Ted Lasso, Rom-Coms, and Emotional Vulnerability

Why is it important that a show about men who play soccer did a rom-com homage?

Getting Rid of the Stigma: Mental Illness in Young Adult Fiction by Megan Mann

In this piece, Megan brilliantly discusses the stigma of mental illness in literature and how some young adult novels are helping to change the landscape for this discussion.

Dickinson Behind-the-Scenes: An Interview With the Artisans

Meet the artists who brought the Apple TV+ series to life!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Welcome to Wrexham is About More Than Football [Contributor: Jenn]

(Photo credit: FX)

The first five episodes of Welcome to Wrexham function like act one in an inspirational sports film.

The series is a story of a small town soccer (football, from here on out since we're in the U.K. for most of the series) team in Wrexham, Wales. The long-standing team was really struggling in the lowest division of their league. That's when actors Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds decided to team up, step in, and purchase the club.

WHY WREXHAM?


The significance of Wrexham is that it's a passionate working-class town that's rallied around their team — and that's one of the things that draws Rob to Wrexham in the first place. "The team becomes an extension of the city," he says. "Even as a kid I remember that gave me something to identify with."

Rob, of course, is talking about his hometown and the Philadelphia Eagles. And he's right: the passion a community has for their sports team is impressive, especially when that team is an underdog. The memories made at those games aren't always connected to the scoreboard — they're often about the people you're sharing the experience with. At its core, that's what Welcome to Wrexham is about. It's a look into the people who make up a team like Wrexham A.F.C., and that the concept of "team" extends far beyond the players themselves.

Rob says: "Even though I've never been [to Wrexham], the town reminds me of Philadelphia. ... It's a town that's had its ups and downs and they haven't had a lot of opportunity that other people have had. I feel like I know those people. I grew up with those people. I am one of those people."

When Rob began considering becoming the owner of a football team, he realized something: "I needed something more than TV money. I needed movie star money. More than that, I needed superhero movie star money. More than that, probably as we ascended up the leagues, I would need alcohol baron money. And mobile phone services money. And... what other companies does [Ryan] have?"

Ryan, meanwhile, talks less about the community aspect of sports and more about the game itself. Growing up in a working class family, his drive to play sports came from wanting to connect with and be validated by his dad. So naturally, Rob and Ryan teamed up (having never actually met in person) and bought a football club.

As someone who has little to no interest in football, I have to admit that I was intrigued by Welcome to Wrexham but actually stayed mostly because of the storytelling. As a series, it doesn't shy away from the pain and struggles that come from enduring change upon change. Because it's a docuseries and not a fictional film, Wrexham as a team doesn't magically become better overnight. Just because two wealthy celebrities acquire a football team doesn't mean circumstances immediately improve; there's a lot of work and uncertainties ahead. "There is a version of the story where we are villains," Rob quips at the beginning of the series, noting that if he and Ryan lose money and the team doesn't win, they'll have to sell the club.

"We really don't want to let them down," Ryan says in the first episode.

TOUGHER CALLS


And there's no getting around the fact that things are hard from the get go: Ryan and Rob make tough decisions about players in the first episode, they ultimately have to cut a number of team members, and they seem to keep running into obstacle after obstacle, financial and otherwise. But they're persistent in their dedication to making the team the best it can be — and also winning games to move up the leagues. That last part is important. Rob's persistence, in particular, should be noted. He's not the kind of person who gives up easily when there's an obstacle in his way (hiring a head coach, for instance) and it shows. That's what Wrexham A.F.C. needs, though: a pair who will make the tough calls and do what's necessary to create the best team and environment, critically one that sets its players up for success.

But as much as I do enjoy Rob and Ryan as actors, I was glad that Welcome to Wrexham wasn't really a two-man show all about them. The true standouts in this docuseries are the devoted fans who care about Wrexham. In episode three, we meet Kerry Evans, the Wrexham A.F.C. disability liaison officer. She's a wheelchair user who works at the club full time. We also meet Wayne, a club supporter who says: "This town ... deserves a break. ... We need a break." 

Episode five, "Fearless," showcases Wrexham A.F.C. volunteer Annette Gardner who talks about the way her football family of fans came around her when she lost her husband suddenly. The same episode gives us a glimpse into a kid named Sam who's obsessed with the club. He and his friend meet the players after every game they attend, and Sam has even gotten things signed. Fans are interviewed and focused on at every turn, and their stories are what make Welcome to Wrexham truly take shape for me.

(Relatedly, I also love that Humphrey Ker — Mythic Quest writer and an actor — is the club's executive director and helps not only navigate the practical needs of the club, but also helped Rob and Ryan understand the intricacies of U.K. football. Also thank goodness for Humphrey explaining the football league system/pyramid for my own benefit!)

Welcome to Wrexham isn't a story of Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds, though they are two of the featured players. It is really the story of a town who loves their team and people who will do everything they can to keep that spirit alive.

Overall, if you're looking for a lighter fare and enjoy both sports and docuseries, check out this one! Welcome to Wrexham premieres on FX August 24. You can also watch episodes the next day on Hulu.

Friday, July 15, 2022

The Flash 8x20 Review: "Negative, Part Two" (Finale Frustrations) [Contributor: Deborah M]


“Negative, Part Two”
Original Airdate: June 29, 2022

It’s finale time again! “Negative, Part Two” is as convoluted and haphazard a finale as one would expect from a season full of vague explanations and looming questions lacking satisfactory answers. All the bad habits this show has developed over the years make an appearance, from confusing motivations to convenient character flaws to developments that stretch the suspension of disbelief to the breaking point. It’s definitely not the positive outro we got last season, which makes me respect that finale a whole lot more.

ELIMINATE THE POSITIVE

We start where we left off last week, with the newly-resurrected Reverse Flash and... wait. I know Tom Cavanagh is a decent actor. He’s been fine during most of his run on this show. But what in the world is he doing in this opening scene? Not only do we get growl-acting and William Shatner-esque pauses, but also incomprehensible hand gestures, all of which is really distracting for what should be a tense and emotional moment. I just needed to point this out, because it’s weird.

Anyway, Thawne explains how the Negative Forces chose him to replace the Negative Speed Force and mocks killing both Barry’s mom and Iris. Of course, Barry flips out and attacks Thawne, only backing down with the arrival of Nora and Bart to tell Barry that killing Thawne would make him “just as bad as” the time-traveling mass murderer who has openly admitted that his only goal in life is to make Barry and everyone associated with Barry miserable. 

I’ve beat this drum before, but: no, Barry would not be “just as bad” as Thawne if he killed him. Thawne has proven time and time again that he cannot be contained in a jail and he cannot be changed for the better. While I don’t believe even killing him would solve the problem of this man-shaped bad penny, the fact that the characters refuse to see it as an option is frankly ridiculous. Doubly ridiculous is the idea that Barry killing him would be on equal ground with all Thawne’s past, present, and future crimes. This is a thing the characters bring up not because it’s a moral hard line — Joe has surely killed criminals in his role as a police officer, do Nora and Bart think he’s the same as a time-traveling serial killer? I doubt it! — but because the writers can’t think of another way to keep Eobard Thawne around except by having the characters refuse to kill him. This isn’t about ethics, it’s about poor writing.

Thawne disappears in a burst of black-white nega-sparkles, leaving everyone to convene for an angry meeting of Team Flash in the next scene. Before we go, though: a quick bit of kudos to Kausar Mohammed, the actress playing Meena, for clearly portraying “the love of my life just got his face torn off in front of me” while every other person in the scene focuses on Barry and Barry’s anger instead. Poor Meena’s pain gets almost no consideration despite her love for Eobard being paralleled to Barry and Iris’s love, so it’s good the actress got to give something.

Barry still wants to kill Thawne because he’s absolutely certain that Iris is dead. Yeah, Barry Allen — whose relationship with Iris has been consistent stubborn denial of anything telling them they can’t be together — has immediately given up on ever getting his wife back. Nope. She’s just dead to him now and he’s moved on to revenge. Barry, you know “acceptance” is supposed to be the last stage of grief, right? Not the first? I think Barry might be getting grief confused with having a drinking problem.

Of course Iris isn’t actually dead. She was saved by the Time Stone used by Damien Darhk during the Armageddon storyline at the beginning of this season, delivering her to an echo of an erased timeline, and — hey! Damien Darhk is here! Aw, buddy, I’m as glad to see you as I am annoyed to have to type your name. That stray ‘h’ is just never where my instincts expect it to be.

Darhk is around to be amusing and deliver some exposition on what’s been happening with this convoluted season. Although, since all he does is say that Iris’s time sickness was her being used as an incubator for the new Negative Speed Force avatar and she’s determined enough to defy death, I probably shouldn’t call it exposition. That word has connotations of excessive detail and Darhk’s explanation tells us virtually nothing about how any of this was possible or why it worked. Anyway, Iris also doesn’t feel connected to Barry anymore, which I suppose explains why Barry went full-tilt into despair and revenge — still, even in The Flash’s universe most people don’t feel a supernatural connection to their loved ones and manage to have a little hope.

Iris isn’t the only one visiting deleted timelines! Thawne appears in a static version of that deleted timeline where he and Iris were together. The Negative Forces show up, Tom Cavanagh continues to make weird acting decisions (more incomprehensible arm movements, plus it looks like someone bet him he couldn’t say all his lines without moving his lips and Cavanagh plays to win) and then the Negative Forces turn him into the Negative Speed Force avatar.

