Thursday, May 2, 2019

REVIEW: 'Station 19' - The Entire Fire Department Rallies Around Ripley as He Suffers a Medical Emergency in 'Always Ready'

ABC's Station 19 - Episode 2.15 "Always Ready"

Following a deadly blaze inside a coffee beanery, the members of Station 19 find themselves on high alert as a beloved member of their team lands at Grey Sloan, leaving the future uncertain in the face of a life-threatening situation.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of ABC's Station 19.

"Always Ready" was written by Tia Napolitano and directed by Nicole Rubio

This has been a season of unexpected romantic pairings that have further fleshed out the main characters. Vic and Ripley have been a major couple throughout the season. And now, new and surprising dynamics have developed between Maya and Jack as well as Andy and Sullivan. Some of these have already become very intense and sexual. Others are still just building up with it seeming like an inevitable conclusion at this point. Ryan and Maya both just assume Sullivan and Andy are a couple now because of how close they are at the hospital. Meanwhile, Dean reveals to Maya that he knows exactly what has been going on between her and Jack because they haven't actually been good at sneaking around. She probably wish she knew that before Andy walked in on the two of them. Perhaps then, she would have acted more cautiously or have been more upfront about what's going on. But the true priority of this episode has to be everything going on with Vic and Ripley. This hour is the conclusion of a crossover story with Grey's Anatomy. As I noted in my review of the preceding hour, the fallout of Ripley's health concerns were mostly going to be resolved on this show. All of this probably didn't even need to be billed as a crossover either. The only really effective moment that came out of the history from the two casts was when Andy pulled Vic aside to give her a moment alone in a closet to express all of her feelings. That's a move that Meredith gave to Andy when her father's health was uncertain. And now, she passes it along to the next person who needs it. That is very rewarding and reminds the audience of the power of living with these characters over an extended period of time. Sure, Ripley's death may have become a little too clear with the inclusion of flashbacks here. Those moments further fleshed out the bond that the two of them shared to prove that it wasn't a crazy suggestion to get engaged. Previously, the conversation was all about how to go public with their relationship without getting into any trouble at work. Neither of them wanted to give up their careers. They were perfectly happy with everything they had. This wasn't even a secret they kept from everyone. Some at the firehouse are surprised. It's startling when Ripley calls for Vic from his death bed. But it's so emotionally devastating for Vic and the audience. An entire mystery was built up as to why she wasn't answering his calls and him trying to get to her to explain himself. There isn't the sense that him checking out of Grey Sloan only made his health issues worse. It mostly just means that these characters are in a hospital without having to interact with many of the familiar faces at Grey Sloan. Maggie continues to be the doctor in charge of Ripley's care. But there is little she can do because the test results prove he has been exposed to a dangerous chemical. It's because of the fire at the coffee beanery. That was an intense moment in the previous episode. It proves that the dangers of this job don't just end when the crew successfully get out of the dangerous emergency they were called in to deal with. The rest of the crew also needs to get checked to see if anyone else was exposed. But again, the priority is on the character drama. Vic is devastated that she hasn't been there for Ripley. She loves him. She is willing to spend the rest of her life with him. It's so crushing when he tells her that he is glad to spend the rest of his with her. It's not enough. But at least it's something. It's also significant that Sullivan has that final moment with his friend. They too were on the path towards love and forgiveness. They get to that place here. It's still difficult to say goodbye. Sullivan presents as a rock for his crew. He is there for Vic throughout all of this. But he is losing a friend too. The pain isn't the same but it's still a tragic loss. The firehouse may rally around Vic and give her the support that she needs during this difficult and disconcerting time. But there is also no guarantee that any of this will be enough. That is startling. The show made the choice to kill off Ripley. He is dead now. It's a brutal way to close that particular story. Things may get dark for Vic as she doesn't know how to cope with any of this. As such, the firehouse needs to remain strong together instead of being divided over petty issues. Vic needs their unanimous support. She has it at the hospital. Everyone else will just have to continue stepping up for her.