I can sum this episode up in six words: NO. NO. Thank God. Ooh. NO.
At the end of the previous episode, Stephanie caught a violent rapist on fire (It’s a long story. Read the 13×23 recap), and when the flames became too much for him, he laid down next to several tanks of oxygen, which caused an explosion. We pick up where we left off — Meredith seeing the explosion from the parking lot of the hospital. Arizona and Eliza are also in the parking lot, and they all run toward the entrance. The police at the doors won’t let them in because of the lockdown, but Bailey gives them clearance.
Maggie doesn’t want to accept that the explosion they just heard and felt was actually real, but she knows that it is, and that it’s the escaped rapist guy’s fault. Jackson goes over to the door and it opens, since the building’s lockdown overrides when there is fire. He takes off to find Stephanie, and Maggie tells him to be careful.
All available doctors gather while Firefighter Carroll informs them on where the fires are and the severity. There may be structural damage to floors five and six. Webber and Bailey continue, saying that that all incoming trauma will be directed to another hospital for now. Patients in immediate or impending danger need to be evacuated first. The ER, radiology, nursery and daycare are unaffected areas, so those patients can stay put. They will be directed to the areas most in need of assistance, and April will be setting up the holding area for evacuated patients in parking lot 1.
Jackson is still rushing through the hospital to find Stephanie. He opens a door, and there is fire burning through the ceiling. He closes the door and continues on elsewhere. Meredith finds her sister, Maggie, and is relieved to find that she is okay. Meredith had texted Maggie several times, but Maggie hadn’t had her phone with her when the hospital went into lockdown. She asks Maggie if she’s seen Riggs, which she hasn’t, but tells Meredith not to assume he’s been injured. Meredith just wants to tell him the big news — Megan is alive. After Maggie walks away, Meredith notices a man freaking out, trying to get back in the hospital. It’s Erin’s father, and he tells Meredith that Erin is missing again.
Up on the floor where the explosion had been, Erin’s leg is trapped under something, and there are many flames between Erin and Stephanie.
The doctors continue evacuating patients. Ben and a doctor that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before pick a woman up by the corners of her bedsheets and carry her down the stairs like Cleopatra. Jackson and Meredith rush by — Jackson looking for Stephanie and Meredith looking for Erin. Eliza is deeply bothered that these two doctors aren’t following protocol and helping evacuate.
Amelia gives instructions to a babysitter who looks like Mrs. McCluskey from Desperate Housewives (for a second, I thought that that was who it was, but then I realized this is the wrong show). Since Grey-Sloan is in lockdown and is unstable due to the explosion, Megan won’t be able to land in the Seattle hospital. Instead, she’ll be transferred to Madigan Army Medical Center, which is a few hours away, so they’ll need to leave immediately. He’s been advised to bring photographs and keepsakes.
Stephanie looks around for a fire extinguisher so she can get to Erin. Erin asks if the man is gone. Lucky her, he completely burned to death. Stephanie tells Erin to keep her face low and to stay as far from the fire as possible. Erin says that she can’t, and Stephanie sees that Erin’s leg has been impaled. Stephanie takes off her lab coat and wets it in the leaking faucet by her. Then she throws it on top of the flame that is separating her from Erin. Once she’s across the room, she pulls the machine out of Erin’s leg. Erin asks her to move it away, but Stephanie says that it being there is keeping the blood in her leg for now, so she needs to find supplies to fix Erin’s leg first. Stephanie yells in frustration, “Aah! How the hell am I gonna fix her leg?!” and Erin tells her to calm tf down because she’s scaring her. The flames are roaring even more loudly, and it’s notable that Stephanie has some pretty bad burns all over her arms. Finally she finds some supplies and returns to Erin with a makeshift tourniquet. Steph tells Erin that she had been in the hospital a lot as a kid, and doctors sometimes had to do things that hurt her. She would ball her hands into fists, and dig her nails into her hand, and that always helped distract her from the medical pain. She also tells Erin that sometimes screaming her head off helped, too, so if Erin needs to scream, she should. As Stephanie starts to dig into the wound with scissors, Erin balls her fists up and screams.
In the parking lot, April gives out instructions. Alex shows up and asks Meredith what’s going on. She tells him about the explosion, and when he asks about his patients, she relays what she had been told — those floors seem to be safe. She, in return, asks what happened with Alex and Jo’s husband, Paul, whom he had tracked down in the previous episode. He just vaguely says that the trip was a waste. She tells Alex to look for Erin.
April checks in with Ben and the patient he brought down. His breathing is very heavy and he worries April. She asks if he’s okay, and he admits that he’s not a big fan of fire. April says to imagine that it’s a parking lot barbecue, which kind of freaked me out, to be quite honest, because of Keith burning to death. I must say no thank you to a human barbecue. April suggests that he take a minute before going back into the hospital, but we all know that Ben likes to be a hero, so even his biggest fear won’t stop him. April calls Maggie over to check the patient benefits had brought down. Once they establish that she is stable, the two wheel her across the parking lot. April asks if Maggie has seen Jackson, and Maggie tells her about Jackson running off to find Stephanie the moment the alarms went off and unlocked the doors. April is annoyed at Jackson’s heroism, and notes another time that Jackson had run into a fire to save someone.
