This is a million years late. The midseason finale always, without fail, coincides with the busiest weeks at school for me, BUT I’M ON BREAK NOW #BLESS so I actually have time to sit down and write this. Thank you all for being so patient!
Season 14, episode 8: Out of Nowhere Written by William Harper; Directed by Kevin McKidd
“There are some disasters you just don’t see coming, no matter how carefully you plan. A little surprise that changes everything. In surgery, we call it a complication. In life, it’s a catastrophe.” ––Meredith Grey
So, the episodes opens with Ben running around like an Instagram fitness model, which only means we’re getting closer and closer to the spinoff, which I’m very excited about. (Should I write reviews on that one, too?) But there’s not much to say about that, so moving on. Wait, I thought of something: Richard mentioned that it’s counting as his fellowship, which definitely helped calm my fears of losing Ben Warren. Because if it’s a fellowship, he’ll be back, right? Unless he explodes in a fire…
Let’s talk about Meredith’s interview, which she clearly hated and resented. I honestly would expect nothing less, just because that’s the kind of surgeon she is––the one who wants to save lives to save lives, not to be interviewed for an award. Anyway. The journalist says, right off the bat, that Meredith’s award and accomplishments thus far is the “stuff of legends.” Now, I’m not saying things have come full circle, because that implies the show is ending, but do you remember when Rose told Meredith that the clinical trial was the “stuff of legends?” That’s all I’m sayin’. Seems fitting. I’m sure Rose wasn’t just talking about the trial, she was definitely referring to Meredith and Derek as a couple when she said that. But it’s hard to pretend that, in the 10 seasons since, Meredith hasn’t become her own kind of legend––because she totally has. Just ask the new interns (read: Glasses). They’ll tell you.
And speaking of interns, I’m really enjoying actually having some focus on them again. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it when they first showed up, mainly because I haven’t spent over half of my life invested in their lives, but nonetheless, they’re funny and interesting and I like watching them. I feel like I can relate to them, too. I’m in the same generation as the new interns, which means I’m also technology dependent (100%) and a bit (a lot) of a mess. I can see a little of myself in each of them, and that’s really fun. I was too young to be able to relate to MAGIC as interns when the show started, so this is new for me.
Also, I have to mention Ellis. (yes, I know, shocker!) The journalist also asks Meredith if winning two Harper Averys is a goal of her’s since her mother won two. Meredith’s reply was amazing: “Actually, I’d like to win three because that would drive her crazy.” To some, this was probably just a little joke thrown in, but I really think it’s more than that. It’s a continuation of the series-long struggle between Meredith and Ellis. We’ve established that Meredith understands Ellis much better now than she ever has before, but this moment, to me, is when Meredith really starts to recognize that she’s doing what her mother couldn’t make happen. It may be related to societal changes (read: single, working mothers being accepted), but we can’t deny that Mer has worked her ass off to get to where she is, both personally and professionally. She’s got the balance down better than her mother ever did.
Jo Wilson practicing her “Bailey” speech in the mirror is, hands down, my favorite thing she’s ever done. I thought it was hilarious. And so did Alex. I’ve got to hand it to her, Jo has grown so much since we first saw her. She went from shaking and about to pee her pants as a brand new intern to Chief Resident a few years later. It’s a glo up if I’ve ever seen one. I’m starting to like Jo again, too. I know that’ll make a lot of people reading this happy, because I’ve been on the fence about her for a while now. I felt the same way with Izzie, but the end result is totally opposite. I didn’t want Izzie and Alex together, they made zero sense to me. I was ready for Izzie to leave. But not Jo. Because her and Alex fit. They fit so well. I love how strong and badass Jo has proven herself to be. I’m here for that. But now we’ve got another problem.
