The seasons started with DeLuca pressing charges on Alex after he nearly beat DeLuca to death for what looked like DeLuca sexually assaulting Jo. Before the case hits trial, Jo finally tells Alex her big secret: She’s technically already married, and she’s been living under a false name so that her abusive husband won’t find her. Alex decides to take a plea deal instead of continuing on to trial because Jo is afraid that her real identity might come up when she’s forced to testify, and she’s afraid that her husband will find her once those court records are public. Alex is sitting in the office of the deputy prosecuting attorney when DeLuca comes in, dropping the charges. “What was his motive?” you may ask. Well, it’s simple. Ben told DeLuca about Jo’s concerns with being called to testify, and DeLuca thinks Jo has gone through enough in her life without dragging her through this, too. Later in the season, he tries to confide in Stephanie that he’s in love with Jo, but Steph doesn’t care to hear about his personal drama, and when he attempts to talk to Jo about his feelings, she tells him to keep it to himself.
Meredith spent all season trying to avoid a romance with Riggs after finding out her half-sister, Maggie, also liked him. Things change, however, when she and Riggs coincidentally run into each other on an airplane while traveling to a conference neither knew the other was planning on attending. The two start dating openly, and Maggie gets over her anger at Meredith keeping this secret for months. Meredith begins to put away some keepsakes from her marriage (the tumor Derek drew on the bedroom wall, their post-it marriage, etc.) as she tries to move forward with her life. Riggs’s life is shoved backwards, however, when two soldiers show up on Owen’s doorstep, informing him that his sister (Riggs’s fiancee) was found alive after 10 years of being assumed dead.
Speaking of Owen, he and his newlywed wife, Amelia, were trying to conceive a baby, but once Amelia took a pregnancy test, she found herself desperately hoping to not be pregnant. We learn that in her junkie past, she had given birth to a brainless baby, who died within the hour, and she’s terrified for the possibility of going through that again. Instead of talking to Owen about any of this, she disappears for a while. She didn’t leave Owen, but wanted to put off all of the fights. They’re in a situation where they want completely different things, and their only options are win-lose or lose-lose. All of that mess aside, the moment Owen needs someone after finding out his sister, Megan, is alive, Amelia is completely by his side and helping every way that she can.
Under Catherine Avery’s advisement, Bailey hired Eliza Minnick to replace Webber as head of the residency program at Grey-Sloan after the return of resident Leah Murphy (She had been failing at this hospital, but thrived under the teaching elsewhere). Eliza’s methods are popular with the students, who get to be much more hands-on, but fairly unpopular with the attendings, mainly due to their loyalties to Webber. Eliza’s presence causes a lot of unpleasantness and drama. Webber starts sleeping at the hospital due to the the betrayal of his wife, Catherine, and he barely talks to Arizona, who started dating Eliza, or Bailey, who owes her success in part to Webber.
April and Jackson move back in together to co-parent their newborn daughter, Harriet, after their divorce. They live platonically and try to figure out how to not be awkward about dating other people. The two have a bit of a falling out when April is appointed interim chief of general surgery due to Meredith’s insubordination, but April’s duties end once Webber convinces Meredith to agree to work with Eliza. It seemed maybe a reconciliation was in the works between April and Jackson when they hooked up during a visit to an Avery hospital in Montana (where Jackson met his father, who was a brilliant surgeon but now owns a bar). At the end of the season, however, it seems that Jackson is interested in Maggie, and maybe Maggie likes him back, too, and April is fine with that.
Maggie’s mom, Diane Pierce, comes to town to meet with Jackson for a plastic surgery consultation. She meets, and gets along with, all of Maggie’s coworkers, including Maggie’s birth father, Richard Webber. Maggie becomes annoyed with her mother for wanting to get a boob job. Meredith tells her to demand Diane to tell her what her reasons are, but Amelia advises that Diane doesn’t owe her an explanation. It’s not until much later that Maggie finds out that Diane actually has inflammatory breast cancer. After regular radiation and chemo don’t cure her mother, Maggie finds a clinical trial that Diane can be part of. It drains everything out of Diane, and her last few months are miserable. They know the end is coming, and they have to accept it. Diane gives her daughter all of the advice she can think to say, and then dies when Maggie stands up to shut a window. (Did you know that most people on their deathbeds won’t pass over until loved ones leave the room? It’s true. I have more experience with hospice than I’d like.)
