Ted Lasso, Rom-Coms, and Emotional Vulnerability

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

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

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

If You Like This, Watch That

Looking for a new TV series to watch? We recommend them based on your preference for musicals, ensemble shows, mysteries, and more!

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Jenn’s Pick: My 15 Favorite TV Shows in 2023 [Contributor: Jenn]

The end of the year is always the perfect opportunity to reflect on lots of things — achievements, goals, heartbreaks, dreams... and all of the media you consumed! As someone who watches a whole lot of television, this year I thought I would sit down and write about some of my favorite shows from 2023. 

They’re in no particular order, and you’ll notice an array of genres here but they all have one thing in common: they captivated me, made me feel something deeply, and also entertained me. And in (another) year of chaos and darkness, that’s exactly what I want out of my media.

Spoilers for these series will be included below so read at your own risk!

The Last of Us (HBO Max)

I’d stayed away from watching The Last of Us live on HBO Max for a few reasons: one is that I wanted to see if the show lived up to the hype by the end of the season (because adaptations of things don’t always) and the second is that I wanted to see if I could handle any of the gore or jumpscares the show had in store for me. And after hearing unanimous, effusive praise for “Long, Long Time,” I knew I’d eventually check out the series.

So this summer I sat down to binge watch it and quickly realized that while the series is incredible, it’s one that I had to pace myself for. Make no mistake: The Last of Us is definitely worth the hype (see: it being on nearly every “best of” list this year) but it is dark. It, after all, is set in the midst of a post-apocalyptic world. 

But the storyline is captivating. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey are truly incredible, versatile actors — equally at home conveying their characters’ pains as they do their comedic charms and witty banter. Pedro expertly conveys the reluctance of a man who has lost so much to get emotionally attached to anyone or anything. And Bella’s portrayal of Ellie as a young person grappling with trauma (Bella’s performance in “When We Are In Need” in particular is award-worthy) and also wanting love, acceptance, and friendship like any teenager is so compelling. Together, they represent everything you could want from co-leads of a series.

The show tackles everything you’d expect it to: grief, morality, love, survival, and found family. If you haven’t yet watched The Last of Us, I highly recommend doing so as soon as possible. You won’t regret it!

Starstruck (HBO Max)

Rose Matafeo’s hilarious rom-com, Starstruck, came back this year. While Starstruck strayed more into somber themes in its third season, it remained one of the most charming shows on television that not enough people are watching and/or talking about online. The series begins with a normal woman named Jessie (played by Rose Matafeo) meeting and sleeping with a famous actor named Tom (Nikesh Patel) on New Year’s Eve. The rest of the show has depicted the highs and lows of their relationship across various holidays, and the newest season is no exception. 

Even though I cried at the season three finale, the new season has no shortage of laughs either. Most importantly, watching Jessie’s trajectory has been so rewarding. Rose is an incredible comedic actress but she’s also so powerful this season whenever she is doing dramatic scenes — whether confronting love, loss, or failed expectations in herself, her relationships, and her friendships. The season specifically feels especially relatable as Jessie watches the people she loves most slip into new phases of their lives with seeming ease, and they appear to be growing away from her. Nikesh Patel continues to be such a great romantic lead too, balancing subtle humor and genuinely heartbreaking moments this season alongside her.

Literally the only complaint I ever have about Starstruck is that it’s too short. And as the show seems to be winding down (cue me crying), I’m more confident than ever that it will continue to be a frequent comfort rewatch for me.

Good Omens (Amazon Prime)

When it was announced that Good Omens was coming back for a second season, I knew I would need to rewatch season one because anything that aired before the pandemic has essentially evaporated from my brain. Good Omens debuted in 2019 and it came back this year — stronger than ever, in my personal opinion.

The show is based on the novel of the same name in which an angel named Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and a demon named Crowley (David Tennant), who have been longtime friends and allies, try to stop the apocalypse from happening. But the second season gives us a stronger, deeper — and more romantic — connection between these two characters as they try to keep Archangel Michael (Jon Hamm) away from both heaven and hell. 

I really love Good Omens; it’s a wild, weird little series that hinges on the fantastic chemistry between David and Michael. The world around them is fantastical, but the connection between Aziraphale and Crowley is about as true and grounded as it gets. 

It’s so heartbreaking to watch the end of the season after all of the growth that Crowley had, but at the same time I really love the depth and complexity of their relationship, which is really what makes this series as compelling as it is. Crowley is ready to break ties with hell and the other demons to be with Aziraphale, but Aziraphale can’t do the same thing. He believes the whole spiritual realm system can be improved if he is reinstated as an angel in heaven, while Crowley is not optimistic. The themes of religion and morality run deep in Good Omens, and the way the series depicts struggles with faith, free will, and love is so great.

With the news that Good Omens has been renewed for a third and final season, it’s time for you all to watch it if you haven’t yet!

Doctor Who (Disney+)

I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who for so many years. In fact, a long-standing tradition with my best friend has been to watch the show together every Christmas Day whenever the new holiday special drops. So imagine my joy when the show returned and, most excitingly, on a streaming service I already had! A minor qualm of my Doctor Who-watching days has been that I could not keep up with the series simply because it aired on BBC America and I cut the ties with cable TV years ago. An unfortunate consequence of the show not being available to (easily) watch weekly for me was that I missed out on part of Thirteen’s (Jodie Whittaker) era. 

So when her regeneration dropped online and it revealed the return of David Tennant, I was surprised. And then when it was revealed that Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) would be returning alongside David for a few specials, I was overjoyed. Ten/Donna’s dynamic was one of the most lovely ones — they had an incredible friendship and comedic rapport — but also Donna’s exit was, arguably, one of the series’ most heartbreaking.

Doctor Who returned with three specials (all of which were stellar, navigating Doctor Who lore and also giving us some new twists and old villains) leading up to our new Fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) this year. It was such a joy and delight to see David and Catherine return to Doctor Who, specifically because their chemistry is so strong, whether they are bantering or having a gut-wrenching moment of honesty between them. But perhaps the most satisfying was how the specials wrapped up the Fourteenth Doctor’s journey: he is able to find freedom from all of the darkness and trauma that has happened to him since the last time we saw The Doctor with David Tennant’s face. Ultimately this leads to a bi-generation where a more emotionally-evolved Fifteenth Doctor splits from Fourteen and continues their journey throughout time and space.

The return of Ncuti in this year’s Christmas special, “The Church on Ruby Road,” that kicks off his new era really proved how great he is going to be as The Doctor. He is hilarious (leaping along the rooftop, singing an improvised verse or two to the Goblin King, defending the new sonic, etc.) and also heartbreaking (anyone else tear up when Fifteen listened to Ruby (Millie Gibson) talk about family and adoption?). There is so much promise with this new era of Doctor Who and I cannot wait to see all of the adventures that The Doctor gets up to in 2024.

Schmigadoon! (Apple TV+)

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I love musical theatre. So when Schmigadoon! premiered in 2021, I was enamored by the cleverly-written, tongue-in-cheek Apple TV+ show that referenced classic musicals (and parodied them/their archetypical characters). And when I heard the show was coming back with “Schmicago,” I was even more excited. The show’s plot in the first season was about two doctors — Melissa (Cecily Strong) and Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) — who were struggling in their relationship and stumbled upon a magical, musical town called Schmigadoon. There, they met an array of characters, eventually rekindled their romance, and left. 

In season two, Melissa and Josh are struggling again. But this time, their relationship is solid — it’s the rest of their life that has begun to feel mundane. Additionally, the couple is struggling to have a child. So they decide to embark on an adventure to find the quaint little town of Schmigadoon which they know will make them feel hopeful again. Unfortunately, Schmigadoon is gone and in its place is Schmicago — a nod to a darker, grittier period of musicals. Melissa and Josh must now adjust to a new town with familiar faces (since the actors from season one all mostly return to play new characters in season two) and try to solve a murder.

Schmigadoon! is worth watching for so many reasons: the cast is immensely talented (in addition to Cecily and Keegan, the series also stars Dove Cameron, Aaron Tveit, Ariana DeBose, Jane Krakowski, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, etc.), and we get the new additions of Tituss Burgess and Patrick Page in the second season too. The musical theatre homages are fantastic and funny — season two features parodies of Chicago, Sweeney Todd, Hair, and more. And the songs are incredibly catchy too!

If you love musical theatre and are looking for a comedy series to immerse yourself in, then Schmigadoon! is right up your alley.

Shrinking (Apple TV+)

Are you looking for a series from Bill Lawrence, Brett Goldstein, and Jason Segel that is equal parts funny and heart-wrenching and also stars Harrison Ford as a curmudgeonly mentor? Then Shrinking is the show for you! Jason Segel plays Jimmy, a therapist who recently lost his wife and is struggling — both as a therapist and as a dad to his teenage daughter, Alice (Lukita Maxwell). In a pretty dramatic move, Jimmy decides to tell his clients what he actually thinks instead of merely listening to their issues or approaching them in ethical, compassionate ways. This radical development is meant to unnerve us. And that’s what I love about Shrinking so far — the characters are complex and you don’t always root for Jimmy. He’s messy and trying to shove the pain and grief he’s feeling away. It’s hurting his daughter and his relationships with others. And Jason Segel is a perfect choice to play this immensely complex character, as someone who is equally at home with shenanigans but also can really deliver a dramatic moment with simplicity and gravitas.

Additionally, it wouldn’t be a Bill Lawrence show without the hilarious and talented Christa Miller as Jimmy’s neighbor and Alice’s pseudo-guardian. Christa’s dynamic with everyone in the cast is just perfect, and her storyline with Harrison Ford in one particular episode is hilarious. Jessica Williams is, however, my favorite performer in the show — witty, sharp, and deftly navigating both drama and comedy, Jessica is Shrinking’s MVP and if it were up to me, she would win Best Supporting Actress awards.

The writing of the series is stellar, weaving together humor and tragedy — all while able to find the humanity within each character and situation. The show has a bit more bite than Ted Lasso does, as the main character is supposed to be far less likable than Ted, but it’s also what makes Shrinking stand out. I kind of like when shows give us characters we do not want to root for at the beginning and, by the end, we see a little bit of growth. Plus, the final moments of the Shrinking finale deliver a jaw-dropping twist and I am really interested to see how it is handled in season two.

If you’re able to emotionally handle a show about grief and all its messiness, be sure to check out Shrinking on Apple TV+.