Back in the real world, Cecile tries to talk some sense into Barry but is interrupted by a staticky call for help from Bashir, the severely weakened Sage Force. No, it is not adequately explained why time sickness utterly debilitates the Forces while the Negative Forces losing one-fourth of their team only makes them angry and still capable of creating an avatar for a Negative Speed Force that doesn’t exist anymore. We just have to accept it.

Barry, Nora, and Bart try traveling to the Negative Speed Force but the devices fail. Frustrated, Meena zips off in anger to destroy the machine she and Eobard created because she thinks it’s all the machine’s fault, even though I’m pretty sure Eobard would’ve been killed no matter what because of the whole timeline thing. Barry talks her down and asks her to share her speed with him, since she taps into the Negative Speed Force. Why wasn’t she your first option?

All this Negative Speed Force travel stuff culminates in a short scene in which Barry gets there and the Negative Forces show up to blame him for causing all the problems when he cut Thawne off from his speed. Something, something, destroying the Negative Speed Force avatar means Barry “upset the balance” — oh please, the original versions of you guys didn’t even exist until last season! What are you talking about, “the balance”? You’re the ill-conceived creations of a writer’s room running on fumes! “Balance?” I’d “balance” the lot of you into an active volcano.

Thawne’s transformation into an avatar finishes and he gets plopped in the middle of town with a new black suit and a penchant for killing folks at random. Barry, Nora, Bart, and Meena confront him, but Thawne quickly zaps the other three into the past in order to face Barry alone. 

Meanwhile, Cecile has her own thing going on as she tries to strengthen Bashir with the begrudging help of those psychic metas whose powers she accidentally stole. They all do a little seance to call Bashir to them, and Bashir gives Cecile his mask to wear in order to reabsorb her powers and transfer them to him, restoring him and (for some reason) the rest of the Forces. I suspect the original plan was to get one member of Team Flash to help an associated Force, but that obviously fell through so… yeah. Just one needs to be helped and they’re all fine now.

The Forces arrive at the fight between Barry and Thawne, do a glowy thing where they all get absorbed by Barry and give him equal power to Thawne, leading to a drag-out fight that nearly levels the city. Iris “reignites” the spark between her and Barry, which gets her out of the Time Stone and revived in the real world. Jay Garrick zips her to the speedster fight, just in time to talk some sense into Barry about collateral damage, so Barry takes the pacifist option and... meditates Thawne to death? There’s some vague hand-wave explanation about Thawne’s thirst for power leading to his destruction, but yeah. Barry wins the fight by meditating. Thawne is ostensibly dead, but I have no faith he’ll stay that way.

We’ve arrived at the denouement, with Barry and Iris contemplating the inevitable return of a Negative Speed Force avatar while we get an ominous shot of a glowing blue crystal on June 29, 2049. Welp. That’s a problem for the future, I guess. Bye for now, everyone!

Other Things:

  • Caitlin’s plotline: unknown! We don’t see Frost or Caitlin, but Mark looks terrified and confused by whatever comes out of that regeneration chamber.
  • “This is a nice office.” Bashir can join Damien Darhk as the only levity in this episode.
  • “Who’s his new tailor? Satan?!” Okay, there’s also Bart.
  • “It was all ‘aster’ — no ‘dis’.” “I don’t even know what that means.” Let. Grant. Gustin. Do. More. Comedy!

Friday, July 1, 2022

The Flash 8x19 Review: "Negative, Part One" (Converging Convolution) [Contributor: Deborah M]


“Negative, Part One”
Original Airdate: June 22, 2022

The penultimate episode of The Flash’s eighth season has arrived as the first part of a two-part finale — and boy, is it convoluted! I fully expected things to get a little crazy because this season had about ten plots to tie up but not enough content in any of them to slowly roll out information in a way that was intriguing and measured, but this is... a lot. Again, I ask how this show can be eight seasons in and still so bad at pacing.

ACCENTUATE THE NEGATIVE

We start off in 2049, where Bart and Nora are playing some video games before being interrupted by a call from Iris. Then that call is interrupted by Iris disappearing in green sparkles and a younger version of Iris appearing in the room, having been deposited there by our old friend Time Sickness. Or, actually, Deon — but we’ll get to that stuff in a bit. Nora wants to run her not-yet-mom back to the past to get help from Barry, but the same sort of barrier that stopped her and Barry from leaving the Still Force earlier this season is preventing Iris from traveling.

Meanwhile, back in 2022, Barry and Eobard are helping Meena with her training when she decides to push herself too far and gets flung off the superspeed treadmill. Meena has a bit of a freak-out, runs off, and has to be talked down by Barry, who de-masks to reveal his secret identity in order to push the idea of heroes being ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Does Barry enjoy revealing his secret identity to people? Is it just fun for him? Meena is the fourth person this season, after Despero, Chief Kramer, and Mark Blaine. Having calmed down from her crisis, Barry dubs Meena “Fast Track” and they return to the labs.

Over on Lian Yu, Deon kills Thawne by rapidly aging him until he’s naught but a Spirit Halloween decorative mummy. This sends off all kinds of alarms to Team Flash, and Barry zips over to find the corpse. Before anyone’s hopes of Thawne being gone forever get too high, though, the Negative Forces show up to try and kill the other Eobard Thawne. Yeah, that’s right: Negative Forces. The godlike beings the show wasted far too much time on last season, slowly and deliberately converting them from villains to good guys? They’re back, they’re evil again, and they’re duller than ever.

Barry manages to keep the Negative Forces from killing Eobard, but just barely. In the fight, Barry’s speed gets messed up in the same way the accidental lightning bolt from Meena’s Negative Force powers affected him last week. Connecting the dots leads to the Negative Forces realization, and a trip Nora takes from 2049 further reveals that the reason why the Negative Forces are attacking is because cutting Thawne off from the Negative Speed Force disappeared Negative Speed Force Nora and the Negative Forces are now out for revenge. I love writing sentences that would be utterly incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t seen this show. That one’s borderline incomprehensible to people who have seen this show.

Chatting with Nora also helps Barry figure out that Iris’s time sickness was just a way for Iris to infect the other Forces and weaken them, since Negative Deon knew Deon would try to help. It’s not clear why Iris, specifically, was infected or at what point the Negative Forces had access enough to infect her, especially since no one knew they existed before this episode and their existence barely makes sense. The Still Force is the opposite of the Speed Force but there’s also the Negative Still Force and the Negative Speed Force, so they’re opposites of each other and also have extra-extra opposites… Oh, jeez, why do I keep trying to understand the mess of this show’s lore?

Team Flash has to prepare for another showdown with the Forces and Meena is stressing out again and is sorry that Eobard isn’t the one with the super speed, since she never wanted it. Meena’s reservations about being a hero seem to be the closest we get to an emotional foundation of the episode. It’s minor — which is to be expected, since the first of a two-parter isn’t going to be fully formed on levels of character or plot — but it’s there. 

The problem is we don’t know Meena well enough on this, her third episode, to fully dig into what makes her tick. Her fears even shift in the episode, going from the “I want to be a hero but I’m not cut out for it because I’m just a person” panic that Barry helps her through in the beginning to “I never wanted to be a hero, I just wanted to help other people be heroes” panic that Eobard helps her through toward the end. Being a complex person with multiple fears she can’t grasp and verbalize is great for a character, but when it’s all done in the span of an episode it seems like the writers weren’t paying attention and hoped the audience wouldn’t be either.

Anyway, Barry suddenly has the idea of sharing Meena’s powers with Eobard, a thing that has never happened and probably shouldn’t have entered Barry’s mind as possible. The entire conflict of Meena getting powers instead of Eobard is based on the fact that their speedster-generator can only grant speed to one person! And now they can just hold hands and share speed, without halving said speed’s power at all, because Barry suddenly knows that’s a thing? Whatever! Fine! Moving on! Eobard has the Reverse Flash costume and he’s a speedster now.

The fight between Team Flash and the Negative Forces commences, intercut with scenes of Iris having time sickness headaches in the future. Now three speedsters work together against the Negative Forces, while Iris gets visions of events that have happened throughout the episode, including Deon talking about how “sacrifices” must be made. It was assumed that Thawne was the sacrifice, since Deon killed him, but just as Iris realizes that’s not the case, Barry ramps up a lightning bolt to throw at the Negative Forces.

Instead, Deon snaps Iris into the path of the lightning bolt, killing her. As Barry mourns Iris, her body disappears into green sparkles that swoop into Eobard, who starts buckling over in pain. In without a doubt the grossest thing this show has ever done, Eobard peels off his own face to reveal the other Thawne’s face, laughing maniacally.

Other Things:

  • Other plotlines: Cecile can steal other psychic metas’ powers now and she’s becoming the most powerful meta ever, apparently. Maybe we’ll get more info about that next episode. Also, one scene of Caitlin stepping into a machine she and Mark Blaine built to resurrect Frost.
  • The quick-cut edits where Meena’s freaking out by a dumpster weren’t the usual style of this show, but I liked it.
  • Meena, after a Barry-delivered pep talk: “Damn, that’s good.” “I have my moments.” Roughly once an episode, in fact.
  • This episode gets a Cisco mention! I miss you, Cisco.
  • What is this show’s obsession with Tom Cavanagh playing Reverse Flash/Eobard Thawne even though that makes absolutely no sense since that is NOT HIS FACE.

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Flash 8x18 Review: "The Man in the Yellow Tie" (A New-Old Thawne) [Contributor: Deborah M]


“The Man in the Yellow Tie”
Original Airdate: June 15, 2022

This week on The Flash, we have all the telltale signs of an approaching season finale: ramping up the stakes! Surprising guest appearances! More instances of closed captioning-dubbed “dramatic  music” than you can shake a stick at! It’s also so haphazard with its dangling plot threads that I get the impression the writers took a look at everything they had left to explain, then the number of episodes they had left to explain it all in, and just started throwing things at the wall. How has this show been going on for eight freaking seasons and it still has trouble with pacing? Is it a meta-irony because it revolves around speed?

