Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 5 Review: Breathe Again

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Have you heard the one where the pregnant doctor with anxiety and the young attending with PTSD are stuck in a hyperbaric chamber with a therapist?

If not, you have now after Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 5.

Was there a punchline somewhere? Hard to say, but it was glum dark humor. You have to admit it.

Boss Ladies - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 5

They whittled it down to a handful of characters during the hour and gave us a break from the Pac-North saga. We were down to Jo and Bailey working on a case together and spending most of their time in that hyperbaric chamber, which they've put to great use.

We also had our beloved Zola in peril, but it seemed more like a storyline orchestrated for Meredith to fall through on her court engagements again.

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Also, if Richard was playing with fire, he damn near jumped right into the flames and acted shocked that he got burnt with his relationship with the thirsty Gemma.

Familiar  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 5

Let's delve into Meredith first. The most pleasant surprise is that she did contact her lawyer and told her she wouldn't be making it into court because of Zola needed surgery.

It has been a while since the series mentioned Zola's spina bifida. She needed surgery for the shunt.

Amelia: I'd do it laparoscopically.
Tom: No, I'd do it laparoscopically because she's not my niece.

Praise be; Tom was the rational adult in the room who knew Amelia shouldn't operate on her niece. We were back to rational Tom who kicks butt at surgeries, and all of that good stuff.

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Meredith was forced to wait in another room as the regular parents would, but it gave us some lovely sisterly moments with Amelia, Mer, and Maggie.

Tomcat - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 7

The sisterhood is the best.

They barely listen to one another when they talk, but they always manage to get out what's bugging them at the moment, and it's a blend of issues from all across the board.

Oh goody, it's a family affair anyone wants to bring some snacks? Play a rousing game of UNO?


For Mer, her issue was DeLuca. Much like her sudden come to Jesus awareness about the healthcare system all these years later, she suddenly had realizations about DeLuca.

She touched on many of the reasons why some of us don't view the pair as compatible. No, not everything is about the age difference.

Mentor/Mentee - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 4

DeLuca didn't know how to react when Zola was sick. He offered things like staying with Zola for surgery while Meredith went to court, and he said it reassuringly like his presence by Zola's side mattered.

Meredith wasn't going to leave her daughter to go anywhere while she was undergoing surgery. It didn't matter who was there. But if she did, DeLuca being by Zola's side didn't mean a thing when her aunts were right there at the hospital.

Mer: He's sexy, and he's fun, and he's so good to the kids.
Maggie: But?
Mer: I don't know if he'll ever be more than that? I don't know if I want him to be.

It prompted Meredith to reevaluate their relationship, and while she made many of the same points as those who aren't fond of the pairing have made, it seemed too late to bring it up now.

She implied that they weren't serious.

Mer is Happy - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 2

She said he was fun, and she's not sure if they will ever be more than that. She has always given that vibe, except she told him she loved him by Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 25, and we were led to believe they're more than casual and plan to be something semi-permanent.

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What's the truth then?

It always felt like DeLuca was more invested in their relationship than she was. It seemed like it mattered more to him -- that he wanted something serious and she was just having a good time.

Supportive Bae  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 2

But then her love confession put that bed, so are we back on track with her casually dating DeLuca and having a good time, and that's it?

Does DeLuca know how Meredith feels about him? After a love confession, he's going to feel like she's giving him mixed signals. It's one of the reasons the idea of them together wasn't appealing.

Dr. Grey you're not going back to trash duty. You'll be making up your missed hours in jail.


Meredith seems content being single, raising her kids, kicking ass at surgery, and maybe scratching an itch when she runs out of batteries.

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DeLuca probably wants more. They haven't spoken about any of this, so if the newness is wearing off, are we about to see them dive into the relationship drama?

Avoidance - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 18

She was charmed by him when he brought Zola jello after surgery and planned on staying with her. However, she did mention he's good with the kids. We don't get to see it much, so we have to take her word for it.

Is it enough, though? Is he enough?

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They worked hard to sell us on this pairing, and now it felt like they were walking it back again.

Maybe Meredith can mull all of this over when she's in jail. Prison was an inevitability. She had this coming.

Remembering Loved Ones - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 6

How many times did she think she could get out of court, not do her community service, and not get punished for it?

Sorry, but Meredith had that coming. Off to jail, she goes. The kids will be alright in Maggie, Amelia, and DeLuca's hands.

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Jo and Bailey got stuck in that hyperbaric chamber. The series reminded us of how both of these strong, capable, professional women are mentally ill.

If the one person who helped to make me OK could go off and try to kill herself, then what does that say about me?


Their respective issues don't go away, but it's seldom you see two characters who openly battle issues spend time together like that.

In the Chamber - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 5

They have formed quite a bond this season.

Jo was under the impression her therapist, Carly, tried to commit suicide, and it sent her spiraling.

It's frustrating; she had no business taking on the case given her connection to this woman on top of her mental state and how easily it could (and did) trigger her.

What happens in the hyperbaric chamber stays in the hyperbaric chamber.


Bailey shouldn't have allowed her to take on the case, and then she does, and it means them being locked in the chamber together with no escape for a long time.

