Monday, April 4, 2022

Grey’s Anatomy 18x14 Recap: “Road Trippin’” (Family Ties) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Road Trippin’”
Original Airdate: March 31, 2022

Family ties are at the center of this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Have you been wondering lately about why we know so little about Winston? Look no further than “Road Trippin’” which finally gives some insight into the cardio rock star. We also get a peek into three developing stories that surely will drive the remainder of the season for better or worse. 


The episode begins with Maggie and Winston walking through the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial and into a conference room, which happens to be the same one that Schmitt’s M&M took place in. There are lots of different doctors in attendance for the two cardio docs’ morning meeting about Fernanda, a 13-year-old girl road tripping across the country who Maggie met in Boston last fall. Fernanda has congenital aortic valve disease, which has led to aortic stenosis. She has had two unsuccessful heart surgeries, which Maggie proclaims will change today. They will do a Ross Procedure, and only seven programs in the country have done one, which gets all the doctors really excited. Maggie asks the residents if they know what the procedure is, and they all raise their hands immediately. She calls on Helm, who describes the procedure as moving the pulmonary valve to where the aortic valve is to prevent the life-long need for anticoagulant therapy. 

Maggie says the surgery is very beneficial for pediatric patients because they move the patient’s own valve, so it will continue to grow with them. Winston says that the procedure is more challenging on pediatric patients though, and Maggie is one of a handful of surgeons in the country to do it successfully. Maggie is going to have one lucky resident join her and Winston in the OR, and Fernanda video calls in. Her family is driving from Boston in an RV since it’s too risky for her to be on a plane, and she tells the group they will be there in two hours. Maggie can’t even say, “Who is ready to scrub in?” before everyone raises their hand.

Amelia is looking at Owen’s latest back X-ray and states his spinal fracture is healing well. She asks how physical therapy is going, so Owen tells her that his strength is improving, he is putting more weight on leg every day with the help of the crutches, and is making lots of progress. Amelia wants to see him again in two weeks. Owen wants to go back to work today, and she shuts him down instantly, citing he needs to build up his endurance. Owen argues his endurance is fine, so Amelia throws a pen on the floor and tells him to pick it up without the help of a crutch. Owen knows he can’t and has lost, so he tries to argue that there is a physician shortage, but Amelia won’t clear him.

Mer and Zola are home sick and are hanging out in Mer’s room. Zola is tracking Fernanda through her website. Bailey calls Mer’s phone and Zola answers. Bailey wants to know where Mer is and asks to speak to her, but Zola says no. Mer convinces her daughter to pass the phone and coughs as she apologizes to Bailey. Bailey is not happy that Mer is sick, as she has three surgeries scheduled. Mer says she can try to get coverage, but Bailey hangs up when she spots Richard walking out of the elevator. Bailey is glad to see him and wants him to take over Mer’s surgeries, but he refuses and is handing over assignments until he gets his assessment. They argue, but Richard doesn’t trust himself right now. Bailey assures him that he is fine and that she trusts him. Richard stands firm that he won’t do patient care until after his assessment next week even though Bailey practically begs him. He leaves and resident Song runs over to tell Bailey that a patient in ER is throwing up blood and two ambulances are incoming. Bailey doesn’t know how she is going to get through the day.

Helm runs through the hall to catch up to Maggie and Winston after the meeting. She wants in on the surgery, so Maggie asks her to check if Fernanda’s scans are up to date. A nurse runs over to tell them that a patient just came in with an aortic dissection, so they run to the ER to help. In a trauma room, they find a patient with a sheet over him on the bed, and they think he must have been dead on arrival. When the sheet starts to move, Winston goes to look and a man jumps up from under the sheet, scaring the couple. The man laughs and so does the nurse. He gets up and hugs Winston. Maggie asks who he is, and Winston introduces his younger brother, Wendell. Maggie has only seen pictures of him and is happy to meet her brother-in-law.

The trio step outside to grab coffee. Winston is sour that Wendell didn’t RSVP to their wedding, and Wendell apologizes for not being there. He thought he would make it last minute, but he had some bad luck with jobs and couldn’t even afford a bus ticket to Seattle. Winston says Wendell should have called and they would have helped him out, but Maggie says they are glad he is here now. Wendell explains he has a new job as a medical sales representative for Trinity Labs. Maggie gets paged and excuses herself and Winston since they have a big case today. She suggests they get dinner later, which Wendell would like. Winston says he will call his brother when they are finished, and Wendell says he will keep himself busy.


