Season 14, episode 6: Come on Down to My Boat, Baby
(Written by: Kiley Donovan; Directed by: Lisa Leone)
This episode invoked a lot of feelings in people that I wasn’t prepared for, and it wasn’t something that was at the forefront of this episode, so I’m not sure how much time I’ll spend on it, but I will definitely mention some things. Here we go!
“Superheroes, soldiers, first responders: that’s who we think of when we think of bravery. But surgeons should make the list too. Surgeons don’t wear capes or armour. We don’t carry guns and no one throws a parade, but we do fight like hell to save your life. And we’re also holding a knife in our hands… knowing we might be the one to end your life.” -Meredith Grey
Amelia Shepherd is second guessing everything about her life right now. Well, everything except her split (did they legally divorce or…?) from Owen. And I applaud that decision, I’ve been saying it for weeks: they need time apart to find themselves again before they can be a couple. I’m really glad that’s happening. I hope it works.
I’ve also said this before, but last night’s episode made it even more obvious to me than it previously was: this split reminds me so much of Cristina and Owen’s split. They split so many times I can’t even keep track, but I’m talking about the one in season 10. Owen was with Emma and Cristina briefly slept with Shane. *shudder* But, anyway, back to my point. Owen tends to need some space before he can figure out what he really wants, and I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on again. Amelia is the same way, I guess. They both agree to be friends, they agree to fault the tumor for all the bad stuff* and they agree to date other people.
*I’m not so sure about the whole let’s call all the bad stuff “tumor” and pretend it didn’t happen approach though. I don’t think that’s going to do anything but cause those issues to fester even more, and eventually, they will resurface and explode. Tumor or not, those things, the bad stuff, they still happened and it needs to be discussed and worked out before they can move forward.
And speaking of dating other people: Carina and Koracick? I definitely saw Amelia and Koracick coming but Owen and Carina threw me for a loop. (I did pick up on the signals dropped throughout the episode, but I didn’t even have a suspicion before then.) Hey, more power to them. I’m just going to let them figure things out… if that involves sleeping around a little… cheers. You do you, boo.
“My love for you, the affection, that was not a symptom. And I know that because the affection is still here even without the tumor.” -Amelia Shepherd
Amelia is terrified of herself right now. She doesn’t know how much of her life was tumor and how much of it was just… her. Is she the same badass, fearless surgeon without a tumor? She doesn’t seem to think so right now. That’s why she literally risks being run over in the parking lot to keep Dr. Koracick from leaving. She doesn’t trust herself anymore. At all.
It’s bad enough that she pages Richard for a “meeting.” This one doesn’t seem like a “talk me off the ledge” meeting we’ve seen before, but more of her need for some reassurance. She needs someone on the outside (meaning not Owen and not the man who took the tumor out) to tell her that she’s okay. That she’s still who she always was.
And hats off to Caterina here too. This kind of storyline, this kind of uncertainty Amelia has about every aspect of her life can’t be easy to play and she’s doing it beautifully. And most importantly, she’s doing it in a way we can empathize (not to be confused with sympathize, which I’m sure some people can also do) with and believe.
And then she goes into surgery and she is still that same badass we always knew she was. She saves a life on her own, she didn’t need Dr. Koracick there to hold her up as she took off with no training wheels. She doesn’t need a safety net. In fact, she’s better than Koracick. They both say it, they both know it, a tumor doesn’t change that. I think this was her first big step in finding herself again. She’s realizing that the tumor was just a thing she had. The tumor never had her.
Jo Wilson, ladies and gents. Jo freakin’ Wilson. I’m loving her more and more this season, and that’s not to say I disliked her before, but… well. She had some moments where I really wasn’t a fan. (Hi Camilla, I love you!) For some reason, in this episode, Jo really reminded me of a younger Meredith Grey. Something about the fact that she can’t accept a compliment really hit me. Richard comes in and tells her that she’s in the running for chief resident and Jo’s all “I don’t need special treatment” about it. It’s like she doesn’t realize that she’s good. That she deserves this not because of special treatment, but because she earned it on her own.
