Monday, October 4, 2021

Grey’s Anatomy 18x01 Recap: “Here Comes the Sun” (A Proposition) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Here Comes the Sun”
Original Airdate: September 30, 2021

After a COVID-focused season 17, Grey’s Anatomy is moving into a fictional post-pandemic world to bring some joy and happiness back to the audience. Season eighteen promises to look more like the old Grey’s Anatomy that we all know and love. The fact that this show still manages to bring surprises, like the news that Kate Walsh is returning as Dr. Addison Montgomery this season, and massive “OMG!” moments that you won’t see coming (keep reading to find out the latest one) show the staying power of this series. 


The season eighteen premiere is split into two distinct parts: one following Meredith, who is in Minnesota, and one following the rest of the doctors in Seattle. The Meredith storyline provides the biggest shockers, so let’s start with her. The episode opens in Grey’s Anatomy post-pandemic world with Mer overlooking her packed, boring OR schedule at Grey Sloan. Mer is happy to be back in the OR, even with a tedious schedule. She walks off to a nearby room to look at a message on her phone and discovers her long-deceased mom, Ellis Grey. In her typical demeaning way, Ellis asks Mer why she survived a pandemic just to perform boring surgeries. Mer wakes up to unsurprisingly reveal the opening to be a dream. However, the content of the dream is very important. Mer is clearly already feeling like she is wasting her second chance on life, and we get our first look at returning recurring guest star Kate Burton as Ellis, who will pop up here and there in a similar capacity.

We then learn that Mer is in Minnesota to meet with Dr. David Hamilton, played by new recurring guest Peter Gallagher, who is dedicating a research library in Ellis’ name. Mer gets a video call from Richard, and he’s worried that he will lose Mer to the Minnesota hospital that she is visiting. She insists that she is not there for a job interview, but Richard isn’t convinced. A little while later, Bailey video calls Mer and proclaims that Mer must give her two years’ notice instead of two weeks’ notice if she decides to leave Grey Sloan Memorial. Mer again insists that there is not a job offer, while Bailey believes Hamilton will con her. Mer hangs up, and right on cue, Hamilton tells her more about the research they are doing in Minnesota. He sweet talks Mer about her past medical research as they approach a door with a sign that reads Grey Center for Medical Research. Mer asks where the library is, and Hamilton tells Mer that this lab is for her if she wants it and the library is down the hall. Mer is stunned at the offer, even though Richard and Bailey called it.

Hamilton brings Mer into her research center and makes his best sales pitch to sell her on joining. He explains that the purpose of the lab is to develop an experimental surgery for Parkinson’s disease patients to potentially create a cure. He needs a surgeon on board to help him get the FDA approval he needs to start a trial. Mer inquires why Hamilton himself isn’t the surgeon involved, which prompts Hamilton to reveal that he is the patient. After the pitch, Mer gets a video call from Hayes, who asks if she has been offered a job yet. Hayes tells Mer that whatever she was offered she can’t take because he can’t keep doing interviews to fill open spots at Grey Sloan (but more on that later). She changes the topic by asking about his kids, which is a clear indication that these two have gotten a lot closer in between seasons. Hayes ends the call by asking Mer not to move to Minnesota.


Later on, Mer and Hamilton go to a fancy restaurant for dinner and more schmoozing. They have a thorough discussion about Parkinson’s and the upcoming trial. Hamilton tells Mer that when people see her name on something, they know it is cutting edge and take notice. He asks her if she wants to save him and plunges into the details of how the study would work. His final pitch is a pretty good one: Hamilton says Mer would be the public face to a possible cure for a disease that has devastated millions, which would be pretty hard to turn down. Mer responds by saying that she isn’t a neurosurgeon, but Hamilton knows she will attract the best. 

