Hot damn, it’s been a long time since I sat down to write one of these. Over a year, actually. I’ve since graduated college, moved to LA, and started a full-time job. So, sure. Let’s add these reviews back into the mix, too. Why not? It’ll be fun!
Season 16, Episode 1: Nothing Left to Cling To (written by Krista Vernoff & directed by Debbie Allen)
“The organs in the human body have entirely different functions. The cells, which make up those organs, act independently of each other. But in a healthy body, seemingly independent cells quietly depend on the functioning of the others. Because when one system stops working, the others aren’t functioning for long.” -Meredith Grey
Disclaimer: Please read this review as if you have not already seen episode 2. That’s how I wrote it.
So this first episode seemed to dive pretty deep into loyalties. We’ve got Bailey’s loyalty to the hospital, we’ve got Alex and Richard’s loyalty to Meredith, we’ve got Meredith’s loyalty to her morals… I could keep going. Just about every storyline in this episode revolves around who’s loyal to what, and the repercussions of these loyalties are kicking this season off.
First I want to talk about Jackson and Maggie. Their loyalties, in my eyes, seem to be to the person they want each other to be. Remember last season Maggie was talking about how Jackson loves her but doesn’t actually like her? I really think that’s true. They’ve both spent their entire relationship trying to morph each other into someone else. The conditions in which they got together were pretty… uh… wild. April’s crisis of faith kind of freaked Jackson out, and then there was Clive (remember him?) who ended up being married. I think Maggie was looking for something easy, and Jackson wanted something stable. In the end, neither one got what they wanted, and in my opinion, they held on way too long.
I think it’s a pretty obvious comparison re: Jackson/Maggie and their patients. The rope holding Maggie and Jackson together snapped. They held on for as long as they could, but, unlike Jai and Mari, there wasn’t anyone wandering through the woods to save them.
Now the question is, how will Jackson and Maggie react? From what we’ve seen so far, Jackson is seeking out comfort in other people (hey, Vic, hey!) and Maggie is lashing out. We know Maggie takes things personally, and this is no different. For example, take this bit of dialogue between them:
“There is something there that is broken beyond repair.”
“In this metaphor, am I the thing that is broken beyond repair?”
“Not you. Us.”
See what I mean? Maggie thinks Jackson sees her as something broken and not worth fixing. But I don’t think he sees her that way at all. And as much as this pains me to say, I kind of agree with Jackson here. Their relationship is done and Maggie is not handling it in the best way. (More on this in the next review!) She’s not handling it well at all, which is actually a cool dichotomy because she seems to be the sister Amelia and Meredith always go to when shit hits the fan for them. And the shit has very much hit the fan for both of them, too.
Then we’ve got Teddy, Owen, and Tom. They’re also a mess. Everyone’s kind of a mess right now, actually. If you’ve been reading these reviews for a while, you already know my feelings on Owen. Those feelings have not changed. In the past, Teddy has gotten in the middle of every single one of Owen’s relationship. And it isn’t her fault, either. Owen seems to be the one to constantly bring her up. And then he goes and chooses everyone but her. Why? I have literally no idea. I do NOT want to see the inside of that man’s brain. But now we see Owen as single for the first time, and Teddy is right there. And she just popped out his kid. So it kind of feels like kismet for those two.
But then I think about Tom and I really just want Teddy to give Owen the finger. Let’s face it: Tom was much better to Teddy last season than Owen ever was. And we’ve already established that Owen’s track record when it comes to choosing Teddy and putting her first is not great. Her relationship with Tom, while short, was really sweet. He was there for her in ways I don’t think Owen ever has been. But let’s face it: Teddy has always been loyal to Owen. Always. There is too much history between them for her not to be, in my opinion. The feelings there are so intense and so old, it seems impossible for them not to be together. But then you’ve got Owen, whose loyalties are really whack. So whack that I don’t even know what they are. Is he finally going to step up and be loyal to Teddy and to his own feelings? I guess we’ll have to wait this one out and see what happens.
Also, just real quick: seeing Teddy on maternity leave makes me miss Cristina even more. Can you imagine how amazing it would be if she were there? It was so gloriously awkward when Bailey handed Tuck to her way back in season 2, I just know it would be hilarious if she were around to witness this.
Also hilarious? Dr. Webber working for an app. I mean, the reason behind it isn’t so funny, but it did make for some good laughs for a minute. Since I’m a sucker for a theme, let’s talk about the loyalties we’re seeing with Webber and Alex, and to an extent, Bailey.
Last season, when Bailey called everyone into the conference room, Alex and Webber didn’t hesitate to admit to being part of Meredith’s antics, regardless of the consequences. They were loyal to her. And that didn’t come as a surprise. This is not the first time we’ve seen them putting personal loyalties before their jobs. Webber, for example, took the fall for Meredith when she messed with Derek’s trial in season seven. It cost him his job, but he did it anyway. And Alex… well, after the disaster that was him telling Owen Meredith messed with the trial, he’s been pretty loyal to her. As he should be, considering he’s gained the title of being Mer’s person. But Bailey? She’s always been loyal to the hospital. I’m not saying she’s only loyal to Grey Sloan, but since becoming chief, she’s made some calls that Webber probably wouldn’t have been able to make because of where his loyalties lie. And we all know there’s nothing Meredith could do that would make Alex fire her.
