Season 16, Episode 4: It’s Raining Men (Written by Mark Driscoll; Directed by Michael Watkins)
Well, this episode was certainly dramatic, wasn’t it? Shit has truly hit the fan for a lot of people in the Grey’s universe. We’ve even got patients refusing treatment at Grey Sloan and opting for Pac North instead. Twilight zone, is that you?
“If you’re in an OR and it looks like the sky is falling, that’s because, sometimes, unfortunately, it is. I was once doing a laparoscopic appendectomy, perfectly routine, when out of nowhere, my patient developed an air embolus. Carbon dioxide that was filling his abdomen leached into his circulation. His blood pressure plummeted as the air bubble went to his heart, causing utter chaos. I started CPR, trying to keep blood flowing to his brain. We placed a central line as quickly as we could, but before we knew it, his lungs were filling with fluid. My routine lap appy was now a case of multi-organ failure. And there wasn’t a damn thing I could do to stop it.” – Meredith Grey
Let’s break it down, shall we?
This list. Grey’s List. It’s causing all kinds of problems. One of them being Meredith didn’t even write her article yet, but here we are––90,000 likes in––with a PR nightmare for Grey Sloan. I was a journalism student in college. My degree is in public relations. This episode had me all kinds of worked up, mostly because I spent four years learning how to deal with stuff like this. And the doctors? I’m not really sure they dealt with it how they should have. Some of them had the right idea, but the execution just wasn’t there. But that’s a discussion for later. Right now, let’s talk about how Meredith got here.
We’ve known for a few weeks that she was going to write some exposé of the medical system. We knew it was coming. But I don’t think any of us expected it to go the way it did. I’d be lying if I sat here and told you all that I was glad Meredith decided to write something. While I didn’t expect her to just keep her mouth shut and do what she was told, I was not particularly interested in seeing her self-destruct. And if you ask me, that’s exactly what she did.
But I really don’t think it was intentional. A few reviews ago, I said that Meredith tends to think with her heart instead of her head. She is empathetic almost to a fault. She gets herself into trouble because she feels things so deeply. And while that is an admirable quality, it has also put her and a lot of other people in an impossible situation now.
Meredith is not totally to blame here, though. Whatever journalist published this royally screwed all of our doctors over. In the last episode, Meredith was reading off her pitches to Andrew, so we kind of knew the direction she wanted to take this article in. But what ended up happening instead? Her list of pitches is what got published, turning a well-intended article into something that has a very real chance of causing irreparable damage to multiple hospitals. And don’t EVEN get me going on that headline. It was a total clickbait headline. It had nothing to do with the content at all, and now people are literally choosing Pac North over Grey Sloan. But clickbait headlines happen all the time in real life, and I’m kind of glad it happened on the show. In real life, so many people never read beyond the headline. I do it sometimes. I’m sure you do it sometimes. (And some people even share articles based off the headline alone. I hope you don’t do that.) Seeing Meredith’s words being taken so extremely out of context and paired with a misleading headline is a good lesson for us as viewers: the headlines are not the story. A lot of times, they’re going to distract you from the actual point. Don’t fall into that trap.
Sorry, I definitely could go on a full rant about this. But I won’t. Back to the episode.
So, what does Meredith do now that control has been yanked from her? The article that she never even had the chance to write is wreaking havoc. If I had it my way, she’d go to work crew and stay the whole time and then she’d figure out a way to explain what happened to Bailey. And she’d force her to listen. Does Bailey have a right to be mad? 100 percent, yes. But do I think Meredith deserves the chance to really explain? Also yes. This was not what Meredith intended to happen, and I think, deep down, Bailey knows that, too. Those two need to have a serious heart-to-heart sometime soon.
“I love Grey Sloan. I own Grey Sloan. I wouldn’t write anything to tear it down.” – Meredith Grey
But is that what happened? Nope. If you paid attention to the background actors at all, you probably noticed that everyone is reading this list. All of ’em. And somehow, Bailey seems to be the last to find out about it. When she does? Shit. Now she has to go into damage control mode. Doctors are quitting, patients are canceling surgeries and refusing treatment… it’s a mess. It kind of seems that Bailey is alone, though, when it comes to alienating Meredith. The other doctors are rallying around her, for the most part. Alex even laughs about it… probably because it’s distracting people from the shitshow he now runs.
But I also think maybe Alex is missing the point. When Richard brings the list up, Alex shrugs it off, saying, “that place kicked us out.” But it isn’t about Grey Sloan. It’s about the medical system as a whole. The hospital isn’t broken, the system is. And Alex is just over here happy that someone else is getting the bad press for once.
