Dickinson Behind-the-Scenes: An Interview With the Artisans

Meet the artists who bring this Apple TV+ series to life!

Getting Rid of the Stigma: Mental Illness in Young Adult Fiction by Megan Mann

In this piece, Megan brilliantly discusses the stigma of mental illness in literature and how some young adult novels are helping to change the landscape for this discussion.

Jenn's Pick: Top 15 Jeff/Annie Moments

In 2013, Jenn put together a list of the 15 best Jeff/Annie moments. Revisit and discover those memories!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Flash 8x02 Review: "Armageddon, Part 2" (Mind Games) [Contributor: Deborah M.]


“Armageddon, Part 2”
Original Airdate: November 23, 2021

Who’s ready for part two of the end of the world, as caused by Barry Allen? Well, let’s be real and accept that there’s no way Barry is actually going to go crazy and destroy the world, but presumably figuring out why he gets the blame for that in ten years’ time should be fun. In order for that truth to roll out, though, we need to get through five parts of this big event and I need to be further confused by the characters and stories of a DCTV universe about which I know increasingly little.

ALL IN THE HEAD

“Armageddon, Part 2” starts where “Armageddon, Part 1” left off: Barry, unmasked, facing Despero after Despero has called a truce between them. Once the show is finished with some comically edited fast cuts between close-ups of Barry and Despero (complete with “THUNK!” noises on the soundtrack), Despero yells and slams Barry on the ground. Understandably, Barry is very confused by this and Despero explains that he was testing out a theory on Barry super-healing, which segues into a speech about pain, and I suspect I’m going to get really sick of Despero’s melodramatic way of talking really fast. Three more episodes of this guy!

Despero says Barry will go evil due to “madness” and then basically calls Barry an emo little wuss because of all the times Barry has let his own pain and suffering almost crush him. Harsh. Despero further monologues about how Barry’s recent influx of power means he’s even more susceptible to falling into madness, which is definitely a new one. So, super speed gives a person super healing, super metabolism, time travel powers, the ability to throw lightning, the ability to phase through walls, speed-thinking, self-replication, and a propensity for going bananas. Cool. Good to know this show is every kid I played superheroes with on the playground when I was little, making powers and weaknesses up as it goes along.

Later, Barry is called in by CCPD to the scene of, as the debriefing officer puts it, “your typical makes-no-sense bank robbery in Central City,” where the on-duty security guard was hospitalized for a supposed mental breakdown. The guard fired his gun in the air, clearing the bank, and when people returned the vault was empty and the guard was “stark-raving mad.” Before Barry can get to CSI-ing, though, Captain Kramer stops him, informs him that he’s been suspended, and tells him that he’s under investigation for federal crimes. Barry tries to get Kramer to let him stick around and investigate, but she decides against it, only promising to make sure the investigation is thorough.

After all that, Barry has told Cecile about his suspension and Cecile is furious. She basically promises to tear CCPD to the ground with a wrongful termination lawsuit, which Barry thinks is a bit extreme and asks if she’s feeling alright. Cecile admits that things have been hard “lately” and that Barry “[knows] why” but before Barry’s obvious confusion over that statement can be assuaged, Cecile gets some kind of psychic feedback from something else in the room with them.

It turns out to be Despero, appearing only to Barry in order to “assess [Barry’s] mental stability.” Hey, Despero, you know what doesn’t help with mental stability? Forcing visual and auditory hallucinations on a person! Anyway, Despero confirms that Barry is not yet crazy enough to destroy the world and disappears. Even Cecile wonders if maybe Despero is what drives Barry insane. But Barry mentions the whole security-guard-losing-his-mind situation and Cecile agrees that Barry’s impending insanity and that guy going cuckoo on the job can’t be a coincidence.

Good thing Barry’s ability to phase through walls means hospital visiting hours are 24/7, baby! Barry goes to the security guard’s hospital room to investigate. As Barry’s reading Security Guy’s medical chart, the dude starts muttering “Xotar” and abruptly jackknifes off the bed. Barry’s phone rings and he starts telling Caitlin about Xotar being their first lead, but he’s interrupted by the news that STAR Labs is getting shut down. The hits just keep on comin’ for Barry Allen today, huh?

