I love it when Grey’s night and Halloween collide. It hasn’t happened since season 10, and I’ve missed the extra level of weird. Also, if you dressed up as a Grey’s character, I want to see! Reply to my tweet (that most of you probably clicked on to read this) with a picture!
Season 16, Episode 6: Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard
(Written by Julie Wong; Directed by Pete Chatmon)
“Researchers have theroized that nightmares are the brain’s way of processing unsettling events of the past. Others believe nightmares are how our subconscious mind prepares us to deal with our real-life fears. Either way, they agree that nightmares are most commonly brought on by one thing: stress.” – Meredith Grey
Let’s start with Link and Amelia this week. They’re so cute I can hardly stand it. Things have been going surprisingly well for these two lately, so it was time to shake it up a little bit. Enter Link’s parents from hell. These two… whew. They are a lot. And they are very good at making literally everything about them. Not only are they making Link’s “cancer-versary” about them––which Link expected––but now they’ve made the baby’s arrival about them, too. Amazing!
But I actually think this means good things for Amelia and Link as parents. At the beginning of this season, Link talked about being scared of history repeating itself in regards to his childhood cancer. Totally understandable. But I also think maybe there was a little fear of becoming his parents mixed in with that. Growing up with parents who hate each other, I’m sure, takes a huge toll on the kid. Link even says he felt forced to take sides, which would have strained his relationship with both parents. And spending Christmas day on a plane? No way. He wants better for his kid, and I think there’s a voice in the back of his head telling him he won’t be able to do better. And I’m sure that voice gets louder when he’s actually around his parents.
Do I think he’s going to parent anything like how he was parented? Absolutely not. Even if things don’t work out between him and Amelia, I have no doubt that those two will raise that kid as a team. (If they don’t work out, I will also be sad.)
Which brings me to my next point: Teddy and Owen being a team. It’s refreshing to see Owen treat the woman he’s with like she’s something other than garbage. Cheers for that! Also, Teddy as a mom? Hilarious and I love it. She is so funny right now, and I think it’s because she’s so clueless about so much when it comes to babies. I’m kind of waiting for the fallout here because things are going to well for them right now. After seeing the promo for next week’s episode, I have a feeling that things are about to get rough for Owen and Teddy, and probably even Amelia and Link depending on how Amelia handles things.
Anyway. Back to Teddy and Owen being good right now. So far, I’ve seen two major Grey’s themes pop up in this episode and they are 1) being afraid of becoming your parent(s), and 2) making Halloween costumes. Remember when Meredith and Derek were adopting Zola, Meredith was listing off reasons she was nervous about being a bad mom? One of them was that she didn’t know how to sew a costume. Now we’ve got Teddy stressing about not having time to make homemade costumes for Leo and Allison. But the zombie babies? Come on! I loved it. And I think I loved it because of how horrified everyone was by it. Teddy tried, you guys! She tried so hard!
And then we’ve got Bailey and all her hormones. Which I find absolutely delightful. She’s so different with this pregnancy than she was with Tuck, and I think that might be freaking her out almost as much as being pregnant again. In season 2, her pregnancy wasn’t much of a storyline. It just kind of was what it was. This time, though, we get to see a lot more of it. Like the fact that she cries over everything now. It’s so unlike the Bailey we all know, which is what makes it so exciting and fun to watch.
And the fact that she’s now got this new trick to try to keep herself from crying? Another layer of comedy. Which, by the way, this technique? It sometimes works. I do it when I’m angry and about to cry. It occasionally helps. Other times, I probably look like this:
And the reason Bailey looks like that? It is the same reason I, too, was shoving my tongue against the roof of my mouth. Anytime Tom talks about David (which does not happen often) gets me. I feel like Tom has built up such a wall that he’s trapped himself inside it. And it’s been so long that whatever is inside that wall is his whole world. The stuff outside? The things he’s protecting himself from? They don’t exist anymore. But every once in a while, something manages to sneak in. Something reminds him, and no matter how hard he tries to push it away, that memory works its way back into the front of his mind. Apparently, Halloween is one of those things.
