Crossovers can be tricky to get right.
If you succeed, it's a perfect blending of two disparate television shows, and the story arc flows from one hour into the next. If you don't, then it's just a huge mess and waste of time that viewers have to sit through.
And by the loosest definition, Station 19 Season 4 Episode 6 is technically a crossover, but it's been weirdly positioned between Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 6 and Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 7 in such a way that makes it feel like parts of the firefighting drama are actually Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 6.5.
To say we walked away from the episode with major whiplash would be an understatement, as the installment oscillated between the aftermath of Station 19 Season 4 Episode 5 and DeLuca's insane and impulsive decision to follow suspected sex trafficker Cindy/Opal.
The series attempted to weave the 'DeLuca and Carina stupidly chase a sex trafficker throughout Seattle' plotline into the fabric Station 19, but it felt incredibly forced.
DeLuca: I’m not manic, OK.
Carina: I wasn’t thinking that. I just don’t think all this belongs on your shoulders.
DeLuca: You know the only difference between our father and I is that I’m actually trying to make up for my failures, so, yes, this is on me. I have to make it right.
Carina: Andrea, our dad killed four people in the operating room because he didn’t want to take care of his mental health. Even when you’re manic you’re a brilliant doctor. You diagnosed Dr. Weber’s rare condition in the middle of a manic episode.
DeLuca: And the only reason anyone listened to me is because of Meredith. Meredith knows me, and she believed me when no one else did. Even you didn’t believe me. When Opal had Erin at the hospital, and Opal got away. She just walked out of the hospital because of me, because I was unstable, because I was untrustworthy. And now two more girls are hurt because of me. So yeah, I can’t… I won’t let this happen again.
Carina: You’re not like him. Not at all. Not even a little.
For one, unless you've been following Grey's Anatomy closely over the past year, you'd have absolutely no idea what was going on for about half of the episode.
You'd probably be wondering why this supposed doctor from Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital kept making these bone-headed decisions and continued to chase a suspected sex trafficker through the streets of Seattle, then onto a train, even running after Cindy/Opal once his "cover" had been blown.
You'd also probably wonder why Carina did nothing to stop her brother and just kept accompanying him on the most ludicrous and lowkey chase scene(s) ever.
Those are good inquiries, and even a long-time devoted Grey's Anatomy fan fails to understand the inner workings of one Andrew DeLuca, who managed to take impulsivity and bad decision-making to a whole new level this time.
And he doesn't even have his mental health to fall back on as an excuse.
It's all very complicated and convoluted and barely makes any sense to regular viewers, so I imagine it much more confusing for casual viewers.
The takeaway, though, is that DeLuca's life hangs in the balance, which makes a nice transition and ups the drama and stakes on Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 7.
But for the medical drama to do that, it had to undercut its firefighting spinoff in the process, which is a shame because the Station 19 midseason premiere was primed to be a doozy.
After the highly controversial cliffhanger at the end fall finale, all eyes were waiting to see what would come next for our favorite firefighters.
However, what arrived was a somewhat lackluster start, as the charges were miraculously dropped against Sullivan and Dean.
Dean: I’m gonna go after them.
Dean: I’m going to go after them through the damn courts. It’s risky, I know, but there is no other option. Three Black girls were already missing from Joyce’s neighborhood, and the cops did nothing. They arrested her in front of her daughter on false charges, and only dropped those charges because somebody filmed it, and that is not enough. That is not enough. That girl is permanently traumatized. That mother is permanently traumatized. And if we only chalk it up to a systemic problem without action, if we don’t name the individuals who support this system, if we don’t fight them, then nothing changes. Nothing changes. We fight fires. We run into burning buildings. We defy the odds. We save lives, and this is no different. It’s just a different kind of fire.
However, what followed was a brilliant emotional and character-driven exploration of where the characters were after the past 24 hours.
Everyone had a different reaction to what had happened, and it was impressive to see such nuanced portrayals.
It would have been easy to have Sullivan and Dean have similar attitudes toward being arrested -- they are both Black firefighters after all -- but Station 19 proved it was in no hurry to take the easy way out.
Dean handled the whole experience with such grace and maturity, and it was awe-inspiring to watch.
For most of the episode, Dean was withdrawn, not wanting to speak about what happened until he was ready, and though some tried to push him to talk about what happened, it was worth the wait to see how Dean processed everything.
He decided he wanted to take legal recourse against the racist cops. I loved his monologue about how nothing would change unless someone like himself held the guilty parties accountable.
And his metaphor about this being another kind of fire was just the cherry on top.
That's not to say Dean was this composed the whole hour, as he understandably went of on Maya when she wanted to break protocol to help Carina and DeLuca out of a jam.
The hypocrisy was written on the wall, and if Dean hadn't said something, I sure as would have.
Aren’t we going to wait for the cops like you made me wait yesterday? I told you what was going on in that house. I told you I wanted to go in, but no, you ignored that Black mother’s cries because you waited on a cop that refused to help her. Those girls had to set a fire to get your attention when you… you could have just had my back.Dean
Maya was willing to break the rules when it came to helping her girlfriend but wouldn't do the same for Dean, her friend, and colleague who she's known and fought fires beside for years.
Dean's words were hard for Maya to hear, but they were the truth.
In the end, she apologized for her missteps, and I liked that Dean didn't forgive her right away. It made the moment feel more authentic.
Sullivan didn't seem to be thrown by his encounter with the police, and it was Andy who found herself grappling with what it means to be the wife of a Black man.
That was something Andy had never given much weight to before, and her past with Ryan made everything that had happened even murkier.
For so much of her life, firefighters and cops were always on the same side, so much so that they were almost the same profession.
