Grey's Anatomy Round Table: Did the Tom Arc Make Him More Sympathetic?

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Many of GSM's finest banded together to diagnose Richard as his mental faculties steadily declined on Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 20

Elsewhere, Tom crushing past haunted him when he had to operate on a child who looked like his late son, and Amelia had a false alarm.

Join TV Fanatic Meaghan Frey, and Grey's Fanatics Jasmin Pettie, Becs, and Berea Orange as they discuss the penultimate installment of the season.

Grey's Anatomy Round Table 660px

What were your thoughts on Tom facing his ex-wife and having to save her son who looks just like David?

Jasmin: I thought the storyline with Tom and his ex-wife and her sick child was interesting, but also kind of frustrating. Greg Germann did an amazing job portraying Tom in this episode. He captured the feelings that were going through Tom’s mind perfectly.

As soon as Amelia started experiencing pain early on in the episode, I knew they were going to come back to that. I’m glad that Tom and Amelia were able to help Guthrie. He seemed like a great kid, and I’m glad he’s going to get better.

I think his ex-wife Dana is a horrible person for bringing him to Grey Sloan and springing him on Tom like that when he looks so much like their dead son.

I'm glad he faced her and David's memory and got some closure there. I'm still not sure if Teddy's presence helped or hindered him in the long run.

I think she definitely helped him in the short term, but it remains to be seen if that makes what does or does not happen long term more or less painful for Tom.

Becs: Tom seeing that boy who looks just like his son who died was gut-wrenching. I am not the biggest Tom fan, but that broke me.

I have kids, but I have never lost one, so the pain he was feeling during this episode is unimaginable. I can totally understand him not wanting to operate and fearing he could potentially killing this kid too.

Deep Thoughts- Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 20

Berea: Ugh, I felt so bad for Tom! And his ex-wife was so manipulative trying to guilt Tom into performing this surgery. I get wanting the best care for your son, but she has to know that would be extremely hard for Tom to do.

If she couldn’t find anyone better to do it, then the LEAST she could do was give Tom a heads up before bringing his dead son’s doppelganger.

Tom is a multi-faceted character with great development in the short time that he’s been on the show. This was a wonderful storyline where we got to see him be more vulnerable.

A Young Patient  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 20

Meaghan: I have such a soft spot for Tom, so watching him hurt was A LOT. I completely agree that Dana was extremely insensitive by not giving Tom a warning. If Tom knew in advance what he was getting into, he could have prepared himself.

She gave him no time to process before expecting him to operate. I hated that Teddy was doting on him like a wife or a girlfriend. Amelia could have easily been Tom's support system throughout this, but Teddy couldn't help herself, proving her feelings for him.

Teddy still hasn't told Owen the truth and now wants to move up their wedding. Is it a good idea?

Jasmin: Teddy continuing to lie to Owen and pretend like everything is fine when it's clearly not is a terrible idea. Having sex with him in a supply closet while asking him to move up the wedding and get married that weekend is similarly a terrible idea.

She still hasn't told Owen the truth, and he's bound to find out eventually. I don't think the affair is something Owen can or should forgive, so rushing into marriage is a terrible idea.

It also makes it seem like Teddy is trying to force herself to be happy with Owen when she's not. This shotgun wedding is a recipe for disaster, and I'm calling it now.

Her Other Love - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 20

Becs: Listen, I love Teddy; I'm just going to say it. But, I can admit she's really messy right now. I actually feel bad for all parties involved.

Teddy loves two men and can't decide what she wants. Tom loves Teddy but has to watch her be with someone else. Poor Owen is oblivious.

I think this will come to a head soon. I don't think it's a good idea to move up the wedding. Teddy needs to take time and think about what she wants. Does she love Owen because of the history they have, or does she love Tom because he's new and exciting?

Screw this plan, I want to get married to you as soon as possible. Let's do it this weekend.


Berea: This is absolutely the WORST idea! But I look forward to the drama that is to come. I doubt Teddy will 'fess up before the nuptials, so I think Owen will overhear the news somehow.

Preferably, Teddy will do some introspection and tell Owen the truth before they get married, but I believe that is giving her too much credit.

Meaghan: Teddy is an idiot. I too love Teddy, Becs, but she is not helping herself one bit. If she is this confused about her feelings, she needs to take a beat and think it through before putting Owen through ANOTHER failed marriage.

Owen deserves better than that. Tom deserves better than her marrying another man and then deciding she wants to be with him. Teddy needs to figure out what she wants because right now, she is being selfish.

Richard continues to mentally decline quite rapidly, too. React.

Jasmin: Watching Richard's descent into madness and further deterioration was absolutely heartbreaking. I felt so bad for Meredith when she insisted that it wasn’t Alzheimer’s because she had a front-row seat to it with Ellis. It was obvious that it was one of the possibilities.

The Meredith and Richard OR scene was gut-wrenching. At first, I panicked because I thought he was operating on someone, and then I was horrified when they showed that he was hallucinating and trying to operate on himself.

