Thursday, December 10, 2020

Grey’s Anatomy 17x04 Recap: “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (A Ray of Sunshine) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

"You'll Never Walk Alone"
Original Airdate: December 3, 2020

As Meredith’s condition worsens, we are greeted by another past cast member to lighten the mood. Things may seem grim at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, but life is good on Meredith’s dream beach. I wouldn’t be mad if we were gifted a full episode on that beach, as that is the only place where there is some happiness on this show. 


The episode at least tries to start out on a good foot before things start to get worse. Richard has been spending much of his time in the COVID ward with Meredith, whose condition is worsening. She spends almost all day sleeping according to Richard, who is now doing daily updates with the hospital staff in a tent outside. All the main doctors are in attendance for a morning meeting and want to know how Meredith is doing. Richard tells them that she’s not getting any better and that they all know she is getting great care from Teddy and DeLuca. The pandemic is getting worse, and Koracick butting in via Zoom isn’t helping the situation. He is still out with COVID, even though he insists it must have been a false positive since he is perfectly fine. Jackson stops him mid-rant by hanging up the call, to the pleasure of everyone in the tent.

After the meeting, Jackson finds Jo in a lounge and invites her over to his place. He wants her to come over to reboot their friendship and start fresh from their disastrous last meeting. Jo agrees to hang out with him and have dinner at his place later that night. Over at the Grey/Shepherd/Pierce residence, Link is playing his guitar for Scout and Amelia is running around like a tornado. She has a dazed look in her eyes as she searches for gauze because little Bailey lost a tooth. Link has no idea why she is freaking out about a tooth falling out and suggests that she look on the bright side. Let’s just say that doesn’t sit well with the frazzled new mom.

Back at the hospital, DeLuca and Teddy have found a very promising COVID trial based in New York that has two open spots. They pitch the idea to Richard in hopes that he will allow them to try to get Meredith a spot in the trial. Richard wants to think about it a bit more before committing to a potentially risky trial. Bailey is also getting a bit anxious because her parents recently moved into an assisted living facility, which puts them at an even higher risk for COVID. While she mentions it another time or two throughout this episode, this is a story that will play out next week. She tells Nico about her struggles before he goes to help a female patient who has cut her arm. The patient is freaked out when she notices he is Asian-American and wants to know where he is from before he treats her. Nico pretends not to notice her xenophobia even when a new resident points it out. 

At the same time, an Asian-American patient is brought in via ambulance. He was recently treated by Owen for appendicitis and was sent home with some antibiotics. He fell off a ladder, landing him back in the ER. Over in Meredith’s dreamscape, a house has appeared on the beach. As she approaches the house, Meredith sees a man on the porch. It’s none other than George O’Malley, and it’s mighty good to see him again. Meredith is about as shocked to see him as he is her. There really is no one better to bring back than the most lovable, good-hearted original character.


Meredith isn’t the only doctor dealing with the harsh realities of COVID. Helm shows up at Koracick’s house in full PPE to administer a COVID test. Koracick refuses to let her inside and perform the test. He grabs the kit and does it himself behind the closed door. While she waits, Helm reveals that she had a mild case of COVID. It’s odd that we are only hearing about this now and with no further explanation. It’s a wasted plot point. When Koracick opens the door to hand back the completed test, Helm sees a weird computer setup running simulations. Koracick says he is trying to stop the pandemic with algorithms, and it seems like quarantine is starting to get to the usually head-strong doc. 

During a routine FaceTime, Winston surprises Maggie by inviting her to a virtual dinner to celebrate his grandma’s birthday. Maggie is a bit unsure at first, thinking that it might be a bit too soon to virtually meet Winston’s grandma. Instead of telling him the truth, she blames her indecision on being worried about Meredith. Maggie eventually agrees to attend the virtual dinner, which makes Winston’s day. Over in the MRI suite, Owen’s former/current patient is getting a scan, and the results are being watched by Nico and the new resident. They find that the patient has diverticulitis, not appendicitis, meaning he will need surgery. Owen pops in and tells the resident that she can scrub in with him. 

We then get a peek at Jackson and Jo hanging out at the former’s place. They kick back, have a beer, and get a little sad when mentioning how worried they both are about Meredith, before Jo eventually passes out and accidentally stays the night. Their shared worry about Mer cues a very nice scene on the beach. Mer and George are together on the house’s porch now, and it is worth noting that she is able to get right next to him, but couldn’t get too close to Derek (who is sadly absent from this episode). George reveals that he checks in on her sometimes and says that Mer has great kids. In a nice play on the fact that it’s been over 11 years since we last saw him, Mer asks George how he got older. His quippy response that nothing on the beach is real and that it might be more peaceful for Mer to imagine him older is quite perfect. After Mer responds with, “You sound like a fortune cookie,” and the old friends share a laugh, things start to get serious. She wants to know if she gets to choose whether to go back or not, but George doesn’t know because he didn’t get that choice; he states that it is different for everyone. Maybe Meredith has forgotten that she does in fact get to choose whether to survive or not, which we know from season three’s similar arc. 

