The waterworks started when Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) have to say goodbye to baby Leo because his grandparents are taking him. Owen does what he usually does by compartmentalizing — he says his goodbye, barely holding it together, and then runs off when the hospital pages him because of a mass opioid OD hitting the city. It's total chaos at the hospital.
But it dovetails nicely with Owen and Amelia's storyline because who should be wheeled as part of the mass OD? Britney (Peyton Kennedy). She took meth on top of the bad opioids and has a heart complication, so Teddy takes her into surgery just as Amelia arrives with Britney's parents (Jennifer Grey and Kyle Secor).
As they do Britney's surgery, her rehab boyfriend ODs in the bathroom, and Amelia tells Link (Chris Carmack) that she'll call his parents as she breaks down sobbing — my waterworks started again and pretty much did not let up for the rest of the episode.
More tears: Britney's father is just sick with the knowledge that the last thing he said to her before she disappeared was, "I can't even stand to look at you." I can’t even imagine the pain of losing a child, and on top of that having the last words you spoke to them being words of anger. Fortunately, Britney makes it through surgery. Her parents will get another chance to save their baby and heal their relationship.
It'll be interesting to see how this resolves itself. Is this it? Are Britney, Leo, and the grandparents going to simply be gone from Owen and Amelia's lives by next week? Or is there a big custody battle looming?
It was slightly surprising that Britney's parents were just packing up and taking Leo at the start of the episode. Just last week Owen vowed to fight them because he's the legal guardian. It really feels like we missed an important step in this process, like maybe a scene where Amelia convinces him letting Leo go with his grandparents is the right thing to do something? That felt a little jarring.
Odds & Ends
In keeping with the parent-child gut-punches, a woman comes into the ER with the OD victims because she was in the park to buy drugs and lost her 3-year-old son. The son is found by a homeless man and is fine, but the father is (rightly) furious. Karev (Justin Chambers) encourages the father to keep his son far, far away from his mother until she's clean. It makes sense, given Karev's personal history with a drug-using parent. But it's still just another example of the horrors drug addiction wreak all over the place.
In a secondary storyline here, the homeless man who found the little boy and is not part of the OD has terrible lesions on his feet and no place to stay other than the park. Jackson (Jesse Williams) can't find him a bed in a shelter anywhere, so he gives the man the camping equipment that he had packed into his car for a weekend away with Maggie (Kelly McCreary)
While all this is going on, Mer-bot (Ellen Pompeo) is elbow deep in surgery so intense that it breaks the record for the longest surgery in hospital history, which everyone is super jazzed about, but it sort of takes a backseat with all the tragedy going on around the hospital. It really seemed for a minute like the show was going to yank the rug out from under even this uplifting storyline by having Meredith lose her patient after 27 hours of surgery and have to tell his parents. Thank goodness it didn't go that way.