DON’T BE SO NEGATIVE

The episode begins with a voiceover from the newly-introduced Meena Dhawan, who’s running through the woods as part of a training exercise with Barry. As I brought up during last episode’s review, for some reason artificial speed is no longer considered a bad thing, even though it’s been likened to a drug or something all-around dehumanizing, like the Velocity serums or the Artificial Speed Force that made Barry think so fast he forgot emotions. Instead, Barry instantly trusts Meena and is enthusiastic about her project creating fake super speed.

While running, Meena accidentally hits Barry with lightning that makes his own speed-lightning go haywire. Curious about this odd effect of artificial speed on his “natural” speed, Barry decides to pay a visit to Meena’s lab as Barry Allen so he can see the actual device she’s using to create her speed. I’m not sure what logic made Barry visit as Scientist Barry Allen, Friend of the Flash instead of just visiting as the Flash, but since he doesn’t disguise his voice or mannerisms around Meena in any way I’m just going to use it as more evidence that his secret identity is a joke and everyone’s playing along. Because... seriously. There is no way Meena doesn’t recognize Barry.

Speaking of recognizing: Meena’s lab partner is Eobard Thawne, Original Recipe! Holy crap, that means the show did remember that Thawne used to have a face that wasn’t Tom Cavanagh’s face. This raises so many questions. Actually, it mostly raises a single question and that question is “Why did Eobard Thawne keep Tom Cavanagh’s face for hundreds of years?”

Anyway, Barry confronts Thawne, whose convenient case of amnesia means he genuinely doesn’t know what Barry is talking so angrily at him about. I know the show needs to give Barry one fatal flaw and they’ve decided his blind hatred of everything associated with Thawne is it, but do they have to make every interaction he has with him so riddled with secondhand embarrassment? Barry is the dumbest man alive when he’s angry, which means I have to cringe my way through him yelling at two Eobard Thawne faces this week.

Because, yes, Barry goes to see the Tom Cavanagh Thawne, still in jail on Lian Yu, and accuses him of both getting his speed back and changing his face. Amidst all the accusations, Barry figures out that the currently-jailed Thawne had his timeline erased, so the other Thawne must be from a different timeline entirely. This Thawne does recognize the device that Meena and Other-Thawne created together, though, and the reason why interaction between Meena and Barry’s powers was so strange was because Meena taps into the Negative Speed Force with it.

The Negative Speed Force is bad news because it changes the personality of the people connected to it. As previously mentioned, Barry is the dumbest man alive when he’s angry so of course he confronts Original Recipe Thawne and accuses him of wanting to turn Meena into a villain. This cascades into a self-fulfilling prophecy, because Meena sees Barry threatening Thawne and her anger activates the machine, turning her into a villain. Excellent work, Barry! Why are you only ever cool and collected when it makes no sense? When you're dealing with proven murderers you're all "let's forgive and forget and we can all go home happy" but throw a Thawne into the equation and you lose all sense of strategy. 

I feel like there’s an ever-so-slight implication that Evil Thawne’s ongoing issues with being evil might be connected to his use of the Negative Speed Force, because when Meena is under its influence she has some of the same characteristics as Thawne does: not just glowing red eyes, but also a thirst for speed and a fixation on killing Barry. I don’t know if this is intentional or not.

Meena’s run as a villain doesn’t last long. As it turns out, she and Eobard are in love and he sacrificed his dream of being a speedster superhero in order to save her life. When Barry hears Eobard’s story and listens to him beg for him to save Meena, he realizes that this Eobard Thawne is not like the other Eobard Thawne at all.

In the confrontation with Meena, who’s trying to absorb energy from a large dam that would then collapse and kill a lot of people, Eobard uses the Power of Love (a The Flash staple) to drag Meena out of her villainous mindset. Later, when the day is saved and Meena laments not being able to work on her super speed without turning into a villain, Barry revisits the concept of love as a “lightning rod” for speedsters and suggests the two of them use their connection to ground Meena. Sounds like a pretty risky plan, Barry, but okay.

OH, HEY DIGGLE

John Diggle shows up in this episode in maybe the most bizarrely critical but pointless little plot I’ve ever seen on this show. The starting premise is that the Arrowverse has been hinting at Diggle becoming the Green Lantern for ages now, to the point where it seemed like a foregone conclusion that it would happen as soon as he found a glowing green box from outer space.

That glowing green box is what brings him into this episode. He wants the Eobard Thawne on Lian Yu to tell him how to open it before it drives him insane and even further away from his family. Thawne succeeds in getting him to open the box, but Diggle throws it away and rejects the opportunity to become the Green Lantern, thus unraveling the hints and foreshadowing the CW DC universe has been threading throughout shows. Not that Diggle’s reasoning for rejecting the ring in favor of staying with his family wasn’t sound, but it’s very weird to see such a meticulously planted plotline thrown away like that.

Also, Diggle opening the box around Thawne turns out to be the thing necessary for Deon (who’s now evil, maybe?) to find him, which is so incredibly convenient for the wrap-up storyline of this season that I have to assume it was a last-minute addition before the writers started their hiatus. Like... wow. Either way, it’s unclear what Deon wants Thawne for — Thawne is special because he has no timeline, and the only thing Deon says is that it’s time for him to complete his “destiny.” 

Other Things:

  • Third plot of the episode: Cecile’s empath powers are now an offensive weapon and she’s seen superheroing (in a close facsimile of a costume) alone at the end of the episode.
  • I can’t help noticing that Meena’s odd black-glow speedster electricity is very similar to the black-glow flames of Deathstorm. Reusing some favorite special effects settings, there, The Flash?
  • Wait, the show also remembered Time Wraiths exist? So are those guys just on coffee breaks whenever Barry and his family members tinker with time?

Saturday, June 11, 2022

7th Annual Golden Trio Awards — SPECIAL CATEGORY NOMINEES!

Who's ready for some very special awards? We've got a few for you to choose from this year, so whether you're swooning over your OTP or celebrating a new favorite television show, be sure to cast your votes in our Special Category below!

And vote for your favorite COMEDY and DRAMA categories too! 

OTP OF THE YEAR


BEST NEW SERIES


OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE


GUILT-LESS TV PLEASURE


7th Annual Golden Trio Awards — DRAMA NOMINEES!

Welcome to the category that always brings the drama. That's right, it's time for you to vote for your favorite series and performers who made a dramatic impact on you this year! Remember that the top three winners will be chosen next week. And whether it's a period drama, a psychological thriller, or a family drama, these shows brought you all the stress (and tears) this year. 

And be sure to vote in our COMEDY and SPECIAL CATEGORY posts too!

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS


7th Annual Golden Trio Awards — COMEDY NOMINEES!


Welcome to the Comedy category of our Golden Trio Awards!

But for now, be sure to vote for your favorite shows and performers in each of these categories. We gave a lot of love to Mythic Quest and Ted Lasso last year, so you won't see them represented this year. What you will see, however, is a ton of new comedies! So whether you're laughing along with an elementary school crew of teachers, off in your own musical alternate reality, or trying to solve a whodunnit, these shows and performers brought joy this year.

And don't forget to vote in our DRAMA and SPECIAL CATEGORY posts too!

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR



OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS


Welcome to Your 7th Annual Golden Trio Awards!

WELCOME to the 7th Annual Just About Write Golden Trio Awards! 

We are back and ready to reward some of our favorite shows and performers that the "real" awards shows may not. Are you?

You're probably wondering exactly what these award are, and why this is so important to us. Our Golden Trio Awards are named after that famous BFF trio, so that means we actually give away three awards in each category! It's your job to narrow those winners down from the six nominees we've created. (Gold is awarded to the most votes, silver to the next, and bronze to the third highest.)

To give you a bit of a background, my friend and editor Chels is going to explain the Twitter game (see: obsession) that she created a few years ago that has inspired these awards. We run through this every year, but if you're new around here or to the awards, here's a bit of a refresher course!:

So in July 2013 I started this little thing called #Top3 on my Twitter and personal blog as a small scheme to figure out somebody's favorite movie. It quickly escalated into a five-day-a-week competition game with winners and wonderful bragging rights. I'd give people a random Film or TV category and they would respond with their #Top3 choices for the category. No more, no less, and you had to have #RUTHLESSNESS when making your picks. There were three winners because some things just do not compare.   

My Top 3 films (To Kill a Mockingbird, Beauty and the Beast, Lost in Translation), for instance, have nothing in common writing, editing, or directing wise other than the fact that they are films. Honoring multiple pieces shows just how rich we are in quality content. I did this game for about six months before I grew tired of it, but at least once a week since the game ended I've had at least one person ask if I would ever bring it back. It was a fun way to talk about pop culture and get people interested in things they may not have seen.   

I brought the idea of bringing back the game to Jenn a few weeks ago after the Emmy nominations and we brainstormed a way to bring it back in a more self-contained format. We asked all the lovely ladies of this site to fill out their top choices for each category, then Jenn and I compiled all the ballots before narrowing down each category to seven. The overlap in the ballots helped us narrow down and we ruthlessly managed to cut down the rest until we represented as many shows as we could. #Top3 for me was always about showcasing as much great content as possible with all the winners.   

I owe Jenn and the entire Just About Write team a big thank-you for helping me with this elaborate scheme and making me love the idea of #Top3 again. You ladies are amazing and I am proud to be working with you.   

