Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Grey’s Anatomy 17x17 Recap: “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (A Year in Review) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Someone Saved My Life Tonight”
Original Airdate: June 3, 2021

Another season of Grey’s Anatomy is in the bag, but this time without the typically massive cliffhanger ending. Sure, there are still some loose ends floating around by the end of the finale episode, but a vast majority of the stories wrap up nicely. Viewers are in for quite the ride with an hour that includes two weddings, two proposals, and heartbreaking wins and losses all playing out over eight months. But I’m not a fan of when shows skip through time in a single episode and give you small glimpses of major stories that have been playing out all season just to get to a rushed ending point. Grey’s Anatomy ended its season with back-to-back episodes like this, and I feel the penultimate episode was more successful at the format due to the smaller time jumps. 

Read on to decide for yourself whether showing eight months of the characters’ lives in 42 minutes works for you or not.


The episode opens with Meredith dropping flower petals on a beach in April 2021. It is not immediately obvious whether this is reality or one of Mer’s COVID dreams, and the answer isn’t revealed until later in the episode. Time then rewinds to eight months prior — August 2020 to be exact thanks to the on-screen graphic. We see Jo, Schmitt, and Helm trying to cohabitate in Jo’s apartment, which the original owner is over dealing with. Jo explodes when Schmitt and Helm talk about avocados one morning and starts packing up her belongings. Schmitt cheekily asks if Jo is evicting herself. Jo has decided in that moment that she deserves more and wants to fight for Luna. She comes up with a plan to sell her shares of the hospital to have enough money to pay for a good lawyer to help her adopt Luna. She then plans to take whatever money is left and move into a place of her own, as she is done with having roommates.

Over at Grey Sloan Memorial, Owen is examining Sophie, a woman who was in a car accident, in the ER. He pages Teddy for a consult because Sophie’s heart rate is a little high. Sophie becomes very flirty and thinks that her increased heart rate is due to white coat syndrome caused by Owen’s good looks. Teddy is none too pleased at the flirting, especially when it seems like Owen is flirting back. She calls him out for it after they leave Sophie’s bedside, and this is the last we hear or see of Sophie and Owen flirting with other women in the episode. It’s a very unnecessary scene in my opinion.

Meredith is back at the hospital for the first time as a doctor since she contracted COVID. Richard and Bailey are escorting her to her new students, as it is her first day as residency director and also Maggie and Winston’s wedding day apparently. Richard gives Mer a nice pep talk and assures her that she was the only choice for the job. Bailey quips that Mer is now on-call 24 hours a day, but Mer’s confident she can do the job in its entirety without Richard or Bailey’s help. Mer walks into the skills lab and is greeted with a big round of applause from the interns and residents. She immediately puts her foot down and tells them to stop clapping because wants to know the status of all ten patients who were admitted the previous night with COVID symptoms.

The big medical case of the episode is briefly introduced next when Schmitt presents Gerlie to Bailey. Gerlie, a nurse at an assisted living facility, was admitted to the hospital that same morning with COVID symptoms. Bailey decides to put her on high flow oxygen and steroids while they wait for test results. The rest of the stories of the episode are primarily about the characters’ personal lives, with the exception of some medical updates on baby Luna. 

We see Mer looking sadly at the OR schedule, probably wishing that her name would appear on the board. Hayes walks up to the board, so Mer asks him how Luna’s surgery went. He replies that it could have been better, especially since he had to wait a week for CPS to approve the surgery. Hayes hopes to see Mer’s name back up on the board soon, but she’s not so sure it will happen since she now has an office, a desk, and a chair, which are apparently rare commodities at this hospital. He then jokingly tells Mer that she could have said no when he asked her out for a drink if she was planning to spend two months in the hospital. Mer asks him if it was his voice that she heard in her hospital room while she was sick telling her to fight and talking about her kids. Hayes wryly says that it must have been another Irishman working at the hospital and sincerely adds that he’s happy Mer didn’t die. Mer’s also happy she’s alive and cuts the conversation short to go to Maggie’s wedding.

The scene then flashes to later that afternoon in the middle of Maggie and Winston’s outdoor wedding in Mer’s backyard. There aren’t too many guests and if you’re paying attention, you will realize Amelia is not there. Richard asks the “crowd” if anyone objects to the marriage, and Winston’s grandma and Maggie’s dad stand up to object! This wouldn’t be a Grey’s Anatomy wedding if something off-kilter didn’t go down. Zola quietly asks Mer what’s happening, while Catherine laughs at the pairs’ excuses for objection. Maggie’s dad starts by saying that there isn’t enough family here and that they should do the wedding right and invite more people. He points out that Maggie’s sister isn’t even in attendance; Amelia is on-call and had to be at the hospital to save a life. Winston’s grandma brings it home by saying that they want the world to see this union and asks the couple to wait and not hurry to get married. Maggie turns to Winston and asks for his opinion, and they ultimately decide to postpone the wedding. Link jumps up and says he will grab the champagne, while Ellis wants to have some cake. Maggie laughs and tells her niece to have as much cake as she wants before giving her ring back to a stunned Richard, who can’t seem to process what just went down, and grabs the champagne bottle from Link to take a big drink. 