Mrs. Davis (Peacock)

If someone were to ask me how to summarize Mrs. Davis, I wouldn’t quite know how without spoiling the show for them. So instead, I’ve told people: “It’s the wildest, most absurd, wonderful show you’ll watch this year.” The Peacock series stars Betty Gilpin as a nun named Simone who’s determined to destroy the A.I. interface (Mrs. Davis) that has taken over the world, and is tasked with locating The Holy Grail in order to complete this mission. In the process, she reconnects with her ex-boyfriend Wiley (Jake McDorman) who has been helping lead a resistance against Mrs. Davis. I won’t say more about the show’s plot for risk of spoiling some of the best TV twists this year, but suffice it to say that Mrs. Davis was an incredible series that tackled all kinds of topics — faith, love, trauma, our life’s purpose, family — in fresh ways.

And while the writing was fantastic, this show would not have worked without Betty Gilpin leading it. She is so compelling to watch — hilarious (see: her delivery of a specific plot twist in the finale) and nuanced, she embodied all of the complexities that made Simone who she was. Whether Simone was grappling with her evolving faith, her relationship with her mother, her dynamic with Wiley, or her complex feelings about Mrs. Davis, Betty truly made you feel all of the emotions in a scene. She deserves all of the accolades for the way she led this show with such force, always able to find exactly the right way to emotionally compel us. Jake McDorman too is such a great actor — he deserves to be in more things, honestly, and I am always rooting for that — and he and Betty had such delightful chemistry and rapport. Jake is hilarious (please go watch the tragically cancelled Limitless on Paramount+ for more evidence of his physical comedy) and has always been great at banter, but he excelled at the dramatic moments too, as Wiley grappled with what his life was truly worth and what he believed he deserved. The season finale is a tour de force for him, and I wish both he and Betty nothing but accolades for their performances anchoring this series.

I loved Mrs. Davis so much and truly believe it’s one of the most unique shows to have debuted this year. If you weren’t watching it when it aired and have access to Peacock, do yourself a favor and watch all of this limited series soon. You won’t regret the weird, wonderful ride.

Jury Duty (Amazon Prime/Freevee)

I heard everyone singing the praises of Jury Duty and then decided to binge watch it to see if it held up to the hype. Spoiler alert, it did! I was a little worried, given the premise of the show, that I’d have secondhand embarrassment for Ronald or that I’d be subjected to some mean-spirited pranks. But Jury Duty is not even remotely mean-spirited or intentionally trying to be cringe-comedy. It is, instead, a show about a genuinely decent guy who is thrust into a chaotic little experiment (unbeknownst to him) and handles all of the characters he meets — including James Marsden playing an exaggerated version of himself — with such grace and kindness. The premise of the show is simple: Ronald thinks he got called for a normal jury duty assignment, but the whole jury duty experience is fake, filled with improv actors, and there is no real trial. All of the actors are following a loose script that they use as a foundation for their interactions with Ronald.

The star of the series, of course, is Ronald, who is not an actor. He’s the one we’re really watching for to see if, at any point, he begins to suspect that things aren’t what they seem and exposes the ruse. Because we live in a world saturated with reality television, we might expect Ronald to snap — yelling about the absurd behavior of his fellow jurors or questioning why he’s even there. But even though wild things happen around him every single episode, Ronald keeps his composure. He tries to find solutions to truly absurd issues that arise. He forms connections with people, even though he finds some behaviors weird. And while he’s not perfect because he, like all of us, is human, the way he acted throughout the whole show was so charming to watch! All of the actors adored him and we, the audience, did too. 

And because he is nominated for awards this season, I have to mention how utterly perfect James Marsden is in Jury Duty. He, is consistently hilarious, utterly charming, delivers some truly fantastic lines and scenes, and he should truly be in all of our TV shows and films. Why is James Marsden not in all of the things we are watching?! (Aside: I also love that he and Ronald are still close after the show!)

So if you want a quick, light-hearted binge that will actually make you have faith in humanity, Jury Duty is the show for you.

Mythic Quest (Apple TV+)

I’ve talked many, many times about how much I love Mythic Quest. If you have not yet watched this Apple TV+ show, just stop reading this article, go binge-watch it, and then come back. 

Unsurprisingly, I loved season three of the series. (You can listen to And A Rewatch’s coverage of the show, which includes special guests like Megan Ganz talking about the beautiful, heartbreaking standalone episode this season, “Sarian.”) One of the show’s continued strengths is the ability to mix and match character pairings and correctly assume that the dynamics will just work. Because they always do! The cast is so incredibly talented, but also genuinely enjoy one another and that comes through in the chemistry on screen.

This season, we got more of Dana (Imani Hakim) and Ian (Rob McElhenney) interacting (which I loved), as well as the unexpected trio of Rachel (Ashly Burch), Brad (Danny Pudi), and Carol (Naomi Ekperigen). Plus, David (David Hornsby) is starting to come into his own as a leader! While the show is still, at its heart, about the complex dynamics and relationship between Ian and Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao), it’s been really fun to see the other characters — especially Jo (Jessie Ennis) — shine over the last two seasons. (Can we get an Emmy for Jessie Ennis interacting with Joe Manganiello please?) 

Whether the season was tackling the dynamic of brunches, leadership issues, creativity, or highlighting the bittersweet backstories of Ian and Poppy, Mythic Quest remained one of the most consistently well-done comedies on television.

If you haven’t checked out the series yet, use your Apple TV+ subscription (or free trial if you got a new device during the holidays!) to binge it. You won’t regret it.

Poker Face (Peacock)

In the era of “whodunnits,” Poker Face was Peacock’s “howcatchem” series that compels you from the very first episode. Created by Rian Johnson (if you loved Knives Out and Glass Onion, you’ll definitely like this show), Poker Face follows the story of Charlie (Natasha Lyonne) who is a waitress at a casino but is also basically a human lie detector. When her best friend is murdered, Charlie begins investigating — and unfortunately lands herself into hot water. The rest of the season is Charlie running away from the people hunting her down and, as she arrives in various places, solving murders. Unlike a “whodunnit,” the audience sees at the beginning of each episode, exactly what crime happened and who committed it. The fun of a “howcatchem,” then, is for us as an audience to see Charlie piece the clues together. We wonder if she’ll figure out who the bad guy is in time or if her curiosity will land her into precarious situations.

Natasha Lyonne was really born for the kind of detective role she gets to inhabit with Poker Face. Because even though this series is chock full of big name guest stars each episode — Adrien Brody, Hong Chau, Judith Light, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Rhea Perlman just to name a few — the whole series is really about Charlie. If we don’t care about her, the episodes don’t matter as much. But we do care about Charlie. We want to see her succeed and we root for her to outwit those who are tracking her.

Poker Face is a really fun series that works well as a binge watch or, when it returns to Peacock next season, as a week-to-week show.

Somebody Somewhere (HBO Max)

I heard quiet murmurings of how Somebody Somewhere was a great show and I finally decided to check it out this year when season two dropped. The show is just as great as everyone said it was, and I think what makes it so wonderful is just how unassuming it is. Unlike a lot of shows on this list, there are no fantastical elements — no demons or angels, no sci-fi, no crimes to solve. It’s a show about a woman in Kansas named Sam (Bridgett Everett) who moved back to her hometown and is dealing with the death of her sister. Sam is trying to figure out what makes her happy and how to be okay with a town she doesn’t feel like she fits into anymore. She reconnects with a friend from high school, Joel (Jeff Hiller), who introduces her to people who also don’t fit the typical mold.

Somebody Somewhere is a lovely little show about figuring out who you are, loving yourself, struggling with grief, and developing relationships in adulthood. It’s a deceptively simple show that packs an emotional punch through its storylines. You truly feel all of the emotions that Sam does when she and Joel get into a fight or when she and her sister don’t see eye-to-eye. You ache because she’s trying to figure out her life while trying to hold everyone together — including her parents.

But when Sam is in her element — when she’s singing on stage — you watch her come alive and you see, clearly, her passion and love for music. In the second season, the scenes between Sam and her old music teacher are so subtle and yet so emotionally poignant. Season two of Somebody Somewhere walks the tightrope between drama and comedy; Sam’s relationship with her sister Trish is rife with both, for example. If you, like me, have only heard about this show but haven’t watched it, be sure to catch up as soon as you can.

The Bear (Hulu)

Much has been said and written about The Bear and I’m not sure if anything I say will convince you to watch the show but I’ll try: this series is consistently one of the most tense, character-centric shows — and season two has, perhaps, the most prime example of that (“Fishes” will have you feeling like you are watching the most intense drama). Even though things aren’t really life-and-death stakes in The Bear, the way that the series is written, shot, and acted would beg to differ. It centers on Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), a chef who was once in the high-dining world and comes back to Chicago in order to run his late brother’s small restaurant. There, he begins a quasi-mentorship with a promising young chef named Sydney (Ayo Edebiri) and continues to struggle with his relationships — including his friend, Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). I am so glad that this year Ayo is in a leading actor category because she and Jeremy are truly the anchors of the show. It would not work if it was just Carmy leading the restaurant; Ayo depicts the passion, creativity, and leadership that Sydney has in a way that parallels and yet perfectly contrasts Carmy. Her scenes in the finale with Ebon were incredibly moving too, and you really root for Sydney and her journey.

The Bear, like I said, is rather low stakes in the grand scheme of things: one of the biggest sources of conflict in the second season involves re-opening the restaurant and all the things that go wrong prior to, and up until, the opening night. But I cannot emphasize just how frantic and tense this show manages to make everything feel. I’m on edge, and sometimes in a way that unsettles me. Make no mistake, though: even though The Bear is labeled as a comedy in awards shows (because of the rule that half-hour series are “comedies” and hour-longs series are “dramas”), there are difficult topics that the show tackles — with grief and trauma being at the forefront.

The series has some of the most compelling characters and dynamics (whether you ship them romantically or not, the Carmy/Sydney relationship is fascinating, thanks to the writing and chemistry between the actors), and had some of the best episodes of television this year (the aforementioned “Fishes” but “Forks” is an incredible episode focused on Richie as well that deserves to be in award conversations). 

So if you are looking for a TV binge this winter break and are fascinated by the fast-paced, tense, dramatic world of dysfunctional family dynamics, then The Bear is for you.

Queen Charlotte (Netflix)

While we’re all waiting for a new Bridgerton installment, Netflix gave us a self-contained Bridgerton story this year: Queen Charlotte. The series is a Bridgerton prequel, taking place as a young Charlotte (India Amarteifio) meets and marries a young King George III (Corey Mylchreest). She realizes upon marrying George that he is struggling with a mental illness, and the rest of the series is about their partnership, family, and love. The series also flashes to the present-day queen (Golda Rosheuvel) who is dealing with the death of Princess Charlotte and putting the pressure on her sons to marry so that there will be a legitimate heir. Charlotte is not the only character we get to see in both flashbacks and present-day though — Violet and Agatha also woven throughout the season’s storylines and we get a clearer understanding of who both women are in the present by understanding their pasts. Arsema Thomas, in particular, does a fantastic job depicting the strength and heartbreak of young Agatha.

