Going into this season of Grey’s Anatomy, showrunner Krystka Vernoff teased we were entering the “rom-com” season. Or, at least, we should expect a romantic comedy beset by the kind of painful crisis that come with stepping inside Grey Sloan Memorial like arrests, depression, the heartbreaking deaths of patients. Looking back on season 15, Vernoff was right, there were so many romantic ups-and-downs, surprise ships, and drawn out love triangles.
Amid all of this tumult, one couple has walked out of the Grey’s Anatomy fire stronger than ever. That duo is definitely not the pair anyone would have put their money on at the beginning of season 15. It’s time to give Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) and Jackson Avery (episode director Jesse Williams) the shipping respect they deserve — Thursday night’s “What I Did For Love,” proves as much.
The new episode is a crossover between Grey’s Anatomy and spin-off show Station 19. Fire chief Lucas Ripley (Brett Tucker) is admitted into Grey Sloan after collapsing in a shop. TV’s best doctors eventually realize something is wrong with his heart, so cardiothoracic expert Maggie ends up treating him. Before we know it, they’re commiserating over their romantic problems. Ripley reveals he was proposed to by Station’s Victoria Hughes (Barrett Doss). Jackson asked Maggie to move in last week. Both Ripley and Maggie balked over these big romantic gestures.
As is the case with most Grey’s doctor-patient heart-to-hearts, Ripley helps Maggie see the error of her ways. The problem isn’t that Maggie, a scientist through and through, wants to think about a huge step like moving in with her boyfriend before saying yes — it’s that she didn’t explain anything. Her swerve is even worse considering her response earlier this season, when she thought Jackson proposed (“We need more milk.”).
Heeding Ripley's advice, Maggie goes to Jackson to say what she couldn’t before: She really wants to weigh the pros and cons here. In an old school rom-com, that’s the kind of pragmatism that either doesn’t ever come up or is eye-rolled away by the dashing, impulsive leading man. Someone in the movie would suggest that thinking things through is the antithesis of sexy. But, Grey’s reminds viewers actually doing what makes you comfortable, no matter how boring it may seem, is the most romantic thing possible. That’s why Maggie tells Jackson the better way of phrasing it, if he truly knew her, would be, “I’d like you to consider moving in together.” It’s not very Sweet Home Alabama, but that would have worked on Maggie.
That’s why this storyline’s most powerful sentence is, “Real life isn’t all hookers on shopping sprees and fake orgasms in coffee shops. In real life, it is romantic to let a person be herself.”
Tell me that’s not worthy of the Etsy print treatment? Because Jackson agrees to metaphorically “set up the scales” for his lady. He’s going to weigh and measure the pros and cons with her, even if he thinks all of this forethought is a little funny. It’s the sweetest representation of normal relationship behavior Grey’s has shown in a while. There’s even a compromise involved since Maggie agrees to go camping with Jackson — a request he has had for weeks — since he’s giving her time for love science. We’re so far past Jackson’s bizarre disappearing act and texting scandal (which was definitely created to let his portrayer Jesse Williams go film another project).
And, we’re so past the petty squabbles — or heart wrenching troubles — of other Grey’s couples. Remember, Maggie’s sister and series leading lady Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) strung two men along for most of the season. Now, some fans are questioning the passion of her relationship with Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti). The Link (Chris Carmack)-Amelia (Caterina Scorsone)-Hunt (Kevin McKidd)-Teddy (Kim Raver)-Koracick (Greg Germann) love rhombus is exhausting and confusingly dragged out. The formerly beautiful marriage of Jo Karev (Camilla Luddington) and Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) is crumbling after the former’s traumatizing meeting with her mother. At this point, the Karevs are barely speaking, and, when they do, it’s to threaten each other.
So come on in and enjoy the calming vibes water of Maggie and Jackson — she already made sure it's the exact right temperature according to many recent medical journals.