Thursday, March 31, 2022

Grey’s Anatomy 18x13 Recap: “Put the Squeeze on Me” (Constricted) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Put the Squeeze on Me”
Original Airdate: March 24, 2022

The latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy features one of the most original, captivating medical cases in the show’s history: a giant python latched onto its owner’s arm while also squeezing the life out of him. While it might sound absurd, the central case of the episode is very entertaining and we should all send a round of applause to whoever devised this plot. Even better is the fact that while one person is literally being constricted to death, the rest of the characters find themselves being squeezed to the max at that same time.


The hour opens with Bailey taking care of baby Pru at home, whom Ben and Bailey officially got custody of in the Station 19 episode that aired right before this. Also in that episode, Bailey told Ben that Wright kissed her, and Ben constantly makes jokes about it and razzes his wife. Ben gets home later from work than Bailey expected, but Bailey tells him that Pru slept through the night. Ben makes another joke about Wright, which prompts Bailey to say that Wright has apologized twice and isn’t allowed on her service. Ben tells Pru they should bring Bailey lunch today and strut around in uniform around Wright, but Bailey isn’t into the fun and games.

We then see Jo getting piles of stuff together to go to work. She can’t find her keys and eventually finds them under the sofa. Jo sees that Luna has Scout’s toy in her stroller and tells her daughter that they need to give it back. Luna looks a little annoyed, so Jo says she misses Link and Scout too who have moved out. Elsewhere, Richard leaves a voicemail for Schmitt, who won’t answer his calls. Catherine asks why he keeps trying, and Richard reveals he calls Schmitt every morning and will continue to do so until Schmitt answers and/or comes back to work. She thinks not everyone belongs in the OR, which upsets Richard. It’s nice to see that Richard isn’t giving up on Schmitt, but his efforts may be in vain. 

Over at the Hunt house, Farouk is packing a bag. Owen is finally home and is doing physical therapy exercises in his wheelchair. Farouk tries to give Owen a pep talk about not giving up and uses himself as an example of the wonders physical therapy can do because he’s doing much better now. Megan walks in to tell Owen that they have finished converting the dining room into a PT gym so Owen can do exercises and get weight bearing again. Megan seems to have thrown herself into being Owen’s physical therapist and is hardcore on top of him about doing the exercise that he stubbornly refuses to do.

Meredith is in Minnesota to lead a meeting, along with Kai, about how Hamilton has been doing post-op. Hamilton tells the audience, including Nick, he is doing incredibly well and has no swelling in his brain. He is proud to say that he played chess with his wife last night without his hand shaking. Hamilton thanks Mer and gives her an on-the-spot offer to join their hospital full time as director of the Grey Center and chief of general surgery. Mer doesn’t respond and instead smiles while processing the surprise. 

Back at the hospital Amelia has just arrived in Seattle with her suitcase in tow and finds Link. She wants to get Scout on the waiting list for pre-schools, and Link keeps it short by saying he will look at them before walking away to check on a patient. Bailey walks out of a different patient’s room and asks a nurse if she has a resident on her service today. Wright walks up, apologizes for being late, and says he’s on her service today. Bailey asks the nurse to get her another resident, but is interrupted when a man walks up to them and says his boyfriend is hurt and is in his car outside. Needless to say, Bailey and Wright are beyond surprised to find Gigi the python wrapped around a man named Ivan, who is bleeding a lot.


In Minnesota, Nick and Mer have left the morning meeting, and Nick says he didn’t know about the offer, but she should have seen it coming. Mer asks what she should do if she wants to go home and be with her kids and Nick replies that she should. Hamilton and Kai interrupt their discussion, and Mer quickly asks Hamilton what made him think it would go well springing an offer on her like that in front of an audience. Hamilton is sorry Mer felt ambushed and explains that he got the approved budget right before the meeting and was excited to share the news. He also tells Mer that the offer will allow her to study anything she wants within the Grey Center, which is a nice perk. Hamilton also cryptically mentions that he knows Nick will benefit from it too, so it’s a win-win situation.