What I loved about Queen Charlotte as a series was that it focused on how Charlotte became the queen we saw in the first and second seasons of Bridgerton. We know, of course, about George’s mental state but seeing the young Charlotte navigate all of the emotions that come with being a wife and caretaker — her frustration, sadness, and love for George — is heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. India did an absolutely stellar job and I was captivated by her performance. India and Corey, meanwhile, had incredible chemistry together. Their love story was so beautiful to watch (and I’ll be thinking about the final scene with them for a while).

If you’re a Bridgerton fan who didn’t watch Queen Charlotte, check it out on Netflix!

Daisy Jones & the Six (Amazon Prime)

This summer, music from Daisy Jones & the Six was stuck in my head (particularly “Look At Us Now”) because it was so catchy and so good. The Taylor Jenkins Reid adaptation exceeded my expectations — particularly in regards to the chemistry between Billy (Sam Claflin) and Daisy (Riley Keough). Both the book and series are constructed like a “behind the music”-style interview about the rise and fall of the titular band, Daisy Jones & the Six. 

What makes this show so compelling is, of course, Daisy herself — an immensely talented, free spirit singer-songwriter. Daisy, however, has her own darknesses from her childhood and the way she’s been treated by people. She self-medicates with drugs and alcohol, much to the disappointment of Billy who’s sober by the time he meets Daisy. But Daisy is a force to be reckoned with — and Riley is just so talented, inhabiting this messy, complex character and making us fall in love with her. Her vocal performances are stellar, and her dynamic with Sam is the kind of chemistry that producers can only dream of finding. 

Speaking of: Sam Claflin really deserves to be in more things. Not only does he deliver some heartbreaking moments in the series (specifically the end of “Looks Like We Made It”), but he’s also such a compelling romantic lead, able to communicate longing and heartbreak and love. The rest of the cast is so great too — particularly Camila Marrone who plays Billy’s wife, Camila. She’s navigating her love for Billy, her disappointment with his choices, her fierce desire to be loved the way she deserves, and much more. Camila navigates all of these emotions with such grace and vulnerability. Additionally we get way more time with Simone (Nabiyah Be) in the show than we do in the book. We get the opportunity to see the trajectory of her career and personal life as a Black queer woman in the 70s, and Nabiyah does a fantastic job depicting all of the highs and lows, as well as her complex friendship (and often codependency) with Daisy.

Daisy Jones & the Six is only 10 episodes, and by the time you finish binge-watching the series, you’ll be ready to listen to the soundtrack on repeat!

Ghosts (Paramount+)

I love this CBS sitcom and have been singing its praises ever since my friend Alicia introduced me to it. If you’re in the market for a really charming ensemble comedy with a bunch of talented actors, then watch Ghosts! The series follows Sam (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), a couple who inherit a bed and breakfast. The only problem: it’s inhabited by ghosts. And after a near-death experience, Sam can see all of them. The rest of the show is about the dynamics between Sam, Jay, and the ghosts —and it’s so much fun to watch. 

The lighthearted, found family-centric ensemble comedy is just that: an ensemble. It’s the kind of show where you can put any two actors together and it just works. The ghosts all also get their own arcs and stories. This season, we got more backstory of what happened to Alberta (Danielle Pinnock) and also learn how she died. We get a really fun, unexpected dynamic between Hetty (Rebecca Wisocky) and Trevor (Asher Grodman), and a sweet relationship between Flower (Sheila Carrasco) and Thor (Devan Chandler Long). Plus this season we also got perfect running commentary from Sass (Román Zaragoza), some truly great moments for Pete (Richie Moriarty), and growth for Isaac (Brandon Scott Jones).

Ghosts, more often than not, stays pretty light in terms of the drama, but when they choose to focus on emotional beats, the show really knocks it out of the park. With Ghosts returning for season three soon, be sure to catch up on this delightful little series!

Honorable mentions: Reservation Dogs (Hulu), Lessons in Chemistry (Apple TV+), What We Do in the Shadows (Hulu), and The Afterparty (Apple TV+)

What were some of your favorite television shows this year?

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

The Final Season of Reservation Dogs Proves Its Power In Its Storytelling [Contributor: Jenn]

(Image credit: Shane Brown/FX)

Even though I have only seen the first four episodes of Reservation Dogs’ final season, I can already tell that the show is going to end its run just as strongly as it began it. This groundbreaking series features four Indigenous teenagers on a quest to get out of their Oklahoma reservation and to California. At the end of season two, all of the teens — Bear, Elora, Cheese, and Willie Jack — managed to do just that to honor their deceased friend, Daniel. Unfortunately for them, their car and money were stolen so season three picks up where we left off.

The four episodes I watched were all quite different from one another, but all of them are engaging and gripping for various reasons and set up what is sure to be an exciting final season.

Below, I break down what you can look forward to in the first few episodes, with minor plot spoilers. 

The season premiere features all four of the teenagers interacting, marking a rare occurrence in the first few episodes, as they head back to Oklahoma via bus (thanks to a rescue from Aunt Teenie). I’d missed the banter that these individuals had in pairs and as a group. (There’s a particularly silly scene about day-old donuts and how each character reacts differently to the idea of them.) 

But what the episode really serves as is a springboard for Bear’s character arc the rest of the season. He’s the primary focus of the few episodes I saw, and it’s fascinating to see just how he’s growing. More on that in a minute!

Meanwhile, on the bus back to Oklahoma, Cheese is drawing and Willie Jack tells him how amazing his art is. Even though all of the teens wanted to escape Okern, both Cheese and Willie Jack admit that they appreciate it more after California. They also both discuss that Bear and Elora are destined to leave them and Oklahoma altogether. I loved that we got some genuine, heartfelt moments between these two characters. Since Cheese is the youngest, he obviously knows that his friends will likely leave before him. But it was sweet to see how excited Willie Jack was by the drawings, and how encouraging she was about his talent.

Elsewhere on the bus, Aunt Teenie gives Elora some unexpected information that is part of what her character arc will be about the rest of the season.

A theme that runs through these first few episodes is the idea of figuring out what you consider home, as well as how to care for and protect the people you love. The teens were desperate to go to California at the beginning of the series, but the truth that they uncover is that it wasn’t all they expected — or even wanted. The teens all now recognize that the idea of California was more appealing to them than actual California itself; it was the escape — from their routines, from their grief, and from their boredom — that they really wanted. And while it was cathartic for them all to honor Daniel and feel his presence on that beach with them, it seems like everyone is actually grateful to be going home again by the time we reconvene in season three. 

All, unfortunately, except Bear who gets left behind at the bus station with no money or way home.

In the next episode, Bear meets a stranger named Maximus. Dehydrated and left behind in California, Bear begins to walk (and gets increasingly frustrated with his visions of William “Spirit” Knifeman and how Spirit will not practically help him out) — and then gets shot with a very real tranquilizer dart. 

As it turns out, that dart belongs to Maximus — who appears to be a conspiracy theorist. He is Indigenous and reveals to Bear that he used to live in Okern, Oklahoma too. He gives Bear some much-needed water at his home. The rest of the episode is an unexpectedly moving one in which the two characters have conversations about life, friendships, and the way they perceive the world differently than others around them.

This one is a Bear-centric episode, and one that  D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai absolutely knocked out of the park. Isolated from the rest of his friends, it was impressive to see how Bear handled challenges that arose. I think this episode and the next one (“Deer Lady”) are great examples of the kind of person Bear is and the quality of his character. Yes, he still often makes poor decisions in the company of his peers because... well, he’s a teenager. But he has a lot of compassion and empathy for others, even if he doesn’t understand them. 

Even though Bear is initially (and rightfully so) wary of a stranger, he carries on conversations with Maximus throughout the episode without making Maximus feel judged or condescended. And while the end of the episode is a bit heartbreaking, the core of it is about two human beings just trying their best to understand each other and the world around them better — and that is beautiful.

(Bear and Elora in season three; image credit: Shane Brown/FX)

“Deer Lady” is episode three and is definitely the standout of the episodes so far in the season. As the title suggests, this episode is all about the Deer Lady, which means that Kaniehtiio Horn absolutely shines in a very nuanced, gut-wrenching performance. Young Deer Lady, played by Georgeanne Growingthunder, is truly wonderful too.

We learn about Deer Lady’s backstory — how she was taken away from her family and forced into an Indigenous boarding school where her hair was cut, she was not allowed to speak her language, and was abused if she (or any of the other children) did anything the nuns did not like. There, she meets a kind boy named Koda who tries to help her and tells her that the nuns will take a lot from them, but they never be able to take their smiles. Later on in the episode, we see the poignant moment where the child of Young Deer Lady becomes the Deer Lady herself.

“Deer Lady” technically and story-wise is impeccable and proof of why Reservation Dogs deserves acclaim. One of the most subtle elements of the episode that I appreciated is that when we’re in Young Deer Lady’s perspective in flashbacks, all of the adults sound garbled and like they’re speaking gibberish — this, of course, is because Young Deer Lady doesn’t know English and that is what it sounds like to her. That choice alone provides a way to immerse us in her point of view: confused and scared in a place that is meant to torture and kill.

The episode flashbacks are harrowing and horrifying (the episode opens with a viewer discretion warning), and they’re contrasted by some growing tension in the present-day story: Bear wanders into a diner that Deer Lady happens to be eating at. And while Bear is afraid she is there to kill him, Deer Lady assures him that she is not. 

Kaniehtiio Horn is the emotional heart of this episode. We’ve seen her before in the series, but watching her as Deer Lady unpack her trauma in the present-day storyline is so powerful and poignant. There’s a specific moment toward the end of the episode where you can see almost every emotion flicker across her face in the span of a few seconds. 

Additionally, like I noted earlier, “Deer Lady” is yet another example of how this season’s Reservation Dogs episodes are setting Bear up on a path toward finding his purpose in life. His empathy toward Deer Lady throughout the episode is incredibly touching, especially near the end.

Trust me: this episode is not going to be one that you want to miss.

The season premiere and “Friday” (episode four) are the only two episodes in this set that feature all of the teenagers. And both episodes are really about the individual characters’ storylines.

The plot is pretty simple: the teens all face consequences from the adults for going to California. The adults decide to divvy up punishments for everyone by having them work at the IHS clinic — including Jackie who, as she protests, didn’t even go to California! (She’s retroactively being punished by Bev for other things.) Jackie and Bear are on sweeping duty, Cheese and Willie Jack are cleaning graffiti, and Elora is taking out the trash. Throughout the course of the afternoon, all of the characters make some decisions or learn new information that will likely impact them in the rest of the season.

