'Grey's Anatomy' Season 16 Episode 8: How to Save a License (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 16, Episode 8 of Grey’s Anatomy, “My Shot.”]
It’s judgment day on Grey’s Anatomy Season 16, Episode 8—November 14’s “My Shot”—i.e. the day a panel of doctors decides if Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) gets to keep her medical license after committing insurance fraud to give an undocumented girl, Gabby Rivera, a lifesaving operation. And those are appropriately high stakes for the series’ 350th episode!
In the first of many blasts from the past in this episode, Meredith realizes that one of the doctors on the panel is Dr. Paul Castello, the same doc whose negligence led to the death of her husband, Derek, back in Season 11.
Once the hearing gets going, Mer’s lawyer warns her that the opposing counsel, a woman named Cordova, is ruthless. And she’s right. Cordova gets Bailey (Chandra Wilson) to recap Meredith’s misconduct, as we see flashbacks of some of Mer’s greatest hits: her involvement in the LVAD debacle, her secret appendectomy on Sadie, her unsanctioned brain surgery with Lexie, etc. Cordova gets DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) to discuss reporting Mer and the other attendings for blackballing him after his run-in with Alex (Justin Chambers).
She then gets Schmitt (Jake Borelli) to admit that he told Bailey about Mer switching the names on Gabby’s medical record. She gets Owen to divulge how Mer originally messed up her Catherine Fox-award winning surgery on Megan. She gets Patricia, the former assistant of Richard’s (James Pickens Jr.) whom we haven’t seen since Season 5, to reveal that Richard pulled strings to get Mer matched at Grey Sloan (and that certainly seems like new info to us fans). She gets Alex to allude to the fact that Zola’s adoption was delayed because Mer was fired from the hospital. And she tries getting Richard to admit that Mer tampered with the Alzheimer’s trial on Adele’s behalf, but he takes the fall instead.
The only other bright side in this whole interrogation is when Luis, Gabby’s father, testifies that the world needs more people like Mer.
As her reputation is dragged through the mud over and over again, Meredith manages to stay silent… until Castello starts talking about Zola. And that’s when Mer reminds him who she is. “You have no right to say my daughter’s name since you are the one who killed her father,” she says, telling everyone present that Castello failed to order a head CT for Derek and then neglected to drill Burr holes. Castello is shocked… and then he starts seizing.
The docs rush him to Grey Sloan, where Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) asks Koracick (Greg Germann) to operate, since this the guy who killed her brother and “favorite person in the world.”
After the panel orders a recess amid the emergency, Bailey finds Richard outside and accuses him of lying on the stand, as it were. And now that they’re talking for the first time in however long, she also rages at him for not looping her in about Meredith’s white lie. “I lost my hospital, my surgeons, and my best friend, all because someone I raised betrayed me,” she says.
The panel eventually decides to reschedule the hearing, but Alex tells them they can’t… and he brings a parade of Mer’s former patients, including Paramedic Ray from Season 4, Shirley from earlier this season, and even Robin, Mer’s former community service supervisor. But the one who gives the most impassioned testimony is Katie Bryce, Mer’s very first patient, who reveals she has a newborn now, thanks to Mer’s lifesaving work. “I just hope that I can give her back a little of the help that she gave me,” she tells the panel.
As we hear a cover of Tegan and Sara’s “Where Does the Good Go”—more nostalgia!—Alex reads a letter to the panel. “Taking away her license is signing the death certificates of countless future patients. She is a light in a broken system that she is will fix, whether you want her to or not. She is the sun, and she is unstoppable. Sincerely, Dr. Yang.” And he has letters from other fan fave surgeons: Callie, Arizona, April, and Addison.
To top it all off, Bailey struts back in and offers a more heartfelt testimony in Mer’s defense: “She deserved to lose her job. She deserves to pick up trash. No one should be questioning her medical license. She’s too good at what she does. She’s worked too hard to get where she is. And with all that she has survived, it hasn’t made her hard, it hasn’t made her mean, cold. It hasn’t made her not care. It’s made her better. It’s made her better than anyone in this room.”
“Well, except me,” Bailey adds. “I’m Dr. Miranda Bailey, Chief of Surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, and I approve this message.” (Yes, she really did say that. A true mic drop if we ever heard one.)
Back at Grey Sloan, Castello dies on the table, and Amelia reports the news to the docs at the hearing. “Not only was he a terrible surgeon, but he forgot that high blood pressure is the silent killer, and boy, did he let it get to him,” she tells Mer, barely hiding her glee.
Meredith’s lawyer announces that the panel voted to let Meredith keep her license, and there is much rejoicing throughout the land. Mer thanks Bailey for her speech, and Bailey hires her back at the hospital.
Speaking of Grey Sloan, Simms—a.k.a. that obnoxious resident and Koracick protégé whose presence has never really been explained—tells the other residents that Schmitt ratted Mer out at the hearing. Everyone takes turns giving Schmitt a Very Disappointed Look™ before turning their back on him.
Totally M.I.A. from the panel and the hospital is Maggie (Kelly McCreary). She’s been at a bar this whole time, getting day-drunk and talking a poor bartender’s ear off about Sabrina Webber’s surgery and death. Jackson (Jesse Williams) finds her there and takes her back to Chez Grey. As they chat, he tells her he misses her… as he rubs her shoulder. Maggie, understandably, believes him, and they nearly kiss before Jackson suddenly remembers he’s dating Vic and pulls away. Maggie promptly throws him out of the house (and rightly so).
Speaking of spurned lovers, DeLuca shows up at the house to confront Mer about something she said during the recess: that if she lost her license, and if he got to continue cutting while she couldn’t, their relationship would be over. Mer apologizes, but DeLuca isn’t convinced. He saw something in Mer’s eye when she was talking about Derek: “You didn’t just love Derek, you respected him,” he says. He asks her to tell him that, deep down, she believes he’ll eventually reach her level, and she cannot. So he tells her to take time to think about what she really wants and if he’s a part of that.
Next Thursday: fall finale! One more episode to go before our long Grey’s-less winter. See you then!
Grey’s Anatomy, Thursdays, 8/7c, ABC