If you’re wondering when that big twist comes into play, then look no further! In the background of the restaurant, Mer and the camera catch a glimpse of a couple on a date. It’s a very brief shot, which might have you doing a double take. You might not be completely sure who you just saw until Mer goes to leave the restaurant and is stopped by an employee telling her that someone is waiting for her at the bar. Mer walks into the next room and is shown to a table where Dr. Nick Marsh is sitting. In case you have forgotten, traveling transplant surgeon Nick Marsh was played by Scott Speedman in a single episode three and a half years ago. He was an instant fan favorite due to his instant chemistry with Mer, who wound up performing a life-saving liver transplant on him. I never thought we would see him again, let alone as another surprise visit that will turn into him being a series regular this season.

Mer sits down at the table and immediately says that she didn’t think he saw her at the restaurant. Nick replies that Mer is hard to miss. Mer asks how his date was, and he goes on about how bad it was. The chemistry is instant and palpable again to both the audience and the two characters, prompting Mer to say that she is seeing someone. She says it’s not serious, then says that she actually isn’t seeing someone and isn’t sure why she lied. Mer continues to say that she was seeing someone, but his son had a hard time with it and now they aren’t dating. Yes, Mer is talking about dating Hayes, and it is not fair that their short-lived dates were not shown on-screen. Mer continues to say that she isn’t going to sleep with Nick and admits that he is easy to talk to. Nick reveals that his daughter went off to college, and he misses her and the noise. Mer opens up about nearly dying from COVID, and Nick says that she is a miracle like him. He feels that there is a little pressure to being a miracle because you have to figure out what you are going to do with it. Mer laughs and tells him that that has been haunting her dreams.

After their discussion, Nick walks Mer back to her hotel room and asks her how long she is in town for. She replies that she is there for a few more days and that she won’t let him into her room. He knows she won’t and walks away after saying goodnight. We all know, including Mer, that this will not be the last she sees of Nick Marsh on this trip or in general, which is cemented by his surprise series regular appointment. Will Mer stay in Minnesota for the Parkinson’s trial, to be with Nick, or both? Better yet, are we on the path to another classic Grey’s Anatomy love triangle between Mer, Nick, and Hayes? Time will tell, but this is clearly the story to watch this season.


The rest of this recap will follow the storylines in Seattle. Winston and Maggie are back from their honeymoon, which tells us this episode doesn’t take place too long after the previous season’s finale. They are stuck in surgery due to Seattle’s Phoenix Fair, which caused lots of havoc on Station 19. Maggie has injured her wrist during the honeymoon and doesn’t want to do surgery for a few days. We then see Link and Amelia in what appears to be a therapy session. Amelia talks about feeling ambushed by Link’s ill-fated marriage proposal and thinks that marriage is his only option for a relationship with her. It’s then revealed that they are actually at Scout’s one-year pediatrician appointment, which gave me a good laugh.

Over at Grey Sloan Memorial, Hayes finds Bailey and asks to talk to her for a minute. He invites Bailey, Ben, and their kids to come over to his house for dinner with him and his boys. Hayes reveals that his sons are struggling and need friends, which has prompted his invitation. Bailey is non-committal, so Hayes says that he is sorry he asked. 

The action changes over to a nearby park where Owen, Allison, and Leo meet up with Owen’s mother, his sister Megan, and her adopted son. It had previously been announced that Abigail Spencer would return as Megan Hunt this season, and it really is lovely to see her again. Teddy then arrives in a dress, carrying flowers. It turns out that they are about to stage a private wedding for Owen and Teddy! It’s just the seven of them because Megan reveals that Nathan Riggs is overseas and couldn’t be there. The causal wedding begins when the priest shows up. Right as the priest is about to officially marry the couple, a bunch of bikers from the Phoenix Fair’s underwear bike race crash in front of them, halting the ceremony.

Some comic relief comes in the form of Schmitt, dressed as a phoenix, knocking on Jo’s door. He is startled to see her out-of-control blonde hair when she opens the door. Jo is freaking out because she can’t study and take care of Luna at the same time. She wanted to do something different for her first day back to work and attempted to dye her hair, which went horribly wrong. Jo called Schmitt for help, and it’s entertaining to see the struggles of new parenthood.

