With only a few episodes left to go until the season finale of Grey's Anatomy's 14th season airs, the dangling threads of the last few weeks are starting to tie together at last, for better and for worse.
This week, the show celebrates Mother's Day in its own special little way as many of the central characters have to come to grips with their own parents, parenting, and/or take care of their substitute children as only mothers can.
First, we have have Alex Karev (Justin Chambers), who spent all of last week's episode grumpily moping for naught because, as it turns out, his mother is just fine. She's better than fine, actually. After half a lifetime spent being debilitated by her mental calamities, age and its attendant serenity has helped to snap her into a healthier routine and mindset. Instead of traipsing the neighborhood with no shoesat all hours of the night and worrying Alex sick as a result of the chaos ensuing inside her head, she's now back to her old job as a local librarian and living a quiet, peaceful life that's about as well-managed as one could hope for her. Her meds are working, her stress management is critical, and she's happy.
Alex's initial reaction is ... unenthused. He feels sorry for himself, mostly, because where was this mom during his formative years? And how much of his own happiness has been sacrificed for her, only to be ignored when things go well? Jo (Camilla Luddington) proves once again how well she understands and loves him by letting him take that pent-up aggression out at the batting range so that he can, in turn, knock some sense into himself. He's never going to get his childhood back, but perhaps what he can have as a result of this new development is a relationship with his mother — a quasi-normal one. He'll have to take it. After all, she might not be able to adjust her schedule enough to come to their wedding, but she's not in danger of harming herself or others right now, and if he and Jo are headed where they think they are, this is the kind of grandma their kids could actually visit once in a while.
Meanwhile, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) also has to grapple with the woman who made her. Now that she knows the truth about her mother's infamous method, and how Maria Cerrone deserved and was robbed of a co-title on that honorific, she has to make it right. But how? Surely, she can't roll over on her own new method, which is already earning her ire from jealous fellow surgeons who fell just behind her in the race for liver replacement options. But she also can't ignore the hand Harper Avery and, in a smaller way, Ellis Grey had in ruining Maria Cerrone's earned legacy, either.
Mer meets a fellow surgeon at the bar, ahead of her presentation, and spills the beans about her dilemma. The guy seems nice enough, even if he's envious of her achievement and not afraid to tell her as much. Meredith's not apologetic to him, either, but once he compares his own (and by extension, Maria Cerrone's) situation to that of Pete Conrad, the third man to walk on the moon whose name no one knows, she's at least empathetic to that plight of being deprived of a legacy. She decides to formally announce that the Grey Method will now be known as the Grey-Cerrone Method to celebrate Maria's part in the procedure, and Maria is beyond touched. Meredith gives her the cold shoulder, however, when she tries to thank her for the gesture in the hall later, indicating that while she might be sorry for what her mother did to her, she's not ready to forgive or forget the cutthroat tactics she used in the present day to undercut her new procedure out of pure spite. And with that, well, see ya, Cerrone.
Speaking of awkward send-offs, Amelia (Catarina Scorsone) tries her darndest to coach poor Betty through the terrible detox process, talking her through every fever dream and upchuck session and wiping away some pretty nasty insults as a product of the demon inside of the girl that's demanding a fix. As far as they get, though, Amelia is unsuccessful at guiding her all the way through it. Betty sneaks out of the bathroom and disappears into the wind, which lands Amelia into an addicts' meeting. There, she blames herself and everyone in the profession for unknowingly starting this epidemic of opioid addiction in young people by prescribing addictive medications in the hospital setting. As insulted and demoralized as she may have been through the process, though, she hopes Betty will return so that she can try again because she's not ready to quit the girl yet. (PS: Yes, Owen's got her baby well taken care of all the while. He's a snappy little dresser, too!)
Also refusing to give up is Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), who tries her best to justify the firing of Vikram Roy without having to reinstate him or pay him some inordinate amount of settlement money the hospital definitely does not have right now with all the Harper Avery settlements afoot. She quickly finds out, however, that proving him to be the villain in this situation is going to be very difficult, considering she, herself, engaged in patient care while under the influence of those marijuana cookies. Granted, she left before anyone revealed they were a ~special~ recipe, but still. How's a judge going to see it if she's punishing a subordinate for something she also did?
At the same time, asking her to apologize for having him canned is a step too far for Bailey's pride. Despite the fact that her hands are tied, she decides to lay right into the would-be intern by going full Bailey and preaching about how lucky Dr. Roy would be to get the opportunity to get molded into a world-class surgeon under her watch (along with a clever reminder that she's spent months up peoples' butts and knows the most efficient way to get there). Roy's attorney-brother might talk a big game, but the doctor wisely knows when to throw in the towel, so he accepts Bailey's non-apology and his job back and knows full well that he's just gotten on the bad side of the woman who everyone used to call "The Nazi." Things are looking up!
Last but not least, we come to Arizona (Jessica Capshaw), whose time on Grey's is ticking down ever more furiously. Tonight, she exhibits why she's such a rad, special part of the surgical staff by performing an amazing intrauterine procedure on a 24-week-old fetus with spina bifida (and talking the terrified mom-to-be into the procedure at that). All the while, though, she's got her own parental problems in play as Sofia's acting out worse than ever, stealing the field trip money of her fellow second-graders so that she can sneak off to New York without upsetting her mom.
Sofia desperately wants to be back with Callie, so how long can Arizona keep her here? The thing is, she knows that if she just sends Sofia back to live with her other mother, that'll be a problem for the girl as well. Missing this mom is why she moved back to Seattle in the first place. It was Arizona who gave Callie her blessings to uproot everyone on her end to New York in the first place, so she knows this time it's her responsibility to go east and re-join her family, as complicated as it may be. And with that, Arizona's officially on her way out.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.