Meanwhile, back at Grey Sloan, Bailey has named DeLuca chief resident. I did not see that one coming. It kind of seems like Bailey’s punishing him with the job, actually. Since people are now quitting and getting fired left and right, the schedule is all kinds of screwed up. And now it’s DeLuca’s mess to fix. Will there be a new resentment in his relationship with Meredith? Probably. We even saw a glimpse of it at the end of the episode. And I know a lot of you are not going to like what I’m about to say… but I agree with DeLuca to an extent on this. Hear me out.
Meredith’s speech about not being able to sit on her mountain of privilege and do nothing was amazing. I do not, in any way, want to take away from that. But. There are better ways for her to accomplish what she’s trying to accomplish. First of all, leaving work crew when she still had five hours left? Not the move. She leaves because she wants to go talk to Bailey. Yes, absolutely, she should want to talk to Bailey. I already said I want the two of them to talk it out. But, at this point, what would waiting five hours have changed? Nothing.
But she’s not thinking that way right now. Right now, the only thing Meredith is interested in is saving her relationship with the person who taught her how to be a doctor. And that can’t wait. I get the urgency she’s feeling, I do. She’s just managed to burn a major bridge between herself and Bailey, and the need to fix it is so overwhelming. And then she gets to the hospital, and Jo confirms what she’s been dreading: Bailey’s pissed as hell and blaming Meredith for the destruction.
When Meredith went into Bailey’s office, I braced myself to be heartbroken. And I was. Meredith is desperate to make Bailey understand that she had nothing to do with that list being published the way it was. I think Bailey knows that, but I also don’t think she’s got it in her right now to forgive anything. Meredith tells her she’s tried calling the publishers but they won’t budge and refuse to take it down. She offers to write a retraction. She’s doing everything she can think of to make it right. But then Bailey says it. “The damage has been done.”
And I broke. Seeing these two fighting like this shatters me. It shatters me because I don’t know what side to be on. I feel like I’m straddling the line, unable to choose one side or the other. Because I don’t think there is a right side. Meredith’s intentions are noble and pure, but Bailey’s anger is understandable and we can’t fault her for it. Meredith made a mess and now Bailey’s the one trying desperately to clean it up. And it’s not getting better with time––it’s getting worse.
I think, ultimately, Bailey feels betrayed by Meredith. She all but tells her that in her office. Meredith is the surgeon she is largely thanks to all the time Bailey put into teaching her. And now Meredith has been fired and it feels like she’s bringing the hospital down with her. And while I bet Bailey is on the same side when it comes to the issues Mer’s exposing, it’s the way she’s handling it that’s making everything so tough.
Which is also where DeLuca’s head is at right now. He’s been supportive and wonderful, but this episode kind of sends him over the edge. Meredith leaving work crew early opens her up to even more repercussions than the ones she’s already facing. DeLuca is frustrated with her because he knows her. He knows her heart is in the right place, and he’s so insanely frustrated with how she’s handling things. And I don’t buy for a second that he doesn’t know her like Meredith seems to think. He totally understands where her head is, he just doesn’t like it. Which… same. In the season 15 finale, Meredith tells DeLuca he’s got to develop some sense for self-preservation. And now DeLuca is telling her the same thing. Because, like I said, right now? Meredith is in full self-destruction mode. And if you ask me, DeLuca is the only one in this pair who seems to have any kind of preservation senses turned on. (And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go into hiding.)
I’m back. And I’m not finished.
Let’s bring Jackson and Koracick into the conversation.
So, remember how I said at the beginning of the review that my degree is in PR? Let’s talk about public relations for a second. What Koracick was doing with that patient was PR for the hospital. Crisis management. It’s good press after something catastrophic happens and taints the image of a person, organization, or business. And we all know Grey Sloan could use some crisis management right about now. What Koracick is doing is trying to distract people from the list by highlighting the good that happens inside the hospital. To show that, publicity is required. It isn’t some dirty game he’s playing. It’s a genuine way to turn the spotlight back onto the things that matter. Now, is there such a thing as bad PR? For sure. People who say that isn’t true are lying to you. That list, for example, is bad PR. Which is why Koracick is doing everything he can to switch the focus.
And what does Jackson do? The opposite of what he should have done. Like Meredith, his heart was in the right place here, but he managed to screw some people over in the process. He could have easily taken the little girl’s parents aside and explained things to them. They agreed to be filmed. They weren’t tricked into anything. Did Koracick bribe them with free surgery? Maybe. But I also think he would’ve helped them regardless of their answer to being filmed. He may be an ass to a lot of people, but not his patients.