Back at the hospital, Maggie sees Link and Amelia walk into the hospital and says hi to Scout. Link takes Scout to daycare, leaving the sisters to chat. Amelia tells Maggie how they turned Scout’s doctor appointment into couple’s therapy before changing her tune to say how happy she is for Maggie and Winston. She spots the brace on Maggie’s wrist and chuckles when she assumes Maggie has a sex injury. Elsewhere, Richard and Helm are waiting for an ambulance to arrive and are very surprised to see Owen and Teddy pop out of the ambulance with the patient, who turns out to be the priest. Owen explains that they were getting married in the park when the priest got run over by bicyclists, and Richard gets mad that they didn’t tell him about the wedding.

Link and Nico are called for a consult on one of the incoming traumas, and Link is in the worst mood he’s ever been in on the show. He fails to understand why Amelia won’t marry him and why his life is blowing up in his face. They arrive to help a woman with a lot of fractures from the bike accident. The patient and her wife were riding a tandem bike and crashed into the priest. They are worried that she might have potentially injured her autonomic nervous system. Link goes to check on the wife and finds Amelia treating her too, much to his chagrin.

We get a break from the tension by seeing Bailey, Maggie, and Hayes conducting interviews to fill GSM’s open surgeon jobs left behind by Jackson, Koracick, Jo, DeLuca, and other doctors who have quit due to pandemic burnout. The first doctor they interview is a pediatric surgeon. They like him until they find out he is not interested in taking part in the pro bono pediatric surgery program because he doesn’t believe in doing surgeries for free. That charmer is the first in a long line of comically unsuccessful interviews seen via a montage a little while later. The comedy continues with Jo and Schmitt arriving to work late. Schmitt goes running into the hospital, while Jo struggles to juggle her and Luna’s things. Jo can’t seem to function and drops an armful of items in frustration.

In the ER, Owen, Teddy, and Helm treat the priest. He begins to crash and has no pulse. They wind up having to operate immediately in the ER to fix his cardiac tamponade. Things continue to stay medically interesting in the imaging suite, where Link and Nico are waiting for their patient’s scans to come up. Winston walks in and asks them to look at his rotator cuff because he thinks he tweaked it. Nico says with a chuckle that rotator cuff soreness is common after a honeymoon. They immediately get serious when the scan reveals several spinal fractures, which upsets Link since they will need to get a neuro consult.

Amelia joins Link in the patient’s hospital room to discuss with her and her wife how the surgery will work to fix her spine. The wives fight and argue until the one with the spinal injury loses feeling in her legs. Link and Amelia rush her off for emergency surgery. Before we see that surgery, we get a peek at Teddy, Owen, Megan, and Helm operating on the priest. Teddy was under the impression that this priest was Owen’s mother’s favorite priest, but Owen reveals that priest wasn’t available so he had to hire a different priest. Teddy asks Owen when he asked the priest to marry them and isn’t happy to find out that Owen waited until two days prior. 

We then very briefly see the “crossover” part of this episode when Schmitt starts treating the guy who blew part of his face off with fireworks from Station 19. In the other OR, Link and Amelia are operating together frostily with Nico stuck in the middle. Their bitterness toward one another nearly causes their patient to become paralyzed, which causes them to snap out of it and get back to helping each other.

Before we see the rest of the surgeries, we get another interview with Bailey, Maggie, and Hayes! They finally have a solid candidate, Dr. Lin, and she is interested in becoming the chief of the plastics department. Lin gives some great answers, including that she knows they need her due to the doctor shortage. Richard busts in and interrupts the interview to grant Lin privileges to get her help with the firework patient. 

