Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Grey’s Anatomy 19x05 Recap: “When I Get to the Border” (Boston Bound) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“When I Get to the Border”
Original Airdate: November 3, 2022

Ready for a road trip? A majority of the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy shows three doctors away from Seattle, two of which will make life-altering decisions by the end of the hour. The episode is also very poignantly tied to the midterm elections and does a good job of showing the writers’ points of view. 


The episode begins with Meredith and Zola in Boston touring schools. They are on a cross-country trip, and Zola wants to stay in Seattle. Mer tries to convince Zola that it will be worth going to a school with other kids that are like her because she is incredibly special. Zola attempts to get out of the visit, but Mer convinces her to go by saying she doesn’t have to go back if she hates it.

We then see another trip in progress: Bailey and Addison are driving together in a van to go visit Bailey’s first year roommate from college, Cynthia, who is running a women’s health clinic in Washington. The clinic has been incredibly busy since border neighbor state Idaho stripped people of their abortion rights, so the two doctors are volunteering for the day. We get a quick glimpse of Addison talking on the phone with her son, Henry, which is nice for the Private Practice fans. When the two arrive at the clinic, they are accosted by a large group of angry anti-abortion protestors. The doctors are screamed at as they fight their way through the crowd and into the clinic.

In Seattle, Luke arrives at Grey Sloan Memorial after taking the bus to work and bumps into Amelia and Scout outside the building. It is revealed that he is staying at Mer’s house while his aunt is away to help take care of the kids. Luke still doesn’t want anyone else to know his secret family connection, so he won’t drive to work with his aunt. Amelia gets paged with an emergency and asks her nephew to take Scout to daycare. Even though he protests, Amelia dumps Scout into Luke’s arms and runs off.

At the clinic, Cynthia explains to Bailey and Addison that they’ve had to convert office space into exam rooms since Roe v. Wade was overturned because there has been a massive increase in patient volume. They can’t keep up with patients coming from other states, and the clinic is relying on doctors to volunteer. There is a massive stack of files for patients who haven’t been seen and ones who have been checked in and are waiting to be seen. Bailey and Addison are ready to jump in and help as many women as possible.

Back in Boston, we see Jackson and Catherine at the Fox Foundation’s headquarters. They meet Tom Koracick in the lobby, and he is there to meet with Catherine. Jackson is being kept in the dark about what is going on, so Catherine says she will loop him in when the time is right and walks off with Koracick. Mer walks up and gives Jackson a big hug. She asks to go to his office and catch him up on her life.


Luke tries to bring Scout to daycare at Grey Sloan Memorial and gets in the elevator with the toddler squirming all over the place. Scout pushes every floor button with his hands and feet, and Luke starts accidentally swearing when he realizes what Scout did. They stop at the next floor, and when the doors open, Blue is staring at Luke and Scout. It’s a super awkward encounter, and Blue opts to not get into the elevator. At the next floor, Mika and Simone get in, much to Luke’s dismay. Mika immediately starts ribbing him and assumes he must be sleeping with Amelia. Luke tries to say that he is helping her as a favor, but doesn’t deny Mika’s accusation. He gets off the worst elevator ride of his life at the following floor and decides to take the stairs up to the daycare.

Addison and Bailey are happy with the progress they are making with their patients, but their good mood is squashed when another 20 more charts are dumped in front of them. Cynthia gets a call from a clinic in Idaho that they have a patient with an ectopic pregnancy attached to a C-section scar. It’s a life-threatening condition, but the patient’s doctor won’t terminate the pregnancy. Since the laws in Idaho are strict and aren’t clear enough for this exact situation, the doctor won’t risk losing their license. Addison and Bailey decide to pick up the patient in Idaho to get her the care she needs in Washington.

