Last night's Grey's Anatomy poured over Jackson (Jesse Williams) and April's (Sarah Drew) shorter-than-it-seemed marriage, showcasing the swoon-worthy moments. He objected at her other wedding, terrible IRL, but always adorable on screen — and the seemingly endless fights. But what was really powerful about the hour was its depiction of a couple dealing with the loss of a child, and how it can destroy a relationship.
The now-estranged couple's fights were almost always tied to the fact that April left to work as an Army doctor overseas twice — first, soon after the death of their son, Samuel, who suffered from a fatal birth defeat and died shortly after he was born, and then again, after Jackson asked her to stay. Their argument went around in circles for countless episodes, April claimed she felt she had to leave, while Jackson stated that she should have wanted to stay. However, in a flashback scene last night, April explained what truly had them at odds. She felt she was grieving more acutely, and that Jackson seemed like he was coping quite well in comparison.
It was a portrait of the kind of "for worse" moment in a marriage that rarely receives attention on TV.
Their very different ways of handling the loss led to tragic misunderstandings, which ultimately doomed their relationship. April believed she was alone in her sadness, so she isolated herself from her husband, and tried to find solace in others. By feigning some measure of peace, Jackson was both unable to process his feelings, and unable to connect with his wife.
Both literal missed connections and the inability to comprehend where the other was coming from dominated the rest of the flashback scenes tied to Samuel's death. On the one-year anniversary of Samuel's death, April is desperate to talk to Jackson, but she can't get a cell signal overseas. Meanwhile, Jackson has destroyed what would have been Samuel's nursery, in a grief-fueled rage, thinking his wife forgot the day completely.
Reflecting back even further, when April couldn't even leave Samuel's nursery to go to work following his death, Jackson feels like he's comforting her by suggesting they could have another child. April is horrified by the idea, and very upset with her husband as a result. Jackson then recedes into himself, and is convinced they can't support each other after this loss.
It's a very Grey's move to end the dissolution of the marriage, which was affected by the loss of a child, with the hope of reconciliation based on another child — April might be pregnant! But the episode was more than just a sneaky way to introduce the next bit of drama, it was a portrait of the kind of "for worse" moment in a marriage that rarely receives attention on TV.