Alex’s trial is tomorrow, and he isn’t very confident on the outcome, saying he’ll probably be out in 8-10 years. He had been offered a plea for 2 years, and he’s now regretting turning that down. Meredith tries to stay optimistic that he won’t get any jail time. From their car, stopped at a red light, they see part of a building collapse.
Everyone who didn’t die by being buried in the rubble was sent to Grey-Sloan Memorial. Bailey has the staff take pictures of everyone so that when the families of the injured come looking for their loved ones, they can look at the boards and identify people quickly and easily.
Eliza saw the collapse on TV and came into work, even though her first day isn’t until Monday. She tells Webber that she’ll find him later to get him up to speed. The way Eliza talks indicates that she’s in charge now, which isn’t something that Bailey (or Catherine) ever indicated to him.
There are injured people all over the place. Stephanie is walking around with blood bags. Murphy is walking around, taking pictures, when an injured man grabs her arm and asks for a priest.
Jo finds out that she’s being called to testify in the trial tomorrow. She originally had been ruled out as a reliable witness because she had been really drunk that night. She’s terrified that if she testifies, she’ll either commit a felony by lying under oath if they ask her anything as simple as ‘Are you Jo Wilson?’ but if she tells the truth, she’s running the risk that her husband, whom she has been hiding from all of this time, will be able to find her.
The man asking for a priest was the landlord. He starts confessing his sins to Ben. The building had suffered earthquake damage a while back. He was supposed to do repairs, but didn’t. Since he knew about the damage but did nothing to stop it, he feels guilty for all of the tenants that were injured. Ben and a couple other doctors discuss whether or not Ben has some kind of confidentiality with the landlord, since he thought he was confessing to a priest, and there technically is a patient-doctor confidentiality agreement. They agree that this doesn’t apply.
Families start identifying the injured. One man, Charlie, is identified by two women – his wife (who says they don’t live in an apartment) identifies him to Owen…
and his girlfriend identifies him to Riggs.
Eliza brings up her flirty introduction with Arizona in the previous episode, and Arizona convincingly pretends that she doesn’t remember.
Alex apologies to Jo for when he called her trash. He says that she isn’t and that she shouldn’t ever let anyone talk to her that way.
Eliza runs into Webber and Maggie in the hall. She lets Webber know that the first few days that she works here he’ll just be observing to see how it all works, which is confusing since Webber (and everyone else) thought they were working together, and Eliza is definitely putting out boss vibes. Eliza strongly suggests that he talk to Bailey.
The landlord continues to confide in Ben, knowing that he isn’t a priest, because he needs someone to forgive him. He knew about the damage (which the tenants now know that he knew and are pissed), but couldn’t afford repairs without raising rent, and the families living in the building couldn’t afford to have their rent raised.
Winnie, a young girl from the collapse, does not make it through surgery. (Lily Allen’s cover of Somewhere Only We Know played during this scene. Didn’t they use this song in the trailer for the 2011 movie Winnie the Pooh? And now we’re watching a little girl named Winnie die while listening to it?)
Jo gets on the elevator with Alex and stops it. She comes clean to him about being married, that Jo Wilson isn’t her real name, and that she can’t divorce her husband who almost beat her to death because she ran away from him and is afraid of him finding her. Alex wonders why she didn’t trust him with this information sooner, but she says she was afraid he’d find her husband and hurt him (which does sound very much like Alex, especially now that he actually is being charged with assault). She lets him know that if she leaves after the trial, it’s only as a precaution to keep herself hidden. Alex doesn’t think she should have to give up the life she’s built at Grey-Sloan.
Webber and Maggie tell Winnie’s family about the loss. All of the tenants are ready to storm the castle (meaning the very bleak hospital room that the barely-alive landlord is recovering in).
Owen mentions to Riggs about how Cristina hadn’t wanted kids and it wasn’t even a discussion (she aborted his baby in season 8, which he pretended to support, but ended up yelling “YOU KILLED MY BABY” at her in the middle of a dinner party), and now he’s married to Amelia who also doesn’t want kids.
Eliza tells Arizona that she likes girls, since Arizona doesn’t seem to realize that Eliza has been flirting with her. Arizona says that she does find her appealing, but that it bothers her that Eliza walks around like she owns the place. Eliza describes that aspect of herself as ‘charming’ and asks Arizona if she’d like to get a drink sometimes, to which Arizona replies, “Shut up, fine. I’ll have a drink with you.”