Richard, I can fix you, and I know I can fix you because you are the one who taught me everything I know, and I'm not just talking about surgery. You taught me how to be a better person, how to be a better mother, and what about my children? I need them to grow up and know who you are. Please, and I still have things I need to learn. I need you, and I'm not ready to let you go yet, and I know other people aren't either.


When he didn’t recognize Meredith and called her "Ellis," my heart broke for both of them.I hope they can figure out what’s wrong with him and find a way to fix him or improve his quality of life in some way. I hope he doesn’t go out like this.

He’s a great character who come a long way and has worked hard to get there. Also, Meredith cannot lose anyone else.

Brother Trouble  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 7

Becs: Oh, man, Richard. This is not good for him and super hard to watch. Richard is the only father-figure Meredith had in her life; I don't want her to lose another person she loves.

When Richard attempted to cut himself while Meredith silently panicked, and he called her "Ellis," I don't think my jaw left the floor. I hope they find out what's wrong soon, and it's nothing too debilitating.

Today he is not the Richard Webber you know and love, he is our number one patient.


Berea: Man, I felt so badly for Richard and everyone involved who cares for him. This was hard for Meredith, Catherine, and Maggie.

Meredith worked through it by trying to fix him. And it was hard to watch an affected Maggie get up and walk away during the dementia test. And THEN he asked for Adele in front of Catherine.

I don’t think this is Alzheimer’s, though. It doesn’t usually progress so quickly, nor does it accompany hallucinations to my knowledge. I only wish there was more interaction with Bailey

He mentored Meredith and even has a father-daughter relationship with her, but he’s been Bailey’s mentor for longer. She should be more involved in this.

Following Her Heart - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 15

Meaghan: I still think that Richard has Korsakoff's Syndrome, but if it really does turn out to be that, I will be extremely confused about how it took them so long to figure out.

My heart was broken watching Richard try to operate on himself and have no clue what was going on. Meredith's journey she went through with Ellis has made her the perfect person to be there for Richard during this trying time.

She has a patience that not many other people this close to the situation can have, and that is what Richard needs right now.

Do you think Mer and DeLuca will be the ones to figure out what's wrong with Richard and how to treat him?

Jasmin: I think Meredith will be partly responsible for figuring it out and that something DeLuca finds will prove helpful. I'd like to see more of a team effort on this from all the doctors, so it would be great to see them each figure out a piece of it and then put it all together.

Mer: What have you thought of that we haven't?
DeLuca: What do you mean?
Mer: Are you going to pretend like you're not in here trying to figure out what's wrong with Richard?

Becs: You guys know I am a huge Mer/DeLuca supporter, so of course, I want them to find the cure together.

The fact that Meredith went to him for help proves to him she respects him. It will also highlight the issue of not underestimating someone who struggles with mental illness.

Andrew having a hand in solving Richard's case would be huge. Nobody will believe him, but Meredith will stand by him. It would make for a beautiful storyline. A girl can dream, right?

With that being said, it's not as important as Richard actually getting the treatment he needs. So, anyone could figure it out, and I would be happy.

DeLuca's Decline - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 18

Berea: To be honest, I’m tired of Meredith being the savior for all of the world’s troubles. I know it’s her show, but I think we’ve had enough of that for one season.

However, I do believe DeLuca may be taking an interest in diagnostics and could probably be the one to figure this out. I would be glad to see him become the Grey-Sloan diagnostic expert after learning from Dr. Riley.

We haven’t seen much of his friendship with Webber lately, but it would be a nice touch.

Merluca Argue  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 4

Meaghan: I'm not a fan of DeLuca getting back in the mix because I do not ship them whatsoever. Also, though, if DeLuca helps to figure out what is wrong with Richard, it will further perpetuate his denial that anything is wrong with him.

DeLuca's capabilities as a doctor have never been brought into question. It's his mental health and ability to cope with the demands and stress of the job in a healthy way that is the problem.

What was your favorite part/storyline of the hour? What was the most pointless?

Jasmin: The storyline depicting Richard's illness, the doctors' attempts to diagnose it, and Meredith's realization that it was way worse than she thought was what gripped me the most.

For most pointless, it's a tie between DeLuca popping up out of nowhere when he's still suspended and hasn't received treatment, and the fact that they left that poor woman who couldn't stop singing hanging? What was the point of that if they weren't going to fix her?

Link: Where's Carina?
Amelia: She's on vacation with her stupid girlfriend!

Becs: I enjoyed Amelia and Link's freak out during the contractions. It was so adorable. Then when they found out it was false labor and Amelia said it didn't hurt anymore, I almost died from laughing so hard.

Also, the end scene with Mer/DeLuca. Andrew wanted Meredith to show him she respects him, and I think he got it when she came to him for help. The look in his eyes during the last shot was swoon-worthy. Okay, I'll stop. Haha!

Killer Smile - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 20

Berea: I enjoyed seeing the work Greg did as Tom, reliving his grief over his son. It was also nice to see Teddy rush to and stay by his side all day (despite telling Owen earlier that she was too swamped with patients to deal with cake tasting).

Comically, Amelia and Link’s freak out was adorable.