So now that Jackson has taken that PR opportunity away from the hospital, the younger doctors are even more worried about their futures. In the OR, Levi calls Jackson out, basically throwing in his face what he just denied the hospital.
“If you’d have let Dr. Koracick film it, it might’ve really helped this place. / You already have a career. Your future is safe no matter what. Not all of us have that luxury.” – Levi Schmitt
So, yeah. Jackson’s heart was in the right place. Wanting to protect a family’s privacy. Noble––just like what Meredith’s doing. But the way he went about it? Not great. There’s a conversation about privilege we need to have here. Meredith and Jackson both came into their careers as doctors with a one-up. They are both related to famous, highly respected surgeons. And now they’re both famous surgeons themselves, well established, successful, and in positions of authority at a huge hospital. They don’t need good press to be okay professionally. Doctors like Schmitt and the other interns, though, need Grey Sloan to stay afloat and have an overall positive image. Their careers depend on it. Could they go find jobs at other hospitals? Sure. But they shouldn’t have to.
At the end of the day, I do think Jackson screwed up here. He saved the girl and that’s amazing and wonderful, but he denied Grey Sloan the PR boost it so desperately needs right now. He could have easily done both of those things. But he ignored the headline problem because he could. Kind of like Meredith ignored the rules because she thought she could, too.
The sky really is falling, isn’t it? Damn. The only person who seems to be totally happy right now is Amelia. Which is strange. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad she’s finally catching a break. She has been through it. And she and Link just keep getting better and better each episode. I love it. And LINK LOVES AMELIA! When Link was sitting with his patient after telling him his girlfriend didn’t survive, I think it kind of hit him out of nowhere. The holy-shit-I-love-her-what-do-I-do face was there. And he tells her! While she gravity blankets him. Total swoon moment, you guys.
But seriously, how heartbreaking was that patient? A guy literally fell out of the sky, managed to hit the exact spot these two teenagers were, one gets a blood bath and the other dies? That is not a good day. And it leads Teddy to a little bit of a breakdown, which I think we’ve all had at some point or another. In the OR, Teddy and Maggie are desperately trying to save Alicia, Helm is going on and on about Meredith, asking Maggie to tell her how much she loves her and appreciates the article. When things start to go south, Teddy kind of freaks out, and understandably so. There are lots of feelings in Grey Sloan right now. And lots of questions that don’t have an easy answer.
“It’s not just the medical system that’s broken. It’s the whole world. Why’d the stowaway have to fall out of a plane? And how bad was his life that he had to climb in the plane to begin with? And why did this girl, who could have been anywhere in the world, been in the worst place possible? The whole world is broken. Now I have a baby and it just makes it so much scarier.” – Teddy Altman
She’s right. It isn’t just the medical system that’s so messed up. This world is a terrifying place to live in right now. It’s so screwed up that the idea of trying to fix it is debilitatingly overwhelming for most of us. (And for Meredith, too, I think. Which is probably another reason why she didn’t think things through and just went for it.) It’s almost impossible to look at something as shattered as our world and even have the slightest idea of how to start rebuilding it. It makes a person feel useless and helpless and completely inadequate, and I imagine to a doctor, those feelings are maybe the worst you could feel.
Other things that happened that I have less to say about but still want to mention:
- I like Vic. I like Maggie. In a different world, I really think the two of them could be amazing friends. Maybe somebody will figure out a way to make that happen?
- Bailey being pregnant again? I honestly don’t even know what to say about this because it was totally out of left field. It has the potential to be a nice humor boost since things are so tense right now. Hopefully, that’s the route this storyline is on and not something that’s going to shatter me four episodes from now. We’ll see!
- Alex trying to recruit Owen was so funny to me. I tweeted about it, and I can’t really think of a more eloquent way to put it, so here:
— Jordyn Rowland 👻 (@RowlandJordyn) October 18, 2019
And that’s where I’m going to stop this week. I’m actually kind of exhausted after this review. It’s not easy being hard on Meredith, but I had to do it. Hopefully you read all the way down to here to read this part: I love Meredith Grey. I want to see her succeed and be happy. But that doesn’t mean I agree with everything she does. She’s human and she screws up. What I want to see now is how she rebuilds.
Music From 1604:
“After multiple transfusions, emergent dialysis, and the fastest central line I’ve done to this day, my patient pulled through. But it taught an important lesson. There is no such thing as a routine surgery. Every time I step into an OR, I’m ready for the worst. It’s not a guarantee against bad outcomes, but it does mean, when the curveballs come, when the sky starts to fall, hopefully you’re less likely to get completely knocked off your feet.” – Meredith Grey