Shonda Rhound-Up: First love, new love on ‘Grey’s’; big wins on ‘HTGAWM’

Mitch Haaseth / ABC/Courtesy

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Last week’s “Grey’s Anatomy” caught up on several of the doctors’ relationships and finally brought Maggie (Kelly McCreary) and Jackson (Jesse Williams) together. While several of the conflicts of the episode were wrapped up into neat little bow, it ended on a cliffhanger — Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) explained her research to someone she thought was an ally but is in fact an enemy. Now she’s worried that the woman will steal her groundbreaking idea.

Meanwhile, on “How to Get Away with Murder,” Laurel (Karla Souza) has just figured out that her parents probably worked together to kill her boyfriend and baby daddy, Wes (Alfred Enoch), last season. Furthermore, Bonnie (Liza Weil) learned that D.A. Todd Denver (Benito Martinez) has been conning Laurel’s father and working for him at the same time. This renders his motives completely unpredictable, and makes him look responsible for the car accident at the end of the episode — which may or may not have involved Bonnie. All this bad news puts a damper on the joyous news that Connor (Jack Falahee) and Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) have officially decided to get married.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’

This episode begins with Meredith’s all-nighter: She couldn’t stop reading through her mother’s journals. She wants to figure out why her mother’s closest friend, Marie (Rachel Ticotin), was actually her enemy — and why that woman would want to steal Meredith’s research.

In addition to adding an exciting edge to Meredith’s research, this development also gives us a chance to see further into the life of Ellis Grey (Kate Burton), Meredith’s late mother.

But Meredith’s sister Maggie is distracted by last night’s kiss with Jackson. She’s a little flustered when she butters a kitchen towel instead of her toast, and she drops a much-needed cup of coffee when she first arrives at work. The two are clearly into each other, but “Grey’s” isn’t about to give us or them the satisfaction of seeing their romance play out after a season of build-up.

And in her own apartment, April (Sarah Drew) is recovering from yet another hangover and the prior night’s hook up with Koracick (Greg Germann). She asks him to leave at first, but he sticks around long enough to figure out that April’s recent change in personality was brought on by a crisis of faith. The two spend the rest of the day talking, and Koracick reveals that his own crisis of faith was brought on by the death of his 10-year-old son.

“I don’t think God left me, or I left God,” he tells April, “I just think we got in a fight.”

At the hospital, Maggie, Alex (Justin Chambers) and Jo (Camilla Luddington) are treating a young and in love teenager’s heart condition, which makes Alex flash back to his first love. Alex has looked distressed the whole morning, which is understandable, given that he just learned that his longtime girlfriend Jo has been applying to fellowships.

Soon after, the team learns that a heart is available for transplant, and their patient is at the top of their list. The young couple is sweet together, but their lines are so cheesy they become cringeworthy. Case and point: the patient doesn’t want a transplant — he says that “love will fix his heart.”

When Alex tells the patient that his love chemicals will fade, the patient is unconvinced, but Jo looks worried. When they leave the patient’s room, Jo flashes back to her first love, too — back when she was living in her car in college.

The team steps out of the room to give the patient, his mother and his lover time to think about the decision. When they do, Maggie remembers her first love as well — it seems the episode is hell-bent on less-than-romantic flashbacks.

A moment later, they return to their patient. His boyfriend has broken up with him; he no longer cares if they “rip out his heart.”

Later on, the team moves forward with the transplant, only to find that the donor heart is too big for their patient’s chest. The doctors will have to leave his chest open overnight to make room for it. Symbolism, anyone?

The surgery triggers memories for all three doctors. For Alex, this brings back a memory of his first love watching him calm his schizophrenic mother. For Maggie, it’s the time she stole a cadaver heart as a romantic gesture for a crush. For Jo, the moment is when her first love offered to let her live with him and his parents.

After the surgery, the patient’s boyfriend returns, overwhelmed with guilt and heartbreak. In another wing of the hospital, Alex and Jo fight over Jo’s desire to leave Seattle — now that her abusive ex-husband has died, she now has freedom that she hasn’t had in years. Alex’s feelings are hurt, as he feels like she’s trying to leave him.

Back in Meredith’s lab, Marie arrives to further discuss Meredith’s research. Thankfully, Meredith isn’t one for passive aggression, so she confronts Marie immediately, giving her the chance to explain.