Alex tells Meredith that he’s not sure what he should do, now that he knows he’s putting Jo at risk. Meredith has to scrub in for a surgery, so she says she’ll talk to him after.
Winnie’s mom pretends to be the landlord’s wife in order to trick Ben into taking her to his room. Once he leaves her alone, she tries disconnecting his vents to suffocate and kill him. She was caught and security was called. She keeps saying that he needs to be held accountable for Winnie’s death.
Webber confronts Bailey, asking “Who’s running this program: me or Eliza Minnick?” She had been planning telling Webber today, so that he’d have the weekends to adjust to the situation, but Eliza showed up for work early, and everyone has had a hectic day. Webber points out that this is the way he had taught her to fire people. Bailey assures him that while Eliza is the curriculum director, he is the chairman of the program. When Webber gets upset that Bailey would do this to him, she says that in order to do her job as chief, she has to keep personal feelings out of it. Webber disagrees and says that nothing is more personal than this job. They reach into people’s bodies and hold people’s lives in their hands (basically what last week’s episode was about – ‘make it personal’).
“Every decision you make should be a personal one. If it isn’t, you have no business being chief.”
Maggie overhears the conversation between Webber and Bailey and decides to talk to Jackson, since Jackson is an Avery and on the board of the hospital. She tells him that Eliza thinks she’s the new residency director and Webber’s new boss. Jackson had no idea about Eliza’s taking Webber’s job
Alex tries to talk to Bailey about adjusting his pension account so that his money would go to his mom while he’s in jail. She demands that he fill her in on what’s going on. She shuts the door, and he spills.
Owen and Riggs’s patient, Charlie, survived the surgery. Owen updates the wife while Riggs updates the girlfriend. They weren’t sure how to handle this moment, but they kind of just kept it separate and didn’t interfere. They never show whether or not the wife and girlfriend find out about each other. Once they’re done updating, Riggs asks Owen if he wants to get a beer. Owen declines, just wanting to go home and see his wife.
Maggie tells Webber that they can’t do this to him, and that she will fight for him and this program. She brings him into a room where Jackson is addressing the other, older attendings (whom we’ve never seen before). He and April had started as interns at Mercy West (which was absorbed by Seattle Grace in season six), and they both agree that the education they received here was immensely better than the system of the other hospital. These other attendings are just as upset about the change as our main cast.
Ben asks Bailey if she wants to talk about what’s been going on at work that’s weighing her down so much. Last season, she decided to enforce a sort of ‘church and state’ separation thing for their work and their marriage, since their personal connection while she’s the boss can make things a bit complicated and messy. Tonight, though, she says she can’t do that anymore, and that she needs to talk to him about what’s going on with Alex.
Jo tells DeLuca that she told Alex everything, and that she’s not going to worry about what will happen tomorrow. I can’t quite describe the look on his face and the way he was acting, but it seemed like he was considering trying to help in someway (possibly by dropping the charges against Alex? Maybe there’s a plot twist coming that’s actually twisty enough to not be predicted).
Alex tells Meredith that he has decided to take the plea tonight instead of going to trial tomorrow. Meredith doesn’t approve, and rants at him. Alex assures her that she’s going to be okay while he’s gone. Meredith knows she’ll be fine, though. She’s been through so much, and she’s always gotten through it. She says that this isn’t about her, and that he’s giving in to his own low opinion of himself. His life and career will be destroyed. Their conversation is cut off again when a nurse pressures Meredith to start the surgery already.
While scrubbing in, Meredith has someone hold the phone for her while she calls Alex and leaves a voicemail.
Alex is at the court to meet with the district attorney. He notices Mer’s voicemail while he’s waiting.
Meredith’s message becomes the episode’s final voice-over, and meshes with a goodbye letter that Amelia is writing for Owen. The episode ends with Alex unsure of what to do (apparently Meredith’s message about the two of them being the only ones left from their original group worked), which makes this midseason finale one of the weakest cliffhangers the series has ever seen.
Grey’s Anatomy will return January 19, 2017, followed by fellow TGIT shows Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder