Friday, April 16, 2021

Grey’s Anatomy 17x11 Recap: “Sorry Doesn’t Always Make it Right” (Wake Up Call) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Sorry Doesn’t Always Make it Right”
Original Airdate: April 8, 2021

Calling all Grey’s Anatomy fans! The moment you’ve all been waiting for finally happens in the latest episode of the medical drama. Plus, the show gets back to its roots and presents a more typical Grey’s Anatomy feel than the rest of the season has. Knowing that Giacomo Gianniotti, who played the late Andrew DeLuca, made his directorial debut makes the episode that much sweeter.


In typical Grey’s Anatomy fashion, the latest episode has many moving parts and covers several storylines at once. Let’s talk about the plots from most to least medically relevant. The main medical cases and drama started on Station 19 and transferred to Grey’s Anatomy. A couple, Shayne and Karissa, who had gotten married hours earlier crashed their car inside a truck and needed immediate medical attention. As the firefighters attempt to stabilize them and cut them out of the car and truck, Karissa screams that she wants to be saved first because she has more to live for. Her rant about wanting to be put before Shayne, who was in pretty bad condition, was incredibly shocking. Of course, the firefighters do not listen to Karissa’s demands and pull Shayne free first. Both are sent to Grey Sloan Memorial via ambulance, and their story on Grey’s Anatomy begins when their ambulances arrive at the hospital.

Before they arrive, we see Jo and Bailey visiting baby Luna in the NICU, and they think she is starting to respond to her name. Hayes pops in and disagrees before chasing them out so he can do his rounds. Jo meets up with Schmitt in a hallway and practices what she wants to say to Meredith about changing specialties when she wakes up. The fact that Jo is scared of Mer and needs to practice is comical, but she gets paged for a trauma before she can finish. Owen, Bailey, and Jo wait for the newlyweds to arrive in the ambulance bay. Shayne arrives moments before Karissa and is presenting with crush injuries. Karissa won’t stop talking when she’s wheeled out of her ambulance and sincerely wants to apologize to Shayne for her misconstrued words. Shayne wants nothing to do with his bride and even mentions that he never wants to talk to her again. I bet Bailey didn’t think her first day back from her break would be this interesting!

Jo takes Karissa to a trauma room to evaluate her lacerations and headache. Koracick joins Jo right as Karissa launches into a detailed exposé of what went wrong and everything she said. Karissa asks Jo if an update could be passed along to Shayne that she is fine, so naturally Jo complies. In the other trauma bay, Bailey and Owen examine Shayne, who’s repeating the same story that Karissa just told. It’s actually quite comical to see them both telling the story at the exact same time with slightly varied perspectives. The doctors determine Shayne has a fractured pelvis and will need surgery immediately. At the same time, Jo walks in to give Shayne the update on Karissa. He is so furious that he tells Jo that he doesn’t want his wife to be given any updates on his condition or be told any medical information. Jo is shocked at his reaction and that she will have to comply by HIPAA rules per his request.

While that exchange was happening, Koracick brought Karissa upstairs for an MRI. Jo walks in to see how things are going and doesn’t realize the mic is on. Karissa overhears Jo mention that Shayne doesn’t want the doctors to tell her anything and is quite annoyed with her husband. The scans reveal that she has a small brain bleed that will need to be monitored overnight. At least she’s luckier than Shayne and avoids surgery. Karissa isn’t even fazed by the good news, as she’s very caught up on how sorry she is for what she said to Shayne and wants to properly apologize to him.

A little while later, a struggling Jo goes to visit Mer, who has not woken up since being taken off the ventilator at the end of last episode. Jo tells her mentor all about Shayne and Karissa and how frustrating it is to not be able to give her patient updates on her husband. She then pivots by saying that treating adults isn’t fun for her anymore and that OBGYN is happier because she gets to help others achieve their dreams. Jo continues to say that her house isn’t the happiest place since Alex left, so she wants work to be her happy place. She believes Mer will understand that, and she makes sure to say how grateful she is for Mer believing in her. Jo ends her chat by telling Mer that she will say it all again when she’s awake. She then asks Mer to please wake up and be well soon because she can’t take any more bad days.

