‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17 Episode 16: Mer Gets a New Job (RECAP)

Ellen Pompeo Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Premiere Meredith
Spoiler Alert

The title of Grey’s Anatomy’s May 27 episode—Season 17, Episode 16, a.k.a. “I’m Still Standing”—is a bit of a misnomer. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), who’s still recovering from her COVID-19 battle, can’t stand for long periods of time. And she’s worried that her surgical career is over without that stamina. But then Bailey (Chandra Wilson) makes her an offer she can’t refuse…

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Grey’s Anatomy Season 17, Episode 16, “I’m Still Standing.”]

As the episode starts, Meredith is recuperating from her COVID-19 battle at home—and telling Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) to get to work, since Amelia is covering both her patients and Koracick’s (now that Koracick left for Boston with Jackson). But more on Mer later—there’s other drama to cover!

Levi (Jake Borelli), for example, gets admitted into a vaccine trial, and his trial administrator is one Dr. Mason Post, who unabashedly flirts with him. But then Levi sees Nico (Alex Landi) in the hospital hallway, and Nico asks him for a relationship status update since Levi has been distant ever since he told Nico that he didn’t want to move in together. Levi says he’s not sure he wants to be exclusive with Nico, but Nico says he wants him and only him.

Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 16 Nico

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Mason eventually asks Levi over to his place, and later that night, we see Levi show up… at Nico’s place. “I panicked because I love you—I’m just really used to you not feeling it back,” he says. But Nico definitely feels it back, so much so that he lights candles every night on the off chance that Levi will show up. “I just want to make you tea and take care of you,” he tells Nico. “I never want to be without you, OK? I love you. I’m in love with you.” It’s a romantic reunion!

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One of the patients of the week Skyler, a 25-year-old who suffered a head fracture and an intracranial bleed after a car accident—and who doesn’t wake up after Amelia operates on her. Owen (Kevin McKidd) suggests that Skyler is a lost cause, but Amelia is determined to save her, since she’s a mother now and she relates to Skyler’s father, who tells Amelia that he struggled with work-life balance for Skyler’s whole childhood.

Serendipitiously, Link (Chris Carmack) happens to call Amelia while she’s looking at Skyler’s MRI, and as he plays guitar over FaceTime, Skyler’s brain lights up with activity. Amelia realizes that she can get Skyler to activate different parts of her brain to answer yes-or-no questions, and Amelia lets Skyler’s dad talk to her through the MRI speaker.

Another patient this episode is Gwen, a woman in congestive heart failure. Miraculously, a donor heart comes through, and Gwen sails through the transplant process with no signs of organ rejection. Still, she complains of intense headaches and double vision, and the docs are stumped… until Richard (James Pickens Jr.) and Maggie (Kelly McCreary) realize she’s faking her symptoms.

Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode Maggie Helm Richard

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Gwen finally fesses up, saying that she’s been adrift since her husband died and her dog went missing. (“I have friends here, the nurses and doctors,” she tells the surgeons. “You tell me about your lives, and you don’t get bored when I talk.”) So Helm (Jaicy Elliot) gives Gwen her number so that they can talk whenever Gwen feels lonely, and Richard and Maggie even reunite her with her missing pooch.

And the other patient of the week—or perhaps the patient of the season—is little Luna, the orphaned baby Jo (Camilla Luddington) has been watching over. Luna has gastroesophageal reflux disease, and when she goes into cardiac arrest, Jo decides once and for all that she wants to adopt the little girl.

Cormac (Richard Flood) wants to do a Nissen fundoplication on Luna, but Luna’s social worker, Carmen, rejects that plan of action. Carmen also tells Jo she’s sorry Jo’s adoption application was denied, and after Carmen leaves, Jo explains to Cormac that she was turned down because she didn’t pass the background check. (Remember, Jo was a bit of a teenage outlaw.)

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Speaking of children, Link decides in this episode that he wants children of his own. But Amelia doesn’t, which she tells to Owen and not to Link. She has her hands full with Link and Scout, she says, and she’s at her maximum bandwidth. She’s not even attending her meetings these days. And when we last see Amelia, she’s lying to Link about being stuck at work—when, really, she’s hiding out at Mer’s house.

In more romantic news, Maggie spends the episode feeling ambivalent about her wedding to Winston (Anthony Hill). (OK, that’s not so romantic, but bear with us.) She loves Winston and wants to marry him, but she’s just feeling iffy on the wedding plans. But then she realizes that she’s been waffling because she knows her late mom won’t be there. So she proposes a smaller wedding. And it’s a good thing Winston happily agrees, because his mom and her biological dad hop out of a limo parked in the parking lot!

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OK, back to Meredith. Meredith has spent weeks at home by the end of the episode, trying to get stronger and not making much progress. She even gets winded lifting her kids, as she tells Bailey, and she’s worried about lingering brain fog and fatigue.

But Bailey gets an idea: She wants Mer to run the residency program instead of Richard. Richard has too many jobs, since he’s also operating and acting as Chief of Chiefs, and Bailey knows he’ll retire at some point. Plus, Bailey knows Mer is passionate about racial equity, and she fully expects Mer to “sandblast” any bias out of her students. And when Bailey presses for an answer, Mer says, “Am I allowed to say yes?”

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Grey’s Anatomy, Thursdays, 9/8c, ABC