At Grey Sloan Memorial, Richard and Helm go outside to help Bailey and Wright, and a crowd has gathered around the car. Richard goes up to the car, looks inside, and instantly backs up when he spots Gigi. Helm says no several times and walks away, as she refuses to get involved with the python. Ivan explains to the doctors that Gigi bit him through his upper left arm and has pain in his arm, chest, and abdomen. He explains that Gigi is giving him a hug and why he has the snake in the first place: Ivan is a second grade teacher and thought a pet for his class would be good. However, the snake grew much more than anticipated. Ivan insists Gigi never did this before and bit his arm instead of her food that morning. The catch is that once a python bites, they don’t let go. Richard wants to page cardio, neuro, and ortho, while Bailey says, “Page everyone!”

Inside, Jo finds Link to tell him Luna found Scout’s toy and she left it in the lounge for him. Jo is surprised to see he’s looking at pre-schools, so Link asks what her plan is for Luna. Her plan is to send Luna to the same pre-school as Scout. Jo then blurts out that she misses him, and Link misses her too. He blames Amelia, as he’s decided that it is Amelia’s fault for everything since she ruins everything good in his life. Jo quips that she likes petty Link, but Link hates that Amelia has turned him into his father. Jo is a little too optimistic as she reminds her friend that he is wrong and will be okay.

Winston and Maggie are working together to split up cardio patient care, when Helm runs through the hallway and tells Maggie they need help outside with a giant snake wrapped around a man. Maggie says no, but Winston is excited and goes with Helm. Maggie didn’t know her husband is really into snakes, and it’s becoming clearer that Maggie and Winston don’t really know each other very well. Amelia and Link also arrive outside after being paged and are shocked at the sight of Gigi. They instantly take a step back, and Link grabs Amelia’s arm involuntarily. Winston seems to be the only one who loves this situation. He nerds out over the python and says they can swallow their prey whole. Helm continues to stay inside and refuses to come out even when Richard yells for her to join them. 

Since she didn’t want to help Ivan, Maggie goes to check on her pregnant patient, Laura, who has a heart valve defect that needs to be surgically fixed.  Jo is the OB on the case and is there too. At the same time, we are introduced to Laura’s brother, Todd, played by the wonderful Skylar Astin. He is super concerned about his sister, loves data and spreadsheets, and has a Ph.D. in environmental science. Jo mistakes Todd as Laura’s husband, while Maggie tells Laura she will need an echo before her surgery.

Over at the Hunt house, Megan and Farouk are getting ready to leave Seattle. Megan gives Teddy Owen’s PT routine. Owen complains that he doesn’t want so much oversight, but Megan is adamant that her brother needs strict care if he wants to walk and operate again. After Farouk goes out to the car, Megan tells Teddy and Owen that she gave them a pass previously because they have had a full house, but now that she and Farouk are leaving and their kids are at Owen’s mom’s house, they need to talk to fix whatever is going on. Megan gives a memorable line when she says that Teddy and Owen are easier to read than Leo’s Dr. Seuss books, and she is not wrong. Megan hugs her brother and leaves. It is sad to see Megan and Farouk go, but it has been great having them for a full thirteen-episode arc this season.


It’s time for a snake update! Winston tells the other doctors that they need to spread some rubbing alcohol around Gigi’s mouth to annoy her, which will loosen her grip. Once she loosens her hold on Ivan, they need to uncoil her. No one wants to help remove the snake, and Amelia forces Link to be a man and help. Richard is chosen to spray the snake with alcohol, but he chickens out and Bailey steps in to do it. Gigi lets go of Ivan as soon as the rubbing alcohol is sprayed and hisses and lunges at Bailey. She jumps back, and Wright catches her. I’m pretty sure the sound my rolling eyes made was audible when that happened. Winston jumps into the car and grabs Gigi’s head and instructs Link and Wright to uncoil the snake. They get Gigi off Ivan, remove Ivan from the car, and lock Gigi inside. The boys are very pleased with themselves, which is very amusing.