And now we’re watching the repercussions of that. Even more so in the second episode.
But what about Meredith’s loyalties? Where do they lie? It isn’t as cut and dry as personal versus professional in her case. If we really want to categorize it, I think Mer’s loyalties lie with her morals. A loyalty that has cost her personally and professionally already in the past. She’s proven over and over again that, more often than not, she’s going to choose the more moral option, regardless of the rules she’s breaking along the way. And in this case, the rule that she broke was a big one. And she’s not going to apologize for it, either. The judge also asked the questions we were all asking last season: why didn’t she just pay for the surgery herself? Did she regret what she did? She called the system out for being broken, which it absolutely is, and when the question of regret comes up, she tells the truth:
“To the extent that I can knowing there’s a very sick little girl out there who’s beginning to feel better.” – Meredith Grey
She’s never been one to sugarcoat anything or to say things she doesn’t feel are her truth. She wouldn’t be Meredith Grey if she apologized for choosing her morals over medicine.
And then what happens? Mer gets community service and starts seeing more of the exact same thing that got her into trouble in the first place. And then, to top it all off, the medical board decides they’re going to investigate. Awesome!
And while I’m talking about Meredith, and since I didn’t write any reviews for last season, let me just say this: I adore her and DeLuca. I also love that DeLuca is being a little bit snarky to Bailey right now. Loyalties!
You know what else was awesome? Alex re-proposing to Jo. I melted. But all the stuff that led up to that moment for them? SO IMPORTANT!
Jo had it rougher than anyone last season, and I really appreciate that nobody rushed that storyline. And this season, we’re seeing another layer. Jo seeking out help is something I’m so glad we’re seeing on TV. I went to therapy for the first time in college, and I wish I had done it sooner. I’m a big believer in therapy, and I think everyone would benefit from it. Wanting to be the best version of yourself and seeking help to make that possible is not weak. But sometimes, like Jo, we’re in such a dark space that asking for help feels weak. It feels like we can’t do what should come naturally. But, of course, that isn’t true at all.
Not only does Jo feel weak, she feels like she’s dragging Alex down with her. Which is why she gives him an out. And he thinks about it. Probably because, in the past, he’s been burned by the people he loved. Izzie disappeared on him. His mom wasn’t able to take care of him and his siblings so he ended up in foster care. This is the first time he’s really had the choice to leave before he gets left. We’re back to the loyalties. In a way, Jo thinks she’s being loyal to Alex by letting him go. She wants what’s best for him, and right now, she doesn’t think that’s her.
“You’ve had enough pain and crazy to last you a lifetime. You deserve someone who doesn’t break like glass.” – Jo Wilson
Alex’s response to that? Dropping to one knee. Thank god, otherwise, I’d be really mad at him, and I don’t like being mad at Alex. He’s proven that he’s loyal to Jo. Would it be easier to leave her? Maybe. But he loves her, and he knows that she makes him better. And he also knows that she’s not weak, and she’s doing the work. What kind of man would he be if he left her to do that alone? Not a very good one.
Last but not least, Amelia. Oh, Amelia. At the beginning of the episode, she’s decided that she wants to slow things down with Link. She really likes him, and I think that’s why she’s deciding to tread carefully. With Owen, everything happened so fast, and then they crashed and burned. I’m not saying she didn’t love Owen, but I do think being with him took so much out of her that now she’s being very conscious of her own wellbeing. Maybe she’s even choosing to be loyal to herself? To her own happiness? Yeah, I think so. It’s about time.
Link and Amelia could be something really special, which is why I think she’s is so hellbent on taking things slow.
And then, BAM! A baby!
As soon as Amelia gets it together, there’s suddenly a whole new level to this thing with Link. And this thing won’t really let them go slow. It’s a fast-pitch ball and she’s got to swing or she’ll get hit. (Me? A sports metaphor? What’s happening?) But let me say this: I really do think now is a good time for her to get pregnant. I know it wasn’t what she wanted to happen, but she’s more ready now than she ever has been. She’s figured out what she wants, she’s got her head on straight, and she’s with a guy who actually values who she is as a person. Maybe this will be a good thing.
“Just as organ systems are codependent for survival, so are human beings. Studies have shown that our happiness––and health––depends upon our relationships not just functioning, but thriving. Sometimes the best we can do is bear each other’s burdens and ease each other’s pain. And hold each other’s hands in the dark.” – Meredith Grey
I’m already working on the review for the next episode, so you should see that soon! For the rest of this season, expect to have reviews by Saturday night. I’ve missed writing them!