You’re probably just as stunned as Richard when the next scene flies forward a few weeks with no look back at the wedding or discussion about what did and didn’t happen. At the hospital, Gerlie is packing up her belongings and is ready to get back to work. Bailey, Schmitt, and Perez interrupt her, and Bailey reminds her that she needs to take it easy and slow down since she was on a ventilator for two weeks and is still recovering from COVID. Bailey wants to do one last check on Gerlie’s lung function, and Perez asks if he can listen first to benefit his education because he doesn’t have a lot of experience listening to lungs that are healing from COVID. Bailey begrudgingly agrees, and it’s clear that Mer is a much different teacher than her predecessors. 

We then see Amelia attending a virtual AA meeting and discussing her feelings. She tells the group for the TV audience’s benefit that her patient Skyler from the previous episode woke up and left the hospital with her dad recently. Amelia admits that she was happy for about thirty seconds before the dark thoughts crept back in. She has so much fear as an addict that she can’t control. She goes on to say that she’s glad Link isn’t like her, but she sometimes wishes he could understand what she is going through. She feels alone and doesn’t know how to handle that feeling.

Back at the hospital, Jo is reading a book to Luna in the NICU while Hayes examines the baby. Jo then gives Luna a bottle, proving that she has appointed herself Luna’s mother. Carmen from CPS shows up and is happy to hear Hayes report that Luna is eating better and that her vitals are up. She really wants to know when Luna will be ready to be discharged, as she has found a family willing to foster and adopt her. Hayes beats around the bush and tells Carmen that Luna still needs to be monitored and can’t put a time frame on it. Jo immediately goes into action mode, finds Link, and asks him to foster Luna on paper, that way she can have the baby. She knows that Link could get approved because he is stable, a good man, a doctor who could take care of Luna’s health conditions, and a background check would be spotless. Jo tells Link that she has never loved anyone like this and can’t lose Luna. She assures Link that it would be a temporary situation and custody could eventually be transferred. Jo begs him, so Link says yes. He isn’t quite sure what Amelia will think, but he can’t let down his best friend. 

In the tent in the hospital parking lot, we see Owen giving Teddy a COVID test. Teddy had a positive test and wanted a second one to confirm because she hasn’t had any symptoms. She’s freaking out over not knowing how she could catch COVID when she’s so careful, and Owen calms her down by assuring her that they will follow protocol. He further tells her that everything will be okay and that his mom can take the kids for a few days.

In one of the hospital’s stairwells, Link tells Amelia about his and Jo’s plan for Luna. Amelia is immediately defensive and very wary about them fostering Luna because she doesn’t want to be stuck with the kid if Jo doesn’t figure out the legal stuff. Link feels that his name on the paperwork is just a technicality and isn’t a big deal. He reminds Amelia that they didn’t think twice when Mer needed help, and Amelia says that that was a different situation because Mer is her sister and the kids are their family. Link very nicely reminds her that they are her family, not his, but he loves them and wanted to help them. Amelia is still surprised at Link’s request, but decides to okay it as long as it’s just for a little while. She pretends that she is fine with it even though it is very obvious that she feels the complete opposite.

Mer is sitting on a bench right outside the hospital and sees Gerlie getting discharged. They meet and talk about how they both have had COVID. Mer tells Gerlie the truth about recovering from the virus and how everyone heals differently. She admits that she is still taking it easy and that the survivor’s guilt doesn’t go away. Gerlie thanks Mer for being honest with her and gets out of the wheelchair to get into a car. She immediately slumps to the ground, and Mer shouts for a gurney.

OCTOBER 2020    

In October, we see Bailey approach the skills lab, only to find a sign on the door that says grand rounds have been cancelled. She hunts down Mer to find out why, and Mer tells her that she has merely postponed the event. Mer is very happy that she is going to do a bronchoscopy on Gerlie, as this will be the first time she has operated after being back at the hospital for three months. She has invited all her students to watch the surgery instead of listening to her talk about surgery, which she feels is a much better alternative. 

Elsewhere in the hospital, Link finds Jo and wants to tell her some good news. Jo wants to speak first and tells him that if he owns part of the hospital, then his foster application will look even better. She admits that she needs the money and can’t seem to sell them to anyone else because no one is interested. Link turns her down too and surprises Jo with the news that he was approved to foster Luna. Jo is thrilled and immediately runs off to tell Luna the good news. 

