“Grey’s Anatomy” recap (11.22): Stop the carousel, I wanna get off

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Remember how on last week’s Grey’s Anatomy we had to watch Meredith take her beloved husband, Derek Shepherd, off of life support? Well, don’t worry if you don’t because Grey’s decided to make us all endure it again. Because pain. When Meredith finally gets back to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, she finds the docs—her friends—doing their usually morning routine. They are bantering, teasing, pouring coffee, discussing surgeries. When Meredith tries to tell them what happened to Derek, it comes out as barely more than a whisper at first. She has to repeat it two more times before anyone can really grasp what she’s saying. They are all in shock, and an exhausted and heartbroken Meredith, passes out. Well, not before she is consumed with flashbacks of that goddamn carousel, and her mother’s voice talking about losing her own love many years before.

Bailey hears the news and rushes to see Meredith, but Richard stops her because she’s crying. Meredith is being treated for dehydration, and Owen asks how Amelia is doing. Oh. Yeah. About that. Amelia doesn’t know yet because she’s in surgery and the rule is, when you are in surgery, important news has to wait. Callie joins Amelia in surgery, holding back her own tears knowing that she can’t share this info with Derek’s sister. The patient that they are working on is none other than Officer Dan Pruitt, who really wrecked himself after chasing a suspect on a roof and falling. I knew Dan would be back, just not in such dire straights.

After surgery, Owen finds Amelia washing up and gives her his best scrunched forehead and wet eyes. She knows that look means someone is dead, and she demands to know who. When he tells her that it’s Derek, she cuts him off as he offers an explanation why. “I don’t need the details, dead is dead,” she tells him, keeping her steely blue eyes on him. She gives about the same reaction one would have when they hear that McDonalds is out of Shamrock Shakes, so we know that later in the episode, she will have to deal and it will be painful as hell. The music in the episode was on point, and as Owen stares on and Callie comforts Steph who has just heard the news, Aron Wright‘s cover of “In the Sun” cries out plaintively. (Who else remembers this from The L Word?)

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The funeral passes by in a flash, and at the memorial afterwards, Meredith sits quietly as the painful moments of her past play in her memory.

At Bailey and Ben’s, the couple gets into bed, where they discuss their wishes if anything ever happens to either one of them. Bailey wants no extraordinary measures, but Ben wants it all. He wants to hold out hope that one day he’d recover. As doctors who witness what they do on a daily basis, Bailey is surprised by his request.

Meredith, who can’t deal with being in a house full of memories of Derek, packs Zola and Bailey up and gets the hell out of dodge, just like her mother did with her many years ago. The carousel keeps spinning.

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The docs gather at Meredith’s to figure out what to do about their missing friend. Meredith left a note that was like, “Grieving, peace out for a while” but didn’t give any info as to where she was or when she was coming back. Amelia is still acting nonchalantly, which is how some people deal with loss, but Richard is worried about her sobriety in the midst of her processing. Well, lack of processing. Callie suggests hiring a private investigator, and Maggie thinks that maybe the police should get involved, but Richard stops them right there. Meredith is an adult who made a decision and doesn’t want to be found right now. All they can do is respect her wishes. Alex tries Meredith’s phone again, but it just goes to voicemail.

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Easter

We now enter the time jump section of this episode, so hold on to your scrub caps because there are a lot of them. It’s Easter now, and it’s been a couple of weeks since Meredith left. Owen is busy planning to go back to the Army and work in a field hospital for a few months, and is busy telling April how awesome it is. Of course, this appeals to April the second we see her eyes light up. Jo is on Jackson’s service as they work on a burn patient named Anne. Anne is new to the ward and is about to undergo some very painful procedures, but a voice pops up from nearby, giving her advice on how to handle it. It’s JJ, another burn patient who has been there a few weeks already. JJ’s a real jokester, which is kind of amazing considering the amount of pain she must be in. It comforts Anne in a way.

Officer Dan is looking a mess, but he’s alive. He’s at risk of losing a leg (well, that’s a familiar song, no?) and has parts of his spine fused together. Still, he can’t resist bringing up his date with Callie a few months prior. Word got back to him that he was boring, so he tries to make light of it and teases that with all these months of recoup ahead, it’s plenty of time for Callie to fall in love with him. Have we learned nothing from Denny, Dan?

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After staring at some babies for a while, April decides to join Owen and work at the Army field hospital overseas. Jackson is upset but tries to be supportive as she takes off for three months. He also has a full and manly beard. They kiss and she heads off to try and be “useful.” Dammit, Owen, you ruin everything!

Memorial Day

Ben got himself in a tangle with a hornet’s nest, and as Bailey gleefully removes the stingers, talk once again returns to Ben’s desire for extraordinary measures. Ben prefers to let science run the show, rather than faith, so yes, it’s still what he wants.

In the cafeteria line, Alex, Maggie and Arizona chat about Meredith (she’s still not answering anyone’s calls) when they overhear a surgeon bitching about the fact that they are down a neuro-surgeon and how it’s cramping her style. At first Arizona tells her friends to be calm, but them Zero-Chill Robbins takes over and gives the other doctor a major tongue-lashing. Not the kind of tongue-lashing we like to see from Arizona, but badass in its own way.

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Callie and Amelia are in surgery together on Dan and when Callie expresses concern about a certain procedure, Amelia pushes back that it’s not what Derek would have done, it’s actually better. So there. Callie knows better than to poke a bear, so she doesn’t argue anymore.

Anne is still in a lot of pain as Jo works with her and the layers of her skin start to heal, but this time, her husband is by her side. He doesn’t get the camaraderie that she and JJ have, as they joke about being two of the seven dwarves and JJ tries to get Anne to laugh through the pain. Anne’s husband screams at JJ to shut up, then leaves the room in a huff. JJ takes it in stride though, because these friends know that no one else can share what they are going through and it’s scary to be on the other side of it.

July 4th

Maggie and Alex watch the fireworks from his porch swing, and share their frustrations that Meredith hasn’t reached out to them. Maggie wants to try and find her, but Alex tells her that he’s spent the last couple months searching hospitals for her. Maggie is feeling pretty abandoned by her sister, even as she understands that Meredith is going through something very terrible. Alex leaves Mer a voicemail telling her to at least let them know that she’s alright. As much as Alex is Meredith’s person now, Meredith is Alex’s, too.

April calls Jackson from overseas in her cute army gear, and he’s excited because she’ll be back in just a few days. Except that she won’t. She wants to extend her service and there’s not much Jackson can do to convince her otherwise, especially since their connection is terrible. Look, I get that April is trying to heal but I know that if my wife left me for months and then decided to add more time to that separation, I’d be devastated and vice versa. I don’t blame Jackson for his frustration.

Meanwhile, Jackson’s mother Catherine and Richard are having a fancy dinner date. Richard is about to get down on one knee and propose, but Catherine stops him. She doesn’t want him to ask her since she’s not 100% sure that marriage for them is the best idea. Richard is sure and if he had it his way, there would be floor to ceiling roses and classical music. He’s stung by her rejection and suggests they go dutch on the bill.

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