The scene changes to Mer’s hospital room, where she is now lying prone on the bed. Bailey and Richard are there in full PPE discussing the next steps. She wants to wake Mer up to ask her about the trial, but Richard is still on the fence and doesn’t think they will be able to wake her up. Richard is struggling with not knowing the pros and cons of the trial, so he decides to give Mer a little longer to see if keeping her prone will help. The sisterly drama continues with Winston’s grandma’s birthday Zoom dinner. Maggie, Winston, and Winston’s grandma are enjoying their long distance dinner when Winston’s dad unexpectedly joins the Zoom call. It is quickly revealed that Winston and his father are not on good terms at all, which causes Winston to abruptly hang up. He awkwardly leaves Maggie on Zoom with his family.

We then see Jo waking up on Jackson’s couch, mad at herself for falling asleep. Jackson is totally fine with the fact that she inadvertently slept over and tells her that she’s welcome anytime. Before she walks out the door, Jo turns around and kisses Jackson. After a few kisses, she decides she is ready to sleep with him. The pace quickly changes as the scene shifts back to Mer telling George that she was devastated when he died. George comforts her by saying that he was happy everyone was laughing at his funeral. Mer explains that she was devastated then became okay, which was the same thing that happened when Derek died. She goes on to say that eventually you move on and that her kids would go on too. 

We then finally get to the real reason George is on the beach: Mer’s subconscious is fighting for her to survive. Derek showed up for the past few episodes for the same reason. Mer is only going to imagine the people that will force her to keep fighting. George feels that grief is different for kids and reveals that his mom has not moved on from his death. “Some grief is heavier than other grief,” he explains before adding that some grief gets stuck. George goes on to say that sometimes he tries to shake the grief she is carrying out of her, and Mer makes fun of him for haunting his mom. In the most convincing part of the speech, George adds that he wants his mom to let it go and that he wants to tell her that he is still himself even though she can’t see or touch him. Hopefully Mer has finally taken the hint. The scene jolts from the beach to outside Mer’s hospital room, where DeLuca and Richard are talking. DeLuca is attempting to once again convince Richard that the trial is better than nothing and that they need to do something before it is too late.


Owen, Nico, and the new resident check in on their patient the morning after the successful surgery. After Owen leaves the room, the resident has a difficult conversation with Nico. She wants to express her concerns to Owen about him not knowing that people of Asian descent are more susceptible to diverticulitis and the fact that he should be aware of that. Nico isn’t sure that bringing it up to Owen is a great idea because Owen is likely to think that she is calling him a racist, even though that isn’t her intention. He tells her to tread carefully and not go on a war path since she just started her residency at Grey Sloan Memorial.

Helm visits Koracick again and tells her grumpy superior that he keeps testing positive for COVID. Koracick’s worldview has become grim over the last 24 hours, which has Helm concerned. Back at Jackson’s, Jo and Jackson have slept together on his couch. Jo decides that if they don’t sleep together again then they won’t be considered “a thing.” Jackson thinks about it and says that if they do it again before getting dressed, then it’s just one experience. The logic convinces Jo, and they get busy. 

We then see Maggie and Amelia spending some time together while doing laundry in the backyard of the Grey/Shepherd/Pierce house. Maggie complains about Winston’s daddy issues, not realizing they were so bad that the two couldn’t even be together virtually. The conversation changes to them both stating that they hate that they can’t be with Mer before the scene switches back to the hospital. Teddy is outside looking frantic while getting some work done in a quiet spot. Helm finds her to tell her that Koracick is in a bad place and could really use a friend. Teddy is trying to keep up with all the new COVID developments and find a way to save Mer. Helm prefers that she proceeds with saving Mer, though Teddy doesn’t forget the message.

Inside, Owen, Nico, and the resident are once again with their patient. Owen is happy to announce to the patient that he is getting better and should be able to go home in a few days. The new resident decides to say that it’s terrible that the patient got so sick, and Nico quickly tells her to leave the room. After she walks out, Nico’s frustrations mount and he goes off on Owen about the misdiagnosis. Nico shouts that all of the patient’s suffering could have been avoided with a simple scan and that Owen should have known to check for diverticulitis. Nico’s better half, Schmitt, runs into his roomie Jo as they both get to the hospital. He judges her for not coming home before telling her that he is sleeping with Nico again. Jo shames him back, but she does like his idea of having a sex buddy during the pandemic.

