It’s a full house at Meredith’s now that Alex is officially not going to prison and Amelia has left her husband. Alex and Maggie are busy getting ready for work while Meredith, who is still suspended, is doing laundry. Amelia claims she hadn’t “moved in.” She’s just “crashing.” Amelia asks the question that all viewers have been thinking: “How can she suspend you? Don’t you own the hospital?” Apparently Meredith checked the bylaws, and Bailey has the right to suspend her.
Eliza seems to have bounced completely back and all is well in the world. There’s a kidney transplant scheduled (a boy needs a kidney, and his mother is donating one of hers to him) and she asks the residents which ones of them think that they are ready. Several hesitantly raise their hands, but Stephanie remarks that she is not ready (glad to see last week had an effect on someone. Steph was once so confident. It’s a little unsettling to see her shaken). Eliza tells her that that is the correct answer, and everyone puts their hands down except for one intern. Eliza says that what they are ready for is to do as much of the surgery as they can, and then pass it off when they need to. Ben will be in OR 1 retrieving the donor kidney under the supervision or Webber. Jo and Stephanie will be transplanting the kidney into the boy under the supervision of Alex, who is back to his job as a pediatric surgeon. Jo is ecstatic, but Stephanie looks worried after hearing that it’s a 16 year old boy (reminder that in the previous episode, a small mistake made by Stephanie resulted in the death of a 9 year old). Jo asks Steph if she’s okay, and Steph asks Jo if she’s okay (in relation to working with Alex today).
Alex complains to Webber about ‘phase two’ while they watch the residents talk to the mother and son who will soon be on the operating table.
A dirty woman (Oh hey, it’s Samaire Armstrong!) wanders into the hospital speaking nonsense, picks up the phone and collapses on the floor.
A man is asking for information for Chris Daniels, his son who is having the kidney transplant today. Jo offers to take him up. Once she does, Chris’s mom starts freaking out. She has the father removed from the room and blames Jo for bringing him up.
Arizona catches up to Eliza on the stairs, who states that she’s mad at Arizona, but it quickly becomes clear that this is flirting, and what Eliza is ‘mad’ about is a really good restaurant that Arizona introduced her to that she can’t stop eating at. They spot Jackson and quickly de-flirt and part ways. Jackson still is unhappy with Webber and mildly bad-mouths Eliza for taking the job. Arizona ends the conversation as soon as possible, but apparently April was nearby and defends Eliza to Jackson. Now more than ever April understands that Eliza didn’t take the job as an attack on Webber. Bailey comes in and asks April if she’s up to speed on the transplant, and then leave her ‘to run the show,’ so that Bailey can go take care of some business.
The confused and disoriented woman from earlier is in no state to give consent for a surgery to replace her very old pacemaker, so Maggie consults and gives her approval. When she asks the woman what her name is, the woman replies, “No names. Names are for hats, not cats… I’ll tell Grendel. She sees the patterns.”
Chris’s mom is still emotional that his dad came to the hospital. She left with Chris a year ago, after his dad got more violent than usual. This entire situation hits Jo really hard because she also had (*has, technically) an abusive husband. She leaves the room upset, and when she’s in the hospital lobby and sees the dad still hanging around, she asks Owen to make him leave. She gives no detail, and yet he does it, which makes me really like Owen instead of the twinge of indifference I usually have for him.
Stephanie finishes scrubbing in before Jo, meaning she gets the first cut in the surgery. Jo and Alex continue scrubbing in, and Alex asks Jo if she’s okay. She acts like she doesn’t know what he’s talking about when clearly it’s about the abusive husband bringing back memories of her own abusive husband.
Ben successfully removed the kidney from the mother. Eliza overly compliments him, but Webber makes sure he’s grounded, reminding them that residents still have a lot to learn from attendings. Then Eliza compliments Webber on his excellent teaching skills.
While operating to replace the pacemaker in the Jane Doe, the surgeons try to think of a way to figure out her identity. Someone suggests dental records, but Maggie doubts that this homeless woman would have a dentist. Finally Riggs comes up with the most obvious suggestion: the serial number printed on her old pacemaker that they took out during this discussion.
Jo retrieves the kidney for the transplant. After she leaves the room with it, the mother’s other kidney starts failing, which leaves everyone stressed about what to do. Do you put the healthy kidney back in the mom? Would the mom still want you to give her kidney to her son? A tough call with no rulebook to follow, and Bailey took off for the day.
Where did Bailey go? The scene transitions, of course, to Bailey who is ringing the doorbell at chez Meredith. Bailey insists that Meredith invite her in so that they can figure this situation out like the intelligent women they are.
We return to the doctors bickering over what to do with the kidney. Sure, the mom signed on to save her kid’s life, but she didn’t know that this could happen and that she could end up on dialysis. Eliza, in OR 2 asks Stephanie what decision she thinks is best. Stephanie says that, if they could wake the mother (which, in case you were thinking ‘Yeah, wake the mom and just ask,’ by the time they wake her and she is competent enough to make the decision, the kidney would no longer be viable.), the mother would tell them to give the kidney to her son. Pan over to OR 1, where Ben says any parent who is not a monster would give the kidney to their child, even if it could diminish their quality of life. The intern (I’m sorry blond intern. I really don’t know who you are or your name), who claimed he wouldn’t give the kidney to the child, quietly responds “you’re the monster,” which may forever be my favorite form of comeback, even when it’s outdated and my kids think I’m embarrassing. April realistically lays out some scenarios which include the sixteen year old becoming an orphan or having to take care of his sick mom indefinitely. We’re reminded that the boy has an abusive father, but no one has thought to check if he would be willing to get tested and donate a kidney.
