Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 16 Review: Blood and Water

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Parents mold a person into who they are today and so does genetics. 

The complicated relationships between parents and children were an ongoing theme of Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 16.

Our parents define us. Our blood and genetics also determine who we are as people, and that's scary and amazing.

However, family is so much more than that, and if there is one thing this series gets right every single time is redefining family and what that means while also reminding people that none of that holds you back. In the end, we define who we are ourselves.

Innovative Idea - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 16

All of the characters have unique situations when it comes to their family. You have people like Meredith who had a messy upbringing. You have someone like Maggie who knows that family isn't limited to who you share blood with, but also carries a weight she rarely acknowledges of being the lovechild of adulterers.

Alex is the product of addiction and mental illness, and every day his genetics probably terrify him since both are hereditary. Jo, she's someone who knows nothing about who she is in her blood, and who wouldn't freak out at the thought of children when facing the unknown and what that means?

Levi is the product of an overprotective mother, and Amelia has found that her family is the two women she chose to be her sisters. The sisterhood on this show gives me all the freaking feelings.

Due DeLucas - Grey's Anatomy

But let's talk about the DeLucas first. It's funny how regardless of feelings and sentiments, even those estranged from their family can fall back into that childlike habit of wanting to be part of their lives.

You could tell DeLuca had a complicated relationship with Vincenzo his entire life. He chose to live with his mother in a different country over his father, and there was some shame associated with Vincenzo's mental break.

Carina grew up with her father, and she's the one who was with him over the past few months. She's the child that was there, so she knows him better than anyone. Unfortunately, the little boy in DeLuca is jumping at the opportunity of being part of his father's life and this groundbreaking research.

GA 15x16 Carina

He isn't in the position to know the extent of how mentally unstable and unwell his father is. Vincenzo is a blind spot for DeLuca in a way that the elder DeLuca isn't for Carina.

Related: Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 15 Review: We Didn't Star the Fire

DeLuca went from being hesitant and guarded to jumping all-in with his father, and I already know he's headed for heartbreak. Kids and their parents are the most complex of familial bonds.

Those Italian DeLucas love coming to Grey Sloan with projects, don't they? Whatever happened to Carina's orgasm study?

It's a baby in a bag!


Anyhow, Vincenzo's baby in a bag idea was far too innovative to pass up, and it's understandable that Alex would want to jump onboard and help fund it. It could be groundbreaking!

Of course, Vincenzo's mental illness is a blind spot for Alex as well. He doesn't want to be the guy who questions someone's mental state and capabilities. He doesn't want to be judgmental due to his experience with his mother.

On the one hand, Vincenzo is a brilliant surgeon and a relative genius, but on the other, he is suffering from some undiagnosed mental illness and refuses help (probably out of fear that it'll impact his brilliance).

You don't want to discriminate against the man due to his mental health, but you also don't want to jeopardize anyone else's health and well-being working with this virtual wild card. It's a slippery slope.

Since Helen has taken to hanging out at the hospital, wouldn't it be interesting if she and Vincenzo spent time together? Maybe she could have some influence on him.

The potential drama to come with this DeLuca family storyline is something I'm eager for the series to explore. It's a heartier storyline for DeLuca, and I love the shift from him pursuing Meredith to something with more range.

Vincenzo: This woman of yours is beyond you.
DeLuca: Thank you.
Vincenzo: Andrea even I have heard of Meredith Grey.

The return of Carina makes it interesting as well. While the Carina and Arizona romance was fun, this is a far more interesting storyline for her, and it puts her to better use.

There are some compelling parallels with Alex and DeLuca. They share a mentally ill parent, and they also have jumped all-in with this parent in a way that is already concerning.

It's not that their parents are problems, but it's going to be difficult to see either guy hurt. They both went from guarded to falling so deep into their love for their parents that it's scary.

A Disagreement - Tall - Grey's Anatomy

We still don't know for sure what's going on with Helen. She's sweet, and she's the doting, supportive mother that Alex always wanted. He's relishing his time with his mother, and he already has envisioned this happy family that he has with her, Jo, and potential children.

Alex is happy, and this is all that he could've wanted. So far, Helen is doing well. There are no flags, and she speaks about her mental illness in a competent, healthy way.

She understands her condition, and she makes humorous comments about it and has no problem discussing it with others. She's very open and shameless when it comes to it. You can't ask for anything more of the woman.

I'm not really a thinker. I'm a fixer, I'm not an innovator.


She's likable -- lovable even, and her scenes have been enjoyable. I loved Alex asking his mother about what she thought he would be growing up. Alex does seem like the guy who grew up fascinated with how things work, taking them apart and putting them back together again.