Now, though, Andy has to rethink some of those ingrained beliefs, but the most important thing is not losing someone else she loves.
So if her world view on the police has to shift so that Sullivan can remain her husband, then so be it.
Interestingly, Sullivan thought his demotion would mean more to Andy, but after everything that had happened over the past 24 hours, being married to a probie is nothing in hindsight.
Andy: You’re seriously worried about me?
Sullivan: Andy, you married a battalion chief.
Andy: I married the man I love. Your title is so entirely beside the point. Look, all I care about is that you’re OK. I cannot handle anymore loss, and that sounds selfish, but I’m feeling selfish. This day, inspection day, it makes me feel the loss of my dad all over again. He loved inspection day. And yesterday, those awful cops, that whole thing made me feel the loss of Ryan all over again, and watching you with guns pulled on you… I put up a strong front Robert, but I feel brittle. I feel like a strong wind could break me. Did your sponsor really say it was OK for us to be together?
Sullivan: He said it was OK as long as you don’t make me want to use drugs.
Andy: And do I?
Sullivan: The only drug you make me want to use is you.
Andy: I want to come home to you.
Sullivan: I want you to come home to me.
Andy doesn't care if Sullivan is even a firefighter at this point.
All she cares about is that the man she loves and calls her husband is still alive and by her side.
And though Vic wasn't arrested like Dean or Sullivan, she, as a Black woman, also had a visceral reaction to what happened.
The exploration of gender and race and everything else swirling around in Vic's head was a great touch, and her nearly incoherent rambling felt so authentic.
For a while, she wasn't the one in handcuffs; watching her friends have guns drawn on them and shoved to the ground was right out of her childhood nightmares.
And coupled with everything else going on this year -- the killing of George Floyd, the pandemic -- this one event was more than enough to push Vic over the edge.
As Travis affirmed to Battalion Chief Gregory, Vic isn't one to cry, but watching her break down in such an uncontrollable way made her pain and trauma all the more poignant.
In the aftermath, both Travis and Jack struggled how to be there for their best friends.
Jack, for one, knew he couldn't just knock back a couple of beers with Dean and make it all better, but he didn't truly understand how disrespectful and insensitive that would be in actuality until Ben explained it.
Jack: I don’t know how to help Dean. He’s my best friend, and I’ve been avoiding him ‘cause I know I’m not who he wants to talk to today, but I want to help. I want to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ I want to throw back some beers with him and get him to laugh it off.
Ben: No, no.
Jack: I know.
Ben: But you don’t know. You don’t know this particular pain. You don’t know this ache. You don’t get it.
Jack: We work with cops on every call. There are a lot of good cops out there.
Ben: Definitely do not say that to him because yesterday you saw how some of those good cops treat Black men when they don’t have firefighter uniforms on. You had to see that. You had to see the difference.
Jack: So how do I help him?
Ben: Give him room. Don’t ask him to talk about his feelings, and don’t make him have to listen to yours. And don’t try to make him laugh. You’ve survived this long by finding humor in the hardships. You’ll know when he gets there. And don’t you try to get him there. If you try to get him there, that’s just dismissing his reality and disrespecting his experience. This is a big deal. Let him have his feelings. Stop avoiding him and just have his back like a friend. Just don’t make it about you.
What Ben said hit the nail right on the head, and it seems obvious in hindsight, but it was still important that Ben explained things through for Jack.
And while I understand that it shouldn't be Ben's job to explain everything to Jack about the struggles of being a Black man and how Jack needs to be there for his best friend without undermining Dean's trauma, it felt like something Ben would do.
The firehouse always jokes about Ben being the group's dad, and sometimes you need a parent to spell things out for you, even if you're a fully grown adult.
Travis, for his part, didn't necessarily know how to help Vic either, but instead of trying to force her to talk about her feelings, he just let her vent.
That was the perfect thing for Travis to do, as it let Vic feel supported and heard without Travis imposing his beliefs and thoughts on her.
He just let Vic get everything off her chest, and when he finally replied, he told her that she shouldn't close herself off to love just because something could go wrong.
As her best friend, Travis was entitled to give his opinion on her love life but respected her enough not to comment on her many emotions other than just telling her it was OK if she wasn't OK.
Some stray thoughts:
Did anyone else feel weird when the characters referred to the events of Station 19 Season 4 Episode 5 like yesterday? It technically happened to them 24 hours ago, but for us, it's been months, so it kept reminding me just how much time had passed in reality versus the Grey's Anatomy Universe.
Maya had a lot on her plate this episode, what with her girlfriend going after a possibly dangerous criminal. She decided to be there for Carina, even though it could reflect poorly on her as a captain.
I appreciated how the series tied that back to Maya as the first female captain at Station 19 and all the pressures that come with it. However, there just wasn't enough time for that storyline to be adequately explored, and it was just too much in an already jam-packed installment.
Going off that, the random inspection storyline made absolutely no sense. Was it just a way to bring up the gender dynamics and power structures of Maya being captain, or did the series feel there needed to be some outside authoritative figure that gave Station 19 his or her stamp of approval for their actions over the past day? Whatever the reason, there had to have been a more elegant solution.
Andy and Sullivan are officially back together. How long do we think the couple will stay in marital bliss until something inevitably blows their relationship back off course? Two, three episodes?
So what did you think, Station 19 Fanatics?
How did this crossover compare to previous ones?
Did you care for the 'DeLuca and Carina hijack the hour' shenanigans?
What did you think of the nuanced reactions to Dean and Sullivan's arrests?
Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you missed the latest episode, remember you can watch Station 19 online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.