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Grey's Anatomy - Roar - Review

Damn you Alex Karev! I’ve fallen in love with you all over again. Grey’s Anatomy is back and when I say back I mean the quality that we have come to know and love has returned to the screen. You might say it ‘roared!’. Okay enough of that.

“Roar”, written by Elizabeth J.B. Klaviter, directed by Nicole Rubio is the standout episode of the season so far. I’m disappointed that it took 6 episodes to get to this but with great relief it arrived. Wonderful storyline, not one but two devastating tear jerking medical features and season plotline momentum…oh and Justin Chambers. I might ask this every week…why did it take so long for them to utilise Alex. I’m feeling entirely spoiled with all this Alex gorgeousnes.

Alex drops into court to get his trial date and comes across a 40 something woman, freshly pregnant via tequila with her best friend and showing symptoms of the silent killer, pancreatic cancer. Once again Alex is in the right place at the right time to save the day…in this case, perhaps not save the patient but to allow the patient to bring her baby into the world. It is the kind of story that brings out the best in Alex (and Chambers) and his fight as and for the underdog. He is constantly determined to fight for his patient no matter the personal cost to him and indeed he did not know how much this particular fight could have cost him. One hopes that come the trial he will not be short of character witnesses to support his case. Kudos to Bailey for standing up to Catherine.

On the other side of the hospital more tragedy unfolded as Mr Road Rage discovers he has killed his own son in his effort to chase down another driver. This triggers an already hypersensitive Amelia into a mini break down with Alex, causing these two stories to collide in an unusual and immense way. I sobbed. I did not know or had probably forgotten that Amelia had kept her baby a secret from the significant people in her life and it is no surprise that she has some difficulty coping with pregnancy now. This story is epic. It may seem like Shondaland does like a tragic/sad baby story…we have had a few over the years - Amelia, Cristina’s abortion, Meredith’s miscarriage and initial inability to conceive, Addison’s abortion with Mark’s baby (prior to Grey’s but brought up retrospectively), Mark relinquishing his grandchild to adoption, April’s still born son. However there is a freshness to this particular baby story. It is long established that Owen is desperate for a family and has already had to cope with one abortion and a wife not wanting a baby. It’s clear that Amelia does want children. What is also clear is that she’s not able to cope with the process, which brings me to Amelia opening up to Alex. There are many secrets around Grey’s at the moment and perhaps that’s a theme of this season, but this one with Amelia is perhaps the most devastating. Not sure anyone cares that Jo is already married, despite the Alex gorgeousness at the moment - is anyone really missing Alex with Jo? Meredith’s love triangle secret is gossip and shenanigans. We are supposed to care because Maggie is Meredith’s sister and there will be a big fall out. However Amelia’s secrets from Owen go much deeper than that and her emotional outpouring to Alex was a televisual treat. Caterina Scorsone was outstanding. Amelia can be annoying occasionally but this is all forgotten when Scorsone breathes life into a scene so devastatingly.

The writers ability to take two powerful medical stories, make them strong enough as stand alone arcs, integrate the surgeons into them seamlessly and with relevance then bring them together at the end with one powerfully simple dialogue scene elevates “Roar” so far above the other episodes in season thirteen.

This episode is complete, because the writers provided meaningful side stories which also progress the season’s narratives.

Leah Murphy was reintroduced as a resident made good. Somewhere along the way she had an epiphany which catapulted her back to Grey Sloan and more specifically Maggie Pierce. Having established a rivalry between Stephanie and Jo last week on who is the better surgeon up pops a renewed and seemingly grown up Leah ready to steel their thunder. Last episode Amelia and Maggie were fighting over Stephanie, this week Maggie has a new toy…and it’s one we’ve seen before. Cue resident infighting. I rather like the look of this. The jury is out for me on whether it’s a good thing to bring Leah back. She had been previously the more interesting resident (after Heather died), perhaps for the wrong reasons, but nevertheless her quirks stood her out from the crowd. Is she the Cristina to Maggie’s Teddy? I’m rather hoping however that Leah is not the love interest for Arizona. I’m not sure I have the patience to sit through that on screen. But I’m willing to be proved wrong.

Catherine showed up again this week to put the cat among the pigeons. Determined to find problems at Grey Sloan she has spotted a trend she doesn’t like and it’s all linked to her husband Webber. It has been mentioned before the season commenced that this season would put more focus on the original cast members so it comes as no surprise that it’s Webber’s time to deviate off course. As is the usual progress of married life on Grey’s it appears Catherine and Richard are going to hit a rough patch when wife investigates husband’s behaviour. I hope Catherine realises that a. she hasn’t uncovered anything us viewers haven’t been shouting at the screen about for the last twelve years and b. we are on Webber’s side. Always.

Through the day DeLuca and Jo are ‘talking’ because they are only allowed to talk to each other or something like that…I’m not sure I care. The most interesting aspect of this is that the trial will clearly pit DeLuca against Karev but the writers are working very hard to portray DeLuca as not such a bad guy (road rage comment in the OR).

The sweetest moment came courtesy of Jackson and April as they navigated the emotional highs and lows of parenthood realising that their wonderful little baby is in so much danger in a car. I had a flashback to Callie’s minor break down with Sofia all those years ago.

Meredith had the day off and that was okay. The episode was strong and capable without her continual presence. It was a nice to have her top and tail the day with Alex, and the Alex gorgeousness continued through to the end with his touching request to Meredith for pancake Sundays. Alex may have a temper but we know that deep down his heart is always in the right place…and he’s right Meredith, be nice to Amelia.