Jana Schmieding is truly the scene-stealer in this episode. She has a scene early on with Bear’s mom Rita which involves them hilariously bantering about Bear and Jackie, but then there’s one scene in particular toward the end of the episode between her and Officer Big that had me cackling out loud. It is truly perfect, and one of the funniest scenes I have seen in a while. Give Jana an Emmy for goodness’ sake!

Besides the subtle and fun moments that this episode inspires (Cheese finally gets his glasses, Willie Jack takes an interest in taking over medicine when talking to Old Man Fixico, Jackie refuses to believe Bear met Deer Lady), “Friday” focuses on what Elora wants to do with her life. She’s thinking about applying to colleges and is also still processing the news that Aunt Teenie told her in the premiere. I like that Elora is charting her own course in the world, but what’s interesting is that she’s seemingly keeping this from her friends — especially the news Teenie told her. The episode ends with the group exiting the IHS clinic together after a day of work, Elora covertly taking an important document with her as she does. I am very interested to see if she involves her friends in her decisions moving forward.

Still, despite the fact that Bear, Elora, Willie Jack, and Cheese are likely to have conflict this season, the first few episodes of Reservation Dogs are proof that they are a tight-knit group, through and through. They show up for and support one another, and I love that. I am definitely excited to see how the series wraps up.
Watch the final season of Reservation Dogs, beginning August 2 on Hulu. 
Support the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes for fair wages and treatment by donating to the Entertainment Community Fund if you can.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

The Afterparty Continues to Explore Mayhem and Mystery in Season Two [Contributor: Jenn]

Image credit: Apple TV+

The first season of Apple TV+’s murder mystery, genre-homaging comedy was a huge success for an array of reasons. It had a stellar ensemble cast, tight comedic writing, and enough twists and clues for viewers to try and solve along the way. While, admittedly, the second season of the series doesn’t quite reach the highest highs of season one, The Afterparty still remains one of the most creative storytelling endeavors on television right now.

The plot of season two is as follows: Aniq (Sam Richardson) and Zoë (Zoë Chao) are now together after the events of the first season, and they’re en route to Zoë’s sister Grace’s wedding. Aniq is nervous to be meeting Zoë’s entire family — and the weekend goes awry when Grace (Poppy Liu) wakes up next to her new husband Edgar (Zach Woods), only to discover that he’s dead. A murder mystery kicks into high gear with the bride’s family, the groom’s mother and sister, and guests all becoming suspects in Edgar’s death.

As I mentioned earlier, The Afterparty’s second season almost works as well as the first one. But as I was contemplating it, I think one of the reasons season two doesn’t work as well for me is that Aniq and Zoë don’t spend time together on screen the way that Aniq and Yasper (Ben Schwartz) did in season one. The two characters actually split up to do their own investigations once Danner (Tiffany Haddish) arrives on the scene. 

And while Sam Richardson and Zoë Chao shine individually in their stories (they are both just so comedically talented), it’s slightly disappointing that we don’t get more of them paired up and solving the crime together. This does, however, lend to more scenes with Zoë and Grace together, which I enjoyed.

Aniq and Zoë, in addition to being separated, go through a little bit of a rough patch in this season — which is understandable since Aniq quickly deduces that there’s a high probability one of Zoë’s family members is the murderer. She, of course, does not want to believe that anyone in her family is capable of murder. And while she still stands by them throughout the show, Zoë quickly learns that she doesn’t know her family as well as she thought she did... especially her sister. 

Apart from that tiny qualm of Aniq and Zoë’s separation, I enjoyed the majority of the first nine episodes — critics didn’t get the finale to screen — of The Afterparty’s second season, and without giving away spoilers, here’s why:


Obviously one of the biggest and most unique draws of The Afterparty is that each character shares about what happened leading up to the murder through a specific storytelling lens. Last year we had an animated episode, a musical episode, a rom-com, and so many other clever genres to play around with. This season is no different! Aniq gets a sequel to his romantic comedy (which is the only “recycled” genre, though this one felt more like it was focused on sequels not necessarily rom-coms themselves). Then there’s a Pride & Prejudice-style episode that details how Grace met Edgar, a film noir homage, a nod to heist films, and more. Each genre is filled with comedy, drama, romance, and mystery. The weakest of the bunch, to me, is Danner’s standalone episode simply because it felt too long and unnecessary. There is a Wes Anderson homage episode focusing on Edgar’s sister Hannah (Anna Konkle) that would have probably played better had there not been a TikTok viral trend a few months ago with users creating their own Wes Anderson-style homages.

I think my favorite genre this year is one that revolves around social media video storytelling. It was a creative use of a genre — Aniq and Danner watch TikTok/Instagram videos that Zoë’s father Feng (Ken Jeong) provides courtesy of the wedding videographer. This genre works specifically well because it feels relevant to a murder mystery where the characters and audience are actually seeing evidence and piecing it together alongside everyone else.


As I mentioned earlier, most of the ensemble characters are new to The Afterparty universe, and each character has specific comedic beats. Ken Jeong shines in his comedic timing and beats as the father of the bride. Anna Konkle’s specific comedic choices as a quirky and odd, but inevitably hopeless romantic play very well with the Wes Anderson genre. No one else but her could have made the concept work as well. Edgar, too, is supposed to be socially awkward and Zach Woods has fun playing that up — especially when he’s got a lizard on his shoulder almost the entire time we see him. But in the course of the season, you’ll begin to watch a different, darker side of Edgar emerge, and Woods does an incredible job incorporating his character’s blunt, emotionally-detached line delivery into dramatic moments and scenes.

But as much as other critics loved Travis (Paul Walter Hauser) and his detective film noir homage, I admit that I found Travis — a wannabe sleuth who is really just a Reddit conspiracy theorist — the least funny of the new characters in the ensemble. The series uses pratfalls and clumsiness too much with his character, to the point where it becomes cringeworthy and not funny. Seriously, so much of his comedy is centered on the idea that he’s either obnoxious, oblivious, or knocking things over/falling over.

A shining star of the ensemble, however, is Ulysses — played by the consistently funny and vastly underrated John Cho. (Justice for ABC’s Selfie by the way.) He swoops in with a grand, romantic, Western, dance-centric flashback story and is the kind of charming, effortlessly funny character the series really benefits from. It is truly a standout episode that manages to be funny and heartbreaking. John Cho deserves to be in way more things! Give him all the things!

Ultimately the chemistry and tension between the ensemble cast members is what initially sold The Afterparty to viewers and it’s what sells this season too.


The first thing I felt when I finished episode nine was frustration that I couldn’t watch the finale. What The Afterparty did in season one, it continues to do well in season two: leave every episode with a little cliffhanger, making you question what you know about the previous episode’s character as you head into another character’s story. (There is also just an unexpected moment in episode five that made me gasp but I won’t say more than that!)

If season one’s twist of a finale taught you anything, it’s to pay attention to little clues as you watch the show. I began to take some notes of details in rooms and in characters’ stories to see if I could piece together the murder. By the end of episode nine, it seems like things are wrapping up... until they’re absolutely not. I have a few ideas about what could happen but genuinely am excited to see how the series ties up the mystery — and where that leaves Aniq and Zoë!

The first two episodes of The Afterparty season two are now streaming on Apple TV+ with new episodes dropping weekly.

Friday, June 23, 2023

The 2023 Just About Write Awards Are Here! [Contributors: Jenn and Chels]

Welcome back, everyone, to our annual awards show! This year, you're going to notice a few changes in the awards ceremony. We've changed our name, for one, in order to better reflect what the awards are about. So we'd like to officially welcome you to the Just About Write Awards!

Secondly, in order to be inclusive, we've moved to gender neutral categories. That means that the competition this year was especially difficult because there are so many incredible performers. We know you might wonder why some performers and shows are not included (such as Succession or Barry, etc.), but it is likely because we know they will get represented at the Emmys or Golden Globes. We tried to select performances and shows that will not get as much love at those ceremonies. 

Additionally, for eligibility purposes, a show had to air at least one episode between last summer's awards and May 2023 in order to be considered eligible. And while a show like The Bear is considered a comedy series by the voting academies (because it is a half-hour format, not an hour-long), we decided to arrange our categories in ways that made more sense to us, tonally.

Because these races are so tight, instead of six nominees per category, you get to vote on eight this year! The awards winners function the same as they did in years past: each category will have three total winners at the end of the voting period we will award gold, silver, and bronze medals to. Vote as many times as you'd like and feel free to share the awards across whatever social media platforms you want. 

Voting opens today, June 23, and closes on June 30 at 9 a.m. ET. The winners will be announced on our social media platforms July 1. Enjoy!











Happy voting, everyone!

Saturday, May 27, 2023

The Flash 9x13 Review: "A New World, Part Four" (So Long and Thanks for All the Flash) [Contributor: Deborah M]

“A New World, Part Four”
Original Airdate: May 24, 2023

Alas, all good things must come to an end. And despite my periodic complaints in these reviews (163 of them!) I do count this show as a good thing. For all its flaws, The Flash has frequently embodied everything I appreciate about comic books and comic book shows — not the least of which being a full embrace of absurdity. But how does “A New World, Part Four” measure up as a series send-off? I guess we’ll see!


We begin with a voiceover, in classic The Flash fashion, as Barry asks us to believe in the impossible. As a fun bit, Allegra accidentally answers that plea with “Nope, I can’t believe it,” while Team Flash recaps that Eddie Thawne has become the Negative Speed Force avatar. Just as Mark laments that they could really use the Flash to help deal with this, Barry calls out over the comms. He’s heading to the hospital, but he shares the bad news that the timeline started fracturing back in 2049 and they’ll be in trouble if it reaches the present day.

Zoom/Hunter Zolomon appears in a red-tinged, Negative Speed Force version of the West house, having just died. Godspeed shows up shortly after him. Surprise! The old speedster villains are making an appearance in this grand finale. Considering how boring I find speedster villains, this isn’t a good surprise, but it is technically a surprise. Savitar and Godspeed posture and threaten and generally prove why they’re such unappealing villains, before Wells-faced Eobard Thawne interrupts. He’s also an unappealing villain, but at least he has a little comedy flair. Savitar, the God of Speed, is ironically late to the party.

Eddie says that he’s the reason for the Evil Speedster Meet-and-Greet and holds up the glowing blue crystal, which looks extra cool in the red-lighting of the house. He clutches the crystal and gets a magical costume change, then promises the villains he’ll help them get enough speed to defeat the Flash. This is the corniest thing the show’s done in a long time and I’m thrilled it’s going out with a negative cool factor. Once a nerd, always a nerd, The Flash.

Eddie — now going by Cobalt Blue — interrupts the reunion between Barry and Iris in the hospital, bearing blue roses and a creepy smile. His plan is to kill Barry, destroy the timeline, and rebuild a new timeline where he’s the hero. When he asks for Barry and Iris’s last words, Iris pulls out the ol’ “Run, Barry. Run.” Negative. Cool. Factor. Barry zips Eddie away from the hospital room while Iris carries on being incredibly pregnant.

