Monday, March 21, 2022

Grey’s Anatomy 18x12 Recap: “The Makings of You” (Sisters’ Trilogy) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“The Makings of You”
Original Airdate: March 17, 2022

Ready for a pseudo-bottle episode of Grey’s Anatomy featuring the Grey/Shepherd/Pierce sisters? I didn’t expect there to be an episode fully dedicated to their relationships, but it does feature some solid character development. You’ll have to wait another week to find out what is going on in the lives of your other favorite TV doctors, but for now, enjoy the tales of Maggie, Meredith, and Amelia.


Maggie’s storyline is easily the most significant part of this episode and focuses on a different relationship than you might expect. Maggie and Winston are watching Meredith’s kids while she is visiting Nick for the weekend. They have their hands full with a curious Zola, Bailey, and Ellis running around playing hide and seek, and Maggie feels under the weather. Bailey pops into the kitchen to announce that he has lost Ellis, so Winston and Zola spring into action to find the youngest Grey/Shepherd kid.

Winston, Zola, and Bailey check all of Ellis’ usual hiding places and still can’t find her. Exasperatedly, Maggie says she doesn’t know how to tell Mer she lost one of her kids. A few minutes later, Zola finds Ellis hiding in an old cabinet located somewhere in the house. She also finds a box of her grandmother Ellis’ old stuff. Zola wants to keep a desk plate and then pulls out a letter with “Margaret” written on the envelope. Maggie is just as surprised as the rest of us that her birth mother left something behind for her.

They move to the family room, and Maggie sits on the couch, staring at the letter in disbelief. Zola wants to know if she will open it, but Maggie isn’t sure if the letter is for her or another Margaret. Winston talks about how his house burned down when he was a kid. He lost a lot of his belongings and was devastated to lose the last birthday card his late mother gave him. Winston gently tells Maggie that she doesn’t have to read the letter, but it is nice to have it regardless.

Maggie decides to go read the letter in private in her bedroom. She opens it up and finds it is in fact a handwritten letter from Ellis Grey. As Maggie starts to read it, Kate Burton returns to voice Ellis and read the letter aloud to the audience. Maggie turns her head and miraculously sees Ellis appear on her bed reading the letter to her. She’s shocked of course. 

Ellis’ letter begins with her saying that she wanted to tell Maggie some things after getting diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and thinking about her past, mortality, and mistakes. Ellis explains how she didn’t have an easy childhood, as her mother wanted her to be perfect and her father cheated on her mother many times. She grew up knowing that she didn’t want to be a doormat like her mother, and Maggie tells Ellis that she doesn’t think she is that type of person. Ellis stops reading and actually answers Maggie by blisteringly asking who Maggie is. The Ellis illusion is unaware that Maggie is her daughter, and she continues to say that she wound up as Richard’s doormat. Maggie gets closer to Ellis, and Ellis yells at her to stop hovering because she is being distracting. Maggie asks Ellis to keep reading, as she is now interested in what comes next. It’s great to see that Ellis is still the crotchety mother we all know and love, even in Maggie’s mind.

Downstairs, Bailey and Ellis are running around the house while Winston tries and fails to get them to settle down and play a game of Connect Four with him. Zola asks Winston if he was scared when his mom died, and Winston truthfully says he was. Zola states that she was scared when she thought Mer was dying. Winston tells her that he was too and is happy that Mer is here. Zola is still scared of losing Mer, so Winston wisely says that all they can do is take advantage of the time they have now with those they love. Winston clearly is going to be a great father one day. 

Then Bailey trips and cuts his leg. While Winston looks at the wound, Bailey complains that Ellis pushed him into the fireplace. Winston asks the kids to be quieter so Maggie doesn’t wake up and see the blood. It does make more sense that Maggie is dreaming of Ellis. Winston tells the kids that they will play “emergency room,” which gets them excited. He makes Bailey the patient and Zola the resident that gets to assist with the “surgery.” Zola immediately starts assisting Winston with wound care and lists all the proper steps to treat a wound. Mer is training her little doctor well and would be so proud of seeing Zola in action.

