Let it never be said that Grey's Anatomy doesn't know how to do big episodes. In case you hadn't heard, "We Didn't Start the Fire" is episode No. 332 for Grey's, making this Shonda Rhimes show the longest-running primetime medical drama in television history — ER previously held the highwater mark at 331. To mark the momentous occasion, Rhimes and Co. put forth an episode that seemed fairly lowkey at first glance, but brought things home with a few major moments in the end.
The framing device for the episode is that the Chief (James Pickens Jr.), Maggie (Kelly McCreary) and Jackson (Jesse Williams) throw Catherine (Debbie Allen) a party. It seems to have gone horribly awry, as we open with all the main players standing on the street in front of a fire truck.
But backing up to five hours earlier...
Since the party involves all of Meredith's (Ellen Pompeo) coworkers, she has to come clean to Karev (Justin Chambers) as acting Chief that she's dating DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti). As the Chief, he tells her to get her butt to HR; as her friend, he wishes her the best and hopes DeLuca makes her happy. As the last two original interns standing, these two are so lovely during these moments of shared screentime. It's a shame Meredith and Alex don't get more scenes together.
Speaking of Karev, his mom has popped into town. We first met Helen Karev (Lindsay Wagner) last year when Alex went to visit her, eventually inviting her to his wedding to Jo (Camilla Luddington). But their history is fraught with baggage — her schizophrenia left her largely incapable of looking after her three kids, so that burden fell to Alex a lot growing up. He eventually spent time in juvenile detention because he was shoplifting food to feed his siblings.
Jo mistakenly brings Helen to Catherine's party due to a misunderstanding at the hospital, and because of this and several other misunderstandings, Jo and Alex are worried Helen has had a psychotic break. It turns out she's fine, but it's hard for Alex to trust her. A good first step is that she smells the fire before anyone else does, and Karev dismisses her, only to have her be proven right as everyone runs out of the smoke-filled apartment and Karev smiles gleefully that his mom is not losing it. It's a nice touch.
Meanwhile, over at the "sinkhole of sadness," Britney (Peyton Kennedy) and baby Leo finally leave Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Amelia's (Caterina Scorsone) house, and it's incredibly hard for both of them. Never one to just be open about his feelings, Owen is acting like his sadness is bigger than Amelia's — and he's expressing his feelings in the form of irritation about Teddy's (Kim Raver) budding relationship with Tom (Greg Germann). He acts like it's because he's worried about Tom being around his daughter, but really it's coming from a place of being jealous at Teddy's happiness when he feels so devastated.
But regardless of where the feelings come from, the way he is acting really hurts Amelia's feelings. She's terrified that he'll meet his baby daughter and fall back in love with Teddy. This would leave Amelia in the lurch, especially because their whole relationship has recently been based around Britney and Leo. Now that they're gone, what do Amelia and Owen have? But he's about to have a new child with Teddy, and Amelia wants off the merry-go-round of not knowing how that will affect everyone. She tells Owen she's out.
The final straw for Amelia is when Owen confronts Tom at the party, creating a big scene and throwing "You're not a father" in Tom's face. Actually, Tom is a father — his 10-year-old son died in a freak accident a long time ago. It's a real shame no one told Owen that right then and there, because he should have been made to feel very, very bad about the way he was acting. Owen kind of always manages to get away with crap that he has no business getting away with, so maybe one of these days someone will finally stick it to him about his toxic behavior. Today is not that day, however.
Fortunately (but also unfortunately, which we’ll get to), Britney insists to her parents that Owen and Amelia raise baby Leo and they come back with him. It's a wonderful scene — all the tears — but having Leo back doesn't fix the fact that Owen and Amelia may not have much of a relationship without a kid to hold them together and that is not the recipe for a healthy marriage. This is clearly far from over.
And finally, at least in the parent/child department, just as Meredith and DeLuca are about to settle in at his house for the night, his sister pulls up with his father in tow. We don't know exactly how this will affect DeLuca, but we do know the last time we saw Carina (Stefania Spampinato), she was leaving Seattle because their father had "a problem." We didn't know what that was at the time, either. Time will tell just what Carina and Papa DeLuca are doing in town.
Odds & Ends
There's a small scene where the Chief and Jackson tell Owen they, too, think Tom is a creep, and Jackson mentions that Tom once "took advantage" of April (Sarah Drew). That's not exactly what happened — April was drunk, and she and Tom had a one-night stand, but she wasn't so drunk that it wasn't consensual. Also, Tom really helped April with her crisis of faith, drawing from his own crisis of faith after the death of his son. Tom is a much better guy than any of those people know.
Tom: "I will feign diarrhea. No, for you I will get diarrhea!"
Maggie (Kelly McCreary) has a small storyline with Kiki (Jenica Bergere) writing an article about the groundbreaking surgery Maggie did to save her life — except the article is all about Kiki's personal struggle and self-advocacy. Maggie is super upset that she's barely mentioned, but it sounds like that isn't really the point of the article. Maggie feels like Kiki stole her story, but it's Kiki's story too and there is room for both women to tell their parts of it. The Chief encourages her to tell her own story and to tell it better and louder, which she vows to do.
Finally, Catherine is having a personal struggle with "celebrating" her successful surgery by throwing a party, since she will never be completely cancer-free. But Bailey (Chandra Wilson) talks some sense into her about living in the moment and celebrating that they're still around at all, even if they worry every day that the other shoe will drop in regards to their respective medical issues.