Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 21 Review: Put on a Happy Face

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It's no secret by now that this season has been rocky more often than it has been on point.

However, with the official new season finale, Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 21 ended things on a strong note.

Richard Webber is healthy and OK, praise be. Amelink had their beautiful baby boy, DeLuca had a heroic save and then crashed and hit his low point, and Teddy's infidelity is out of the bag.

Mer's Solution

The hour was one of the best of the season giving us medical cases and the doctors doing their actual jobs, while also progressing all the personal arcs and moments, having a few callbacks, and ratcheting up the drama.

For the season ending sooner than planned, the hour worked well as a season finale. It was seamless in giving us closure with bigger arcs, specifically Richard's health and Amelia's labor and delivery, while leaving us with some uncertain endings that we'll want to see next season (the TOT love triangle and DeLuca slipping into depression).

The montage of many of the doctors spearheaded by MerLuca working tirelessly toward diagnosing Richard was great, and it showed how much they all care about him.

It's Alzheimer's, Meredith.


It led to some heated moments with Meredith and DeLuca getting limited sleep and often disagreeing with the others about Richard's diagnosis.

The series did their usual thing where Meredith had to be right, although the bulk of resolving the issue fell predictably on DeLuca. However, this time, it wasn't as hamfisted and heavyhanded as it was for the majority of the season.

DeLuca the wildcard

The subtlety worked much better this way, and it was balanced out better with the others having legitimate reasons to follow the science.

Tom and Amelia are the neuro experts, and Alzheimer's was what they agreed on when there wasn't anything else causing them to reconsider.

Catherine and Maggie had every reason to listen to the neurosurgeons in their unit. Mer only knew that there was no way it was Alzheimer's because of her experience and gut feeling, but sadly, you need more than that to make a case.

DeLuca versus Catherine

Fortunately, DeLuca, the diagnostician, came through with a cobalt poisoning prognosis.

Richard's medical history revealed that he got a hip replacement a few years ago, oddly enough, not at GSM, and the device they used was in question.

I gave up on him once. I'm never doing that again.


If you're a fan of that renegade medical drama that once spent an entire season devoted to faulty devices at a shady medical device company, then you knew how huge this finding was and the ramifications of it beyond Richard.

Once again, DeLuca had to fight like hell to get anyone other than Meredith (this time) to listen to him. It's frustrating because nearly everyone doubts his abilities as a result of his mental illness, but DeLuca also doesn't do himself any favors with his delivery.

Bailey' Confusion  - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 13

It was both exciting when he came in with his prognosis and had you cheering him on and then agitating that he resorted to throwing a temper tantrum like a child to get their attention.

And there are two things at play. For one, DeLuca's blatant insubordinate behavior with Bailey predated his mental break, and it has been pervasive.

But also, Bailey's lack of empathy and patience with DeLuca regarding his mental health has been grating given that she knows better than anyone what it's like to have it used against you or to have others dismiss you.

DeLuca's Deception  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 13

Going forward, it would be interesting if DeLuca and Bailey forged a bond while he battles this rather than all the focus falling on his relationship with Meredith.

DeLuca was right, which is common, and they were able to call Link in to do surgery.

All the surgeries were so gruesome and gross, weren't they? The gang donning protective gear while Link pulled all that icky green sludge out of Richard's leg was so disgusting, but if you're into that sort of thing, it was probably rad.

It almost didn't look as if Richard would have much of a hip and leg left by the time Link finished. DeLuca earned the right to see the surgery, but he thankfully, Bailey didn't succumb to his request to scrub-in.

DeLuca visits Richard

Right or not, DeLuca isn't above the rules, and he was still technically on suspension. It's something to be said about the precedent Mer started with her insurance fraud, but there's no need beating that dead horse.

Richard was back in his right frame of mind after the surgery, and it was a relief for everyone. They were all dealing with things in different ways.

I gave up on him once. I'm never doing that again.


Catherine decided in a heartfelt conversation she had with Tom (their friendship is quite special and endearing) that she would step back from some of her duties and take care of Richard.

Richard's health crisis put things into perspective for her. She was ready to make some changes, and their issues seemed frivolous after all of that, but Richard is still angry about her rightfully supporting his termination from the hospital.

Worries and Regrets - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 20

He's also angry about her buying Pac-North to spite him too, and it's reasonable that he'd be upset. Catherine decided she wanted them to be together again, but he doesn't agree, and not even a near-death has changed his mind. Yikes!

DeLuca was the man of the hour for making such a save, but then it all caught up with him in the end. By the end of the hour, his manic phase has segued into depression, and you could see it all over his face.

Amelia: He's beautiful, isn't he?
Link: You both are.

The man was exhausted after running on fumes for God knows how long, and his broken utterance wondering what's wrong with him was heartbreaking.

DeLuca's bipolar storyline had hits and misses for a few reasons, but one thing that isn't up for debate is how well Giacomo Giannotti knocked it out of the park with his performance.

DeLuca Hits a Low - Tall

Ideally, next season the series will continue to explore this thoroughly with an official diagnosis and DeLuca getting help. It also needs to be shown broadly instead of the redundancy of no one listening to him or taking him seriously.