Over in Boston, Mer fills Jackson in on Zola’s panic attacks. She discusses how Zola’s grades are slipping even though she is very bright, that she is under-stimulated at school, and that she is very aware of how Ellis died which has led her to be overly afraid that Mer and Maggie will get Alzheimer’s too. Jackson asks if Zola is getting any help, and Mer replies that Zola goes to therapy once a week, which isn’t enough. Mer is upset with herself for missing that Zola has severe anxiety. She didn’t have to worry about her before because Zola was always a cheerful child. Mer isn’t sure what to do and is exhausted. She tells Jackson that she stays up every night reading Alzheimer’s research studies because she feels helpless. Jackson lights up and suggests that Mer should try to cure Alzheimer’s, which she shrugs off.

Bailey and Addison hit the road for their short trip to Idaho. Addison never thought she would have to drive across state lines to get a patient. They arrive in Idaho and find their patient, Susan, standing on the curb outside the clinic. Susan gets in the van, and the group immediately starts driving back to Washington. 

Back at Grey Sloan Memorial, Blue, Jules, and Luke are in the skills lab with Richard. Blue volunteers to do anything other than practice in the lab, but Richard doesn’t have another assignment for him. Luke gets a page from daycare saying there is an incident with Scout, so he runs out of the room. 

We then finally learn why Catherine and Koracick are meeting when we see them discuss her latest scans. Koracick tells her that her tumor has grown by two millimeters, but Catherine isn’t concerned because she still feels fine. He argues that the tumor has been growing for months, as seen on previous scans, and tries to get Catherine to understand that she isn’t in remission anymore and needs more treatment. Koracick wants her to tell Richard and Jackson, in part because they will help convince her to get the treatment she needs. Catherine says that she will decide what she needs and ends the conversation.

Luke runs into Grey Sloan Memorial’s daycare only to find that the emergency is that Scout wet his pants. A daycare worker informs Luke that they don’t have an extra set of clothes for Scout because the toddler used them last week. They tried to contact Amelia and Link, but they are both in surgery. Since neither of them were available, the daycare reached out to Luke. The daycare worker tells Luke that he needs to get Scout a clean outfit from the gift shop, so Luke rolls his eyes and leaves.


On the way to Washington, Susan can’t find her keys in her purse but is rather calm about her current situation. She tells Addison and Bailey that her daughter is turning six years old next week and that her daughter asked for a sister for her birthday. Susan asks the doctors if she can still get pregnant after her ectopic pregnancy is terminated. Addison says it is possible, but she isn’t 100% sure without doing further tests. Out of nowhere, Susan starts bleeding and is in a lot of pain when the ectopic pregnancy ruptures.

Things are getting fraught in Boston too, as Catherine doesn’t want to hear any of Koracick’s opinions. Koracick gives Catherine several good clinical trial options and reminds her that the treatment worked last time. Catherine counters that it made her feel awful. She stands fast that she doesn’t want treatment, so Koracick tries to guilt her into it by telling her that she owes him a favor. Catherine discusses learning about Eastern medicines that wouldn’t make her feel any pain when she was overseas with Richard. Koracick actually resorts to begging Catherine to treat her cancer, but instead of heeding her friend’s warnings, Catherine simply reminds him that it’s her choice.

Jackson and Mer are still hanging out in Jackson’s office. He looks through some grant proposals to fund Alzheimer’s research that were sent to him. Jackson urges Mer to study the disease herself and states that the foundation will fund the research and has a good relationship with MIT’s science department. Mer says that Zola was miserable that morning and that she wouldn’t move to Boston if Zola didn’t want to. She hates that Zola has lost so much and that now it’s all coming to the surface. Mer knows the focus needs to be on Zola, so she will only do what’s best for her daughter.

The action switches back to the road trip, where Addison tries to help Susan. Bailey calls 911 and tells them the situation and their location. Addison inserts a balloon catheter to help stop the bleeding, which does work. Unfortunately, the balloon catheter only buys Susan a little bit of time and they immediately get stuck in gridlocked traffic with nowhere to go.