Maggie and Jo check in on Laura, and Jo says her labs look reassuring. Todd is grabbing coffee, and Laura launches into a story about how everyone warned her about getting pregnant and raising a kid alone and how Todd is the only one who supports her. He goes to all of Laura’s appointments with her and is letting his sister stay with him. Jo tells Laura that she too is a single mom and that good help is hard to find. Laura doesn’t know how Jo juggles being a single mom and a doctor, and Jo says she only can since the hospital has daycare to help. To add more entertainment to this episode, Laura tries to set Jo up with Todd, and Maggie quickly interrupts to get the doctors out of the room. Jo leaves and happens upon Todd stuck in a chair in the lobby while trying to plug his phone in. She updates him that Laura’s surgery will take a few hours if he wants to leave and come back, but Todd insists he will stay because he cares. He came prepared with a sandwich and several episodes of a TV show downloaded to watch. Jo likes the same show he’s watching and accidentally spoils something that he didn’t get to yet. She says she will leave before giving anything else away and tells him the second floor vending machine has good potato chips if he needs a snack. Maybe Laura doesn’t need to play matchmaker after all, as Jo and Todd seem to be hitting it off on their own.

Richard, Bailey, and Helm have brought Ivan inside to a trauma room. Bailey thinks he may have lung damage because his oxygen levels are low. Helm quips under her breath that she hates today, while Richard thinks Ivan’s chest x-ray could show a punctured lung. Bailey sees some markings that make her think that might not be the case. She overrules Richard and wants to get a CT scan before inserting a chest tube since she’s not sure what’s happening. Winton joins them in the scanning room to see the extent of Ivan’s injuries. He explains that python’s still act hungry after they eat, which causes their owners to overfeed them and make them obsess. The scan shows that the pressure ruptured Ivan’s diaphragm, causing his abdominal organs to be pushed into his chest cavity. Bailey is glad she stopped Richard’s idea because a chest tube would have killed Ivan. 

In the OR and operating on Laura, another resident asks Jo if every patient hits on her. Jo laughs and says no, and Maggie tells a story about the time when a fifteen-year-old hit on her. Out of nowhere, Laura starts crashing, and her baby is in distress too. They start CPR, and Jo calls for an OB attending. Jo thinks on her feet and instructs Maggie to turn Laura on her side when they can’t get her out of cardiac arrest. Jo’s suggestion works, and Laura’s heart rhythm goes back to normal. 

In another OR, Bailey, Winston, Wright, and Helm are operating on Ivan. Bailey says she has never seen anything like this and doesn’t want to see it again. Winston tells Wright and Helm that they are lucky to be in this surgery. He goes on to tell the story of how he picked cardio as his specialty because he was attracted to Maggie and then wound up marrying her. This is definitely the wrong time for this story, as it may put bad ideas in Wright’s head. The doctors then find themselves in a tricky situation when there is a lot of bleeding in Ivan’s abdomen that they can’t control.


Back at the Hunt’s house, Owen is trying to do PT again and is being a bad patient. Teddy tries to force him to do more, as she feels Owen is not pushing himself. Teddy wants him to be able to walk and operate again, but Owen doesn’t seem to be motivated. Owen doesn’t want Teddy to tiptoe around the house anymore and not look him in the eyes. He also says he can’t do more PT exercises because it hurts too much and he is in pain. Teddy yells back, “So am I!” and tells Owen that she can’t look at him because she doesn’t recognize him anymore. 

In Minnesota, Nick and Mer sit in the lab and talk. Nick says he read about the Grey Center’s robot arm in the hospital newsletter. Mer asks what Nick would do with the money if he got some of the funding she was offered. He replies he would keep studying regeneration stem cell therapies and expand a xenotransplantation study. Mer didn’t know he was doing research currently. Nick explains that he wants to save more patients, but it’s difficult because it takes time and money. He sort of rudely says that everyone doesn’t get surprised with millions in research funding. Mer says it’s not that she’s not grateful for the offer, but she has a life and kids in Seattle. She feels the situation just got more complicated with the admission of Nick’s research. Nick wants to meet Mer’s kids and tells her she could have a life in Minnesota. Mer says Hamilton implied the money could help Nick, and she’s assessing how complicated this decision is. He wants to know if she thinks he’s in a relationship with her to get grant funding. Mer replies, “I told you I had trust issues.” Nick assures her that he is in the relationship for her and didn’t mention his research because that’s not why he’s with her. He continues to say, “It seems like you take things that are pretty great and start looking for the problems,” which is an incredibly accurate statement. Mer asks if he wants her to take the offer, and Nick wants her to do what she wants to do. He concludes that he wants to share her life with her, but it’s her choice and walks away.

