Some Grey's Anatomy episodes have one central theme that informs all the various character arcs in play, while others... do not. With tonight's installment, it's a little bit of both. The goings on of the doctors and patients of the day couldn't be more different than one another, but thanks to some key flashbacks and a lot of sticky sweet poetry, the commonality does seem to be as simple a thing as what would YOU do for love?
OK, OK, so Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) and Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) aren't there yet, but they do seem to have the kinda pre-installed kinship that only flames who were friends first can have. There's still a lot for them left to learn about each other — in Maggie's case, how she named her Gross Anatomy cadaver, stole and buried its heart and then confessed her love for her lab partner with a morbid poem, while Jackson's is just a regrettably named imaginary friend from back in the day — but they do seem to have a lot of respect for each other at the work place and elsewhere.
After Maggie operates on a young patient who's literally prepared to take a lesser surgery on his heart (a temporary fix, as opposed to a newly available transplant) for the sake of keeping the part of him that fell in love with his "knight in shining armor" boyfriend, well, she gathers that she's gotta give it a little more than she has been to make her own potential match with Jackson work. So, she finally nuzzles up to him at the bar, confesses her weirdest elements (and simultaneously sticks up for herself by pointing out the many other instances of badassery in her history), and accepts his offer for dinner. This is getting started on a great note, so #Jaggie fans should be delighted right now.
Also surprisingly simpatico are April Kepner (Sarah Drew) and Tom Koracick. Who knew!? After their post-game night tryst, Tom refuses to leave her place until he figures out her deal. All the evidence that surrounds him (well, except the spare fridge that only boasts a bottle of vodka) indicates she's your prototypical mom type, but her behavior has obviously not been to type. It doesn't take him long to figure out that her crisis isn't the typical alcohol/abuse/abandonment issues, but rather, she's losing her sense of faith.
"God isn't dead," she tells him. "I just hate him so much I wish he were."
Somehow, Koracick happens to be an expert on that very same subject. Despite his cavalier casanova-style walk and talk, he's harbored his own life-altering resentment for the man upstairs, following the sudden death of his 10-year-old son in a freak baseball accident. April's visibly moved by the story and decides to let him stick around — in her robe, even — at least long enough to order some Chinese food and meet her daughter. This could get interesting.
Meanwhile, Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) are doing things — and apparently doing them well, based on her lack of sleep of late. Now that no one can blame a tumor or PTSD or any other mind-altering incident for this connection, could something beyond just sex blossom between them again? Is the Team Omelia faction still active right now?
Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) comes back into contact with Marie Cerone after studying her mother's journals up and down to discover that Ellis Grey was definitely Marie's "person," much like Cristina Yang was to her. And while it does seem like Marie has purposefully gained her trust — and thus access to the secret science of her groundbreaking research — to steal it, she gives Meredith a choice.
According to Marie, the Ellis Grey method should actually be dubbed the Grey-Cerone method because she and Mer-Mer's mother worked on it together, which is why they had such a spectacular falling out when Ellis earned her second Harper Avery, alone, for the procedure. She'll hand over the rights to her polymer if and only if Meredith makes it public that Marie was involved.
Mer weighs the decision, obviously, but after consulting with Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.), decides it wouldn't be fair to her mother to make such a judgment call without proof or her mom's ability to defend herself. So, at the risk of losing everything she's worked for, she turns Marie away empty-handed. We might be stupid to hold out hope that this is some kind of grandiose plan to determine Meredith's true scruples or something, but more likely than that, she's just gotten screwed over by Ellis Grey. Yet again. From beyond the grave this time, even!
Last but certainly not least, Jo (Camilla Luddington) and Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) have something of a spat after he discovers her application paperwork for fellowship programs outside of Seattle. She reminds him that he, too, looked elsewhere for potential placement when it was his turn (remember the Johns Hopkins offer?). He really has no argument, except that the idea of her leaving him is hurting his feelings, and it's selfish, yes, but also understandable, considering all they've been through together.
At first, he stays away from their place, but apart, the two start thinking back on the things they've been through with others — of Alex being made fun of by a girl who liked him after she witnessed his mother experiencing some significant delusions, and of Jo running away from pretty much the perfect high school beau who seemed to genuinely care about her happiness, just because she was used to taking off.
Alex returns to their home, hat in hand, and races to find the ring that he'd bought for her before things got so chaotic between them. But he can't find it. She's already wearing it, and it's her that wants to propose to him. "I've always thought there was something wrong with me, and I've always wanted to run. Until I met you. You're screwed up that you make me make sense. You and me, we just fit. And I don't want to leave you," she tells him (in a candlelit room that totally channels Monica and Chandler's engagement from Friends, sorry). "You are my home. And you are my heart. Alex Karev, will you marry me?"
Naturally, the answer is yes.