Apparently STAR Labs hasn’t had updated radiation scanners in over a week and the city is shutting them down because they’re leaking radiation and are headed for a meltdown. Chester confirms that some of the equipment necessary for proper safety measures has corroded and they are, indeed, in dangerous levels of science stuff I don’t (and will not attempt to) understand. Not only does this mean evacuating STAR Labs and sealing it up, but the end plan is to completely demolish the building. To add an extra level of uh-oh to the situation, STAR Labs is littered with things that would ping it as HQ for the Flash, so Barry orders everyone to clear as much super secret stuff out as they can and skedaddle. This also means getting Gideon to self-destruct after hiding secret sections from the investigators with holograms.

Everyone gathers at the West-Allen loft, where Barry finally tells them about the security guard going crazy and Xotar. At the Citizen headquarters, Barry puts investigative reporter Iris in charge of figuring out who or what Xotar is (or, at least he lets her delegate to her team of reporters) while he talks to his wife about his worries. Iris comforts Barry with the fact that, last time his speed got into his brain with that speed-thinking situation, it had been the prospect of hurting his loved ones that snapped him out of it. Whatever might drive Barry to madness, Iris is certain nothing would push him so far as to hurt the people he cares about.

Iris’s underlings sure work fast. A minute into their conversation, Iris gets a text saying that Xotar is a meta who uses psychic abilities to get into the minds of her victims and make them go crazy. Barry quickly finds Xotar stealing diamonds, attacks, and suddenly finds himself in a semi-destroyed West-Allen loft with Allegra, Caitlin, and Chester all on defense against him. Barry has faced how many psychic-based metas at this point? And he went after Xotar — someone he thinks interacting with will eventually lead to the end of the world — with absolutely zero psychic defenses? Either he’s suddenly very dumb, the writers are very dumb, or absolutely nothing we think is happening is actually happening as we think it’s happening.

After cooling off and double-checking that Barry’s back in his right mind, everyone makes plans to capture Xotar and set up various STAR Labs alternatives. Barry zips around the city looking for Xotar, but is interrupted by the reappearance of Despero, who finally gives his tragic backstory: the planet he’s from was under the rule of a despot, he was a rebel staging a coup, his side won but Despero chose to spare the overthrown leader and the evil leader regained power and unleashed worse horrors. Despero lived but was banished, so he adopted Earth as his new home. Will we get an explanation for why Despero chose to meddle in the timeline of Earth instead of just going back and killing that evil leader on his home planet? Only time will tell.

In Chester’s garage and after he’s just finished telling Allegra a dramatic story about how he’s a pacifist but Frost wants him to build a weapon against Despero, some alarms go off and Chester gets in contact with Barry. Xotar is doing an art heist mid-transport. Barry runs to stop her, but it turns out Xotar also has telekinesis on top of psychic powers and she tries to bend Barry into a pretzel as she holds him fifty feet up in the air.

Barry wins against Xotar by blasting her with lightning (and damaging everything around him as well, but whatever). She gets cuffed, all her victims are returned to their non-crazy state, and it’s smiles all around until Barry mentions getting Joe to whip them up some lunch. Caitlin, Allegra, and Chester are all confused and the cinematography starts to go all floaty as each of them inform Barry that Joe West died six months ago.

Alas, it’s not increased super speed powers that will lead Barry to madness but tragedy, and it seems to have hit him well before Xotar entered the picture. Barry has completely forgotten the death of his father-in-law despite giving the eulogy at his funeral. When Barry zips over to the West household and starts babbling to Iris about investigating what really happened to Joe, Cecile interrupts and begs him to stop and just let everyone move on. The “ominous music” (as described by my closed captioning) ramps up until Iris gets an alert that the Flash is all over the news, having gone on some lightning-throwing rampage through the city.

Now with proof that Barry’s gone crazy, Despero shows up to kill him with his creepy third forehead eye. Cecile gets knocked out when she stands up to him and the next attempt gets stopped by one of Chester’s gadgets when he and Allegra suddenly appear. Despero is confused by why everyone wants to protect Barry when it’s clear he’s going to destroy the world, then promises that he won’t spare anyone who gets in his way next time.

Other Things:

  • There is just something really funny about Barry looking into a crowd of normal looky-loos at the bank robbery crime scene and seeing Despero staring back at him, wearing that ridiculous space-age Ren Faire costume he’s got on.
  • Very limited crossover stuff this episode: just Alex from Supergirl on a monitor and an ending scene at the Hall of Justice in which Black Lightning shows up to frown as Barry dramatically says he needs his help with “injustice.”

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Flash 8x01 Review: "Armageddon, Part 1" (Geddon With It) [Contributor: Deborah M.]


