Open, close up on
Matthew Morrisson overacting as he writhes on the operating table Paul Stadler bleeding after a hit & run. The danging question of "did Jo (Camilla Luddington) & Alex (Justin Chambers) do it?" from last week is immediately answered: no. They were home in bed and got a call because her number was in his pocket. You know, from when he threatened her as he left the building last week. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy!
Meanwhile, meet Karen (played by my underrated fave, Collette Wolfe formerly of You're the Worst)! She is having a baby in a way that makes the miracle of birth look like the nightmare I remember from the video in high school biology class when BAM! Kepner's (Sarah Drew) ex-fiancé Matthew Taylor (Justin Bruening) shows up. Yeah, the one she left at the altar for Jackson (Jesse Williams). He's the husband! And now we know why Kenper was getting all biblical in the V.O. off the top of this episode.
Moment of silent appreciation for Maggie (Kelly McCreary) and "because science!"
Grey's continues to handle domestic abuse beautifully in Jo's conversation with Jenny (Joy Lenz), Paul's fiancée. She admits to Jo that she is being abused, and details how he has systematically separated her from everyone in her family and manipulated her, through gaslighting. It's harrowing to think of anyone going through that. She confronts him and after telling him, "You put your hands around my neck last night, so that's attempted murder." He calls her crazy, exactly the M.O. Jo warned her about. Watching her tell him she'll never speak to him again unless it is from a witness stand is especially laden with meaning in the week that marked the end of so many women and girls reading their statements after surviving abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar. Paul then attempts to get out of bed and attack her, falling and banging his head in the process. I've rooted for some people to die on Grey's Anatomy over the years, but none as hard as this guy.
Moment of silence for Jo's unstoppable and inappropriate laughter when they all realize that she is still Paul's wife and, now that he's effectively brain dead, she gets to decide if they continue life support.
Equally harrowing is the story line of the 12-year-old boy, Eric, who was brought in by the police. He was shot while trying to climb into the window of his own home because they thought he was breaking and entering. His face as he watches one of the officers stand over him his one of the most heartbreaking moments I've ever seen on this show. Jackson is doing his best to stand up for the kid. The show does a great job of humanizing everyone in the story, from his family to the police. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Jackson try to save him is nothing compared to hearing the sounds his mother makes when they have to tell him Eric is dead. Jackson gives them the speech nearly everyone wants to give the cops about their bias being lethal because they have guns.
God, and the amount of pain he gives us keeps coming up. For Kepner, it comes full circle when both Eric and Karen go into critical status and no one will let her help. Through her eyes we see the personal Jesus-takes (moment of silence for Depeche Mode) that everyone else is going through, mirroring her beliefs. Sometimes it's a distorted mirror, like with the chronic masturbator, and sometimes it's an uncomfortably close mirror, with Karen. I wonder if Kepner will come out of this with a faith that is stronger or weaker. Her statement to the police after Eric dies is an indictment of her faith in the system. And her conversation with the masturbator says...she's not a creationist.
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