She joked that she didn't know where Alex got his mind for science and engineering because of her mental illness and his father's addiction. She didn't feel like she was in any position to take any credit for Alex turning out so well.

Their scenes together are sweet, and it's also special when Helen shares moments with Jo. As expected, Jo freaked out about the talk of children, and it's a wonder Alex didn't know why.

Momma's Surprise Visit - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 15

Alex assumed that it was his genes with mental illness, and addiction that terrified Jo and had her thinking about what their kids would endure, but it was Jo's fear of the unknown.

She doesn't know anything about her genetics, her family, or her past. As a foster kid and street kid, she spent most of her life without knowing who she was and having to define herself. She lost what little she knew into her abusive marriage with Paul and had to redefine herself again.

It's all fine and well when it was her alone, but she couldn't fathom bringing a child into the world and loving that child so fully in a way that terrifies her and not knowing what could be in store for that child.

Jo Contemplates - Tall - Grey's Anatomy

It sent Jo spiraling and running away to distract herself. Jo running to Link was the best. They have underused the fact that those two were best friends for years, and I liked that the hour revisited that.

He let her into their surgery with limited questions asked (poor Levi), and it was Jo and the boys being sneaky about how they figured out what was bothering her. Jo and the guys were a formidable team, and they were one of the highlights of the hour.

I'm such an unapologetic Link fan, and Link and Jackson with their adorable handshake and their Jinks bromance is something I never knew I needed.


Jackson was able to put into perspective what parenthood was like and what it meant to him, and it must have reminded Jo that she does want kids; the fear of what she could pass down to them is what was getting to her.

Related: Jake Borelli on Levi's Growth and Schmico!

Thankfully, the show decided to have Jo take a genealogy test instead of opting for a storyline in which she went searching for her parents. While it's possible she could pursue that, it's more refreshing this way. Not everyone wants or needs to find their birth parents. Sometimes it's inviting something into your life of which you needn't have.

Yeah kids ruin your life, but they also give you a reason to live when life tries to ruin you.


Maggie knows about her birth parents, and it has been a mixed bag for her ever since. It never dawned on me that others outside of family and friends didn't know about Maggie being Richard and Ellis' child.

It probably wasn't something Maggie thought much about either, and that's why she brought it up so casually during the interview. It's a part of her life that exists, but she never actively tried to hide or broadcast it either.

The podcasters were frothing at the mouth over that bit of information, and the complex nature of the situation was in perspective.

Camping Not Glamping - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 14

Maggie is a brilliant surgeon on her own. She has an impressive resume on her own. She didn't have to grow up being the legacy of two exceptional doctors.

It's a part of her story, though, and her mind went on a geek spiral as she speculated what role her birth parents played in her skills and intellect compared to her adoptive parents molding her.

Ellis had Meredith who also became a world-renown doctor, so of course one would consider how Maggie being the product of two exceptional doctors contributes to her accomplishments.

Richard: It's not a part of my story I"m particularly proud of.
Maggie: It's the part of your story that culminates me and my existence, Richard.

Maggie's position was an interesting one. It's her story, and she has every right to share it or discuss it, but she had to think about how it affected others, and it's something she didn't seem to think about before.

She spent all this time perhaps putting her parents and Richard and Meredith's feelings about the matter ahead of her own. Richard's reaction was a slap in the face.

There is no way you slice it where she couldn't have taken his response to her as shame and regret. She was the living embodiment of his affair, and it's something that he was ashamed of, and thus he was ashamed of her.

Richard Mentors Betty - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 9

She was scandal personified, and he didn't want to think about the optics and how it would reflect on his marriage with Catherine. Can you imagine how Maggie feels in that regard? It was such a hurtful realization.

It's also an interesting one because of how complicated the situation is with her and Richard. He's her biological father, but he isn't her father. They have developed a relationship, but it's not without some difficulties and feelings of which are hard to swallow.

Richard realized the error of his ways, and he did apologize. He admitted what seems to be the consensus among all; Maggie is the best of Richard and Ellis.

Mer: You're a genius.
Maggie: Well, it's in our DNA.

Maggie found love, and she's learning how to love and be loved in a healthy way via her relationship with Jackson. She found sisterhood and family with Meredith, Amelia, and the kids.

She's finding herself and redefining herself now, and it's about time she explored that part of her story. It is sad that her father will overhear that podcast and be proud, but he'll also feel some sadness over the comments about how she became so great.

Maggie didn't say anything wrong, or offensive, but it's still touchy.