“Armageddon, Part 1”
Original Airdate: November 16, 2021

After ending season seven of The Flash with a happy wrap-up and some romantic renewed vows, the show is back for its eighth season with a five-part crossover special entitled “Armageddon.” So... with that title, I’m guessing those warm-fuzzies of last season aren’t going to be making a reappearance for a while. This epic event is unique in Arrowverse history, as it’s the first crossover in which all the episodes happen within a single show (evidently a COVID precaution, although I’m not entirely sure how — limited traffic on sets, maybe?) and it’s the first in which the Arrowverse’s titular Arrow will not be appearing.

Writing the reviews for these episodes is going to be really fun for me because I haven’t watched any Arrowverse show outside of The Flash for years and I probably won’t know who anyone else is. I hope they’re wearing name tags.

LEVELS. SO MANY LEVELS.

The episode starts with a text setting us in Central City, in the year 2031. Our villain, whose name we won’t know until the end of the episode but for the sake of easy writing I’m just gonna tell you it’s Despero, recites a monologue about having “the strength to do what must be done” while people run around in terror. 

Next, in the present day, we see Barry and Caitlin walking to get coffee. Their whole conversation is a cheerful, low-key infodump for the viewers: summer and fall have passed in-universe since the end of last season, Frost is heartbroken over (uhg, I forgot how much I hate this guy’s name) Mark “Chillblaine” Blaine, and Caitlin thinks she wants to try dating again. The friend-date over coffee is interrupted by news of an impending train collision, so Barry zips out to ensure it doesn't end in loss of life. He comes back after getting everyone on the trains to safety in twelve seconds and he’s all cool about it, indicating that Barry is a lot more sure of himself in season 8. Caitlin says that Barry has “leveled up,” which is a running thing this episode.

Speaking of leveling up: Iris’s “Citizen” paper has apparently evolved into a multimedia empire since last season, since she’s now doing podcasts and has multiple reporters on staff and the whole thing is being run out of a swanky new office building owned by Sue Dearbon. The Iris subplot of the episode is more of an Allegra subplot, while Iris fills the role of a mentor to Allegra and kind of guides Allegra through her first hurdles in a management position at the Citizen. Iris is still clearly a great journalist and everything, but the focus for “Armageddon, Part 1” is on how she excels at making those around her “level up,” as this episode would put it.

Later, at the West-Allen loft, a romantic candlelit dinner with pizza Barry zoomed in from Milan is interrupted by the arrival of Ray Palmer. Ray is cashing in on an offer Barry and Iris made promising him a place to stay in town, since Ray has arrived for CCTC, a tech convention being held in Central City.

And speaking of tech, we get the introduction to our villains of the week: four card-themed metas, one with apparent psychic/telepathic abilities (and all with absolutely ridiculous white face makeup) incapacitate some guards and steal a computer chip. I’m pretty sure every other line from these guys is poker themed and I’m genuinely shocked the writers could cram so many into a single episode.

But Team Flash will deal with those guys later. Meanwhile, Barry and Iris remain awkward with their new house guest. Ray reveals (to me, anyway) that he’s no longer with the Legends, isn’t really the Atom anymore, is trying to be more “balanced” in his life, and is married to a woman named Nora. Yes, yet another Nora in the DCTV universe. Anyway, Ray’s cheerful assessment of his life is interrupted by a knock at the door, revealing Chester in full Ray Palmer fanboy mode as he volunteers himself to be Ray’s CCTC liaison. Because everything is still awkward, Barry and Iris find excuses to skedaddle.

Barry’s excuse is the site of the computer chip theft. We learn that our card-faced villains are the “Royal Flush Gang” and they were the first meta-based criminals to strike Central City, even predating Barry waking up from his coma. When she shows up for info about the crime, Barry nervously asks Captain Kramer about how her powers work, no doubt worried she might pick up some sudden super speed while in his vicinity. Kramer asks whether Barry is uncomfortable about her being a meta, but Barry smoothly jokes his way out of potentially insulting his boss. Haven’t months passed since Kramer’s meta nature was figured out? Why would Barry still be wondering how her powers work?

Later, after contemplating why the Royal Flush Gang’s MO has changed from stealing cash to stealing technology, Barry has circled back to the train crash at the beginning of the episode and discovered identical heat signatures for both crimes. Cecile, who is helping Barry spitball his ideas, asks what they could’ve wanted from the train crash and Barry tells her it was a “bleeding-edge” power source — another piece of tech the Gang has apparently changed their MO to get.