Stephanie had an awesome year of slaying surgeries, though, under Eliza’s advisement, Stephanie lost the life of a young boy who had been in for a routine procedure. Since it was done laparoscopically, no one knew he had internal bleeding until it was too late. Eliza freezes up because she has never killed a child before, since her profession usually pertains to the elderly and athletes. Stephanie goes to Webber for support, and he knocks it out of the park with reassurances and he helps her talk to the parents. I thought this whole story line would have a bigger effect on things, but it didn’t, other than accentuate how good Webber is at his job.
Stephanie runs into trouble of a different kind when faced with parents whose religious beliefs prevents them from seeking medical attention for their son, who is going blind from a brain tumor. Her acts inappropriately hostile toward the parents, and under Alex Karev, she operates on the child without consent. All of this results in being sent to counseling. When Stephanie comes back to work, Eliza thinks it is still too early, and she assigns Stephanie to tasks that interns would usually do, including “babysitting” patients. On that day, her patient happened to be a deceitful and very dangerous rapist, Keith. He takes Stephanie at blade-point and makes her lead him out of the hospital before the cops can find him. When Bailey talks to his victim and realizes that he should be arrested, she puts the hospital in lockdown until he can be found. When the hospital goes into lockdown, Keith and Stephanie are on an abandoned floor with a wandering little girl named Erin. Realizing that they are stuck on this floor until he is caught, Keith starts a fire, in hopes of overriding the lockdown via fire alarm. When his back is turned, Stephanie douses him in alcohol and lets the flame he is holding catch him engulf him in flames. When the fire overpowers him, Keith lays down by a bunch of oxygen tanks, which causes an explosion. The hospital evacuates, and Jackson tells Eliza to tell the police that Stephanie is missing and likely with Keith. Stephanie manages to save herself and Erin, but not without severe burns and many nearly hopeless situations. Ben leads the firefighters to where he last saw Stephanie, and there we see Keith’s toasted body. A trail of Erin’s blood (due to a leg injury) shows the path the two girls took up to the roof. They find Stephanie CPR-ing Erin, and take Erin into surgery. Stephanie’s adrenaline holds out until she finds out that Erin is okay, and then she passes out. Once she’s stable in a hospital bed with DeLuca rubbing ointment on her burns, she tenders her resignation to Webber, saying she wants to see a life outside of the hospital’s walls.
Following the event with Stephanie, Eliza is fired. Eliza had been sticking so hard to her protocols and yelling at everyone who strayed from them during the evacuation, and she was unapologetic about completely forgetting to tell the police about Stephanie being missing that entire time. Bailey realizes that she doesn’t want their residents to turn into robot surgeons like Eliza. She wants them to be adaptable, perceptive humans like Webber.
A few minor details: intern Isaac Cross (pictured below) had abdominal tuberculosis, but April operated on him and he’s fine now. Bailey’s son Tuck gets in trouble at school for fighting, and Ben asks his wife to let him be the bad cop and discipline him. He shows Tuck pictures from when he was almost beat to death by Alex as a way to scare him straight. Meredith, Maggie, Alex, and Amelia (after leaving Owen) all live together, and I love the dynamic between everyone. While Alex was still awaiting his trial date, he wasn’t allowed to work as a surgeon, and Bailey shipped him over to the Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic, which we had all been wondering if it still existed. In 13×23, Alex tracks down Jo‘s abusive husband, and we learn that Jo’s real name is Brooke Stadler.
For more in depth season 13 episode recaps, click here. Stay tuned for Grey’s news throughout the summer. See you in the fall for season 14!