It also would be nice if they don't use it as a stepping stone for romantic entanglements between him and Meredith. She was there to support him in the end after promising to get drinks with Cormac another day.

DeLuca: I can't, uh. I don't know what's going on?
Mer: Okay, okay. You wanna go home? We'll just go home.

Meredith supporting DeLuca is nice, but they did break up with each other, and it's preferable if they stay that way while the attention is on DeLuca learning how to manage his illness.

But this is Grey's Anatomy, and based on Jo getting her teenage girl on in the OR with Hayes, it does feel as though the series will continue teasing the Meredith and Hayes potential relationship.

Hayes and Jo Scrub In - Tall

Whether he's with Mer or not, hopefully, Hayes is sticking around. One of the downsides to the hour is we didn't spend much time with him, and now that he's less mysterious than before, the more time with him, the better.

Link was the quiet MVP too. After all, he was the man who removed all of the cobalt out of Richard's system. As a sidenote, Bokhee praying over Richard was the sweetest moment of the hour. But yeah, poor Link had to miss his son being born in the process.

Bailey: Do you need a wheelchair or?
Amelia: I'm good to walk. Sorry about the floor.

It sucked that Link wasn't there to see his baby born, but the look on his face when he saw him for the first time made up for it. He also was there for some of the labor, and it was as funny as the false alarm with Amelia wanting to jump his bones to stop her pain.

Bailey was there for Amelia. It could've been a questionable decision making Richard's most prized mentee miss his surgery to stay by Amelia's side.

Bailey had a miscarriage not too long ago, so it had to be hard, and it seemed insensitive. But then they referred to their pregnancy pact, and they called back to when George helped Bailey, so it was sweet.

Daddy Link - Tall

Do you think they'll honor Bailey in some way when they name their son? It would be so cute if they did.

The one thing that was far from cute was Teddy's behavior. She is messy as heck, and there is no other way to describe it.

I've seen a few shotgun weddings, but usually it isn't the bride holding the shotgun.


Teddy wants her cake, and she wants to eat it too. It's difficult to ascertain her thought process and choices here. She realized she was in love with both Tom and Owen, but she hasn't done anything rational or reasonable about it.

She's only using this revelation to screw with both of these men's hearts. She needs to stop toying with Tom if she doesn't intend to run around away with or be with him.

Owen Betrayed

She needs to tell Owen the truth, or rather, she needed to, as it's too damn late now.

Somehow, in an hour where a bat impaled an up and coming baseball player, the most shocking, jaw-dropping, eye-bucking moment was when Levi played the voicemail Teddy left Owen, and it was her having sex with Tom.

I can't be with you. I can't. I am marrying Owen. This was goodbye.


Kudos to the show, that was some classic Grey's Anatomy juicy drama, and I screeched like a pterodactyl at the message, Owen's reaction, and Teddy's audacity when she still donned that pristine white dress and showed up for their wedding.

Tom called Teddy out for moving up the wedding. She did it because of her connection to him, and she thought she could switch it off.

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

Tom deserves better than to be someone's second choice, or an afterthought, or bed warmer. But he also said he was walking away and went right back to asking her to run away with him and sleeping with her.

It's like Teddy is his drug of choice, and he can't quit her. Why? He doesn't deserve to have his heart jerked around like this.

Teddy: I love Owen.
Tom: And you love me, but now you're trying to race to the altar to prove you can live without me. Spoiler Alert. You can't.

Because as their accidental sex message carried on, and I've heard of butt dialing, but sex dialing? Who does that? How can you be that reckless?

As their message carried on, Teddy's obsession with Tom made sense. My goodness, she was having a, um, good time.

Teddy is Torn - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 18

Also, Teddy is awful for how she continues to lead Tom on. They barely stopped heavy breathing, and she was telling him it was goodbye, and she still planned on marrying Owen.

If it's over, then they should be finished.

It's disturbing that it has never crossed her mind to tell Owen the truth in any way, shape, or form, and she didn't plan on it. She slept with Tom on her wedding day and got dolled up and ready to walk down the aisle like nothing happened.

If she can't quit Tom while she's engaged, then how does she expect to while married?

Tension at Home  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 17

The shot of Owen listening to that voicemail alone in the closet, teary-eyed, was such a great shot. It came on the heels of him telling Levi to suck it up in front of his patients and deal with things on his time instead of taking away from the patient.

Then he practiced what he preached. My heart hurt for him at that moment, and good on him canceling their wedding. Is anyone else dying to see how what happens when he confronts Teddy?

Owen has made plenty of mistakes in the past, including cheating (although not having a full-blown affair, no?), but he didn't deserve any of this.

You would think it gets easier, but it doesn't. Each one hurts just as much as the last one. So we hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Because the worst has a nasty way of finding you.

Mer Voiceover

Teddy wanted the best of both men, but now she probably doesn't have either. Whew, that was a lot of drama!

Over to you, Grey's Fanatics. How did you feel about this finale? Are you happy Richard is in the clear?

Were you shocked by that ending? What are your predictions for next season? Hit the comments below.

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

Put on a Happy Face Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (50 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You'll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.

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