At Grey Sloan Memorial, Luke is checking out at the gift shop when Blue, Simone, and Mika walk in. He tries to hide what he is buying by throwing a magazine over the baby clothes on the counter. Luke then realizes that he forgot his wallet in his locker, so Blue decides to spot him for a price: he wants Luke to give him his next appendectomy. Blue then sifts through the bag and finds baby sweatpants. The interns laugh at Luke for playing daddy to Amelia’s son.

Over in Boston, Jackson and Mer walk and talk through the halls of the foundation building. Jackson talks about how he realized he wasn’t much different from his dad, who didn’t fulfill his potential, when they met up for a few days a couple years ago. He doesn’t want Mer to hold back because of Derek and Ellis. Jackson wants Mer to grow the idea instead of push through it. Mer is afraid that she will fail if she tries to cure Alzheimer’s. Jackson agrees that she probably will fail, but her study will help push the needle forward.


Bailey, Addison, and Susan are still stopped in traffic when things go from bad to worse. Susan starts to fade in and out of consciousness and is clearly not doing well. Bailey and Addison know that the catheter won’t hold much longer, so Addison tries to keep Susan conscious by getting her to talk about her daughter’s birthday party. The doctors are worried about their patient’s state and there is still no sign of the ambulance they called for. Susan gives a passionate speech about wanting to be there for everything in her daughter’s life and says that she isn’t ready to die. She then stops breathing, and Addison can’t find a pulse. She starts CPR while Bailey pulls off the road and calls 911. Addison pulls Susan out of the car and puts her flat on the ground to start CPR again. The 911 dispatcher tells Bailey that the ambulance is on its way, but it is too late: Susan is bleeding into her abdomen and Bailey tells Addison that chest compressions won’t do anything without a blood transfusion. Addison refuses to stop CPR and keeps trying to save her patient. Bailey calmly tells Addison that Susan is gone and forces her to stop CPR. They fight back tears as Bailey calls time of death. The show is making an extremely bold point in this story by showing the harm that the new abortion laws can cause, and I am sure it is no accident that this subject matter aired days before the midterm elections.

Switching to a slightly less heartbreaking storyline, Koracick and Catherine take a coffee break outside. He asks if constantly lying to her family keeps her up at night. He doesn’t want Catherine to fault him for trying to help when his friend’s life is at stake. Catherine explains that she knows if she doesn’t get treatment, she only has a few good years left. She wants to spend those last years living rather than being stuck in a hospital as a patient. She wants to continue to be a doctor. Koracick says that she needs to let Jackson and Richard know the truth, even if she doesn’t tell anyone else. Catherine feels like she is lying to protect her privacy and their peace, and she is happy with that decision. Jackson walks up and says he is going to pick up Harriet for ballet class. Catherine decides to go with him and leaves Koracick.

At the hospital, Amelia finds Blue and asks if he has seen Luke. Blue coyly says that the last time he saw Luke, he was buying clothes for Scout at the gift shop. He continues to smarmily say that he knows what is going on, and Amelia is happy to learn that someone knows the secret. She didn’t think anyone knew, and it’s so obvious to everyone but Blue and Amelia that they aren’t talking about the same thing. Blue tries to leverage his way into getting more neuro experience and makes a comment about how he’d be happy to sleep with Amelia too. Luke walks up and steps in right as Amelia is about to say that Luke is her nephew. Luke pulls his aunt into a room and explains that the other interns assume they are sleeping together. Amelia wants to know if Luke told them they are wrong. When he doesn’t say no, she yells at him about how rumors spread quickly at Grey Sloan Memorial. Luke is okay with that rumor, but Amelia is not. 

A peek at the other side of the family shows Mer going to pick up Zola from her academy visit. She sees Zola happily interacting with other kids. Zola tells Mer the day was just okay and wants to go to the aquarium.

