Friday, October 15, 2021

Grey’s Anatomy 18x03 Recap: “Hotter Than Hell” (Redheads Rule) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Hotter Than Hell”
Original Airdate: October 14, 2021

The temperatures are rising in Seattle both literally and metaphorically this week, as Grey’s Anatomy brings a classic character home. That’s right, this episode marks the return of none other than Dr. Addison Montgomery. Whether you love her or love to hate her, Addison was an integral part of the show's early years. Why has she come back to walk the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial in season eighteen? Keep reading to find out!


A heat wave plagues Seattle, leaving the citizens who are used to much cooler temperatures to struggle without air conditioning. Meredith is back at home packing lunch for the kids, and Amelia is trying to find a way to stay cool since the house doesn’t have air conditioning. The sisters chat a bit and allude to Addison’s return. Amelia wonders if her old friend visiting will be weird before telling Mer that she wants both of them to move to Minnesota. Link walks into the kitchen and is not happy at what he overheard, but it’s unclear why he’s even at the house. After he walks out, Amelia says that Link’s lifelong goal is to cure Parkinson’s, which makes it harder to not tell him anything about the top secret trial.

Owen and Teddy start work early at Grey Sloan Memorial. Owen is still obsessed about finding a treatment for pulmonary fibrosis, that way he can help his patient Noah from the previous episode. Noah won’t return Owen’s calls, but that isn’t derailing the dogged trauma surgeon. Teddy tries to cheer him up by putting a funky jeweled hat on her husband and a pink ski hat on herself. She announces that it is Crazy Hat Day for ground rounds and that Bailey has named her the ambassador of fun to lighten the mood around the hospital. However, no one is excited that Hat Day is on the hottest day of the year.

The residents are getting ready for their shifts in their lounge and have a nervous energy about them because they haven’t found out who is coming to lead grand rounds. All at once, their phones get a notification that Addison will be their special guest, and they promptly freak out that they will be in the presence of another legend. Elsewhere in the hospital, Hayes walks up to Mer and gives her a coffee. They have a friendly discussion about the weather. Mer asks how his son Austin is doing, and Hayes is still having trouble communicating with him. Mer isn’t looking forward to her kids becoming teenagers soon. Her kids already don’t like her because they don’t want her to spend half her week in Minnesota. Hayes doesn’t like that idea either. Mer reveals that has been dragging her feet on telling Bailey and Richard about her new job, but she’s ready to tell them.

We then see the residents in a hallway being greeted by Richard and Bailey for the start of grand rounds. They introduce the group to the surgeon who will be running grand rounds for the day, and Addison walks around the corner looking as glamorous as ever. Ortiz takes her phone out and sneaks a picture of Addison, which is a funny moment. Addison isn’t totally thrilled to meet the group that is “screwing up the residency program” as she says, but even in her coldness, she impresses all the residents. Addison turns and walks away, and as the residents run after her, Bailey and Richard happily high five each other.


The next part of the episode introduces the patients of the hour. Bailey is mad about the heat and is approached by Link in the ER. He wants to know why Teddy is in charge of fun and making him wear a cowboy hat. Bailey jokes that the heat may have influenced her decision making and walks over to a trauma room to check in on Dr. Lin, who is filling in at Grey Sloan Memorial while deciding whether or not she wants the chief of plastics job. She is treating a patient with Owen. Their patient got second degree burns on his butt from falling on the hot sidewalk without pants on. Lin is a bit cold towards the patient, who doesn’t get any additional screentime, and she wants to know where the residents are since she needs more help.

Of course, the scene changes to show exactly what those residents are up to. Addison, Richard, and the residents walk through the halls. Jo joins the group and immediately gets paged away, which will become a running gag for the rest of the episode. The residents whisper about Mer and Addison’s history even though none of them know the full story or more than an inkling of truth. Addison brings the group to a halt and singles Schmitt out to question him about blood vessels. Schmitt answers correctly, so Addison rewards him with presenting the case of the day. Addison brings the group into her patient Tovah Friedman’s room to announce that Tovah will be getting a groundbreaking procedure: a uterine transplant. Addison is working on a trial to get uterine transplants approved, which would be a game changer for pregnancies. 

