Man alive, Grey's Anatomy in 2018 is ROUGH with the realness.
When the lightest element of an episode is the kid who tries to cut his own arm off out of religious guilt about, um, private time, you know it's a wallop. Indeed, there's little way to skate around the heaviness of this week's installment, so let's just hop right in, shall we?
The episode begins with April Kepner (Sarah Drew) thinking about tests of faith. Just like Meredith's oh-so-prophetic little anecdotes in the open, this little rehash of the Job story in the Bible clues us into what she's about to deal with: questioning her faith in the judicial system, medicine and even God.
It all starts when she's unwittingly assigned to deliver the baby of a woman who just so happens to be married to her ex-fiance Matthew. You know, the one she ditched at her wedding to run off with Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams). Awwwwwkward. Her name's Karen, she's totally nice — funny, even — but is of course weirded out when she finds out that her lady bits are completely exposed to the woman who had such an impact on her beau. Kepner's able to keep it professional enough to make it through the delivery. But when the baby needs a little attention at the NICU, which occupies Arizona Robbins and Matthew's attention, that leaves Karen in Kepner's overwhelmed hands.
At the same time, she's also on the frontline with Jackson to receive a 12-year-old black boy who was shot in the neck by police while trying to climb in the window of his own house in a ritzy neighborhood. The police on-site try to justify the incident as a moment of bad "judgment" by their co-worker, but that line hits Jackson especially hard. He remembers having experienced a similar incident in his own upbringing, when he was accosted at gunpoint by officers in his own neighborhood as a kid.
At first, it looks like the kid will pull through, even if his childhood is ruined by this memory and the indignity of the police refusing to remove his cuffs for treatment. But then his carotid artery is impacted by the bullet wound, and his life is lost in the operating room. His parents and siblings are inconsolable, obviously, and Jackson squares off with the officers who've been bugging everyone about their need for a statement. "Bias is human. You have guns. You're using guns. So yours is lethal," he tells them. "Bias is fixable. You have protocols in place. Those can be adjusted, you can fix it. Kids are dying. This kid is dead. For what?"
Meanwhile, Karen's condition is slowly deteriorating as well. What starts as a simple blood clot turns into a full-blown case of preeclampsia, and Robbins is unable to rescue her. It's not Kepner's fault; she checked on her every 20 minutes and tried to get the poor lady a room. But after having the talk with Matthew about how lucky he is to have found his soulmate in Karen after being hurt so badly by April (and being reminded that she lost her own first child by an innocent question on his part), well, the loss is overwhelming.
April is rendered numb. Even the handsy kid who quoted scripture to justify going all Hammurabi's Code on his own arm can't coax a good scripture debate out of her. By the end of the day, she's seen taking a casual shower with a guy she barely knows who threw a cheap pick-up line at her at the bar. She's not just questioning her faith at this point; she's questioning her purpose, too. If medicine can't save people from themselves, and God isn't around to help either, what's the point?
On a brighter note... well, sort of ... Jo (Camilla Luddington) doesn't have to worry about her ex-husband anymore.
Turns out, Paul Stadler was hit by a drunk driver, and Jo's instincts about Jenny's secret suffering were correct. Jenny has been suffering abuse at Paul's hands, and she's ready to not only walk away from him, but to turn him in for his crimes as well.
Like Jo, she let him convince her everything was her fault and that she was the crazy one. Jo commiserates, saying, "We fell for someone who made us laugh and wanted and seen ... the good outweighed the bad until it didn't."
Despite how much she'd like to confront him from a witness stand, though, Jenny will have to satisfy herself with another form of justice. Because although his head injury is slight, he tries to attack Jo and Jenny when they confront him and knocks himself out in the process — for good this time. Because their divorce paperwork hasn't been finalized yet, it's Jo's decision whether to pull him from life support — a concept which has her cackling over the irony — and she opts to have his organs harvested first, so that just an ounce of good can come from someone so terrible.
So, yeah, the episodic imbalance is fierce here this week; a dead kid, a dead new mom, a dead abusive husband, and very little chance of lasting peace for anyone involved. But perhaps the most devastating part of the whole episode comes at the end when Bailey and Ben decide they need to have the talk with Tucker, who's had a very innocent day of learning science tricks from Maggie. They train him how to enunciate his name, lift his hands and explain what he's doing, to never sass the police like some of his fairer skinned friends, and, most importantly, to never, ever run from the police. It's an alarming lesson to watch unfurl, and yet, it's a reality that can't be overlooked. Crushing stuff, guys.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.