This season of Grey's Anatomy has had quite a few message moments, including domestic abuse and gender confirmation, and tonight's is also a big one.
While the rest of the doctors are all scattered, busy trying to save patients, let their favorites go, or make progress with their various personal relationships, surgical intern Sam Bello's (Jeanine Mason) world grinds to a halt as soon as an agent from Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows up at Grey-Sloan Memorial looking for her. She's protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, since she was brought here from El Salvador as a baby, but she's afraid what the future might hold for her if she does take the agent's visit.
Luckily for her, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Bailey (Chandra Wilson) are willing to run interference, and, frankly, it's a good thing they do. As it turns out, Agent Fields has a major blockage in his heart — which Bailey recognizes the signs of from his visibly pulsing neck artery — which will require emergency surgery by Maggie (Kelly McCreary). At first, Agent Fields thinks this is all a distraction to keep him from talking with Bello, who apparently ran a red light to now qualify as a criminal for deportation purposes, but it's the real deal. As he's laid up and about to do surgery, Fields laments his agency's most recent actions, saying that while he got into the work to be like the heroic TV sheriff he idolized as a kid, he doesn't see the glory in the work that's happening lately. "Staking out schools, taking kids, doctors, I don't know what we're doing anymore," he says on the table before going under.
Even though it's just a coincidence that he needs such an immediate operation with Maggie, it does give Meredith enough time to work out an exit plan for Bello. Rather than going on the run to Canada or risk being sent back to a place she's never known, Meredith suggests Sam take a one-way ticket to Zurich to study at the Swiss hospital she's called in a favor at. She forges an application and acceptance to Cristina Yang's current stomping grounds — can we get a cameo of our person, please?! — and voila, she's saved. Trouble is, Sam and Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gionniotti) have well and truly fallen in love with each other by now. He, too, has a history of immigrating to this country in search of a better life, and he too couldn't bare to see everything he's worked for stripped away so that he could be sent home undeservedly. He offers to follow her to Switzerland, but she declines. She was his stalker, she says, and she doesn't need him to return the favor at the expense of his entire life. It's still a sad goodbye for all involved, of course. Bummer.
In other news, Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) has made some significant progress with her maternal mortality rate reduction effort. By fashioning a portable crash cart that she can keep on the maternity ward at all times, she's able to respond to certain crises — bleeding out, for instance — more quickly. It may not win her a Harper-Avery or whatever they'll call this current contest, but it'll save lives, and she's happy about that. Especially since the cost of not doing so is staring her right in the face.
April's ex, Matthew Taylor, is back and his daughter Ruby is having some more issues. She won't take food, which means she may be having trouble with her heart condition which they'd been hoping to treat later in life. He doesn't want Arizona treating her, so she calls in a favor with Owen (Kevin McKidd) for some strange reason. April's happy to fill in on the trauma pit, knowing who he'll be helping out of course, and she smartly anticipates that it could be a GI issue with the child, rather than a cardiac one. Her gut feeling (pardon the pun) is right, as the baby is merely having a blockage in her gastrointestinal tract, and our exhausted dad is delighted. April finds him praying in the chapel, and he welcomes her company, while Owen decides to sign up for the opportunity to foster or perhaps even adopt a kid of his own. He's been circling this decision for several seasons, so if this guy could muster up the courage to raise a daughter by himself, why not Owen?
It's not such good news for Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) who has to finally face the music that he will not be able to help Kimmie. The poor girl is sick, literally, of waiting and wading through chemo treatments and has decided to spend what time she has left living out her dream of singing on Broadway — on the streets if that's what it takes, even. Amelia (Catarina Scorsone) tries to throw a hail mary pass by contacting an old doctor friend of hers named Rebecca Froy, who's studying some similar procedures, but that opens up an entirely new can of worms. As it turns out, Froy has some kind of non-disclosure agreement with the Harper-Avery Foundation that she can't, and will not discuss.
Jackson (Jesse Williams) tries to intercede by Skyping Froy to find out more details, but whatever agreement she has is so ironclad that she can't even talk about the agreement. He casually decides to have the lawyers waive whatever it was so that they can open up a line of communications with Froy — after all, his grandfather is gone, so why should it matter what kind of feuds he had during his lifetime — but when Katherine finds out about his decision, she declares them "ruined." To say as much to Richard Webber as he grieves the fresh loss of his decades-long mentor, who drew her last breath in front of him not five minutes before, means something really really bad just happened.
The good news is, it looks like Jackson is finally making some bedroom magic happen with Maggie, now that he's assured her that his decision to withhold information about April's kiss was more to protect April's feelings than Maggie's and rightly points out that Maggie keeps finding new reasons to keep them apart. With that, she wakes right up, and the two get down to business at last. Jaggie is on, for real this time.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursday nights at 8/7c on ABC.