Owen walks into the ER and asks Bailey if it’s this busy every day. Bailey tells him about her struggles, including not having enough doctors. Owen says he knows someone who can do Mer’s whipple, and Bailey tells him she knows Amelia didn’t clear him for surgery. Owen meant that Bailey should go operate and let him stay in the ER as the traffic cop to solve problems. He wants to be chief for the day to help her out, and surprisingly Bailey agrees. 

Jo, Teddy, and Wright go to check in on Laura. They are going to try the valve repair again today, with Teddy stepping in for Maggie. Todd walks in with an Edible Arrangements fruit basket, which Jo mistakenly thinks is for her when it’s actually for Laura. Laura reminds her brother that she can’t eat before surgery, so Todd turns to Jo and says, “So it is for you?” Jo smiles and accepts the gift.

Outside, Winston, Maggie, Helm, and a big crowd of people are waiting with signs and balloons to welcome Fernanda and her family to GSM. Winston asks Helm to have interns get the family anything they need when they arrive. The family’s RV comes blasting into the ambulance bay, and Fernanda’s father opens the door to tell Maggie that his daughter was feeling dizzy. Winston instructs Helm to get a gurney and joins Maggie inside the RV. Fernanda is lying in a bed, looking very pale and hypoxic. She is glad she made it to Seattle and promptly starts to crash. Winston scoops her up to bring her inside the hospital. 

Inside, Owen is back in scrubs and at the OR board instructing Wright that Teddy can have a different OR than the one she requested for Laura’s surgery. Wright is confused, so Owen states that Teddy thinks one of the ORs has a buzzing sound, but no one else has heard it so it doesn’t exist. Helm comes over to tell Owen that Maggie and Winston want a patient’s surgery canceled this afternoon in case they need an OR immediately after running tests on Fernanda. Owen begrudgingly agrees even though he thinks it will throw their schedule off. Helm asks if Bailey knows what Owen is doing, and he informs her that he is chief for the day and was chief of surgery for five years, which doesn’t impress her. She leaves, and Wendell steps up, saying he was asked to speak to the chief of surgery about an amazing opportunity.

Maggie and Winston examine Fernanda and find that her heart murmur has gotten worse due to dehydration. The parents feel guilty about making a sight-seeing stop instead of getting to the hospital sooner. Fernanda’s father is experiencing back pain too. Maggie will have someone look at the father and assures the family that Fernanda’s current condition is no one’s fault. They will do some more testing and go from there.


Jo takes the fruit basket out of Laura’s room and puts it on the nurse’s station for everyone to share. Teddy sees that they are going to be in her hated OR 2 and complains about it. Jo wants to go cram in another practice test for her OB resident exam before the surgery, but is stopped by Todd on her way out of the ward. Todd asks Jo if she wants to get dinner later, but Jo declines because she has to study. Teddy watches the awkward encounter go down and gives Jo a look. Jo tries to explain that dating Todd isn’t technically wrong since he’s not the patient, but Teddy stops her to say that she once married her patient for insurance reasons (R.I.P., Henry!), so she isn’t judging. Jo then tells Teddy that her fling with Link is over, and Teddy is shocked to find out Jo was sleeping with Link. Teddy is so surprised that she shouts it to the whole busy hallway, which embarrasses Jo. She reminds Teddy that they talked about this at Joe’s Bar, but Teddy was so hammered that she barely remembers that day. Jo decides to walk away as Teddy asks if she said anything at the bar, and Jo’s confused reaction is simply hilarious. Teddy goes to get in an elevator, and a woman walks out and asks her where the residency director’s office is. Teddy informs her that Richard isn’t in today, so she should try Bailey.

Winston asks Amelia if she will examine Fernanda’s father, and she is more than happy to help. They happen upon Wendell and Owen talking, which Winston isn’t happy about. Wendell is trying to sell Owen on drones that would be sent ahead of an ambulance with a defibrillator to save people faster. His company sells portable medical equipment, which is quite intriguing. Owen says he will bring the information Wendell gave him to the board, as he really likes the ideas. Wendell is excited to meet Amelia, as he has read her studies. Amelia is glad to meet him too and invites her fan to dinner while he is in town. Winston asks to have a word with his brother, and Amelia asks Owen why he is wearing scrubs. Owen’s deer-caught-in-headlights expression is priceless. 

Winston asks Wendell what he is doing and says he should have asked him before showing up at the hospital trying to sell things. Wendell semi-accidentally reveals that he used Winston’s name to get his current position, along with Maggie and Richard’s names. Winston is very upset that his brother lied, and Wendell says their father told him not to come to Seattle because Winston wouldn’t help him. For some unknown reason, Winston is also mad that Wendell still talks to their father. Wendell thought things would be different this time because he finally had a job that his brother would be happy and proud about, but he thinks their father was right. 

