*MAJOR SPOILERS* I have my sad music playing and I’m typing this 11 minutes after the episode finished because there are some things I want to say before I forget them:
My statement on Martin’s departure:
I was so excited to see Meredith and Nathan’s relationship grow and mature, and I thought that’s what was going to happen over the course of this season. I was wrong. Martin is done and Nathan is with Megan. I’ve been rooting for Meredith and Nathan for over a year now, and to say I’m disappointed wouldn’t express my feelings adequately. I’m frustrated, I’m upset, I’m confused, and I’m shocked.
But I remember feeling all of these things, on a much larger scale even, when Derek died in season 11, and when Cristina left in season 10. And we all got through that. We watched the love of Meredith’s life get ripped from her, we watched her person move across the world, and tonight we watched someone else leave her. We’re used to it. She’s used to it. And you know what? She’s strong as hell. She’ll be fine.
While I will miss them terribly, it’s not over. At the end of the day, this is Meredith’s journey. And she doesn’t need a man there to carry her through anything. She’s got it handled.
Shonda knows what she’s doing.
Actors leave, it happens all the time and we have no control over that. Martin’s contract was always meant to be short. Some characters come on a show to help with the advancement of another, and I think that was the case with Nathan Riggs. Nobody owes us an explanation for the way his departure was handled, and while I didn’t like it, I hold a great deal of respect for Martin, Shonda, the writers, crew and actors. Me not liking one thing that happened does not change any of that. That respect will always be there.
Martin, whatever endeavor you embark on next, I wish you nothing but the best. It was truly an honor to see you become Nathan Riggs, to watch him and Meredith learn so much about themselves together, and to have you scrub in with us, even if it was shorter than any of us would have liked.
Can’t wait to see what you do next!
And now we can get into the actual review. Here we go!
Season 14, episode 5: Danger Zone
(Written by: Jalysa Conway; Directed by: Cecilie Mosli)
This episode was rough to say the least, and this is one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever written. And that’s because I got so much wrong last week. I read things wrong, I came to conclusions that were the total opposite of what played out. But the fact that I did get so much wrong is a testament to everyone on the show. I like being wrong about these things because that means the show is doing its job. It’s not getting predictable, it’s not stagnant, we’ve got twists left and we have to deal with them. We definitely did not expect what we were handed last night, but as Shonda would say, “trust the journey!”
And that’s what I’m going to do.
“As surgeons, we rely on cycles, heartbeats, cell regeneration, circadian rhythms. We know something’s wrong when the cycle is broken. Our duty is to fix it. To force the cogs back in line. But that break can also be useful. Like a warning shot.” – Owen Hunt
Owen Hunt and Amelia Shepherd
These two… I swear. You all should know by now I’ve never been on the Omelia ship, so this new development doesn’t really upset me (or shock me for that matter) at all. I’m definitely getting a Cristina/Owen season nine divorce vibe here. Remember that? It seemed like, as soon as the wedding bands came off, their relationship improved. And then exploded again but that’s not the point right now. I kind of feel like it’s possible the same thing may be happening now. Not exactly the same, but similar enough that I think it’s more of an Owen thing, not a Cristina thing like I previously believed.
Owen and Amelia’s problem was (and still is) communication––there wasn’t any. At all. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Amelia doesn’t know who she is anymore, this tumor really put things into perspective for her. She has to figure out who she is all over again, or quite possibly for the first time. The tumor is gone and she’s not sure what’s left. Or who is left. That’s enough to scare the crap out of anyone.
“You married a tumor. I get it.”
These two have been so dysfunctional for so long, even before they got married, and I’m not sure there was any other option but for them to get away from each other for a while. And that breakup scene? It was breathtaking. I didn’t know you could make a breakup beautiful, but they pulled it off. I’m really cheering for them, guys. I know I’m hard on Owen and Amelia (as a couple and as individuals) but I do want them to be happy. And I think once they both do a little soul-searching, they can be happy together. But they need time and they need to not rush into things again.
Owen finally gets this, too. Megan called him out on the side of the PCH (that’s the road they filmed on if you didn’t know!) when she tells him that he holds onto ideas. Onto things that won’t ever happen. This thing with him and Amelia? That vision he has in his head? The one he’s had in his head since before they even got married? There’s no way that’s going to happen right now. Maybe not ever. And I think this episode, with the help of his sister, he’s finally coming to that conclusion. Amelia knew it already, and now he does too. And the two of them can heal, they can figure out who they are and what they want, and if that leads them back to each other… well, that’s all I can hope for.