Speedster fight! Eddie hits Barry with lightning and the blast sends him flying off, destroying like, five cars in the process. Nora saves Barry from another strike, then the rest of Team Flash arrives — in costume — to provide backup. This presents a perfect opportunity for Eddie to present his evil speedster team and declare that he has “a whole legion.” First: four people does not a legion make, Ed. Second: everyone on your side has been defeated before, so I don’t know why you’re so smug.

Another high speed fight breaks out, with each member of the team facing off with an evil speedster. Nora gets Savitar, who stabs her in the same way he was supposed to stab Iris back during the Savitar season, but Nora just yanks the blade out of her gut and stabs him right back. Cecile makes short work of Godspeed and even lands a cheesy one-liner. Chester, who was not part of the field team, somehow ends up facing Eobard Thawne, who speed-electrocutes him and scares us all with the possibility of him being a series finale sacrifice, but Allegra saves him. Khione and CCPD handle Zoom. Barry, of course, gets tasked with Eddie.

All the other villains were subdued but not killed, so when Jay Garrick swipes Eddie’s speed, it gives him the opportunity to suck up the speed of his former allies. Eddie disappears and the temporal storm that had spelled doom for 2049 begins rumbling in the sky, indicating that the timeline has begun to unravel. Barry and Jay realize Eddie’s next step will be to absorb the Negative Speed Force, which will mean overloading and killing himself like Thawne did.

Barry doesn’t want to just let Eddie die, but he’s struggling to find a solution to the problem because the Negative Speed Force is just an endless cycle of fighting and death. Khione says they need coexistence. Barry says it’s impossible, but Khione implores him to believe in the impossible in order to create a better world. Grant Gustin’s really stellar in this scene, by the way.

Speaking of stellar: the fight scene between Eddie and Barry! The all red lighting interspersed with blue-tinted flashbacks, Eddie’s fracturing sanity, and — holy moly, when Eddie punches Barry, Barry actually spits blood all over the wall! I don’t think we’ve ever gotten that much blood on this show before. Barry throws some more speechifying at Eddie and finally gets through to him, resulting in Eddit ripping the blue crystal off his chest and shattering it. The red lighting of the scene shifts to blue in a neat little effect, and while Eddie still seems to be the Negative Speed Force avatar, he’s no longer insane and violent. Eddie wants Barry to tell Iris he’s happy for her, they shake hands, and Barry is transported to the hospital where Iris has officially gone into labor.

Despite only just being past the halfway mark of the episode, everything from here on out is tying up loose ends. Baby Nora is born (and we get an incredibly touching Barry/Iris love story montage as Joe sings to his new granddaughter), Chester has black hole powers (kinda cute that the black hole meta and the light meta are a couple), and a visitation from that timeless version of Harrison Wells inspires Khione to ascend as a goddess protector of the natural order, allowing Caitlin to take her body back. 

A week after the events of the episode, Barry and Iris host a party celebrating the new addition to the family. Barry and Caitlin apologize for the fight they had over bringing Frost back to life and hug it out, and it’s very sweet — if only because they’re two of the original members of Team Flash, and I’m feeling nostalgic. The party’s an array of The Flash faces, but Cisco is notable in his absence. Understandable, since Carlos Valdes couldn’t make the filming, but it’s still a tad disappointing not to see him in the last episode. Anyway, Joe and Cecile get engaged at the party, just to add to the happy vibes.

After the party, Barry soothes a fussy baby Nora by asking her to believe in the impossible, then telling her the story of the Flash. Barry says that, in order to keep Nora from experiencing the tragedies he experienced, he’s going to spread the amazing gift of super speed to worthy people: Avery Ho, Max Mercury, and Jess Chambers. He hopes sharing his powers will create a better world, where nothing has to be impossible.


Well, that’s all, folks — and what a lovely end! I’d like to take a moment to thank Jenn for giving me the space on Just About Write to ramble about a show that’s teetered between fun, infuriating, brilliant, and bewildering like the world’s wobbliest Weeble. What started as a temporary guest contribution turned into, as stated at the beginning of this review, over 160 installments averaging around 1,400 words each. It is, without a doubt, my longest-lasting and largest writing project ever, and it’s all been dedicated to this ridiculous show full of speedsters and talking gorillas and man-sharks, too much angst and too little Cisco Ramon, wonderful moments and baffling plot decisions. 

I hope these reviews have been entertaining to read. If they’ve managed to inspire a chuckle or two over the years, I’ll go ahead and consider it a success. If they haven’t, well... don’t tell me. I’m very sensitive.

And to sign off, for old time’s sake after a long, long absence, I present you with the very last ever:



Other Things:

  • “Meet Eddie Thawne, the dumbest branch on my family tree.” It’s not Eddie’s fault the writers decided his smart plan had to be undone for the sake of extended angst, Eobard.
  • Eddie talking through a stuffed bunny and making a sad face about destroying the universe was funny enough to make him my favorite of the evil speedsters. Not saying a lot, but still.
  • How did Godspeed know Cecile’s superhero name when we just learned it last week and he wasn’t there? Why would Thawne target Chester? How did Zoom know Khione was a goddess? These are just a few of the questions I don’t have to care about getting answers for anymore!
  • Nora, in the waiting room for her own birth: “Am I breaking timeline rules by being here?” Oh, sweetie. It’s way too late for anyone in your family to worry about that.
  • Very cute that Chester memorized the names of all Khione’s plants.
  • Barry, as he watches Nora cuddle her baby self: “Okay, even for us, this is trippy.”
  • Two things about Joe and Cecile’s engagement: adorable that Cecile puts a pillow down to protect Joe’s knees, and hilarious that Joe kneeling is almost as tall as Cecile standing.

Grey’s Anatomy 19x19 and 19x20 Recaps: “Wedding Bell Blues” & “Happily Ever After?” (Couples Galore) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Wedding Bell Blues” & “Happily Ever After?”
Original Airdates: May 18, 2023

A wedding, an awards ceremony, and lots of drama: it sounds like another Grey’s Anatomy season finale is upon us! This year’s two-hour ender is packed full of intense moments in what might be our final episodes for a while with the writer’s strike underway. The episodes are highlighted by the on-screen returns of Meredith and Maggie and plenty of reunions to go around. So buckle up for a wild ride.


On the morning of her wedding, Simone wakes up to a text from Trey saying that he has left a latte outside her bedroom door. She gets out of bed and opens the door to see Trey standing with the hot drink in his hand. Simone isn’t sure he should be there, but decides it is okay since she isn’t in her dress yet. They kiss, Trey leaves, and Simone walks down the hall to Lucas’ room. She is upset to see he has already left for the day, and we see Lucas and Mika on the way to work in the latter’s van. Simone grabs her wedding dress and goes to leave the house only to find Jules at the door. She is glad her maid of honor is there because she needs a ride to Grey Sloan Memorial.

Over at the hospital, Winston gives Teddy parting instructions for his patients before he leaves for Boston. Blue tails behind them and takes notes for his boss. Teddy has a toothache, so Winston offers to stay behind so she can go see a dentist. She refuses to let him miss the Catherine Fox Award ceremony and names him chief of cardiothoracic surgery. Teddy says he has earned it, and Winston is thrilled for the promotion and tells Teddy she won’t regret the decision. After Winston leaves to catch his flight, Blue tells Teddy he can skip Simone’s wedding, but she tells him to go and skip the reception instead since the hospital is short staffed.

Up in the ICU, Jules shows Max the dress she is wearing to the wedding. She didn’t have time to buy a new one, so she is wearing her Renaissance Fair dress. Max tells Jules to stop over-checking her chart and asks if she finished her toast. Jules is horrified that she didn’t know she needed to write one, and Max assures her it will be easy to make up. She then asks Jules if Blue is her date, which Jules scoffs at.

Mika present rounds on Sam to Owen and Link. After four days of formal rounds, Sam is done with the process and asks the doctors if they can just act like his friends now since they practically live together. Mika puts Sam in his place by explaining that they are not friends since she is his doctor and worked incredibly hard for eight years to get to where she is now. All of the men in the room are impressed and gain a bit more respect for Mika.

Simone walks into the hospital and past Schmitt, who wants to know why she is there. She asks if he knows where Lucas is and then goes to find him in the skills lab. Simone tells Lucas she is upset he left the house without her. She starts giving him notes about their now-mutual patient, Toby, the breast cancer patient from a few episodes ago. Simone says that she can’t be at the hospital today because she is getting married and wants to leave Toby in Lucas’ hands. She also tells Lucas that she can’t deny his feelings and the connection they have, but she wants him to know that Trey does love her. She thinks their relationship deserves a chance even though she doesn’t want to hurt or lose Lucas. She asks Lucas to take care of Toby for her, and Lucas replies that he would do anything for her.

Outside Sam’s room, Link tells Mika that she did a great job and that Sam needed some humbling. Owen tells the intern to order a CT angiogram for Sam, and Mika reminds them that she has Simone’s wedding to get to. Link and Owen are more than happy to cover for her. Before she can go, Link asks Mika if Sam has been inappropriate to her or anyone else. Mika says if he is asking about Jo, the inappropriateness is reciprocal. Owen offers to take over Sam’s care, but Link refuses the help.

We then see Simone and Jules running from the hospital to the parking lot to get to the wedding and right past Blue, who winds up with a situation of his own. Blue sees a mother, Carmen, looking for help for her son, Enzo, who is passed out in her car. Blue scoops up Enzo and carries him inside the hospital while shouting for help for a potential opiate poisoning in an eight year old. Carmen only speaks Spanish, and it so happens that Blue appears to be fluent in Spanish. Blue calls for someone to page Owen to help with Enzo. After Owen arrives as backup, Blue asks Carmen if she gave Enzo any medications, which she didn’t. Blue tells Owen that he thinks he might be wrong, but it seems like a textbook case of opiate overdose. Right on cue, Enzo wakes up. Owen wants to admit the boy for further testing and tells Blue to call Child Protective Services since they now know Enzo overdosed. Carmen then collapses, and Owen orders a toxicology screening for her too.


Mika is driving herself and Helm to Simone’s wedding in her van and tells her date how proud she is to have shown the attendings who she really is that morning. She can’t believe how great she can be when she isn’t working multiple jobs and is getting eight hours of sleep each night. Mika thanks Helm for taking the kryptonite out of her system and standing up for her. She then asks Helm if she can kiss her at a red light, and the two share a very passionate kiss.

