Thursday, April 18, 2019

Grey’s Anatomy 15x21 Review: “Good Shepherd” (Three-Ring Circus) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Good Shepherd”
Original Airdate: April 11, 2019

Family reunions are always awkward. Just ask the Shepherd family. We have slowly been introduced to the opinionated, overbearing, and dysfunctional Shepherd clan since Grey’s Anatomy’s pilot, and finally meeting the last unseen sibling is the icing on the cake of their family saga. No episode featuring even a quasi-Shepherd reunion goes smoothly, and this one is no different.

Amelia and her new “friend” Link make their way to New York City for a complicated spinal surgery only to get bombarded by Amelia’s worst case scenario: keeping up false pretenses and lying to her family. Amelia surprises herself, her family, Link, and the audience when she introduces Link as her husband, Owen, setting up a hilarious series of events to follow in this excellent bottle episode.


The episode begins with Link and Amelia in New York City enjoying some alone time together the night before their big surgery. We all knew that one-and-done scenario that Amelia pitched a few weeks back wasn’t going to stick. The two surgeons seem to have a good connection, yet Amelia doesn’t want the relationship to go any further than its current status. Too bad she goes and wrecks that the next morning when they arrive at the hospital and bump into Amelia’s sister, Nancy, who is covering the OBGYN department. Nancy has made one previous appearance on the show, in a season three episode back in 2006. If you don’t remember, she is the kinder, most understanding sister.

Nancy is thrilled to see her youngest sister for the first time in years and even happier to meet the guy she is with, whom Nancy presumes is Owen Hunt. Amelia goes along with it and introduces Link as her husband Owen. Link has no idea what’s going on and plays along for the moment to help get themselves out of going to Nancy’s house that night for dinner. Nancy is sad that they won’t be in town long enough to catch up, but doesn’t push. Amelia and Link can’t believe they dodged that bullet, but Link is upset that Amelia didn’t tell her sister the truth... prompting her to admit that her family doesn’t know anything that has happened to her over the past two years or so.

Link and Amelia continue about their day and see their teenage patient before the surgery. Afterward, they are caught by Nancy in the hallway talking about how they will have at least 24 hours between the surgery and their flight back to Seattle to keep checking up on their patient. Nancy is thrilled that their trip has been extended and convinces them to come to her Connecticut home for a nice meal. Link really doesn’t want to go, but Amelia caves to her sister and gets her “husband” to do the same.

On their way to Nancy’s, Amelia drills Link about the details of their “marriage” to make sure they are on the same page about every little detail imaginable. Link doesn’t believe when she says that her family is super intrusive and will grill them about anything and everything. Just as they feel that they are prepared as much as possible, they arrive at Nancy’s home to find that they have a fourth dinner guest: sister Kathleen, the psychiatrist.


Amelia is visibly frightened when she learns that Kathleen will be joining them for dinner for two reasons: Kathleen is the most intrusive sister, and there are now two sisters who can team up against her. The previously mentioned yet never seen Kathleen has been quite a mystery over the years, as the only details ever revealed about her were her name and specialty. Amy Acker makes her first appearance as Kathleen, and this might be one of the best guest casting decisions the show has ever made. Acker was the perfect choice to play the nosy, overly analytical sister who makes it her personal mission to share a psychoanalytic profile about every sentence.

Amelia and “Owen” try not to fumble when Kathleen and Nancy start grilling them about details of their lives. Link almost trips up when Kathleen asks him about his army days, including where he was stationed, how hot it got in the summer there, and the best tourist destinations in the Middle East. The Shepherds are quite impressed with “Owen” and immediately think he is a surprising and great match for their sister. Kathleen makes several great quips during the dinner conversation like how “Owen” isn’t anything like she pictured, “Owen” is full of fun surprises, and somehow Amelia has the hottest husband of the bunch. Between Amelia and Link trying to keep up with Nancy and Kathleen’s rapid-fire questions and the sisters’ side remarks, this might be the most entertaining meal the show has put on. Everything goes according to plan until dessert, when matriarch Carolyn Shepard walks in unannounced and asks who Link is.


While reeling from the surprise visit from her mother, Amelia quickly introduces Link as her husband Owen. Carolyn immediately says that this man is not Owen, as she met the real Owen Hunt when she visited Derek. With the cat out of the bag, Nancy and Kathleen can’t get enough of the drama that unfolds as Amelia tries to scramble to tell the truth about her divorce from Owen and her new situation with Link. It’s always wonderful when someone like Tyne Daly walks into a room and totally disrupts everything. Daly was last seen on the show in a season five episode in 2009, and having her back as the sassy and straight-laced Carolyn is a real treat.

Now that her lies have been exposed, Kathleen and Nancy take the opportunity to start hashing out Amelia’s dirty secrets and past mistakes to show her that she is still the black sheep of the family and to scare off Link, who doesn’t know anything about Amelia’s past. The two older sisters, especially Kathleen, act like ravenous wolves preying on the fearful, unstable, and emotional Amelia.

Eventually, Amelia shuts them all up by telling them that she is happy in her current relationship with Link, at the top of her field as the chief of neurosurgery at Grey Sloan Memorial, and had a massive benign brain tumor. The whole family, and Link, are shocked to hear about the tumor, but the sisters say that Amelia was always impulsive way before the tumor and imply that she is making up excuses.

Link has had enough of the blackballing at this point and decides to intervene and support Amelia by telling the family off. He paints a wonderful picture of Amelia and all the good that she does in the world. He tells them that the Amelia they are describing isn’t the person he knows and that they don’t know their own sister. Link goes on to accidentally spill the beans about Betty and Leo, whom neither Carolyn nor the sisters know about. That piece of info puts Amelia over the edge as she storms out of the house full of shame. She is quite upset at Link for sharing personal details about her life with her family. However, they are forced to get serious when they simultaneously get paged with bad news.

Their patient has gone into respiratory distress, so the surgeons make their way back to the hospital. The surgery that they performed earlier that day wasn’t successful so Amelia proposes a very risky option to the patient, which includes removing a vertebra and replacing it with a metal cage. Link advises against the surgery, but the patient decides to have the operation. After hashing it out in the scrub room, Link and Amelia perform their most daring surgery to date, and this time, it actually works. Amelia proves to herself that she is better than what her family thinks of her, which should be a big confidence boost for her down the line.

After the surgery, Amelia finds Carolyn in the hospital lobby. The two have a lovely heart-to-heart conversation and apologize for all the wrong they have both done. Carolyn is sorry that she didn’t attend Amelia and Owen’s wedding and hasn’t been there for her daughter as much as she should have been. She also apologizes for substituting Derek as her mother and wants to be more involved from now on. She then compares Amelia to her father, which hits Amelia hard. Amelia is very happy to make up with her mother and even tells her about Betty and Leo and how motherhood has been her hardest challenge. While the trip might not have turned out anything like Amelia envisioned, she should be happy that she was able to reunite with her siblings and create a better relationship with her mother. Unfortunately, we don’t get a scene where Amelia goes back to stick it to Nancy and Kathleen, but I guess that wasn’t necessary to the story.


Post a Comment