Grey’s Anatomy – Ring of Fire
By: Krista Ann Freego
SPOILER ALERT: EDWARDS IS ALIVE! I REPEAT EDWARDS IS ALIVE!
I ended last week’s recap with a moment of silence for Dr. Stephanie Edwards (Jerrika Hinton). Clearly, after watching the season finale, this was premature. So, on behalf of myself and Starry Constellation Magazine, I apologize for my incorrect calling of time of death. Though, in my defense, I truly believe that the writers wanted everyone to believe that she was dead and, therefore, I was duped by some of the finest writers in the biz.
In this her final episode (not because she is dead) Dr. Edwards gets a well-deserved hero’s send off. More about that later….
The episode starts with Meredith’s (Ellen Pompeo) voiceover: “When life forces us to do something impossible an explosion happens inside the body. A rush of hormones blast through us, making us stronger, making us faster. Biology overrides fear and that makes the impossible, possible.”
Meredith pulls into the parking lot of Grey Sloan Memorial. Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) and Minnick (Marika Dominczyk) are making out in Arizona’s car. And then the explosion happens. We see Meredith, Arizona and Minnick all startled by the blast. Inside the hospital we see Jackson (Jesse Williams) and Maggie (Kelly McCreary) sitting and resting, during the current lockdown and suddenly they hear the blast and alarms begin to sound all over the hospital.
The blast caused all the doors to unlock and Jackson immediately goes off to find Edwards. Jackson feels responsible because he was in charge of the patient (the very bad rapist) and left Edwards alone with him. Maggie urges Jackson to “be careful.” Clearly, foreshadowing two things (1) she does in fact have non-platonic feelings for him and (2) that Jackson clearly at some point during this season finale will not be careful. With that said, Jackson runs off blindly to find and rescue Edwards. Goodspeed good man.
Side note: I am a HUGE Japril fan and was sincerely hoping that what happened in Bozeman Montana did not stay in Bozeman Montana. Sadly, since they have returned there have not been any positive Japril moments. By the end of the episode, April (Sarah Drew) even points out to both the audience and Maggie that Maggie has feelings for Jackson and, even more importantly, Jackson clearly has feelings for Maggie.
Meredith, Arizona and Minnick react how apparently any Grey Sloan doctor would react and choose to go running into the burning building rather than away to safety. The police will not let them through because (1) the building is on fire and (2) there is an escape rapist on the loose, which in my book are two perfectly valid reasons to not allow access to the building. Luckily, Bailey (Chandra Wilson) comes to their non-rescue (I was going to say rescue, but is it really a rescue to bring people into a burning building with a rapist on the loose inside?) and tells the police to let them through because there are injured people and she needs as many doctors as she can get. According to Bailey “fire in the hospital trumps rapist on the loose.” So, now if you are ever faced with that same dilemma you know.
Kepner is put in charge of all evacuated patients. Yay Kepner! I don’t know about you, but I love seeing how confident and skilled she has become. The doctors and staff are to evacuate the patients, area by area, with the help of the fire fighters. Webber’s (James Pickens Jr.) advice during this time of crisis “do not be a hero,” which I am pretty sure is going to fall on deaf ears all-around.
Meanwhile, Jackson is still looking for Edwards, shouting her name in every room and hallway he rushes into. Later on in the episode Jackson comes outside for some oxygen and to see if anyone outside has seen Edwards. Both Kepner and Maggie chastise him for his heroics. Maggie begins to yell at Jackson and the camera angle shifts to Kepner and you can see the deeper realization on her face that Maggie not only has feelings for Jackson, but that she loves him – possibly as deeply as Kepner does.
The father of the choking baby and precocious little girl from the last episode cannot find his daughter and is pleading with Meredith and Bailey to help him find her. Good news, the little girl is alive. Bad news, she is trapped on ground zero of the fire in the building, but beggars cannot be choosers. Other good news (drumroll) Stephanie is still alive, albeit a bit burnt. Also, the very bad rapist guy is charred to a crisp and will never be a threat to anyone else, ever again.
