Thursday, October 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'Grey's Anatomy' - Meredith Risks Her Freedom to Stay Present for Her Family During an Emergency in 'Breathe Again'

ABC's Grey's Anatomy - Episode 16.05 "Breathe Again"

Meredith has a court hearing after skipping out on community service. Bailey and Jo have a patient that Jo realizes is from the treatment facility. Richard and Gemma grab breakfast together and things go awry. 

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 Grey's Anatomy.

"Breathe Again" was written by Elisabeth R. Finch and directed by Chandra Wilson

Meredith is shocked to learn that she will be going to prison. It feels like the inevitable conclusion considering she bailed on her community service hours and then didn't show up at her hearing to reassess her punishment for committing insurance fraud. Her lawyer even argues that it could have been even worse for her. She may still maintain some dignity because she gets to voluntarily surrender herself to the authorities. She has the ability to be with her daughter throughout this traumatic day. She ensures that Zola remains healthy. That is the motherly instinct within her. She is willing to jeopardize her own well-being in order to protect her kids. It's an active choice that she stays in the hospital waiting room while Koracick performs the quick and easy procedure on Zola. People do point out that she didn't have to stay. Of course, that was the only reasonable option she believed she had. She trusts Amelia and Maggie with her children. She even trusts Koracick and Andrew to an extent. The family at the hospital would have ensured that Meredith stayed informed about everything that was going on. But instead, she continues to prop up this narrative that she is constantly bailing because of vague medical emergencies. In this case, it truly is valid. But the judge simply has no patience anymore. Instead, the judge may simply see a privileged white women who may never fully embrace the consequences of her crime until she spends some time behind bars. Sure, this hour doesn't detail how long she will go away. It probably won't be that long but it will still be a significant mark on her record that may forever alter her perception in the medical community. She will always have friends who respect her and admire the life-changing work she does. However, she has refused to actually stop and take stock of the reckless action she made. She thought she could get away with it. She couldn't. She needs to face the punishment. This hour is essentially about respecting the boundaries that people have. It's important for one's mental health. But it also instructs how any specific action can come across. Meredith has been a trailblazer for awhile and that made her feel invincible. Sure, that may be seen with skepticism because of all the loved ones she has lost and the traumas she has endured. But most people don't understand her history as well as the audience does. As such, her actions right now determine her fate. Meanwhile, it's fascinating to spend some time with Jo in the treatment facility. She did the work in between seasons and chose to return to Alex. She has more responsibilities at Grey Sloan than ever before. However, she still feels personally invested in helping her former therapist when it appears she has survived a suicide attempt. That's not what actually happened. But it feels as if Jo is hanging on by a thread because the perception of what happened can actually be so crippling to her. In the end, she proves that she can help people find the right way to figure out their own big decisions that have to be made. Bailey is happy and terrified about being pregnant. It's a journey she can go on with Ben. It's also valid for Jo to feel angry from time to time. In fact, it's very healthy. She has to be willing to embrace all the emotions that life has to offer. And finally, Richard pushes back against Gemma when she perceives their dynamic as flirtatious. He has never seen her in that way. And yet, she always believed he was open to it because he has a long history of starting new relationships while still together with someone else. That history doesn't feel good when it's pointed out to him. There is still distance between him and Catherine. But he also has so much love for her. He won't let anything jeopardize this marriage. He just faces an uncertain future at home. One that may come with even more consequences because the show is actively exploring what each of these characters is truly capable of whether it be bad or good. That is very fascinating material for a show to be exploring after sixteen seasons.