Andrew DeLuca's death is hitting the folks at Grey Sloan hard.
And to make matters worse, they're still working toward weaning Meredith off of that ventilator. After Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 8, it seems a combined effort of Derek and Hayes may be the magical solution.
Did anyone expect that?
Grey's Anatomy Depression hours strikes again, but the hour did add a bit more levity and regular case stuff to make it lighter than some of the usual fanfare despite it coming after DeLuca's tragic end on Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 7.
Much of the fun came in the form of Jackson, Jo, and Link having some of their drunken shenanigans at Jo's apartment. It's a trio that plays off of one another well.
It's Jackson Avery! I'm here for a quick bang!Link
Link is the perfect bridge character. You can toss him into a scene with any other character on the show, and it's golden. He has a natural ability to gel with anyone, and his fun bromance with Jackson was a highlight during some of his earlier days on the series, so it worked.
Chris Carmack is comedic gold, and he was a blast during this installment as a drunken Link who was on the edge of losing his mind.
He's had it tough; he's a first-time father of a newborn, which is difficult enough, but Link is also juggling raising a brood of other children that aren't his own. Link is spending more time in a crowded house surrounded by tiny humans than at the hospital.
He didn't sign up for any of this; it's more than he asked for, and he doesn't complain about it much, but you could understand why the man needed some space and day drinking.
And in his defense, it did seem as if Amelia was upset at him for drinking and hiding liquor and implying that he maybe had a problem.
Link, Jo, and Jackson got to drink to their heart's content and laugh and talk about how everything sucks, and it was much better than any scene where Jackson and Jo are naked together.
I keep forgetting the two of them are a thing, and maybe it's the mind protecting itself.
It was their way of coping with everything they've endured in the past few months, and everyone has their way of escaping. Jackson chooses the wilderness and his mini-speech about how trees aren't racist or reckless with their health and all that was an entire mood.
Zola: If I had the medicine, I'd give it to my mom right now.
Amelia: Me too.
And Link, even when he's deep in his moments and spazzing out a bit, he's thoughtful enough to tell Amelia that his leaving in frustration didn't mean he wasn't coming back.
Amelink continues to be one of the healthier relationships on this series, and when they talked things through again upon Link's return, it was enough to give you some fuzzies.
Maggie and Winston are working toward that too. The problem is this season doesn't give us enough space to flesh out Winston or their relationship that much, so it's hard to invest in it fully, but I can appreciate that Winston treats Maggie well.
He's good with the kids, and it's another way of lightening the load at Grey's house, which feels more like a daycare than anything else these days.
And Maggie granted Winston rights to practice at the hospital now, so we got to see him in action on a case too. Byron's situation was sad in that it's evidence of how mad people have gone with the loneliness and fear of getting sick.
It led to some heartwarming moments when Maggie got to speak to him one on one about fear and grieving, and of course, that hilarious moment where Perez popped up and told them that their naked patient was in the stairwell.
But another one of Maggie's finest moments was her finding a way to comfort Helm with the back-to-back hug -- something more people should implement.
It's hard enough to grieve, but not touching people in the process is unbearable in some ways. Helm's grief felt true to form for her.
She always had a bit of a contentious and competitive relationship with DeLuca, so it's not surprising that her first reactions were along the lines of gratitude that she'd get more surgeries.
But overall, the grief for DeLuca was odd. We have people who you expected it to hit hard like Richard and Bailey, but Mer was out of commission, and then others didn't feel authentic.
Nico's moment was a reminder of how the series has added some layers to him, and somehow, Schmico is working out as a relationship.
But it felt weird for him to speak about DeLuca when to one's recollection, the two barely spoke to each other if they ever shared a scene.
Did anyone lose a naked man because he went that way!Xander
It was one point in the hour when Hayes said something about Teddy and DeLuca being close, and I, honest to goodness, don't recall that at all. When was that?
Meanwhile, Richard's grief was understandable, and so was questioning his faith and how much more they could take. He and Catherine shared a lovely moment where she was encouraging.
But Richard's reaction to Bailey was frustrating. They chose to deprive Bailey of the chance to know about DeLuca when he was injured and dying. They excluded her from every facet of his death.
Everything she knows about what happened to DeLuca is secondhand. Curse the series again for not having the decency to show us how Bailey was informed and her immediate reaction.
You are causing me harm. You are causing harm to Hunt and Altman.Richard
As a result, it's not out of the ordinary for Bailey to behave like this. She's lost so many people -- too many of her "work children' and colleagues. Bailey's mother died recently. She also suffers from OCD, so it makes perfect sense that this would be how she processes it.