What follows throughout the rest of the episode is an amazing, courageous, selfless, endearing, enduring, persistent, triumph of Edwards scene after scene and obstacle after obstacle to rescue both herself and the little girl. Every time Edwards disappeared into a cloud of smoke I thought for sure that she would never return, but every time she returned. Just when you thought the new obstacle was unsurmountable, Edwards proved me wrong. Even when things look most dire, trapped in the stairwell at the door that was locked while each second the flames rush towards her and the little girl and the smoke eats up more and more of the limited air that remains around them. Despite it all she never gave up, which made me flashback to part of her backstory. Having a debilitating disease that left her bed ridden and in constant pain for the majority of her upbringing, Edwards never once did she give up. This is why I really should not have been surprised by the perseverance and sheer force of will to survive that she heralded throughout this episode. Edward is able to get her and the little girl to the roof where eventually Warren (Jason George) found her there and came to her rescue. The little girl survived and Edwards ended up with third degree burns all over her arms. Webber says it would be a long recovery, but that she should be fine. Edwards informs Webber that she resigns. Edwards states that she has spent far too much of her life in a hospital and that life is too short and that there has to more out there.
Meredith finds Riggs (she calls him Nathan now, so I am just following suit). In true Grey/Sloan doctor fashion, Nathan (Martin Henderson) refuses to leave the OR of the burning building until his patient is done with surgery and stable enough to move. So, of course, Meredith does the next rational thing that any mother of three would do and refuses to leave the OR until he does and assist on his surgery.
Other side note: Meredith still wore Derek’s scrub cap. [heart eyes]
Once the surgery is done and they are safely outside the building, Meredith tells Nathan that Megan is alive and that she is nearby. Nathan is elated and picks Meredith up in his arms and swings her around with the most encompassing smile I have ever seen on Nathan. Suddenly, as he looks into Meredith’s eyes, it dawns on him and he feels guilty for his happiness and his smile fades. He feels guilty because (1) the person who he loved and thought he lost is found and alive, but Derek is still dead and (2) he has to leave Meredith and rush to Megan’s side and hurt the only woman he has been able to love since he thought he lost Megan. Meredith is tremendous and she will not let him feel guilty. She will not allow him to feel anything but the insane joy that she would feel if it was Derek who was safe and alive. Meredith even goes so far as to offer to drive Nathan to the hospital where Megan is being treated. Nathan declines, gets in his car and literally races out of the parking lot.
During all the chaos of escaped rapist, missing girl and burning building Minnick is asked by Jackson to alert the police about Edwards who went missing with the rapist. Webber also asks Minnick to alert the police. Anyone want to take a guess as to what Minnick does not do? If you answered “tell the police that Edwards is missing with the rapist” then you are correct. In fact, the reason why it takes everyone so long to come to Edwards rescues is because Minnick never alerted the police and they didn’t start looking for Edwards and the little girl until Ben tells them about her and the about the last place the he saw her with the patient (a/k/a very, very bad rapist man).
During a meeting with higher level staff of the hospital to discuss where everything went wrong (the explosion; the escape rapist; how long it took to find Edwards, etc.) Minnick did not show any remorse for failing to alert the police. Minnick took the approach of arguing that Edwards never should have been back to work and should have still been in counseling, if she had “Edwards would be fine right now.” Bailey responds by saying “And a little girl would be dead. Dr. Minnick, I do not believe there a place for you in my hospital any longer…This is not some factory that turns out surgical robots. We make doctors – thinking, feeling, human doctors. And we will teach them right.” It was about time that Bailey took a stand.
Special Shout Out to Edwards who refused to be treated for any of her severe injuries until she knew the little girl was going to survive and save her leg (she got injured in the very, very bad rapist explosion). As soon as she found out that the little girl was going to survive and keep her leg, she collapsed.
Meredith: “Remember the dream where they come back to us. Derek forgets his keys and Megan goes for coffee…Nathan they found Megan. She’s alive.”
Some closing words of wisdom for the heroic Dr. Stephanie Edwards:
“I spent my whole life in hospitals, my whole life. And I think I need to see everything that is not the inside of a hospital. I need to travel and explore and hike and breathe and breathe, breathe, breathe. I want to breathe it all in. Away from the monitors and the blood and the sterile gowns. Away from saving other people’s lives. I want my own. It’s time I live my own. You changed my life Dr. Webber. You have. You taught me how, you taught me how to take my past and find my path. Thank you. Thank you. I think I found it. Which means, I quit.”