Back at Grey Sloan Memorial, Lucas meets Toby, Simone’s breast cancer patient from a few episodes back, in the lobby. Toby wasn’t aware that Simone was getting married that day and realizes her doctor didn’t mention it to make sure she kept her appointment. Lucas tells Toby that Simone asked him to be there for her, and he promised to do so for her and won’t leave to go to the wedding. Toby thanks him and goes to pre-op before her mastectomy.

Link wheels Sam into an elevator to go upstairs for the angiogram, and Jo sneaks into the elevator too. She shows Sam some of the ASL that she learned in the past two days and is surprised to find out that Sam also knows a few signs. The two flirt, which visibly angers Link. When the door opens on the next floor, Jo decides to join Link and Sam for the test, much to Link’s chagrin.

Mika and Helm make it to Simone’s grandmother’s house and are instantly bombarded by an anxious Trey. He tells Mika that he was in charge of ordering the flowers, which didn’t show up because the company had the wrong date. Trey is freaking out, so Mika tells him to take a deep breath. She offers to go get Simone a bouquet, so Trey asks her to try to find tulips because they were her mom’s favorite flower.

We then see the party going to Boston get on Catherine’s private plane. The hostess greets Nick when he gets on, and we see that Winston and Richard are already there too. Bailey makes it in time and tells the group that Ben couldn’t make it due to the floor collapse at the firefighter’s ball in the Station 19 season finale. Bailey talks about how she didn’t want to go with them on the private plane at first because planes terrify her, which is clearly a nod to the season eight tragedy that took the lives of Lexi and Mark. Catherine walks over to the seated Nick and tells him how happy she is that he was able to come. Richard then tells Nick that he is sitting in Catherine’s seat and makes him move to a couch where Winston is sitting. Amelia then pops out of the back of the plane, and Winston is not thrilled his sister-in-law is joining them. When she sits on the couch next to Winston, he makes Nick switch seats with him so he doesn’t have to sit next to Amelia. With tensions running high before the flight takes off, it seems like it will be a long trip to Boston for this crew.

At the hospital, CPS arrives to ask Carmen questions about Enzo, who has been separated from his mother. Blue is with Carmen and asks the agent if he can stay to translate since she knows very little English. The agent says a translator is on the way and kicks Blue out, but Carmen asks the intern to stay with her son and tell him she is still there before he leaves. Blue finds Owen and tells him that Carmen only had a vasovagal response and did not overdose. Owen says Enzo’s tests came back clean, but he could have fentanyl in his system since that doesn’t show up on a normal blood test. Teddy comes over to see what is going on, and Blue tells her that he is skipping Simone’s wedding to help Carmen and Enzo. Teddy keeps grabbing at her face, so Owen tells her that she needs to go see a dentist. She would rather rip her own tooth out because she is pulled in four different directions at once at work and can’t step away to take care of herself.

On the plane, Amelia can’t wait to see Meredith. She assures Nick that he made Mer very happy, to which he replies that Mer has a funny way of showing it if that is true. Amelia reveals Mer asks her about him and thinks she might be ready for them to be in a relationship now. Nick says that the harder someone chases Mer, the further she runs, which makes it sound like he has given up. Winston sarcastically quips that it is perfect that all three sisters are single at once. At the back of the plane, Bailey tells Catherine and Richard that she wants to get as far away from the couch situation as possible, while Catherine is happy to watch the show. The plane hits a bit of turbulence, which makes Bailey nervous.

Next, Jules helps Simone get dressed for her wedding. Simone is missing her mom and tells Jules that her mom’s favorite bird was the robin. On her first date with Trey, a robin was perched close to them, so she took it as a positive sign from her mom. Simone knows Trey is a good, steady man, which is what her mom would have wanted for her. She thinks her mom would be proud of her on her wedding day. 

Simone’s dad then shows up, and a bird flies into the window of the room they are in. Jules looks out the window and sees that the bird is not okay. Simone wants to know what kind of bird hit the window, but Jules won’t say, which tells us that it was a robin. Jules then rips Simone’s dress when trying to zip it up, which makes the moment anxiety central for the two interns. The count is up to three bad things occurring before the wedding even starts, so maybe the signs are pointing the opposite way than Simone first thought.


In pre-op, Toby is waiting for her procedure time, so Lucas goes to check in on her. Toby talks about how she regrets not appreciating her breasts more, and Lucas reminds her that the surgery will save her life. She knows it won’t be the same, which Lucas agrees with because she will be cancer-free. Toby tells Lucas that he is cute, a doctor, and knows the right thing to say, so she is curious why he isn’t going to the wedding. The look on Lucas’ face tells her the reason instantly, which they will bond about later.

Teddy joins Link and Jo for Sam’s scan in Winston’s place. The scan shows Sam has a grade one aortic transection, which Teddy thinks is a deceleration injury from the crash. She says this injury usually heals on its own and that they should rescan him in 48 hours. Jo volunteers to watch Sam, so Link tries to override her and say he will do it himself. Jo complains that Link doesn’t even like Sam, so Link snaps back, “Not the way you do.”

Elsewhere, Blue finds Max wandering around the ICU as he brings Enzo up to a room. Max says she got turned around and wants to know why there is someone in her room. Blue explains that she must have wandered from the north side to the south side, and her room is on the north. Enzo asks for his mom, and Blue gets a page for a consult. Max says she will sit with the boy and can rest in a chair instead of a bed. Blue decides to let her do that because he can’t seem to say no to Max. Before he can leave, the police come over to Blue and say they need to ask him a few questions because Enzo tested positive for fentanyl, which makes it a criminal case now.

Back at the wedding, Jules is trying to fix Simone’s dress when the latter’s grandma wanders in. Simone pretends to be her mom since that is who her grandma thinks she is. Her grandma tells her not to marry Kenneth if she doesn’t want to. She also says she should go with Dwayne, Simone’s father, if that is who she wants to be with. Jules and Simone are stunned at the revelation, to which Jules says, “The plot thickens.”

Blue goes back to the ICU and finds that Max got kicked out of Enzo’s room. She now knows the full situation after eavesdropping on everyone and asks Blue why the mom would give fentanyl to her son. She then asks if the police have the situation wrong. Blue thinks they do, but he feels he might be partial to single moms and their sons since he had a single mom. Max tells him to fight if he thinks it is wrong, but Blue is worried he will lose his job if he does speak up. Max tells Blue a story about how many years ago, she didn’t ask a coworker why she had bruises on her face and then that coworker turned up dead a few weeks later. She says not asking still keeps her up at night. Blue goes down to the ER to find the police handcuffing Carmen. He questions Schmitt as to what is going on and asks if there was an interpreter for her interview with CPS. He doesn’t want to see the family split up and knows the system is making assumptions they wouldn’t make if Carmen was speaking English. Owen overhears and tries to calm Blue down, but the intern won’t let it go. He goes over to Carmen and asks her if Enzo ate any candy or if she left him alone at all. Carmen replies that Enzo did not eat any candy and the only time he was alone was when she took a shower.


In the sky, the private plane is still experiencing a lot of turbulence. Amelia is freaking out, and Winston thinks it tracks that she wants to tell the pilot what to do. We see a flight attendant fall from the turbulence, but she is fine. Amelia tries to apologize to Winston again, but he wants nothing to do with it. He asks if there was any truth to what she said about him being the reason Maggie left. Amelia admits that there might have been some truth to what she said, but she thinks Winston should love Maggie, not compete with her. Winston feels Amelia doesn’t know him at all and doesn’t understand what he overcame to be there. He doesn’t appreciate the fact that she called him small and a coward because his marriage didn’t work out. Winston then says that maybe Amelia is the reason Maggie left. Catherine tells Amelia and Winston to stop wasting time with petty arguments just as the turbulence gets a lot worse, which worries everyone on board. 

Catherine thinks the plane is going down and says this isn’t the way she is supposed to die. The plane starts to plummet, and Amelia says that she can’t die because she is a mom. Winston reaches out and tells her to give him her hand. Richard takes Catherine’s alcoholic drink and looks like he wants to drink it, but Bailey slaps it out of his hand and exclaims, “Oh hell no!” before he can take a sip. The plane gets through the turbulence and the pilot apologizes for the roughness. Catherine inappropriately laughs at the situation, while everyone else looks worse for wear

At the hospital, Max gets to sit with Enzo again, while Blue and Schmitt watch from outside the ICU room. Blue thinks he is going to get fired for sticking up for Carmen. Schmitt tells him that he also grew up with a single mom, which he finds to be a strength. He knows not all single moms are like his and Blue’s, so they have to follow protocols. Owen arrives to give some good news. The police searched the rental place that Carmen and Enzo are staying at and found a bag of weed gummies and fentanyl that was left behind by previous tenants. Owen tells Blue that he fought the good fight, but the intern doesn’t know what to do with the rage he feels about the situation. The police have let Carmen go, and mother and son are reunited at last.

Down the hall, Sam is still flirting hard with Jo as she checks his chest tube output. She thinks they can remove the tube in a few days and finds that the nerve signal in his right leg is still strong. Sam asks if they can tell their kids this was their first date, and Jo laughs and leaves the room. Link is waiting outside the room for her and isn’t happy about watching the flirting. Jo asks if there is something he needs to say to her. Link doesn’t approve of the relationship because she is one of Sam’s doctors. Jo is surprised he is going that route and says, “You slept with an intern. Did I judge you?”

Simone and Trey’s wedding is finally about to start. As Simone steps into the backyard for the ceremony, we see that Mika found flowers and got enough to decorate a bit. Mika gives Simone a bouquet of flowers that she collected from the neighbors’ yards. Simone instantly pricks her finger on a thorn and proceeds to bleed on her wedding dress. Jules immediately steps in to help Simone hide the blood with the bouquet. Surprisingly, Simone doesn’t freak out, and her dad starts walking her down the aisle. After a few steps, Simone sees a dead robin outside the window of the room she was getting ready in, and she starts to realize she might not be able to go through with the wedding. Mid-aisle, Simone asks her father if her mom was engaged to someone else before him. They stop walking, and Simone wants to know the truth before going any further. Jules tries to stall Trey at the altar to ensure he doesn’t think anything is wrong. Simone’s dad tells her that he met her mom two months before she was going to get married. Her mom called off her wedding last minute, and they both knew they were meant to be together. Poor Simone is confused and doesn’t know what to do with all the signs now pointing to a not-so-joyous day.


Blue finally gets Max back to her own bed, and the elderly patient thinks she and Blue are a dynamic duo. She also sees why Jules is falling for him. Blue doesn’t believe her since Jules barely talks to him anymore. Out of nowhere, Max start having trouble breathing. Blue calls for help and gets her oxygen as she starts to crash. Blue begs Max to hold on. A nurse comes in and reminds Blue that Max has a DNR. She tries to stop Blue from saving Max’s life when he asks for an intubation tray.