Upstairs, Maggie is still sleeping and Ellis is now sitting in a rocking chair, singing a lullaby. Maggie asks if she ever thought about her, tried to contact her, or even wanted to contact her. Ellis ignores Maggie and continues to read her letter. Ellis admits that she never listened to the voice inside of her and always wanted to go into cardiothoracic surgery. Maggie is thrilled to learn that she might have inherited her passion from Ellis and tells her that she went into cardio and is an extraordinary surgeon. Ellis continues by saying regrets make a person weak, and she didn’t let inconsequential things get in her way. Maggie keeps trying to get Ellis to interact with her, so Ellis asks Maggie to stop interrupting. Winston cracks open the door and finds Maggie fast asleep.

Ellis gets to the real meaty part of the letter when she discusses how she stopped doing what was expected of her and instead did what was best for her. Maggie starts to think that Ellis is ashamed of her for no reason at all. Ellis says the first time she met Maggie’s adoptive parents, she thought they would judge her and was happily surprised that they didn’t. They were her first choice for the adoption, and Ellis declined to have any updates on Maggie even though the Pierces offered. Maggie goes from being super happy to very upset instantly upon learning that Ellis didn’t want to know anything about her. She is disappointed that Ellis wasn’t curious about her or if she fit the bill. Maggie directly says that Ellis doesn’t get to avoid her, which causes Ellis to go off the rails about how they couldn’t be a family. Maggie shouts about how she lives every day in the shadow of Ellis since she is the one who wasn’t approved. Ellis says it was hard for her to move on, but Maggie trumps her by saying she feels she isn’t worthy on a daily basis.

Ellis goes on to say that she doesn’t regret her decision and is proud of herself, which causes Maggie to wake up screaming. Winston comes up to see what’s wrong, and Maggie starts talking about how Ellis was an awful person and exactly how Mer described her. She doesn’t want to finish the letter, so Winston says she doesn’t have to. He knows that whatever the letter says doesn’t change the amazing person Maggie is. Maggie knows this and starts crying. She wishes she didn’t need Ellis to know that too.

Maggie eventually falls back asleep, so Winston tucks her in and goes back downstairs. Ellis reappears and flips through the pages of the letter. She gets to the end of the letter and says that she has one regret: she wishes Maggie and Mer could have met. Ellis feels Mer could have used a sister because Mer was too much like her. She thinks Maggie would have been a good influence on Mer and could have been true sisters. Maggie smiles and simply says, “We are.” Ellis goes on to say she wasn’t the best mother to Mer and had high expectations that her daughter couldn’t always reach. She did her best with Maggie by giving her away because she would be better off without Ellis. Maggie agrees that she was better off without Ellis and then is woken up by her adopted mom and hugs her fiercely. 

Maggie wakes up and finishes reading the letter. Downstairs, Winston gets Zola some ice cream and asks if she is okay. Zola asks if her birth mother thinks about her. She wonders about it sometimes, but feels bad about it because she doesn’t want to make Mer sad. Winston says it’s okay to want to know where you came from. He also talks about how he didn’t like being around his dad due to him making bad decisions, but his mom was his hero. Zola says, “So is mine” in a very sweet moment.


Mer is in Minnesota to spend the weekend with Nick at his cabin. Nick announces the property has a no phone policy. Mer is emailing Amelia about the FDA and the Parkinson’s study, and Nick is impatient. Mer looks at the cabin and says it’s more amazing than Nick described. They go inside, and Nick gets two glasses of wine while Mer looks out the window. She keeps rewriting the report on the study in her head and is stuck on the part where they broke up the surgical injections into four parts. Nick knows how that can invade all thoughts since it happened to him about 15 years ago after working on a study about HIV in liver transplant patients. He bought the cabin then to help clear his mind and has used it as his safe place since then. 