We then see Amelia attending an in-person, outdoor AA meeting. She is discussing how a social worker came to check out her and Link’s apartment to approve it for a baby that will never be theirs. Link is very into it, and Amelia had to remind him that it’s a temporary situation. She tells the group how Link thinks the fake prep work will come in handy because they will need it one day when they expand their own family. Amelia has come to realize that she doesn’t want what Link wants, but she isn’t sure if it’s diseased thinking or her real thoughts. She doesn’t want to get married and have more kids and feels that she can’t tell Link the truth. She’s also mad at herself, but knows that it would be worse if she was high. She tells the group that the only thing she is currently sure of is that it’s a good thing that she is sober.

At home, Owen knocks on Teddy’s closed bedroom door and announces that it’s the end of her quarantine. Teddy isn’t sure it’s safe yet even though she has no fever or cough. Owen assures her that the kids are fine, everyone has tested negative, and no patients have tested positive so she can come out. He also tells her that Leo made him bring her a celebration meal of macaroni and cheese in a dinosaur mug. Teddy opens the door with a smile, and Owen immediately says that she looks beautiful before giving her a big kiss. He pulls her back inside the room as he says that two weeks was a really long time.

Back at the hospital, Mer is in surgery with Schmitt while the other interns, residents, and Maggie watch from the gallery. Mer finds a lot of scar tissue in Gerlie’s bronchi. In the middle of the scoping, Mer starts to fade and asks for a wheelchair. Maggie asks her sister what is going on, and Mer rattles off symptoms including dizziness, increased heart rate, and shallow breathing. Maggie comes in to help, and it’s sad to see that Mer is still struggling to heal after several months of being COVID-free.

DECEMBER 2020    

Nothing interesting must have happened in November because time jumps forward to Christmas Eve, where Mer is back to normal. She has been paged to the hospital by Schmitt because Gerlie has coded twice. Teddy had to step in and put Gerlie on a ventilator since Mer wasn’t working. Mer is totally fine with Teddy helping out, and Teddy says she will see Mer the next day before heading out for the night. We then see Jo wishing Luna a merry Christmas in the NICU. Link walks in and shows her an engagement ring. He has been planning to propose to Amelia for weeks and needs Jo’s opinion on a ring. He pulls out two more rings and says he has a fourth one at home. Jo isn’t sure which one Amelia will like, but she’s sure she will be happy with whichever one he chooses. 

Hayes walks into one of the lounges and finds Mer crying on a couch. He tries to comfort her by saying that the holidays are the hardest time for him because that’s when he misses his wife the most. Mer turns out to be crying about the fact that her patient is dying of COVID and isn’t eligible for the lung transplant that would save her life. Hayes gives Mer a bottle of booze as a present, and Mer points out that it’s open and half empty. That doesn’t stop either of them from getting cups and finally having a quick drink together.

It’s then Christmas morning at Mer’s house, where three families have come together to celebrate. Owen, Teddy, Leo, Allison, Link, Amelia, and Scout have joined Mer and her kids to open gifts all together. Oddly, Maggie and Winston are missing, and it’s never mentioned or explained why they weren’t invited or didn’t show up. Link decides to propose to Amelia, only to be thwarted before he can start by Owen, who points out that it’s snowing. Everyone goes outside, and the kids are thrilled to see that Owen set up a snow machine and the backyard is covered in snow. Teddy is moved that Owen got her snow for Christmas, and she gets a second surprise when Owen gets down on one knee and proposes to her again. Owen tells Teddy that they make sense together and that they have fully forgiven one another in a brief, lovely speech. Teddy says yes, and everyone is very happy for the newly engaged couple except Link, who feels that Owen hijacked his moment.


The new year brings a vaccine montage of most of the characters getting the first dose of the COVID vaccine, which is being supervised by Owen. Richard is happy to tell Bailey that a majority of the staff should have their first dose by the end of the day, which puts Bailey in a good mood. Her happiness quickly ends when Mer finds her and asks to put Gerlie on the list for a double lung transplant. Mer believes that Gerlie can handle the surgery and deserves a chance, but Bailey knows they can’t risk it, especially when there are other treatments available. Bailey turns Mer down and tells her that Gerlie is not at that stage yet.

