A few weeks ago, it became clear that Grey’s Anatomy needed to stop senselessly punishing its most promising couple, Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) and Atticus “Link” Lincoln (Chris Carmark). The ABC medical drama responded by doubling down on the obstacles for Amelia and Link. Thursday night’s “A Diagnosis” took the destruction of the (possible) parents-to-be’s relationship to its most extreme conclusion: forcing them to break up at the end of an episode.
While “Diagnosis” is the chapter that supposedly ends Amelia and Link, it may also be the one that serves up the most optimistic clues about the Grey’s pairing. You just really have to listen to Amelia’s sister Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) to find them.
Amelia’s “Diagnosis” storyline is built around her escape to the quiet comfort of her bed after refusing to get a prenatal paternity test for her unborn baby in last week’s “Save the Last Dance for Me.” Link asks Amelia to get the test once he learns her child may belong to her ex-husband Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd). Due to ABC’s insistence on making Grey’s Anatomy and lead-in series Station 19 a weekly “crossover event,” Grey’s-only viewers may assume something terrible happened to Amelia during Station’s Thursday night episode, “Into the Woods.” But Amelia’s depressive episode was solely presaged by Link’s demand for the paternity test, Amelia’s secret refusal to get one, and her “Dance”-ending text asking Link for “time.”
This bedridden period is her version of “time.”
Maggie is the one who spends “Diagnosis” trying to help her sister metabolize her pain over the Link situation. It would be easy for Grey’s to have Maggie, in this case the voice of reason, fully turn on Link because he made her sister sad. However, Maggie doesn’t. During the meatiest part of the conversation — when Maggie finally learns about the Owen part of the pregnancy equation — Maggie explains why Link’s reaction to the messy paternity twist is sensible. She reminds Amelia that she and Owen have “a complicated relationship,” to put things mildly.
“If I were Link … I would be terrified that the baby is Owen’s,” Maggie says. “And that if it is, that connection might reignite whenever embers still exist between you and Owen. If I were Link, I would want to know, too, and it wouldn’t have anything to do with how much I love you.”
This is a perfect distillation of Link’s mindset, and it is important that Amelia hears it. Still, Amelia counters by asking Maggie to think about how she must feel at the center of this emotional catastrophe. Maggie agrees and considers how the hormones coursing through Amelia’s body must have her “overwhelmed” right now. “I might just want to be held and loved no matter what — and reassured that I’m not going to be alone,” Maggie summarizes while Amelia starts sobbing over the accuracy of the assessment.
The closing of “Diagnosis” suggests Link is going to need to follow Maggie’s words precisely, since Amelia breaks up with him in the final minutes of the episode. The unexpected moment arrives after Link shows up to the Grey/Shepherd/Pierce sisters’ home to ask Maggie how Amelia is doing; he is clearly worried about Amelia’s well-being because he loves her. At this point, Amelia appears to say she plans to raise her baby with her sisters because they offer her genuine unconditional love. Since Link apparently can’t do the same for her, Amelia is ending things.
Yet, “Diagnosis” takes great pains to prove Grey’s Anatomy hasn’t soured on this pairing. Amelia herself says at the midpoint of the installment that she and Link are “almost painfully good” together. That’s why “Diagnosis” doesn’t feel like the ultimate end of Amelia and Link. Instead, it comes off as the episode that sets Link up for a grand romantic gesture — one that will prove to Amelia he can be the partner she has wanted for so long, no matter what a paternity test says.
Owen picked Teddy Atlman (Kim Raver) while she was in labor last year. Can Link show Owen up once again when Amelia is in the same situation this season?