Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 21 Review: Bad Reputation

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The Harper Avery scandal was fixed quicker than I imagined on Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 21. About midway through, the solution was fairly obvious, but it was no less enjoyable to see it come to fruition. 

One of the things I adored most about this hour was that it gave us one of the most underrated Grey's friendships/dynamics of the series.

I'm talking about Meredith and Jackson.

They make a hell of a team when they work together, don't they? 

A Honorable Solution

The hospital was reeling from that scandal and the media coverage that it received. From the sounds of it, women were coming out in droves sharing their own tales of being sexually harassed and abused by Harper Avery.

You have to give it to Hellmouth; she was keeping count. 

The press were like vultures swarming the hospital awaiting a response.

Meredith gave them something juicy to chew on when she made the pettiest, most iconic statement by marching into the hospital with her and her mother's Harper Avery Awards and telling the press that she wasn't keeping something of which she was ashamed. 

If you want to rebuild, you have to tear it down first.


Meredith was on a gosh damn roll throughout the entire hour, and she was easily my favorite thing about it. Ever the champion of women, she wasn't letting anything slide from anyone. She was washing her hands of Harper Avery and everything that he stood for after learning the truth.

Related: Grey's Anatomy: Sarah Utterback Returns! 

The Averys were meeting with a crisis manager/fixer hoping to figure out a way out of the Avery scandal, but Meredith was there to remind them of the victims and the people behind the scandal. 

Every time she thought Jackson was getting too wrapped up in the optics, she was right there to call him to the carpet and remind him of who was suffering the most. For decades, women had their careers ripped away from them because of Harper Avery's actions. 

We didn't get to see any of the victims, but we heard about their accounts via Meredith and Jackson. One of the women went from being a surgeon to a freaking waitress. It's unthinkable that anyone would suffer so severely at the hands of such a rich and powerful man, but it's all too common. 

Bickering Friends

There were also moments where Meredith was so wrapped up in the broader impact that she overlooked the effects on a micro-scale. In what I imagine was the series' effort to portray the, shall we say inclusive lapses of feminism. In her effort to champion all women when chastising Jackson, Catherine was an oversight 

Meredith kept mistaking Jackson's concern about the optics as his being dismissive of the victims. In reality, from practically the beginning of the hour, Jackson's concern was for his mother. 

Related: Grey's Anatomy Review Season 14 Episode 20 Review: Judgment Day

He made it abundantly clear early on that he would not allow his mother to be forced to pay for Harper Avery's mistakes. That was the frustrating part about everyone wanting blood. It was a reckoning, and the public wanted someone to pay, but the person responsible was dead. 

You don't get to compare your grandfather to my mother. My mother had to fight tooth and nail for every inch she gained. Harper Avery had everything, except decency.


Not only would it have been horrible to bring down 72 hospitals over the actions of a dead man, but it would have been awful if another woman's career had to be destroyed to make amends. There is something counterintuitive about that. 

Catherine is a complicated, messy character who most likely isn't on the top of anyone's list as fan-favorite, but she built a medical empire. She did all of the work, not Harper Avery. 

Almost instantly Jackson couldn't sit back and watch his mother, a black woman who overcame so much in her field to get to where she is, being forced to take the fall for a dead, rich white man. When he brought up Ellis, it was to compare her to Catherine, not Avery. 

In his mind, his mother fought tooth and nail just like Ellis did, but in addition to being a woman, she was a black woman. She was a black woman who did build the foundation while a white man took all the credit.

Meredith never factored Catherine into the equation, perhaps because she sees Catherine for what she is now and not what she was before she climbed the ranks. 

There's no way a powerful black woman is going to take the fall for a rich white guy who couldn't keep his hands to himself.


Jackson couldn't allow his mother to take the fall for something when she did as much as she could to ease the pain and suffering of all of those women.

I can understand why others won't have any sympathy for Catherine, but I also can understand how a woman who came up during a golden age of sexism and racism would make the decisions she made. 

Jackson was torn up over all the women who got ruined because of his grandfather, and you can tell it was killing him that he had to carry the man's name. Jackson is the honorable contrast, so in a way, it's important that he keep it. He is not his grandfather, and everyone can see that. 

I'll be damned if I'm going to let my grandfather do to you what he did to all of those women.


Speaking of, it would be interesting if Jackson's father came back into the picture. Initially, he seemed like the bad guy, and yeah, he was horrible for leaving Jackson and Catherine, but it makes me wonder if he knew about his father and that's why he bolted. 

Related: Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 19 Review: Beautiful Dreamer

The Catherine Fox Foundation was an excellent way to remove Harper Avery from all the good that the foundation provided over the years. After all, it was Catherine's foundation. She was the woman behind Avery who made it what it was.