After another outdoor AA meeting, Richard and Amelia have coffee together. He noticed that she didn’t share today, and Amelia says she’s tired of talking about the same thing. Richard tells Amelia that he is sure she and Link love each other, but it doesn’t have to work out. Amelia asks if he’s telling her to leave Link, and Richard says no. He pulls out a typical Richard speech of how he has noticed that people in recovery think that addiction is the only reason their lives are a mess when that’s not always the case. He says that Amelia is allowed to want what she wants even if it’s not what Link wants. He wishes that he had been given that advice back in the day and concludes by saying that giving yourself permission for it to not work might be the only thing to give Amelia peace of mind.

Outside of the hospital, Bailey overhears the end of Jo’s phone call. Jo announces that her lawyer is great and will be able to get her custody of Luna. Bailey congratulates her and says she would be happy to be a character reference. Jo then says that the lawyer was really expensive and that she sold her shares of the hospital to afford it. Jo video calls the new owner of her shares, and Bailey is shocked to see that Jo sold to Tom Koracick. Bailey is not pleased, but this is a great way to keep Tom involved and pop in for an episode here and there even though he isn’t a series regular anymore.

Bailey goes back inside the hospital and goes to check on Gerlie’s status. All the residents and interns are with her, and Schmitt is the first to say that Gerlie is not getting any better. Bailey asks what he thinks the best treatment is, and Schmitt feels Gerlie needs a double lung transplant. The rest of the group also suggests a double lung transplant, and Schmitt admits that Mer told them not to stop pitching the idea, which Bailey says is obvious. In another brief scene, Owen gives his mom a dose of the vaccine and tells her that it was an extra one that would have gotten thrown out if she didn’t come in. Teddy rushes into the room and is sad that she missed the moment. 

That same night, Bailey finds Mer to tell her how mad she is about the army of interns doing her dirty work. Mer again pitches the double lung transplant for Gerlie and wants everyone to stop thinking about COVID in terms of who did and didn’t survive. She wants all doctors to advocate for survivors the same way they would any other patient. Mer doesn’t want to waste time teaching anything other than what matters most. She concludes her speech by saying that if she or her mom were in this position, then Bailey would be screaming from the rooftops. Bailey agrees to put Gerlie on the transplant list and threatens to fire Mer if she doesn’t start doing grand rounds.

APRIL 2021

Nothing interesting happened in February or March because the final time period we visit is April 2021. Mer and Zola are on the beach together and spreading flower petals to help set up for a wedding. It’s Maggie and Winston’s second wedding day, and we get to see the event play out this time through a montage. Everyone arrives, Winston walks down the aisle, Mer and her kids walk down the aisle, and then Maggie is escorted by her dad. Richard officiates the wedding, and no one objects this time. There’s a big round of applause when the newlyweds kiss and jump the broom. As everyone starts to leave for the reception, Mer gets a page that lungs are available for Gerlie. She grabs Teddy and tells her they need to get to the hospital right away. Owen says he will watch the kids and tell Maggie what happened. 

We quickly see Jo on a video call with Jackson, who has very generously given her his Seattle apartment. He welcomes her home, and the shot pans back for Jo to welcome Luna home. This brief scene shows that like Tom, Jackson won’t be gone and forgotten. The scene shifts to the hospital, where Teddy and Mer are ready to operate on Gerlie. Mer tells Teddy that she heard everyone in her village talking to her when she was sick and that they now need to be Gerlie’s village. We get a surgery montage mixed with clips of everyone dancing at Maggie and Winston’s reception. The transplant is a success, and Mer and Teddy are happy with the result.

Back on the beach, Amelia finds Link, Zola, little Bailey, and Ellis waiting for her in a line. Each of them pulls out a ring, bringing that four ring joke full circle, as Link gets down on one knee. He laughs as he tells Amelia that he wasn’t sure what kind of ring she would like so she can pick. He starts his very moving proposal speech about how they are an intense couple and that he knows no matter what happens, he wants to go through it with her. He concludes by saying that there is no one on Earth like Amelia and then asks her to marry him. Amelia is stunned, and not in a good way. She doesn’t respond, and it’s clear she has no idea what to say. Link’s smile starts to fade after a few seconds and he closes the ring box without either of them saying a word.

At the hospital, Mer and Teddy leave the OR and find that everyone came back to the hospital from the wedding to congratulate them for a successful surgery. Mer revels in the applause and is genuinely moved by the gesture. She hugs Teddy and enjoys the clap out. The scene shifts to Jo’s new apartment, where Link knocks on the door. Jo answers and finds a devastated Link. She immediately says she’s so sorry before he can say anything. Link asks if he can crash with her, and Jo invites him in. The season ends at the hospital, where Mer is sitting at Gerlie’s bedside texting Cristina about the good outcome and being fully back to surgery after a year. Gerlie wakes up and is surprised to see Mer is still there. Mer being there is a true testament to who the character is and always has been. And with that, we end the season.

Grey’s Anatomy will return in the fall!


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