In the OR, Owen and Bailey operate on Shayne. Bailey decides to talk about how horrible Shayne and Karissa’s wedding day is, but quickly stops when she sees the look on Owen’s face. It’s quite tough to decide if he or Shayne had the more miserable wedding day. Owen actually thinks that Shayne is lucky to have figured out who his wife is right from the start instead of being blindsided down the road. Bailey tries to twist the topic by asking Owen how Teddy is doing, but Owen doesn’t want to talk about his personal life.

Shayne’s surgery is a success, and the doctors tell him that he will need a few months of rehab after he wakes up. Bailey is surprised to hear that Shayne plans on doing the rehab by himself and is giving up on Karissa. She tries to convince him that Karissa is still the same loving woman no matter what she said while she was terrified. Bailey urges Shayne to give Karissa a chance to prove that she will still be the same person he married before throwing it away. Shayne decides that Bailey is right and asks to see his wife. Owen warms up a bit and smiles at the progress while Bailey runs off to get a tablet to set up a video call with Karissa.

Shayne and Karissa start their video call, and you can feel the hope in the air as Karissa profusely apologizes. When she eventually stops, Shayne announces that he wants an annulment. Bailey is stunned as Shayne tells Karissa that he doesn’t think she has changed, but that she has always been like this. Owen smirks and shakes his head in agreement as Shayne describes how nothing is different and that he thought he could overlook the selfish parts of her. He wants to be done with it and hangs up on her. Owen and Bailey can’t believe what they are watching... and especially that Shayne actually thanks them for helping him come to this realization.

While that might be the last we see of Shayne and Karissa, the impact of their breakup follows through to that same night. Owen shows up at his/Teddy’s house and looks at a picture of him and Teddy when they were in the military. Teddy walks into the room he is in after putting the kids to sleep and is surprised to see Owen, as she didn’t know he would be coming by. Owen explains that he came to see her and launches into the speech most of us have probably been waiting to hear. He knows that he reacted awfully to Teddy revealing the truth about her relationship with Allison. Owen apologizes for his poor attitude and for not being there for her when she’s always been there for him. Teddy tries to apologize again, but Owen cuts her off by saying he knows how sorry she is. 

He continues to talk about how they were friends first and how he should have known that Teddy was going through something and needed a friend when she did something so out of character like sabotage their wedding day. Owen wants to be friends if Teddy wants to, but isn’t sure he can get back to being more than that. He says being friends will be a start and that he wants to hear all about Allison if she wants to tell him. Teddy can barely hold back tears of joy when she smiles and asks Owen if he would like some tea, which is her way of accepting his invitation. She turns away to go make some tea and the happiness overpowers her will as tears roll down her face. It’s a nice, cathartic moment as Teddy and Owen are finally reconciling their differences, and it should be interesting to see where they go from here.


The second major medical storyline follows Hayes as he tries to find a solution for his infant patient. Baby Arthur has holes in his heart and needs a heart transplant. He’s been waiting for a new heart for two weeks and might not hold on much longer. Arthur’s father, Chris, is struggling with his son’s condition. He confides in Hayes about Arthur’s mom, who is so depressed by the situation that she can’t get out of bed, visit him in the hospital, or go to work. Chris is frustrated that they were so careful with COVID and that it didn’t matter because being careful didn’t stop Arthur from having a heart condition. He knows that they need a miracle, which he feels will help him get his whole family back. However, Chris acknowledges that he can’t get a miracle without someone else’s family getting shattered in the process. It’s a double-edged sword, but Chris begs Hayes to find a way to save Arthur anyways.

Hayes pages Maggie for help with Arthur’s case and tries bouncing some ideas off her. Maggie isn’t sure Arthur can even withstand a transplant in his condition at this point. Hayes refuses to believe her or give up, but Maggie thinks they have done everything that they can. She would rather let the family move on than prolong their suffering. That doesn’t sit well with Hayes, who continues to try and find another viable solution other than a transplant. He spends some time in the NICU for inspiration and is almost glad to have someone to talk to when Jo comes in to visit Luna again. He tells her about his situation and that he is sad he might have to talk to Chris about taking Arthur off life support. Jo tries to make him feel better by talking about how she had a hard time letting go of anger because it hurt to cut away the crusty, black parts of her heart. Hayes has a lightbulb moment spurred by Jo’s words, and he excitedly thanks her for the idea. 

