Surprise, surprise. (But not really.) The rom-com season of Grey's Anatomy has officially been tossed out the window. Taking its place is the usual dark and twisty drama that us years-long fans have come to know and shed many tears over. At the center of this week's episode, titled "Anybody Have A Map?" is the Webber/Avery family, which gives us a nice and much-needed break from the Teddy/Owen drama.
When the episode begins we meet the charming Nurse Frankie (Stacey Oristano), who's 28 weeks pregnant and having spleen problems. She and Richard (James Pickens Jr.) have worked together for years, and she's got a "village" of nurses watching over her. After seeing her in pain, Richard urges Frankie to have surgery, but she refuses, wanting to keep her still-baking baby safe. Us longtime Grey's fans should've known right then that Frankie was about to get the ax, and later she did. Towards the end of the episode, she died on the operating room table. Fortunately, Alex (Justin Chambers) managed to save her baby, though that didn't stop Richard from spiraling even further into depression.
Richard is one of the last four remaining originals on the show, and lately he's been going through it. He's no longer chief, despite the fact that everyone (including Frankie) still calls him that. His wife is constantly traveling. His AA sponsor Ollie died, and now Frankie's gone. Following her death, Richard attends his first AA meeting in months, though he doesn't stay long. Upon hearing that there's a disgusting bar that trades "chips for shots" i.e. quarters for shots to recovering alcoholics who are about to break sobriety, he heads to it. The bartender takes his payment and pours eight shot glasses of vodka in front of him. Now, this is the moment when everyone was shouting at the TV, "Don't do it Webber. Please don't drink," and lucky, for us he doesn't, though he comes pretty damn close. Almost too damn close.
Instead, Richard goes behind the counter, grabs the owner's baseball bat and redecorates the bar, Carrie Underwood/Beyoncé-style. I agree that the owner deserved this for preying on people struggling with sobriety, but I don't want to see Richard in jail. And unfortunately, that's exactly where this little stunt lands him, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) learns at the end of the episode.
Meanwhile Jackson (Jesse Williams) and Maggie (Kelly McCreary) are on incredibly rocky ground. Turns out Jackson's been cheating emotionally with both someone named Kate and April, though that's not how Jackson sees it. In a truly douchebag move, he flips this whole debacle on Maggie and says that the reason he's been seeking comfort in other women's phone lines, like his ex-wife's, is because Maggie is so closed off about her feelings. Hmm, it's amazing that Jackson never stopped to consider that she's so closed off because who would want to open up to someone who you suspect isn't over their ex? No one. Maggie's suspicions weren't wrong, either. Jackson eventually confesses that he can't stop confiding in April nor thinking about what could've been between them now that he's found God. (Answer: nothing, because April is happily married to someone else.) This causes Maggie to leave in tears, and I can't say I blame her. Sure, she might have some issues, but Jackson needs to step down from his high horse and remember that the common denominator in all his failed relationships (Stephanie, April, and now Maggie) is him.
Enough about the Webber/Avery men, though. The most devastating revelation in this week's episode centers around Catherine (Debbie Allen.) She summons Meredith and Koracick (Greg Germann) to the opening of the Catherine Fox Foundation to consult on a VIP patient, who has a tumor. And, yes, the VIP patient is her.
Meredith is a bundle of nerves as the three await the results of Catherine's biopsy, wondering why she hasn't told Richard or Jackson about the pain she's been having or what she suspected may have been causing it. Catherine insists that she'll share when there's something to share and is convinced that if it is bad news, Richard won't be able to handle it. Given his reaction to that Frankie situation and everything else he's been going through, Catherine's probably right. Still, Meredith is adamant he deserves to know the truth. "My mother hid her diagnosis and spent years alone because of it. This is not an excuse to cut the people you love out of your life," Meredith says. A big YES to all of this.
In the end, Catherine learns that she does in fact have cancer, and it's the severe kind that can't be treated with chemo. So, she tells Meredith and Koracick to put their heads together to find a miracle. As Catherine puts it, if she can survive all of the racism, sexism, and other –isms life has dealt her, then she "just might survive this, too.” And she'd better, Grey's writers.
How well Richard and Jackson are going to take the news is still TBD as we get closer to the fall finale. They're both holding on to sanity by a thread, and I'm convinced that this might be the thing that pushes each of them over the edge.