“Grey’s Anatomy” Season 20, Episode 5 Recap

April 13, 2024

BY Joelle Boedecker

Hello Grey-Sloaniacs (that one I kinda love)! We’re at the halfway point of this abbreviated season, and boy was this a heavy episode. 

Before I get into this episode, I’d like to detour quickly to “Station 19” to celebrate its 100th episode this week. This is the final season for a show that has always been a bit of a Cousin Oliver in Shondaland. Unlike “Private Practice,” the writers often forced us to pay attention to this lead-in show because there would be continuous thread plotlines on the same night. I will personally never forget the moment Andrew DeLuca showed up near death at the start of the “Grey’s” episode with little explanation unless you watched the “Station 19” episode earlier. Thankfully, the tie-ins recently seem to just be a Warren sighting here a Carinna story there. 

Anyway, this 100th episode featured a moment where everyone’s favorite Anesthesiologist-turned-husband-to-the-Chief-turned-Surgical-Intern-turned-Firefighter—Ben Warren—was reminiscing over how he proposed to Miranda Bailey in a crossword, then immediately taking what looks like steroids, and then later finding himself in a harrowing moment at the top of the burning Space Needle (hi Seattle, you look great!) that peaked when he asked former-firefighter-new-dispatcher Gibson to say goodbye to Miranda for him. It was an epic episode for a show that needed a win. I do recommend this episode to all you Grey-Sloaniacs.


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But I’m not here to recap “Station 19,” so on with the “Grey’s” recap!

Content warning: this episode recap contains references to the suicide plotline within this episode. 

“They’re all med… medical students.”

The big event this week is not the Space Needle fire or the car accident from the “Station 19” episode. There’s so much blood on white fabric in the Pit, you’d think it was a wedding gone wrong. In fact, it was a deck collapse at a med student white coat party. This is an excellent opportunity for interns and doctors to reminisce about their own med school experiences throughout this episode. Some more positively than others.

“He needs an appy. Who’s on call?”

Over in the secret Alzheimer’s research room in Seattle, Meredith is visiting for her third appearance of the season. She’s meeting with Amelia when she gets a call from Zola that Bailey (Shepherd – the kid not the doctor) is in the hospital in Boston. Nick, who was watching the kids for Meredith in Boston, had to take him to the hospital for appendicitis. Meredith, who is literally 3,000 miles away, is in a panic and she’s taking it all out on Nick. Richard to the rescue! He borrows Catherine’s plane (like it’s a car) and escorts Meredith back to Boston. Meredith briefly worries if Catherine will find out she was in Seattle (she will), but shoves this ongoing secret research charade aside to go be with her son.

Nick is reporting in to Meredith constantly, reassuring her. On the plane, Meredith admits to Richard that this distrust is all about the mistakes made leading to Derek’s death. But that breakthrough was not enough to stop her from—short of shouting “OFF WITH HIS HEAD”—dismissing Nick. Meredith, with more help from Richard, realizes she’s been an absolute ass and apologies to Nick. He reminds her she’s very much not alone, and she has to trust the people that love her and her kids. They kiss and make up and all is well in Boston. I’m sad we didn’t get to see Zola this episode.

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“They took my white coat!”

The first big case to come from the med student chaos is a woman rolling off the ambulance with a giant chunk of the deck impaling her back. Adrenaline is doing all the work here, because she’s talking and making demands about finding her white coat. Lucas promises her he’ll find it. Owen and Amelia are on the case. The wooden stake is really close to impaling her spinal cord and she can’t wiggle her toes at all.

Before they head to surgery, Adams finds her coat and returns it all bloodied up. She and Adams talk and she makes it very clear that all she wants is to be a doctor and she needs to be able to walk. Adams will act as the voice of the patient in this situation, her unofficial medical proxy. This all sounds legit, right?

So, Hunt and Shepherd are mid-surgery when there’s a complication. Amelia, ever the risk-averse surgeon these days, says they can’t. Owen, the maverick surgeon, says they should. And Adams, NOT HER MEDICAL PROXY, says, “You guys have to do it, she’d want you to.” Um dude, you met her 10 minutes ago.

But surgeons are gonna surgeon, so, they go ahead and do a dangerous thing. And the amazing Amelia does it, makes it look easy, and they close her up. Adams is giddy and ready to run around claiming his victory. She regained the ability to wiggle her toes and presumably can go on to be a doctor. You take that win, Adams! Frankly, it is nice to not see a sulk on his face for once.

“Six diapers a day is like a thousand diapers per week.”

A pregnancy scare at Grey Sloan?! It’s been awhile, old friend. Wilson and Link are panicking in different ways over a potential pregnant Jo. One dud pregnancy test and one negative pregnancy test later, Jo realizes she wants to have a kid with Link. And Link just needs to figure out how to get on board. What’s another baby when you have two toddling toddlers keeping you busy, and you’re busy AF doctors?