I agree with Jasmin. When Deluca drove off on his motorcycle episode before last, they made it seem like there would be some major follow-up. There was not an ounce of follow-up!

It just seems like he was put on suspension for bad behavior, and that was it. We can get one episode of therapy for Owen to work out his relationship issues, but we can’t see Deluca explore a possible manic episode.

I was expecting a multi-episode arc of therapy as they did with Meredith back in season four.

Heartbroken Roomies - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 20

Meaghan: I loved the singing patient storyline. It was an oddly positive (maybe not for her, but for us) part of an otherwise heavy episode.

Watching the husband sing back to her was so freaking adorable and made me smile way too much.

My least favorite part was DeLuca showing up to help diagnose Richard. It feels like with the shortened season, his mental health issues are going to be swept under the rug, and I'm not a fan.

Do you have any additional thoughts about the hour?

Jasmin: I do, and that is: Where the hell was Hayes this episode? He was at the conference, and he helped Maggie get Richard off the stage. At the beginning of this episode, we see Maggie and Richard head back on a private plane, but we don’t see Teddy or Cormac anywhere.

Did they fly commercial? He's the Head of Pediatric Surgery and a close personal friend of Meredith’s. He should've been in that War Room.

He should've been there to bring Meredith coffee or tea and support her through a tough time. Hayes is a great character, and I'd love to see more of him. I really felt his absence in this episode.

Richard Flood as Hayes - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 19

Becs: When is Andrew going to finally accept that he needs help? I feel like we have been waiting for forever! Where is Carina? She was so concerned about her brother's illness, but now when he needs her most, she's vacationing with her girlfriend.

I love Carina, but I just think that was a little strange. Also, I am loving this Jo/Levi dynamic. Them being roommates is going to be comical.

Meaghan: I'm with Jasmin! Where were they hiding Hayes?! I feel like we always take five steps forward with his character, and they put him back in storage for a couple of episodes until they decide they feel like using him again.

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Berea: You know, Becs, I completely forgot about Jo and Levi in this episode. Maybe they should’ve been my least favorite moment…

Poor Catherine is lashing out at everyone, projecting the anger she feels at herself. While I do think she could've figured out something was wrong if she hadn’t left him, that wasn’t ALL her doing. Richard knew something was wrong long ago and said nothing to anyone.

I should've been there. I would've seen something. I'm his wife. I'm his wife, so I can't be there, so you get back in that war room and figure it out.


And he was being prideful thinking he deserved an apology for rightfully being fired for committing fraud; their fight should not have gotten this far in the first place. I just desperately want them to find out what was wrong, so he doesn’t pass away before he and Catherine make it right.

What do you hope to see in the new season finale? Do you have any predictions?

Jasmin: I'd like to see them figure out what's wrong with Richard or at the very least move closer to it. I'd love to see Hayes ask Meredith out and get some movement on that after the slow burn that they've been building for half a season.

Based on what happened in this episode, I'm guessing that Amelia is going to give birth, and there's a good chance that the truth about Tom and Teddy will come out.

Keeping Tom Afloat  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 20

Becs: I hope to see Richard fine and well, Teddy making a decision, Amelia finally having that baby, and a Merluca reunion. These are all a bit of a stretch but we shall see.

My predictions are that Andrew and Meredith will figure out what's wrong with Richard. Andrew will try to stop Bailey from doing unnecessary surgery, but because of his illness and behavior lately, she will not listen. It will cause him to react aggressively because of his illness. But, when Andrew is proven right, we will see Bailey apologize.

At this point, everyone has failed Andrew. I think Hayes will ask Meredith on a date or ask her if she's ready to date in general again. If so, I would hope we get her answer before the episode is over, but in true Grey's fashion, I think we will have to wait.

Cristina's Gift - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 10

Berea: Given the shortened season, I don’t have high hopes. Yes, I would like to see Hayes ask Meredith out, but I think this will be more of a slow burn if the writers officially decide to go that route.

I hope Amelia’s pregnancy isn’t drawn out, and she has a healthy delivery in the finale. Ideally, we’ll find out what is wrong with Richard, but I kind of feel that will be a finale cliffhanger. The only thing I’m kind of sure will happen (like 90% sure) is the Tom-Teddy-Owen triangle will come to a head.

I think the storylines that will suffer (or rather be placed on hold) due to the shortened season are Winston and Maggie (is he too good to be true?) and Deluca’s mental illness.

Maggie Smirks - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 20

Meaghan: I don't need Richard to be cured, but I do need them to figure out what is wrong with him. I want Teddy to come clean about her feelings and ask both men to give her time to sort her feelings out. Either they both blow her off completely, or they give her space to make the right decision for everyone involved.

I would think that maybe we are going to get a crazy cliff hanger, but given that they didn't intend for it to be the finale, I'm not sure how possible that would be, and I'm not mad about that.

There is so much that needs to be resolved that it would be impossible to take care of it all in one episode, especially when there was no plan to do that.

Over to you, Grey's Fanatics!

Do you agree with us? Disagree?

Feel free to  click that blue button, and sound off below!

The season finale of Grey's Anatomy airs Thursday on ABC. 

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

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