The brainstorming is interrupted by a SWAT team announcing that every cell in Iron Heights was unlocked and opened, allowing the inmates free roam of the facility. Barry speeds over to Iron Heights and contains everyone again, but discovers another strike from the Royal Flush Gang was what opened the cells in the first place. We get another mention of some “leveling up,” which Barry says in regard to the Gang kidnapping a prisoner.

Team Flash convenes in STAR Labs to go over what they know, which is basically just that the Royal Flush Gang has been stealing tech and people. No one knows what their ultimate goal could be, since even Chester can’t pinpoint what they’d use the items for. Chester, by the way, has resigned as Ray’s CCTC liaison after getting a little over-enthusiastic and organizing a pitch meeting with a bunch of tech geeks that Ray had no real interest in talking to. Side note: Chester mentions that he’s “dead to [Ray]” and Cecile has a weird reaction that causes Chester to apologize to her. Uh... what’s that about?

Chester mentioning that the convention is paying in cryptocurrency strikes a eureka moment in Barry, who figures out that the Royal Flush Gang hasn’t changed their MO much at all. They’re still stealing money, they’re just using a supercharged computer to swipe money out of the digital coffers of casinos. All the items stolen (including the prisoner, who’s a hacker) were needed to build the computer necessary for the heist. Cecile asserts that the Gang didn’t change their MO, but just “leveled up.” I am begging you to stop leveling. There are too many levels.

Defeating the Royal Flush Gang takes a matter of minutes for Barry, since they’re technically season 1 villains facing season 8 Barry Allen. When he runs in to save the hacker they’re about to kill off, they attempt to execute a “full house maneuver,” but Barry just zips around and stops them before they can even start. The villains of the week are defeated and cuffed with fifteen minutes left in the episode. Whatever could happen next?

After Barry does some cute nerding out at the tech convention, the fun of being post-villain defeat is interrupted by the arrival of Despero, who appears just as Iris is finishing up her interview with Ray Palmer on the convention floor. Despero tells all the con-goers to run and calls for the Flash to show himself, which Barry does. Apparently Despero hates Barry, as villains are wont to do. He has decided that Barry must die, as villains are also wont to do. I think all villains in this universe are given roughly the same playbook and then “make it their own” with details — like a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, but with declarations of murder. Despero presses a button on his belt buckle and transforms into a huge red monster, then he and Barry fight.

Ray puts the Atom suit on, presumably for the first time in a while, and allies with Barry against Despero, but they’re really no match for a ten-foot-tall monster with super strength, apparent psychic ability, and a serious vendetta against Barry. Before Despero can kill Barry, Barry asks him to reveal what will happen in the future and we get the scenes from 2031 we saw at the beginning of the episode. Despero says that Barry will create an “Armageddon” in ten years’ time that will destroy the planet. In order to save the world, Despero has to kill Barry — but not yet, as Ray shrinks down to short out the belt device and send Despero to some random location in space and time.

Amazingly, the episode is still not over. Despero is too big a deal to leave up to chance, so Barry devises a plan to lure him back to STAR Labs, where they can face each other and get to the bottom of this whole Armageddon situation. Barry wants to convince Despero he’s not a threat by inviting him to look into his mind with his freaky third eye and scan for any deception, and when that doesn’t convince him, Barry unmasks and reveals his secret identity. All this gets Barry is a “stay of execution” that’ll last seven days, and then Despero will kill him.

Other Things:

  • Iris, about the massive amounts of luggage Ray left in their living room: “I thought he could shrink things?”
  • Iris, hilariously faking checking her watch for the time while trying to flee from Ray: “Dah! That’s a bracelet!”
  • Barry, after getting shrunk down by Ray: “Ooh, now I know how Diggle feels.” Hee.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Grey’s Anatomy 18x06 Recap: “Every Day is a Holiday (With You)” (Thanksgiving Blues) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]


“Every Day is a Holiday (With You)”
Original Airdate: November 18, 2021

It’s not surprising that a holiday doesn’t go quite as planned on the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Without that classic trope, would it even be worth doing a Thanksgiving episode? The typical Grey’s drama fuels a day of disaster for some and hope for others. No matter how crazy the holiday gets, everyone is still thankful for what they have at the end of the day.

NOT THE THANKSGIVING I HAD PLANNED

The show jumps ahead a few weeks to Thanksgiving, where we get to see how each member of the main cast spends the holiday. Amelia is back in Seattle and is starting to get prepared to make dinner early in the morning at Meredith’s house. She gets a text from Kai with good news about their Parkinson’s project, which segues into Nick dropping Mer off at the airport in Minnesota, where it is snowing hard. Nick is heading to his remote cabin for the next two days after he drops Mer off and almost makes it sound like he wants Mer to go with him. She’s tempted by his cabin, but she knows she needs to get home to her kids. As soon as she gets out of Nick’s Jeep and he pulls away, Mer gets a text from the airline saying that her flight has been postponed. 

