If there's one thing the Grey's Anatomy universe knows how to do well, it delivers.
Those final few minutes were insanity, in true Shondaland fashion, and just when you think you know what's coming, the series somehow manages to pull the rug out from under you.
Station 19 Season 4 Episode 5 was a wild ride, to say the least, and March has never seemed so far away.
If you thought Station 19 Season 4 Episode 4's race-centric plot was all the series had to say on this highly discussed issue in today's society, you'd be sadly mistaken.
What started as a seemingly innocuous -- and possibly boring -- kidnapping subplot erupted into racism and police brutality in one fell swoop.
At first, it seemed like the show was trying to educate viewers about the frequency of sexual exploitation among young Black girls through a possible kidnapping lens.
While a noble effort, the attempt came off a bit like an after school special: a heavy-handed and overly dramatic way to encourage discourse about this very real issue.
It wasn't until two Seattle police officers showed up on the scene that things finally got interesting, as the meandering commentary then took on a more decisive stance about systemic racism and the police.
Even though the officers' actions may not have been classified as 'outright' racist initially, there were definitely undercurrents of their perceived sentiment, making it evidently clear what they thought of the escalating situation.
Vic: Are you OK?
Dean: I don’t know how those mothers aren’t sending a grenade into that house.
Vic: I know. I know.
Jack [to Dean]: You need to calm down before you get yourself thrown in jail.
Dean [to Vic]: Why are we the ones who always got to calm down?
Vic: You know why.
Jack: I’m not saying that you can’t be upset, but you’re drawing attention.
The white officers may not have been willing to believe the Black mothers, who were clearly in distress, but their continued skepticism, even with Station 19 backing up the women, showed their true bias.
These officers were more willing to take the word of some random white dude over that of two Black women who supported other first responders.
Their inaction was stunning, and it took a lot of self-restraint not to yell at the television screen.
So while maybe technically an ethical gray area, Station 19's "fake" gas leak was the right call, not that it truly mattered once the fire broke out.
Fast-forwarding past the obvious stupidity of Dean and Sullivan going inside the burning house without any equipment, the racist officers wasted no time scapegoating the young Black girls once they were out of immediate danger.
All it took was an omission from the badly injured and completely terrified girl that she and her friend started the fire as a way to escape their abductor, and the racist cop was already looking to arrest both girls for arson.
Like what kind of monster is already mentally making a list of charges for two kidnapped teenage girls on their way to a hospital?
Well, it turns out the racist cop managed to outdo himself just seconds later when he arrested Joyce, one of the mothers, for assault.
The woman didn't even touch him, but apparently, the sheer attack of going to -- she was stopped before then -- is enough to arrest her.
Why? Well, she too is Black.
Vic: Just so we’re very, very clear, those girls are your victims.
Officer: I let you do your job. You let me do mine.
And most shows would have ended there, viewers watching as the woman was taken away in handcuffs.
It wouldn't have been right or fair, but it would have been a good depiction of law enforcement's inherent flaws in today's day and age.
But again, Station 19 is a spinoff of Grey's Anatomy, so of course, it would never end there.
Where it did end was Dean being pinned to the ground and led away in handcuffs as he struggled to get to the woman, Andy being shoved by an officer as she tried to get past the police, and Sullivan tackling said officer and then having weapons raised at him before he too was led away in handcuffs.
A visually stunning scene from a cinematic perspective had me on the edge of my seat as the seconds dragged on.
Station 19 Season 3 proved it wasn't afraid to off its beloved and longtime characters, so as every second passed, I became more and more scared that someone would find themselves on the wrong side of a gun and meet their untimely death.
Watching one of our longtime firefighters bleed out on the ground after a shot rings out, as the show cuts to black, would have been heartbreaking but impactful.
However, this route was still equally impactful, if in a slightly subdued way.
Tuck: Where’s mom?
Ben: The hospital. She felt it was important to keep working. You know mom. She always seems to feel things on a slight delay.
Tuck: This is wrong.
Ben: I know. I’m so sorry.
Tuck: Grandma shouldn’t be dead. This isn’t fair, and she shouldn’t have had to die like that, alone. She should be here with us.
Ben: I know.
Tuck: No, you don’t know, and why isn’t Mom here? She should be the one telling me.
Ben: You’re right, you’re right, but she’s going through her own grief process, son.
Tuck: I’m not your son.
It proved that the writers didn't need to pull the literal trigger for their message to come across, and this turn of events still offers a multitude of possibilities once the series returns.
What seems to be shaping up is a showdown between Station 19 and the Seattle Police Department. This progression allows the series to delve into highly topical current events through creative storytelling.
Throughout the series, the police have always taken a back seat to the firefighters, especially since Ryan's tragic and senseless passing.
However, with Dixon back with his brothers in blue and everything that's been happening in the world since the killing of George Floyd, this is an opportune time to address police brutality and racism.
It was a slow and unconventional road to get here, but it works.
For decades, television has brushed over police brutality, racial profiling, etc., only showcasing the good law enforcement does.
And while no one is arguing there are good cops out there, there are also those who aren't, and it's about time television reflects reality.
Elsewhere, relationships were put to the test, both familial and romantic.
Ben, unfortunately, had to break the news to Tuck and Joey that Bailey's mother passed away from COVID-19.
Tuck: Things didn’t have to be this bad.
Ben: No, they didn’t, but there are a lot of really smart doctors working to fight this thing.
Joey: Yeah, and a lot of really ignorant people who won’t listen to them.
Ben: Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I’m angry.
Tuck: You and Mom see people die all the time. How do you deal with it?
Tuck: That’s it. Faith?