Stephanie loosened the tourniquet to see if there is less bleeding, which there is, so she scoots Erin away and then helps her stand up. She half helps Erin walk, and half carries her. Something burning blocks their path, and they worry for a moment about their obstructed path. Stephanie looks around and sees the sink again. She finds a blanket and soaks it, and her hair, in water. She picks Erin up and wraps them both in the blanket before jumping through the fire. Once they’re through the fire, they tumble through the door, into the stairwell. They look down and see fire. Looking up, Steph realizes that their safest bet is walking the many, many flights up to the roof.
Jackson finds a woman with kidney stones in intense pain and struggling to walk. Jackson tries to help, but she really doesn’t want his help. After a moment, he scoops her up into his arms and carries her away.
Meredith finds Riggs, along with an anesthesiologist and Bokhee, in the OR, operating. He was midway through a lobectomy when the alarm went off, and he didn’t want to jump ship. Meredith understands, and suits up (without scrubbing in??). A fireman comes in, telling them to evacuate, but the surgeons say they need fifteen minutes to finish. He tells them that they can have exactly that long and then they need to leave.
Jackson puts the lady down on a stretcher in the parking lot, but not without being spotted and reprimanded by both Maggie and April. Jackson can’t stop coughing from breathing in all of the smoke, and April hands him an oxygen mask. April reminds Jackson that he is a surgeon, not a firefighter. Jackson raises his voice to defend himself, and Maggie yells at him for yelling at the mother of his child. April shoves Jackson, asking “What would I have told Harriet?!” When Jackson moves the mask to speak again, Maggie holds it to his face and tells him to breathe. A weird moment passes between everyone.
As Amelia drives, Owen begins a story about how Megan used to call him Eeyore during the war because it made him grumpy and serious. When Amelia says what we’re all thinking (“War would make anyone grumpy”), Owen responds that Megan was still happy, and smiley, and would make jokes. He had been told that Megan was found ten miles from where he had been stationed.
Stephanie and Erin struggle their way up the last few steps, but finally they’ve made it. Steph walks over to the door, but it’s locked and she doesn’t have her keycard. She looks back down the stairs at the fire and sinks down against the door in defeat. All that work just to find out that it’s hopeless. (This is the part where I, as a viewer, feel like crying my eyes out, but try to keep it together so I don’t feel ridiculous for crying at my television.) Steph tells Erin that they are going to sit down right here under the blanket, and that they are going to be fine. Erin says that her mom always tells her that pulling the covers over your head won’t help, and that you need to turn on the lights and face it so that the scary goes away. Stephanie reminds Erin that she is a doctor, and as a doctor, she knows this is their best chance. Steph wraps Erin in the blanket, leaving herself uncovered so that Erin is safer. Steph looks down and sees her card a few flights down (six, if I counted correctly). Erin doesn’t want her to leave, but Steph takes off anyway. Erin can’t see anything through the smoke. A couple of minutes later, Stephanie reappears with her keycard. Once they’re on the roof, Steph lays Erin down and goes to the ledge to shout down for help. No one can hear, and it kind of annoys me that she didn’t take off her shoe and try to throw it at/by someone, since she can see a bunch of people. Erin passes out and Stephanie starts CPR while continuing to scream.
In the parking lot after the surgery, Meredith gives Riggs an oxygen mask. The fire had been on the floor above his OR, and he was supposed to evacuate a long time before he did.
Maggie nags Jackson about getting more oxygen when she catches him without his mask. He sees Bailey and asks if there has been any word on Stephanie, who has been missing since the lockdown. Bailey hadn’t heard about this at all, and Jackson tells her that Eliza was supposed to tell the police to look for her. Bailey shouts over to Eliza, asking about Stephanie, and Eliza admits that she forgot(!?!?!?!?) because she was focused on patients. Ben, standing next to his wife, says that he had seen Stephanie shortly before the lockdown with her patient, Keith. Bailey frantically asks where he had seen her. He looks at the floor plan with the firefighters, but it’s hard for him to tell on paper. Firefighter Carroll is not okay with a civilian walking into a fire, but with the policeman on Ben’s side, Ben grabs a firefighter coat and runs to the building to show them first-hand, much to his wife’s displeasure. They find the floor where the explosion happened and we see a roasted corpse (Keith). After studying it for a minute, Ben decides that this corpse is too tall to be Stephanie. He looks around and finds a trail of blood from Erin’s leg.
