Grey’s Anatomy's season 16 premiere dropped a bombshell no one could have seen coming: Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorscone) is pregnant. Thursday night’s follow-up episode, “Back In the Saddle,” clarified a few lingering mysteries for viewers. Yes, the would-be baby’s father is Atticus “Link” Lincoln (Chris Carmack), the hunky Ortho God with a serious soft side. Yes, Amelia does share this information with Link, no matter how uncomfortable that makes her. Yes, her first pregnancy, with Baby Christopher, a child born without a brain due to a genetic birth defect, is a major influence on this second one.
Yet “Saddle” ends with a twist. Although many Grey's Anatomy fans would expect Amelia to terminate her latest pregnancy — even she admits she won’t be able to weather another infant tragedy — she doesn’t. A heart-to-heart with Link forces Amelia to rethink her feelings on this instance of impending motherhood. By the end of the episode, Amelia and Link decide they both want to meet the kind of kid they would make together. These two crazy kids are doing it — they’re having a baby… right?
One of the only people who could answer that question is Amelia’s portrayer, Caterina Scorscone. The actress, who has been playing Amelia for nearly a decade (Grey’s spinoff Private Practice premiered in 2010), is in the midst of filming the eighth episode of Grey’s season 16 — the 350th episode of the ABC drama! — and was kind enough to agree to chat over email.
Keep reading to find out if Amelia and Link are really all-in on the pregnancy, how that decision will ripple across the rest of Grey’s season 16, how being a mom has affected Scorscone’s second Grey’s universe pregnancy, and so much more. The subject of Amelia's L-word drop obviously comes up.
Refinery29: When did you find out Amelia would be pregnant this season? Do you think you were more surprised, or the fans?
Caterina Scorsone: “Krista Vernoff called just before we started shooting and said she had a great new idea and that Amelia would be pregnant this season. I would have been surprised, but so much has happened in Shondaland over the last 16 seasons that they could tell me that Amelia did a DNA test and found out she was a quarter Martian and I wouldn’t be that surprised. I just enjoy the ride.”
We should take Amelia and Link’s “Back In The Saddle”-closing conversation as confirmation they’re jumping into this pregnancy, right?
“Amelia and Link are for sure jumping in. They’re both pretty adventurous, high adrenaline souls, so they are going to leap and have this baby and figure out the pieces as they go.”
Amelia spends “Back In The Saddle” insisting she doesn’t want to lose herself in Link. What can you tease about how the pregnancy will affect that goal?
“Amelia is at a place in her life when she’s coming into her authentic self. She’s got a kicking career, she’s got sobriety, she has lots of community and the support of her sisters. She doesn’t want or need to lose herself in anything or anyone anymore.
“I think she’s pretty clear that she wants this baby, but her motherhood isn’t dependent on the relationship lasting. If it does, cool. But she’s not waiting for permission or perfect typical conditions to become the mother she wants to be.”
Amelia admits she might be “a little bit in love with Link.” Do you think it’s the hormones?
“It might be hormones. I think she was really moved by his support. Whether or not it works out, the fact that he said he’d support her and step up and raise the baby with her if that’s what she wanted was what she needed to hear to know that he was going to be a solid father to this kid. It helped her overcome her fear and embrace this pregnancy and this baby”
What do you think makes Amelia prepared to have a kid with Link in ways she wasn’t at all with Owen? She couldn't even bring up Baby Christopher with him.
“I think Amelia is more prepared to have a baby now for a lot of reasons. When she and Owen broke up over having or not having kids, she hadn’t had the experience of parenting Leo and Betty. She also had a lot of trauma from the loss of baby Christopher that she hadn’t processed. Before they broke up, she wasn’t even able to say his name out loud, let alone share her pain with anyone, including Owen.
“Speaking about one’s pain and trauma can be incredibly healing, and I think a combination of her grieving Christopher properly and parenting Leo and Betty with so much love, a lot of Amelia’s fear and trauma was healed.”
How does it feel to be tackling an Amelia pregnancy again seven years later, with so much character history between now and then?
“It feels so different. First of all, I’m a mother myself now, so I get it in a way I could only imagine the first time around. Also, the first time Amelia was pregnant she’d just gone through the unspeakable pain of losing the man she loved to an oxycodone overdose. Then, finding out that Christopher had anencephaly, she was hit with another tragic loss. She was still reeling when Christopher was born and died. The whole experience was mired in shock and trauma.
“At this point, Amelia has grown so much. She has maintained her sobriety, become Chief of Neurosurgery, been an incredible friend to everyone she knows, and helped to raise both a baby and a teenager who was struggling with addiction. Her love has expanded in so many ways, and she has her feet solidly planted on the ground.”
Those episodes are some really astounding television — your acting alone. Does anything stand out as particularly ahead of its time?
“Gosh. Everything we did in season 5 of Private Practice felt so intense and fresh. I do think we really dug into the addiction story in a way that educated so many people and made it clear that addiction is an illness and not a moral failing. The whole journey Amelia got to play that year was so rich and deep.
“I felt really lucky to have been given such heartbreaking and challenging material. I’ve had so many beautiful interactions with fans who were personally affected by the stories we told that year. It was a huge honor to get to play that story.”
What are you most excited for fans to see on this new journey with Amelia?
“The full Phoenix-ing of a woman who was so broken and traumatized by loss and addiction. She is now thriving and forming bonds and relationships and moving into her identity as a leader in her profession and as a loving and generous mother.
“She has lived a hero’s journey, and even though I’m sure there are bumps and loop de loops ahead, she continues to rise to each new challenge and keep her heart soft and brave and open.”