The couple is eventually interrupted during an intimate moment when Nick’s niece, Charlotte, and her boyfriend walk in unexpectedly. Charlotte quips that they had the same idea for the weekend. After going upstairs to make themselves decent, Nick introduces Mer to Charlotte. Mer tells her that Nick talks about her all the time. Charlotte knows that Mer saved Nick’s life. She introduces her boyfriend, Silver, who Nick instantly dislikes. Nick gets even more upset when Silver declares that he and Charlotte are soulmates. Silver wants to make food, and Mer knows it’s going to be an awkward weekend.

In the kitchen, Nick is still surprised that his plans were ruined. He starts talking to Silver, who is a bit out there in personality. He explains that his name was Oak and is now it is Silver because he likes to change his name as he evolves. Nick asks if that happens often as he tries to not have his head explode. Silver says he met Charlotte in the woods during one of his micro-dosing experiences. Nick angrily says the drugs are not for what Silver is using it for. He wants Mer to weigh in, but she doesn’t want to give her thoughts since she isn’t an expert. Silver continues to say that he is a student of life and reveals that he and Charlotte are going to Costa Rica soon for a few months. Charlotte didn’t tell Nick about her travel plans or that she was planning on leaving school, and furious isn’t a strong enough word for how Nick feels when he hears all that.

Charlotte tries to explain that she was going to tell Nick and that she’s not dropping out of school. She wants to travel, but Nick reminds her that she has two years of college left and should do that after she finishes school. He wants Mer to help him out and gets even more infuriated that his girlfriend won’t back him up. Nick thinks their plans are ridiculous and hates that Charlotte and Silver’s plan is to make money with Silver’s “workshops.” Nick wants to know what they will do when things go wrong and he’s the only one they can call, and Charlotte angrily declares she doesn’t want to talk to him if things get bad.

Later that evening, Mer goes out to talk to Nick, who is chopping wood to blow off some steam. Mer says she used to be Charlotte: she had pink hair, traveled all over Europe, and had soulmates that were fun. She says things worked out for her in the end but Nick doesn’t find those details helpful. He brings up how when he was dying, he asked Mer to make sure Charlotte got a great education. Mer explains that if he tries to control Charlotte, he will lose her. Nick needs to find a way to let Charlotte be herself. Nick doesn’t think Mer understands fully because Charlotte is genetically predetermined to make big mistakes based on who her mother is. Mer walks away without another word to avoid an argument.

Mer is cleaning up from dinner, and Charlotte comes into the kitchen looking for Silver. Mer says Silver went outside, so Charlotte asks Mer to talk to Nick for her since she currently has sway with him. Mer tells Charlotte that she reminds her of herself, but Charlotte is braver. Mer thought she was rebelling, but it turned out that’s exactly what her mother wanted. Charlotte says she wants something different and new because the last two years weren’t what she expected. She wants to live differently. Mer replies that Nick doesn’t see who Charlotte is actually becoming and that it’s hard to live outside the shadow of parents. Charlotte complains that it’s always Nick’s way or the highway, and Mer nicely says that Charlotte needs to talk to him right as Nick walks in. 

Nick tells Charlotte that going to college will give her more options, especially since her mom made so many bad choices. Charlotte declares that she is not her mother. Nick only wants what’s best for her based on his own life experience while Charlotte counters that not everyone is like him, and she wants to figure things out on her own. She doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life, and Nick says he doesn’t want her to have to struggle through life. Charlotte reminds him that she never went to jail, took pills, or had to have Nick pick her up on the side of the road; he did a good job raising her. She says she is okay because of him and promises to go back to school eventually. Charlotte will make sure she has options, but first, she needs to mess up and change her mind a few times. Nick begrudgingly agrees that his niece can make her own decisions.

Later, Charlotte and Silver get ready to leave. Charlotte is happy to have met Mer and promises to come back the following week week to give Nick all the details on her trip to Costa Rica. After they leave, Nick apologizes to Mer that their weekend got ruined. Mer doesn’t want him to apologize for their lives. Nick says he’s not used to getting help and taking others’ opinions. Mer quips, “If you know anything about me, you better get used to it.” Nick knows they are both going to have to get used to it since Mer is the same way. Mer changes the topic by saying that Charlotte is a great girl and he did a great job. Nick doesn’t want Charlotte to wind up rigid like him either. He’s not sure what he wants anymore and is possibly contemplating quitting his job. Mer reveals to him that Hamilton thinks she only took the Parkinson’s trial because she wants to cure Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t know if that is true, but she isn’t sure she can go back to Grey Sloan Memorial and just be the chief of general surgery either.