Back to you, Jenn!

When Chels approached me with the idea to combine #Top3 and an awards ceremony a few years ago, I was automatically on board. This year, we compiled nominations together as we always do and Chels and I managed to narrow down the nominations in each category! (Shocking, I know. It was hard!)

We're so excited to be doing this another year and that you all have responded so positively to it over the past few years. In the posts below, you'll be met with a few different ballots:

COMEDY

DRAMA

SPECIAL CATEGORY

Comedy and Drama are pretty self-explanatory, but our Special Category ballots contain an awesome array of fandom-focused categories from OTP of the Year to Favorite Ensemble and more!

The nominations open today and polls will be closed at 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 18. By mid-week that week, I'll round up the top 3 people/shows with the most votes in each category and those will be your third annual Golden Trio Award winners!

Did I mention that we're excited? Because we are! Take time and fill out your ballots. You can vote as many times as you would like. Share on social media! But most importantly, have half as much fun voting in these as we did creating them! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Flash 8x17 Review: "Keep It Dark" (This Little Light) [Contributor: Deborah M]

 

“Keep It Dark”
Original Airdate: June 8, 2022

Welcome back from the little mini-hiatus, everyone! This week on The Flash, the show perpetuates the ridiculous notion that super speed is anything more than a neat gimmick and tries to convince us all that a new speedster in the city is a Really Big Deal. A lot more of the episode is dedicated to Allegra, who’s dealing with truth and her past and all kinds of thematic character-growing stuff that’s good for Allegra, but executed rather clumsily. Par for the course for this show, really.

SHINY, NOT-SO-HAPPY PEOPLE

At the Central City Citizen, Allegra is interim Editor in Chief and everyone seems cool with her except Taylor, the Office Mean Girl. Taylor wants to run an expose about the “light meta” seen with the Flash. I’m briefly confused because Allegra runs around maskless and costume-less, but then it’s revealed that Allegra obscures her face with light when she’s in the field. Fantastic retcon, The Flash! I would’ve loved to have been in the writers’ room when this “Allegra might get outed as a meta” plotline was pitched, outlined, and written up before the whole room collectively realized they forgot to give Allegra a secret identity in the first place.

Allegra gets a message from someone about “the Arañas” and meets with Lydia, the former-gang-member friend she wrote a story about earlier this season. Apparently, new management in the Arañas has taken the gang from the “petty theft” level of crime they were at when Allegra was a member to more murderous heights. Before their conversation is finished, someone else in the coffee shop where they’re meeting snaps a picture of the two of them together. That picture is delivered to Millie Rawlins and Kimiyo Hoshi, a.k.a. Sunshine and Dr. Light, who are now running the gang.

At the empty CCC offices, Allegra pitches the idea of having Lydia out the leaders of the Arañas in a live interview to her three lead reporters. They’re reluctant but agree, and Chester arrives to help with obscuring Lydia’s identity while she’s on air. It’s lucky for everyone, because before the interview happens they’re attacked by Sunshine and Dr. Light, and it’s only a “photo-kinetic energy shield” launched by Chester that keeps them all protected.

The shield is a temporary solution only meant to hold off enemies until help can be called. Unfortunately, Sunshine and Dr. Light have blocked communications. Allegra and Chester try to reassure everyone that they know what they’re doing and are capable of not being murdered by the Arañas without making it obvious that they’re part of Team Flash, which is probably difficult in a room full of investigative journalists.

Office Mean Girl Taylor is apparently also Office Sociopath Taylor, because she sees nothing wrong with turning Lydia over to save her own skin, knowing full well that Lydia would be killed. Lydia wants to sacrifice herself to save the others, but Chester and Allegra are determined to stop the Arañas without anyone getting hurt. While Chester talks to Lydia, the CCC employees get into a shouting match that ends with Taylor outing Allegra as a former member of the Arañas, which turns the others against Allegra.

Allegra realizes that lying about her past got everyone into trouble (not really; pretty sure the Arañas would’ve attacked whether your co-workers knew about you being in a gang or not, Allegra) so she’s adopting an all-honesty policy and decides to tell them she’s the light meta on Team Flash. 

The resulting united front comes just in time, since Sunshine and Dr. Light figure out a way to get through Chester’s shield. Allegra gets everyone else to safety before taking them on herself, getting shot with Dr. Light’s photon gun for her troubles. Since Allegra has light powers, she’s able to heal herself or suck out the photons from her wound or something? It’s unclear what was actually going on, but she doesn’t die and gets that cool full-body glow effect that I love to see on superheroes.

It turns out Allegra was just distracting the Arañas while the others went live with Lydia’s interview. Lydia decided not to hide her identity after all, names Millie Rawlins and Kimiyo Hoshi as the leaders of the Arañas, and for some reason this is enough to make the two murderers turn tail and run. Or, like… glow-teleport. Either way, the crisis is somehow averted and we later learn that the Arañas are totally financially crippled by this big reveal, Lydia and Allegra are completely safe now, and everything is cool. Murdering criminals with superpowers are still on the loose, people! I do not think this is the neat and tidy story bow you think it is.

Taylor and the other two CCC journalists whose names I haven’t bothered to learn promise to keep Allegra’s secret and have developed a renewed sense of journalistic integrity. Taylor even gets a special little chat with Allegra where she’s all thankful and happy and Allegra calls her a great investigative reporter. I guess we’re just supposed to forget that Taylor wanted to sacrifice a scared human being in order to save herself? Oh, okay, cool.

THAWNE AGAIN?

Earlier in the episode, Barry ran to the site of a fire at a science lab only to find the fire put out and all the scientists thankful for their speedster rescue. He realizes there must be a new speedster in town and, after investigating the scene of the fire and discovering a missing fancy battery, decides this speedster is a villain. Since Barry arrives at this conclusion not even a quarter of the way into the episode, we can assume it’s not correct. But it makes for a good excuse to go visit Eobard Thawne on his island prison of Lian Yu, so I guess it was necessary. From the show’s perspective, I mean. From my perspective, no appearance by Eobard Thawne is necessary.

On Lian Yu, Barry questions Thawne, decides he isn’t involved with the mystery speedster, but sticks around to have a vaguely threatening conversation with him anyway. Why does Barry always trap himself into conversing with this irritating whisper-talker when he should know better? Zip in, zip out, and forget about him, Barry. For the sake of my interest in this show, I am begging you to forget about him.

The weird obsession Thawne has with Barry could almost be an interesting, dark dynamic, but the core of it is so flimsy it falls flat. When you’ve revealed that the only reason why the villain passionately hates the hero is because said hero showed him up at a public event, the mythos has already been demolished. You cannot recover from that. Eobard Thawne, epic enemy through time and reality is gone; Eobard Thawne, whiny attention-seeking baby has taken his place. He isn’t scary, he isn’t enigmatic, and he isn’t compelling — he’s just pitiful and annoying and further interaction with him stops making sense.

Anyway, the vaguely threatening conversation with Thawne leads Barry to realize that the new speedster isn’t a villain (called it!), they’re just trying to figure out their powers. When the denouement recapping scene between Allegra, Chester, and Barry back at S.T.A.R. Labs toward the end of the episode is complete, Barry faces the new speedster with less of an antagonistic approach based on this realization.

After catching the mystery speedster returning the stolen battery to the lab, a cute little speedster-versus-speedster battle unfolds with Barry repeatedly trying to talk to the newbie and failing. Once it’s proven that he can’t be outrun, the speedster reveals herself as Dr. Meena Dhawan, a genius engineer who invented the Newton battery in the first place. She’s created an artificial speed source and wanted the battery to help power it, but she’s been having trouble getting the hang of her powers.

Barry offers to mentor Meena. Meena tells Barry that he “won’t regret this,” which is a sure sign that he will end up regretting this.

Other Things:

  • In his conversation with Joe, Barry lists off a ridiculous number of other speedsters we’ve known over the seasons, further proving my long-standing point that super speed isn’t that special and it makes no sense why so many characters are obsessed with it. 
  • Caitlin’s still upset after Barry destroyed her at-home lab. I don’t blame her, because I’m pretty sure Barry didn’t help her with the cleanup. Also, she’s taking a break from the team for a while.
  • I thought this show decided artificial speedster-ing was bad? Meena’s cool, though?

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Flash 8x16 Review: "The Curious Case of Bartholomew Allen" (Aging Ain’t Easy) [Contributor: Deborah M]


“The Curious Case of Bartholomew Allen”
Original Airdate: May 25, 2022

With this season consisting of episode after episode weighed down by death, grief, and general doom and gloom vibes, “The Curious Case of Bartholomew Allen” boasts more lighthearted moments... for a little bit, at least. Then it becomes about growing old and it’s right back to all that depressing stuff. I did end up putting some funny quotes in the “Other Things” section of this review, though! It feels like forever since I did that, which is really saying something because funny quotes in the bullets used to be a good chunk of my word count for reviews of this show. Ah, the times they have a-changed. Remember when I used to do cute puppy GIFs for every episode?

THESE OLD BONES

Barry races around the city, saving people from petty crimes and distracted drivers, all while Chester implores him over his earpiece to return to whatever fight the team is involved in. Of course, when all of Barry’s hero errands are run, it’s revealed that the fight was actually taking place in the Dungeons & Dragons game everyone — including a miserable-looking Joe — is playing. Joe’s grumpiness during his next turn ends the game for the night, which makes me wonder how the game progressed at all. Like, what did Joe do during his turns for the past few hours the game had clearly been going on?

