Grey's Anatomy Season-Finale Recap: Final Declarations
Wedding Bell Blues / Happily Ever After?
Season 19 Episodes 19 and 20
Editor’s Rating 5 stars *****
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Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless/ABC
Romance, sex, and a doctor getting chest compressions on the OR floor by the end of the episode? This is a Grey’s Anatomy season finale right here. I kind of feel bad for people who gave up on the show ahead of season 19 because, if we’re grading on a curve, Grey’s Anatomy is delivering. The premiere episode asked the question “Can a TV series reboot itself while it’s still on the air?” And this double-episode finale answers, “Um, yeah, it can.”
Am I being overly effusive because the past two seasons of Grey’s were some of its worst? Maybe! Am I feeling extra warm and fuzzy because I only now stopped crying about our dear Miranda Bailey winning the Catherine Fox Award after all this time? Definitely! But even so, with its multiple (so many!) professions of love, endearing patients in dire situations, surgeons in dire situations, a kiss in the rain, sexy encounters in on-call rooms, a runaway bride, a man getting punched in the face for that runaway bride, romantic reunions, a dicey plane moment (!!), and THE Meredith Grey returning to announce she’s (mostly) figured out how to cure Alzheimer’s and gonna get her man back, Grey’s Anatomy hasn’t been this good in a while. I am invested. Cherish this time, people! Who knows what season 20 will bring!
The big news coming out of the first hour of this double episode is Lucas and Simone. I mean, has the back-and-forth of “I didn’t get married” and “You didn’t get married” ever been so hot? Objectively, no, it hasn’t. And it never will be. It was so hot! Listen, everyone knew Simone was never going to actually marry Trey, but still, it was fun watching it all play out. If, for some reason, you weren’t convinced this wedding was going nowhere fast after last week, by the time she’s racing through the hospital the morning of her wedding to firmly tell Lucas that she doesn’t want to lose him but that her wedding is definitely, for real, happening, you had to stop worrying, right?
Even though we all knew Simone should not and would not marry Trey, it took a whole bunch of signs to get her to call it off. Signs like a robin, the thing that has always represented her late mother, dying after flying into the window as Simone’s getting into her wedding gown. Signs like her zipper breaking and her getting blood on her gown from the thorns in her bouquet of roses. But what really does it is learning from her grandmother that Simone’s mother was supposed to marry someone else but called it off at the last minute to marry Simone’s father, who she had only met two months before, but who really saw her. Simone is halfway down the aisle when she realizes this is all wrong! And then she winds up in the hospital, in her gown, looking for Lucas. The longing and the love and the hope in their faces! We were all Tobey the breast-cancer patient telling these two idiots to go be alone together!
Simone and Lucas finally partake in the time-honored Grey Sloan Memorial tradition of sex in the on-call room, and it is steamy and great! It’s only after this, and after Trey winds up in the hospital after a minor car accident rushing over to the hospital to talk to the woman who just left him at the altar, and after Trey punches Lucas in the face upon realizing he is a big reason for said altar abandonment, that Simone becomes wracked with guilt. She doesn’t regret her decision — she’s a different person than who she was when Trey fell in love with her — but she still feels awful for the chaos she’s caused. Well, as sure as we were that Simone would never marry Trey, we also are all probably aware that Simone and Lucas aren’t just going to be smooth sailing from here on out. Look at … well, every other endgame couple in Grey’s Anatomy history. Still: What a lovely, swoony start to the proceedings.
Simone and Lucas are not the only ones declaring their love for each other and finally getting together. This is a finale, okay? People either need to be breaking up, hooking up, or possibly dying. I don’t make the rules, but I do live by them. In that vein: The Link and Jo Couple Watch has officially been upgraded to THIS IS FINALLY HAPPENING.
