BWW Recap: GREY'S ANATOMY and Kepner's No-Good-Terrible-Very-Bad-Day
On last night's episode of GREY'S ANATOMY, what was looking to be Dr. Kepner's no-good-terrible-very-bad-day turned out to be Dr. Minnick's no-good-terrible-very-bad-day. Fittingly, the episode was titled "It Only Gets Much Worse".
With Meredith suspended, and Kepner now in as the interim Chief of General Surgery, Dr. Minnick is proceeding with 'phase 2' of her teaching program. In her new role, Kepner is now trying to help facilitate the implementation of this program and the other Attendings, specifically Maggie and Jackson are not happy about it. They each confront April about how she betrayed Webber and appears to be an opportunist for abandoning the resistance movement they had formed when a shiny new job got in the way. Not only has April been alienated by her peers, but her patient (formerly Meredith's patient) Lynne, is also none-too-pleased that Dr. Grey won't be there to see her surgery through. She repeatedly calls Kepner "Dr. Not Grey" (which is hilarious every time) and blames her when things don't go according to plan. The tipping point is when Lynne exclaims that Dr. Grey is nicer than Dr. "Not Grey". This is too much for Kepner, who emphatically points out that many comparisons can be made between her and Meredith Grey, but that of the two, Kepner is unequivocally the "nicer" one! Things are initially touch and go in her initial surgery, but Lynne pulls through and Kepner is able to remove her esophageal cancer. She does so after kicking Maggie off the case -which is fair, because Maggie was a bit of a distraction what with her repeatedly calling Kepner a traitor and all. The episode ends with Kepner finding a surprising ally in Catherine Avery, who points out that she understands where April is coming from because she always had to fight for her successes. She says that doctors like her son Jackson earned their successes, but they never had to worry in the same way that Catherine and April did because they always had a "safety net". She then invites April out for dinner to celebrate her new gig. And they go!!! This is an interesting development.
As "phase 2" of Minnick's program roles out throughout the hospital, two residents get the chance to run their own solo surgery from start to finish. The two surgeons selected: Ben Warren and Stephanie Edwards. Let's just say they have different experiences. Ben's surgery goes well, however it is tainted by the fact that his entire "first solo surgery" (the quotations will be explained in a moment) is spent listening to Bailey and Webber bicker about what it means to be a good teacher and whether or not Bailey thinks Webber is a good teacher. Ben points out that regardless of who wins the argument, neither of them was a good teacher today, and that it kind of ruined Ben's experience of having his first solo surgery. "You only get one" he somberly says. The thing is...hasn't Ben had a couple now? Wasn't his entire storyline last season based on the fact that he took the initiative to perform a surgery without waiting for an Attending...and after that didn't go well, wasn't his entire redemption storyline about performing a solo surgery on April to save her baby? I mean, yes, those weren't hospital sanctioned surgeries...but it is quite a statement to say "You only get one" when you are Ben Warren! He isn't wrong about Bailey and Webber being ridiculous though, and it was good that someone called them on it.
Elsewhere, Edwards is ecstatic about her first surgery with a Mrs. Mellenbaum....until Minnick informs her that sadly, she no longer has a surgery because Mrs. Mellenbaum has died. This should have been a clue that perhaps today was just note Edwards' day. Minnick and Edwards go "trolling" in the ER for patients and find a little boy named Matty who has gallstones and requires surgery. This becomes Edwards' new solo surgery, much to the dismay of Arizona, who insists that she be there because she is wary of a resident performing a solo surgery on a child. Long story short, Edwards' excitement and confidence turns to utter devastation (how have these doctors not learned by now that if you go into a surgery with excitement and confidence, it will never ever end well?!). At some point during the procedure, the medical instrument she was using nicked a vessel and none of the doctors noticed it until it was too late. Matty dies and it is horrible. Edwards is understandably beside her self. She wants to know if it was her fault and turns to Minnick for answers. Minnick just tearfully looks away and eventually escapes to the Attending's lounge. Arizona gives her a lecture on what it means to be a teacher and that "this" is when the student needs the teacher the most. Minnick explains that she had never had a child die before and she doesn't need to handle it either. Arizona comforts her and provides some wisdom.
Edwards finds solace in Richard Webber who, if you haven't heard, is actually a very good teacher! This scene between Jerrika Hinton and James Pickens Jr. was heartbreakingly fantastic. Richard helps Edwards tell Matty's parents what happened, as Minnick watches on, presumable feeling like a complete failure. She later takes it out on her car horn and once again, Arizona consoles her.
Although Meredith was not featured in this episode, she still has the ever-powerful voiceover. It starts with her describing how the term "Murphy's Law" (if something can go wrong, it will go wrong) came to be and it ends with her pointing out that Murphy's law is not physics, "It's just some thing a guy said to try to make sense of a crappy day." She continues: "Just because things go wrong, it doesn't mean they're out of our control. It's on us to fix things. It's on us to take everything that can go wrong and make it go right. It's on us to try anyway." Oh Meredith, so wise even when you are nowhere to be seen!
This episode was filled with characters making choices that are frustrating to the audience...but then also being vulnerable and/or heroic and reminding us of why we love them. Usually this happens with characters throughout the course of a season, but we got to witness it all in one episode.
Will Minnick revise her teaching strategy? Will a romance blossom between Arizona and Minnick (obviously that's where they are going)? Will April and Catherine Avery continue this newfound friendship? And what will Jackson think?
Hopefully we will get all these answers and more next week!
GREY'S ANATOMY airs at 7pm on CTV and 8pm on ABC.
Photo Credit: ABC/Mitch Haaseth