Nico finds Schmitt in Grey Sloan Memorial’s cafeteria and wants to hang out after work. Schmitt tells his boyfriend that he’s happy that Richard assigned him to work on Thanksgiving because it might be a sign that he will be the next chief resident given that his solo surgeries are also going well. The conversation is interrupted when Schmitt’s mom shows up in the cafeteria with a full Thanksgiving dinner for Schmitt and Nico. Schmitt naturally protests a little, but his mom plans to have it all set up and waiting for him, that way he can eat whenever he is hungry and has time.  

Richard runs into Bailey in the hallway and is surprised to see her working on a holiday, especially when he knew she had plans with her family. Bailey recaps the events of the Station 19 episode for the viewers who didn’t tune into the previous hour as the explanation for why she came into work. For those readers who missed Station 19, there was a big dinner at the firehouse that Bailey attended with Ben and baby Pruitt. The day was abruptly ruined by Dean’s father showing up to take Pru, alluding to an upcoming custody battle. Bailey was upset over the ordeal, so she thought the best way to get her mind off it would be to work. Unlike Bailey, Richard is excited to work, as he enjoys his tradition of having a good bloody surgery every Thanksgiving.

Teddy walks into the hospital and runs into Owen, whom she is not happy to see. Owen, who just got off a shift, was supposed to go right home to help his mom make Thanksgiving dinner and watch the kids. Teddy was going to stay with Farouk and Megan until Owen brought food for his sister and nephew. They walk into Farouk’s hospital room together, and Megan immediately tells Owen that their mother is going to kill him. Teddy and Owen are glad to learn that Farouk is doing better and that his lungs are healing after an infection. Farouk is eager to get home after spending three weeks in the hospital, but Hayes informs him that he will have to stay for a few more days. With the family bickering over the holiday plans, Hayes jumps in to say that his boys are visiting their aunt in San Diego, so he will hang out with Farouk and play board games. Owen turns on the Thanksgiving Day Parade and promptly gets kicked out by Teddy.

In the ER, Schmitt and Richard are disappointed that they currently have one patient to treat. Schmitt thinks that it is still a little early and that they need to give people a little more time before they start fighting and things go wrong. Out of the blue, a car comes screeching into the ambulance bay, and Richard shouts, “Mine!” before Schmitt can even process what’s going on. They both run outside and find a pregnant woman getting out of her car. She promptly vomits and asks the doctors for help, that way she can be home in an hour to finish the rest of dinner. She hands them a pie, as she doesn’t go anywhere empty-handed, and Richard’s stunned face is truly funny. Schmitt asks Richard if he can scrub in if the case becomes surgical.

Back in Minnesota, Mer FaceTimes Amelia when she gets back to her hotel room. Mer is pissed that she’s missing the holiday because she doesn’t want to be like her mother, who missed most holidays. Amelia is fine with cooking for the kids. Zola pops into the video call to tell Mer that it’s okay she is stuck and that they know she tried to make it home. After they hang up, Link arrives at the house with Scout in tow. Amelia tells him that Mer is stuck in Minnesota, Maggie and Winston are stuck in Boston, and she’s now stuck making Thanksgiving dinner and watching four kids. Link decides to stay and help out, as he was going to be home alone anyways. Amelia is surprised Link didn’t have plans, but he explains that Jo is working and Scout was going to be with Amelia anyways. Link doesn’t want Scout to be shuffled between him and Amelia on the holidays like he was as a kid. Amelia agrees that they can figure out how to do holidays now. To lighten the moment, Amelia is terrified of messing up dinner and says that she followed all the steps and still thinks she got it wrong so far.

IMPROVISING

Jo shows up in the ER to help Richard and Schmitt with their pregnant patient, Ashley, who announces that she is 31 weeks pregnant and hasn’t been feeling well for over a week. She hasn’t had time to see her OB since she has four other kids to watch all day. Between the pain in her abdomen and the fever she is running, Jo decides to order an MRI to see what’s going on. Ashley asks the doctors to not call her family because she doesn’t want to interrupt Thanksgiving dinner. This never comes up, but someone must notice Ashley isn’t there, right?

