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Meredith answers a question on this week’s Grey’s Anatomy

Photo: Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
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“I Am Not Waiting Anymore” isn’t a particularly great episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Neither of the cases were all that compelling, I don’t care nearly as much about Meredith’s love life as the show wants me to, and the patient-as-metaphor trope felt especially ham-fisted this week. And yet despite all that, I still really enjoyed watching “I Am Not Waiting Anymore.” That’s the thing about long running TV shows: Grey’s Anatomy has built up a lot of goodwill over the years and I genuinely love (most of) these characters. Spending an hour with them every Thursday night is almost always enjoyable, even when the show turns in a fairly average episode.

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But “I Am Not Waiting Anymore” isn’t just filler. Meredith goes on her first post-Derek date with Major Creepy—er, I mean Major Thorpe—and learns that dating as a widow isn’t so scary after all, particularly when it involves french fries. Elsewhere, April and Jackson fight over the fact that April hid her pregnancy during their divorce proceedings while Arizona deals with the fact that she betrayed April’s trust in—as Amelia puts it—an “indefensible way.” Yet what I found myself appreciating most about this episode were the smaller character interactions that pull on years of shared history between both the characters and the audience alike.

Alex, who’s known Meredith since her “dark and twisty” days, understands that the best way to encourage her to date again is to act like dating again isn’t a big deal. It’s the same reverse psychology he pulls on his teen patient Kelsey, who is understandably nervous about getting a triple organ transplant (lungs, liver, and pancreas). It’s no big deal to miss the spring formal, Alex tells Kelsey, although it’s a bummer not to be able to attend with a fresh set of healthy organs. And it’s no big deal to cancel a date, he advises Meredith, although you might as well get the awkwardness over sooner rather than later.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the evolution of Alex Karev? The hotheaded lunkhead from the first few seasons has grown into arguably the most emotionally stable, emotionally attentive person at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. His slow evolution from obstinate intern to hyper-competent peds surgeon has been one of Grey’s most subtly satisfying threads, and watching him confidently run an O.R. tonight made my heart swell with pride. Maggie makes the mistake of doubting his wisdom—pushing Meredith to celebrate this huge milestone in her personal life—but let’s hope she’s now learned her lesson: Never underestimate Alex.

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While Meredith and Alex’s friendship has been a big focal point recently, this episode also remembers some of the show’s less frequently used pairings as well. When Jackson angrily claims he doesn’t want to deal with April or their baby, it’s Richard—his stepfather, let’s not forget—who talks him down. And considering Richard spent most of his life not knowing his own daughter, his calming words carry a lot of weight.

Elsewhere, Arizona desperately tries to find someone who will alleviate her guilt over telling Jackson about the baby. She first tries ex-wife and current friend Callie, who is gentle but firm in her disagreement (“No, honey. No.”). Bailey meanwhile, can only muster a halfhearted, “I see why you thought you were helping,” after reminding Arizona that what she did was both unethical and illegal. And Amelia offers the advice of a recovering addict: Accept what you did, give it time, and don’t expect forgiveness. I’m glad Grey’s isn’t cutting Arizona any slack for her betrayal of April’s trust. And I’m even more glad the show drove home that point while checking in on three underutilized female friendships in the process.

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I was similarly jazzed to see the April/Owen friendship take center stage again. Those two have shared a fantastic platonic bond ever since April discovered her knack for trauma surgery. (He’s the one who convinced her to come back to the hospital after she failed her boards and later invited her to join him in Jordan too.) So it makes since that he’s the one person who can put aside the Jackson drama and simply celebrate her pregnancy with her. Like the Alex O.R. speech, the April/Owen hug was another moment that made me unexpectedly emotional.

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What worked less well were the “big” moments in this episode, most of which center on mountain climbing couple, Tess and Michael. After a 100-foot fall leaves Tess brain dead, Michael and Tess’ parents argue about her treatment. Her parents want to keep her on life support indefinitely in the hopes that she’ll one day recover. Michael knows Tess wouldn’t want to live like that, but since they aren’t married he doesn’t have the power to make the final decision. We don’t really spend enough time with any of them for this to hit home, which has been a recurring problem with Grey’s patients lately. But, hey, at least this story has a conclusion, unlike last week’s.

At first it seems like Tess will be a parallel for April, who similarly feels Arizona and Jackson are making her choices for her. But then Tess pivots into the catalyst for another Owen/Riggs blow-up. Riggs claims Owen gave up hope that his missing-in-action sister Megan might still be alive and essentially abandoned her memory to start a new life in Seattle. The thing is, the Megan stuff is so obviously a retcon of Owen’s backstory and so obviously a set-up for her to make a surprise return later in the season (no spoilers, that’s just my guess) that it all rings hollow. And considering how little investment I have in the Owen/Amelia pairing, the idea that his guilt over Megan is going to add drama to their relationship doesn’t exactly thrill me either.

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That could very well be how people feel about the ongoing April and Jackson conflict too, a pairing that seems to work better for me than it does for a lot of fans. While their oil-and-water dynamic can get a little repetitive at times (which, in fact, was the basis of an entire episode), Grey’s adds new layers in their final confrontation. As the cinematography bluntly emphasizes, there’s a wall between April and Jackson right now. It’s made up of a lot of things, but most notably the death of Samuel, April’s religion, Jackson’s insistence on getting a divorce, and April’s secrecy with the pregnancy.

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Jackson makes a sharp left turn from his initial apologetic stance to accuse April of purposefully withholding the news of the pregnancy until it was too late for her to get an abortion if it turns out their second child also has type II osteogenesis imperfect. April—insulted by both the accusation of selfishness and the fact that Jackson would think she would ever consider an abortion in the first place—lashes out viciously, claiming Jackson doesn’t deserve parental rights until the baby is born. It’s an unjustifiable stance, but one that’s clearly coming from a place of intense pain and fear. Unlike the Arizona baby reveal, which felt right out of a soap opera, the final April/Jackson fight is dealing with mature concepts about pregnancy, women’s bodies, loss, choice, and parenting. That has me very excited to see how things will unfold in the coming weeks.

But, hey, even if all an episode of Grey’s has to offer is a weird jumping jacks/sex talk bathroom scene with Meredith, Callie, and Bailey—I’m still all in.

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Stray observations

  • Oh and some stuff happens with Maggie and DeLuca this week, but who even cares?
  • After all that build-up, I genuinely gasped at April’s “go to hell” to Arizona. Can’t say I blame her though.
  • I like to imagine the conversation Meredith had with her babysitter before heading into triple organ surgery. “Hi Cindy, I’m running a little late tonight. I should be home in about 17 hours or so.” (She must have a live-in nanny or something, but the way she says, “I better call my babysitter,” was way too casual.)
  • I finally learned another intern’s name! Cross. He’s very blonde and thinks Jo is hot.
  • “I know Mer.” “I know Mer too.” “I am Mer.”
  • I hope the previews for next week’s episode is misleading because that is a storyline I really, really don’t want to watch.
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