edge of a 100-foot cliff. 

The doctors are shaken up but haven’t sustained any apparent injuries. The cooler that the donor heart is in didn’t sustain damage either, which is a big relief to everyone. Owen believes the driver had a stroke, but there’s nothing they can do for him until help arrives. However, no one’s phone is working, so they start to panic about how they are going to get out of the situation. Owen finds a small tool in the car, so he passes it back to Hayes and has him smash the window as a possible escape route. Hayes winds up getting a cut from broken glass, and they all decide that they can’t risk shifting weight and leaving the car since it could send them down the cliff. They hope the GSM staff will realize that something must be wrong if they haven’t arrived and will send help, but Teddy worries they won’t be found since they are off the main road. 

Eventually, the doctors come to an agreement that someone needs to take the heart and go get help, but they have a harder time deciding who that will be. Teddy wants Hayes to survive because she doesn’t want his kids to potentially lose both parents. Owen counters that if Teddy doesn’t go, their two kids could lose both their parents at the same time. Hayes agrees with Owen and tells Teddy to climb over him and out the window to safety. He asks Teddy to tell his kids that they will be okay if they call their aunt if he perishes. Teddy says a tearful goodbye to the men and makes her way out of the car, which then starts to move a little further off the side of the cliff.

Teddy finds her way back to the road and has to wait a minute or two for another car to drive by. She flags down a car and asks for help, which is the last we see of her for the episode. A short time later, Owen knows that the car is going to fall down the cliff, so he convinces Hayes that they need to try to escape. He’s not sure if he will make it and reveals that he gave Noah medication to end his own life. Owen tells Hayes he made the same pact with three other soldiers and asks him to carry on for him if he doesn’t survive. The medication is already in his truck, and Noah’s widow will know who to get it to. Hayes most certainly does not agree and really doesn’t want any part of Owen’s death pact. He jumps out of the window right as the car, with Owen still inside, slides down the cliff. The episode ends here, so Owen’s fate will be left hanging for the next two months. Fingers crossed we don’t lose the whole Hunt family in the midseason premiere.


In semi-less-dramatic news, the Parkinson’s project has made its way to Seattle for a few days after it started attracting too many eyeballs in Minnesota. Hamilton and Kai have joined Meredith and Amelia at Grey Sloan Memorial for the day they have all been waiting for. The FDA has approved their experimental Parkinson’s treatment and gave them a 72-hour window to do the surgery on Hamilton. Richard is none too pleased to see Hamilton at Grey Sloan Memorial, as there is some old resentment between them, but even he isn’t allowed to know what the occasion is. 

In continuation from the last episode, Link has decided to go to Minnesota to declare his love to Amelia and tell her that they can be together without getting married. He announces his plan to Jo, who isn’t happy to hear that her crush is going to make a big romantic gesture to someone else. Jo volunteers to watch Scout, so Link makes his way to the airport. Little does he know that Amelia is actually in Seattle, which Jo finds out the hard way when she gets into the same elevator as Amelia at the hospital. Jo quickly calls Link and tells him not to get on the plane, so he turns around. She also talks out loud to herself about her new-found feelings for Link that she needs to shove back down to whatever hole of desperation they crawled out of. 

Mer has a nice conversation with Hayes in a lounge prior to the latter leaving on that previously mentioned fateful trip. The two are genuinely happy to see each other, and the ease of their conversation is not lost on me. Who else wants to see Mer, Nick, and Hayes all in Seattle at the same time just to see what happens? 

Hayes is having trouble getting into the holiday spirit because his wife loved Christmas. Mer understands his grief perfectly and reveals that hers is getting more tolerable since her brush with death by COVID. She tells Hayes about her beach dreams with Derek and how they felt so real that she really thought she was with him. She still feels that he is with her every day, which has helped her a lot lately. Mer also says that she heard Hayes talking to her about her kids while she was on the beach and thanks him for helping her. Hayes is really glad to hear Mer’s story and feels that it’s exactly what he needed to hear. He’s honored she shared it with him and thanks her for the help too. A little while later, Mer is incredibly nervous about the surgery and is consoled outside by Amelia. The anxiety gets to Mer, who vomits on the pavement then declares that she feels much better.

Mer goes to do her pre-surgery exam on Hamilton, only to find him in pain. Amelia and Kai are in the room too, and they are not happy that Hamilton is trying to hide a possibly surgery postponing issue. Kai found that Hamilton has a low-grade fever, and Mer finds that he has a rigid abdomen that requires imaging immediately. The scans review that Hamilton has a perforated bowel and will need surgery to fix it. He gets angry at Mer when she tells him they will have to postpone the Parkinson’s surgery and will need to get a new window from the FDA. Hamilton urges her to be the rebel Meredith Grey who breaks the rules because he still wants the Parkinson’s treatment. Mer is unwilling to break the FDA’s rules this time because the treatment is greater than just one patient. Hamilton accuses Mer of not being committed to curing Parkinson’s, but rather using the project as a stepping stone to curing other cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s. 