Attending Jo  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 5

Why can't anyone in this hospital follow protocols? Every now and then, you expect someone to break them, and if it's a good enough reason, you can look the other way.

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It stops meaning something when they defy protocols and orders for every little thing. It normalizes behavior that shouldn't be normalized. We see that with some of the reactions to what has transpired between Meredith, Bailey, Qadri, and more.

Today, I watched you teeter on that edge and bring yourself back by yourself and bring me back and save someone else's life in the process. I don't know what square one looks like, but there was nothing square one about that.


Jo's mental health journey is something significant. It's a valuable storyline to explore and showcase.

It has its hits and misses. For some reason, the show gave us flashbacks to Jo's time in therapy. Yes, the connection was via her patient being her therapist, but the flashbacks felt misplaced.

Helping a Friend - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 5

Perhaps it would have flowed better if we saw them during Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 1. They tossed them in there, and it didn't fit with the tone of the hour.

If we saw snippets of Jo in therapy during the premiere, then why couldn't we have had these scenes then, too?

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Instead, we had Jo's self-imposed near breakdown (because she jumped on this case when she shouldn't have), and her displaying the tools she learned in therapy when she tried to ground herself.

Jo: Carly, I can't be your doctor anymore, I never should have been in the first place, so Dr. Bailey will take care of you. What?
Carly: Boundaries. Seems like somebody learned after all.

She then taught Bailey what she learned and helped her, too. Cool. Great, but, like, OK?

Jo Stands Tall - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 5

However, if we saw scenes like this when she returned home and was giving Alex the option of not being with her, it would have been more meaningful.

Jo's therapist was an awesome woman. Carly was cool, and she knew how to get through to Jo.

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They had some engaging scenes speaking about Jo's past and trauma. She helped Jo understand her reaction to her mother's physical distance.

Bailey: I'm guessing the two of you were close?
Jo: I couldn't stand her. She was the worst.

Every time the series shows a therapist during a session, it makes you wish GSM had one on standby. Jo's sessions and Owen's one session that magically healed him for good were cathartic scenes.

Helping a Friend - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 5

Jo passed on some of her techniques to Bailey; she also had a sweet scene with Alex at the end of the hour.

Throwing squeaky toys at the wall was some cute couple bonding time.

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Bailey commended Jo on being able to pull herself out of a spiral, and it showed she's ready to be back at work and on her way to living a healthier, happier life.

Jo: If you're going to eat in front of me, can you at least share?
Therapist: No.
Jo: Why not?
Therapist: Because boundaries. I don't share food.

Bailey gets bonus points for distracting Jo with her pregnancy news. It snapped Jo out of a panic attack, but for a moment, it appeared as though Ben would have one when he heard the news.

Bailey's Secret - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 5

He wasn't giving her anything to work with, so it left her rambling awkwardly and uncertain about his feelings.

Of course, Ben was thrilled. The baby bonanza is aggravating in general, but Ben's excitement was one of the most adorable scenes of the hour.

Is it possible to hate the baby storylines but be happy for the couples, too? It's complicated.

Now, tell me how this works again when she's out of state more often than she's in your bed?


So is Richard's marriage.

Webber Unemployed - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 1

Gemma is a bold woman. It was jaw-dropping how she pursued Richard. No matter what he said to her, it didn't stop her from making her moves and shooting her shot.

She brought up his history of infidelity and how he enters relationships when he's caught up in other ones. She laid it all out there, and let him know she was content being another option for him to blow off some steam.

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Richard was right about her sounding like an addict. Most addicts tend to transfer their addiction to something else, and she was using him as another way to self-destruct.

How didn't Richard see this coming, though? Gemma hasn't hidden her interest in him, and he went along with it all this time.

The Look - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 25

Now he's surprised she was going for something more. How?

It's not the end of this Gemma, Richard, and Catherine debacle. Catherine looked like she suspected something when she returned home.

The two of them are having a rough patch since he got fired, and she's always away. Remember when Catherine and Richard and Maggie and Jackson were all in a great place? What happened?

Jo: If you're going to eat in front of me, can you at least share?
Therapist: No.
Jo: Why not?
Therapist: Because boundaries. I don't share food.

Maybe Richard will take a page out of Maggie's book. She realized she doesn't love anyone as much as she loves surgery.

Maggie is Annoyed - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 25

It sounded like Maggie might slip into her old ways. She's an excellent surgeon, and she always focused on that more than relationships.

She wasn't great at relationships, but she opted for casual sex and throwing herself into her work. I don't know if I want to see that or not. We'll have to see.

Over to you, Grey's Fanatics.

Did Mer have jail time coming? What are your thoughts on Merluca now that she's acting as though they aren't serious?

-Related: Get Britbox via Prime Video Channels for the biggest streaming collection of TV from BBC & ITV...ever. -

Did you enjoy the Jo and Bailey storyline?

Will Gemma come between Richard and Catherine? Hit the comments below!

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


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Breathe Again Review

Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (44 Votes)

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

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Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 5 Quotes

Amelia: I'd do it laparoscopically.
Tom: No, I'd do it laparoscopically because she's not my niece.

Oh goody, it's a family affair anyone wants to bring some snacks? Play a rousing game of UNO?