As the Jo and Sam flirting continues at breakneck speed, Link grows more and more agitated. Even Sam notices how weird and angry his own doctor is being. When he finally gets Jo to explain her history with Link, he immediately comes to the conclusion that everyone else aside from Jo has: Link is clearly in love with Jo. Jo brushes it off, again, but eventually gets so fed up with Link being a sad little bitch boy that she goes and asks him what the hell is going on with him. They’re outside and it’s raining, so you know this is going to be good. And it is! It starts with Link getting upset about how he’s changed his entire life to be there for Jo and Luna, how he wants to be there for them, and how hurt he was when Jo referred to him as her roommate. She can’t believe he’s so upset over “semantics.” “It’s not semantics, Jo, it’s love! I’m so completely in love with you, how do you not see that?” he yells in the rain. I was about to write “It’s not as cheesy as it sounds,” but it is that cheesy! And cheesy is good! She calls him an “unbelievable dummy” because, guess what? She’s so in love with him too. They kiss in the rain. All is well.
Just kidding, this is Grey’s Anatomy, nothing is ever simply good and chaos reigns; people making declarations of love and blood pouring out of a human body happening at the exact same time is the foundation of this entire show. Friends, if Simone is going to feel guilty about the chaos that following her heart hath wrought, something tells me Link and Jo are also going to feel a little guilty once they learn that while they were telling each other things that we have known for months, human pancake Sam Sutton suffers an aortic dissection and begins bleeding profusely into his chest. Teddy, Lucas, Mika, and Simone rush him to the OR and just as Teddy — who has ominously been complaining about a toothache all day — is about to cut Sam open to attempt to stop the bleeding, she collapses to the floor. Mika can’t find a pulse and begins compressions. None of the attendings are answering their pages, and Lucas can’t just let Sam die on the table without trying something. With Simone’s support, he cuts into Sam, but it’s of no use. By the time Owen finally arrives, he finds a wild amount of blood on the floor, Sam flatlining, and Teddy being shocked with the defibrillator to no avail. I don’t think they’re going to kill Teddy off after everything, but regardless, what a cute lil’ cliffhanger, right?
The doctors in Seattle aren’t the only ones having fun: Remember, we’ve got a planeful of surgeons headed to Boston for the Catherine Fox Awards. Catherine and Webber are joined by Bailey, who is supposed to be presenting the big award; Nick; Winston; and Amelia on Catherine’s private jet. This plane ride is basically the angstiest booze cruise you’ve ever seen. Honestly, which part was worse? Winston and Amelia airing out all of their issues and Amelia still only half-assing an apology in front of everyone, or when the plane hits really bad turbulence and they all think they’re going to die for a full minute? I think we all know the answer is the former, and that is saying something since we’ve all been traumatized by a plane full of doctors going down before.
This almost-crash does a couple of important things for the doctors onboard, but most important at the moment is what it does to Nick. Nick gets off that plane and heads directly to Meredith’s house. You know this man is ready to tell her he can’t live without her! His last grand gesture was DOA, but this! This could be his big moment. Unfortunately, when he arrives at Mer’s place, a hot man named Michael opens the door and tells him Meredith isn’t home at the moment. Sure, we know that this is probably not what Nick obviously thinks it is, but we are watching a prime-time soap opera, not in one. In conclusion: Maybe Nick Marsh should quit it with the grand gestures.
Not long after, Meredith summons all the Grey Sloan doctors to her lab where she is possibly in the throes of a psychotic break but has a great pair of new glasses, so that’s fun. She eschews any pleasantries about seeing her old friends, sister, and ex-boyfriend to inform them all that she thinks she has figured out the path to curing Alzheimer’s, and it’s basically that all of the research and treatments for Alzheimer’s have been based on a faulty premise. For decades doctors have been going about it the wrong way, and she has figured out the right way. Reactions are mixed! Webber warns her that getting up and saying that a long-held theory is completely wrong won’t be accepted with open arms — she could ruin her reputation and all of her research funding if she presents this without real proof that’s been painstakingly tested for years. He’s actually super-angry about her even considering going public with it. I guess he’s just being protective, but also, stop, maybe? Amelia’s immediately out of sorts because what Meredith is saying “insults Derek’s work.” That’s understandable, but if what Meredith is saying is true, Derek would be behind her on it. Nick is the only one who is even a little bit supportive. He calls her out on pretending not to hear him say he loved her, but also reminds her why she came to Boston to do this research. “Did you really come all the way here to follow the rules? Because that would piss me off even more,” he tells her.