Upstairs, Link has made it back to the hospital and pulls Jo out of a consult to run his speech by her. Link gives an impassioned speech that he plans to say to Amelia, and it’s almost too much for Jo to listen too. He feels confident enough to talk to Amelia, so he goes to find her. Amelia is outside trying to console Kai, who is very upset that Hamilton’s brain surgery has been pushed. Amelia tries a type of meditation technique to help Kai, who is grateful for the help. The two then kiss for the first time, which is exactly when Link walks outside. Link is shocked and devastated to see Amelia kissing Kai. He goes back inside without letting his presence be known.

In the OR, Mer is scrubbing in for Hamilton’s abdominal surgery when he starts going downhill. With the monitors furiously beeping, Mer gets ready as fast as she can and starts cutting. It doesn’t seem likely that Mer will go through with Hamilton’s request to break the rules, especially since it appears the current surgery is going to be rougher than anticipated. We won’t know until the mid-season premiere whether Hamilton survives and will still be a candidate for the Parkinson’s treatment.


The final plot of the episode centers around the residency program. Bailey arrives at work with Ben in tow as they try to sync their schedules to have time to fight to keep baby Pru. They are interrupted by Jordan Wright, who is pumped for his first day as a resident at GSM. He brought Bailey a coffee, but she prefers her smoothie so Ben takes the coffee. Ben is glad to see that Bailey has a passionate fan.

Bailey then makes her way to the skills lab to dole out the residents’ schedules for the day with Richard. They introduce Wright to the group, and he decides to give an impromptu speech about how happy he is to be there. The other residents are weirded out in a funny moment, but it is nice to see someone excited to work. Richard assigns Schmitt and Helm a surgery together and has Wright working with him. Wright politely asks for a rain check and tells Richard that he came to Seattle to learn from Bailey. Richard is a little stunned, but Bailey is glad to have the opportunity to teach again.

Schmitt and Helm go to meet their patient, whom Schmitt recognizes as a podcaster that he regularly listens to. The fact that Schmitt is getting a little too chummy with the patient is a red flag, and even Helm doesn’t seem comfortable with Schmitt’s attitude. Schmitt is getting a little too confident and thinks he is an expert surgeon for participating in the Webber Method. His hubris will come back to bite him shortly.

Maggie is back roaming the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial and is not happy to learn about the Webber Method from an excited Richard. She can’t believe that he and Bailey are okay with letting inexperienced residents operate on their own without any supervision. Richard assures her that the residents are more than capable and aren’t doing the risky parts of the surgeries without an attending present. Maggie doesn’t care that it’s working well for the general surgery department and declares she will not let residents operate alone on cardiothoracic surgeries even though Richard hopes to expand the program to the other departments. Richard tries to convince her otherwise by bringing her around the galleries of the residents’ surgeries so she can see first-hand how the program works, but he ultimately won’t be successful.

Over in an OR, Wright and Bailey perform a surgery together. Bailey is very impressed with Wright’s technique and doesn’t understand why he didn’t want to do the Webber Method when it’s clear he could flawlessly do the whole surgery himself. Wright explains how he likes to learn directly from his mentors so he can learn their quirks and styles to make him a better surgeon. Bailey is very impressed with her new resident, and Wright should definitely climb the ranks at the hospital quickly.

In another OR, Schmitt and Helm are ready to operate on the podcaster. Schmitt asks the scrub nurses to turn on an episode of the patient’s podcast after he asks the patient if it would be okay for them to listen to it while they operate. Helm doesn’t think listening to the podcast is a good idea because it’s soothing to the point where it makes you want to fall asleep, which is not ideal for surgeons who need to be very much wide awake. Schmitt snaps back that she can pick what they listen to when she is lead surgeon, and he seems calmed enough by the podcast that he thinks it will help them. They get through most of the procedure quickly and easily. When they get to the more difficult part, they briefly stop to page an attending to assist. Schmitt decides that he doesn’t want to wait a few minutes for an attending before proceeding. He feels that since he has performed the surgery nearly 40 times now, he can continue on his own. 

As soon as Schmitt continues the surgery, Helm spots a bleeder that turns into a mega pumper. The show turns from medical drama to horror movie instantly, with blood spraying all over the place. The residents have no idea where the blood is coming from or how to stop it. The attendings all get pages for whoever is available to go to the OR immediately. Bailey decides to scrub out of her surgery with Wright to find out what is going on and leaves Wright to close the patient. 

Bailey, Richard, and Maggie show up in the OR at the same time and find Schmitt and Helm standing in a pool of what looks like the patient’s entire blood volume. The attendings are horrified at the scene in front of them. Bailey coldly asks what happened, and Helm runs through every moment of the surgery including why they continued without an attending. Bailey then flatly tells Schmitt to call time of death and stops Helm when she tries to call it. Bailey insists that Schmitt needs to face up to what he did and call the time of death since it was his patient that died. A stunned Schmitt calls the time of death, and Bailey turns to Richard and tells him that this is on him. Could this be the end of the Webber Method? Should one bad outcome erase the several hundred successful outcomes that the program has had? What punishments will Schmitt have to face? This midseason finale leaves a lot of questions waiting to be answered in what promises to be a very rocky start to the second half of the season.


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