You can see it on his face when he talks about David and the Storm Trooper costume how much he’s hurting. I think this moment between him and Bailey might actually be a stepping stone to the two of them becoming… not friends, but colleagues who can get along. Because now that Bailey knows about this part of Tom’s life, she also knows that the rest of it––the cocky, the arrogance––isn’t his whole personality. In fact, those things may be protecting him from everything else that’s gone wrong in his life. Tom is about as alone as you can be right now. His son is gone, Teddy just rode off into the sunset with Owen, I’m sure he had grown somewhat attached to the idea of Allison and she’s gone… he’s alone. Being an ass at work is a defense mechanism. And he’s good at it. I would love to see a flashback of Tom with David… to get a glimpse of who he used to be.
(Side note: when Tom was describing the Storm Trooper costume and Bailey knows exactly what he’s talking about and even chimes in with “episode 4”? That is how I feel when someone brings up Grey’s. I know exactly what episode you’re talking about before you even finish your thought.)
And real quick, before I leave Grey Sloan for this week, I want to talk about Levi. And that sunflower costume he made out of a trauma gown? Stop it right now! But the costume isn’t what I want to talk about. It’s the fact that Levi’s mom told him not to post a picture of him and Nico because his family would see it. Oh. That seems… uh… not great. Remember the “shame spiral” he and Nico talked about when they were brand new? I’m pretty sure it was during the windstorm when they were trapped in that ambulance. Yeah. It seems like Levi’s mom is now the one spiraling. It breaks my heart. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that she doesn’t want Levi posting because she doesn’t want their family finding out he’s gay. I’m wondering if maybe she’s accepted it privately, but not publicly. We saw her interact with Nico briefly, but right after Levi tells her Nico is his boyfriend, she leaves. Is she embarrassed to have a gay son? Maybe. I hate it, but I have friends who experienced that with their parents. I have no idea how it’s going to go, but I would like to see Levi and his mom (and maybe even Nico) have a heart-to-heart. I know there are a lot of people watching who would love to see their lives reflected on TV like that… something to make them feel less alone.
And now we’re shifting gears and I’m moving over to Pac North. Things are not going so great over there. Shocking, I know. Jo honestly fits right in dressed like a corpse. And her trying to scare Alex? Love it. I especially loved Alex telling her nothing is scarier than his real life. But to be honest, I’m really glad Alex is having so much shit thrown at him this season. The character growth in him is astonishing. If it were Bailey or Webber having to deal with this, nobody would be surprised when they handled it. But Alex? We’ve never seen him in a position of this much authority. He’s being thrown every curveball possible, and he’s working at what I feel like is possibly the worst hospital to ever exist, and he’s handling everything so well.
In this episode, he’s dealing with a literal graveyard. Only this show, you guys. And Webber’s reaction? Also classic. He didn’t even seem surprised. Just kind of shrugged it off like, “yeah that explains a lot.” You know it’s bad when a mass grave makes things make sense.
And what about the whole Meredith Grey going to jail thing? Yeah, that. Maybe I should start talking about it now. First of all, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try to find a red prison jumpsuit for Halloween this year. I didn’t have enough time, though, so I stuck with the scrubs. Disappointing, but what can you do? Anyway. Meredith Grey went to jail. It actually happened. And you know what? I’m glad it did. She deserved it. I’ve talked about why I feel that way in other reviews, so I’m not going to get into it much here, but I will say this about it: I think this little stint in jail was good for her. She’s now faced consequences like she never has before, and moving forward, she (hopefully) won’t make the same mistakes.
Even while she sat in a jail cell, though, Meredith was still privileged in ways other people could only dream of being. Take her cellmate, Paula, for example. She chose to leave her two kids at home alone (while they slept!) so that she could go to work. If she didn’t go to work, that’s money lost. She needs that money to provide for her kids. It’s an impossible decision, but one so many people have to make all the time. And now she’s sitting in jail, unable to afford bail, while her kids are in foster care and she waits for a hearing. With a public defendant. Things do not look good for her. Meanwhile, Meredith is sitting there complaining about her medical license being up for review. Read the room, Mer.
Also, just real quick, did anyone else get a little panicky when Paula said Mer’s snoring sounded like a semi barreling towards her? Or was that just me? 1121 really messed me up, you guys.