These blood splatters lead them up to the roof where they find Stephanie still trying to CPR Erin. She shouts for them to bring an I.V. access, air, an ambu bag, and a gurney. Once they’re back in the hospital, Steph continues CPR while Erin is being wheeled through on a gurney. Bailey and Eliza both try to get Stephanie to let someone else take over while Steph gets checked out herself. Stephanie is panicked as she says that she deep-fried a rapist and dove through a wall of fire to save this little girl, so she can’t die now. Eliza protests, but Bailey follows Stephanie’s orders to operate in the ER. Stephanie breathes her oxygen and holds Erin’s hand during surgery. Webber asks if they should amputate the leg, but Stephanie says to save the leg, so they come up with a plan. Jackson comes in to check on Erin, but his focus shifts when he sees what bad shape Stephanie is in. He tries to look at her burns and asks her to lie down. When she waves him off, he leaves to get an I.V. bag for hydration. Once Bailey says that Erin is stable and will be able to make it through and keep her leg, Stephanie faints with relief. (Bye adrenaline.)
Meredith checks on Riggs in an ambulance, where he’s still getting oxygen. She tells him to take a deep breath so she can see if he’ll be able to breathe when she tells him what she has to tell him. He seems to be stable, so she brings up ‘the dream,’ referring to the dreams they have where their loved one comes back and was never really dead. He’s a little confused, naturally, so Meredith proceeds to tell him that they found Megan alive. His response, “That’s not funny,” ruined the moment for me, and I immediately started laughing about how not funny it is. Riggs starts crying, and then he starts wheezing and coughing. Meredith hands him the oxygen mask and comforts him.
Amelia and Owen arrive at the army hospital and are greeted by two soldiers. Owen goes back into shock after they start explaining things. Everyone starts walking down the hall, except Owen stays frozen in place.
Catherine stands in front of Bailey, Webber and Eliza. She asks why it took them so long to find Stephanie and Erin, and Eliza responds that she was focused on patients, which is her job. Webber starts to bring up protocol, but Eliza interrupts, cattily remarking that if Stephanie had followed protocol, she would have been in counseling, and she wouldn’t have been in this situation. (Eliza, I always try to be open to your perspective, but WHAT!? If Stephanie wasn’t there, this could have easily happened to someone else instead, and that person might have had worse luck dealing with Keith. What a low and petty way to try to pass the blame.) Bailey stops Eliza and says that that little girl would have died if Stephanie wasn’t there, and that she doesn’t think there is a place for Eliza at Grey-Sloan anymore. Catherine tries to make Bailey cool down, but Bailey reminds her that she is the chief of this hospital, and this is her call. As Bailey sees it, Eliza clings too tightly to protocol and doesn’t know when to let go in order to save a patient. Bailey says that she and Stephanie were taught right by Webber, and Webber will continue being the head of the residency program.
Maggie apologizes to April for yelling at Jackson and going too far. April stops Maggie and says that she was in a relationship with Jackson, so she knows what it looks like when Jackson likes someone, and she can tell that Jackson likes Maggie. Maggie is caught off-guard, and April continues on to say that if Maggie likes him too, as April suspects, she should tell him. Maybe I should have been expecting this potential ship, but I wasn’t. I am, however, excited for it.
Arizona finds her girlfriend and asks if she wants to come over to her place. Eliza tells her that she has to pack up because she was fired.)
DeLuca treats Stephanie’s severe burns. He offers to turn up her morphine, as he can see she is in a lot of pain, but she doesn’t want it yet. Webber comes in and tells Stephanie that her burns are severe and it’ll be a while before she can operate as a surgeon, but that the entire staff of the hospital is here for her. Stephanie has other things in mind, as she resigns. She spent her childhood in the hospital as a patient. She grew up and became a doctor, so she is still spending all of her time inside of a hospital. She wants to go out and see the world and experience a life other than this. She thanks him for teaching her how to take her past and find her path. Once she’s done talking, she asks DeLuca to turn up the morphine.
Riggs asks Meredith more questions, but she doesn’t really have answers. All she knows is the name of the hospital. Riggs heads to his car, and Meredith asks if he’s okay to drive. She offers to drive, if he can’t do it himself. He turns and asks “Megan’s alive?” when Meredith says yes, he picks Meredith up and spins her around, both of them smiling. He realizes, though, that this might be a small personal tragedy on Meredith’s behalf, and starts to apologize. Meredith is honestly extremely happy for him, and she says that if it were Derek, she would already be out of here, so she understands and supports this. Nevertheless, as he speeds away, there are some tears in Meredith’s eyes.
The episode ends with Owen and Amelia standing on the roof of the VA hospital, where Megan has just arrived by helicopter. Four army doctors push his red-haired sister on a gurney toward him.
I should just be happy that Stephanie wasn’t killed off, but since she had become one of my favorite characters in the past two seasons, I’m not happy that she’s leaving. Especially since she isn’t leaving for her own spin-off. (A friend and I had recently discussed how we would be up for a Neurosurgeons spin-off with Stephanie and Amelia.) It’ll be interesting to see how Megan’s return affects things in season 14, and, with ships motivating me through all works of fiction (Hey, I am what I am.), I can’t wait for Jackson and Maggie’s relationship.