‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 16 Episode 15: Impostor Syndrome (RECAP)

Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 15 Hayes Meredith
Spoiler Alert
John Fleenor/ABC

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 16, Episode 15 of Grey’s Anatomy, “Snowblind.”]

The blizzard isn’t the only disaster in this Grey’s Anatomy episode—Season 16, Episode 15 a.k.a. February 27’s “Snowblind.” One doc faces the end of his surgical career, another is exposed as a liar, and someone else cheats on her significant other.

As the episode starts, Schmitt (Jake Borelli) is running around looking around for a patient he “misplaced.” Jo (Camilla Luddington) tells him to find her husband while he’s at it. Side note: According to ABC’s promo at the end of this episode, we’ll finally find out how Alex’s story ends next week. Richard (James Pickens Jr.), meanwhile, is preparing for a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and he recruits a resident named Tess Desmond—played by Booksmart’s Beanie Feldstein—who impresses him by knowing the procedure start to finish. They scrub in, but just as Tess is about to start cutting on their patient, Schmitt spots her through the scrub room window and bursts into the OR, telling Richard that Tess is an impostor. Her name is actually Tess Anderson, and she’s his missing patient. Plot twist!

As it turns out, Tess Anderson is an adrenocortical carcinoma patient dealing with her fourth type of cancer in eight years. She has always been inspired by her doctors, and she wants to become one herself, but she has blown through her med school funds and has to work as a barista now.

Richard, who’s surprisingly cool about her doctorly duplicity, gives her a pep talk. “My dream was a lot harder than it was for other people, but I stuck with it, and I made it through,” he tells her. “If you can survive four cancers, you can finish med school.”

During said pep talk, Richard reveals his latest obstacle—one that, presumably, will end his career. His hand is shaking, possibly due to Parkinson’s. “This job defined me, more than any relationship, any illness,” he says. But now it’s time to give it all up.

Tess, for her part, wonders why he can give up on his dream and she can’t. So Richard says, “There is a big difference between throwing in the towel after a fight and before the fight even started.” He also gives her his stethoscope. “I don’t need it anymore,” he says. “And I really hope you do.”

(Richard, don’t go! If James Pickens Jr. leaves Grey’s Anatomy, we’ll only have two O.G. cast members remaining.)

Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 15 Hayes Meredith

John Fleenor/ABC

Anyway, Hayes’ patient this week is Elisa, a 6-year-old with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency—the same disorder that killed her older sister, one of Alex’s patients. Elisa in dire need of a liver transplant, and there’s a donor liver waiting at Seattle Presbyterian, but the roadways and airways are closed because of the weather. So Andrew (Giacomo Gianniotti), relying on his Wisconsin upbringing and cross-country skiing know-how, volunteers to hoof it to Seattle Pres by foot and pick up the organ.

After a while, Andrew makes it back with donor liver in hand, and Hayes saves Elisa. But Andrew wasn’t wearing gloves, and now he has frostbitten hands. After Jackson (Jesse Williams) treats him, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) tries to commend Andrew on his heroics, but he is openly hostile toward her, resenting her for advising him not to go out in the cold. Meredith and Carina (Stefania Spampinato) once again calls out his moodiness, remarking that he sounds like his father, who suffered from manic episodes. Andrew snaps at Meredith again—saying, “I don’t accuse you of having Alzheimer’s every time you forget something, do I?”— and she leaves the room.

Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 15 Carina Meredith

John Fleenor/ABC

By the way, while Meredith and Hayes were operating on Elisa, they bonded over their shared experience losing a spouse early in life. Hayes moved to Switzerland (and found a job with Cristina) after the “unbearably slow” death of his wife. Meredith could relate—even though, as she tells him, Derek died “fast, very fast.” She told Hayes that she fled to San Diego during her mourning period. They also talked about all the “firsts” they’ve experienced as a widow/widower.

Oh, and Hayes told Mer that Cristina often talked about Alex, calling him “Evil Spawn.” Meredith asked him if he remembers Cristina talking about her, but Hayes didn’t remember any such conversations.

