Thursday, March 16, 2023

Grey’s Anatomy 19x09 Recap: “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” (Utter Chaos) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Love Don’t Cost a Thing”
Original Airdate: March 9, 2023

Teddy is now chief of surgery, Link is dealing with the fallout from a disastrous case, and Simone’s ex-fiancé Trey is back in town. Those are just the loose ends from the previous episode of Grey’s Anatomy that follow through to this week. The latest hour is a complete mess and is so all over the place that it is difficult to follow at times. It is the perfect metaphor for the current season: jumping all over the place, not being able to properly service the characters and stories being told, and ultimately not knowing what direction it is heading  — other than hoping repeating the past will yield positive results.


Quite honestly, I’m not sure which of the four larger plots of the episode is supposed to be the most important. Since most scenes were so short and the story kept jumping all over the place, it is easier to lump each plot together than talk about the episode chronologically. The most time is spent with a party that Mika, Lucas, and Simone are holding at their house. The episode opens with Simone and Trey loudly arguing in her bedroom about the end of their relationship. Mika and Lucas can hear them from the kitchen and can’t believe they have been arguing for the whole 24 hours since Trey arrived. Lucas looks quite sad, so Mika urges him to keep fighting for Simone and tell her how he feels before they drink a shot.

The next scene shows Simone and Trey continuing to argue. When he says she is still too competitive, they start laughing and lay down on the bed next to each other. Simone explains she was broken when she left him and is sorry that she disappeared. Trey says he should have chased after her and wanted to. He feels he might have waited too long and asks her if he did. Simone doesn’t answer and tries to dodge the question by suggesting they go to the party and try to have fun. Trey replies that he missed her, and Simone admits missing him too. The confession prompts a make out session.

Downstairs, Schmitt and Helm are both at the party. Helm wants to get her friend laid, but Schmitt is falling asleep standing up. Mika comes over and is happy that Helm came. The camera pans through the packed house and backyard, and I was left wondering how the interns know so many people in Seattle already. Lucas goes out back and spots Simone and Trey talking. Simone asks Trey to get them drinks, so Lucas goes over to ask her to talk. She’s not sure if now is the best time and apologizes for last night. Simone admits Trey coming back is unexpected, and Lucas asks if Trey knows about Simone and himself. She assures him that she isn’t going to tell Trey anything about it.

Later on, Simone and Trey are continuing to chat outside. He comments that he likes her housemates, but he doesn’t think they are her caliber. Simone gets very defensive and asks him to not judge her people. Trey tries to explain that she is top tier and was number one in every class, so he doesn’t think she belongs in Seattle in a residency program that is falling apart. He wants her back at the top with him and thinks she could return if she stays calm and collected. Trey’s comments rightfully set Simone off, and she walks away in a huff. Lucas witnesses the storm off and follows Simone inside.

Simone locks herself in her bedroom and thinks Trey is knocking on her door. She is surprised to find Lucas there instead. She admits to not being okay, and Lucas tells her that she always looks perfect to him no matter what mood she is in. He decides to go for it and tells Simone that he knows his timing isn’t great, but even when she is upset, he thinks she is perfect. He knows how smart she is and believes she is even smarter when she is angry and goes on a spiel about his observations of her. Simone walks over and kisses Lucas. They start making out against the closed bedroom door. She takes his shirt off and then takes her own shirt off. 

There’s another knock at the door, and this time it is Trey who wants to come in. Simone tells him to not come in. Trey, through the closed door, tells Simone that he loves her, and she asks if they can talk later. He continues to say that he can’t see his life with anyone else and that he will be better because she makes him better. Simone again says she will find him in a few minutes, which gets Trey to leave. Lucas dejectedly puts his shirt back on while Simone tries to explain that they were engaged and had a whole life together. Lucas asks Simone if she loves Trey, but she doesn’t answer. Lucas suggests that she talk to him and fight for him if she does love him. Simone thinks Lucas is pushing her towards Trey, but it’s not clear why she would care when she clearly still has feelings for her ex-fiancé. Lucas asks her the same question again, and when Simone still doesn’t say anything, he takes that as her answer. She tries to apologize, and he says they are good. Simone asks to make sure Trey isn’t in the hall before Lucas opens the door. When she looks, Trey is gone, so Lucas leaves. I feel terrible for Lucas, but there’s no way the sparks between him and Simone won’t bubble over at some point in the near future.

