Congratulations to you MerLuca fans, for Grey's Anatomy heroine Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) got together at last. Thursday night’s “Girlfriend In A Coma” wrapped with Meredith finally giving in to her intense attraction to DeLuca — along with his increasingly weary attempts to pursue her — and kissing him on the rooftop of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. And the long-anticipated smooch went down on Valentine’s Day, no less. What an illustrious beginning.
However, there was one bummer hanging above MerLuca’s Champagne-accompanied make out: the memory of Dr. Atticus “Link” Lincoln (Chris Carmack), the third leg of Grey’s Anatomy season 15’s leading love triangle. While MerLuca is kissing on the roof, Link is sitting alone at a swanky Valentine’s Day-ready restaurant waiting for his alleged “date,” Meredith. As DeLuca tells Meredith at one point in “Girlfriend,” she is “stringing along” the strapping orthopedic surgeon — and it’s pretty terrible.
It might be hard to feel bad for Mr. Atticus Lincoln. He’s a wildly handsome 6-foot-1 surgeon whom children often mistake for Thor, an actual Norse god and superhero. In fact, Link literally goes by the nickname “The Ortho God.” When Meredith asks if he “likes the chase” in a flirtation because he’s used to women “throwing themselves” at him, he sidesteps the question (because the answer is definitely “yes”).
However, Grey’s Anatomy goes out of its way to actually make viewers empathize with the Ortho God. Within his first episode, season 15 premiere “With A Wonder And A Wild Desire,” we learn he’s close personal friends with the universally beloved Dr. Jo Wilson-Karev (Camilla Luddington) and knew her during her abusive marriage. The fact that Link was apparently part of Jo’s support system during the most dangerous time in her life is immediately endearing.
Even that aforementioned “Help, I'm Alive” conversation about women lining up to date Link was used to make him likable. When Meredith jokes that Link doesn’t “believe in stress,” he explains that a history of childhood cancer has raised the stakes on what he finds genuinely anxiety-inducing. Not only did Link spend most of his childhood in a hospital watching his small group of friends die from a disease no one could control, he also saw his parents split up over the pressure of trying to afford his treatment. “Maybe I'm kind of picky about what I let get to me,” he quips while hanging up decorations for Meredith’s son’s (Ryder Nolan Goodstadt) birthday party (yes, Link also helped put together Bailey’s party).
None of these lovable details suggest Meredith owes Link her affection. Yet, if you want viewers to feel for a prospective love interest this much, he at least deserves kindness. That’s not what Link finds throughout “Girlfriend In A Coma.” At the beginning of the episode, Meredith agrees to be Link’s date to the Karev New Year’s Eve party. Then, DeLuca appears to criticize Meredith for not being “brave enough” to date him. She takes umbrage at such a slight and immediately asks him to be her date to the party, despite the fact she already promised to be Link’s plus-one.
If Mer had told the orthopedic surgeon about the change in her plans, such a smart decision would be harmless. She is clearly far more interested in DeLuca. Yet, Link shows up to the Karev home convinced he’s there as Meredith’s date. To add insult to injury, she skips the party for understandable doctor reasons, but doesn’t text either of her dates this very pertinent information. Ouch.
Valentine’s Day proves to be just as bad for Link in almost exactly the same fashion. Again, DeLuca skewers Meredith for avoiding their chemistry “like a kid playing hide and seek.” So she turns around and immediately asks Link on a romantic Valentine’s Day date. Link agrees, even though he recognizes trying to date Meredith is like banging his head against a wall. Still, when dinner time arrives, Meredith is making out with DeLuca on that roof while Link is ordering a scotch on the rocks solo while surrounded by happy couples. For the second time in a row, Link couldn’t even get a text that he was being stood up. This is rude.
Thankfully, we probably won’t have to cry for Atticus Lincoln long. It’s only a matter of time until the Ortho God pulls a classic Grey's Anatomy and falls in love with some ill-fated patient or a doctor healing their own love triangle wounds.