Marie tells Meredith that she had worked together with Ellis on research that Ellis later published without sharing credit. That research won Ellis a Harper Avery award, and Marie left medicine behind. She says that if Meredith wants access to the research she has control over, Meredith will have to publicly rename “The Grey Method” — Ellis’ surgical procedure — to include them both. She wants it to be called “The Grey-Cerone Method.”

When Meredith asks her mother’s lover, Richard (James Pickens Jr.), whether he knew, he says he heard rumors but believed that the idea was ultimately Ellis’ — even if it came from Marie’s suggestion.

Later that night, Meredith and Alex — the only remaining characters from the original cast of interns — catch up.

They talk about everything she’s learned about her mother and Marie: namely, that Ellis and Marie’s friendship was very similar to hers and Cristina’s (Sandra Oh). Meredith feels that Ellis probably did take more than her fair share of credit, but that doesn’t mean that Marie should get to take credit for Meredith’s.

They also talk about Alex’s concern that Jo wants to leave him. “She’s not Izzy,” Meredith reminds him. Izzy Stevens (Katherine Heigl) was one of Alex’s former loves on the show, herself a surgeon. Alex supported Izzy through her battle with cancer, and then, once she recovered, she left him.

The memory triggers yet another flashback: Alex’s first love told all his peers about his mother’s mental illness, and her story is less than empathetic.

That night, Jo goes home to find that Alex isn’t there. Alex’s resurfacing insecurity and her newfound sense of security is driving a wedge between them. He spends the night on Meredith’s couch.

At work the next morning, the couple agrees to missing each other, but the two don’t speak further on the subject. Jo flashes back to her first love again: In this memory, she’s pregnant and her boyfriend is so excited. He asks her to move in with her at college.

The couple, along with Maggie, proceed with their patient’s heart surgery, which is ultimately successful. After they finish, his boyfriend arrives to comfort him in recovery. Alex and Jo look at each other longingly, launching Jo into a flashback of the moment she decided to run away from her first love.

Later that day, Meredith tells Marie that she refuses to reverse her mother’s legacy. Marie vows to take Meredith’s research back to her own company and claim it as her own. Meredith’s liver research will be known as “The Cerone Method.” She agrees that Meredith shouldn’t be the one to suffer for her mother’s misdeed, but she remains firm in her decision nonetheless.

That night, Maggie meets Jackson at a bar. He teased her earlier in the day for her strange crush on medicine, but she reminds him of her excellence. “If I’m undone by you, you should be undone by me, too,” she tells him. He agrees, and they decide on a night for their first date.

Alex goes home to find Jo, surrounded by candles, ready to give him a romantic speech. She knows she’s run away from affection in the past, but doesn’t want to run from him — which he would’ve heard if he hadn’t started searching for the engagement ring he bought for her.

“I’m wearing it,” she screams at him. They finally decide to get married, after Jo proposes to Alex.

‘How to Get Away with Murder’

Mitch Haaseth / ABC / Courtesy

Mitch Haaseth / ABC / Courtesy

After last week’s cliffhanger left Bonnie’s life in question, this week’s episode begins with a coroner describing a dead body while conducting an autopsy.

Cohorts of Team Keating wait for answers following the car crash. Tension mounts, leading up to the revelation of the victim’s identity. Bonnie is safe.

Denver was killed in the crash.

The following day, Asher (Matt McGorry) and Michaela (Aja Naomi King) deal with the fallout of her affair. Asher breaks up with her and decides to move out — but not before insulting her self-awareness.

More importantly, all of Team Keating — Annalise (Viola Davis), her students and Frank (Charlie Weber) included — meet to discuss next steps. But there’s no rest for the wicked: Laurel’s father, Jorge (Esai Morales), calls to inform her that her mother Sandrine (Lolita Davidovich) is missing. He accuses Laurel of trying to harm her mother, which is uncomfortable given that Laurel threatened her mother at the end of the last episode.

Laurel defends herself honestly to Frank and Annalise, saying that she verbally attacked her mother, but she would never do so physically. Meanwhile, the rest of the team discuss whether or not they believe she’s guilty.

Before they can reach a decision, Laurel is called in to the FBI for questioning regarding her meeting with Denver the night of his death. Annalise joins Laurel at the FBI, as her legal counsel. Laurel tells the agent that she intended to talk to Denver about returning to work for him as an internship, but Denver only wanted to talk to her about her father, who was paying him for legal favors.