Back at the Grey/Shepherd house, Mer and Zola snuggle on the couch with blankets while watching a documentary about pandas. Mer gets a “feel better” text from Nick and a call from Hamilton, both of which she ignores. Zola wishes they got sick together more, and Mer was thinking the same thing. It is cute to see the mother and daughter spend some time together, especially since they have been apart a lot recently.

Back at Grey Sloan Memorial, Bailey gloats to Perez that her whipple procedure was perfection and brought her lots of joy. They run into the lady Teddy met earlier, but Bailey tells her if she is looking for the chief today, then she should talk to Owen. Bailey excuses herself to go do another surgery. The lady is annoyed and asks a nurse where she can find Owen, and I’m starting to get the feeling that this is not someone they should be putting off.


Winston finds Maggie right as Fernanda’s scans are completed, and she informs him that their patient’s condition, which was made worse by the dehydration, has gone from severe to critical. As they look at the scans, they realize that their risky surgery just became riskier, and Maggie is unsure she can fit a pulmonary valve in Fernanda’s smaller than normal ventricle. Winston is mad that the family took a sight-seeing detour, citing that they have made their job impossible due to their selfishness. He proposes that they cancel the Ross Procedure, and Maggie asks if that is his medical opinion or his way to punish the family for their selfishness. Maggie thinks his ideas are stemming from his own familial issues, but Winston assures her it’s based on the scans, though he will support whatever she decides.

Next, Laura and Todd are playing a card game, and Jo and Wright come in to take her to surgery. Laura is understandably worried about the procedure going wrong again, so Jo reminds her she and her baby survived and are fine. Jo gives Laura a pep talk about how she is the best person to help her since she has been studying so much and that their first priority is the baby’s health. The pep talk works, and they take Laura to the OR. 

Maggie then goes to talk to Fernanda’s family about doing a different procedure. We see that Fernanda’s father now has a back brace on and his wife is shoving an ice pack in it to help with the pain. Maggie explains that the new procedure is similar, but they need to enlarge Fernanda’s ventricle before moving the valve. The plan would be to cut the ventricle in half to allow more room for the valve and for the heart to heal itself without recurring stenosis. Maggie goes on to say that it is riskier because they have to cut around the fibers that control the heartbeat, which could cause heart block. The father asks if she and Winston have performed this procedure on someone as sick as Fernanda, and Maggie honestly replies that they haven’t. She wants the family to keep trusting her stating that this is Fernanda’s best shot. The mom wants to know how they know they can complete the procedure, but Maggie doesn’t answer. Fernanda reminds her parents that no other doctors would help her. Maggie feels this is the girl’s best chance, but they need to do it right now, so the parents agree to the much riskier surgery.

Winston finds Fernanda’s brother, Rafael, in the hall crying after he runs out of his sister’s room while Maggie was talking. Rafael states he is dizzy and that it hurts to breathe. Winston brings Rafael to a nearby room to sit and talk and instructs the teen to take deep breaths. He explains that a panic attack in this case is normal. Rafael tells Winston how he lost his soccer scholarship because he had to leave school to travel with Fernanda and that her condition is killing the family. His dad may have broken his back and his mom hasn’t slept in days. Rafael knows that the family being happy briefly may have killed his sister and feels that they keep getting punished. He doesn’t think his family will recover if Fernanda dies, and Winston comforts the young man when he breaks down in tears. 

Maggie is prepping Fernanda for surgery in the OR, and the full gallery includes Amelia, Perez, and Song. Owen walks in and wants to know why the residents are watching when they have other responsibilities. Perez tries to explain that they want the learning opportunity from watching a once in a lifetime surgery, but Owen reminds them that there is a physician shortage. He kicks all the doctors out of the gallery, telling them to do medicine instead of watching it. Amelia and a few other attendings stay behind, and the mysterious lady walks in after finally tracking down Owen. She is from the medical accreditation council and wants to talk. 

The scene cuts to Maggie and Winston scrubbing in. Winston says he was wrong to tell her to call off the surgery. Maggie is mildly terrified of the surgery, but she is very confident that she can do it. She tells Winston that she needs whoever is assisting her to be completely focused and asks if she needs to page Teddy. Winston delves into story mode to reveal that his mother had cancer, which caused Wendell and his father to freak out. Wendell would get into fights with anyone who crossed him, and his father drank and threw away money, which landed him in jail a few times. Winston continues to say that no matter what his father did, his mother always forgave him and even used her cancer treatment money to bail her husband out of jail. Winston says he freaked out on the inside, which led to panic attacks when his father and brother’s actions made things worse. He nearly quit his fellowship and derailed his life because of them, and he’s scared that Wendell will undo everything Winston has built for himself in Seattle. He vows not to let his brother get in his way, and he is ready to save not only Fernanda, but her whole family.

