Shonda Rhound-Up: 300th episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

CATERINA SCORSONE, ELLEN POMPEO, BRANDON TYLER RUSSELL, JACKIE CHUNG, SARAH DREW
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This is a week of milestones for the characters of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” The joyful moments we see on each show are apt, particularly given that “Grey’s Anatomy” is celebrating its 300th episode this week. The grass is greener on the “Grey’s” side than it is on that of “Murder,” but there are still lofty trails ahead for all the residents of Shondaland.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’

This is a special week for “Grey’s Anatomy,” which aired its 300th episode on Thursday, and filled it with memories of all the seasons that lead up to it.

On the day that Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), Jackson (Jesse Williams), Catherine (Debbie Allen), Maggie (Kelly McCreary) and Meredith’s daughter Zola (Aniela Gumbs) were meant to fly out for the Harper Avery Award ceremony, the pit is filled with trauma — and, of course, memories.

You see, as much as “Grey’s Anatomy” is about the personal entanglements and surgical toils of its characters, it’s also about sentimentality and nostalgia. It’s about the near-14-season arc of its original cast, all the new family members who’ve joined along the way. It’s about the fans. And this week, “Grey’s Anatomy” couldn’t help but get even more cheesy.

The trauma case that entered Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital’s doors this week wasn’t any old trauma. It was a roller coaster (a rather obvious metaphor) accident and a slew of patients that reminded Meredith and her fellow surgeons of loved ones lost — characters who left the show or died earlier on: Cristina, George, Izzie and even Derek. There’s even a moment for Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) to reminisce about Mark Sloan.

And if that wasn’t enough, this episode also tributes the classic “Grey’s” tunes with covers of “Young Folks,” “Keep Breathing” and “Such Great Heights.” Even the show’s early title sequence makes a subtle appearance.

Despite the weaving of all these throwbacks throughout the episode, the most sentimental moment comes near the end, during the ceremony for the Harper Avery Awards.
Of course, Meredith nearly misses the ceremony because she decides to stay behind and treat the trauma patients, rather than get on a plane with Jackson and Catherine. The patients — nicknamed “Little Cristina,” “Little George” and “Little Izzie” — all survive and “Little Izzie” delivers her baby safely after a momentary scare. Miranda (Chandra Wilson) and Richard (James Pickens Jr.) have the opportunity to save “Little George” and grieve the loss of the beloved character from several seasons ago — when George died after saving a stranger from a bus accident.

After Meredith and her colleagues finish operating on “Little Cristina,” Miranda and Richard surprise Meredith: they live-stream the awards ceremony in the operating room, where all of her friends and family can watch from the gallery. Tension builds as Catherine introduces the award and announces the winner.

Meredith, of course, wins the Harper Avery.

Jackson delivers an acceptance speech on her behalf, highlighting the immense losses that Meredith has suffered over the years. He recognizes her resilience, which is ultimately what has always been at the core of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Meredith, surrounded by applause from her fellow surgeons, looks up at the gallery to see her Maggie and Zola celebrating — and to their left, she sees the ghost of her mother, the legendary Ellis Grey (Kate Burton).

JACK FALAHEE, KARLA SOUZA

Kelsey McNeal/ABC/Courtesy

‘How to Get Away with Murder’

Last week on “How to Get Away with Murder,” Annalise (Viola Davis) came one step closer to finalizing her class action suit when the son of one of her clients spoke directly to the media and the public, asking for her support. Things became more complicated for Laurel (Karla Souza), Michaela (Aja Naomi King) and Oliver (Conrad Ricamora), however, when Asher (Matt McGorry) started feeling excluded from their attempts to avenge Wes’s death and eventually learned of their plan to take down Laurel’s father, who killed him.

As Annalise prepares to take her class-action suit to court, she’s been staying sober and opening up in therapy with Isaac (Jimmy Smits), who is triggered by Annalise’s grief over both her son and Wes. Isaac, too, lost a child — his college-aged daughter committed suicide a few years ago. Seeking guidance, he approached his ex-wife, who’s also a therapist, for advice last week. When he refused to refer Annalise to another therapist, his wife went directly to Annalise to ask her to find another herself.

Upset, Annalise goes to Isaac to let him know he can’t be her therapist anymore; she tells him they’ve gotten “too close” and she fears that their relationship is mirroring the one she had with her husband Sam, who was also a therapist.

At first, this seems like a way for Annalise to cover up the fact that she knows Isaac lost his daughter — but later, it feels more like a result of the sexual tension that’s been building between them for weeks. (Perhaps an unhealthy tension at that, given the therapist-patient power dynamic and the fact that they’re both addicts.)

Later in the episode, Isaac is brought to court as a witness for the government, which is trying to prove that Annalise has relapsed in order to invalidate her class-action suit. Instead of testifying to her potential for derailment, he states that he has full confidence in her. (Once again reemphasizing the recent change in their relationship.)

Meanwhile, Connor (Jack Falahee) couldn’t be happier as Annalise’s assistant; he feels like he’s finally in a good place, both professionally and personally. That was before he learned that he’d also been excluded from the plan to take down Laurel’s father for Wes’s murder.

Toward the end of the episode, Connor proposes to Oliver — a vote of confidence in their relationship that Connor hasn’t expressed before, especially given that he recently considered cheating out of desperation after dropping out of Middleton. Their joy, however, takes a dip when Oliver reveals the group’s plan to foil Laurel’s father. Hopefully we’ll see where their relationship ends up next week.

Asher, meanwhile, was despondent when he learned that Michaela and the others had excluded him from their takedown plan. This week, Michaela puts on a senseless display of affection for Asher — who admits to feeling like Michaela’s second choice every time he has to look at her old wedding dress in their closet. To show her commitment to him, she places her wedding dress in the middle of their living room and covers it with ketchup.

In continuation of an apparent pattern of pairing that’s ever-more central in this season of “Murder,” Laurel tells Frank (Charlie Weber) that she’s decided to take a paternity test after he, too, learns of the plan to take down her father. Frank was furious with the plan at first — particularly since all of them had been freed from corruption when Annalise relieved them of her grasp. Later on, however, Laurel reminds him that if he’s going to say he loves her, he has to love the Laurel that is “stubborn,” the part of her that needs to fight back against her father’s violence.

Needless to say, both Frank and Asher agree to help.

We’re inching ever-closer to the climax of the season. The flash-forward scene at the end of the episode now takes place only 48 hours after Connor has proposed to Oliver. The scene reveals almost nothing — someone has been bloodily attacked, Oliver is on the scene at Caplan and Gold where Bonnie later arrives, Michaela’s crying at the hospital, Laurel’s baby is in danger and she’s hospitalized with Frank by her side, Annalise is traumatized — except now we see a victim flat-lining on an operating table. What we don’t see, however, is the victim’s face.

Could the victims be Laurel and her baby? Or could they be Connor, who has yet to be seen in these flash-forwards?

Sophie-Marie Prime is the assistant arts & entertainment editor. Contact her at [email protected].

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