Meanwhile, Michaela and Oliver go to the hospital to see Simon (Behzad Dabu) — who was promised protection by Annalise from deportation if he agreed to lie about what happened at Caplan & Gold the night he shot himself. He wants proof that he’ll be protected; otherwise, he promises he’ll reveal the truth about that night to the police. Michaela wants to try to have Simon deported as a means of keeping the rest of the group safe; Annalise refuses the suggestion.

Elsewhere, Nate gains access to Denver’s locker, which Denver used to hide evidence.

Annalise and Laurel go back to Annalise’s apartment, where Connor, Oliver and Asher await them. Soon after, Nate arrives; he’s found Dominic’s phone, which Laurel gave to Denver the night before, as well as the beloved flash drive containing evidence against Antares and Jorge Castillo. The Team tries to hack it and find incriminating evidence, but they find nothing against Jorge.

Annalise goes to Caplan & Gold to speak to Michaela’s former mentor and Jorge’s lawyer, Tegan (Amirah Vann). Tegan declines to help Annalise, who warns her that 1) she could be charged with obstruction of justice if the team does find anything and 2) Jorge just had D.A. Denver killed. Who’s to say who will be next? Still, Tegan refuses. Annalise leaves her office empty-handed.

Later, Nate reveals to Bonnie that Denver’s locker also contained files on all of Team Keating. He tells her he destroyed them already — of course, he could be lying.

Back at Annalise’s apartment, the rest of the team comforts Asher, saying it’s clear he wants to forgive Michaela for cheating on him. Connor specifically steps up to say they’ve all done things they’re not proud of and they’ve all lied. He then reveals that he didn’t drop out of law school — rather, he failed out.

Not a moment later, Annalise arrives and calls Laurel’s father from Laurel’s phone to negotiate. When she tells him they have the hard drive, he agrees to meet. She wants him to retract his statements against Laurel that won him custody of her daughter. She wants a truce. She wants Laurel to have her child back.

Jorge tries to convince Annalise that he loves Laurel — that he’s only ever tried to protect her from her mother. This sends the two in a head-to-head competition of who’s lost more and who’s done worse. She accuses Jorge of killing Wes, who was a son to Annalise, the love of Laurel’s life and the father of his grandchild.

“By taking her son away from her, you’re putting her through the same pain that you say you’re feeling right now,” she tells him. “So be a good father for once and sign the damn paper — let her go.”

Predictably, Annalise’s ultimatum works. Laurel arrives with Frank at the hospital to pick up her son, and her father arrives soon after. He wants to say goodbye to the baby, but Laurel denies him that — and rightfully so, after all he’s put them through. Unsurprisingly, the reason he’s really there is to manipulate Laurel into explaining where her mother is. “She’s dead to me,” she tells him, “as are you.”

Laurel finally gets to take her son home for the first time. And when Jorge tries to leave the hospital, he’s arrested by the FBI.

It turns out Tegan didn’t actually refuse to help Annalise. But Tegan wasn’t the only one who lied about her actions — Michaela calls ICE to have Simon detained, against Annalise’s wishes and without informing the rest of the team.

Michaela’s actions cross a moral line, even by Team Keating standards. These people have committed murder and obstruction of justice, but this is another level. Hopefully future episodes don’t just let this go unaddressed.

But the team ultimately gets exciting news: The Supreme Court voted in Annalise’s favor. She won her class-action suit on a national level.

It’s good news for the whole team: Connor’s chances of re-enrolling in law school are high after his work on this case, and Frank was recently accepted to Middleton Law as well.

But “HTGAWM” couldn’t end without a few lingering questions. When Laurel leaves her baby with Annalise so she can shower, scratches on her arm are revealed. Did Laurel have something to do with her mother’s disappearance?

And remember when Nate told Bonnie he destroyed Denver’s files on Team Keating? That was a lie. It seems he’s kept them because they have information on Bonnie’s past, specifically that she may have a child. Does Bonnie have a kid? If so, why does Nate care about it?

Despite the waves of bad news this episode hit us with, it ultimately ends on a rare high note for Annalise and her team. Thus, this week’s cliffhanger is that there is no big scary cliffhanger, only minor loose ends — a sign that new arcs are on the horizon.

Sophie-Marie Prime covers television. Contact her at [email protected].