Teddy goes to her office and is followed in by Owen. He wants her to eat and brought her a smoothie, knowing that it would hurt her mouth to chew. Teddy is glad that Owen always takes care of her, and the two sit on the couch together. The Catherine Fox Award crew then lands in Boston. Bailey calls Ben and asks Nick if he is going to follow everyone else when he doesn’t immediately get up. Nick wants to meet up with them later because there is something he needs to do first. Bailey leaves a voicemail for Ben and exits the plane. After taking a deep breath and sighing, Nick gets up to leave too.

Back at Grey Sloan Memorial, we quickly see Blue trying to revive Max, but the nurses won’t bring him an intubation tray due to the patient’s DNR. Then, Link goes into a supply closet and pushes a cart into the wall to let off some steam. The scene cuts back to Schmitt finding Blue attempting to save Max’s life. He tells Blue not to intubate because that is not what Max wanted. Blue informs Schmitt that Max has a collapsed lung and was fine one moment and coded the next. He begs his boss to help him save her, and Schmitt caves and asks the nurses for a chest tube tray.

Downstairs, Lucas is still sitting with Toby and talking to her when Simone comes running into the hospital in her wedding dress with a desperate look on her face. She locks eyes with Lucas through Toby’s room’s window and walks slowly toward him. Lucas gets up and goes out to meet her. Simone calmly tells him that she didn’t get married. Toby tells them to go and that she will be fine by herself. Lucas and Simone start walking down the hall and straight into an on-call room. Simone locks the door behind her, and Lucas immediately kisses her. She turns around so he can take off her dress. As the dress falls to the ground, they kiss again. Simone takes off Lucas’ scrub top, and they continue to make out. Lucas carries Simone to a bed, and the rest is left to your imagination. It’s about time these two got together, and we will see more of how it plays out in the second episode.

The first episode ends with Nick taking a taxi to Mer’s new house in Boston. He takes a deep breath and knocks on the door. A man answers the door, and Nick, along with the audience, is quite stunned. Nick asks if Mer lives there, and the man replies that she is at work. He introduces himself as Michael and says he will let Mer know he came by, but it is probably best if Nick texts her. It is quite surprising to see a man answer Mer’s door, but don’t forget that there are multiple reasons he could be there. This would have been a fantastic cliffhanger to a normal weekly episode, but thankfully, we don’t have to wait a week to find out what happens next.

“Happily Ever After?”

The second hour opens in Boston, where Nick is drowning his sorrows at his hotel’s bar. He thinks Mer has moved on with a new man, but he can’t wallow long because he gets a text from Mer asking him to go to her lab, stat. We then see potential new lovebirds Simone and Lucas lying in bed after sleeping together. Lucas asks what happened at the wedding, but Simone wants him to stay in the moment as long as they can. They start kissing and are interrupted by Lucas getting a page. He groans when he sees that Schmitt needs him to cover the ER. Simone says she should check on Toby anyways, and they kiss before parting.

Jo then goes to check on Sam. His friend Kwame has returned and shows him photos of his new baby boy. He tells Sam that they named the baby Sam after him, which was his wife’s idea. Kwame says he will be back the next day and leaves. Mika comes in to tag out Jo per Link’s order. Jo protests, so Mika tries to tell her that since she is wearing black scrubs, she is currently an OB resident, which means Link outranks her. Jo sternly replies that she outranks Mika no matter what color scrubs she is wearing and sentences the intern to cover the pit. After Mika leaves, Sam comments that Link doesn’t want Jo alone with him and asks what the story between them is.

Over in Boston, Nick arrives at the hospital Mer works at and finds Bailey, Richard, and Amelia walking toward Mer’s lab too. They deduce they all got the same text from her. Mer, who is wearing her Dartmouth sweatshirt, is on the floor trying to figure something out and talking to herself. She says that everything is wrong and that they need to question everything they know about Alzheimer’s if they are going to cure it. Understandably, the group is quite confused.

Back at Grey Sloan Memorial, Blue and Schmitt talk about the Max situation after they save her life. Blue tells Schmitt that Max was perfectly fine before she coded, and he isn’t sure why her pressures aren’t rising after reinflating her lung. Schmitt wants Blue to report what he did to Teddy and document everything for the committee that will be looking into it. Jules comes into Max’s ICU room and wants to know what happened. She angrily asks who intubated Max when she has a DNR, and Blue owns up to saving her. 

Owen is working in the pit and sees Helm walk in. She tells him that she was in the getaway van and since she is at the hospital, she will change and start working immediately. Owen seems happy to have Helm back, but he is immediately forced from his reprieve when an ambulance pulls up with a car crash victim with a left arm injury. When the gurney comes out of the ambulance, we see that the patient is Trey. Lucas comes out to help too and mutters, “Oh shit” under his breath when he realizes who he has to help.


Up in the ICU, Schmitt explains to Teddy and Jules what happened and why he and Blue saved Max. Jules, who is still angry, says that Max was clear with her wishes. Teddy states that Schmitt and Blue need to speak to Max’s medical proxy to decide what happens next. Blue looks at the paperwork and sees that Jules is the proxy. Teddy tells them that it is Jules’ choice to put Max on pressers or to take the tubes out. Jules asks Teddy if Max will survive if they extubate her, but Teddy can’t answer the question. Jules agrees to the medication and asks Blue to not talk to her. Teddy then asks Schmitt to look at her tooth for any sores, which is a comical scene. Schmitt doesn’t see anything and respectfully says that he isn’t a dentist.

Elsewhere in the ICU, Jo tells Sam about her and Link’s history. When she is done, Sam says he gets why Link is acting the way he is and tells her that Link loves her. Jo immediately disagrees, but Sam argues that no guy does all of the things Link has done for a person who is only a friend. Jo is tired of explaining their status to people when she doesn’t think it is like that between them. Clearly Jo is just lying to herself at this point. Sam tells her that Link had years to figure out what he knew in minutes and that he plans to sweep Jo off her feet like she deserves when he is out of the hospital. Jo says she needs to check on other patients and leaves because Sam hit a nerve.

Downstairs, Simone has decided to stay and work for the rest of the day. She meets Toby to go to the OR for her surgery and tells her patient that she wants to be there because her failed wedding is enough for one day. Lucas comes around the corner and tells Simone they need to talk. He tells her that Trey is in the hospital as a patient with a minor arm fracture from a car accident. Simone sprints off and leaves Lucas to chase after her once again.

Blue then finds Jules in the intern locker room to tell her that Max is stable now and the drugs are working. He tells her about how he chose to save her life. Jules tries to explain that being kept alive by machines isn’t life according to Max, which is why she had legal papers drawn up and signed. Jules says, “It’s not for you to choose. Do you know the position you put me in?” She hates that she might have to decide to unplug her favorite person in the world, which must be the real reason she is upset. Blue is also visibly upset. 

In a trauma room, Trey asks Owen, Link, Helm, and Mika if Simone is in the hospital. He explains that he knows what his injuries are because he is a second year surgical resident in Baltimore. Owen and Link clearly don’t know who Trey is, and the women don’t tell them. Link explains that Trey needs surgery to repair his arm. Simone and Lucas rush into the room, and Trey immediately realizes that Simone must have left him for Lucas. He gets out of bed and punches Lucas square in the face with his unbroken arm.

In Boston, Mer tells the group that top scientists believe in plaque therapy to treat Alzheimer’s and that they use medications that are approved to remove plaque. She says they can no longer trust what is being published about the disease and its treatments because a doctor in Tennessee found evidence of tampered images. Nick asks Mer the last time she slept was. Mer doesn’t answer and says that Jackson had to go to London, which means she is probably working around the clock. It seems odd that Jackson would be in London when the Catherine Fox Award is handed out, but I guess that was the best excuse the writers could come up with for Jesse Williams’ schedule. Mer says that she gathered everyone who knows her best to show them her new Alzheimer’s theory before telling the world what she found.

In the hotel, Maggie sees Winston in the hallway and asks him to help with her dress. Winston is blown away by Maggie’s dress and new hairstyle. They go into Maggie’s room so he can help zip up her dress. Mer is blowing up Maggie’s phone, but Maggie is in no rush to answer. She instead congratulates Winston for becoming chief of cardio at Grey Sloan Memorial, and he sarcastically replies he was left with a messy department. Winston gets the door for Maggie and they start to walk out. Midway, Maggie turns around and kisses Winston, and they go back into the room to reunite.


In the hospital ER, Mika cleans up Lucas’ face and says that she is on his side, but she doesn’t want to get dragged down in a fight between him and Simone. She doesn’t want to live in a house like that either. Owen asks Mika to help with Trey’s surgery, so Mika asks Lucas to look after Sam for her. We see Simone looking out the window of Trey’s trauma room at Lucas to see if he is okay. Trey thinks Simone and Lucas were having an affair. Simone tells Trey there was no affair and that she didn’t leave him for another man. She felt that she had changed and wanted different things. He doesn’t understand why she said yes and moved up the wedding if that’s the way she felt. Trey asks if any of their relationship was real, post-Baltimore. Simone admits it was real, so Trey says he will move to Seattle so they can figure out their relationship. She apologizes for letting it drag on, but she wanted to do the right thing and was confused. She now knows what she wants. Trey thinks her whole life will change if she is with Lucas because he has a family name to fall back on, while Simone has nothing. Trey says that he won’t be there to clean up the pieces when it gets messy.

Schmitt finds Blue taking a break outside to tell him that Max is doing better. Blue wonders what will happen if she doesn’t wake up and is also surprised that Schmitt isn’t yelling at him. Schmitt tells Blue how he killed a patient the year before when he was sure he knew how to save him and didn’t. He learned more from the mistake and the wounds that ate at him, not from someone yelling at him. Schmitt knows he didn’t have to yell because he has been in Blue’s position

We then see Winston and Maggie in bed together. Winston decides to rapidly fire questions at her for fun. He asks what she would name a dog, and Maggie replies Ruth, which makes them both laugh. The next question is what she would buy with a million dollars, and Maggie wants new boots. She asks the same questions to Winston, who answers: Marlon and a time machine. He wants to go back in time to tell his mom that he was nominated for a Catherine Fox Award. Maggie knows Winston’s answers were much better than hers and decides to get dressed so she can finally check in with Mer before the award reception.

At the Boston hospital, Nick, Bailey, and Richard are shocked after finding out Mer’s thoughts on Alzheimer’s. Richard tells Mer that she will be written off as crazy, not cutting edge, and will jeopardize her reputation with the foundation, which could destroy her career. Mer wants to know if Amelia sees what she sees and wants her sister-in-law to say that plaque may not be causing the disease after all. Amelia is still a bit stunned, but she isn’t happy that Mer’s findings insult Derek’s work as well. Richard wants Mer to keep her discovery to herself but Mer doesn’t want to lie and let science catch up to her. Richard thinks she should do the Alzheimer’s work on the side and not make it public in order to maintain the respect she has built for herself.