Riggs managed to find out the girl’s identity from her pacemaker, and from there, he tracked down her parents. Riggs, Maggie, and DeLuca are filling her mom in. Riggs asks if Claire (the girl) had a history of mental illness, and warns that she might be hard to understand. It’s only at this point that Claire’s mom realizes that her daughter, whom she has not seen for twelve years, is still alive.
Jo calls UNOS looking for a new kidney for the sixteen year old boy who is currently open on the operating table. She is talking very loud and passionately, yet is confused when Chris’s father comes up and demands more information. (I know the reason for her confusion is that he was asked to leave. But in tv, so often a character is talking loudly and openly about a certain subject they don’t want anyone else to know about, and are horrified when people hear.)
Jo updates the doctors that the father wants to donate a kidney, but she is firmly against it, wanting people to stand with her. She is borderline hysterical while making some points about how the mother will feel that her abusive husband had this control over her and made this decision while she was under. Ultimately everyone, aside from Jo, agrees that their obligation is to their patients’ health.
Bailey tells Meredith that she had appointed her as chief of general surgery because she wanted Meredith to be her right hand. Meredith counters that she was suspended for disagreeing, so what Bailey really wants is a Yes Man. “Someone who will lead with me but follow when I lead,” Bailey says, but Meredith won’t blindly follow someone. Bailey is trying her best to explain things, but Meredith is so stubbornly sticking to ‘this is wrong.’ Bailey offers to lift Meredith’s suspension, and Meredith says that she ‘can’t’ return to work unless Webber is acting Residency Director.
A psych consult confirms that Claire has schizophrenia. He speculates that Claire going missing at 20 would likely be a result of her schizophrenia. Claire’s mom has a breakdown, and Maggie doesn’t why she isn’t just happy that her daughter is alive. They had had a funeral for Claire. They found a way to eventually move on with their lives, but Claire was still out there in pain, in the rain, alone.
Owen approaches Jo to check on her. He says that maybe the father just wants to do this to make up for how terrible he’s been. Jo storms off, angry that the man is going to get his way. She gets to the operating room and attempts to scrub off an entire layer of skin before she confronting the father right before he goes under for surgery. (I understand her perspective, and it’s a tough subject, but she is extremely unlikable in this episode.) She tells him that donating his kidney is the very least he can do, and he’s not a hero for doing it. She suggests (more like demands/threatens) that he donate anonymously and stay out of their lives.
Eliza updates Arizona on the kidney situation, and Arizona assures her that the option that keeps everyone alive is the best option. They flirt a little until Eliza spots Webber walking up, and she abruptly and loudly starts complaining about Arizona obstructing her. Once she’s gone, Webber tries to vent to his close friend, Arizona, about how Eliza is a menace, to which Arizona replies with generic unconvincing ‘uh huh’s.
Claire’s father arrives, and the doctors take the two parents (who divorced after their daughter’s ‘death’) to see Claire. It’s unlikely that Claire will even know who they are. The psych consult explains that he may need to try another medication to help stabilize Claire.
Stephanie starts transplanting the father’s kidney into the son, and our view changes from the operation to the gallery above the OR. Bailey sits down next to Webber, who is watching the surgery. Webber asks if Meredith is coming back, and he thinks Bailey refusing to lift the suspension when she says Meredith won’t be back yet. She fills him in on Meredith’s stubbornness to return without Webber.
Webber visits Meredith to tell her to stop being stubborn. Meredith says every time she thinks about giving in, she hears her mom say “Meredith, it’s Richard!” After Webber reminds that Ellis would never put him above her career, Meredith says that the whole point is for her to be better than her mother. Webber leaves after reiterating that Meredith should take her job back.
April comes home to a cold Jackson, and she speaks up about how well the transplant went and how inspiring she finds this new way of teaching, even if Jackson disapproves.
Arizona tells Eliza that she doesn’t think this secret relationship is fun, like Eliza does. She doesn’t like pretending not to like Eliza and listening to all of her friends say bad things about her. After a string of compliments in the form of a rant, Eliza stops Arizona for a kiss right outside of the hospital. If they’re still trying to keep this a secret, they’re not doing a very good job. But it is a sweet moment.
Riggs and Maggie bring Claire’s parents into her room. After a minute of Claire talking to the doctors about the snakes, Claire looks over at her parents and says “hi mom.” They were prepared for Claire to not know who they are, so as soon as she acknowledges them, her mom’s eyes well up, and they ask if they can sit with her. Riggs watches them reconnect and his eyes well up with tears.
Chris’s mom wakes up and is confused when they tell her that she still had her kidney and Chris has his own new kidney. Jo tells her that it was an anonymous directed donation. Chris’s mom is amazed at how good people can be.
Hunt catches Jo leaving at the end of her shift and asks if she’s okay. She starts crying and they hug.
Maggie comes home. Meredith is reading on the bed, and on the other side of the bed in a depressed, silent state is Amelia. Maggie talks about how sad Riggs was today, and how the situation of someone who had been missing for a long time resurfacing must’ve brought up everything that happened with his presumed late-fiancée, Megan. Meredith brings up that when Derek died, there was one day where she didn’t know where he was. She had pretended things were fine, but knew they weren’t, and, of course, we all know the rest of that story. She speculates that Riggs probably feels that way every day.
Now that we’ve been semi-reminded that Meredith and Riggs had a secret affair going on at the beginning of this season, will next episode call back to that in a bigger way, or has everyone moved on? Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.