Tovah tells the group of residents that she had a hysterectomy due to a hemorrhage, which led to the loss of her baby in the process. She has a history of miscarriages, but still wants to be a parent. She shares that her husband had cancer and froze his sperm before starting chemotherapy. He has since passed away, and Tovah wants to have his baby. Addison reveals that Tovah is the last patient in her trial, and if all goes well, the study will be published with one lucky resident’s name on the publication to. Jo slides back in the room just in time to introduce herself to Addison as everyone leaves. Addison asks Jo if she is an OB resident and when Jo says yes, Addison asks her to get her a coffee.

The other big patient of the episode is Rashida, whom Winston started treating last week. Winston is very excited to tell Rashida that a kidney is on its way to the hospital for her, but he has to find a surgeon to perform the transplant. Rashida is overjoyed and can’t believe that she will get a kidney. She tells Winston that she wants to thank the donor and their family, but Winston brushes that comment off.

Elsewhere, Mer finds Richard, who is happy to see her. Richard has many ideas on how to update the teaching program, which he wants to do with Mer. He proposes bringing in visiting surgeons every week and recording surgeries again to help the residents learn. Mer likes the ideas, but doesn’t get the chance to announce her news because Richard quickly takes the residents and leaves.

Winston finds Owen to sweet-talking him into operating on Rashida. He asks Owen because Richard and Mer are busy and he feels he can’t ask Bailey. Winston tells Owen how Bailey didn’t think his patient could get on the transplant list, but he found a way. Owen quickly asks if the surgery is illegal, and Winston says no and that he will owe him one. Owen agrees to perform Rashida’s kidney transplant. 

The last patient of the episode is Lily, a sixteen-year-old who had some sort of Jet Ski accident that went viral. Bailey meets her ambulance and didn’t think the video was real. Once inside, Hayes joins Bailey to help Lily, who starts throwing up. They find free fluid in her abdomen and need to get a scan to see what the damage is. Lily’s friend Micah shows up, and Hayes informs the teens that they need to call Lily’s parents. The kids refuse, as Lily hates her parents. Hayes insists that since she is a minor, they need to contact the parents, but Bailey lets it slide since Lily isn’t dying.


Addison preps Tovah in the OR by assuring her that the surgery will go well. While Addison, Richard, and Schmitt scrub in, the other residents get cozy up in the gallery and start comically discussing the dirty history of the show’s original residents. As the surgery starts, it’s nice to see that Addison still wears the same scrub cap as she did the last time we saw her. She tells the residents that they have to answer questions that she asks while she operates, which throws them for a loop. Addison doesn’t miss a beat as she asks questions, operates, and chats with Richard all at the same time. She even mentions that her son Henry is now eight years old! Jo pops into the gallery to observe and gets paged away again immediately. Addison is rapid-firing questions off when a weird sound makes everyone stop what they are doing momentarily. The air conditioning system shuts off, little to the knowledge of everyone in the OR.

As Bailey and Hayes wait for Lily’s scans, Hayes comments that the air conditioning is overworked just like the rest of the doctors. He also feels that all teens are losing their minds right now, but Bailey doesn’t think they have minds to lose. She has some good insight into the issue and says that if kids are locked up too tightly, their minds will get locked up too, and they don’t know how to ask for help. The two doctors are surprised to see that Lily has a perforated rectum, which will require surgery.

Back in Addison’s OR, the docs ask to lower the temperature. At some point, Richard must have left because he comes back in and announces that the air conditioning is out. They need to start rerouting surgeries, and he wants Addison to close as soon as possible because the non-circulated air will cause her patient to get an infection. Addison refuses to give up on the surgery, so Richard says she will have to double the speed. She asks for someone to find Mer, as she might be the only one qualified to help.