You gotta love Meredith. It seems like she’s going to keep a lid on her findings for the time being, especially in front of all the big donors at the Catherine Fox Awards, but the moment one guy mentions his mother being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Meredith flashes back to her own mother dealing with the disease, and then immediately blurts out her new theory. Meredith not being able to help herself is high art, and I’m so thankful to witness it.
Speaking of things I’m thankful to witness: The big surprise at the Catherine Fox Awards is that none of the aforementioned nominees win and instead, in an unprecedented move, the award goes to Miranda Bailey for her work training doctors in reproductive health care. It’s not even surgical innovation, and people have got to be questioning the bias of these awards, but still — what a moment! Last week, when Bailey was giving Owen and Amelia an earful about how she’s never been recognized despite all the great, important work she’s done, I thought it was a one-off joke! But it is not! And reader, I wept! Do I think it was A Choice to not let Miranda Queen of Speeches Bailey give a thank-you speech and instead, in her shock, just stand at the podium and cry? Sure, but I’ll get over it. It was just so nice to see this character reach a new milestone in her career at this point. Bailey forever, etc., etc.
Okay, the awards are nice and all, but let’s get back to the more important things: kissing. After the ceremony, in a callback to how Meredith and Nick first got together, Meredith slips a note under Nick’s hotel-room door. He finds her in the hallway and they finally have a real conversation. She admits to pretending not to hear him on the phone and tries to explain that she was so overwhelmed by everything and thought she had to just focus on her kids. It’s sort of an explanation. It’s enough for Nick, who after learning that Michael is just Zola’s tutor and nothing more, launches into the speech he wanted to give her at her house. He thought he was going to die on that plane and it made him realize how much he wants to live. “I should’ve never let you walk away. I want to live a whole life with love and pain and mess and you,” he tells her. Her response is perfectly Meredith: “Well, okay then.” They kiss. It sounds like we’ll be checking in periodically with Mer, so I’m sure we’ll hear more about her Alzheimer’s research and her life with Nick, but for now it seems like we can assume they live happily ever after. And you know what I say to that? Well, okay then.
• After Maxine almost dies and Kwan disregards her DNR to save her life, Jules is furious. Thankfully, Maxine comes out of it okay, but Jules remains enraged at the position Kwan put her in (if things went south, Jules would have to decide to pull the plug on her favorite person). Of course, she’s also enraged because she loves him, which she says! To his face! It’s not the appropriate time for them to make out, but man, am I invested in these two working things out.
• Mika and Helm finally kiss! A lot! They’re cute. Unfortunately, following that big step in their relationship, Helm starts her first day back at Grey Sloan. Things are going to get complicated.
• New Grey Sloan chief of cardio Winston and Maggie have a nice reunion in Boston, too, by which I mean they have a lot of really great almost-divorced sex that calls back to the night they fell in love. It’s nice, but their chat about how they always get surgical innovation and sex right and how maybe they can figure out the status of their relationship later is confusing. Long-distance marriage sounds messy!
• The trip to Boston really does a number on Amelia and Webber. Amelia is reeling from the thought of Derek’s legacy being tarnished by Meredith’s new research and asks Webber to find an AA meeting with her. Webber needs one desperately: He admits to Amelia that when he thought the plane was going down, he almost drank Catherine’s martini, but Bailey knocked it out of his hand before he could. Now it’s all he can think about. He decides to forgo a meeting to wait around for Catherine, but when Amelia walks away, a waiter arrives with a vodka tonic. Webber is struggling.
• I’m going to miss Sam Sutton, who had the unique power to pry all the best hospital gossip out of anyone who came into his room. He was the people’s champion.
• Wait, guys, remember when Simone asks if Lucas can take care of their patient Tobey for her and he responds, “I’d do anything for you”? I had to fan myself.
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