Back in Seattle, Ivan is still bleeding profusely. Bailey says they need to pack him, get him to the ICU, and stabilize him. If he stabilizes, they will try to operate again tomorrow. She wants someone to tell Ivan’s boyfriend to meet them in the ICU, and they try to stop Ivan from bleeding out. Laura has survived her surgery, so Jo finds Todd to let him know what happened. They have to reschedule the procedure, but Laura and the baby are fine. Jo asks if Todd wants to see Laura, but he thinks it would be weird if she’s sleeping. Jo changes the subject by asking how far he got in the show and the vending machine, since there’s a pile of snacks on the table. Todd couldn’t decide what to get, so he bought one of everything. Jo asks him out for a drink, then tries to backpedal thinking it is weird to ask him out. Todd surprises her by saying he would love a drink. Jo gets excited and says she has to finish her shift. Todd has to wait for his sister anyway, then they will meet at Joe’s Bar.

Teddy and Owen then finally have the conversation that they shouldn’t have waited this long to have, but better late than never. Owen starts by saying Teddy has supported death with dignity for twenty years. She says that isn’t the point, rather Owen put their family at risk without consulting her. Owen insists he was careful, but Teddy counters that they don’t know if Heather or the other soldiers were. She asks if Owen even knows the other soldiers he gave drugs to and wants to know how he knows they or their families won’t go after him. Owen admits he can’t know if anyone will retaliate, so Teddy tells him that it will follow them forever. She thought they were a family, Owen thought he was protecting her by not telling her what he planned on doing. Teddy says she doesn’t need protection, but she does need her husband and the father of their kids to not be in prison. She tries to walk away, and Owen gets out of his wheelchair and walks a few steps to stop her. They are both shocked and happy that Owen walked for the first time since the accident.

Back in Minnesota, Mer is sitting alone in a room, and Kai finds her to talk. Kai apologizes to Mer for Hamilton’s behavior and hopes he didn’t scare her away. Mer says it’s unnecessary for Kai to apologize for Hamilton and asks if they are seeing Amelia. Kai sheepishly says they are getting close, but that’s not the only reason why they want Mer to stay. Mer says Hamilton is too much like her mother, and Kai understands that can be triggering. Kai explains Hamilton is the opposite of triggering to them because they knew him before they changed their pronouns and name. Hamilton was immediately accepting when even their parents weren’t. Kai says they did change the world with the Parkinson’s project, which is what Hamilton promised, and finishes by saying Hamilton has a good track record of keeping promises.


In Seattle, Ivan codes in the hall on the way to the ICU. Winston pushes the bed while Bailey performs CPR. Ivan’s boyfriend sees what is happening, and Wright gets him out of the ICU room as they bring Ivan in. They pull back the curtain as they start shocking Ivan, but it does not appear to be working. 

Elsewhere in the hospital, Amelia finds Link. She saw that Ivan has a displaced humerus fracture and wants to join the surgery with him, so I guess Ivan survived his scare. Link says okay, and Amelia says she doesn’t know how they didn’t know they had a mutual fear of snakes. Link stops her by saying he can’t do small talk with her anymore. Amelia reminds Link that he always said he didn’t want them to end up like his parents. She doesn’t want that for Scout and asks if they can just not hate each other. Link informs her that he needs to hate her for a little while even if it’s wrong because if he doesn’t hate her, he loves her, and they can’t have that. She understandingly nods and walks away.