But there’s a lot more to talk about before we get to that problem. Like one of two awkward elevator scenes in this episode. Up first, we’ve got Owen, Carina, April and Arizona all riding in the same elevator together. Ummmm….. yeah. Poor April. And then we’ve got Jackson and Maggie with the unconscious patient. So basically we’ve got Jackson and Maggie alone. I couldn’t help but pick up on one exchange between these two, and I think it’s some major foreshadowing. Here it is:
We come from very different families.
Yeah, thank god for that.
Um. Yeah. He said that. And because he said that, I feel like we’re going to see these two operate more as a couple than friends, or, dare I say it, siblings. I am not excited for that, but I’m am pretty intrigued. I do NOT want them to be a thing for more than two episodes (and that’s being generous) but I don’t think it would be fair to Maggie or Jackson for me to just write it off completely. I realize there’s an attraction there, and I realize that they aren’t blood related, but still. It’s weird.
And while we’re on the subject of Jackson and Maggie (“Jaggie”) I have to bring up their patient and his daughter. It isn’t new for the patients’ lives to reflect the doctors’ lives in some form, and this one was no different. Obviously Jackson isn’t Maggie’s father (or else we’d have some serious issues), but their relationship is complicated. Just like the patient and his daughter didn’t know each other, Jackson and Maggie didn’t know each other. And while a father/daughter relationship has clearer boundaries and expectations, Jackson and Maggie’s is a little more fuzzy. I think we’re going to see them grappling with the fact that biologically, they are step-siblings. But at the same time, they were not raised as siblings––they didn’t even know the other existed until a few years ago. It’s messy. If you know me, you know my opinion on this pairing, but I’m not in charge, so I’m just going to roll with it. Be flexible.
WTF MOMENT: that helicopter scene. I wasn’t ready for that literal blood bath. To be honest, I was preparing for them to fall out of the damn sky, but this? I really shouldn’t be surprised, this is Grey’s we’re talking about. Can you imagine if that happened to you? I’m going to go take a shower now after typing that. I feel gross.
“What the hell is happening?” ––Owen Hunt
And I guess now we have to talk about the fact that the hospital got hacked. This episode felt like the first half of a movie instead of an episode of television. Seriously. I feel like Liam Neeson is going to show up in the next episode. The music adds drama, the message flashing across the screen adds drama, the doctors reading it aloud adds drama… there’s drama everywhere! And in case you missed what the hackers had to say, here it is:
“Hello Grey Sloan Memorial. Currently, we control your hospital. We own your servers. We own your systems. We own your patient’s medical records. To regain access to your medical records, you need an encryption key… which only we have. You will need to pay us exactly 4,932 bitcoin to retrieve the key. Failure to pay this ransom in a timely manor will cause your records to be destroyed and your systems rendered impossible.”
Yikes. I think the scariest thing about this is that it could really happen. Our society is heavily reliant on technology, and hacks are always a lingering threat. In fact, I’m just paranoid enough about this that I put a VPN on my phone and computer a few months ago. It’s not cheap, but the piece of mind it gives me is worth it. (I recommend Tunnel Bear!)
So, whoever hacked the hospital is searching for money. And a lot of it. I had no idea what a bitcoin was, but I wasn’t quite expecting 4,932 of them to translate to $20 million. But, as Grey’s does, they threw some humor in there with Richard offering to write a check for $5,000 when he thought bitcoin and American dollars were at a nice 1:1 ratio. Bailey raises a good point when she says that whoever is behind this must know about the new contest, because how else would they know that Grey Sloan was capable of coughing up that much cash? I usually have tons of theories to offer up after a cliffhanger episode, but I’m actually pretty stumped with this particular one. I’ve seen some things floating around social media suggesting it was Paul Stadler, but I’m not convinced. I don’t see why he would go after the hospital, and does he even know how to completely take over their system? I doubt it.