Ben: I see people on the worst days of their lives. Their house is on fire, they had a heart attack, their child is hurt or dying. I can actually feel the weight of their despair. More often than I would like to admit, we can only do damage control. But sometimes, we’re the answer to their prayers. When that happens, we can do more than save a life. We can restore someone’s faith, and that strengthens mine. How we’re all going to get through this thing: We show up. We do our part. We make each other stronger.
Tuck was considerably upset, taking out his hurt on Ben.
While that wasn't the nicest thing to do, it's understandable and led to a great conversation about the world's current state.
It was the right amount of preachy and moving and was a much more successful attempt at putting the pandemic into our characters' context.
Watching Marsha contract COVID-19 didn't pack the emotional punch the series intended, in part, because we don't really care about the character.
And while Grey's Anatomy fans never spent much time with Bailey's mother, Chandra Wilson delivered a heartbreaking performance on Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 5 as we watched Bailey deal with the unfairness and guilt over losing her mother.
Though Bailey didn't appear in this episode, those moving scenes were enough to carry over, so we, too, felt the impact as we watched Ben, Tuck, and Joey try to grapple with the global health crisis.
In short, there is no real way to make sense of the world right now, but Ben's speech about having faith overlaid as Dean and Sullivan went in to save the missing girls hit all the right notes.
Though somber, it did provide us with some hope that maybe, just maybe, better things are to come.
So if that wasn't enough to put a smile on your faces, then the steamy hookups that took place prior must have made you smile.
First, Sullivan and Andy, who made good use of Sullivan's old office after learning his separation was more of a recommendation than a rule.
Sullivan: I had a great meeting with my sponsor this morning.
Sullivan: He told me to smile more.
Andy: Oh, I like your sponsor.
Sullivan: Oh, no, no. B shift.
Sullivan: Hey, um, should we go to that party?
Sullivan: Or we could…
Andy: Robert, the rules.
Sullivan: The rules. What rules?
Andy: We’re at work.
Sullivan: No, we’re off duty.
Andy: We’re separated.
Sullivan: We’re married.
While Sullivan was almost giddy after he met with Richard, he didn't stop to consider that maybe Amelia had a point.
All he cared about was being with Andy, not even taking a second to consider the benefits of prioritizing his sobriety over his marriage.
Yes, being away from Andy is tough, but Sullivan seemed to understand why it was necessary.
However, then Richard gave him a way out, and Sullivan jumped at the chance.
That's not to say he made the wrong decision per se, but this is something he and Andy should have had a conversation about before they hopped back into bed.
They both agreed to the separation for the sake of their marriage and Sullivan's sobriety, so this at least warranted a conversation about whether reconciliation before the 90 days was up was the best thing.
The time they took apart was important, but once given a chance to get back together, they didn't even think about the potential long-term consequences.
And with Sullivan having just been arrested, his sobriety could be tested in new ways he never imagined.
Andy: What just happened?
Sullivan: You already forgot. I can do this all over again.
Andy: Robert, we’re having sex on the floor of your old office.
Sullivan: Yeah, I think this might be some of the best work I’ve ever done in here.
Andy: Well, didn’t your sponsor say…
Sullivan: My sponsor said that if you don’t make me want to crave drugs, then there’s no reason why we should be apart.
Andy: Well, then, I already did forget.
Staying sober is easy when things are good; it becomes increasingly harder when you're facing hardships, like, say, jail time.
Andy would have been there for Sullivan regardless of their separation, so their impromptu reunion may end up being their downfall.
Lastly, Jack and Inara finally took the plunge and slept together.
After slowly building to this moment for several episodes, it was somehow less satisfying than I imagined.
Maybe that's because it's still unclear how Jack feels about Inara.
He deeply cares for her and Marcus, but are those romantic feelings or just some misplaced desire to have a family?
Getting together with Inara would be easy, but it wouldn't be right if Jack doesn't feel the same way she does.
Inara's in love with Jack, but whether he reciprocates or is just in like is still up in the air because the pair has yet to talk.
Inara: You know, you don’t have to sleep on the couch. You work crazy hours. I’m sure you could use a good night’s sleep.
Jack: Nah, I’d feel awkward sleeping in Marsha’s bed.
Inara: You can sleep in my bed. I mean, I can sleep on the couch.
Jack: No, you work long hours too, you know.
Inara: Not like you do.
Jack: It does get cold sleeping in the living room.
Inara: My bedroom’s warm.
And depending on how things shake out, Jack will either be moving out or into Inara's bed permanently.
So, we're stuck in limbo for months, wondering what's going on in Jack's mind, but then again, what else is new.
Some stray thoughts:
Good on Dean for calling Jack out when it came to the double standard of faking a gas leak. Dean was right that Jack had no problem when it came to getting Inara and Marcus away from her abusive ex, but he wasn't willing to do the same over the potentially missing girls.
It was a great example of inherent racism, that just because we aren't aware of our biases doesn't mean they aren't there.
Even though Vic rejected Theo, he'll probably still be around for a while. We don't know that much about him, but he seems like a nice enough guy.
Dean's parents wanting to make amends is a nice surprise if that's truly their intention. Yes, they were wrong when they decided to cut Dean off, but at least they're trying to make things right. That's more than can be said for Maya's father and Travis' father.
When did the firefighters all of a sudden start saying, "Nineteen" like a chant? Has that always been a thing, or is this the first time? Also, it's clearly a total ripoff from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, right?
So what did you think, Station 19 Fanatics?
How did the series handle the police-related storyline?
What happens to Dean and Sullivan?
Did Andy and Sullivan or Jack and Inara make a mistake?
Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you missed the fall finale, remember you can watch Station 19 online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.