‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Fall Finale: Mer’s Life Goes Up in Smoke (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains major spoilers for Grey’s Anatomy Season 19, Episode 6, “Thunderstruck.”]
We’ve seen the Station 19 team on Grey’s Anatomy plenty of times, usually as they drop off patients at Grey Sloan, as two of the firefighters did this week. But in this fall finale for Grey’s — November 10’s Season 19, Episode 6, “Thunderstruck” — the firefighters have a blaze to battle at one of the docs’ homes.
As the episode starts, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is sending her resignation email to her Grey Sloan colleagues, saying she’s following an exciting new opportunity with the Fox Foundation in Boston.
Gone are the days when you had to turn off your computer during a lightning storm, apparently, because Mer is blithely using her laptop even with a full-blown thunderstorm raging outside.
No, she certainly didn’t consult on-again boyfriend Nick (Scott Speedman) about her impending cross-country move. And yes, he’s salty about it. He gets that she has to do whatever’s best for her kids, but he’s upset she didn’t seem to consider him in her decision.
And speaking of that dashing doc from Minnesota, Richard (James Pickens Jr.) asks Nick if he’s leaving the hospital, too. But Nick isn’t sure. After all, he has five reasons to stay in Seattle: the five surgical interns, all of whom are anxious about the future of the program without Meredith. Nick tries reassuring them that the program is more than just one person and that they’ll still get the education they deserve.
And on the topic of education, we learn in this episode that Kwan (Harry Shum Jr.) went to St. Kitts for medical school: He was a star pupil and athlete in high school, but during his college years, his mother got sick and died, and his grades plummeted. He confides all this to Millin (Adelaide Kane), and we have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ll hear of that chapter of his life.
Kwan isn’t the only intern with a secret, of course. Adams (Niko Terho) is still holding his Shepherd status close to the vest. But after Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) catches Kwan and Yasuda (Midori Francis) snickering about her and Adams in the elevator, she practically pulls Adams by the ear into the skills lab, where she has him confess that she’s his aunt and not his secret lover. The interns don’t seem all that shocked. Nick, however, is a little miffed that Mer didn’t give him a heads-up about Adams being her relative.
OK, on to the patients of the week: One of the patients is Tessa, a famous children’s book author, played by Home Improvement’s Patricia Richardson. Tessa, whose books Meredith and Griffith (Alexis Floyd) read as kids, has chronic pancreatitis, and she’s undergoing a whipple procedure. She has one more story in her, as she tells her docs, and she wants her readers to get closure to a decades-long book series. But she’s also realistic. She knows she might not survive the operation.
Tessa needn’t have worried, though: Meredith, Nick, Adams, and Griffith pull off a successful whipple. Well, Meredith, Nick, and Griffiths do, anyway. Adams gets the boot from the OR after Mer catches him spacing out mid-operation. In the scrub room, Adams bemoans his performance (or lack thereof). Griffith comforts him, and he kisses her. But she breaks off the liplock, telling him she just can’t.
The other patient this week is Jonathan, a TV reporter who survived a car crash and a lightning strike but has a large piece of metal impaling his chest. A team of docs saves his life, including Teddy (Kim Raver), who at one point sticks her finger in his chest to clear his airway. After the operation, Yasuda tells Teddy that she’s “a badass boss lady.” Yasuda even says she wants to be her when she grows up.
Owen (Kevin McKidd) overhears all this praise and suggests that Teddy apply to be chief of surgery in Meredith’s absence. (Owen had pitched himself for that job earlier in the day, but Richard reminded him that the hospital needed a chief who didn’t have a suspended medical license.)
Elsewhere at the hospital, the grand opening of Bailey’s (Chandra Wilson) reproductive health clinic gets delayed because of an accreditation delay and because of the lightning storm. But the accreditation comes through that evening, and Bailey celebrates the low-key “grand opening” of the Elena Bailey Memorial Clinic for Reproductive Health alongside Jo (Camilla Luddington), Link (Chris Carmack), and Carina (Stefania Spampinato).
Bailey’s mom is the namesake of that clinic. “She spent her life fighting to make sure I had every opportunity, every freedom I deserved,” Bailey explains.
Back at Meredith’s house — Chez Grey, as we affectionately call it — Maggie (Kelly McCreary) is helping Mer and her kids pick up the place. Winston (Anthony Hill) finds her there, having assumed correctly that she was avoiding him. As they stuff belongings in boxes — including the framed Post-it note wedding vows that Mer and Derek signed way back when — Winston tells Maggie that he applies for the vascular fellowship. Maggie thinks he’s acting on a whim and he’ll change his mind soon and come back to cardio. But Winston tells her he can’t work in cardio anymore, because doing so would put their relationship in jeopardy.
“I love cardio, but I love you more,” he says. “You are my passion, Maggie.”
Her response? “I guess I’m not sure that I respect that.”
And just then, lightning strikes a tree outside the window, and the tree catches fire.
Soon, Richard is pulling Meredith out of the OR, telling her that the Station 19 firefighters are fighting a fire at her house. Mer rushes home and find Maggie and Winston and her kids safe and sound. They evacuated when they saw the fire. Maggie even rescued the Post-it note wedding vows, too. But the house itself — and, presumably, Mer’s entire life inside — is ablaze.
Mer cringes and turns away from the fiery scene, and… that’s all we’re getting until February 23. See you then, Grey’s fans!
Grey’s Anatomy, Thursdays, 9/8c, ABC