Joe's Pub, one of the few sacred places on Grey's Anatomy, turned into a disaster zone at the end of Thursday's fall finale when a car crashed through the wall, putting the lives of several Grey Sloan doctors and a few Station 19 firefighters in grave danger.
The closing seconds of the tense episode saw rubble crashing onto a table of interns as well as Pruitt Herrera (Miguel Sandoval), who learned that his cancer is back during the hour. Herrera was sitting next to Ben (Jason George), who was drinking away his sadness after Bailey (Chandra Wilson) lost their baby earlier in the day. Schmitt (Jake Borelli) was also at the bar with Nico (Alex Landi), and Jackson (Jesse Williams) was hanging out after getting in a fight with his mom, Catherine (Debbie Allen).
Everyone else is presumably safe, though dealing with their own issues. Bailey was in her office, finally letting the full weight of the miscarriage hit her. Maggie (Kelly McCreary) quit her job because she's still feeling the effects of botching her cousin's surgery a few episodes ago. Koracick (Greg Germann) still hasn't given up on Teddy (Kim Raver) eventually picking him and immediately offered her Maggie's deserted position. So, that's complicated, but not as complicated as Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) realizing that she's four more weeks along in her pregnancy than she thought, and that Owen (Kevin McKidd) could actually be the father of her baby instead of Link (Chris Carmack).
Meanwhile (yes, we're still not done), Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) received a "package" from Cristina (Sandra Oh) in the shape of a hot, Irish head of pediatric surgery (Richard Flood), who will from now on be referred to as McWidow. We learned over the course of the episode that McWidow is, you guessed it, a widow and a father of at least two teenage boys. He's also as stubborn and cocky as Meredith -- and he means serious trouble for her relationship with DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti), which did not get off the rocks in the fall finale.
TV Guide spoke with Jake Borelli about the disaster at Joe's Pub, what to expect in the back half of the season, and whether he's team McWidow or MerLuca.
What was your reaction when you read the end of this episode?
Jake Borelli: People have to remember that we're reading it in real time. I'm a fan of the show just as much as the other fans, and it was crazy when we read that the car comes through the bar like that. There were major gasps and so much shock during the table read. Then my immediate thought was, "Wait, what happens to everyone in the bar?! What happens to me?!" ... We had no idea! The suspense that everyone is feeling right now after seeing the episode is the same suspense that we felt at the table read.
What is your advice for fans who have to wait two months to figure out what happens to these characters?
Borelli: I would jump back on Netflix and watch Grey's from the beginning again so you get your fill during the holiday break. There's nothing going to stop this suspense.
What can you tease about what the next steps are when the show returns in January?
Borelli: Everything is shaken up in this midseason finale. Every path we all thought we were going on is going to change drastically because of this disaster. I am just excited to see who pulls through and how their lives are changed because of it.
The back half of the season will also feature crossovers with Station 19 every week. What has it been like to interact with that cast?
Borelli: All I know is that people have been super excited that we get to play even deeper in the same universe now that Krista Vernoff is showrunning both shows. It's been super wonderful. Danielle Savre and Barrett Doss are two of my closest friends. We hang out outside of work, so it's nice to get to play in the same universe with them. Both shows are going to stay the same awesome, amazing shows that we've loved before, but it's just cool now that there gets to be more crossover characters and the ability to have more crossovers moving forward.
Who should fans be the most worried about after this car crash?
Borelli: I would say anyone that stepped foot in that bar is in danger and it's going to be a very stressful holiday break.
Before the car crash, Schmitt was lamenting how much he hates his life at Grey Sloan because the other interns hate him. If he survives, do you think he'd consider taking a job at Pac North?
Borelli: I think we need to take this one step at a time. This car thing is going to throw a lot of wrenches into everybody's lives. There's a lot of people in that bar, including Levi. At this point, he's not thinking about Pac North. We're straight up in the middle of a classic Grey Sloan disaster.
What are you most excited for in the back half of the season?
Borelli: We left [Schmitt] in one of his darkest moments. He's been given the cold shoulder by all of his friends and confidants at the hospital. [He] is such a guy that loves humans and loves caring for humans and wants to make sure that everyone is OK. He's in a difficult place right now where even his best friend has turned her back on him for what happened with him and Meredith. If everything pans out after this crash, it's going to be interesting where he's at in his headspace with all of his friends. This car accident is going to throw a lot of wrenches in a lot of the plans that any of these characters had.
Speaking of his headspace, we've had a chance to see Schmitt really grow into a much more confident doctor. He's been the hero multiple times, but will this event shake his confidence at all?
Borelli: He's grown a lot and a lot has happened to him. He was in that pile-up accident on the freeway with Owen Hunt and he saved Owen Hunt's life in another episode. He's sort of been there in a lot of traumatic situations and we've seen him pull through. I think this is another opportunity for him but it's going to test him in a way that he hasn't been tested before.
Unrelated to the disaster, the new pediatric surgeon shows up. I want to know: Are you Team DeLuca or Team McWidow?
Borelli: It's so hard because Giacomo and I are pretty close outside of work. I never want to vote against Giacomo. I have to pull for my boy DeLuca.
Grey's Anatomy returns with a two-hour Station 19 crossover event on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 8/7c on ABC.