Richard drags the residents out of the gallery to help with getting fans in different areas of the hospital. Owen and Winston run into Richard on their way to Rashida’s transplant and are informed that they need to cancel their surgery. Winston pleads with Richard to let the surgery go on because Rashida won’t get another chance. Richard apologizes and says that they need to stick to the protocol. After Richard walks away, Winston tells Owen that he chose not to put in a permanent dialysis port that way Rashida would get a kidney. Owen has another idea to save the kidney. There is a possibility that Winston crossed a line, and it will be interesting to continue following this story.

Mer scrubs into Addison’s surgery, and the long ago enemies congratulate each other on their successes. Helm is the last resident up in the gallery, and she starts pumping up Mer’s achievements over the intercom. Mer and Addison start operating, and this is not the way anyone would have envisioned them meeting again. In another area of the hospital, Richard can’t get the HVAC company to come repair their system. Teddy shows up and announces that she has diverted all incoming traumas from GSM, while Link angrily storms over to ask why his double knee replacement was cancelled. When they learn that the air conditioning isn’t going to be fixed anytime soon, Link and Teddy decide to team up to attempt to fix the HVAC system.

Over in the ambulance bay, Ben Warren arrives with the Physician Response Team rig. Owen called him to assist with Rashida’s transplant. In case you don’t remember, the PRT is a suped up larger ambulance that acts as a mobile operating room. The PRT was introduced on Station 19, but it has been sidelined for some time. Winston is excited for the solution and tells Ben not to tell Bailey, as she doesn’t know about any of this.

Back inside, we see Amelia get a video call from one of the doctors in the Parkinson’s trial in Minnesota. They go over scans of transplanted cells, and the results are promising. Amelia agrees to go up to Minnesota next week to help, and it’s not far-fetched to think that she might move there permanently. However, Mer might not be ready to make that commitment. Back in the OR, Mer and Addison work together to finish the surgery. Addison asks Mer what’s up next for her and jokes that she will be winning the Catherine Fox Award this year and that Mer can come in second. The banter stops when Addison loses blood flow response in a blood vessel. They quickly start to reopen the just-closed vessel to see if a clot formed.


Link and Teddy make their way outside to the HVAC system, which is way bigger than they thought. They decide to give it their best shot for the NICU babies, who definitely need air conditioning. Teddy tells Link that she was sorry to hear that things didn’t work out between him and Amelia. He apologizes for not going to her wedding, but Teddy brushes it off since it was impromptu, even though it was twenty years in the making. Link opens up a panel to reveal the electrical elements, and neither surgeon has any idea where to start.

In another OR, Bailey and Hayes are operating on Lily when Richard bursts in and asks what is so difficult about the ORs being closed. Bailey puts Richard in his place and says that she is continuing the surgery. Lily would be at greater risk if transferred, so Bailey won’t budge. Richard gives up and leaves them to it. Hayes is surprised that worked, and Bailey quips that it works on her teenagers every day. Next door, Mer and Addison remove the clot and restore blood flow. They are in perfect unison working together, which is nice to see.

Outside in the PRT, Owen and Winston start Rashida’s kidney transplant, and Ben gets to go back to his roots by being the anesthesiologist. Ben tells Winston the story of the PRT and why it got shut down while they operate. He still wants to make his dream a reality by bringing the PRT back to life. Winston says that he is typically a rule follower unless a patient can’t get a kidney that she deserves. His comments prompt Ben to ask if the surgery is illegal. Winston assures him that he didn’t steal the kidney, and they successfully complete the transplant.

Back at the HVAC system, Link fails to repair anything and gets mad. He really wanted to fix something since everything in his life is falling apart. He doesn’t think that Amelia thinks about him anymore even though he loves her. He doesn’t get what is going on with her. He didn’t want this life for Scout, and Teddy tries to comfort Link by telling him that she has been right where he is. 

