Grey's Anatomy Round Table: Groundbreaking Surgery, Getting to Know Nick, & That Shocking Kiss

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With medical breakthroughs, fun returns, and more, it was a great hour of Grey's Anatomy.

And Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 11 also wasn't short on some relationship developments either.

Join Meaghan Frey, Joshua Johnson, and Jasmin Pettie to discuss it all.

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What would you grade this episode? What did you love about it, and what didn't you enjoy?

Meaghan: A! Honestly, some of that might be the fact that we are coming off of two terrible episodes, so any decent episode would look incredible in my eyes, but this genuinely felt like classic Grey's Anatomy.

At the beginning of Grey's Anatomy Season 18, this is the direction it felt like the show was taking, and I loved it, but then it lost its way for a while. This episode had everything from dynamic character pairings, solid storylines for every character -- including the elusive Nick -- comedy, romance, teachable moments, and so much more!

One complaint I have about the episode is Teddy, but I'll get to that more later.

Saving Hamilton -tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 11

Joshua: I'd give it a B+. I thought it was thoroughly entertaining and engaging, but occasionally I felt like the show was setting us up for something that didn't happen.

I wish that the bar scenes between Jo and Teddy had been developed a bit more; I think the two of them have a really interesting dynamic and would have enjoyed seeing them be friends a little more.

Also, I kept feeling like the Nick scenes were setting us up for something more than getting to know Nick (more on that later). That said, as Meaghan noted, there were dynamic character pairings, great storylines, high stakes...this felt like Grey's Anatomy.

Drowning Sorrows at Joe's  - Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 11

Jasmin: I'd give it a B-. I enjoyed this episode much more than the previous ones, but several things took me out of the show and made me feel confused and frustrated.

For starters, the time of year completely changed. Last week it was Christmastime and snowing, and this week it was sunny and warm and looked like either the spring or the summer.

They also broke hospital policy by telling Amelia that Owen needed surgery. Since they've had multiple storylines establishing what the OR policies are when a surgeon is operating on a loved one, friend, or family member who needs surgery, that made no sense.

I loved seeing Tom again, and I enjoyed his scenes. I hated the entirety of Nick's storyline and the scenes about Meredith and Nick's relationship. The whole thing makes no sense and is cringeworthy to watch.

Did the groundbreaking surgery bringing return characters like Tom and having everyone in the gallery watching feel like classic Grey's Anatomy for you?

Meaghan: The return of Tom is part of what made this episode work so well. The second he walked into Grey Sloan, he brought a lightness with him that was desperately needed.

Mer opening up the surgery to everyone was an overwhelming success -- although despite what Mer said, I feel like it was a slightly ego-driven decision on her part.

Webber has been so focused on teaching the residents differently that he forgot what has worked so well in the past. In the early seasons, the residents constantly saw the attendings do groundbreaking procedures.

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With so many staffing shake-ups among the attendings, the current residents haven't had that privilege. Also, making the surgery a teaching moment brought us as the audience into it more, and I instantly felt more invested than I have until this point.

Joshua: Having a big teachable surgery felt like classic Grey's. Tom there just brought a lightness that the show has been missing a bit since his absence (everything feels heavy, surprisingly even more so than the COVID season ).

I agree basically with everything Meaghan had to say--it was a return to teaching form, and it upped the stakes for the audience by adding another level of drama to the mix.

A Long Awaited Surgery - Grey's Anatomy

Jasmin: I'm not sure it felt like classic Grey's to me, but it did feel like a throwback to plots from earlier seasons.

I loved Tom's return! I love Tom as a character, and his scenes were the highlight of this episode for me.

I did like that they had the characters back in the OR gallery this episode, and we got to see them interact more. I liked that they made it a teaching moment, and ​honestly, I feel like they should have done that from the beginning. I never understood why the project and the surgery had to be a secret.

What did you think about Nick getting his own arc, exploring transplants, and honoring the donors?

Meaghan: This was a genius move from the writers! After a strong start out of the gate, Nick and Mer have gotten stale.