Simone comes downstairs and grabs a drink next to Mika and Helm, who are bonding over booze. Trey walks over, and Mika introduces Helm and Trey. Lucas is there too, being casual, and gets to hear more about Simone and Trey’s love story when Helm asks them how they met. Trey says he is from Baltimore and met Simone in physiology class in med school. Mika quips about hooking up with a girl in her physiology class too. Trey and Simone recall how Simone didn’t show up for class one day, so Trey brought some of his mom’s soup and notes from class to her apartment, which is when they started to fall for each other. Storytime ends with Simone and Trey going off to talk, Mika taking Helm to go see the hole in the roof, and Lucas winding up alone again. 

We then see Schmitt out on the front porch sulking and trying to stay awake. A traveling nurse named Carlos comes over to talk to him and says he is only in town for a few months. Schmitt admits to not being good at parties, people, or alcohol. Carlos brought his own beer, as he doesn’t want to drink the cheap alcohol the surgical interns bought since they can’t afford the good stuff. They wind up bonding over having dramatic mothers who interfere too much in their lives. Carlos asks Schmitt for his number and to go out on a date, which Schmitt quickly says yes to.

Out back, Trey tells Simone that he will move to Seattle if that is what it takes to be with her. Simone sarcastically says his family wouldn’t forgive him, and Trey agrees with her and admits his family is snobby. He gets serious again and wants to fight to be with her. Simone says her last residency program treated her like garbage and didn’t like that he suggested she brought it on herself. Trey tries to backtrack by repeating how he hates not having her around and misses her. Honestly, he is talking in circles at this point and isn’t giving any hard facts as to why they should get back together after several months and zero attempts at contact before now. Simone talks about how it was easy for her to leave the past behind, but she did wish for a long time that he would show up at her doorstep. Trey asks what changed, and Simone looks off at Lucas quickly before saying under her breath that nothing changed. Trey gets down on one knee and proposes to Simone again. He wants her to marry him for real this time. I was surprised that Simone immediately said yes. The crowd in the backyard cheered while Lucas, who watched the proposal, took another sip of his drink and took a deep breath.

Shortly after, the party starts winding down. Lucas is sadly drinking by himself inside. Mika and Helm pop into the living room, and the intern decides to put some music on to liven things up. She starts dancing with Helm and literally drags Lucas out of his chair to get him to dance with them too. If you didn’t think Grey’s Anatomy was trying too hard to recreate the past, you will now after seeing a rather forced “dance it out” scene that doesn’t have a fraction of the charm as its roots. Schmitt and Carlos are making out on the porch, so we will see if that develops into anything too.


The second story revolves around the most important medical case of the week. At the top of the episode, Schmitt gives Jules instructions for her overnight ICU shift before he leaves work. We see that Jules and Blue are stuck at Grey Sloan Memorial while everyone else gets to party. Blue brags about being on Maggie’s service and how he gets to scrub in on a big surgery in the morning. Richard and Maggie walk into the ICU, and Richard congratulates her on the partial heart transplant. He thinks if Maggie keeps up the impressive work, she could be a candidate for the Catherine Fox Award (formerly known as the Harper Avery Award). The interns go over to the attendings and talk over one another. Blue thanks Maggie for the upcoming opportunity, while Jules butts in that she knows all the complications of the case. Maggie tells Jules that she can also scrub in to observe the surgery if she isn’t too tired come morning.

The four doctors then go see their patient, Natalia, and her husband, Elliott, in her ICU room. Natalia has stage 2 esophageal cancer and is scheduled for a procedure to resect her esophagus. We learn that Natalia is an art teacher and has been selling her art on the side for extra money. She gets an alert that one of her paintings sold for $500, and the couple is elated at the news. Maggie explains the tests and workup that they will do that night in preparation for the surgery, and Natalia sort of protests. A few scenes later, right before Jules and Blue are about to do Natalia’s prep, the patient starts seizing. The doctors page for a neuro consult.

Richard, Maggie, Amelia, and Blue are awaiting images of Natalia’s brain. They discuss possible sudden onset seizure possibilities before seeing that the scans show a new tumor in Natalia’s brain, and it’s currently bleeding. The group talks to Natalia and Elliott in the ICU room after the scan, and Amelia explains that the brain tumor needs to be operated on immediately. Natalia and Elliott ask for a minute to talk, so the doctors exit the room. Maggie tells Richard to go home and rest, as she will stay at the hospital since she has nowhere else to be. Richard goes home for the night without complaint.

Jules and Blue go back to Natalia’s room a little while later with surgical consent forms for her to sign. Blue asks the couple how much debt they are in, as he has recognized money must be a problem for them. They explain both of their jobs cut them to part-time hours due to the pandemic, which stopped them from being able to afford health insurance. Natalia then got cancer, and they are now saddled with a mountain of medical debt. Blue suggests they consider getting a divorce to protect Elliott from inheriting the debt if Natalia dies. It might also help Natalia qualify for more aid from the state. It’s a bold statement and appears that Blue is overstepping his bounds, which is what Maggie thinks when she walks by and hears what he is pitching. After they leave the room, Maggie scolds Blue for telling them to get divorced. Blue tries to make Maggie understand that medical debt is crushing. Maggie still feels that Blue crossed a line and he should have asked her how to approach the topic first, as she could have gotten the hospital’s resources involved to help. She kicks Blue off the case for insubordination, much to his dismay.