“You used to be the coolest Attending.”

Ndugu receives an envelope that isn’t succeeded by the line, “You’ve been served.” I’m almost certain this is important, but they move on quickly. His patient this week is a 41-year-old man with debilitating anxiety. Mid-panic attack, a woman walks in and starts straddling his whole body from behind, holding him. Before the words are even said I already know we’ve just met a professional Cuddler. I’ve been waiting a decade at least for this job to make its “Grey’s” debut. 

This news is met with visible discomfort (on the part of both Ndugu and Millin). Millin quickly accepts the situation, but Ndugu once again makes a shitty comment about her job being “a racket.” His insensitivity continues. But, finally, the interns are showing their true colors and this week, Millin FINALLY calls out Ndugu. The message, you’ve been an ass for weeks and no one wants to work with you.

Apparently that was the shake he needed, because later when they’re rolling the patient into surgery and the patient has a panic attack, Ndugu gets on the gurney and cuddles the patient. They proceed to roll them both to surgery. Great news, the surgery was a success, and Ndugu is literally beaming with joy. While he’s still smiling, Amelia walks by and very casually asks him how he’s doing. She knows Maggie sent the divorce papers today. He says nothing, but he does approve Teddy for a TAVR in the morning and says he’s taking a much needed vacation. Self-care and caring for others is the THEME of the episode.

“Bailey will kill us if we let a drunk medical student loose in the hospital.”

Griffith is avoiding Adams any way she can. Ignoring him at the bar when he’s studying. She even pulls in Kwan to help her with her patient with arm pain so Adams will move on. (Lucky for Adams, he gets the impalement case instead.) Unlucky for Griffith, she proceeds to lose her patient. She’s supposed to go home on Bailey’s orders and instead, she and Kwan are hunting for this patient all over the hospital when a nurse finally says she saw him heading up to the roof.

Well, this explains the episode’s content warning. The med student with the bad arm, is on the roof, standing on the ledge looking down. (Side note: this set is clearly nowhere near Grey Sloan Memorial, but they needed a roof set, so here we are.) Kwan and Griffiths are trying to talk him down but he’s not hearing them. They watch him dangerously throw his white coat down to the ground and he talks about how worthless he feels and doesn’t know what to do. 

Griffith tells Kwan to text Bailey (this is a very good call, they’re learning!) Bailey just happens to be receiving a visit from her husband, Crisis One-trained Ben Warren, so they both go to the roof. Bailey is not the clear head you need in this crisis, but Warren is. Warren asks if he’s threatening to jump or just talking. While the patient is just “ideating” they can reason with him. Griffith and Kwan continue to talk to the guy, supporting him, until finally Kwan tells him that he went through the same issues in med school, and he got help and got through it. That was what the patient needed to hear. He steps down and they both support him and walk him to the stairs.

Next time we see them, the med student is in with Psych and Griffith tries to reach out to Kwan, who is not interested in saying anything more. We’ve been leading up to this big reveal about Kwan all season. His abundance of overconfidence gets shaken very easily, and we’ve seen it over and over. This gives us a bit of a peak into the inner workings of Kwan. And Kudos to Griffith who kept it together and was a stable presence through the whole thing.

At the end of the episode, we find Griffith in the on-call room clearly thinking about… everything. Adams opens the door hoping to talk. She makes it clear she can’t talk now, but opens the blanket to let him join her in the bed. This episode seems to have a lot of interns comforting interns and this is a much better state of affairs than the last couple episodes.

“Wheelchair… not a toy.”

This episode opens with Yasuda studying for her boards in the bar with help from Helm. Helm is rewarding her correct answers with fries and I guess this is supposed to be teacher-student sexy or something, but all I keep thinking about in this relationship is the awkward power dynamic. It was always a bad idea when interns slept with/dated attendings, but this is her chief resident and that holds more direct power. 

Yasuda’s primary job in this episode is to deal with the irritating drunk med students in the Pit. She was told to fast track them out of the hospital, and she proclaims her great skill in that arena. She proceeds to have to restrain a patient, get laughed at constantly, and get puked on. She did ask Helm to swap her out and Helm agrees to try. However, at the end of the episode, Schmitt reveals that Helm overruled when he tried to reassign her to the impalement patient.

So Adams gets to save the day and end the episode snuggled with Griffith in the on-call room. And Yasuda, she gets comforted by Millin who has been reminded of the art of calming people down and offers a hand to Yasuda, literally.

Miss Our Other “Grey’s Anatomy” Recaps? Find Them Here:

Season 20, Episode 4

Season 20, Episode 3

Season 20, Episode 2

Season 20, Episode 1

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