The previews for this week were absolutely tantalizing. Not only are Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Link (Chris Carmack) super cute together, but Grey's Anatomy fans finally get to meet the last of Derek Shepherd's (Patrick Dempsey) sisters! And bonus — she is played by the wonderful Amy Acker of Angel and Person of Interest.
Nearly the entire episode is set in New York City, where Amelia and Link are performing a complicated spinal surgery. They run into her sister Nancy (Embeth Davidtz) at the Catherine Fox Medical Center where the surgery is taking place (fans met her briefly back in season 3). It turns out Amelia — or "Amy," as her sisters call her — hasn't told her sisters about breaking up with Owen (Kevin McKidd). They've never actually met him, which conveniently lets Amelia pass Link off as Owen for a family dinner.
At this point, we all just agree to suspend our disbelief that the Shepherd sisters don't even know what Owen looks like. This setup is wacky and fun, so let's just go with it. Also, in case you have forgotten, the missing Shepherd sister is Liz, who appeared in season 9 and was played by Neve Campbell.
Anyway, Link doesn't want to go along with the farce at first, but Amelia promises to make it worth his while in "creative ways," wink-wink nudge-nudge, so he agrees. They work on getting their stories straight in the cab on the way to Nancy's house, and then the hijinks begin.
While Nancy wants everyone to make nice, Kathleen (Acker) is clearly harboring some resentment toward Amy and is also quite intense in the "who has the best life" competition. She starts grilling "Owen" immediately, and then when Amelia is out of the room, she tells him all of her younger sister's problems under the guise of being concerned. Those are some incredible passive-aggressive acrobatics.
However, Link-as-Owen charms the pants off Amelia's sisters, and it starts to look like everything is going off without a hitch... until Amelia's mom, Carolyn appears, played by the awesome Tyne Daly. If you'll recall, Carolyn met the real Owen in the season 5 episode "Sympathy for the Devil," so she immediately ruins Amelia and Link's ruse by telling Kathleen and Nancy that this man is not Owen Hunt.
After that bombshell, Kathleen has a field day making unbelievably cruel comments about Amelia's life, especially after they hear about her brain tumor and baby Leo. Nancy gets in a few shots too, including one about Amelia only getting her job because Derek gave it to her. Wow. It's really a shame they can't use profanity on network TV, because these two really deserve a big f*ck you from Amelia. At least her mother doesn't pile on; you can tell Carolyn is just really hurt that she doesn't know anything about her daughter's life.
Link does a great job sticking up for Amelia — someone’s in luuuuuuuv — but nothing really gets resolved because Amelia can't deal with her horrible sisters anymore. So, she and Link leave. Just in time, too, because their spinal patient goes into respiratory distress, and they rush to the hospital.
Amelia is definitely feeling like she has something to prove after that disastrous dinner because she tells the patient she can do an incredibly risky surgery that will permanently fix his spine. Link backs her up, but he is also worried that Amelia is still a young girl trying to compete with her sisters.
The surgery is a success, of course, because what a downer it would have been if the surgery had failed? Unfortunately, Amelia's need to prove she's not a hopeless drug addict really turned Link off, and he needs to be alone for a while. But that does give Amelia a chance to spend some quality time with her mother.
Carolyn tells Amelia that she's so strong because she has never been afraid to fail. She just keeps falling and getting back up again. This quality makes her the most like her father, which made it hard for her mom to be around Amelia after her father died. So, she basically let Derek raise Amelia, and it is her biggest regret. It's a nice scene, especially the "Sorry I missed your wedding... sorry I missed your brain tumor" moment.
Later, Amelia apologizes to Link about how she's been treating him and asks him to let her make it up to him. They bond over Link's favorite NYC donuts, one of which he impressively puts into his mouth in one bite. And those donuts are NOT small.
This great episode ends with Amelia returning home to her "real" sisters, aka Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Maggie (Kelly McCreary), and filling them in on the trip. What a nice little stand-alone offering from Shonda Rhimes and Co. Next week looks like it’s wading back into the heavy stuff with Jo (Camilla Luddington) struggling with depression after meeting her birth mom.