Three things in life are certain: Death, taxes, and a new season of Grey’s Anatomy every year. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (many times, probably): This show will outlive us all. And that suits me just fine.
I’ve been recapping Grey’s professionally and recreationally for over half its lifespan now, and I’m not stopping now… especially not when showrunner Krista Vernoff is back at the help and getting the cast and crew to film on location in Seattle. The show looks great and engages even better so far. Let’s scrub in on Grey’s Anatomy Season 14, Episode 1: “Break Down the House.”
The women of Owen’s life
Season 14 scoops us up exactly where Season 13 dropped us off, with Owen and Amelia watching medics offloading Megan, his recently-found sister, from a helicopter at an army base.
Megan feigns the whole “Do I know you?” thing, but she actually seems fine… mentally and emotionally, that is. She has a happy reunion with Owen and then with Nathan, whom she was dating at the time of her disappearance.
She tells them her captors beat her at first but eventually started treating her better. And she really throws her loved ones for a loop when she says she has a child: She took in a 4-year-old Syrian orphan named Farouk. He’s 10 now, and he’s a Snapchatting pro. (Owen and Nathan coo over his dog-filtered selfie with the same bemused response of anyone over the age of 18 when confronted with this new-fangled Snapchat.) But she still can’t get him out of Baghdad, so she’s eager to get patched up and go back to Iraq to be with him.
Getting patched up will be an arduous process, unfortunately. She was hit by shrapnel in a bombing six months back, and she experienced post-op complications and didn’t heal properly. Bailey and Richard see that she has a hernia, a fistula, a mess of scarred and fused tissue, and a “blob” of organs.
Meredith proposes a bold operation to reapproximate the abdominal wall, with Alex later pointing out that she’s trying to be the doctor that Derek never had. But Mer’s involvement is a problem: Nathan has told Megan he found someone new, but he hasn’t yet told her it’s Meredith.
Teddy arrives on the scene to check in on Owen — damn, it’s good to see Kim Raver back on Grey’s after five seasons off — and she’s appalled that Nathan hasn’t told Megan about Meredith. She even confronts Meredith about it, but Mer doesn’t back down. (Maggie then asks Mer who that was, and Mer says, “That’s Owen’s… person.”)
Later, Nathan tries convincing Teddy that it’s best if Megan doesn’t know about Mer. Maggie, the best possible person to overhear that conversation, overhears that conversation. She calls him out because she’s been there before: He didn’t tell her about his relationship with Meredith, either. He tells Maggie she was trying to protect her, and she says, “I didn’t need your protection, I needed information.” (Bam!)
Nathan finally capitulates and goes to Megan’s room, but Meredith is already there. Megan boots him out, and Mer tells her he isn’t the love of her life. (Derek was. Shippers worldwide start sobbing anew.)
When Megan agrees to go under the knife, Mer, Bailey, and Richard do wonders with her innards. But when Owen, Nathan, and Teddy head to the gallery to celebrate and to watch Meredith closing Megan’s abdomen, they find the surgeons frozen.
“There isn’t enough tissue,” Mer says. “I can’t close. Dammit!” [Cut to black]
Meanwhile, Amelia is avoiding the whole Megan situation and focusing single-mindedly on her work, leaving Teddy to be the one to take care of Owen, even during Megan’s multiple operations. (Amelia even witnesses them hugging, though it’s hard to tell if she’s jealous.) Finally, Teddy addresses the Amelia-shaped void, and she doesn’t mince her words: “Where’s your wife, Owen?”
For his part, Owen is feeling some kind of way about Amelia, even comparing his marriage to Megan’s colostomy bag.
Luckily for Amelia, she has a surgical case to keep her busy. Her patient Beau is a 14-year-old with excruciating jaw pain and headaches. She identifies the cause as an osteoblastoma on his jaw, and she’s rarin’ to take it out, despite the other surgeons’ warning that it’s inoperable. (“I’m not a big believer in inoperable,” she tells her colleagues. “God, yes. Unicorns, maybe. Inoperable, no.”)