After the road trip from hell, Bailey and Addison sit on the side of the road watching the police put Susan in a body bag. An officer approaches them and asks for patient records. Addison snaps that he will have to ask Susan’s doctors, who didn’t treat her in Idaho. Bailey calmly reminds Addison that Susan’s doctor was following the law, which triggers Addison to give an impassioned speech questioning why a few people get to decide what happens for everyone when they have no training related to the decision they are making. She’s sickened that women’s lives are on the line and that the doctors who are trained to help them now have their hands tied. Addison makes very good points, and Kate Walsh gives another exemplary performance in this scene.

After calming down a bit, Addison decides to scrub the blood out of the van’s seats. Bailey approaches her friend to tell her that the cops would like them to stay a little longer in case they need to ask any further questions. The cops are about to call Susan’s husband and tell him the grave news, and Bailey wants to be there for that. Addison doesn’t like that what happened to Susan is also the future of so many women. She tells Addison that she had a miscarriage and needed a procedure. But Bailey thinks that doctors will be too afraid to do any kind of procedure now, so she wants to offer to train any physician who wants to learn at Grey Sloan Memorial. Addison thinks it is an excellent plan, even though Bailey knows it won’t make enough of an impact.


Luke finds Amelia later that evening and tells her he didn’t take care of the issue. Luke explains why the interns think he is sleeping with her. He goes on to say that he asked for help to not blow his cover at work, but Amelia has refused. Luke didn’t tell anyone anything because he doesn’t feel it is his job to fix misconceptions. Amelia says it is because the interns don’t know they aren’t together. Luke says that he has been his family’s biggest disappointment his entire life. He wanted to see what would happen when he wasn’t a Shepherd and has gotten his wish. Now everyone thinks he is connected to Amelia, but for the wrong reasons. Luke is fine with the wrong reason because it is a better scenario for him. Amelia threatens Luke by saying he has three days to fess up or she will tell the interns herself.

Back in Seattle, Bailey tells Addison she is reopening the clinic in a few days and is thinking of ways to expand. Addison wants to do more and wants to go to places where people need her help. She doesn’t want to sit in Los Angeles, so Bailey suggests southern Illinois because it borders a bunch of states that have total abortion bans. Bailey states that 14,000 women are expected to cross borders to get abortion care. She has thought about helping other states too, but she has a baby girl at home who needs her. Bailey urges Addison to go and give more women access to care. Addison cries about the loss of Susan, so Bailey assures her that she did everything she could under the circumstances. Bailey reminds Addison that she would have needed the right tools, supplies, and ultrasound to save Susan and realizes that they needed the PRT. Bailey’s lightbulb moment comes full circle when she decides to gift the PRT to Addison to help women instead of letting it collect dust in the Grey Sloan Memorial parking lot.

Back in Boston, Mer and Zola have lobster rolls for dinner after a long day. Mer tells Zola she was happy to see her laughing and making friends. Zola asks what would happen if they move and she still has panic attacks or fails school. She thinks they will have left Seattle for nothing, so Mer tells Zola that she will worry about that. Mer also tells Zola that Jackson offered her a job to cure Alzheimer’s in Boston. Zola wants to know what Mer will think if she decides to not become a doctor, and Mer assures her that she won’t be disappointed at all. Mer knows that Zola will make her mark on the world no matter what she does because she has always been, and will always be, extraordinary. Zola finally admits that she loved her day in Boston and wants to go to the academy she visited. She already has big plans to sign up for the robotics team and orchestra to learn to play the cello. Mer smiles and says they will move. 

We see a quick montage of Catherine reading Harriet a bedtime story, flanked with a photo of Jackson and April on the nightstand, Amelia watching Luke practice suturing on a banana in the hospital skills lab, and Bailey and Addison admiring the PRT. The episode ends with Mer texting Jackson that she’s in and will move to Boston. I do like the way that the producers are crafting Mer’s lessened time on the show, but I’d also like to see part of the series take place in Boston. Bringing back Jackson, April, Catherine, and Koracick full time or even on a recurring basis to show what is happening there would be a good change of pace for the show.


Post a Comment