Inside, Addison, Mer, and Schmitt emerge from the OR. The residents want to know if they had it out in the OR, and Mer shouts “We can hear you” as she and Addison get into the elevator. The residents run up the stairs to meet them, and Addison and Mer laugh in elevator. Addison starts to get a little overwhelmed by emotion, so Mer hits the stop button. Addison starts crying because she thought by coming back here to Seattle and GSM, Derek would be there. She wanted to “feel that he was still here in the city that he loved with the people that he loved but he isn’t and it’s real, he’s not here.” She’s sorry to do this in front of Mer because Mer really had to go through it. Mer assures Addison that Derek is here, and he is in his children. Mer would love for Addison to come over and meet them, and the women smile at each other. Addison tells Mer that she has never shied away from fighting for what she loves, so she wants Mer to fight for whatever her next project is if she loves it. Addison knows Richard will understand. Mer gives Addison a side hug as they start the elevator and get out on the next floor with residents watching from stairwell. 


Addison talks to Richard after checking up on Tovah. He congratulates her, but Addison says true success will be when Tovah gets pregnant and has a healthy baby. Addison thinks the residents are almost there and that Richard was overdramatic by making it sound catastrophic. Richard thinks this generation just wants to complain, but Addison says they are just standing up for themselves because doctors are overworked. She says there is always room for improvement. He says, “It’s really good to see you, Addie,” and Addison replies, “It’s really good to see you too, Richard.”

Hayes checks up on Lily, and Micah asks if she will survive. Lily will be okay, but she has a long road of recovery ahead of her. Hayes needs Lily’s phone because they need to call her parents now. Micah still doesn’t want to give up Lily’s phone. Hayes talks about how hard it is being a teenager and that they have a good reason to be scared. Hayes grabs the phone from Micah and tells him that Lily will be “crapping in a bag for the next six months” and unless Micah wants to clean that up, he needs to unlock her phone. Hayes’ speech scares Micah into helping him out.

Mer finds Richard and wants to talk about the residency program. He really wants to work with her, so Mer tells him that it won’t be the two of them. Richard assumes that Mer is taking the job in Minnesota, and Mer tells him that she is going to split her time between the two cities. She will stay on as chief of general surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial, but she can’t do the residency program too. She thinks that Richard is the only one that should run the program, and Richard agrees to stay in the role.

Winston and Ortiz look in on Rashida, and they tell her the good news when she wakes up. Rashida makes a comment about Maggie, and Winston says that she is out of town. I guess that random comment is supposed to explain why Maggie has been MIA for the last two episodes. Winston gets invited to the morgue to cool down, and Ortiz follows him. Teddy and Link have set up a “party” in the morgue with snow cones to let the doctors cool down. Jo and Schmitt are hanging out, and Jo talks about delivering two babies in over 100-degree heat. Schmitt jokes that Jo will get in on the next cool thing like him, and Jo asks her friend to put in a good word for her with Addison. Bailey walks in and tells her ambassador of fun that she did a good job. In the lobby, Addison finds Amelia, and they are so happy to see each other again. Between big hugs and smiles, the air conditioning comes back on as they leave for the day. Mer invited Addison over, so they both make their way home.

Owen knocks on Noah’s door, but Noah opens and slams the door in his face. Owen tries talking to him through the door. He knows that Noah is scared and in pain because the military won’t take responsibility. Owen wants to try and fight for what is right for as long as they can. He wants to help every step of the way. As Owen walks away, Noah opens the door and agrees. Owen wants to know everything he knows and what the VA knows, and Noah invites him inside.

Addison and Amelia walk into Mer’s house as Zola and Bailey are running around. Addison emotionally meets two of the three kids, who ask her if she was “daddy’s friend.” She tells them that he called her Addie, and the kids ask if she wants some ice cream. They take her hands and walk her into the kitchen, where Mer has an ice cream bar set up. Addison is good with the kids and starts bonding with them over ice cream, while Mer and Amelia happily watch in the background. It’s a beautiful sentimental ending to Addison’s return to Grey’s Anatomy, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for her in the next episode.


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