Jules finds Elliott in a nearby waiting room and brings him a cup of coffee. Elliott tells her that Natalia asked him for a divorce, but he doesn’t want to go through with it even if it would help their situation because he takes his wedding vows seriously. Jules apologizes and can’t imagine how he must be feeling. Elliott recounts how his and Natalia’s relationship has always been easy and that they never fight. Jules says most people can only dream of having love like that. She tells Elliott that if he trusted Natalia enough to marry her, then he should trust her enough to divorce her because she is trying to protect him.

Elliott and Jules head back to Natalia’s ICU room, where Amelia and Maggie are waiting for them. Elliott brought some flowers with him, and a hospital lawyer is there too to help them file for divorce pro bono. He states he can immediately file overnight with the court. The moment is sweet enough that Natalia feels that she and Elliott are getting married again. She tells her husband that she promises to love him until her dying breath and that she is the luckiest girl in the world to be divorcing him. Elliott says their wedding vows then they both sign the divorce papers. Amelia whispers to Maggie that she has witnessed several hospital room weddings, but this is her first divorce. Natalia announces she is ready for her surgery, so the doctors wheel her away. Somehow, the divorce did feel like a wedding and was presented in a very emotionally pleasing manner.

Before the operation, Jules finds Blue and urges him to apologize to Maggie so he can scrub in. Blue refuses because he knows he wasn’t wrong, which I can’t blame him for. We get a quick montage of Natalia’s brain surgery, and it is a success. In the morning, Blue brings Natalia and Elliott some things and checks in on them. Elliott thanks Blue for his help. As he goes to leave the room, Maggie spots Blue and immediately starts yelling at him. Blue states he knows the couple's situation because he put himself through massive medical debt to save his mom, and he couldn’t see someone else go through that. Jules hears his confession from across the room and watches her friend storm off before Maggie can react. 

Richard walks up and asks Maggie if everything is okay. She replies that no one is okay because everyone is in pain. She asks Richard how he knew the difference between being in a rough patch with Catherine versus it being something more malignant. Richard says he and Catherine always still had love underneath all their issues. He very poignantly states that when love dries up, that’s when you have to reevaluate a relationship. He assures Maggie that she and Winston have a lot of love and can work through their issues, but the look on Maggie’s face says she thinks the opposite.

Jules follows Blue to the intern locker room and apologizes to him for not knowing his personal connection to medical debt. Blue storms out in a huff as Mika, Lucas, and Simone walk in to start their shifts. Simone shows Jules her engagement ring and tells her the news. Schmitt pops in and yells at the interns for being late for rounds in another attempt to recreate a classic Grey’s scene. Trying to reboot a show that doesn’t need to be rebooted almost always turns out disastrous, and this show won’t last if it keeps going down this route.


The third plot centers on a disastrous dinner party at Owen and Teddy’s house. Teddy arrives home after her first day as chief of surgery and starts complaining to Owen about budget deficits and dealing with the fallout of Tank’s death as soon as she opens the front door. She is a bit sorry that she invited Bailey and Ben to dinner and isn’t the mood for it anymore. Owen tells his wife that Allison bit Pru at daycare again. Teddy is not mad at her daughter, but rather her husband for not telling her sooner. As they argue, the scene cuts to Bailey and Ben getting ready to leave their house. Bailey is excited to bring an apple pie that she made, but Ben isn’t sure they should bring anything since it is a big problem that Allison has bit Pru twice in as many days. While she agrees it is a problem, Bailey asks Ben if he can remember the last time they had an adult dinner with other people and without kids around. Ben quickly grabs his coat and is ready to go.

The couples exchange some friendly banter as soon as Ben and Bailey arrive. Bailey gives Teddy the pie and asks the new chief to remember the clinic in the budget. Owen asks Ben about his recent fire calls, and Ben mentions that he sits out of the larger ones these days since he has a small child at home. Owen tells Bailey that Teddy can’t stand the job they both did for years after just one day, and Ben makes his own off-hand comment about wanting a bite to eat.