I looked cases of this up, and apparently this happend in June 2017 across Europe and the United States. Several hospitals were hit with a global ransomware attack. In fact, the hacks resulted in encrypted computers showing messages demanding payments of 300 bitcoin. Sound familiar? Heritage Valley Health Systems in Pennsylvania was also a target in the attack. They run two hospitals and it caused at least one surgery to be postponed. It’s been dubbed “NotPetya” and was very similar to another ransomware attack from May that took advantage of an NSA hacking tool. And now I feel like I’m boring most of you, so if you want to read more about this, start here.
Anyway. Back to Grey’s talk. Richard teaching people his “Stone Age” techniques was probably my favorite part of the episode. (At least in the comedic sense.) The newspaper trick was really cool, and I cracked up when the two interns shoved their phones in his face when he asked for a paper. Because, like I said, I’m technology dependent and Alexa reads me my news every morning, and I follow-up on my phone throughout the day. Told you. I’m them.
I just love the dynamic between these two. I love the dynamic of Carina with everyone if I’m being honest. I love how she’s shaking things up and making people (read: the men) a little uncomfortable with her research. She’s hilarious. I nearly spit out my lunch when she said, “oh, I thought my last patient had the saddest climax I’ve ever seen but it’s just the screen was frozen,” as if it’s totally normal. And my favorite thing is that to her, it is normal. As Stefania told me, this kind of research isn’t controversial and these doctors are all forward thinkers, they can handle it.
Speaking of Carina, let’s talk about her patient for a second. Peggy is clearly terrified of having this baby, and as she’s having a nervous breakdown in the middle of the hospital, I realized something. Her exterior freakout parallels the internal freakout of all the doctors. Think about it. Peggy can freely freak out and not risk anyone else in the process. Meanwhile, these doctors are probably as freaked as they’ve been in a while (especially Bailey) but they all have to play it cool.
Take Alex’s patient, Franky, for example. If Alex and Jo were to show their fear and concern about the hack, not only would Franky be completely freaked, his mom would freak even worse. We know the doctors are freaking out, they’re having to play a guessing game with patient care, which nobody wants, but it is what it is. Clearly Meredith is freaked by this. She’s in a splenectomy when this all goes down and is forced to revert to an open procedure WITH NO ACCESS TO BLOOD! But Meredith is creative in the OR. This isn’t news to us, but poor Schmitt may not have been prepared to give his own blood while assisting the same surgery. Badass.
And then we get to the cliffhanger of 2017. Jo (Brooke?) and Paul are face-to-face. Jo is clearly terrified of this man, and he’s standing there with a smirk on his face, acting like he’s happy to see her. I want to beat the shit out of this guy already. Right after this episode aired, I saw people on Twitter saying they liked Paul already. EXCUSE ME, WHAT? I was so totally thrown that this guy had any fans, but here we are. He’s got fans, apparently.
We’ve known that Jo is married since the end of season 12, but this is the first time we’ve ever seen them in the same place. In order for us to see the gravity of her situation, in order for Grey’s to tell the story it wants to tell, I feel like we need more information, and since this is a TV show, they can go back in time and make that happen. I’m really hoping for a Jo centric episode soon with some flashbacks. I don’t want to see the violence, that would be too hard for so many people to watch, and I don’t want that. I would like to see the beginning of their relationship––were they in love once? Why did they get married? When did things go bad? I have a lot of questions. I also want to see Jo come to the decision to leave, because that’s one of the hardest choices to make when it comes to DV cases. But as much as I want to get inside Jo’s head, I want to get inside Paul’s just as much. I want to figure out why someone would intentionally hurt the person they’re supposed to love most in the world, I want to see that thought process, I want to see the emotion (or lack thereof) that drives it, I want to know why. There’s not a universal answer, but he has to have a reason. And I want to know that reason. And until he’s gone, I’m officially joining the Jo Wilson Defense Squad.
“In surgery, we call it a complication, a disruption, a glitch, a nasty surprise. It calls for extreme measures, you have to react quickly, try to catch up because it came out of nowhere and it can take everything away.” ––Meredith Grey