He goes to discuss his thoughts with Maggie, who is skeptical at first. Hayes believes that they can make space for an artificial heart pump to fit in Arthur’s chest cavity if they cut out the parts of his heart that aren’t working. It’s an idea that is crazy enough to potentially work, so they go tell Chris about how they want to remove both ventricles of Arthur’s heart and put in an artificial pump to buy more time. Chris isn’t happy that they want to cut half his son’s heart out and that neither doctor has done the procedure before. Hayes assures Chris that this is Arthur’s only option and will give him the best chance to survive. He seals the deal by reminding Chris that his instructions were to save his son.

 The doctors bring the baby to the OR for the surgery, and Maggie tells Hayes that she thinks the plan will work before they begin. They start removing parts of Arthur’s heart, then they set up the artificial pump. The moment of truth arrives when they take Arthur off bypass. They are thrilled to see the pump work and that the surgery is a success. Maggie is beyond excited that they pulled it off and congratulates Hayes on his accomplishment. The story concludes with Chris visiting Arthur after the surgery and video calling his wife, who is on the mend herself upon seeing that her son will be okay. This plot also allowed Maggie to get her surgical groove back and give a much-needed confidence boost to Hayes following his sister-in-law’s health scare in the previous episode.


There are also two COVID storylines in this episode that get fairly equal screen time. First and foremost, Meredith is off the ventilator, but has yet to wake up. Richard orders an MRI of Mer’s brain, which comes back clean. He is actually mad at the good scan because that means Mer is too weak to wake up.  Close to the end of the episode, Mer finally wakes up with Richard by her side. Her first words are “I’m sorry,” which puzzles Richard. She apologizes for him having to put her on a vent and making the call to do so. Richard says he would do it again if he had to and hopes he doesn’t. Mer is glad that she chose him to be her medical proxy, and in the next breath she exclaims that they need to talk about Jo. Of course, Richard has no idea what she’s talking about, and it’s nice to get confirmation that Mer has in fact heard and internalized everything while she was unconscious. 

Richard catches Jo and Schmitt as they are about to leave the hospital and asks Jo to talk for a minute. He wants to discuss her quitting surgery, and Schmitt quickly leaves in case things get tense. Richard would like to know if Jo is serious about changing specialties because he will support her no matter what. With that, Jo starts to tell Richard about what she wants her future to look like, but we don’t get to hear the conversation from there. After that, Richard goes back to Mer’s room and finds her asleep. Maggie and Bailey join him outside of the room to get an update on Mer. Richard informs them that she is mostly sleeping, but she’s listening to what everyone says. Whether Mer will snap out of COVID or not remains to be seen in future episodes. 

The other COVID-centric plot follows Jackson throughout his day. He has pulled the residents assigned to the ER to help perform free COVID tests to the public in the tents outside. Jackson is in charge of the testing and reveals to Schmitt that he had to spend 20 hours on video calls to secure more testing kits from the Catherine Fox Foundation. Schmitt doesn’t get why he didn’t just ask his mom instead of going through the trouble of the meetings. The pair winds up diagnosing a young man with COVID, but he doesn’t want to go back to his crowded home and infect his family and can’t afford a hotel room. Schmitt wants to admit him to help, but Jackson pushes back because the man isn’t sick enough to stay at the hospital. Jackson decides to pull out his credit card and tells Schmitt to book the patient a hotel room on him. In fact, Schmitt is given instructions to do the same for any COVID positive patients who need financial assistance. 

Jackson’s generosity winds up paying for 18 rooms in a short amount of time. Schmitt even quips that they might need to rent out a whole floor of a hotel at this rate. However, not everyone is pleased with Jackson’s spending spree. Intern Alma Ortiz goes off on him for booking hotel rooms because community organizations that provide low-income people with hotel rooms can’t book the rooms if he does. She explains that the organizations can get special low rates and are helping COVID positive people too, but he might be inhibiting that. Jackson understands her point and apologizes since he didn’t know about those programs. 