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Part of the reason for that is the fact that outside of his initial episode, we haven't gotten to know much more about Nick; he hasn't become his own full-fledged character.

For the audience to invest in a couple, they need to be invested in the players. Watching the respect that Nick paid to the donor family and the donor himself was so touching.

I can see how it could be easy for transplant surgeons to disconnect from the realities of the situation, so the fact that Nick still allows himself to become emotionally invested says a lot about him as a character and a doctor.

However, for Nick and Mer to work as an endgame couple, Nick is going to have to transfer to Grey Sloan.

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One of the biggest criticisms I've seen of their relationship is that Mer is constantly giving up time with her kids to see Nick. Not only is she spending time with him while in Minnesota, but she also is spending time with him while in Seattle.

Seriously, how does she have any time to see her kids between that and work? We need to see him integrated into her life, and him moving to Seattle will take care of that.

Joshua: It took me a second to realize that Nick getting his own storyline was about showing us who he is as a person, which I love.

One of my biggest pet peeves about the show is that they'll often introduce new characters meant to be love interests for existing characters, but it doesn't seem like they do much to flesh out the character first (i.e., Teddy in Season 6; she was introduced to be a foil between Owen and Cristina and didn't have her own backstory or any story to make her a fully three-dimensional character outside of love interests).

Weighing Her Options  - Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 11

Knowing why Nick is a transplant surgeon (I just watched his debut episode from Season 14, so it's fresh in my mind), knowing what kind of surgeon he is, and knowing how he teaches new residents all help create a fully realized character.

That said, it feels like they're setting up Nick to be this total Dream Guy, and I'm wondering where the conflict is. Earlier, when I mentioned that it seemed like they were setting us up for more than getting to know Nick, what I meant is that it felt like they were building up this hero only to have something terrible happen in the end.

With him riding his bike to work, being a heartfelt and relatable doctor, being a great teacher, being the kind of transplant surgeon who remembers where the organs come from--I was waiting for something bad to happen to him or to his patient (especially when the parallel stories were Hamilton and Owen's surgeries).

Everything felt like it was set up for someone to die or become very sick. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it didn't happen, but it did just sort of feel like there was a missed resolution.

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Jasmin: I hated it. Everything about Nick bothers me this season. The guy looks like he just rolled out of bed, seems constantly tired and out of it, and he and Meredith have no chemistry this season.

So any time we spend with Nick as a character is a too much time for me.

The parallel storylines concept didn't work for me in this episode. They tried to compare a groundbreaking surgery about Parkinson's disease to a run-of-the-mill organ transplant procedure. They are two completely different things.

While both are important, transplant surgeries happen every day—groundbreaking surgeries like that performed on Dr. Hamilton do not.

Saving Hamilton -tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 11

I also thought that Nick's dialogue was weak, and I found the way he left the news of his patient getting a new organ to the end of the conversation cruel.

I think it was supposed to be heartwarming and funny, but I didn't feel that way. I also thought him bothering the organ donor's family was out of line. I get that it was supposed to be about honoring the person who has given the gift of life to someone else, but it just felt uncomfortable and intrusive to me.

Discuss your reactions to the relationship arcs during this hour: Jo/Link, Amelia/Kai, and Owen/Teddy.

Meaghan: Jo and Link are playing with fire. Sure, they made a good first step by admitting that Link needs to move out, but I'm sure their bathroom smooch isn't going to be the last accident they will have before he does.

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I get where Jo was coming from in that scene because 1. she is in love with him and 2. look at the man -- who could resist Chris Cormack in a towel --, but I'm confused about where Link's head is.

Yeah, they slept together one time, but just because you slept with someone once doesn't mean you just start mauling them whenever they're around.

I do think their night together might have opened up some feelings on Link's end as well. The two of them need to tread carefully.

Each week, I come around to Amelia and Kai more and more. Their chemistry continues to grow and evolve, and I love how supportive they are of each other. Can we also please talk about them in the promo for next week?! The little clips we got gave me butterflies!