“…because I would not want to spend what short life I had left wondering what could’ve happened if I had just been a little more brave.” – Jo Wilson
She wasn’t just talking to her patient when she said that. She was talking to herself. She’s already given up so much to try and protect herself from Paul. She changed who she was, she left her name off of an article her name belonged on, she has sacrificed and sacrificed and now she’s had enough. Finally. And I’m also really into the whole notion of Jo not being a victim, but a survivor. I think it’s really important to dictate the difference with those. There is absolutely no victim shaming of any kind going on, but there is a difference in connotation. In fact, in my journalism classes, if we are discussing/reporting on domestic violence, abuse or sexual assault cases, we’re taught to always use survivor unless the person tells us otherwise. And that’s what Jo is: a survivor.
And now that she’s taken that step to free herself, we can really see her and Alex be a couple. No secrets, nothing hidden, maybe pull a ring out of a drawer, and they can just be happy for a while. But this is Shondaland, so who knows what’s going to happen? I love that Alex wants to protect her because he loves her so much, but I really love how Jo took her own advice, told him she didn’t need him to protect her from this… not anymore. I’m super excited to see this storyline play out. It’s something I feel like TV shies away from or fantasizes it in some way, but domestic violence is a huge issue, and it’s one that deserves attention to detail, meticulous researching and accurate portrayal. I’m not sure there’s another show I would trust with this, but I know Camilla and the writers will do it justice.
Also can we mention Jo’s response to Alex telling her he loved her? It was priceless. “You smell like fish guts.” Only Jo Wilson would respond that way. And I’m here for it.
And because I just talked about Jo, naturally I’m going to segue to Meredith Grey. I could talk about her all day. This episode was so rewarding for every Meredith Grey fan… wow. Anyway: reviewing.
The fact that the JSA magazine cover shot was a season nine promotional picture just made me laugh. She was proud of it, you could tell by the look on her face. But Meredith isn’t one to welcome that kind of attention, either. One thing that surprised me with the cover thing though was this exchange between her and Koracick:
Oh, nice picture cover girl. Your eyes really pop!
Oh, for god’s sake…
That was unexpected. Meredith has always had this habit of not accepting any kind of compliment. While she’s gotten better in recent seasons, it’s always been there. She never would’ve accepted that compliment from a coworker a year ago, but now? She’s gaining some confidence in herself. I may just be reading way too much into this because it’s something I’m actively working on, but I really got some Shonda Rhimes “Year of Yes” vibes with that scene. Shonda writes a whole chapter on accepting compliments. In short, she says that when we don’t accept a compliment, we are questioning someone else’s judgements. She says to just smile and say “thank you.” I think Meredith may be well on her way to accepting that she’s good and accepting it when people say things in regards to her talents. (Even though Koracick seemed to be complimenting her looks more than her talent… whatever. Baby steps are still steps.)
Meredith’s patient this week really drove something home. And it reiterates most of what I said about Nathan’s role in her life from last week, as well of Derek’s role (which I realize was bigger, don’t come at me). The judge tells a story about his wife, and how she would want him to get the surgery and fight. In fact, he says if she were still here, he wouldn’t even need the surgery because he would’ve gotten his yearly check-ups. (Proof that men are lost without us, ladies.) His story is about being brave––being brave and accepting that someone being gone doesn’t mean the lessons they taught are gone too. Those lessons will always be there.
And then I found another parallel. A pretty big one if you ask me. I didn’t catch it the first time, but I did the second time while I was taking my notes. In season four, Meredith was really upset about losing Phillip Robinson so she started a clinical trial. Remember him? Bear attack guy? Yes. Good. This patient reminded me of that. Meredith Grey does not sit around when she loses someone. She gets back up and works her ass off to figure out how to save the next one. It’s how she came up with the clinical trial and she’s doing the same thing now. She lost one, but now she’s going to work twice as hard to save the next one. And the next one. And the… you get it. It’s not a clinical trial, the procedure already exists, but it’s the same idea. I hope we get to see this play out like we did the trial.
AND MEREDITH GREY GOT NOMINATED FOR A HARPER AVERY! I yelled that. Loudly. Which is why I just typed it in all caps. It’s an all caps statement.