They decide to take a walk outside, and Nick says that Mer learned he isn’t the most patient person. Mer replies that she isn’t when it comes to family and that she also has a temper. Nick recalls the time when he threw a retractor eight years ago after losing a patient and thinks about it every day. Mer says she has a hard time trusting people and jokingly says, “If you sell insurance or don’t like dogs, you are dead to me.” Nick reveals that when he’s falling in love, it scares him because he has done it rarely in his life. He doesn’t like losing control, and Mer is happy to hear he is falling in love, which leads to a kiss.


Amelia shows up at the lab in Minnesota and finds things are different than her last visit. Kai explains that they now have more money, more people, and more equipment because they succeeded. I’m not sure how they know the trial is a success yet when there hasn’t been enough time to see the effects it had on Hamilton, but I guess we will learn more about that in future episodes. Kai tells Amelia that Mer said the two of them can finish off the report and submit it to the FDA. Kai wants to fix the part of the report that details Hamilton’s bowel obstruction because it reads too much like Hamilton hid it from the team. Amelia reminds Kai that Hamilton did hide it and doesn’t feel they should lie about it. Kai thinks if they don’t hide the truth a bit, it will discredit Hamilton and the project. Amelia suggests they add that they need to get a more complete patient history and complete vigorous testing before doing the surgery in the future. Kai likes that addition, and they send the historic report.

Amelia tells Kai that her flight leaves the next morning, or she could change it to that day. Kai tells her to stay, which is exactly what Amelia was looking for. The two go to a local bar and both order sodas. Amelia talks about how she lived in bars when she was younger, which Kai wants to know more about. Amelia really likes this version of herself: the one who helped one million people get one step closer to a cure for Parkinson’s. Later on, Kai gets up on stage, picks up a guitar, and starts playing and singing with the band. Amelia had no idea Kai was a musician or was in a band. She enjoys the performance then goes back to Kai’s apartment afterward. They make out and sleep together.

That night, Amelia sees a photo of Kai’s sister’s kids and asks if Kai ever felt the pressure of starting a family. Kai says they love kids so much that they don’t want any. They feel being a parent is hard and don’t want that life. Instead, they have plants and named them. Amelia says there’s a lot of love to balance the difficulties of parenting, but Kai is content with plants. When Kai plays their guitar at the apartment, Amelia asks when they got into music. Kai states they started playing a few years ago on a dare to help fix their fear of public speaking. Now, Kai likes performing and Amelia says they are carefree on stage. Kai states Amelia pretends she isn’t a rock star herself and is too self-deprecating. Amelia doesn’t know why she’s like that, but knows she uses it as a shield or armor for protection. She also believes if she loves every part of herself, she will deserve a love of the same caliber. Kai reveals they did the same thing.  Amelia doesn’t think she knows all of who she is yet, and Kai is excited to get to know all of who Amelia is.

In the morning, Kai wakes up to find Amelia getting changed. Kai says she doesn’t have to leave, but Amelia can’t stay because she’s a mom. She reveals that when she is in Minnesota, she misses Scout with every cell in her body. Amelia hopes that doesn’t scare Kai away because that’s a part of herself that she deeply loves. They kiss, and Amelia goes back to Seattle.

We see a plane land and find out that Amelia and Mer have made it back to Mer’s house. Maggie is pacing around while Mer reads Ellis’ letter on the couch with Zola, Amelia, and Scout sitting around her. Mer can’t believe that Ellis wrote the letter because it’s out of character for her. She wonders if Ellis forgot she wrote it. Maggie sits down between her sisters and says she isn’t sure if she’s happy she read the letter. However, she feels something isn’t missing now. Maggie decides to burn the letter with a candle that’s sitting on the table and throws the burning letter in a nearby bowl. They watch it burn as a family as the episode ends and they put the past behind them.


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