The Legacy Kids

I also loved Jackson's proposal where he promised to give all the injured parties their jobs and other resources to help them start over. 

Jackson was a rockstar. The Jackson and Meredith dynamic was everything I knew it could be, and I loved every second of it. I loved when she gave him the kick in the pants to help Diego. 

I also loved his romantic scenes with Maggie. Domestic Jaggie is adorbs. I'm not sorry.

On to the second best storyline of the night. Words cannot describe how much I adored this storyline with Amelia and Betty. Peyton Kennedy is no stranger to playing compelling roles. If you have ever watched her in Everything Sucks, you'll know how fantastic she is. 

Related: Everything Sucks No Spoilers Review

While Netflix made the sucky (and premature) decision to cancel the delightful, nostalgic series, at least we get to see her in the role of Betty. They should still renew the series though; I'm just saying. 

Owen's New Family? - Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 21

Anyway, the second Betty appeared onscreen, and we realized that she was Leo's mom, my heart went out to her. There was something disquieting about her torn up leggings and the dress with the tag on it. It was evident that she wasn't a terrible person or mother despite her kid ending up in foster care. 

Betty's story was so heartbreaking because she never set out to be a drug addict. It honest to goodness wasn't her fault.

She was prescribed too many pain meds, and she became addicted. Prescription meds and pain pills are the cause of many people's addictions, but we never stop to think about the role doctors play in addiction. 

Related: Get HBO via Prime Video Channels for Addictive Dramas, Hilarious Comedies & Hit Movies!  

I liked that the hour touched on that more. This 15-year-old went from a high-school soccer star to living out on the streets and having a kid with a drug dealer. That's not the face nor story of the junkie that society likes to demonize or blame. She shouldn't be treated as a stain on society but rather as the victim that she is. 

Amelia the Sponsor - Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 21

Amelia's storyline has been aimless since she recovered from her brain tumor, but I have enjoyed how her addiction has quietly permeated the season. I also love that in honor of Ollie's memory, and as a result of connecting with Betty, she has taken on the role of sponsor. 

Amelia has always had this insecurity and defensive quality to her because she's a "hot mess" or she's the "screw-up." It is her way of paying it forward. This new relationship she has developed with Betty will benefit her as much as it benefits Betty. 

Plus, she gets to put those maternal instincts and qualities to use, but in an area that she's knowledgeable about. This is an area where her experience is an asset. She has something to offer through her own trials and tribulations. 

I'm her Ollie.


I sincerely hope Betty is sticking around for the long-run because this could do wonders for Amelia. Don't get me started on the fact that Owen kind of has his own family after all. With Amelia and Betty moving in, and baby Leo, they are this beautiful, messy pseudo-family of broken people who may find healing in each other. 

Speaking of families, I am relieved that Olivia's son didn't belong to Alex. I was concerned that would be the case, but it wasn't. It was awesome seeing Sarah Utterback return to the series, but I'm just as happy to see her go. 

Nurse Olivia is Back


Alex was awful to her, and it felt right having Alex face the woman whose reputation in the hospital was ruined because of Alex back in the day when the rest of the hour was addressing Harper Avery. That being said, Olivia couldn't let it go nor wrap her head around the fact that people change.

Holy crap, it's been eight years! How is she still so bitter? I loathed how she was trying to get in Jo's head. It was so needlessly cruel. She hasn't seen nor spoken to Alex in damn near a decade, so she had no idea how much he has grown. 

Additional Notes: 

  • I'm all for April planning Jolex's wedding. It's such an April thing to do.
  • This storyline involving Alex's mother should be exciting. Admittedly, as someone who recalls family members having to search for another mentally ill family member, I was triggered and intrigued. Where is Alex's mom?!
  • Meredith's house being available to every disastrous character in need warms the cockles of my heart. DeLuca has been crashing and not showering for a week, and Maggie is treating him like a stray cat. I can't!
  • Is it fair that Arizona got so worked up about Carina not seeming to care about Sophia when she hasn't introduced them? 
  • What is Carina supposed to say? She also doesn't have kids. Also, she wasn't wrong about the coddling even if it did seem like she was lowkey making a dig about American parenting styles.
  • Am I the only one who forgot that no one knew about Jackson being the donor? 
  • Why does Roy have to come back to ruin everything? I thought he was going to make a case for sexual harassment because of April. 

Over to you Grey's Fanatics! Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below! Don't forget, you can watch Grey's Anatomy online here via TV Fanatic!

Bad Reputation Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.7 / 5.0 (120 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 21 Quotes

I spent most of the time building up the Avery name, and now it's going to bring me down.


Zola: How come Maggie's friend never has to take a bath and we do?
Meredith: Because he's ... European.