And because I haven’t done this in a while, I’m going to talk about Ellis Grey. Duh. You all had to know this was coming. Ellis won two Harper Avery awards in her day, and while Meredith is just nominated at the moment, I still think this is worth bringing up. Ellis had already won one at this point in her career, but she did it by sacrificing just about everything else. Meredith didn’t do that. It’s part of that fight to be better. Sure, a Harper Avery as a resident is impressive, but what’s more impressive, I think, is knowing what’s more important than an award. And Meredith does. I’ve always said that Ellis was so harsh on Meredith on her lucid day because she was jealous, and I stand by that. Meredith was doing what Ellis couldn’t, and she still is. She’s not in Ellis’ shadow any longer, she’s creating her own sun. She is her own sun. Cristina was right. (She’s always right in case you didn’t know.) I just wish Cristina were here for this moment in Mer’s life.
People talk about Meredith like they talked about Ellis. The new interns are literally walking down the hall and one of them says, “can you believe Meredith Grey works here?” I was grinning like an idiot. I feel a little silly being proud of a fictional character who is older than me, but I can’t help it. I am proud of how far she’s come and how much she’s grown because it’s shown me, and countless others, that we can grow too. That it’s okay to be our own sun.
“Congratulations, Dr. Grey.” -Miranda Bailey
And one more thing that I’m guessing most people (if any) didn’t even think about. It’s not something I would’ve picked up on had I not taken Shonda’s Master Class in writing for TV. Here it is: Alcohol choice matters. Symbolically, it matters. The choice she made to have Meredith and Cristina drink straight tequila was a conscious choice. When the show started, women didn’t drink the hard stuff. At least not in public. This glass of wine was also a conscious choice. It represents maturity, growth and maybe even a little sophistication. I mean, she is nominated for a pretty flashy award after all… Meredith has grown so much and this is just another representation of that. A physical, tangible piece of proof that she has grown.
Jackson Avery bought a boat. I don’t blame him… if I suddenly was handed that much money, I’d buy a boat too. But I feel like there really isn’t much to say about the whole boat situation other than the spinoff being formally introduced by Ben, DeLuca revealing Carina sleeps with all his friends (which is when I thought about Owen), Alex being asked if he’d sleep with Meredith (no thanks!), and how these guys turn everything into a competition.
Jackson and April are a hot topic on Twitter today… I’m only going to say this:
These two have been complicated for a while now. After Samuel in season 11, they lost a bit of their spark. It’s understandable. I don’t even have children (and won’t for a long, long time) but I can’t imagine losing one. It would strain any relationship. And it definitely strained theirs. I’ve already made a short thread about this, so I’m not going to waste time saying the same thing on here. If you want to see what I said, feel free to head on over to Twitter. (@RowlandJordyn)
To wrap things up, let’s just run through some more points that I thought were funny and worth mentioning:
The fight over the trauma case (Arizona, Bailey, Maggie and April) felt like old Grey’s to me, and you know how much I love that. Also, the Tindering? And the Idris Elba mention? It wouldn’t be Miranda Bailey without that.
Carina and Arizona didn’t last long, but I’m hoping that’s not over. They were really fun to watch, and I think there could be some serious development story wise with those two. I’d also like to see her interact with Sofia, especially after her reaction to learning she was coming back to Seattle. I think an accidental run-in between Sofia and Carina would be absolutely hilarious. Can that happen, please?
Also about Carina, why is it anytime she talks to Webber, I end up laughing so hard I snort? Something about her lack of filter and Jim Pickens’ facial expressions just get me… when they were in the gallery and Carina whipped out the Italian, Richard looked memorized. And then he asked what she said. And gun-gina was born. So we’ve got va-jay-jay and gun-gina. I love this show. Also, the two of them comparing things they’ve pulled out of… you know. I was rolling
“They always fall on it.” -Carina DeLuca
I’m really intrigued with this whole surgical research competition Jackson wants to get going. I can’t really say more because we don’t know anything else, but I hope this story gets picked up.
And the interns… I take back my last comment on them. I think they’ll be fun to watch. I’m super happy there’s one in a Hijab. Representation matters on TV. And also, WHO IS SAM AND WAHT DOES SHE HAVE TO DO WITH DeLUCA?
And that’s it for this week’s review! Make sure to come back next week for episode 300! I will be posting a huge tribute post on November 9th at 12:00 p.m. EST and then reviewing like normal on the 10th. Trust me, you don’t want to miss either one. It’s going to be a good week for Grey’s fans.
And as always, the closing monologue:
“Bravery isn’t always about running into the fire. Sometimes it’s about facing our past, and on the hardest days, it’s about facing the future.” -Meredith Grey