Megan and Owen (Brother/Sister Feud)
Okay, so Owen feels responsible and guilty, we all knew this already. But now we really know why, and we know the extent of his overwhelming guilt. We all thought the only person to blame for Megan getting on the chopper was Nathan, but it turns out, Owen had just as much, if not more, to do with that. Damn. That sucks. He’s working so hard to prove to her that he’s not going to leave her again that he’s suffocating her. Megan doesn’t need him to keep playing hero. Owen has this habit of wanting to control people. I think it may be a coping mechanism, albeit an unhealthy one, that gives him a sense of purpose. But that purpose is the same thing that is driving a wedge between him and… everyone. And then Megan gave what may be one of the most powerful speeches I’ve heard on Grey’s:
“Life happens. People are imperfect. We fail and we fall and some of us get kidnapped for a decade, and when we get a second chance at life and happiness, we seize it regardless of who cheated. Because now we know what matters. Because now we know it’s precious. Because now we know that any little moment of happiness that we can grab onto in this lifetime is a moment worth having, regardless of what anyone else thinks.”
I’m really hoping that was the kick in the ass Owen needed. I think it was.
I’m also curious about something that I’m not sure we’ll ever get an answer to and that’s this: Nathan knew Owen blamed him for Megan’s disappearance, but what would Nathan’s reaction be to finding out Owen is the one who told Megan to get on that helicopter? Because, if I were him, I’d probably be pretty pissed.
And now onto the part I know you’re all anxious to read:
Megan Hunt and Nathan Riggs
While this storyline between Megan and Nathan certainly did not play out the way I had hoped, I’m starting to really understand, and even appreciate, the direction it took.
In my last review, I spent a pretty good amount of time trying to figure out the complexity of Meredith and Nathan’s relationship, and I got a lot of it wrong. I’ll admit that. I really thought he was going to stay and be with Meredith, he loved her, we can’t deny that. But there were a lot of things about his relationship with Megan that I, that we, didn’t understand, and those things were revealed in this episode. And that changed everything. (If you didn’t read last week’s review, you may want to do that now, because I’m going to refer to some of the things that I said.)
Okay, you read it? Good. Let’s keep going now.
So. Nathan is gone and I swore to you all last week that he was in love with Meredith. And I swore she was in love with him, too. I was wrong about some things, a lot of things, but I still don’t think I was wrong about that. I still think Nathan very much loves Meredith. And I also think there’s part of Meredith that loves Nathan. Maybe not for what I first thought, but for the things he gave her. (More on this later, though.) And then, all of a sudden, Arizona’s speech to Nathan came to my mind.
“Derek was epic for her. They were the great love story. I mean, that girl’s heart beat for Derek Shepherd. It’s just––it never occurred to me that she would ever be with anyone else. He was perfect. He was everything. I mean, that man turned her world.” – Arizona Robbins
Everything she said here about Meredith and Derek was 100 percent true. Nobody can deny that, and I never doubted or undermined Meredith’s love for Derek. Not once. But these words now hold a double meaning to me. I think Megan and Nathan’s love is this kind of love. That kind of love Olivia Pope talked about. That “painful, difficult, devastating, life-changing, extraordinary love.”
Meredith and Derek had that love. And now I think Megan and Nathan had it too. I didn’t want to believe that at first, because I really wanted him to choose Meredith, but now I get that that couldn’t have happened. Nathan choosing Meredith after experiencing that kind of love? That would have lessened not only his past with Megan, but also Meredith’s past with Derek. It’s what I’ve been saying all along: Meredith would go back to Derek in a heartbeat if he showed up. And now that I realize how deep Megan and Nathan’s love was, how deep their love is, I know this was really his only option.
It was one of the most epic love triangles I have ever seen on television. I say this not because I like love triangles, but because this one wasn’t petty drama. It was real heartbreak, real love, real emotion, real.
Meredith was right the whole time. That’s not a love you throw away. I thought she was being self-sacrificing but she wasn’t. Not really. She knew that as soon as Megan came back, Nathan wasn’t hers anymore.
And I also want to talk about the dream. You know the one. The miracle dream. I went back and watched the scene again where Meredith and Nathan describe their dreams, and while Nathan’s dream wasn’t exactly what happened, I’d still say he got his dream. His miracle happened. And so did Megan’s. That dream that she made as real as possible with the sand and the birds and the ocean? That was her dream. And she’s got it now. She’s got it with Nathan.