Back in the OR, Teddy is mad that she and Owen aren’t fully married and that they only got through half the ceremony. Owen seems to think that it counts, but he wises up by the end of the episode. To distract them, Megan blurts out that she and Riggs broke up. She calls their relationship a pandemic casualty and says that he rejoined the Army again and left. The priest starts to crash again before anyone can say they are sorry for her. Next door, Link, Amelia, and Nico can’t seem to find any bleeding in their patient’s spinal cord. Nico is unsure if there is any bleeding, but Amelia and Link find it and remove the clot to save their patient. In the third OR, Lin and Schmitt operate on the patient with the firework injury with Bailey, Richard, Hayes, and Maggie watching. They decide to continue the interview, and Lin tells them about her history while operating. She even keeps tabs on Schmitt the whole time, which impresses everyone.

A little while later, we see Teddy, Owen, and Megan informing the priest’s niece that her uncle died. The niece is glad that he at least died doing the thing he loved most in the world: performing a marriage. Teddy tries to hold back tears and runs off. Owen asks Megan what it means that a priest died on their table on their wedding day, as he is probably thinking their relationship is doomed again. Amelia and Link tell their patient’s wife that the priest died, but that her wife will make a full recovery. Unfortunately, she already thinks that her wife hates her and now won’t ever forgive her. Link clearly hates the conversation that is being had due to the negative comments about marriage.

The firework guy also survived and will be okay in the long run after more surgeries. Richard urges Bailey to formally offer Lin the chief of plastics position. Lin is flattered by the offer, so Richard wants to know what the “but” is. Lin says that she relies heavily on residents. She teaches by doing and can’t waste time in the OR by going through each step of a surgery in detail. She doesn’t feel that the residents at Grey Sloan Memorial are where they need to be in their training to work with her due to what she saw with Schmitt that day. Richard counters that the pandemic took a year of surgeries out of the residents’ hands. He gives her his word that he will make the residents better at their jobs, so Lin says she will consider the offer. 

After a hard day of work, Teddy and Owen go across the street to Joe’s bar, where the whole staff is waiting to surprise them. Owen tells everyone that they are going to celebrate the priest’s memory and get married now. Teddy isn’t sure about the plan, but Megan has already gotten ordained to marry them in ten minutes in the attendings lounge. Owen’s mom and the three kids are there too, which causes Teddy to cave. Owen apologizes to everyone for the last minute invitations and says it wouldn’t be the same without all of them. Megan picks up the ceremony where the priest left off, Teddy gives a nice speech about how much she loves Owen, and they officially get married this time as everyone cheers. The celebration is just what we need to nail the joy theme.

Link and Amelia are still at the hospital and didn’t attend the impromptu wedding, so Link takes the opportunity to talk to his love. He starts by saying that he knows that marriage is a faulty institution, but he wants to do it right for Scout and himself. Amelia says she can’t, so Link asks if she’s sure. Amelia responds, “I can, but I don’t want to.” She knows he used to want to be with her without being married. Link reveals he got through the last year because of her and learned that he wants a lifetime with her. Amelia says that she loves him and Scout. They share a kiss, and Link asks Amelia to marry him. She turns him down again, and Link walks away without another word.

Back at the bar, Hayes is sitting at the counter by himself, so Bailey walks over and asks what is happening with his youngest son. Hayes’ son is having panic attacks, which started when he found out Hayes was starting to date again. Hayes tells Bailey that he stopped as soon as he saw what was happening to his son, who is still very anxious. He has no idea what to do to help him. Bailey says that Hayes and the boys should come for dinner on Sunday, and Hayes thanks her.

Link finds Jo sitting in her car in the dark parking lot at Grey Sloan Memorial. She reveals that she never went inside the building and couldn’t take Luna into daycare. She couldn’t leave Luna’s side because she was abandoned and doesn’t want to abandon her daughter. Jo makes a joke about her hair, and Link laughs at her to lighten the mood. He tells her that she will feel guilty every time she walks out the door, which means Luna is number one in her mind. Link then says that he thinks it’s really over with Amelia. Jo doesn’t believe him and thinks it might still work out even though he is currently crashing on her couch. With one relationship cemented by marriage, one potentially torn apart by the thought of marriage, and maybe a new one on the horizon, there’s a lot to look forward to on this season of Grey’s Anatomy


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