Later on, Jackson finds Ortiz and gives her the good news that no one will be thrown out of their hotel because of him. He is going to sponsor rooms through the organizations instead of getting in their way. Ortiz reminds him that she was a social worker before becoming a doctor, so she understands how flawed the system is. She’s mad at the system because no matter how much people try to help, they can never get to the root of the problem. Near the end of the episode, Jackson pages Ortiz to a conference room inside the hospital. She apologizes for her outbursts earlier, but Jackson has asked her there because he has been inspired by her. He wants to help people who have been ignored. He knows that she has ideas and wants to hear them all. Jackson says that she has the understanding and he has the money and desire to help. He wants to change things together, and a new partnership is formed.


The only real non-medicine story of the week focuses on Amelia and Link’s relationship status. It’s early in the morning, and Amelia is annoyed that Link brings her another basket of laundry when she is already doing a mountain of clothes. She wants a break from laundry and the kids. Out of nowhere, a camper pulls into the driveway, so everyone goes outside to see who has arrived. It’s none other than Link’s parents, who show up unexpectedly. Link is annoyed, but they insist that they have quarantined and have been safe. They really want to meet Scout and also would like to take all the kids to Mount Rainier for the day. The Lincolns want to help and Amelia quickly agrees. The kids are excited to spend a day with their pseudo-grandparents, who they apparently video call often. Before they leave, Mrs. Lincoln refers to Amelia as her daughter-in-law and tells the couple that she doesn’t know why they aren’t married yet. Zola agrees.

Link and Amelia go back inside the now-quiet house. Link finds the lack of sound weird, but Amelia is happy with the silence. He suggests that they get naked, so Amelia starts to go upstairs. Link stops her while pulling off his shirt and reminds her that they can be loud and do it anywhere. Amelia randomly plops down on the steps and bursts into tears. Link thinks she must be upset by his mom and Zola’s comments, so he gets down on one knee to propose. Amelia is horrified and shouts, “No! Get up!” Link is confused and doesn’t know why she’s upset if it’s not about their marital status. Amelia assures him that that isn’t the case but that she needed a good cry. He awkwardly tries to comfort her. 

After she starts to settle down, Link makes Amelia some tea. Amelia explains that it just hit her that it’s been months since she’s been able to feel whatever she wants without hurting the kids. They then have a conversation about whether they want to get married or not. Link, who has been staunchly anti-marriage in the past, has been thinking about getting married and changing his stance. He loves Amelia, Scout, and their family, so why not make it official? Amelia replies that she was a terrible wife, which had nothing to do with her brain tumor. She reveals that she’s been having trouble because she has constantly been thinking about getting high. Link listens to her confession and then promptly falls asleep on the couch.

When he wakes up, Amelia informs him that he always falls asleep when he is emotionally overwhelmed. He cheekily replies by saying he doesn’t avoid feelings, he just processes them better when he’s unconscious. He gets more serious and wants to figure out what is going on with Amelia. Link asks if she wants to go to a meeting, but she says she doesn’t want to. Amelia explains that the pandemic makes it extremely challenging for addicts to stay sober because it encompasses all the triggers. She hasn’t been craving pills as much as she wants to buy some weed. Link asks if that’s allowed, which causes Amelia to laugh. She explains weed isn’t suggested. She feels if she smoked it, she would wind up forgetting to not do heroin. 

Instead of diving into her comment, Link replies with, “For the record, I would marry you in a hot minute.” Amelia wants to know why, so Link explains that most addicts crave drugs just for doing drugs, but she doesn’t. He thinks she is the opposite of self-destructive. He gets down on one knee again, and Amelia promptly freaks out. Again. The random proposal attempts are actually quite funny and bring a lot of levity to the otherwise dark topics of conversation. 

That evening, the couple spends some time together in front of the fireplace. Amelia ponders what their wedding would even look like. Link has been envisioning a spring wedding in New Orleans, and Amelia likes the idea. She also thinks the kids would love it. She goes on to say that marriage seems obvious because of how much she loves him, but she isn’t sure that he is sure about changing his mind. 

They reach a deal and finally are about to get that adult alone time in when the camper pulls back into the driveway. After they get the kids to bed, Link and Amelia go out on the porch to talk with baby Scout in tow. Link’s parents are going to stay in their camper on the driveway, so it should be fun to see them in future episodes. Link and Amelia reach another deal to check in with each other every few weeks on whether or not to get married. I think it’s safe to say they will wind up engaged by the end of the season. 


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