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Station 19's Andy Gets Help Overcoming Her Trauma From the 'Unlikeliest Source'

Director Jason George breaks down the important episode

Megan Vick

[Warning: The following contains spoilers from Thursday's episode of Station 19. Read at your own risk!]

Andy (Jaina Lee Ortiz) has been going through it on Station 19 after a night out with her co-workers ended with her being assaulted in the bar parking lot and her inadvertently killing a man as she defended herself from being raped. As Station 19 picked up after a month-long hiatus, Andy was to stand trial for manslaughter and was suspended from the fire department pending the results of the trial. It really, really, sucked for her, and in Thursday's episode, Andy finally managed to say as much to everyone who kept telling her to be patient instead of acknowledging that she survived a horrific attack and shouldn't be punished for it. 

It was a big moment for Andy, who up until this point had been drowning in shame and grief over what happened. And she found the strength to continue fighting from the last person you'd expect — her mother. The two have an estranged relationship after Andy discovered her mom hadn't actually died when she was eight, but simply left her and her father behind. They hadn't spoken since that initial reconnection, but after hearing what happened to Andy, her mom showed up and offered the exact kind of support that Andy was missing from her boss and the trolls on Twitter. 

Jason George, who also stars in the series as Ben Warren, directed the episode and broke down his process for getting Andy to a point where she would be receptive to her mother's support. He also revealed some behind-the-scenes secrets about filming the "pregnancy play" of Jack (Grey Damon) and Maya (Danielle Savre) trying to inseminate a very hormonal and distraught Carina (Stefania Spampinato) so they can officially start their baby journey together. 

Jaina Lee Ortiz, Station 19

Jaina Lee Ortiz, Station 19


Why was this episode the right one in the schedule for you to direct? 
Jason George:
It finally all came together. I've been shadowing directors for years. Shonda Rhimes let me shadow some directors on Private Practice back in the day. I was shadowing on a sitcom I did a million years ago. Then cut to Paris Barclay, a fantastic mentor for the first four seasons of this show. He let me shadow him and learn from the legend as a director. Then Stacey K. Black came on as a producing director this year and I was gearing up to do some shorts and my own projects. Stacey came in … and knew that I was ready to go take a punch of my own. She said, "Well, let's just cut to the chase. Let's do this." So I got a slot finally. It worked out great. Then I got served up with this fantastic episode. 

This episode is a crucial turning point in Andy's journey after the attack. What was most important for you to highlight as she shed the guilt and shame over what happened to her?
George: A good hero's journey kind of story is about putting the character in the crucible and boiling them down to their bare essence. You've got the legal system not willing to give survivors the benefit of the doubt. They often put the victim on trial, the survivor on trial. In this case, that's literally what's happening. … In this case, she's literally being put on trial for having survived and she's got the local news, and we live in a world of social media, so all of social media has an opinion about what happened to her. It's just boiling her down. Chief Ross still has to bench [Andy]. It's all just coming out and boiling her down until she finally says, "To hell with all of you. I know what I did was right. From here on out, if you're not backing me up, you're in my way." Then she gets support from one of the most unlikeliest sources… her estranged mom. She's pretty much told everybody else to step off. That takes us back to being a little kid and all you need is to be able to cry on your mom's shoulder and then get it back together again. Now you're ready to go back at the world. I look at boiling her down with all of these pressures, boiling her down to her most raw fears, and then her mom being there to say, "Okay, you've been boiled down to basically the young girl that I helped create. Go be you," and then she's ready to take on the world. 

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Meanwhile, there is this amazing sequence with Jack, Maya, and Carina as they try to get Carina inseminated. How did you balance the tension and the humor as Carina was having this massive meltdown?
George: I mean, [Stefania Spampinato] went to the zoo and I will give her props forever. I told her, "I need you to go to the zoo. I need it to be real. I need you to be in pain, but I need it to be funny, got it?" And she did a phenomenal job. It was a really tight needle to thread and she did a phenomenal job. And Danielle [Savre] and Grey [Damon] came with the thunder. It was this three-hander. I literally pulled all those pages out of my script, cobbled them together, and labeled it the pregnancy play because they're off doing their own separate thing for the entire episode. It is a great play. We could have put that on stage, but with a fraction of the rehearsal time that you would have had if we were doing a real play. We rehearsed the first of those scenes much longer than I anticipated, because I was like, "If we can get the timing right — if we can get the connections here and get them in the rhythm and vibing the way we need, everything else is going to fall into place." At one point my first AD told me we were an hour and a half behind. But God bless them, once we clicked, the rest just flew by and we finished the day on time. Once everybody was playing the same song and got the music together, we all knew what it should be and how it could get there. They got it. They were beautiful. The three of them just took off and comedy ensued while at the same time making you cry. 

A lot was set up in this episode with Andy and her mom, Jack and the pregnancy as well as a new brother, and Travis potentially running for office. What are you most excited for fans to see in the tail end of the season?
George: Funny enough, just as a fan and a friend of his, I am interested in this idea of Travis dabbling with "I'm not going to run for mayor, what are we talking about? That's stupid," yet he keeps coming back. It keeps coming up. He's just trying to figure out how he can derail Dixon's run for mayor. Ben was on a personal mission to end Dixon's career as well at some point, so I have no doubt that Ben will back him up in whatever he chooses to do. That's how righteous Travis is in needing to push Dixon out of this race, but at the same time how funny Travis just is about everything. So that combination, I think that's going to be comedy gold and what I'm looking forward to as a fan.  

Station 19 continues Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.