After 14 years, Grey’s Anatomy finally made history. With Thursday night’s aptly-named episode, “We Didn’t Start The Fire, Shonda Rhimes’ dark and twisty baby became the longest-running TV medical drama ever. While the momentous hour was filled with lovable moments — Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) getting caught making out like teenagers! — there weren't any jaw-dropping turns that really felt like classic, wild Grey’s Anatomy.
That is until “Fire’s” final seconds, when DeLuca’s dad (Lorenzo Caccialanza) shows up unannounced with Andrew's sister, recurring Grey Sloan spitfire Carina (Stefania Spampinato), in tow. Hypothetically, this kind of family reunion should be a lovely surprise. However, the menacing music and Meredith’s episode-closing voice over (“The bad times are gonna find you all on their own”) confirm Father DeLuca’s presence is only terrible news. At least one previous Grey's conversation reveals why Andrew is so very upset to see his father.
All the way back in midseason premiere “Shelter From The Storm,” fans will remember Meredith and DeLuca got trapped in an elevator together. Considering all the sexual tension, it’s likely fans were too busy chanting “Kiss already!” to pay attention to all the heart-to-hearts and feelings being shared. To jog your memory: This is when Andrew starts opening up about his past and messy family life. As we learn in “Storm,” Andrew moved to the States with his mother at some point while Carina stayed in Italy with their dad.
Why did half of the DeLuca family flee the entire continent of Europe? Well, as we slowly find out through “Storm,” Mr. DeLuca is a polarizing figure, to say the least. First, Andrew confirms his father is a famous surgeon in Italy who was a acquitted for some crime. Then, he employs Italian as a way to speak about the scandal without Meredith actually understanding him. “My father has a mental illness,” Andrew begins, revealing his dad operated on seven different patients in a “manic” state. “No break, no sleep, no food.” Four of those people died under the elder Dr. DeLuca’s care.
“But, because of his money and his friends… he got away with it,” Andrew explains. It seems Andrew and his mother couldn’t accept the tragedy around DeLuca Senior and fled to America to build new lives. However, Andrew clearly still cares for his dad, as he reminds Meredith that the infamous surgeon is also the man who taught him how to kick a soccer ball and comprehend the stars.
Although Andrew unravels his “complicated” history in Italian for the express purpose of ensuring Meredith does not understand him, he quickly finds out she’s fluent in the Romance language. This twist only brings the doctors closer together.
Everyone’s shocked faces upon Father DeLuca’s entrance make sense, as does Carina’s apologetic, “I tried to warn you,” as an explanation for the shock (Andrew ignores her call earlier in the episode). For DeLuca, he is experiencing the abrupt reunion with someone he loves who also caused him, and others, a lot of pain. For Meredith, she is meeting her sorta-boyfriend’s possibly unstable father at the exact moment she thought she was finally going to have sex with her dreamy love interest. And everyone is speaking in very fast, slightly panicked Italian. That is a lot of cognitive dissonance in a very short amount of time.
Fans should expect for the DeLuca family reunion to only get more uncomfortable in the coming weeks. The synopsis for next week’s “Blood And Water” teases, “Meredith finds herself having to side with either Alex or DeLuca during a difficult situation, but she doesn’t want to betray either of them.” Then, following episode “And Dream Of Sheep” promises, “Ties are strained as Andrew and Carina confront an unforgiving family history.” Considering Papa DeLuca’s unexpected entrance, it’s likely he’s a big part of these “difficult situations,” especially since Andrew looks extremely exasperated in all promotional photos for future episodes. Only a loved one can cause this kind of stress.
Between the foreboding figure of Ellis Grey (Kate Burton), the anxiety around Helen Karev (Lindsay Wagner), and the drama of Daddy DeLuca — is there a single relaxing parent in the Grey’s Anatomy universe?