Amelia continues to get angry at home when Link’s positivity becomes too much. She gets very annoyed with his happy-go-lucky approach to life while they are spending time outside. She actually tells him that she can’t take his positivity anymore and that he needs to give her space to be afraid and angry. Amelia doesn’t want her emotions to be shut down by looking at the bright side all the time because it will drive her to start using pills again. Link lets her air out her frustration, but he’s pretty hurt. 


Back at the hospital, Mer is unconscious and shivering. Richard looks over her chart while trying to make a decision about the trial. On the beach, George asks Mer if she still dances it out. Mer replies that she hasn’t danced since Cristina left. George gently reminds her that Cristina didn’t die and not-so-subtly talks about all the things he misses about being alive. Mer briefly closes her eyes on the beach and hears Richard talking. When she opens her eyes, Richard is sitting on the beach with her and George. Though she can’t interact with him, Mer can hear Richard directly talking to her about whether to try the trial or not. Richard is struggling with seeing Mer so sick and not knowing what to do. Mer apologizes to Richard, who can’t hear her. George thinks that if Mer chooses to stay, her decision might break Richard. She tells George that she knows and verbally says, “I know, George” in the hospital room while sleeping. Real Richard hears Mer, runs out of the room, and tells DeLuca to get Mer in the trial. Hearing Mer speak and say George’s name is all Richard needs to hear to make a final decision.

Schmitt is taking a breather outside of the hospital before leaving for the day, when Nico walks out and sits on a bench near him. Nico proclaims that he hates everything in the world except for Schmitt, as he has just come from yelling at Owen. Schmitt wants to invite Nico over, but he’s not sure that anything has changed or if it is a good idea. Nico firmly believes that the pandemic has changed everything and that they might not live to see tomorrow. Schmitt is convinced by Nico’s passionate statement, and they go back to Jo and Schmitt’s apartment together. Jo then shows up at Jackson’s place, and Jackson quickly says that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. He has finally realized that he tends to jump into relationships too fast and needs time to figure things out. Jo laughs and says that she isn’t in any position to be in a relationship either. She is still putting herself back together from her very rough year and is only looking for friendship and sex. Jo tells Jackson about Schmitt’s pandemic sex buddy idea, which definitely makes them a thing.

Owen finds Bailey in one of the hospital’s outdoor tents and wants to talk. He gives her the presentation of his patient and says that he sees it all the time as appendicitis. He feels there is no excuse for defaulting to standard care and explains that he made a judgement call. Owen wants to treat everyone equally. Bailey has heard all about the case and tells him that’s not how it works. She explains that everyone has biases and what matters is what you do about it. She encourages him to do some learning, change his practices, and change the trauma protocols if necessary. Owen is definitely taking his learning experience seriously, so it will be interesting to see if this story continues to play out.

Back at the Grey/Shepherd/Pierce residence, Link is playing his guitar by himself. Amelia approaches him and wants him to talk about his troubles. Link isn’t interested, and Amelia doesn’t want him to bottle his emotions up. He starts explaining that he processes emotions different from her. He only focuses on the good things because that’s what he needs to do to get through the day. Link can’t be miserable like Amelia all the time because he gets too depressed, so he sticks with what works for him. They finally agree that it’s okay that they process things differently.

At her hotel room, Maggie gets a video call from Winston. He’s apologetic about the Zoom dinner he ruined, and she says they don’t have to talk about his dad if he’s not ready to. Winston makes it up to her by watching a movie together through the video call. Teddy tries to be a good friend and goes to Koracick’s house later that night. He doesn’t answer, and she shouts through the door that she brought him soup and thought they could talk through the door. She wants him to know that he’s not alone. The camera pans inside to show Koracick sitting at the base of the door. He’s huddled in a blanket, has the chills, and definitely isn’t looking good at all. I’m a bit worried for Koracick, and his condition will continue to be featured in the next episode. 

The episode ends with another scene on the beach. Mer is back to talking about George’s death and tells him that she was mad at him for choosing someone over himself. George says he didn’t know that he would die, so Mer asks him if he regrets it. George doesn’t think it matters and says that Mer would have done the same thing. Mer tells him that he went all in for every person before saying, “You changed my life, George. I didn’t say it then, but it’s true.” 

The touching moment is interrupted by a flash to the hospital room, where Mer has been turned prone again. Bailey tells Richard that he made the right call to put Mer in the trial. Richard reflects on all the things he has seen Mer do in her life and opens up to Bailey. He knew that COVID patients suffered in isolation, but he never thought about how alone the people who care about them feel. He feels helpless, and Bailey puts her hand on his shoulder for support. The episode ends with a quick look at Richard, Bailey, Meredith, and George all sitting together on the beach. It’s very fitting for these four to be together, as they were always each other’s support system.


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