Thursday, May 6, 2021

REVIEW: 'Grey's Anatomy' - Jackson Chooses His Future After Meaningful Visits With His Father and April in 'Look Up Child'

ABC's Grey's Anatomy - Episode 17.14 "Look Up Child"

Jackson pays a visit to his father that helps set him on the right path.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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.

"Look Up Child" was written by Elisabeth R. Finch & Felicia Pride and directed by Debbie Allen

Jackson fears that he is turning into his father. His mother has weaponized that thought against him. Jackson literally has to go see his estranged father once more in order to understand what that even means. They aren't close. Robert abandoned the family a long time ago. Jackson tracked him down once. He never wanted to see him again. He doesn't need a relationship with him. But now, that scenario plays out once more. Sure, it's probably not as exciting as seeing April return to the narrative. That relationship simply has more substance to it. That comes from April existing as her own character in this world. Of course, this episode doesn't always treat her as such. Sarah Drew left at the end of the fourteenth season. This season has welcomed back many familiar faces from throughout the run of the show. April needed to return because Jesse Williams will be leaving the cast this season. This isn't his final episode. However, the end of his story is quickly arriving. As such, the show is retconning what happened in April's final episode to suggest a future between her and Jackson once more. It's defined entirely by them wanting to be present parents for Harriet. However, Jackson has newfound clarity in his life that sets him up for what he wants to do and be next. He needs to take over the foundation from his mother. She has fought long and hard to use this charity for good. She has implemented changes and revolutionized the medical profession. That responsibility has long loomed over Jackson. April doubts his sincerity when he first explains his plan. This is never what he wanted his life to be. He never wanted to live up to the pressure of being an Avery. That name has lost its value. It's all about what Jackson can individually do now that matters. He has been searching for that meaning. He feels like he isn't doing enough. Heinous examples of systemic abuse keep happening. The pandemic and George Floyd's murder have only compounded these feelings within him. He is lost. He seeks clarity. He lashes out at his father. He gets his hand cut in the process. That moment was expected as soon as he started aggressively cutting the meat. He wanted a distraction while he had this serious conversation with his father. And yet, he couldn't focus on what he was doing because he needed that clarity. He isn't running away from his responsibilities. He is choosing to step up and be who he truly is. That can be frightening to people. However, Jackson doesn't agonize over making these choices. He fears making the wrong decision. That means he isn't like his father at all. Robert has spent his life knowing that he can never atone for what he did to his son in abandoning him. He has built a simple life for himself. One that isn't as full as it could be. That's a direct result of the choices he made. He simply has to live with that. He makes due by making sandwiches. That's how he can make his influence known while still having money to fall back on no matter what. Jackson feels the pressure to be the best. He knows exactly how to carry out his vision. It makes his mother happy to see him accept this responsibility she has long wanted. It's taking all of this away from her in the name of doing something great. She still beams with pride and joy. The true struggle comes from convincing April. And again, it's all made complicated because of the personal feelings involved. It's obvious the show wants to establish a romantic future between them. When April left, she married Matthew. They had a full-circle moment seeing the happiness they could have together after finally getting their timing right. And now, that is casually tossed aside just so April and Jackson can have a happy ending together. It's a sweet sentiment. One that is still well-defined by all they have been through. It's still erratic though. It's also a plot the show has done before when characters of a beloved couple left the show at different times. It worked for Callie and Arizona because the audience still yearned for them to be together. That relationship was so monumental and influential to the overall show and the culture outside of it. Jackson and April are certainly a pairing with its fair share of drama and passion. It's not the best romance the show has ever produced. But again, it's in service of telling a story that makes since at the end of this journey. The show just wants the audience to feel happy. It's a simple offering. One that may vary from person to person. Jackson's journey has certainly been erratic and repetitive. Him finding purpose now should be celebrated. It's also an easy explanation to give while never having to follow through on the hard work he is now willing to embrace. The show lucks out in that regard while still fundamentally telling stories the same as it always has.