Coming Out - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 8

Bailey and Levi's case tied in with Maggie's struggles based on her and the patient's experience with genetics and not knowing who contributed to what. It also tied into Levi's experience too. His overbearing mother may be as bad as the husband who kept accusing him of being a child.

Nico carries himself confidently, but he's such an emotional one, isn't he? In Levi's defense, post-heavy petting and making out in the on-call room isn't the time to talk to your mom about the guy you've been seeing.

I would've shushed Nico too! It wasn't a reflection on Nico or the shame-spiral he mentions. Schmico is the cutest even when they have their little fights.

You are my first love. I know I'm not yours, and that's okay. But you are mine, and I want to lock you in through my eyes before I see all the death traps through hers.


Levi has not come out to his mother yet, but it doesn't appear that he's afraid of doing it or telling her that he's in love with a man. He wants to preserve what he has with Nico -- he wants to savor their bubble for as long as he can.

Levi's mother, by his description, is a helicopter mom who frets over his every single move, and he's not ready to deal with her overwhelming presence on this happy time in his life.

He's happy and in love, and a woman who engages in multiple conversations with her son before and after he purchases a backpack is not someone you want to discuss your love life with, of course.

GA 15x16 schmico

It is no surprise at all that Levi has a helicopter mom. He does seem like the type who wasn't allowed to play on the playground out of fear of him getting hurt or something. I love how blunt Nico is in comparison.

He likes to get to the point, so he wanted to know if Levi was afraid of coming out to his mom, or ashamed of him for being a guy or Asian. Honestly, Nico and Levi are one of the cutest couples on the series.

Related: Grey's Anatomy: Who's Returning?

Who knew Levi had this much game? He has been on fire making moves and being smooth as hell the moment he decided to speak up for himself. He's such a sweetheart too, though, so his love confession was one of those "Awwww!" moments.

I tried to convince myself that it was all just the tumor but apparently there is some fundamental part of you that can't love or be loved.


Amelia and Owen are a couple who continue to struggle. I never thought about Leo's custody arrangement. The assumption was that Owen would be the primary custody parent.

Not Betty and her parents signed paperwork so both of them would be Leo's parents, and Amelia took that seriously. The crazy thing about all of this is they would have been fine if Owen didn't try to prove to Amelia that he chose her.

Their issues are far more complicated than he's willing to admit, and even when he's trying to prove a point to her, he effs it up. They both have a history of being horrible communicators, but Owen is failing hard these days.

Owning her Past -Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 13

Amelia's concerns aren't unreasonable, so it's bullcrap that Owen is reducing valid issues down to Amelia being incapable of love.

He can't stop saying the most hurtful things to her, and he doesn't have a tumor to justify those words either. He doesn't even realize the words are hurtful.

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On top of that, he gaslights her when she expresses why his words are hurtful or problematic. What even is going on with these two? What the heck is going on with Owen?

Owen: You don't have to do this.
Amelia: I have clarity on this too Owen. Leo is yours. He has always been yours.

He has always been a flawed character, but good grief, this is difficult to endure. I'm happy he has Leo, though, and Amelia made the right call being Auntie Amelia.

Other Tidbits:

  • Meredith's house being a haven for her framily will always be my favorite thing. Amelia has returned home to her sisters, and Maggie and Jackson are staying with Meredith too.
  • Seriously, I can't imagine Meredith living with less than three other adults for the rest of her life. She's been rocking communal living for longer than anyone, and it's the best.
  • No, but seriously, more Jackson and Link scenes, please!
  • Levi and Bailey working together is reminiscent of Bailey and George. Their interactions are underrated and bring all the feels.
  • I laughed at Levi's "boing" ringtone going off while he was boinging Nico. I love them so much.
  • Ellis coming to Meredith in dreams is the absolute best. Maggie helped too. Both of the sisters had connections to Ellis.
  • Maggie and Zola's relationship is also one that's underrated. They are similar and connect in many ways. Zola is going to be a badass Cardio goddess too with the skills of both her parents and her aunt.

Over to you, Grey's Fanatics. Did Amelia make the right call again? Did you like the Jinks bromance, too? Will Vincenzo have a mental breakdown?

You can watch Grey's Anatomy online here via TV Fanatic!

Blood and Water Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.7 / 5.0 (31 Votes)

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

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Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 16 Quotes

Hi, are you in charge here? Because there is a child doctor working on my husband.

Patient's Husband

Miranda: How many?
Alex: How many what?
Miranda: Days left? Til I stop taking orders from you?
Alex: Twenty-two.