Saturday, May 20, 2017

Grey’s Anatomy 13x24 Review: “Ring of Fire” (Letting Go) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Ring of Fire”
Original Airdate: May 18, 2017

We were promised an explosive finale, and Shonda Rhimes never disappoints! Whether it’s a finale or not, any time Grey’s Anatomy has a tragedy episode, it is an epic event that is not to be missed. The cliffhanger that ended the penultimate episode of the season was a real doozy that left Stephanie and a young girl, Erin, fighting for their lives following a fiery explosion. Courage comes in many forms, and once again, a single episode of Grey’s Anatomy highlights all of them.


The episode centers upon the aftermath of the explosion, including the fight for survival. Inside the giant story, the main plot follows Stephanie and Erin post-explosion. Stephanie, who was the closest to the explosion, is left with lots of burns and must save Erin, who is pinned underneath a fallen piece of equipment. They are surrounded by flames that keep getting larger and more menacing with each passing second. With the window of opportunity to escape closing quickly, Stephanie must work quickly to figure out a way to get herself and Erin out of the burning room alive.

In one of the most heartwarming speeches about courage I have ever seen on TV, Stephanie is able to keep Erin calm while she tries to save her leg. Stephanie’s line about clenching your fists when you are scared had me clenching my fists for the rest of the episode, as the anxiety levels kept increasing at a steady rate. After her speech about courage, Stephanie throws herself and Erin through a wall of flames to escape the room, only to find that the staircase is flooded with fire as well. I loved that Stephanie never gave up or thought about her own well-being during the events of the episode. She never even notices that she has burns all over her body or that she is suffering from smoke inhalation. Stephanie keeps going and does whatever it takes to survive, which is one of the ways she exhibited true courage.

Through a heroic act to get her key card back, Stephanie manages to get Erin to the roof, but they are stuck there without any help. As Erin starts to bleed out, Ben and a group of firefighters make it to them just in time to save them both. Thanks to Stephanie’s long bout of CPR, Erin survives and manages to keep her leg after Bailey and Richard save it. From not taking care of herself, Stephanie faints and wakes up in the burn unit covered in severe burns with the worst of it on her arms. The incident makes Stephanie realize that she has been in hospitals for enough of her life and that she wants to experience the outside world for once. She explains her new perspective of life to Richard and tells him how he was an amazing teacher, which was a tear-worthy moment.

Stephanie quits as a resident at Grey-Sloan at the end of her speech, while her burns are being cared for by DeLuca. It isn’t surprising that actress Jerrika Hinton is saying goodbye to Grey’s. With all of Stephanie’s antics over the past season or so, it was not hard to tell that the character’s time was almost up on the show. However, she was given a really nice goodbye with a fantastic message of what it means to find and commit to your inner courage. The whole episode was very powerful in that sense, and Hinton arguably gave her best performance of her five years on the series. The goodbye also is one of the only Grey’s departures that will leave you with a smile on your face instead of horribly depressed. The door remains open for Stephanie to return since she wasn’t killed off, but don’t expect it to happen soon.


Stephanie was not the only doctor to show a heroic side in the season finale. First, Jackson immediately sprints off after the explosion to try and find Stephanie. I always thought that maybe Jackson and Stephanie would get together one day, but now that she is leaving the show, it’s unlikely to happen. Jackson almost runs into rooms on fire to find Stephanie, but winds up helping a patient who was in trouble instead. April and Maggie find him when he comes out of the burning hospital and yell at him for his antics. They berated him for his act of courage, which I thought was dumb.

Second, as the last person to see her before the lockdown, Ben grabbed a firefighter jacket and took a group inside the hospital to retrace his steps to find Stephanie. Ben ran right into the hospital without seeing if the firefighters were trailing or not. His memory of where he had seen Stephanie led the group to the room where the explosion went off, where they found a trail of Erin’s blood. By following the trail, Ben and the firefighters make it to the roof just in time to save Erin. Ben and Jackson showed a lot of courage in going after a missing colleague, which is more than what I have to say about the next character.


Well, someone had to take the fall for what went down, and I am beyond pleased with the result. On his way through the hospital, Jackson ran into Minnick, Bailey, and Richard and told them that Stephanie was missing. Bailey asked Minnick to tell the police, that way they could try and help with the missing child report. While spewing a bunch of nonsense about following protocol, Minnick decides to help patients instead of informing the police about Stephanie’s disappearance with the formerly alive rapist. Minnick showed yet again that she doesn’t quite see things from a human perspective, as she doesn’t ever do the right thing.

Following the end of the crisis, Catherine Avery calls a meeting with Richard, Minnick, and Bailey to find out exactly what happened. After Minnick admits to forgetting to tell the police about Stephanie, she goes on a rant about how Stephanie and Richard didn’t follow protocol and that the situation should never have happened. Minnick never takes any responsibility for anything, which is the biggest flaw with the character. She can’t put a real person first; she only thinks robotically about following protocols. Bailey is so disturbed by Minnick’s speech that she fires Minnick on the spot.

I am definitely not sad to see Minnick be fired, as I never liked the character from the start. She is too arrogant, brash, and mechanic to be a great doctor. While her intentions are good, her execution is terrible. As Bailey reminds us, the program is meant to create doctors, not robots. Minnick wasn’t a character that fit in right with the show, so I hope that she was saying goodbye in the finale too. However, there is the loose end with Arizona, so Minnick may be back.


In another tear-jerking moment, Meredith has to tell Nathan that Owen’s sister, who is his fiancé, is still alive. Nathan has a similar first reaction to Owen and literally doesn’t know how to react. After going blank for a few moments, he accepts that it is the truth and still doesn’t know what to do next. Meredith described Megan’s reappearance as Nathan’s dream come true, which was a touching moment. Nathan apologizes to Meredith and goes racing off to meet Owen and Amelia at a military hospital.

This is a happy and sad moment for the characters. It is great that Nathan’s fiancé has been found, but after roughly ten years, will she know who he is? A bigger question is, will Nathan be able to go back to his old life with Megan, or will his new relationship with Meredith affect things? It is sad for Meredith to finally find some peace and happiness only for it to be ripped away by someone else’s dream coming true. Obviously, Meredith would react the same way if she was in Nathan’s shoes, but hopefully she can move on again.


There’s a quite a bit of unfinished business following the end of the season that will presumably be dragged into next season. There is a bit of a tease of a possible Jackson and Maggie coupling, which wouldn’t be surprising. I think it would be good for both characters to change it up and be with each other because they both need a break from the normal craziness of their lives. We still don’t know what is up with Owen and Amelia, who haven’t talked about their relationship in months. At this point, they need to make up or break up forever. Maybe the Megan situation will bring them back together?

Also, what’s up with Megan’s sudden return? There isn’t full confirmation that it is her yet, but let’s be real, this isn’t a fast one being pulled on the characters and the audience. It will be interesting to see how Nathan and Owen react when they get to see Megan. I’m more interested in seeing who will be cast as Megan for a least a guest starring arc next season. Speaking of guest stars, I find it hard to believe that Matthew Morrison had a one-and-done appearance as Jo’s estranged husband, Dr. Paul Stadler. Alex hasn’t told Jo that he found Stadler, so there’s more drama to come there. Alex and Jo need to figure out their relationship too, and I’m hoping for a Stadler-Alex showdown at some point next season.


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