After a heart-to-heart with Joe and a brief reminder to the audience that Iris is still stuck in another dimension or whatever, Barry gets a call from former police chief David Singh. Singh, visiting town for a bit, asks for Barry’s help stopping a gamma ray thief and Barry tracks the guy down in a matter of minutes, heading out to the docks to confront him. The thief has fully embraced his life as a comic book supervillain (Mad Scientist variety) and hits Barry with the newly-modified gamma ray.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry goes through some diagnostics and testing that conclude he’s been aged — internally, so far — about 30 years. He’s got arthritis and osteoporosis and his more advanced speedster powers, like phasing, no longer function. Chester says he could reverse the effects, but only if he can look at the machine that caused them.

Barry runs off to confront Dr. Villain again, and the guy looks significantly younger. Considering that he was wearing a watch that read “Energy Consumption Complete” when Barry got hit the first time, I’m connecting some dots here. Instead of hitting Barry with another gamma blast, Dr. Villain throws a fancy tech grenade at him and Barry fails every attempt to stop it because he’s just not fast enough anymore. Barry gets electrocuted into unconsciousness.

The next we see Barry, he’s at S.T.A.R. Labs and he can’t see. Well, he’s nearsighted now. Welcome to the club, Barry. Allegra also notices that Barry’s aging is no longer just internal, and he now has gray hair. Again, welcome to the club, Barry. Chester runs some more tests and declares that Barry has aged another ten years, then theorizes that the gamma radiation is activated by Barry’s Speed Force energy. He runs, he ages. The others insist Barry stop using his speed, but Barry continues to believe he’s the only one who can stop Dr. Villain.

We learn that Dr. Villain’s name is actually Dr. Pytor Orloff, which means I should probably stop calling him Dr. Villain. When devising a next plan of action, Barry forgets Orloff’s name, which prompts Cecile to tag along with him just in case more old person symptoms disrupt the investigation. While looking through files at Orloff’s former place of employment, Barry finds a laptop with a failsafe that will erase the data if he doesn’t get it to Chester for hacking. Cecile tries to get Barry to think of a plan that doesn’t include speeding to S.T.A.R. Labs but fails, which ends with Barry accidentally speeding the two of them to China instead.

Yet again, the next scene finds us in S.T.A.R. Labs. Look, I get chopping out the details of travel for the sake of time, but it’s a bit ridiculous how often Barry is just suddenly in S.T.A.R. Labs this episode. How many tries did it take for him and Cecile to get back from China? Whatever it was, if Barry uses the same amount of speed again, the gamma radiation could kill him. Barry wants to check the Starchives for info while Chester tries to hack into Orloff’s laptop and heads off.

Cecile later finds Barry wandering the halls and he confesses he forgot where he was going. She finally outright questions his stubbornness, which also parallels the B-plot with Joe and Singh this episode. Like Barry dealing with aging, Joe seems frustrated with retired life and getting old. Singh insists that Joe’s problem isn’t retirement, but being too set in his ways and refusing to embrace new ideas and experiences — like his grumpiness during the D&D campaign in the episode opener. 

Echoing Singh’s words to Joe about embracing changes, Cecile shares a touching story about her grandmother and then tells Barry that — despite his new aches and pains, his fading memory, and his worries about the future — he can’t outrun time. He can only embrace it. Pity all those speed-obsessed villains Barry has to deal with constantly can’t get that through their thick skulls. Anyway, I’m really glad the show decided against the usual path of putting an actor in old age makeup for a plot like this, because it would definitely distract from emotional moments like the one between Barry and Cecile here.

Chester breaks into said moment with the news that he’s cracked Orloff’s laptop and, as pretty much anyone would have figured out the moment they discovered an age ray, Orloff is trying to suck youth out of other people in order to stay young himself. They’ve also clued into the guy de-aging. Did I jump the gun on that? Was that not obvious when Barry confronted Orloff the second time? Anyway, if Orloff uses that amplifier he stole with his gamma ray, he’ll become immortal and Central City’s entire population will age hundreds of years and die.

Orloff starts up his machine and Barry plans to overload it with energy to stop it from sucking the life from everyone. It could potentially kill Barry and Cecile protests, but her earlier pep talk has inspired him and earned her a chance to deliver a “run, Barry, run.” Congrats, Cecile!

Through science fiction nonsense I refuse to understand, Barry runs fast enough (despite being biologically over a hundred years old) to overload the machine, regain his youth, and age Orloff in a single blast. In fact, when everyone is back at S.T.A.R. Labs again in the next scene (of course), Chester tells Barry that he’s technically 29 again. Wow. Throw some gamma rays at me, please. I liked being 29.

Cecile and Barry have another nice little moment, and then we get a flash-forward to one week later, where Captain Singh has joined the team for another D&D session. This time, having taken the lessons of the episode to heart, Joe has fully embraced tabletop gaming and even dons a nerdy costume. 

Unfortunately, as with any levity in this show these days, the fun is interrupted by doom and gloom. In this case, it’s Barry finding out about Caitlin’s Frankenstein plans and destroying her at-home laboratory.

Other Things:

  • Why do people constantly want to rob the Jitters coffee shop? How much money can they hope to gain from a coffee shop in 2022, when most people don’t use cash?
  • Barry about Kramer knowing he’s the Flash: “She figured it out on her own.” Singh: “Well, I figured it out first!” Barry, alarmed and reassuring: “You did.”
  • “Hey. You’re the bad guy, aren’t ya?” I really miss snark on The Flash.
  • They should’ve crazied Caitlin’s look up a bit for her appearance this episode. She’s gone off the mad scientist deep end but still finds time to ever so slightly curl her hair? Let mad scientist women have bedhead!

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Grey’s Anatomy 18x19 and 18x20 Recaps: “Out for Blood” & “You Are the Blood” (Blood Bath) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]


“Out for Blood”
Original Airdate: May 26, 2022

A two-hour season finale that also doubles as the series’ 400th episode is the way Grey’s Anatomy goes out for the year. It’s a wild ride to the finish that sees big risks have massive consequences. It’s not all stress and chaos because fans are treated with the return of Jackson and April in the second hour, along with Ellis Grey in the both hours as the negative voice in Meredith’s head. Grey’s Anatomy has always known how to go big for its season finales, and this one is a real doozy.

LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE STORMS ARE BREWING

The first episode begins with Mer and Bokhee in the OR struggling through a surgery. Mer sees Ellis instead of Bokhee, and Ellis starts berating Mer with negativity, telling Mer that she is losing control. Mer wakes up with a gasp, and it turns out she was dreaming. However, her dream was an omen... even if she doesn’t realize it yet. 

It’s a rainy day in Seattle, and Maggie and Winston would rather hang out than go to work, but the accreditation council is coming that day. Winston wants to go to Boston to get Maggie’s money back from Wendell, but Maggie doesn’t want it back and would rather return to their old lives. He feels he needs to fix things, and Maggie asserts that she wants Winston to let it go and not get involved in the bad stuff that Wendell got himself into. Winston doesn’t want her interfering with his brother and infers that Maggie doesn’t understand because she doesn’t really have siblings. That really angers Maggie, and Winston tries to backpedal by saying he meant she didn’t grow up with her sisters. 

Mer and Zola sit in the kitchen looking at houses online. Nick is packing some things and states that he won’t miss the rain. Mer laughs at the fact that he has only been in Seattle for a month and is already complaining about the rain. Zola wants to know if they will be leaving if the residency program continues, and Mer says they would eventually leave. Amelia runs in to show them that their Parkinson’s trial paper has been published, and they are all excited to show it to the world.

We then see Todd walking Jo and Luna into the hospital with an umbrella. As they get to the door, Todd tells Jo that she was amazing the night prior and he wants to see her again later that night. Jo doesn’t seem as into it as she usually would. Jo goes inside and walks into an elevator that Link is in. Luna starts crying, and Jo tells Link that Luna didn’t sleep because of Todd. He stayed over for the first time and they had sex. After, Todd told Jo that he loved her. Link cringes as Jo says love is a big word for her.

Upstairs, Schmitt, Tseng, and Perez are talking with Simon and Kristen in Simon’s hospital room. Schmitt tells them the story of how he dropped his glasses in a patient’s abdominal cavity during surgery and makes the group laugh. Richard walks in to check up on Simon, who is now on oxygen and not doing well. Richard tells the group that the hospital has a blood shortage and a donation center is being set up in the lobby. Simon jokes that he wants to donate blood, which unexpectedly foreshadows what’s to come.

Owen and Teddy are in the ER and learn the hospital is out of O- blood. A man named John walks into the ER looking for Owen and finds him. He explains that his wife, Rosie, is a sick Marine, and Heather, Noah’s widow, said Owen could help them. Owen takes them to a private room to talk, and John tells him how Rosie did three tours in Iraq and came back with a bad cough that eventually turned into pulmonary fibrosis. They have tried every treatment and nothing helps. Owen thinks John is there to get Rosie into his pulmonary fibrosis study, but he’s not. John and Rosie live in Utah, where physician assisted death is illegal. Rosie is dying and needs medication from Owen to die with dignity. Owen apologizes and tells John that he can’t do that, so John threatens to go to the police if he doesn’t get the drugs. 