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It's easier to get on board with them as a couple when Link is taken out of the equation, which probably helped this week.

I don't know what to say about Teddy and Owen. Those two have come so far and gotten through so much, and this is what is going to tear them apart? I understand that Teddy is frustrated, but there are different ways she could be handling it.

Owen's intentions are good; he just needs to figure out a different approach that doesn't put him in potential legal trouble.

At the end of the day, I just am done with the constant drama between the two of them, and if they break up this time, I'm going to need it to be done for good.

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Joshua: Jo/Link. We know how I feel about it. I don't like it, I don't want it to happen, so I'm glad that Link is moving out.

I truly hope that Jo and Link don't end up together.

Again, I think that's because Camilla Luddington doesn't need another storyline that revolves around a man considering she has a new child and is in a new specialty.

Amelia/Kai: Love that someone finally called out the kind of drama that happens in an OR when there's another emergency somewhere, and the operating surgeon is like, "I'm the only person who can do that!"

No, you're the only person who can do this, so let's delegate, and you can keep your focus.

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Having Kai tell Amelia, "Um, you could just focus on the surgery that you're doing now for all of these reasons," without coddling her was great.

I feel like people either coddle Amelia or are overly condescending or corrective to her, so seeing someone just get normal angry at her without it having to be this huge resolution was great.

I also loved the tender intimacy at the end of Amelia's head on Kai's shoulder and Kai kissing the top of Amelia's head. The show used to be great about that kind of intimacy (both romantic and platonic). While I understand that COVID can prevent that kind of physical closeness, it's a familiarity that I think Grey's has been missing for some time.

Owen/Teddy: As Meaghan said, I'm over the drama here. It's like Teddy isn't even trying to understand Owen's actions and just wants to judge them.

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I want to see the conversation between the two of them where Owen explains why he did what he did because I feel like that kind of conversation could bring Teddy around to a base level of understanding where it's easier for her to process.

I hate that Owen started to get a medical storyline that wasn't focused on his family or relationships, and now it's about his relationship again.

It's okay to have people in relationships be happy, Krista Vernoff. There are other ways to introduce conflict. It might be nice to see a happy, stable relationship for once.

Jasmin: Meh, I guess? While I thought the shower scene between Jo and Link was funny, their storyline isn't grabbing me this season. I don't hate. I don't love it. I'm just not invested at all.

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Same with Amelia and Kai. If they'd pursued a storyline like this in an earlier season before they introduced Link or around the same time, I would have been all for it, but this just isn't the right time story-wise, so I just can't bring myself to care. I'm also not feeling the chemistry there between them.

I've never been a big Owen and Teddy fan, so I can't say I'm invested there either.

However, I think it's stupid if they wind up breaking up over what Owen did after all of the drama and the lives of people around them that were ruined by the fallout from their hurtful actions.

Were you shocked that Jordan Wright kissed Bailey? How do you think this crush of his plays out?

Meaghan: I wasn't shocked in the least bit. Jordan has been building to that moment since he met Bailey. You could always see that it was more than professional admiration.

Speaking His Part - Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 10

I'm hoping that Bailey nips it in the bud and gets ahead of the situation before it gets out of control. I can't imagine introducing the situation just to resolve it in one episode. He better hope Ben doesn't find out.

Joshua: I also wasn't shocked. I'm glad to see Wright's character develop a bit more and understand why he wants to work with Bailey, but I still need more.

Jasmin: Like Meaghan and Joshua, I wasn't shocked at all. I totally saw it coming from the OR gallery scene onward.

Fans had speculated online from Jordan's introduction that he might be interested in her romantically, and we saw that come to a head in this episode.

Shutting It All Down  - Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 9

While I wasn't surprised, I think Bailey was because she didn't see the signs for what they were.

She was just happy to connect with someone over a bunch of shared interests, so she didn't think too hard about what it meant. I'm honestly not sure how it will play out, but I love Bailey and Ben together, so they better not screw that up.

