RECAP: “Grey’s Anatomy” Season 20, Episode 8

May 24, 2024

BY Joelle Boedecker

Dear Gentle Greyniacs (sorry, I’ve been spending too much time in a different part of Shondaland), welcome back to a sunny day in Seattle. Meredith is here in voiceover to tell us about our exponential brain capacity. This is our first reminder that there’s an Alzheimer’s research subplot to not forget about.

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“Welcome to Emmy’s world; we’re just living in it.”

We meet two new-to-us patients, Emmy and Caroline. Emmy has a heart condition and has been here for a while. She’s being treated by Dr. Ndugu. She’s very sassy with the doctors and appears comfortable in the hospital. One bed over, in an apparently very busy Pediatric wing, are Caroline and her mom, Diane. They have traveled far to see Dr. Beltran, who comes highly recommended as a trans-friendly pediatric surgeon, something that is, unfortunately, hard to come by.

While Caroline is getting her MRI, they discover the problem is much worse than her primary doctor had previously diagnosed. Enter Dr. Shepard. She’s not the doctor they were looking for, and they are anxious to allow anyone but Dr. Beltran to operate on Caroline.

Beltran shares the awful experiences of treating trans kids back in Texas. I’m unsure if this is the only reason she came to Seattle, but she sees her new location safer for these kids (no bulletproof vests on sick children going to the hospital). This country is horrendous, and I sure hope there are real doctors out there, like this one portrayed by Natalie Morales, who are allowing children to heal, survive, and thrive with dignity no matter their gender or sex.

“Grey”’s has an amazing way of heroizing or villainizing Peds doctors. Beltran is quickly coming in as a hero. The way she relates to the children, builds relationships, and defends the kids without treating them like babies is giving big Alex Karev energy. Arizona was always more patronizing to and about children. Better that she ended up with prenatal fetuses and infants.

At the start of the episode, Monica buys Amelia a coffee, and Amelia reads so much into this gesture. We’ve seen this crush evolve across the season, and finally, after spending the day together trying to earn Caroline’s trust, Amelia takes the opportunity to ask Monica out. Monica is very quiet and we find out that she’s going through a messy divorce from her wife back in Texas. That answers Amelia’s two biggest questions, would she date a woman and why did she leave Texas?

“If you don’t score above a 30% on your exam tomorrow, Joe’s is hiring.”

We open the episode, watching Kwan desperately trying to retrieve a red sock from his drawer, and we see it rip. He has a devastated look on his face. Is this a Chekov’s sock? During rounds, he is futzing with the sock, like it’s a sick pet hamster.

The interns (including Helm) are worried about the ABSITE test tomorrow. (Just a side note to say I don’t think this test existed in “Grey”’s universe before this season.) Helm is very grumpy and keeps rushing the interns. Griffith comes running in with her completed procedure log (finally!), and Helm snaps at her for not submitting it to her or Schmitt first. Bailey finally approves the interns to return to surgeries. And it’s sort of anti-climactic.

Meanwhile, Kwan is darning a sock in the intern classroom. When Link walks in and begins teaching him how to… surgically darn a sock? Never underestimate the power of lucky socks. What a random, unexpected, delightful moment. I hope this new skill will be useful later.

Helm continues to be cranky and impatient with the interns. I bet she misses her bartending job these days. Yasuda attempts to appeal to Helm’s kinder side, asking for help getting back into the OR on her first day back in surgery. Helm finds her crushed-by-Yasuda heart and helps a girl out.

Later, we see Millin sitting on the beds in the OG intern hallway. She panics about the test and is in tears. Yasuda walks in and forgoes her surgery to teach Millin her “patented” study method. This is giving me memories of Elena’s M&M Strategy in “Felicity.” Also, of the “Callie Torres Secret Study Method.” Not sure the Yasuda method will take off, given they both fell asleep, and woke up snuggling just 5 minutes before the test begins.

“One step closer to a cheeseburger.”

And we’re once again back in Dorian’s room for his 56th day in the hospital. Positive news for Dorian for a change, as Dr. Bailey lets him know they can finally reverse his ostomy today. Before the surgery, Adams is giving Griffith the cold shoulder. Bailley warns Griffith and Adam not to distract her during this long surgery, and if either of them wants out to go study, “speak now or forever hold your peace.”

The long surgery is very long, and several dramatic moments ensue. Bailey reminds Webber that Dorian has died at least once. He’s had his heart restarted, had surgery in his hospital bed, and moved back and forth from the ICU. They have to save this kid, but, oy, his body is not cooperating. They finally get him into a shockable rhythm, and use the paddles on him. Bailey goes up and up on the paddles, concerning Webber that she’s going too far.

By the end of the episode, Dorian is unconscious, tubed up, and seemingly back in the ICU. I’d say this kid can’t catch a break, but he keeps not dying, so he’s kind of a marvel of modern-day healthcare. Let’s see if he lives through the remaining two episodes of this season. 

Griffith and Adams briefly talk through their drama in an on call room, she thanks him for making her a better doctor. That’s a real stretch, can y’all stop trying make Gradams happen, it’s boring, he’s boring, they’re boring together. I really don’t care about their boring hetero like/love story. They have boring on-call room sad-face sex as we fade to the next morning.

“Hell of a way to spend your day off!”

Owen and Teddy, on their day off, venture into the woods. As a seasoned viewer of this and any other medical series, you know that danger lurks whenever a surgeon enters the wilderness. The suspense builds as we anticipate the imminent peril and the potential for a life-saving surgical intervention. They are seemingly lost, and their paper map confuses them. (Tip: next time, download the map on your phone and use the GPS.) After making a giant circle, they come upon a father and daughter screaming for help. (You don’t say!)

These emergency-trained military doctors just happen to stumble upon a woman and her estranged father on a bonding hike. The woman, Rosie, has fallen down a well a chasm. Teddy immediately runs off to get a better signal, and Owen tries to keep Rosie calm by shouting, “Stay calm” *eye roll*. When he turns around, hoping to get a better signal magically, the father attempts to save her by jumping down the well the chasm. The father falls worse than his daughter, and it sounds like he broke something. This is one of those storylines that lacks so much originality you can only hope it’s here to serve a higher purpose.

And wouldn’t you know, it is! Owen and Teddy teach them how to make a tourniquet, which saves his life. Back at the hospital—on their day off—they work to save both father and daughter. At the end of the day, Owen reflects on how teaching people basic emergency skills could save lives, they could make videos, virtual lessons. He asks Teddy if the hospital could fund it and she changes her face quickly, to that of someone about to be caught.

As you’ll recall, in a previous episode we witnessed Teddy’s unilateral decision (without consulting Catherine) to fund Meredith and Amelia’s Alzheimer’s research. The episode opens with a text exchange between Meredith and Amelia, discussing the funding from Teddy. We’ve been casually reminded across the episode about the ongoing secrecy surrounding this decision. The intrigue deepens with Teddy’s reaction to Owen’s teaching initiative. Not at all concerned that he’s about to go over his wife’s head and throw her under the bus at the same time, 

Owen has a meeting with Catherine, presenting his high-level plan. She thinks it sounds promising and agrees to look into the hospital’s discretionary fund, the one already discreetly discretioned to Meredith and Amelia’s research. We’re moments away from the secret getting revealed, and I do believe Ellen Pompeo is going to be in the last two episodes of the season.

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

Season 20, Episode 7

Season 20, Episode 6

Season 20, Episode 5

Season 20, Episode 4

Season 20, Episode 3

Season 20, Episode 2

Season 20, Episode 1

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