FINDING ANOTHER WAY

Bailey calls a meeting with all the attendings to talk about the blood shortage. She explains that their blood bank is at a critically low level and all elective surgeries need to be canceled. She is trying to find an emergency supply of blood to be delivered, but in the meantime, Bailey asks everyone to donate their blood to help. After the meeting, Mer and Nick walk down the hall, and a nurse congratulates Mer on her Parkison’s article. Nick tells Mer about a patient of his that has a tumor in her portal vein. He wants to know if a whipple procedure might work and shows Mer the scans. She doesn’t think he would get clear margins with that surgery, so she asks to meet the patient and take a look herself. Back at the blood drive, Schmitt and Helm wait for their turn to donate. Schmitt realizes he can’t donate his blood because gay men who have been sexually active in the past three months at the time the blood is drawn are prohibited by law from donating blood. Both he and Helm think that is absurd, and that awful truth becomes a recurring theme for the episode.

Nick and Mer go see his patient, Cora. Cora’s older aunt, Sally, is watching a soap opera with Nick while Mer examines Cora. Mer thinks they could try the whipple, but they wouldn’t be able to get 100% of the tumor. It might give her more time and lessen her pain though. Cora explains that Aunt Sally raised her and now she takes care of her aunt, so she needs to get better.

Elsewhere in the hospital, Owen finds Teddy and tells her about John. Teddy is very angry that Heather is telling other people about the service Owen provided for Noah. Owen doesn’t know what to do because he could go to jail. Teddy thinks John could be faking the whole thing, and Owen assures her it is real because he video chatted with Rosie and has her medical records. Owen decides he can check the military database to confirm she is who they say she is, and Teddy suggests they find another way to help if Rosie is actually a veteran.

Upstairs, Kristen is yelling for help and Link, Winston, and Schmitt run into Simon’s room. Simon can’t breathe and starts to code. The doctors know they need to intubate him, but Simon says no. He knows he might never wake up, but Kristen gives them permission to intubate and save him.

Downstairs, Maggie and Amelia are giving blood and having a heart-to-heart. Amelia knows the day should be celebratory because of the article, but she’s in a down mood. Maggie asks if she has heard from Kai, and Amelia is intensely aching from the breakup. Maggie talks about how Winston hasn’t heard from Wendell and won’t stop obsessing over him. She also tells her sister about their morning conversation in which Winston implied Maggie doesn’t know what it’s like to have siblings. Amelia understands where Winston was coming from. She knows that she and Maggie are sisters in the best ways, but it is different with her biological sisters that she grew up with. Amelia also tells Maggie to not attempt to stop Winston from obsessing because she won’t be able to. Maggie thought she knew Winston, but is finding that didn’t know a lot about him and didn’t anticipate some of his actions.

Jo goes to check on Link in the scan room while he waits for Simon’s latest images. Link is glad to see Jo and needs a distraction. He asks if she broke up with Todd, but she has not. Jo really likes Todd and likes how nice he is, but he does have flaws, like narrating his life out loud, that annoy her. Link starts to sing opera as a joke, which makes Jo leave. Simon’s scans appear on the computer and show that his cancer is much worse than anticipated.

Outside the hospital, Nick and Mer get some fresh air while trying to come up with bold surgical moves to save Cora. Mer wants to cut around the tumor a little at a time, but knows they can’t with the critical blood shortage. Nick has a lightbulb moment and suggests they do the whipple outside of Cora’s body by removing her liver, pancreas, and intestines. They can remove the tumor and then transplant her organs back inside her abdominal cavity. Mer is in, and they bring their idea to Richard, who thinks it’s a bad and irresponsible move. They want Richard to scrub in to help out, but he knows today is not the day to go rogue and perform a twenty-hour surgery when they will find out whether the residency program is dead or not the next day. Mer thinks the surgery is so cutting edge that it could single-handedly save the program. Richard still won’t budge and won’t help them. Nick thinks they should wait a few days for things to calm down at Grey Sloan Memorial before doing the surgery, but Mer pulls a classic Mer move and decides she will do the very risky surgery anyway.

THE EXECUTIONER ARRIVES

In another room, Maggie, Winston, and Link examine Simon’s latest scans. There are more tumors now, and the cardiothoracic surgeons aren’t sure they can get his lungs to work. Link reminds them that Kristen is 36 weeks pregnant and needs him to survive until she can have a safe C-section so Simon can meet his child. He asks if ECMO would buy Simon time. Maggie thinks Simon could bleed out if they tried, so Link pleads with Maggie to meet Kristen before making a final decision.

Richard and Bailey meet with Ms. Blake from the accreditation council when she arrives at Grey Sloan Memorial. They tout how they have hired six new attendings and their residency teaching cases are up 40%. Blake saw Mer and Amelia’s Parkinson’s trial article and is happy with the positive attention it will bring the hospital. She is excited to see if more of the issues she previously flagged have been addressed too. They walk into the blood drive, which makes Blake instantly appalled. Bailey explains to her that the whole country is in a blood shortage, so they took matters into their own hands. Blake thinks it is a terrible idea for residents to give blood during their shifts. Bailey counters that it’s voluntary and that a nationwide problem shouldn’t count against them.

Next, Link, Maggie, and Winston talk to Kristen about ECMO for Simon. Kristen is instantly in, so Winston tries to explain that there will be a big risk of clots and could make Simon die quickly. Maggie knows that Simon can’t recover from his cancer, and if they put him on ECMO, they will have to unplug him at some point, which may make it harder. Kristen disagrees because the whole situation has been impossible. She explains that Simon wants her to tell their son that they met and wants that one last thing for him. She’s fine with the fact that it could be harder for her since it’s just one more impossible thing to add to the list. As long as Simon meets his son, Kristen approves of ECMO. Winston and Maggie say they will try their best and give her some much needed hope.

Elsewhere, Nick and Mer bring their surgical idea to Cora. They want her to know how difficult it will be and make the consequences clear. Cora is afraid and doesn’t know what will happen to her Aunt Sally if she dies. Mer knows the surgery is tricky, but it is her only chance of survival. Mer tells Cora that she needs to take care of herself, which makes Cora agree to the procedure.

We then see Teddy and Owen meet John outside to talk. Owen tells John that they will help, but it’s a complicated situation. They need him and Rosie to relocate to Washington and become residents, that way Rosie will be able to qualify for physician assisted death. Owen and Teddy will cover the cost. They also tell John that they have to assess Rosie and can’t give her medication without seeing her because that wouldn’t be ethical. John is enraged and doesn’t want to relocate. He says that Rosie wants it to look like she died in her bed. He knows Teddy and Owen are veterans and begs them to allow his wife to die with the dignity and honor that she lived with. Teddy tells him that she is deeply sorry, but they can’t do what he is asking. John storms off into the rain without accepting the offer.

PERFECT FINALE DRAMA

Back inside, Mer and Nick start Cora’s surgery in the OR with Bokhee and Helm assisting. They find the tumor and see that it’s a bit more complicated than they thought. Nick isn’t sure they should keep going, but Mer affirms this is Cora’s only chance to live. They will need to save every drop of blood to transfuse back into Cora, which will be difficult. Richard and Blake walk into the gallery and are not happy with what they are seeing. Helm wants to know if, when Richard said no to the surgery, he meant he wouldn’t do it or that no one should. Mer doesn’t answer and keeps working. 

The next few minutes show intercutting scenes of Cora’s surgery, Simon being put on ECMO, and Kristen waiting for news. Link takes Kristen out of Simon’s room so Maggie, Winston, and Schmitt can put him on ECMO. In the OR, Nick and Mer clamp off the blood vessels and remove Cora’s organs. They put them in a tray and start working to excise the tumor.  Link brings Kristen some food in the waiting room, and she asks him if she is being selfish for putting Simon through ECMO. Link says that the first time he saw his son, his heart left his body from the amount of love he experienced, so it will be worth it. Simon’s blood pressure starts to drop, so Maggie and Winston start working faster. Mer and Nick remove the tumor and begin to put Cora’s organs back inside her abdominal cavity.

We cut to Bailey on the phone trying to find out when the shipment of blood will arrive. She is annoyed that it is delayed from the rain storm and suggests that she should pick it up herself. Schmitt busts in, making Bailey hang up her call, and says that his blood is just as good as anyone else’s. He wants to help and thinks the prejudice against gay men is awful. Bailey agrees that the law is very wrong and tells the resident that if she wasn’t in charge of the rules, they wouldn’t be having this conversation (i.e., she would tell him to go ahead and donate). However, she can’t let him donate his blood, so Schmitt storms out as John walks in to report Owen. 

Jo finds Todd with a giant teddy bear in the lobby. The sight seems to be the last straw, and she tells him that they aren’t a good match. He doesn’t understand because he wants to be with her. Jo thinks it is more casual for her than it is for him, so she apologizes and breaks up with him. Todd is rightfully stunned as Jo walks away.

In the OR gallery, Richard tries to lighten the mood by telling Blake that only a few people at Grey Sloan Memorial have done the kind of surgery that Nick and Mer are currently doing. Perez, who is also watching, overhears and says that he is glad Mer postponed leaving. Blake didn’t know Mer was leaving, which is a huge strike against the failing residency program in her eyes. Mer finishes operating on Cora’s liver and has Helm bring it to Nick for autotransplantation. Helm quietly tells Nick that she approves of him and Mer together as Nick starts inserting the liver. 

Elsewhere, Kristen, Link, and Maggie go see Simon, who is now awake. Simon tells Kristen that he wants to name their son Jamal after her, because the name means beauty. After the touching moment, Maggie meets Winston outside to talk. She asks what his blood type is because she finds it weird that she doesn’t know. They share their blood types, and Maggie turns things more serious by saying she feels like they knew each other better when their relationship was long distance. She is constantly surprised by things she doesn’t know about him and the decisions he makes. Maggie never knew about Wendell either and starts turning the conversation into a fight. She feels like she doesn’t know Winston and that he doesn’t get her. Maggie loves him, but she now thinks they might have gotten married too quickly. 