Webber desperately tried to get through to Levi to no avail, and Levi quit. Discuss this heartbreaking arc and what your predictions are for him.

Meaghan: Watching Levi be so apathetic towards the potential destruction of his career was devastating. When he told Richard that he had bled out and there was nothing left to save, I lost it.

Stubborn About the Webber Method  - Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 10

We have seen Levi grow so much as a surgeon since his days as Glasses, and I refuse to believe that he won't get past this.

The only bright spot in the situation was that we got to watch Levi explain MMORPGs to Richard and explain why they are so comforting for him. Video games get a bad rap among older generations, but they truly do have many benefits.

I don't know how he will get there, but I do see Levi returning to the field. Maybe something will happen to his mom that forces him to go back into doctor mode, bring him back into the hospital, and remind him how great he was and how much he loved it.

Joshua: While a bit reminiscent of everybody chasing Derek into the woods to bring him back, I loved these scenes.

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James Pickens doesn't often get the opportunity to have intense one-on-one character scenes like this, so it was nice to see him get to dig in a bit to the story and meet Jake Borelli on his level for these touching scenes.

It's clear to me that Schmitt is actually processing what happened on his terms but doesn't realize that he needs help. I still think someone will get through to him; I just don't know who.

Jasmin: That scene where Richard talks to Levi and tries to get him to snap out of it and come back to work is exactly what I did not want to see happen.

It's so unrealistic. The guy needs help. He needs a psych consult. He needs to be admitted for treatment. He needs a therapist and serious medical attention.

Levi Steps Up - tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 4

You don't just snap out of something like that. I wish that instead of doing that, they had perhaps staged an intervention where Levi's Mom, Helm, Jo, Richard, Bailey, and possibly a therapist came to see Levi and convinced him to come to the hospital and get help.

I think Levi's going to be in bad shape for a while. I'm not sure how this storyline will play out, but I hope someone gets him so psychiatric help soon.

Is there anything else you'd love to address?

Meaghan: I LOVE that Zola is so into way Ellis's old surgical tapes. That girl is an absolute gem, and I would not be against a spin-off centering around an older Zola beginning her own medical career once Grey's Anatomy ends.

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Also, Tom being the one who had to perform Owen's surgery, was comedic gold! Can we please have him back permanently?!

Joshua: I'm starting to see (especially with a lot of the criticism of Meredith not spending time with her kids between Hamilton's surgery and getting to know Nick) that Meredith is becoming similar to Ellis.

It's not that Meredith is so focused on her work that she neglects her kids, or that she's especially harsh on them, but just that she's absent and part of that is for the sake of a man--which is precisely one of the lessons that she learned from Ellis's mistakes.

If this is a storyline that's introduced, I'm actually all for it. It's a series-long throughline that they touch on now and then, but it's never really become a whole plotline.

A World Class Surgeon  - Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 8

I think it's something that would be great to introduce, to give Ellen Pompeo something new to play, and to tell a story on the show that hasn't been told before.

Jasmin: I feel like this season is lacking spice to me.

At this point, they've written off basically all of the characters I cared about, and Meredith's actions in her personal life no longer make sense to me.

The relationships lack pizzaz, and I just can't get invested. The dialogue this season thus far has been lackluster, poorly written, and downright lazy at times.

For me to get re-invested, they're going to have to take things up a notch in a big way.

That said, Meaghan's right in that I did love the scene with Zola, and Tom was comedic gold the whole episode. I, too, loved the scene between him and Owen, and I also like Tom's OR scenes.

Over to you, Grey's Fanatics. Do you agree with us? Sound off below!

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays on ABC.

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

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Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 11 Quotes

People do crazy things when they're triggered or in a mental health crisis. When my phone rang today and it wasTom, I remembered that I made crazy decisions when I was triggered.

Teddy

I'm not triggered, and I'm not in a mental health crisis. I stand by what I did and why I did it, but I love you, Teddy. I love you, and I'm glad it worked out.

Owen