Not long after, Nick is looking around Mer’s lab and she comes in to chat. He knows all the equipment because he did a lot of research as an intern. Mer reveals that Lucas told her that Nick has been very supportive, which makes her happy. Nick doesn’t think they need to do small talk when she has moved on, is happy in Boston, and has broken new ground. Mer asks Nick what he would do if he were her. Nick asks if she came to Boston to follow rules, and if she did, that would upset him more.

At the hospital, Lucas finds Simone as she finishes calling Trey’s mom to let her know that her son is in surgery. Simone says Trey’s family is mad at her and that Trey was on his way to GSM to see her when he got into the accident. She doesn’t think it would have happened if not for her. Lucas reminds Simone that she can’t marry someone she doesn’t love, but she doesn’t want to be let off the hook because she hurt people. Lucas decides to leave to check on Sam and tells Simone to text him if she needs him.

Blue finds Jules sitting with Max in her ICU room. He tells Jules that he understands what she loves about Max. He knows Max isn’t just a funny, sweet old lady, but she is also brave and generous with advice. She reminds him of his own mother and says he has never met anyone like her. Jules says Max is always worried about her in ways that her parents never were. Max wakes up and tries to pull her breathing tube out. The interns try to tell her to relax and that she is okay to make her stop.

Maggie and Winston show up to the award ceremony together and go straight to the table they are sharing with Richard, Nick, Bailey, Amelia, and Mer. Richard wonders aloud why Maggie didn’t come to Mer’s lab and Maggie lies about the reason, which Bailey doesn’t buy. Catherine comes over to their table to steal Mer for two minutes to talk to donors and give them an update on her work. Amelia is looking up the validity of Mer’s research on her phone and walks away after Bailey tells her to put the phone down at the table. Catherine and Mer go over to a table of donors, and one tells Mer that his mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a year ago. He is happy to have hope from her research. But Mer tells the donor that scientists are focusing on the wrong thing so his money is not being well spent. Catherine tries to silence Mer before she digs her own grave.

Jules and Blue have gotten Max to calm down and stop fighting them. Max asks for a pen and writes a note to them asking to take out the tube. Blue tells Max that she isn’t dying and how he had to make a decision to save her. He thinks she was wrong about it being her time to go and wants her to give them 24 hours to let them help her and stay on the vent. After that, they will do whatever they want. Max agrees to Blue’s plan, and this scene epitomizes the amount of growth Blue has had in a single season.


Lucas goes to check on Sam, who immediately sees the wounds on the intern’s face and asks if the other guy looks worse. Lucas explains he was hit by a disgruntled patient and tells Sam to rest. Sam doesn’t want Lucas to withhold a juicy story. Lucas tells him there is a girl, and Sam stops him and says he doesn’t need to finish because he knows the rest. Sam starts to feel funny and immediately crashes. Lucas calls for someone to page Teddy and jumps into action.

Trey’s surgery is finished and is successful. Link tells Helm that Trey doesn’t want pain meds, but that might change. He tells her it is good to have her back and walks away. Mika comes over and asks how it is to be back. Helm replies she is coming down off a high from their date and is happy to be back at Grey Sloan Memorial. She is happy they got to spend the day together too. Mika gets a 911 page for Sam and runs off. She and Teddy arrive in Sam’s room at the same time. He is bleeding out into his chest, and Teddy knows his aorta must have ruptured.

Jo finds Link outside in the rain and asks him what he is doing. He decided to take a break and was enjoying the quiet. Jo asks if she should leave, so Link counters by asking if that is what she wants. Jo wants to know what is going on and Link asks what Jo wants. She stutters and then asks him to move out. Jo has been thinking about it for a while because she thinks it is confusing for the kids if they keep living together. Link wants to know if it is really about the kids or if it is about Sam. Jo wants to meet someone and isn’t comfortable bringing people home like Link is. Link proclaims that he has been too busy changing his whole life to revolve around Jo and “us” and hasn’t brought anyone home in months. Jo replies that she didn’t ask him to change his life. Their conversation is cut short by a change to another scene, which is annoying. 

But at least it is changed to a good scene: it’s time for the presentation of the Catherine Fox Award. Catherine goes up to the podium to introduce the award and how it is given to a surgeon who shows excellence in the field while pushing boundaries. She introduces the most well-known boundary push, Meredith, and Bailey feels slighted and overlooked since she was supposed to present the award. Ben arrives and sits down next to Bailey, which surprises her. Mer tells the room that for the first time ever, Catherine decided that this is the year to break rules and give the award to a non-surgical project and a non-nominee. Bailey wants to know what is going on, but no one at the table answers. Mer says that in the midst of a national public health crisis, one doctor is trying to change it one procedure and one trainee at a time. She is thrilled to present Bailey with the Catherine Fox Award for significant contribution to medicine this year. Bailey is beyond shocked, and Ben pushes her to the stage. She doesn’t know how to react, and Mer thanks Bailey, who is getting a standing ovation. Bailey is beyond overwhelmed and tries not to cry as she tells the room of doctors, “It has been such a long year.”

Afterward, Maggie debates the logic of a non-nominee winning, and Winston is confused why she is questioning it. She decides that she is happy Bailey won and if she had to lose to someone, she is glad it was Bailey. Maggie asks Winston to get a drink with her, and he wants to know if that is what they are now. Winston randomly asks if they should get divorced, so Maggie quietly asks if that is what he wants. He wants to excel at his job and break new ground. He doesn’t want this to be his last nomination, rather the beginning of many. Maggie suggests they start with that and figure out the rest later. 

Bailey hugs Mer, and Ben tries to get his wife to go take pictures. Bailey is upset that she ugly cried in front of a room of big time surgeons. Mer says that she, herself, is going to cry on her way home because she is going to lose all her funding. Bailey assures Mer that she won’t lose anything because she is too stubborn. Amelia comes back into the ballroom and tells Richard that she missed Bailey getting an award. She wants to go to an AA meeting and asks Richard to join her. Richard admits he almost took a drink on the plane and that is the only thing he can think about. They both know they aren’t like everyone else and can’t take the edge off the same way. Richard wants to stay behind and wait for Catherine, so Amelia decides to find a meeting and text him the address. After Amelia walks away, a waitress puts a vodka tonic down in front of Richard, which he ordered. We don’t see if Richard breaks his sobriety, which might be the most surprising cliffhanger of the episode.


Mer goes upstairs and slips a letter under a hotel room door. As she walks away, Nick opens the door and asks what the letter is. He reads it, but doesn’t understand it. Mer explains she did pretend not to hear him because she was tired, overwhelmed, scared, and thought she should focus on her kids. She is still tired, scared, and overwhelmed and may have blown up her career, but she tells Nick she misses him. Nick reveals he met Michael. Mer smiles and says Michael is wonderful and great with the kids. She tells Nick that Michael is Zola’s tutor. Mer didn’t know Nick went to her house and wants to know why he didn’t mention it earlier at the lab. Nick replies that Mer was in mad scientist mode and he didn’t want to talk about it. Mer assures Nick that Michael exclusively dates men. Nick tells Mer he thought he was going to die earlier on the plane and realized how badly he wants to live. He spent years trying to avoid pain and went to Mer’s house to never let her walk away. Nick says he wants to live a whole life out of love and pain and her. Mer happily says “okay” and kisses him with a big smile on her face.

Blue checks on Max again, who is sleeping. Jules is still sitting next to her and tells Blue that Max is on minimum vent settings, which he says is good news. Jules is still mad at him and proclaims that Blue is the most selfish, arrogant, impulsive, enraging person. She doesn’t think he cares about anyone else and what they feel or want. He put her in an impossible situation and hates him for that. Jules says she is going to cry to express anger, which will make her hate Blue more for letting him see her cry. She finishes by saying that the worst part is that he saved her favorite person, so she has to love him too. Blue hands Jules a tissue as she cries.

Sam is in the OR for emergent surgery, and Teddy tells the doctors and nurses the surgical plan. She says they will need to stop the blood loss before doing the aortic repair, and everyone will need to work quickly and anticipate what could go wrong. Teddy then faints, and Mika calls for a crash cart.

We then finally get to see the rest of Link and Jo’s fight/conversation. Link is yelling at Jo about how many times he has changed his work and Scout schedules to be there for her and Luna. Link says he cares about the two of them and wants to know if they are just roommates like she told Sam. Jo replies, “What was I supposed to say?” and claims it was semantics. Link says it isn’t semantics, rather it is love. Link finally proclaims, “I’m so completely in love with you, Jo. How don’t you see that?” He talks about loving her since they were in high school and worked at a restaurant together. Link wanted to tell her a hundred times and says it all the time to himself. He knows he should have said it out loud sooner, but he didn’t want to freak her out. Link concludes with, “I love you, and I’m gonna love you forever.” Jo smiles and replies, “You unbelievable dummy. I love you too.” Link is shocked that they both feel the same way. They stare at each other for a second, and Jo walks over and kisses Link. The whole story of Jo and Link getting frustrated at each other and then proclaim their mutual love would have worked better if it was one full scene, not spread out.

The season ends in Sam’s OR. Teddy is passed out on the ground, and Mika is telling her to wake up. Simone comes in and finds Sam bleeding out. Teddy now has no pulse, and both she and Sam are critical. Lucas decides he is going to do Sam’s surgery himself because they paged all the attendings and no one is coming. He and Simone know they have to do whatever it takes to save Sam and Teddy. Simone asks a nurse for a gown and gloves, and Mika protests Sam’s surgery because her name is on his chart, so it will be on her. Lucas and Simone start operating on Sam, and we see a nurse get Owen in the ER and tell him to get to the OR immediately. Owen runs, and we get a quick glimpse of Jo and Link kissing in the rain. They are soaked and don’t care as they smile at each other. The happiness is fleeting as Teddy is crashing when Owen arrives. Mika has to shock her, but it doesn’t work. Owen then takes the paddles and tries, while the Lucas and Simone continue working on Sam. Owen begs Teddy to stay with him and shocks her again. There is no response on the monitor, and the episode abruptly ends. 

Normally this would be a pretty massive cliffhanger, especially with not knowing when the next season will air. There are two reasons why this isn’t the shocking ending the show wants it to be. First, Teddy’s constant tooth problem over the two hours should have clued you in that something bad was going to happen to her. Second, casting announcements for next season were announced the same night the finale aired. So if you want the spoiler of whether Teddy lives or dies, you can see if Kim Raver signed on for season 20 with a simple Google search. 

It will be interesting to see where everything goes for all the potential new couples next season as Grey’s Anatomy enters its third decade.