And that brings me to the beach scene. The first time I watched it, it was heartbreaking. And then the second time, it was heartwarming to an extent I’m not sure I’ve seen from Grey’s in a long time. To be honest, it didn’t even feel like Grey’s, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. It was breathtaking. I needed some time to digest what was happening and once I had that time, my entire perspective shifted. I wanted Nathan’s happy ending to be with Meredith. I wanted that so much. But that’s not what he wanted. The same thing happened with Cristina Yang’s exit. I (selfishly) wanted her to stay in Seattle for Meredith. But I also know that she had to leave to stay true to who she was. It’s the same thing here. Yes, Nathan loved Meredith, but his love for Megan was just… bigger. All consuming. And he had to be with her. I get it now. And I am so happy for them. It would be hypocritical of me to say otherwise, really. Because if Derek walked in, I’d want Meredith to be with him. How can I not want the same for Nathan?
A lot of people sent me messages expressing their feelings about this episode. Some were heartbroken but understanding, others were completely devastated, and some were so angry I thought my phone was going to start smoking. I also got some people telling me that this episode was pointless. And I want to address that before I talk about Meredith and where she goes from here.
The episode was far from pointless. Without this, all we would’ve gotten was Nathan leaving Meredith, someone he explicitly said he loved, for a decade-old relationship we knew nothing about. That would’ve been horrible. This episode was our explanation. This episode was what allowed us to let Nathan go. I don’t choose to look at it as Megan’s happy ending so much as Nathan’s. Not because I’m not happy for Megan. I am happy for her. But I’ve invested more time into Nathan and I want him to have everything. I want him to have his miracle dream, and now he does. This episode showed us that Megan and Nathan are both imperfect people who are perfect together. While it wasn’t what we wanted, I think it’s important to acknowledge that life doesn’t always work out like we want, but it does go on.
“Life will out.” – Amelia Shepherd
What about Meredith Grey?
Oh, Meredith. I just want to give her a hug and never let go. I’m going to share a quote with you all that someone sent me last night.
“Not everything is supposed to become something beautiful and long-lasting. Sometimes people come into your life to show you what is right and wrong, to show you who you can be, to teach you to love yourself, to make you feel better for a little while, or just to be someone to walk with at night and spill your life to. Not everyone is going to stay forever, and we still have to keep on going and thank them for what they’ve given us.” -Emery Allen
I’m not sure there’s a more perfect summation of Nathan’s role in Meredith’s life (and vice versa, really) than this quote right here. Let’s break it down, shall we?
Right and wrong – Meredith is a grown-ass woman, she doesn’t need anyone to teach her right from wrong anymore. That’s not what I’m saying. But Nathan did teach her that it’s okay to move on, that’s it’s okay to open herself up again, to want to open herself up to the possibility of love again, even after such an epic one has ended.
What can be – She got a glimpse of it with Nathan. He showed her what’s still out there. Derek is gone, but that doesn’t mean there’s nobody else somewhere for her. Or, she can choose to take a break. To be herself for a while. To let herself fly. (I’m hoping that’s the option she goes with for now.)
To love yourself – I have never seen Meredith Grey be more confident in herself as she has been since Nathan showed up. I’m not giving him all the credit, not even most of it, but he did help her learn to love herself a little bit more. To give herself a little more credit.
To feel better for a little while – Nathan definitely did this. She had fun with him, they had fun together. She wasn’t cloaked in grief anymore, she wasn’t stuck under a cloud anymore, she was living again. She will never stop missing Derek, she will never stop grieving him. But she can have a life.
To walk with at night and spill your life to – She talked to Nathan. She talked to him about things she never told anyone else. Because he got it. He understood what it felt like to lose someone you love more than life itself. Megan coming back doesn’t change the fact that he still felt that grief for ten years.
So, yes. If you ask me, Meredith Grey does love Nathan Riggs. And Nathan Riggs loves Meredith Grey. But not in the way I originally thought. They love each other for what they learned about themselves, for what they taught each other about life, for everything they gave each other. It wasn’t big. It wasn’t epic. But it was perfect in its own way.
They both helped each other take steps forward in their lives. Steps nobody else would’ve been able to walk alongside. They understood each other on a level few can, and that meant everything. But Nathan had to go. His dream was real. It was alive, and he had to leave Meredith with the things he taught her. And now, we will get to watch her come back stronger than ever. More confident than ever. And while I’m sure there will be moments where she questions pushing him to Megan, I think she will realize everything he did give her are things nobody can take away.
It’s a cycle, and it seems like they’ve been stuck in it forever. But I think we’re starting to see some movement. Some growth… for everyone.
“When we come to depend on the cycle, the thought of breaking it is scary. Even the cycle that causes harm. But sometimes when we break the cycle, we find something better. Something unexpected. Something we never dared to dream as possible. We find freedom. We find peace.” -Owen Hunt
Whew. That was a tough one. But I feel like I learned a lot while writing it, and I hope you feel the same way. Make sure to leave me a comment!
See you right back here next week for “Come on Down to My Boat, Baby!”