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Grey's Anatomy - Both Sides Now - Review

With a sigh of relief I sit down to write a review of an episode where it’s almost back to business as usual. Almost. I’m not going to go overboard and say this was brilliant but it was perhaps the most enjoyable episode of the season so far. And the most Grey’s.

Both Sides Now, written by Mark Driscoll, directed by Chandra Wilson contained all the right cues to make it a rounded Grey’s episode. The darkly humorous medical stories were morally triggering, enough to create debate among may households and the character interactions were engaging and progressive. It was funny and uplifting. I found Bailey’s joy even as I was worrying for the future of the show.

The hot and humid day starts with Bailey determined to celebrate by giving her nearly eighty year old patient her much waited for liver transplant. She’s waited for so long and is so old that we just know that things are not going to go her way. Meredith, on the other hand, has to deal with a twenty something twin who is running a temperature so high her liver is damaged. You can see where this is going…doesn’t take a rocket scientist. Predictable it was until the moment when the sweet generous old lady turns down the kind request to relinquish her liver to the young spritely twin. And so the moral dilemma is exposed for us to ponder. How ageist are we? Are the young more worthy of the spare parts going than the old? I was torn and at one point I didn’t particularly like Bailey’s crowing over the decision. Knowing that it could’ve meant certain death for the other girl made me feel slightly uncomfortable. Perhaps that’s where the show should’ve gone? They chose the safe route. Everyone’s a winner…except of course the two souls who yielded the livers in the first place. One question…why was Granny June given the choice in the first place? How come she wasn’t just bumped from the top of the queue? I thought UNOS made the decision? Answers below please…

Grey’s Anatomy is well known for its time jumps and wonky timelines. You never quite know where you are and how much time has passed so it’s perhaps no surprise to realise that Grey’s is now set in the future. Okay, not too far in the future but nevertheless the future it is. It’s October 29, 2016 and Amelia has realised that her period is three days late. Cue frantic search for a pregnancy test kit. They can be late for any number of reasons, even the stress of trying for a baby can affect the schedule. This is a great little story for Amelia. After almost telling everyone in the hospital that she might be pregnant when she finally tells Owen and takes the test it turns out she’s not. And so the story really begins. Amelia has history with babies, beautifully told and sensitively portrayed in Private Practice - a reminder, Amelia, whose partner died as a result of an accidental overdose, gave birth to a boy with Anencephaly, who died very soon after birth and whose organs were donated. She spent the whole day surrounded by the joy that other people were feeling at her potential pregnancy that she was too scared to do the test. Amelia’s hesitancy and apparent relief when she saw the result of her pregnancy test opened a door for me. I’ve been waiting for some depth and hopefully Amelia’s journey into motherhood, with Owen, will be a story worth watching this season. I hope they don’t write in Caterina Scorsone’s pregnancy. I don’t want them to rush this. It will be good to see a story with Owen which is not about him, though of course it will involve him, this effort to become parents will be about Amelia’s ability to move forward with her life. The scene where Amelia talks to April in the bathroom dove that message home.

“The last time I was pregnant I didn’t have to tell the father because he was dead.”

At the same time as Amelia was stalking the halls with a stick weighing down heavy in her pocket Owen was spending the day babysitting, Harriet wailing heavily on his shoulder – apparently there were no traumas for him to work on all day (really?). This was a nice segway into Owen’s relationship with parenting. Is Owen set up for fatherhood? It was cute. I loved the crime against humanity with Nathan. I especially loved Alex holding the baby and screwing with Owen. It gave me a special kind of Bailey joy.

Maggie’s fight with Amelia for the custody rights to Stephanie played out during the tragedy of the liver transplant. Who among you thought that of all three patients Andy was the one who deserved to survive? I liked him and through Andy (and Amelia) we saw this episode through the lens of classic Grey’s. In amongst the humour, the non pregnancy and babies crying something quietly devastating happened.

Fortunately the episode was light on the fake chemistry between Nathan and Meredith, the overly done flirting, the ‘lurve’ triangle. Perhaps that’s why the episode was better than previous…?

And now to the truly terrible - Jo whining….again. Seriously this is appalling. Surely the writers can find something for Jo to do when she’s not with Alex that doesn’t involve her moaning. It would be good for them to show us exactly how Jo is the best resident then perhaps we might empathise with her when Stephanie is being labelled ‘the best’. At least there was some awareness. DeLuca called it when he told her to get her shoulder treated for the huge chip sitting on it.

April’s back thank goodness and the writers used her really well. This is how you use a character when the episode story is not about them.

Both Sides Now gave me some joy, it showed us that there can be good things ahead in season thirteen. Let’s hope so anyway.

PS. Dear writers, if DeLuca had been a woman in Granny June’s hospital room and made a sex object the world would be in uproar. It’s not right using a man either. Don’t bang us on the head with an anti-ageism episode and then do this. Seriously.

About the Author - Brouhaha
Maxine (aka Brouhaha) is a fan of Grey’s Anatomy and writes episode reviews and occasional articles. Her other TV favourites include Foyle's War, Criminal Minds, Bones, TBBT, Broadchurch, Catastrophe and despite her better judgement Madam Secretary. In real life she's a mum, self-employed and can often be found arguing about politics or current affairs, attempting to write fiction and buying hair products. Got a question - go to Tumblr ask!
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