Mer gets a call from Nick, and she shares her bad news with him. He asks why she didn’t call, and she says she did right away, but it went straight to voicemail. He explains that service can be a bit spotty on the mountainous roads. Mer tells him that the kids are taking the news better than her, so Nick suggests that they stay on the phone and talk for the final two hours of his road trip. Mer agrees and a quick awkward silence ensues. Nick asks if anything is off limits, and Mer replies that toes are the only thing she doesn’t want to talk about. He launches into a story from his first Thanksgiving as a resident. A younger brother tried to grab a knife from his older brother, and the older brother wound up slicing his whole finger off. They couldn’t find the finger, so Nick had to sew up the older brother’s hand. A few hours later, the younger brother returns to the hospital with the finger, which was found when their grandpa ladled it onto his turkey from the gravy bowl. The story makes Mer laugh, and they two presumably keep trading stories for the next two hours.

On his way out of the hospital, Owen sees Noah going into the hospital. Noah collapsed while at work bagging groceries at a grocery store and is having trouble breathing. Bailey meets Noah to help, and Owen decides to tag in too. Noah begs Owen for help, which is truly depressing. A chest X-ray reveals that Noah’s lung collapsed. He’s going to need a chest tube and more tests to rule out infection. Noah’s wife and son, Danny, show up and are rightfully worried. Noah asks Owen to take Danny elsewhere for a bit to take his mind off of what’s happening and to salvage part of the boy’s Thanksgiving, and Owen agrees to help.

Elsewhere, we see Farouk, Teddy, Megan, and Hayes playing Monopoly together. The three adults freak out a little bit when Farouk coughs, but the teen insists he is fine. Hayes talks some smack since he is crushing everyone, and Megan winds up making fun of Hayes for saying “games night” instead of “game night.” It’s another nice family moment that just screams “things are about to go wrong.”

We then see Ashley getting an MRI, with Jo, Richard, and Schmitt waiting for the scans to come up. Ashley can’t remember the last time it was this quiet and is almost enjoying the moment when she starts having horrible pain. The scans pop up on the computer in a moment of perfect timing to reveal free fluid in her abdomen, a possible abscess, and a potentially ruptured appendix. The doctors tell Ashely that she is going to need emergency surgery and that they will call her husband while she is being prepped.

Back at the Grey/Shepherd household, Link and Amelia are working well as a team to cook dinner. The timer goes off to remind them to baste the turkey, but when Link goes over to the oven to check on the bird, the oven isn’t on. By the looks of the turkey, he thinks the oven was on at some point and then was turned off. Amelia can’t believe that she screwed up so badly and doesn’t know what to do. It’s now the middle of the afternoon, so the turkey won’t cook in time for dinner. Link suggests they order Chinese food, but Amelia feels the kids need a proper Thanksgiving dinner since Mer isn’t there. To stop the sky from falling, Link opens the freezer and pulls out macaroni and cheese and bagel bites to make instead. He says they will have the turkey for dessert, which satisfies Amelia. 

The scene then changes to Mer and Nick’s on-going conversation, which has turned to sad family tales. Nick discusses how he had a Thanksgiving intervention for his sister some years ago and that his daughter, Charlotte, prefers Friendsgiving to spending time with him. Since he doesn’t do a family Thanksgiving, he spends the holiday at his cabin, which he then goes into great detail to describe to Mer. Right as he finishes his cabin talk, someone knocks on Mer’s door. She tells Nick that it must be room service and not to move while she puts her phone down to answer the door. Mer opens the door and finds Nick standing there. She is so shocked that she immediately closes the door in his face before opening it back up a few seconds later. Nick explains that he turned around as soon as he found out that she wasn’t going to Seattle, and Mer invites him in. It’s worth noting that Mer is wearing a fluffy white robe and was not prepared from an impromptu Thanksgiving date.

Back at Grey Sloan Memorial, Ashley’s husband has arrived right before her surgery. Jo explains that they will need to do an open procedure and that she will be in the OR the whole time in case the baby gets distressed and they need to do an emergency C-section. Ashley’s husband assures her that she will be okay, but Ashley doesn’t like that she has to sign a form allowing the doctors to perform a hysterectomy if necessary. They explain that that is a last resort if there is too much bleeding leading to them needing to do whatever is necessary to save her life. Ashley asks Jo if the baby needs to be delivered and they don’t have to remove her uterus whether they can tie her tubes. She can’t imagine having any more kids and needs to stay alive for her family. Her husband is shocked, and Jo agrees to Ashley’s request.