In one of the lounges, Owen and Teddy start packing their belongings. Owen thinks he can go to Utah and help Rosie, but Teddy won’t let him. She loves every part of him, but she won’t let him go to prison for this. She says they will run since it is their only option. Bailey walks in and shuts the door behind her. She wants to know if John was spouting lies or if all he said is true. 

As the tension rises quickly, Mer and Nick are almost done with Cora’s surgery when she starts bleeding. They will need more blood to keep up with the amount she is losing. Surgical scenes intercut with ones in the lounge where Owen tells Bailey the truth, and she can’t get past his criminal conduct and that he stole drugs from the hospital. Things start to go downhill in the OR, while Bailey wants to know if what Owen did is now outside the statute of limitations. Owen assures her he didn’t commit murder, rather he did right by the dying soldiers. Mer starts to stumble during the surgery and is plagued by Ellis’ doom and gloom in her head. She doesn’t have a plan to move forward, so they need to stop the surgery since they don’t have enough blood currently. They will resume when the blood arrives, and they will wait in the OR in the meantime. It is the perfect moment for Bailey to get a call from Ben, who is at the site of an accident. The transport vehicle carrying the blood crashed and all the blood is trashed. Bailey is in disbelief, and we get a glimpse of the literal bloodbath on the road. 

This is where episode one of the two-part finale ends, and it would have made a great cliffhanger if it aired on a separate week. Thankfully, you can keep reading to find out what happened next!



“You Are the Blood”
Original Airdate: May 26, 2022

The second part of the finale just so happens to be Grey’s Anatomy’s 400th episode! It starts with a bang as we see Jackson eulogizing Catherine. I’m sure every fan thought they were missing something until we find out he’s doing it as a sort of joke while he, April, and Harriet are visiting Grey Sloan Memorial. Catherine is getting her latest round of treatment and asked him and April to eulogize her while she is still alive so she could hear it. Jackson is also visiting on official Fox Foundation business, and any fan will know this is a special episode when one of the Grey’s Anatomy unofficial theme songs, “How to Save a Life” by The Fray, is playing in the background. That’s one of many callbacks to come during the monumental hour.

We then see firefighters Ben and Travis from Station 19 cleaning up the literal blood spill that closed the first hour. Travis is also mad that he can’t donate blood as a sexually active gay man and hates the law. He doesn’t understand why it still exists when doctors can test blood for HIV. He truly believes the blood shortage would be over in a week if that law changed because the gay community loves to rally behind causes. They search the wreck for any blood bags that didn’t explode so they can at least deliver something to the hospital.

Back at the hospital, Mer and Nick are still in the OR with Cora as they wait for more blood to arrive. They had sent Helm for a status update, and she runs back in to say there is no blood. She tells them there was an accident with the blood and that the transport vehicle spun out in the rain. Mer goes into a slight panic and decides to get Cora to the ICU, which Nick thinks is absurd. Mer thinks if they pack her with enough gauze, it will bridge her enough until more blood arrives. Mer turns to the gallery and asks everyone up there to give blood to help them out. That action makes Mer think back to her first day at Grey Sloan Memorial, when she and her fellow newly-minted interns were in the gallery together (the show depicts this in the first of many flashback scenes this episode).

In the lounge, Bailey tells Owen and Teddy about the accident and can’t believe she has a position shortage to deal with too. She had one problem solved and now more have popped up. Bailey also realizes that no one is covering the ER, but that problem is solved when April unassumingly walks into the lounge. Bailey immediately gives her a coffee and tells her to cover the pit, which April does.

We next see Simon and Kristen talking about their future son as Simon gives her instructions. Maggie, Winston, and Schmitt are also there. Simon asks why all three of them are there, and Winston says that all surgeries are now canceled due to the blood shortage. Kristen starts having contractions, so Schmitt pages Jo.

Ben and Travis arrive at Grey Sloan Memorial’s ambulance bay with 37 units of blood. April meets them outside, and Ben is surprised to see her. April explains how she is still Pavlov’s dog because when Bailey yelled at her, she heeled. Ben tells April she will have to close the ER to all traumas because they won’t have enough blood, and April knows that will give Bailey something else to yell about.

BURN IT TO THE GROUND

Jackson and Blake walk through the halls of the hospital and talk. He tells her that the Fox Foundation is committed to doubling its funding for Grey Sloan Memorial’s residency program and its success. Blake brings up the fact that Mer is leaving, and Jackson tries to pretend for a moment that Mer may stay before admitting she has plans to leave. Blake is still upset at overhearing that news from a resident and wants to know what else is being hidden from her.

Owen and Teddy continue their conversation with Bailey and explain what happens to some soldiers from the wartime experiences and how it causes horrible health problems. Teddy asks Bailey what if it was Ben in their shoes, and Bailey is firm that Ben wouldn’t break the law. Teddy doesn’t believe these soldiers should be left to die horribly, so she and Owen are working to change the laws. Owen says they know firsthand what these soldiers have sacrificed and experienced, which is why he had to fight for them. Bailey may understand where they are coming from, but she is still disturbed by everything.

April has closed the ER to new incoming traumas and is in the pit taking her own blood. Amelia walks in to lend a hand and hugs her former colleague. April is happy for Amelia’s article and asks for an update on Catherine’s cancer. Amelia tells her that she is planning on talking to Catherine’s oncologist later on and will give her an update then. She sits down and starts crying and tells April how she is going through a breakup. April asks if she fell in love, and Amelia doesn’t think so because it didn’t feel the same as the other times she was in love. Amelia says she felt seen and known and fit like two puzzle pieces with Kai. She explains that Kai doesn’t want what Amelia wants or has because they don’t want kids. April asks if she is sure it’s over, and Amelia replies that it feels pretty over. April tells her friend to never say never because sometimes love comes back around, which should make you swoon over her current relationship status.

Upstairs in the ICU, Nick, Mer, and Helm have Cora situated in her new room. Helm again questions why they did the surgery, and Mer replies that if they didn’t remove the tumor, Cora most certainly would have died. This prompts Mer to have flashbacks of Derek asking her why she took out a tumor in a rough voice. Richard comes into the ICU and disrupts Mer’s memory and demands to know why she had to do the surgery. He rants about how Mer never cares about the consequences of her actions and how she may have killed the residency program by doing the surgery. Richard concludes by saying that Mer is burning Grey Sloan Memorial to the ground as she leaves, which would finally make Ellis proud of her. The harsh remarks make Mer think back to the times when Derek, Ellis, and even Richard yelled at her in the past. After Richard leaves, Mer tells Nick and Helm that the tumor had to come out before storming out herself.

In Simon’s room, Jo has arrived and is talking to Kristen about her pain. Jo wants to take Kristen to the OB floor to examine her and check the baby, which makes Kristen panic about not wanting to leave Simon. Kristen starts bleeding, and Jo tells her they have to go now. On her way out, Kristen asks Simon to stay alive and tells Link to keep him alive for her. Jo, Maggie, and Schmitt get Kristen on a gurney and run through the halls of the hospital with her. The two senior doctors send Schmitt to find some blood for Kristen when Jo realizes she has a placental rupture that will need to be fixed surgically. Winston has stayed with Simon, and Schmitt runs back to Simon’s room looking for blood. He needs the blood they are giving Simon for ECMO because he and Kristen are the same blood type. Simon tells Schmitt to take the blood bags and save Kristen. Winston gives Schmitt the blood, and Schmitt runs to the OR. Link comes back into the room and finds out what just happened. Simon asks the doctors to take him off ECMO and give all the blood to Kristen to save her and their baby.

Elsewhere, Mer is still spiraling and is thinking about Ellis. Nick walks up to check on her, and Mer tells him that Ellis told her not to come to the hospital because she didn’t believe Richard had what it took to teach Mer properly. Mer doesn’t like being told what to do, so she did it anyway. Nick reiterates that they could have waited to do Cora’s surgery, which makes Mer think that Nick agrees with Richard that she must be sabotaging the residency program on purpose. Nick tells her that she is incorrect; rather, he believes Mer is insecure about leaving Seattle, which is impairing her judgment. Cora starts to code, and they run to save her.

THE END OF AN ERA

Blake happens across the room where Bailey, Owen, and Teddy have been talking. She has been calling Bailey, who simply says, “It’s been a day.” Blake informs Bailey that the ER is closed to new traumas, which Bailey wasn’t aware of but is not surprised by. Bailey asks if they can have a few minutes, so Blake says she will wait in Bailey’s office. Bailey invites Blake to donate blood while she waits, and Blake walks out. Bailey tells Owen and Teddy that the world is broken in a thousand different ways that she can’t fix. She needs to call the police because if she doesn’t, she could go to jail too. However, she needs to manage a life-threatening blood shortage first, which might take her a few hours. Bailey says she will accept Owen and Teddy’s resignations and wishes them both the best of luck before leaving the room. 

Owen and Teddy spring into action immediately. Owen wants Teddy to get the kids while he goes home to pack what he can. Teddy thinks they have to go right that moment, so Owen decides to contact Amelia to get the kids for them. As they walk through the halls one last time, police officers start walking in their direction, so they turn and walk the other way and out of Grey Sloan Memorial, possibly forever.

We then get a happy scene in which Catherine is reading a book to Harriet in Richard’s office. Amelia comes in and says she heard about the preemptive memorial, and Richard quips how Catherine likes hearing compliments. Amelia spoke with Catherine’s oncologist, and the tumor is responding very well to the chemo trial. Catherine is officially living with cancer instead of dying from it again. The couple is elated by the news, and it’s great to have one happy moment in an otherwise bleak episode. 

