Of all days, today is a pretty good one for Grey's Anatomy to start doling out justice (granted, it's posthumous in this case, but still) for the victims of a powerful man's sexual abuses. However, it's impossible to completely right all the wrongs done by Harper Avery, and yet, his foundation is still too big to fail. With 72 hospitals operating under his now-disgraced name, that means thousands of employees, and even more patients, would suffer the consequences of his actions if it's just abandoned and left to crumble.
Of course, the women who were wronged by this man have also had their rights and opportunities stripped as a result of his misdeeds, so there's no way the status quo will prevail. We've seen a lot of crises cross the halls of Grey-Sloan Memorial over the years, but never quite like this.
Katherine Avery hires a crisis consultant to help address the media frenzy that's enveloped the hospital as a result of the ever-increasing stories about Avery's despicable history. Someone will have to take the fall for it, and it might as well be her, right? After all, she did enable the acts by constantly signing these women up for such iron-clad non-disclosure agreements, and even if she does justify it as "a different time" and "well, something was better than nothing," she still bears some responsibility for the culture of sexual violence that coursed through this foundation.
But Jackson (Jesse Williams) doesn't want his mother to suffer for his crimes, and he also doesn't want the rest of the hospital network to falter from it, either. Under the weight of this and the fact that he's slowly outed as the benefactor of the new contest that he himself hoped to win (good call, doc!), he's awfully distracted from the real task at hand which is, as always, patient care.
He and Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) team up to handle the resection of a massive face tumor of a boy from Venezuela whose sense of humor about it all hasn't been harmed in the making of his monstrosity, but they can't agree on how best to approach the procedure. Meredith thinks a full removal is the right way to go — if they don't get rid of it all now, he'll need multiple surgeries down the road, and who knows if he can even make it back to the United States for treatment next time? But Jackson wants to take the safe road, get him to a state of working health, and put off fully dealing with the issue for another time. It's all a giant metaphor for his hospital crisis, of course, and his hesitation to go all-in on taking out the harmful piece of this person is partially informed by his desire not to bring more negative press to the hospital. (And if he'd read the papers in recent months, he'd know that this exact procedure hasn't gone so well for other kids in recent months.)
In the end, though, he realizes that to give the boy the best chance to flourishing in his post-surgical life, he needs to take it all out and give him a new start. It might be risky, but the reward will be so much better. Similarly, he overrules the PR professional who wants Katherine to throw herself under the bus for the foundation and instead dissolve everything Harper Avery's name has touched and resurrect it as the Katherine Fox Foundation, which is his mom's maiden name. On top of that, he wants to create a full-on forum for all victims of Harper Avery to come forward and receive the compassion and compensation they deserve, including re-training and new jobs if they wish, which is certainly a start. Will it work? Unclear. There's still a tinge of self-preservation lurking underneath all of the overtures Jackson's offering with this re-branding effort, so we'll have to see how it plays out.
Meanwhile, that contest is now officially dunzo. The good news is it's inspired a lot of great innovation from its surgeons, and that work can continue in some form or another — at least Bailey was smart enough to get a sex toy manufacturer to sponsor her colonoscopy device!
The bad news is April (Sarah Drew) is again left with nothing to do. Never mind that she's a trauma surgeon and a single mother and recovering from a full-on crisis of faith, this woman needs a hobby apparently. And with Jo (Camilla Luddington) and Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) now ready to head down the aisle, she can play wedding planner. Hooray! (Barf.)
There is a snag in the nuptial news, though. An unfortunate piece of his history gets in the way today when "Syph Nurse" brings her son in to get a whistle removed from his throat. She's all too happy to warn Jo about what a disease-spreading scoundrel she's about to get married to, and while Jo does take it in stride, it does concern her about his standoff-ish behavior.
See, when Alex logged in to his bank account to see how much he could contribute to their budget, he acted all moody and dark, which is never a good sign with him. He later reveals that he is upset about his balance, but it's not because he's broke. In fact, he's got way more money than he should have right about now. He's been sending his mother checks for food and rent, but obviously she's not been cashing them, and he's only just now finding out about it. As you might recall, Alex's mother is not stable while not medicated, so she definitely needs a watchful eye, and he's kicking himself for not being in touch. That said, her status is still TBD, so there's no reason for him to flip out about it just yet, especially when there's so much more real drama in play elsewhere throughout the hospital.
For example, Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Amelia (Catarina Scorsone) take the baby to a pediatric check-up and find out that the birth mother is going to be attending as well. What neither of them expect to find there is a teen addict (played by Everything Sucks! star Peyton Kennedy) who got addicted to drugs after an opioid prescription for pain and now lives on the streets and had to give up the child she bore with her drug dealer.
Owen shows her kindness, of course, but Amelia shows her true empathy. After feeding her and confessing her own brush with the "allergies" that are making her so pale and itchy, Amelia decides not to let this child fall into the oblivion of the streets. She's touched that the girl found a way to buy a dress before seeing her child and still gives him a respectful distance to allow Owen to take care of it.
Owen has the boy taken care of, now Amelia wants to take care of his mom, Betty. Amelia knows it's a lot to ask of Meredith to have this girl move in with her three kids, so Owen decides to open up his home to them both. A family reunion on two fronts! Who could've possibly seen this coming?
If the previous marriage was only thanks to the tumor, then what do we call this new development?
Last but not least, the hospital's troubles are not done just yet. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) dodges most of the PR mess with Harper Avery, but she does get a surprise visitor after the day is done. It's Vikram Roy, the brother and attorney of Dr. Roy, who was unceremoniously fired by Richard Webber for continuing to work, despite knowing that he'd ingested marijuana cookies last episode. High Doc wants an apology and his job back, and with the hospital close to ruin already, chances are, he's gonna get his way. But judging by the look in Miranda's eyes, if he thought the chief was tough on interns before, he hasn't seen anything yet.
PS: The endgame for Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw is really starting to come into view now. April's decision to defend Jackson to Maggie, ensuring that he has true scruples despite all the bad outward signs, feels like closure. And the fact that Karina dared to second guess Arizona's parenting decisions with Sofia spells major trouble for those two because insulting the way a mom loves her baby is a hugeeee no-no.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursday nights at 8/7c on ABC.