Yet, Richard was basically asking her to stop her grieving process to spare and accommodate Teddy and Owen's. Levi talking about his faith is always lovely, and so was his speech, but he offered an alternative method for her grieving instead of letting her do it in her way.
At least Ben was there for her, and it probably is a good thing that she's taking some time for herself.
Meanwhile, we're to presume that all of it has caught up to Teddy and broke her. Her plans to get Mer off of the vent fail through, and DeLuca's death had her wondering if she did everything she could've.
Tom has COVID, too, and she's been knee-deep in battling the virus. DeLuca's death is the straw that broke the camel's back. By the end of the hour, she was shell-shocked.
You could tell she wasn't even processing the memorial for DeLuca, and the woman was catatonic when Owen found her and had to bridal lift her to take her home.
Realistically, it's true that you don't have to be close to a person to have serious effects when they die, and what Teddy is going through is a culmination of everything.
Nevertheless, it's still generally unusual who took up the most focus grieving Andrew.
It almost felt like they tried to retcon these close dynamics and bonds he had with people that we never saw ourselves. And they erased or downplayed the ones we did know existed (like Maggie).
I think we owe it to the people we lost to live the lives they can't. Even when were at a loss. Even where we're afraid.Maggie
The memorial service for DeLuca in the parking lot was a sad affair. But even that had its frustrating moments when we saw screens of people discussing DeLuca and sharing memories, but we didn't get to hear any of them.
It felt so performative.
The "old interview" of DeLuca talking about why he wanted to work at Grey Sloan and speaking about his sister and, of course, Meredith was cute, though.
Overall, Richard wondered why any of this made any sense, and I'm still wondering the same thing.
Which brings us to Meredith and the beach, right? We knew she probably wouldn't wake up since all the spoiler interviews with the showrunner revealed as much, so Mer's scenes were anti-climatic.
The problem with presenting Mer's beach limbo as a choice she has to make to live is that this late into the game. It comes across as if everyone alive and dead has to convince Mer to wake up and survive for her children.
Because I guess her children aren't enough inspiration for her?
Hi, mommy. I miss you so much. I love you.Zola [to Mer]
It's hard to enjoy the beach and Derek scenes when it's dragging on for this long, and Meredith comes across as selfish for not waking up.
Amelia, Link, and Maggie are losing their ever-loving minds trying to take care of the Grey-Shepherd brood. Every day they're facing a new challenge of telling the kids awful news.
They're losing people, and it's the middle of a pandemic where they aren't getting any form of escapism.
DeLuca is dead, and Tom is sick, and Mer is frolicking on a beach, willfully tuning out people and hanging out with mostly dead people.
And it takes devastating moments like Amelia and Zola talking about Mer and grief or Zola video-chatting her mother to piss you off. Go home, Meredith!
Derek spent his portion of the hour revealing things that likely reduced fans to a puddle. He never got to meet Ellis since he died before knowing Meredith was pregnant.
However, he shared that he does now their daughter. He described Ellis to a tee, all of her traits that are just like Meredith, and he talked about how Zola writes to him in her journal.
They were such sweet revelations, and it was sweet to hear that Derek still has that connection to his children from beyond.
You never got to meet Ellis.Mer
He kept telling Meredith that he can't make her leave the beach. She's the one in control of all of it, and she creates all of the rules. He wants her to go back to their children, and he spent a great amount of time encouraging her to do that.
And he got quite the assist from Hayes.
For a while, it seemed as if they abandoned the Mer and Hayes 'ship teases. Even now, I don't know what to make of their relationship potential.
It was jarring that the underused Hayes, out of the blue, was at Mer's bedside, begging her to fight for her life and discussing her near-death in the same breath as losing his wife.
He accompanied her on the beach, too.
And he spoke about her kids as if he spent an abundance of time with them, and it's a pity that we didn't witness those scenes.
He echoed some of the same things that Derek did. What does it mean that love of Mer's life was working overtime from the beach to get her to wake up for their kids, and the man whom Cristina sent for her did the same from the land of the living?
I lost my wife. The therapist said there's no wrong way to process the grief. But there is, it's through a computer screen. It's wrong.Hayes
Hell, what does it say that the combined efforts of both had Meredith stirring in her sleep? It seems she's ready to wake, or at least showing signs of it.
Over to you, Grey's Fanatics. Let's discuss everything below!
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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 Twitter.