Things turn back to a friendly note when the adults sit down at the table and talk about their kids while eating. Ben carries on about Tuck spending 45 minutes in the bathroom to manscape, which Bailey adds Tuck is doing because he is trying out for swim team. Bailey then mentions that Pru keeps saying she wants a dog, so Ben takes another attempt to jab at his hosts by saying they don’t need a dog nipping at their fingers and toes. Owen wants to change the conversation to adult stuff only, so he asks Bailey how the clinic has been going. She responds that it has been very busy before politely asking Owen how his medical license reinstatement is going. Bailey picked the wrong topic, as it immediately sets off Teddy, who nastily says Owen still doesn’t have a medical license and goes off on a tangent. Ben suggests they go back to talking about their kids to keep the peace.

After things calm down, Bailey accidentally brings up the wrong topic again by asking Teddy if she looked over the resumes she gave her for the open chief of trauma spot. Owen is shocked because Teddy promised him his old job back the day prior. Teddy argues that she needs to consider her options if she has to wait awhile for him to get his license back. They argue and bicker, and Teddy throws the fact that he can barely practice medicine currently in his face. Owen claps back that the chief of surgery barely practices medicine too. Teddy wins the argument by saying she is making a business decision, so he needs to grow up and deal with it.

It’s amazing that Ben and Bailey haven’t left at this point and that Teddy and Owen are still married. The latter couple bickers while they eat, which includes quips like Teddy telling Owen the hospital went under with him in charge. Ben asks Bailey if she is having fun yet, which made me laugh. The conversation turns to the biting incidents when Teddy says Allison is biting kids because she takes after her dad’s tantrums. Owen says Allison can’t take after her mom because she’s not old enough to drink. Bailey yells, “Enough!” to get them to stop and sternly tells Teddy that she can’t be chief if she can’t even handle her own relationship. Bailey rightfully points out that Teddy’s rage will quickly infect the whole hospital, so she and Owen need to get some help if Teddy wants to keep her new job. Bailey tells Ben they are leaving, and Teddy tells Owen to bite her after he mockingly suggests they have people over more often.

As they walk to their car, Bailey mentions that she has been sensing resentment from Ben for a while. She doesn’t want to end up like Owen and Teddy, so she wants to know what is up. Ben admits that he resents his wife for going back to work, which he knows sounds bad. He has never parented a little girl and is worried that he isn’t doing it right. He also misses having his wife around more. Bailey knows starting up the clinic was a big undertaking, but she has been prioritizing her family. She doesn’t understand why that isn’t enough for Ben, but we don’t get an answer on that in this episode.


The final plot takes place at Grey Sloan Memorial. While it isn’t totally important for this hour, it does inch us a little closer to the inevitable future that has been teased for quite a long time at this point. We start with Amelia FaceTiming with Kai and apologizing that her new place is a work in progress. She is excited that Kai is coming to visit tomorrow and finishes the call. She finds Link and asks if he can take Scout since she was just paged for a consult, i.e. Natalia’s case. Link is happy to take Scout because the whole city hates him for Tank’s death and he can’t leave without getting egged. As Link goes to make another attempt at leaving, a pregnant woman named Whitney walks into the ER and shouts that she is in labor. She was hoping her lawyer wife would be back from her trial by now. Jo comes strolling in to take over, but Whitney grasps onto Link’s hand and refuses to let him leave. She says her anxiety is usually an 8 out of 10 when she isn’t in labor and forces Link to go with her and Jo. Of course, Scout joins them too.

They get to a private room where Jo examines Whitney, who is still holding onto Link’s hand with a death grip. Scout is sleeping in his stroller, unaware of the whole situation. Jo states Whitney is six inches dilated, which makes the almost new mom even more scared about having a baby. To make Whitney feel better, Link tells her about how he is in hiding because the entire city hates him, which does seem to help.

A little later on, Whitney doesn’t think she can handle having a baby. She still hasn’t let go of Link’s hand. Link agrees with her that the world is a bad place and that parents don’t get to choose their kids. However, when he looks at Scout, he has an overwhelming feeling of hopefulness that everything might be okay. Link continues to prove he might be one of the most perfect male characters ever, and it isn’t noticed by only the viewers this time. There is a montage of Whitney giving birth, and Link stays by her side the whole time. She finally lets go of his hand after the baby is born.

The story ends with Jo and Link watching Whitney make up with her wife from outside her room. Jo comments that Link’s haircut looks nice. Amelia walks up and is surprised to see Link and Scout still at the hospital, so Link tells his ex about their night. Link decides to attempt to slip out the back door and see if he can get home this time. After he leaves, Jo tells Amelia how great Link was taking care of her laboring patient for hours like it was his job and that he didn’t even worry about his own personal crisis once. Jo wants to know how Amelia let Link go because he is perfect. Amelia responds that he wasn’t perfect for her, but maybe he is perfect for Jo. Amelia takes Scout and FaceTimes with Kai again and leaves Jo to contemplate her confused feelings.


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