The happiness doesn’t last long because the scene then cuts back to Winston and Link, who tell Simon he still has a chance to meet his son. Link tells Simon that it has been a tremendous privilege to be his doctor, and Winston says it was an honor to witness his love story. Simon tells them that Kristen changed him, noticed every little thing about him, and showed him how to love himself. He wants them to tell her that his life was well lived, as he knows he probably won’t see her again.

Back in the ICU, Nick and Mer have been performing CPR on Cora for 30 minutes. She is in DIC and desperately needs blood. Mer thinks back to when Derek was shot, and she says the same words to Cora as she told Derek about not leaving her. Mer won’t give up, even when Nick tells her to stop as we see blood pouring out of Cora’s nose. 

In the OR, Maggie, Jo, and Schmitt deliver Kristen and Simon’s baby. They are out of blood, and blood is pouring out of Kristen in another gruesome scene. Winston comes in with one last bag of blood and wants to take the baby to Simon. They try to save Kristen, and once the baby is checked out and ready, Winston takes him to meet his father. In another perfect vintage Grey’s Anatomy moment, “The Story” by Brandi Carlile plays in the background. Grey’s Anatomy has always used some great music, and it’s nice to hear some of the favorites back in this episode. 

We then check in on the other gory scene: Cora’s ICU room. Nick tells Mer that that’s it, and she finally stops CPR. She replays the memories of Derek dying in her mind, pulls off her gloves, gives the time of death, and walks out. Winston arrives in Simon’s room with the baby, and Link tries to wake up a fading Simon. He opens his eyes as Winston puts the baby on his chest. In a truly touching moment, Simon gets to hold his son, says the same “Hello, forever” line that he constantly says to Kristen, kisses the baby’s cheek, then dies with him on his chest. Winston takes the baby, and Link is visibly sad to see Simon pass. In the end, it was nice that the writers decided to let Simon hold on just long enough to meet his son and have that sweet moment he wanted.

Amelia brings Leo and Allison to Joe’s Bar to meet Teddy and Owen. They can’t tell Amelia what is going on and can’t tell her where they are going. They assure her that everyone is fine, but they have to go. Amelia tries to protest, so Teddy asks her to let them go. Amelia tearfully says she can’t lose them and starts to cry. She needs to at least know where they are going, and as they leave, Owen promises to call soon. 

Back at Grey Sloan Memorial, Mer sits down with Sally to tell her that Cora died. She explains that they did everything they could, but Cora went into organ failure. Sally can’t remember who Cora is due to some unknown memory issue, which makes Mer think back to Ellis deteriorating from Alzheimer’s. Elsewhere, Bailey finds Helm, Schmitt, and a ton of men in the halls. The residents explain that they put out a call on social media to their gay, sexless friends to help donate blood. Tons of gay men showed up in response, including Nico, just like Travis said they would. Bailey tells Schmitt that she will fight the “stupid rule” with him, which makes Schmitt’s day.

In the ICU, we see that Kristen survived her surgery. Maggie and Winston introduce her to her baby as Jo and Link watch from outside the room. Kristen cries while telling the baby, “Your daddy loved you beyond the beyond.” Jo looks at Link, and he walks away. Link goes outside in the rain for some fresh air, and Amelia comes running back to the hospital. She asks if he knows what’s going on with Owen and Teddy, but Link doesn’t know anything either. Amelia decides to apologize to Link for breaking his heart and making him feel blindsided. She had forgotten how much that hurts, and if she had remembered, she would have handled things differently. Link responds that without her, he never would have had a kid because he is too clinical. However, Scout changed his world, so he doesn’t hate Amelia. Link says he still loves her, but not in a painful way anymore. After a full year of pining, it’s nice to see these exes finally make up and be friends again.

Bailey finally decides to go talk to Blake in her office. Blake heard about the accident with the blood transport vehicle, and Bailey tells her about the blood drive’s success through social media. Bailey wants to be fully transparent with Blake and tells her that Teddy and Owen have left, but she will have candidates lined up for their positions very soon. She goes on to say that Mer is also leaving, and even though she will be hard to replace, they will persevere. Blake brings up the unnecessary surgery that Mer performed and believes she wasted blood for no reason. Blake says that working with the same people for too long can make it feel like a family and blur the lines of who is in charge. She knows that is how rules get broken and things get messy, especially when students are also in the mix. With that, Blake announces she will have to shut down the residency program. Grey Sloan Memorial’s residents will be orphaned, but the accreditation council will try to get them into spots at other hospitals. Blake tells Bailey that the hospital needs to start over from scratch. Bailey sees a group of residents waiting for news outside her office window and gives them a sad look. 

TURMOIL

With the residency program officially dead, Bailey and Pru erase all the surgeries from the surgical white board while the residents clean out their lockers. Mer watches them pack and remembers her time as a resident and all the things that happened in the old locker room. We get tons of quick moments of the original cast of residents in a “best of the locker room” montage. We then see Owen, Teddy, and their kids on a plane, but we have no idea where they are going or if they are officially leaving the show or not. Catherine and Richard then leave the hospital while holding hands, but we will learn what they are up to shortly.

It’s fitting that it is the end of a day, and Winston and Maggie sit in their car in the parking lot before going home. Winston says he never told anyone that he loved them until he said those words to Maggie. He didn’t say it lightly, didn’t propose lightly, and explains that it takes him more time to open up than some people. Maggie responds that she is the same way. She also loves her sisters and states that they are her sisters even though she grew up an only child. She goes on to say that it takes a lot to tell her secrets to anyone. Winston doesn’t think they got married too quickly. He thinks they just need to keep learning about each other and protect their love. They kiss as another classic callback song, “Where Does the Good Go” by Tegan and Sara, plays for the audience. 

Inside, Link goes to daycare to pick up Scout and finds Jo there with Luna. They share a long glance, which prompts Jo to repair her friendship with Link. Jo asks Link and Scout to come over and watch Encanto with her and Luna because he is her best friend and favorite person and needs their relationship to not be screwed up. Link accepts the invite and says that he will sing along to every song in the movie just to annoy Jo, who rolls her eyes. Could this be the official start to something proper between the best friends?

Before leaving for the night, Jackson and Mer finally get to talk. Jackson tells her that Richard and Catherine are taking a sabbatical to travel and see the pyramids. Catherine is hoping Jackson will run the foundation in her absence and that Mer and Bailey will restart the residency program together. Jackson asks Mer to stay at Grey Sloan Memorial for the time being because her Parkison’s article is causing a lot of noise, and if she leaves, the hospital will be sunk. He believes Mer’s fame and reputation is how they will rebuild the hospital. Mer instantly resents Jackson for asking her to stay. Jackson reminds her that her name is on the building, but Mer shoots back that it is actually Lexie’s name. Jackson also says there is nothing worth saving if Mer and Richard leave. 

Bailey walks up to Jackson and Mer and does something truly shocking. She gives her keys to her office to Mer and tells her, “You broke it, you bought it.” Bailey declares that she needs to protect her health and sanity and quits without giving any notice to Jackson. She says she has cookies to make with Pru and leaves the hospital without another word. Jackson turns to Mer and tells his friend that she is not allowed to leave now. He will offer her twenty percent more money than Minnesota offered her and make her chief of surgery. Mer wants to be interim chief of surgery because she believes Bailey will come back for her job. April walks up to say hi, and Mer is less than thrilled to see her. Harriet is napping in the stroller and the family is ready to leave for the night. Jackson tells Mer to think it over and that they will talk the next day before leaving with April. When they get into the elevator and the doors close, Jackson and April finally kiss and affirm that they are back together in the happiest moment of the episode. It’s doubly happy as we get Grey’s Anatomy’s favorite song, “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol, playing too.

It has finally stopped raining, and Amelia goes to leave Grey Sloan Memorial for the night. On her way to her car, she drops her keys in the parking lot. When she stands up, she sees Kai standing in front of her. Kai says they haven’t been able to sleep, and Amelia walks over and they passionately kiss. I think it is safe to say Kai will be back next season in some capacity. 

The episode fittingly ends inside Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Mer is sitting in Bailey’s office chair and thinks back to a very prominent line that Cristina said to her years ago in regards to Derek: “He’s very dreamy, but he’s not the sun. You are.” After the clip, Nick walks in and Mer tells him that he should go back to Minnesota where his life is because her life is in Seattle. Nick doesn’t think she intentionally sabotaged the program and wants to make that clear. He tells Mer that she has spent her whole adult life in one place, which makes it hard to leave. He says that no one knows what really drives them and that everyone has issues and drama and that Mer has more than her fair share of that. He thinks that their unsuccessful surgery made everything harder, and the two things aren’t unrelated. Mer wants to know why he didn’t stop her. Nick thought he would have been wrong to stop her because she is Meredith Grey and doesn’t like being told what to do. Mer cries while telling him to go and that she has a lot of work to do there. Nick walks out, and we are treated to a long montage of the best, worst, and most impactful moments over the last 400 episodes of the show. When the clips stop playing in Mer’s head, she sees her younger self looking at her through the office’s window, which prompts her to snap out of her thoughts. She runs out the door and calls for Nick, but he is nowhere to be seen. 

Nick, Owen, Teddy, Schmitt, Helm, and the rest of the residents’ fates are the most up in the air by the end of the season, as there have been no official announcements on if any cast members are leaving the show. We do know that Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens Jr. will all be back for season 19, so Mer, Bailey, and Richard will be back in some capacity. It looks like Mer will be staying in Seattle after all, but we will have to wait until the fall to find out what else is in store for the hospital.