Owen and Danny are walking around the hospital when Owen gets a call from Teddy. She hears the hospital intercom in the background of the call and realizes that Owen is still in the building. Owen quickly explains that Noah is in the hospital and things are bad. Danny hears, so Owen tells Teddy they will talk later and hangs up. Owen brings Danny to a nearby room that is outfitted with a big TV and video games, which they get very into playing.

In Minnesota, Mer, now dressed in a pair of pajamas, and Nick sit at a little table in her hotel room and enjoy some room service and wine. Mer tells Nick about what the holiday would look like if she was at home and how she would be cooking. Nick says he likes to cook and thinks cooking is like surgery due having to be in the moment. Mer says that she is getting better about being in the moment again after so many months of being a patient in the hospital. Nick understands how tough that is and suggests they say what they are thankful for. He says he was grateful for Charlotte and still being able to do surgery. Mer is grateful Nick is there with her and for the wine too. Why did Nick say he was grateful instead of he is grateful? Mer picked up on that too, but it won’t come up for a little bit.

Thanksgiving dinner finally gets underway at the Grey-Shepherd house. Link and Amelia serve the kids bagel bites first, prompting the kids to ask where the turkey is. Link quips that he pardoned it and little Bailey asks what that means, leading to a cute moment between Bailey and Ellis when they understand the definition. Zola is reading a medical book or journal at the table and asks Amelia what avascular necrosis is. It’s nice to see that Zola is practically a young doctor in training already. As if the day wasn’t already crazy enough for the former couple, out of nowhere, Bailey asks what sex is, and Amelia and Link stare at each other like deer caught in headlights. The hilarious moment ends there, and we don’t get to see what happens next.

HOLIDAY BLUES

In the OR, Schmitt asks Richard if he can take the lead on Ashley’s surgery, but Richard insists on being the lead since it’s his tradition to do a surgery on Thanksgiving. Richard asks Jo about her holiday traditions, and Jo replies that she has none since she didn’t have a home or a family. In the middle of the surgery, Ashley’s baby starts to get distressed, so they quickly prep for an emergency C-section. Jo successfully delivers the baby, but she isn’t sure that they can stop the immense amount of bleeding that Ashley has.

Over in Farouk’s room, Megan and Teddy are hanging out while Farouk sleeps. They are both hoping that Owen will show up with some food soon. Megan tells Teddy that she doesn’t care about Thanksgiving, but Farouk has always loved the food. Teddy tells her sister-in-law that she volunteered to spend the day with her because she is avoiding Mrs. Hunt. Teddy doesn’t want to deal with her potential judgement of Leo wearing a dress and being himself. Megan tells Teddy that she needs to fight for her son at all costs, or she could just make Owen stand up to their mom. With that, Farouk starts crashing out of nowhere. Teddy quickly calls for a code and asks the nurses to page Hayes. She starts CPR while Megan freaks out.

We then see Teddy shocking Farouk as Hayes shows up to take over. Teddy tells Hayes that they won’t stop until they get him back, but Hayes doesn’t think that they will be able to revive Farouk, as his heart is too damaged. Hayes says that they have been running the code for 30 minutes, which made me immediately wonder what took him so long to show up. Hayes intervenes as Farouk’s doctor since Megan and Teddy are family and says they need to put him on ECMO. Megan agrees to his last resort plan since it is the only way Farouk may survive.

In the cafeteria, Nico sits down with Mrs. Schmitt since Levi is still in surgery. Mrs. Schmitt goes on a rant telling Nico that she thinks he and Levi will get married one day. She wants to know if they will raise their children Jewish and starts rattling off baby names based on family names. It’s pretty funny since Nico has no idea how to react or what to say, probably because he’s not looking to get that serious yet. Mrs. Schmitt then asks Nico if he has any genetic markers that they need to know about and goes on to say that Levi’s great-grandfather died of colon cancer.

To keep the lighthearted, comedic side of the episode going, we get to see a small glimpse of a classic Grey’s Anatomy dance party. Link is dancing with Mer’s kids in the living room while Amelia watches from the kitchen as she cleans up from dinner. Even Scout tries to dance by bouncing up and down while sitting. It’s a very cute moment of bliss, and a much needed sigh of relief within the episode. The kids theme continues back at the hospital, where Owen and Danny take a break from their video games to eat some burgers. Danny thinks it’s a little weird that they are eating burgers on Thanksgiving, but Owen doesn’t think it’s weird since they are enjoying it. Sadly, Danny asks Owen if there is any medicine that will help his dad because he knows Noah is always in a lot of pain. He has noticed that Noah can’t play baseball with him or cut the grass anymore and breathes funny most of the time. Danny also says that he hears his mom crying loudly in the closet sometimes. Owen tells Danny the truth by saying that his dad is really sick, which makes it tough. Danny asks if Noah is going to die, and Owen assures him that he won’t die today. Danny replies that he doesn’t want Noah to hurt anymore.