In another OR, Teddy and Wright are operating on Laura, with Jo watching the fetal monitor. Jo is a bit anxious about what Teddy is doing, and Teddy asks if she’s nervous because “fruit boy’s sister is on the table.” Jo doesn’t have to worry for long because the procedure goes smoothly.


In a conference room, Owen is informed by the lady from the medical accreditation council that they have received fifteen complaints against Grey Sloan Memorial’s residency program in the last six months. Owen asks if the complaints were from the residents, and she replies that the complaints are all anonymous, so they could be from anyone. The complaints include working over 80 hours per week, being asked to perform surgeries without supervision, and participating in a program with a lack of teachers. She also witnessed him yelling at a group of residents. He apologizes, stating that they are understaffed, but the lady doesn’t think the students should be kicked out of watching a surgery that hasn’t been done before. She thinks the hospital has a systemic problem and isn’t sure why she is talking to him instead of Richard or Bailey, which leaves Owen speechless. 

In the OR, Maggie is ready to cut Fernanda’s ventricle in half, and she takes a moment to take a deep breath and make eye contact with Amelia. Winston tells his wife that the family was right to cross the country for her, which he knows because he did it too. We get a graphic surgery montage as the procedure begins in earnest, which includes a quick flash of Teddy and Wright joining the gallery after Laura’s surgery. As the surgery continues, we see Maggie separate the ventricle, cut out the bad valve and replace it with the healthy one, glimpses of the doctors in the gallery watching from the edge of their seats, and quick moments of Fernanda’s worried family waiting for news.

Elsewhere, Jo is studying for her exam in the hospital library and is interrupted when Todd knocks on the door. It’s unclear how Todd knew where to find her, but it’s cute he wanted to. Jo asks if Laura is okay, and Todd replies that she’s being her usual self, so she is fine. He thanks Jo for helping his sister and feels that she will pass her test with flying colors if she talks to all patients the way she does to his sister. Jo cheekily explains that there’s a bit more to the test than bedside manner, and Todd pulls out a bouquet of red roses for Jo. He also brought study snacks, which Jo says no one has done for her before. Todd says he has never kissed a girl in a library before, but he won’t check that off his list because he knows Jo is busy studying and doesn’t want to be a distraction. He wishes her luck on the test and leaves as Jo beams from ear to ear.

The moment of truth has arrived in Fernanda’s surgery: they are ready to take the girl off bypass. It takes a few seconds, but Fernanda’s heart starts back up on its own, leaving everyone sighing with relief. The doctors in the gallery applaud Maggie, Winston, and Helm for their success. We then see Maggie and Winston telling Fernanda’s family that the surgery worked, and they are ecstatic and hug the doctors. Maggie tells them that Fernanda has a long road to recovery, and Fernanda’s father thanks her for saying yes.

Over at Mer’s house, Mer and Zola are back in bed. Mer tells Zola that she has her worried face on, which Zola denies. Zola has noticed that Mer is dodging Hamilton’s calls and she won’t text Nick back and wants to know why. Mer tells her daughter that Hamilton and Nick want to talk to her about something, but she feels she should talk to Zola about it first. She tells Zola that she was offered a job in Minnesota that would require her to give up her job in Seattle. Zola asks if they would have to move, and Mer says yes and asks how she would feel about that. Zola asks if the new job would save a lot of lives, to which Mer replies, “Maybe.” She then asks if Mer would see Nick more, which takes Mer by surprise. Mer says she probably would see him more, so Zola asks if that would make her happy. Mer coyly says that she, Bailey, and Ellis make her happy, which makes Zola say that all three of them would follow her anywhere. Mer smiles at her eldest daughter with great pride, but no decision is made.

Back at the hospital, Winston and Wendell walk out of the hospital together, and Winston thanks his brother for coming back, but he still blames his brother for their mother’s death. Winston knows Wendell didn’t give her cancer, but he thinks she might still be alive if she didn’t put all of her money and energy into Wendell and their father. He knows that’s not fair, but he informs his brother that the cancer diagnosis took them out in different ways. Winston feels that their mother would be angry if she knew her death drove them apart and offers to have Wendell stay with him and Maggie if he wants to stick around. Winston will also try to introduce his brother to some people around the hospital, so Wendell assures him that it will be different this time. The reconciliation is a nice moment, and it will be interesting to see where that story goes from here.

Inside, Bailey finds Owen in her office and thanks him for giving her a one-day break from being chief. She did more surgeries in one day than she has since she was a resident, which has put her in a great mood. Owen immediately has to ruin that mood by telling her that their residency program might get shut down. The episode ends on that gloomy note, which is sure to be a big storyline for the rest of the season.


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