Later, when Hayes and Meredith cross paths outside of the hospital, he asks who Andrew is to her. “He’s one of my firsts,” she replies. “He’s the first man that I said ‘I love you’ to after my husband.”

Hayes absorbs this info, and after a beat, tells her that he’s thankful she’s in his life. “I’ve never met anyone like me, widowed so young,” he says. “It’s nice. It helps me to have a friend.”

Mer says their friendship helps her, too. And he says, “She told me of having a twisted sister, Yang did. I’m guessing that’s you?” Mer smiles and nods.

Bailey (Chandra Wilson), meanwhile, is still on foster kid Joey’s case. She asks him about his plans, now that he’s ready to be discharged. She suggests that he consider the social worker’s offer of extended foster care or placement in a group home, but he thinks he’ll just try living on his own. Bailey, knowing this to be a precarious situation, offers her home as a place he can stay while he starts college. “I have an extra room, extra food, extra… love to give,” she says. He takes her up on the offer, and at the end of the episode, we see him happily playing video games with Tuck, but when Ben (Jason George) comes home, he’s a little taken aback by these new living arrangements.

Owen (Kevin McKidd), Teddy (Kim Raver), and Maggie (Kelly McCreary) spend the episode operating on a 32-weeks-pregnant woman who was accidentally mowed down by her friend in the blizzard. The surgeons save both mother and child—much to the relief of the friend—but Teddy leaves the OR in a huff and spends a moment alone in the snowy ambulance bay. Koracick finds her there, with hot cocoa in hand, and Teddy tells him she has this (not so) crazy hunch that Owen is the father of Amelia’s baby. She’s worried that he’ll choose Amelia over her. Koracick, miraculously, talks up Owen to her. “That man is in love with you,” he says. “It’s seeping out of his ruddy little pores.”

Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 15 Teddy

Gilles Mingasson/ABC

While they’re sharing insecurities, though, Koracick laments his outcast status at the hospital—he thinks all the other doctors dislike him. “They’re all part of a club, and they won’t let me join,” he says. Teddy tells him that she doesn’t dislike him. In fact, she likes him. And she engaged him in a friendly snowball fight.

We all wish it could have ended there, but no. Later that night, Teddy goes to Koracick’s hotel room and starts kissing him. Oy vey.

In Teddy’s defense, though, Maggie didn’t exactly help the situation. Before that Koracick makeout sesh, Teddy asked Maggie about her intuition about the paternity of Amelia’s baby. “Am I crazy? Am I seeing things that aren’t there?” she said. Mags responded, “You’re not crazy.”

In other relationship drama, Schmitt is still upset with Nico (Alex Landi) about not talking to his parents about his sexuality, but Nico wants him to stop pestering. “I don’t try to change you, but you don’t stop trying to change me,” he says. Schmitt smooths things over, and they resume their on-call room nookie, but we do get a glimpse of Schmitt looking discomfited about the situation.

Elsewhere, Jackson runs into Vic (Barrett Doss), and he apologizes for his role in their first fight. (Must have been a plot point in tonight’s Station 19 episode.) Vic is gracious about it, and they plan a date for that night. “We could have our second fight!” Jackson suggests. Vic replies: “Oh, that’s too soon!”

Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 15 Jackson Vic

John Fleenor/ABC

And at the end of the episode, Link (Chris Carmack) shows up to Jo’s apartment with “donuts and despair.” He’s despondent over Amelia not returning his calls or texts. But his misery pales in comparison to Jo’s. She tells him that she called Alex’s mom and that his mom says he wasn’t there and hadn’t been there at all recently, contrary to what Alex told Jo by phone. “I think he woke up one day and felt the need to escape his life, and me,” Jo tells Link.

But remember: We’re apparently getting answers about Alex next week… with or without Justin Chambers’ participation. See y’all there, Grey’s fans!

Grey’s Anatomy, Thursdays, 8/7c, ABC