‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 18 Episode 16: Probation Blues (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 Episode 16 “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”]
Catherine (Debbie Allen) and Bailey (Chandra Wilson) have a residency program to save in Grey’s Anatomy Season 18, Episode 16, May 5’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” As we saw in the previous episode, our Grey Sloan heroes have three weeks to find more surgeons to teach residents before the program gets shut down for good.
Bailey is ready to start interviewing attendings, but Catherine commands her to focus on the residents and to beg them to stay in the program and to give it good reviews.
But Bailey still sneaks in one attending job offer: She asks Jo (Camilla Luddington) to give up her OB/GYN residency and become a general surgery attending, if only until the surgery program is out of probation. “This hospital has given you a lot, Wilson,” Bailey says, laying the guilt on thick. “Hopefully you’ll return the favor.”
Jo talks it over that night with Todd (Skylar Astin), her date, and Link (Chris Carmack), her best friend. (Link, by the way, isn’t so sure Jo actually likes Todd, since he’s not exactly her usual type. “I want nice to be my type,” Jo replies.) And over dinner at Joe’s, Todd suggests that Jo do both career tracks, and Link agrees. “Keep your residency and moonlight for Bailey,” Link says.
Bailey also goes rogue when she sends Wright (Greg Tarzan Davis) back to Minnesota — against Catherine’s wishes. She’s not sending Wright away because he’s a bad surgeon. To the contrary, actually: He’s such a good surgeon that Bailey wants to protect his future at a point when the Grey Sloan residency program is in jeopardy.
And at the end of the episode, Bailey tells Catherine she’s taking a vacation day or two. She’s tired of being the superhero of the hospital, she says, and she’s tired of missing time with her family. But she’s not quitting, nor is she going on leave. She’s just taking some time off.
Meanwhile, Addison (Kate Walsh) is back at Grey Sloan in this episode with Tovah (Meryl Hathaway), her uterine transplant patient. And Addison teases her old colleagues about the probation and jokes about Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) taking a job in Minnesota to continue her neuro research. “Meredith Grey, back at neuro, pissing everyone off,” Addison observes. “It’s like I never left.”
Tovah has a blood clot, so Addison schedules an angioplasty, recruiting Richard (James Pickens Jr.) and Meredith to join her in the OR, even though Richard is angry with Mer for jumping ship. “We’re all adults here,” Addison says. “Let’s act like it.”
In the OR, the team discovers that Tovah has blood vessels with thrombosis, so Mer suggests a bypass technique that ultimately saves Tovah’s uterus. But neither Levi (Jake Borelli), who’s on his first day back at work, nor Addison can hear a fetal heartbeat. Tovah’s baby didn’t make it. Later, Levi finds Tovah and recites the Mourner’s Kaddish, which he says gave him comfort after his grandfather died.
Oh, and speaking of Levi, he has not one but two awkward elevator rides with Nico. On the second, he simply tells Nico that he was in pain during his self-exile from the hospital. Nico reminds him that Levi asked him to leave when Nico checked in on him. But Levi points out that when Nico was going through a painful chapter, he didn’t stop checking in on him. “Well, I guess that’s the difference between you and I,” Nico says.
Addison, by the way, reveals to Richard in this episode that she actually doesn’t have such fond memories of her residency at the hospital now called Grey Sloan. For example, she remembers being taught that patients were either wins or losses instead of people, a line of thinking that has taken her years to unlearn. “You are trying to save a version of the program that’s old. It’s broken,” she tells Richard. “You gotta stop reminiscing about the past and look toward the future.”
And you know what’s not the future? The medical technology that Winston’s (Anthony Hill) brother, Wendell (Rome Flynn), is hawking at Grey Sloan this week. It’s called the HeartPatch, and it’s a wireless EKG patch that is supposed to beam cardio info to the physician’s mobile device. But it doesn’t work for Maggie (Kelly McCreary) and Winston, and Wendell later confesses to his brother that he just found the HeartPatch online and took out a loan to buy the whole supply. Now he’s out 10 grand to a loan shark, and he needs Winston’s help. Yikes!
The other patient of the week is Colin, a man who got his arm severed in a freak conveyer belt accident. Owen (Kevin McKidd), who’s also on his first day back at work, takes Colin into surgery, but Colin codes before they get going. As they resuscitate the guy, Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) reminds Owen that it’s “life before limb,” but Owen is determined to save both. Eventually, though, he acknowledges that Colin is too fragile to continue. To be continued…?
And speaking of Owen, he and Teddy (Kim Raver) have a difference of opinion about their child, Leo, who has gone from wearing dresses to identifying as a girl. Owen wants to follow Leo’s lead, but Teddy thinks Leo’s confused. “I want to get it right, and going all in now doesn’t feel right,” Teddy says.
Owen, however, convinces Teddy that they shouldn’t be Leo’s “first bully,” and they agree to go the therapy as parents to better support their child.
And in the episode’s closing minutes, Meredith comes home to find Nick (Scott Speedman) waiting on her porch. He tells her she shouldn’t come to Minnesota: He doesn’t want her to resent him if it doesn’t work out. But Mer has been guilted all day about leaving, and she’s tired of people suggesting she doesn’t have the right to leave. “It’s absurd,” she tells Nick. “You know what else it is? It’s my decision. And I’ve made it. So this is all very patronizing.”
But Nick contends that he was only suggesting that they stay long enough to save the residency program. “Why didn’t you lead with that?” Mer says. They decide to stay in Seattle… but just for a little while. (Hey, we have a 19th season to look forward to, right?)
Grey’s Anatomy, Thursdays, 9/8c, ABC