DeLuca is worried about Amelia’s myopic work ethic — especially because he hasn’t seen her stop to sleep or eat. (He tries to tell Jo about his concerns, but she jumps to conclusions and thinks he’s approaching to profess his love for her again.)
And Jackson is less worried about Amelia than he is about her outlandish plan. Turns out, he once did a similar operation, he failed, and he left his young patient without a lower jaw. But Amelia forges ahead nevertheless.
A pair of Levi’s (glasses)
So here in Season 14, not only are Alex and Jo talking to each other again, but they’re both pining for one another. There’s hope for Jolex yet! Mer sees this in Alex and tries to get him to tell Jo about how he found her abusive ex-husband, Paul.
Instead, however, Alex’s way of winning Jo back is to give her an ambitious surgery to do solo — a Ladd’s procedure on a cute kid named Max who thinks Jo is actually a comic book “warrior queen” named Allora.
Ben, meanwhile, doesn’t hold Jo in such high regard. He refuses to be her new Stephanie, except to tell her that she needs a shower.
Jo doesn’t even hold herself in such high regard — she’s worried she’s in over her head with this solo Ladd’s procedure. But she studies up and she rocks the operation. Warrior queen indeed.
Not helping, however, is the gaggle of “sub-interns.” They’re fourth-year medical students whom Eliza hoped would come to Grey Sloan as (actual) interns. Bailey puts Richard in charge of touring them around, and he immediately realizes that their bookishness makes them all “completely socially inept.” They’re also unaccustomed to hospital life, too busy trying to capture every detail in their notes or their voice memos and fainting or screaming at the sight of blood.
One sub-intern, Levi, even drops his glasses in Max’s abdominal cavity during Jo’s operation, much to everyone’s shock and horror.
Levi later flirts with Jo at the bar, and for whatever reason — perhaps she’s adrift without Stephanie, perhaps she has given up on Alex — she sleeps with him.
The sex scene is all shot in close-ups from behind Levi’s back, so only realize she’s having sex with him and not Alex when his glasses fall on her face. (A masterful reveal!)
Breakups, hookups, and everything in between
Eliza is long gone, as Arizona realizes when she goes to her girlfriend’s apartment. “You have to let me help you lick your wounds,” she says through the door — regrettably — before she realizes the door is actually open and a moving crew is inside packing everything away. (What, they let her just stand outside the door knocking and making wound-licking comments?)
Side note: Both Eliza and Stephanie’s exits feel abrupt, even though both characters announced their departure from the hospital in the Season 13 finale. Maybe if we saw Eliza packing up her stuff and Stephanie leaving via medevac, it’d feel a bit more natural.
In reference to Eliza’s exit, April teaches Arizona about “ghosting,” and when Teddy pops up to surprise her old friends in the cafeteria, Arizona immediately expresses concern that she ghosted Teddy.
April, meanwhile, is in her own limbo — she and Jackson never discussed what they did in Montana. Jackson is probably of the “What happened in Big Sky Country stays in Big Sky Country” mentality, but April wants a relationship status update, dammit!
That said, she may have sabotaged her own chances of a Japril reunion by telling Maggie that Maggie and Jackson like each other. After a whole lotta awkwardness — like Jackson asking Maggie, “Is there something on my face?” and Maggie saying, “No, no, your face is perfect” — Maggie finally tells Jackson what April said. They both laugh it off as ridiculous, even though it’s clear neither one thinks it’s ridiculous.
At least one person has a hot date: Arizona meets a charismatic woman over cocktails. It’s only when DeLuca walks in on them making out and when the woman starts arguing with “Andrea” in Italian that Arizona realizes that this woman, Carina, is DeLuca’s sister.
A hospital-wide facelift
Grey Sloan Memorial has been long overdue for a remodeling, and Bailey uses the fire damage as an excuse to revamp the hospital halls… especially when a huge chunk of ceiling comes crashing down during one of her speeches.
She and Ben watch the remodel progress, comparing the various workers to MDs: the lead surgeon, his best scrub nurse, the ortho docs, the vascular docs, and finally the plastics posse.
They’re making a lighter, airier atrium, much like the show feels lighter and airier, too. Season 13 was tough on all of us, but Season 14 feels pretty damn hopeful already.