Bailey finds Noah’s wife in a hallway taking a moment to herself. She’s having a very hard time, and Bailey tells her that they got the chest tube in and could set up a home service to help them out. Noah’s wife knows that her husband is dying and is mad at herself for letting him take a job when he was in no physical shape to work. He insisted on getting a job because the bills were stacking up. Bailey takes her to an empty room and tells her to break down because it will help. Bailey knows it is unfair and tells Noah’s wife that she deserves to feel that. She wants her to take her turn to fall apart before going back to Noah’s room. Bailey closes the door and leaves Noah’s wife to cry. 

ENDING THE HOLIDAY RIGHT

At the end of the night in Minnesota, a room service attendant takes Mer and Nick’s dishes away. Once the door closes, Mer gets really close to Nick and asks why he said earlier that Charlotte and surgery were his priorities. Nick replies that priorities can change and kisses Mer. Their make-out session heads to the bedroom for a wonderfully steamy scene. They finally sleep together and it’s absolutely perfect.

At Grey Sloan Memorial, Owen goes to Noah’s room and tells Noah and his wife that a nurse brought Danny to the cafeteria to get some ice cream and he will be back soon. Owen explains that he is taking over for Roy and will take care of all the veterans in the area. He is planning to go to Washington D.C. in Roy’s place too. Noah asks Owen how much longer he has because he can’t live with the pain anymore or put his family through it anymore. He doesn’t want to keep ruining holidays, which is so sad. Owen tells Noah that it will be over soon, so Noah announces that he would like to go home. The doctors discharge Noah, and Owen watches the family somberly leave together.

In a recovery room, Ashley survived her surgery and is resting. Her husband sits next to her, and Jo tells him that their baby boy is doing great and will stay in the NICU for the night for monitoring, though they can visit him. Jo explains that they had to perform a hysterectomy, but Ashely will make a full recovery. The husband wants to know why she didn’t tell him that she didn’t want to have more kids. He’s only ever wanted to take care of her and feels like he failed. Jo says that society doesn’t always give women a lot of permission to say what they need or ask for help. She suggests preemptively helping out in the future instead of waiting for Ashley to ask for help.

Schmitt goes to the cafeteria and sees Nico and his mom laughing. They saved a plate of food for them, and Mrs. Schmitt leaves the couple to themselves. Before she leaves, Mrs. Schmitt tells Nico that he is always more than welcome at her home, even if Levi doesn’t come with him. We then see Bailey crying in her office. Richard walks by and sees her, so he pokes his head in to see what the problem is. Bailey is crying over Pru, and Richard says that it’s hard to lose a parent at any age. Bailey just wants to hold the little girl and tell her everything will be alright, but she isn’t sure that she will get the chance. She knows it’s selfish, which is why she is crying at work. Richard convinces Bailey to come with him by showing her a delicious looking pecan pie. Owen goes to Farouk’s room and finds Teddy outside the room. She catches her husband up on the day’s events and reveals that she got Farouk on the transplant list. Owen goes into the room to comfort Megan. 

Back at the Grey/Shepherd house, Amelia has gotten the kids to sleep, and Link carved the turkey and put it in the fridge for them. Amelia tells Link that he is nothing like his parents, which prompts him to kiss her. Amelia doesn’t stop him, and they share a long kiss. After a few kisses, Amelia pulls away to say that nothing has changed for her. Link shows a little disappointment before deciding that he doesn’t care. They kiss again and sleep together on the couch.

Back in Minnesota, Nick tells Mer that he’s sorry that she didn’t make it to Seattle. Mer’s sorry Nick didn’t make it to his cabin, so he suggests that they could go when the snow clears in the morning and Mer says yes. The episode ends at Grey Sloan Memorial, where Richard and Bailey find Schmitt, Nico, and Jo in the cafeteria. They all sit together to enjoy the pie and spend the end of the holiday together. Richard tells the group that even if they are working or not in the mood to celebrate or aren’t about traditions, it is still important that they are spending time together. The doctors decided to write what they are thankful for on slips of paper and read them aloud, which is the perfect ending to the Thanksgiving episode.