Things for Andrew and the kids aren’t so hot, either. Especially Zola. She had a rough Halloween this year, didn’t she? I love that she’s old enough now to have actual storylines, and this is a big one. The wings were my first clue of what was to come. As soon as I saw them, I knew Derek would come up a lot. I’m actually really glad she showed some hostility towards Andrew, to be honest. Not because I don’t love him, because I do. But because it would have been wildly unrealistic to have her just be totally okay with things. She’s old enough to understand what’s going on between him and her mom. And she was young when Derek died. I can’t even begin to make sense of the timeline in the Grey’s universe, but I’m guessing she was between 4 and 5, so the memories she has of him? Probably already fading a little. That has to be terrifying for her.
I actually think a scene between Amelia and Zola talking about that would be amazing. Amelia was five-ish when her dad died, so that’s something they have in common. Plus, we never really see them interact with each other. I think that could be a really powerful scene about a child’s grief and how that grief evolves as they grow. Because it isn’t ever going to go away.
Anyway. Back to Zola and Andrew. Sometime last season, Meredith asked Andrew if he even liked kids. That conversation ended with him telling her that her only problem would be her kids liking him more than they like her. Well, that’s clearly not the case with Zola right now. Andrew is not used to kids not liking him, so this is probably throwing him for a loop. Not that he didn’t expect it, I’m sure he did. But expecting something to happen and it actually happening are two very different things. He’s never dealt with this before, and neither has Zola. They’re both new at navigating this kind of relationship.
It’s Jackson who gives Andrew the advice he needs. Which was kind of surprising, actually. It makes me wonder where he got that from. Probably his own experiences with his dad leaving? If Catherine dated after his dad walked out, he probably went through emotions similar to what Zola’s feeling right now. Jackson tells Andrew that kids always have a reason for acting a certain way and that it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get it out of them. He did it with their patient by acting like Alex (which was so pure, by the way!) and now Andrew has to do it with Zola.
“I don’t want to forget him.” – Zola Grey-Shepherd
And there it is. She’s terrified she’s going to forget her dad. It broke my heart. I saw a lot of people on Twitter getting really mad over the fact that she and Andrew had this moment in the OR gallery. And I don’t understand it one bit. They needed to have this conversation. Andrew needed to reassure Zola that he’s not there to replace Derek and to help her remember him. He told Zola the story of Isaac’s tumor (also very pure) and it helped, I think. Probably not a lot, but it was something. Andrew didn’t even know Derek, but he still gave Zola what he had to give her. He’s trying.
I think this moment between Zola and Andrew was absolutely needed. Zola’s been asking Meredith about finding love again and getting remarried for several seasons now, but it never happened. Now it is. Even if it’s something she wants for her mom, that doesn’t make it easy for her. And I’m sure it’ll get harder if things between Andrew and Meredith ever start to get serious. Because while Andrew is not there to replace Derek in any way, he will become a father-figure to those kids. Bailey probably doesn’t remember Derek at all, Ellis wasn’t even born before he died, so Zola’s really alone in this. It sucks and it makes me want to hug her forever.
And this raises another point. Zola and Meredith need to have a conversation. And I think it needs to be just the two of them. Like I said, Bailey and Ellis are young enough that they aren’t in the same position as Zola. This transition isn’t going to be as rough for them. Zola needs reassurance from Meredith that Derek isn’t going to disappear, that he’s always going to be her dad. She can’t get that from Andrew because he didn’t know Derek. He didn’t love Derek completely and then lose him. Zola and Meredith did. Meredith knows what it’s like to make room for someone new, and Zola needs to know it’s possible for her, too. She needs to see that it’s possible for her to love her dad and miss him while also having Andrew there and stepping into a new role. That’s the kind of reassurance and comfort nobody can offer Zola except for Meredith. And I hope she gets it.
Music from 16.06:
“Sometimes your worst nightmare comes true, but you find it’s really nothing to worry about. Occasionally you discover that what you most dread is really a blessing. And your life is better because you persevered despite your fears. But sometimes, your worst nightmare is truly scary. And it feels like it’s never going to end. That’s when support from friends and family is vital. You want to surround yourself with people who will wake you up from your nightmares and help you live your wildest dreams.” – Meredith Grey