Bailey checks in on Ivan’s boyfriend, who is standing outside Ivan’s ICU room. He asks if Ivan will live, and Bailey says they will do everything they can. She asks if he has a ride home to get some rest, but he doesn’t think rest will help him get over what happened. He thinks he needs to reassess his life, so Bailey recommends holding Ivan’s hand to remind himself why he loves him. The boyfriend goes into the room, and Wright walks up to tell Bailey that they sent Gigi to a rescue organization. He then says what Bailey did today was an education on so many levels. She thanks him for his vote of confidence, but doesn’t want this to grow into a larger problem. Wright assures her that it won’t and apologizes again. He goes on to say the kiss wasn’t appropriate, but she sent him a signal, which Bailey denies. Wright says she might not have done it on purpose, but he sees her that way and noted it and is sorry. He once again says it won’t happen again before leaving for the night. 

Jo is ready to leave the hospital, when Link finds her in the lobby and proclaims Jo is who he needs to see. He asks if she wants to go to Joe’s before she picks up Luna. Before she can answer, Todd walks up and apologizes for being late. Link is a bit surprised she has plans, and Jo apologizes. Link says it’s fine, and Jo leaves with Todd. I feel genuinely bad for Link, who can’t seem to catch a break with any of the women in his life. Though, I am excited to see if Jo and Todd become a thing since he will be a recurring character. Todd may just be exactly what Jo needs right now.

We then get a few scenes of the doctors at home before the episode ends. Teddy gives Owen an ice pack for his leg while he sits on the couch. She grabs a beer for herself and sits down next to her husband. Teddy exclaims that she is exhausted from their current situation. She tells Owen that she loves him and won’t leave him, but she needs to know that family comes first. She understands his principles, heart, and why he did it. However, she doesn’t want him to do anything big without telling her first. Teddy wants Owen to trust that she will be there for him or talk him out of something stupid, but needs him to come to her. Owen simply says he loves her too. They kiss and cuddle on the couch, and Owen really should have acknowledged that Teddy isn’t asking for anything unreasonable. 

Bailey gets home right as Ben has put Pru to bed. He complains about reading one book five times at bed time. Bailey tops the complaint by telling him about the python, which Ben says is dramatic. Bailey turns the conversation to a more serious manner by asking if they have been ignoring a snake in their relationship because they have been sending mixed signals to other people. Ben doesn’t think that is true, so Bailey brings up Ingrid, who thought Ben invited her to Thanksgiving dinner on a previous episode of Station 19. Ben realizes she has a fair point, so Bailey continues that she’s worried they are feeding a life that might be squeezing their marriage to death. She doesn’t want to do that because he’s too important to her. Bailey also doesn’t want others to think they are available. Ben assures his wife that he’s only available to her. He wants to spend more time together and says she will never get rid of him. They hug and kiss, and Bailey asks him to not let go. We can all take a collective sigh of relief now that Ben and Bailey have ironed out their problems!

We then see Richard at home with Catherine. He tells her that he made a bad call today that could have killed a man. Richard also realized that he created a teaching method and pressured Catherine and Bailey to implement it, which might have killed a resident’s career and might be bringing the whole resident class down too. He has decided that he wants a whole review of his skills and health to determine if he is still fit to operate. Catherine is surprised, but Richard wants to know.

At Mer’s house, the Grey/Shepherd kids are in the kitchen with Maggie when Mer walks in with her suitcase and leaves door open. The kids run to give her a group hug, which is very sweet. Maggie tells Mer she is going to the gym because Winston saw a two-for-one special, and now they are gym members. Maggie seems less than thrilled, and mark this as one more thing no one knew about Winston. Zola thought Maggie was staying for dinner because they set table for five. Mer tells her kids that she brought a friend from Minnesota, and Nick walks in. Zola asks if they worked on the Parkinson’s project together, so Nick tells her he is a transplant surgeon. Zola immediately asks how they met then, and Nick says, “Your mom saved my life.” With that, the kids invite him in, and Ellis gives him some of the chocolate pudding surprise she made. Nick tells her he loves it, which makes Mer laugh. The episode ends with them sitting down to eat pizza together, and it’s easy to see how this could become a permanent family dynamic. However, whether that family remains in Seattle or moves to Minnesota remains a massive question mark. Here’s to hoping the writers are smart enough to realize that the show never works as well when Mer isn’t living in Seattle.


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