In a mosaic episode that covers almost every rocky relationship, Grey’s Anatomy “All I Want Is You” is a powerful but introspective episode that delivers a promising story arc for the second half of Season 12.
With short lip-service scenes to the entire ensemble, the bulk of the story focuses on Meredith working through surviving the events in “The Sound of Silence.” She’s in a therapist’s office talking about how she’s handled the big stuff and these sessions were about the little stuff. Then the following exchange happens:
Therapist: You were attacked in your own hospital, and you consider that small stuff.
Meredith: Have you read my file?
Go on, let out a little chuckle. We all know Meredith has had a bad decade. This episode is hugely centered on Meredith’s desire to be alone, a feeling I suspect is her default setting given that everyone in her life has abandoned her. However, this is ironic since in the last episode she says:
I used to think I needed a person. Turns out I have a whole village.
But her village is now the thing she most wants to rid herself of. Now, maybe that’s because Meredith is used to dealing with pain alone. Her mom’s suicide attempt, Derek’s death, every huge horrible thing that has happened to Meredith in her life has caused her to retreat into herself.
Make no mistake. Meredith is a solitary, dark and twisty creature. That’s how she processes trauma. When she finally gets the courage to tell her friends to get out of her house because she’s okay she is confused. She wanted to be alone, but she doesn’t feel better when she is.
This is the interesting part of the episode for me. Meredith was and is fiercely independent. When we first encountered her in Season 1, she had the hard choice of choosing roommates and had a specific criteria, so she is particular about who she spends her time with. So she’s been Ellis Grey’s daughter, and Derek Shepherd’s wife, but what is she now that they are both dead?
What is she now that she is really alone?
More on how that’s resolved in a moment, but first, let’s talk about the pediatric surgery case in this episode. I said before that the episode felt a little cluttered, but if there was clear demarcation between plot points I would say it’s between Meredith and Karev.
And Karev is facing a big one. Maya is a young girl who came to Grey-Sloane speaking a miracle from Karev for a rare cancer that has invaded her chest. Unlike most storylines like this where the parents would be making the decisions, Maya is in charge of her own care.
She’s fifteen-years-old and dealing with a lot of responsibility and a life-threatening illness and her only wish is to be cancer free so she can take care of her mom. Her decisive, all-business attitude about her condition seems off-putting, but she knows what she wants and what she wants is to live a normal life. When Karev can’t deliver a miracle she fires him.
Yes, a fifteen-year-old girl fires him. Yet, despite this, when Maya agrees to Callie and Maggie’s option to a custom-printed rib cage, Karev shows up and holds her hand. This just shows me that Karev is a good man. He may have been a bit of a jerk in the very early seasons, but when things count, Karev shows up.
Now, on the other side of Karev’s life, you have his relationship with Jo. Throughout this season, Jo acts like a small child possessive of a teddy bear. She said no to his proposal and then continues to act terse when he comes back to their apartment after taking care of Meredith.
He is trying to win her back and she’s saying she would prefer to spend time with her friends, and yet he has an issue with him being Meredith’s person. (Although now after watching this episode I half suspect it may be jealousy.) Her monologue while having a girl’s night with Penny and Stephanie about wanting to punch him in the face was infuriating.
Grow up a little bit Jo! Are you in or out? If not, let Alex go. He will do anything for you if you let him. Okay, the show ended with her kissing him so presumably all is well, for now. But I am approaching their relationship like I do the weather in New England.
Now to tie up this beautiful episode in a big bow, after some introspective, Rogerian talk therapy about being good at being alone and then being confused because she was fine when she walked into the office but no doesn’t know who she is or what she wants some upbeat music plays and Meredith asks:
What the hell do I do now?
That’s where it leave us with Meredith: the question of what. It’s highly philosophical and really optimistic and I think that’s the mark of some of Grey’s Anatomy‘s best episodes.
My instinct was to think that she would leave Seattle, but she already did that in “She’s Leaving Home Part 1 and 2” and she came back. So what big changes can come to Meredith Grey’s life this time? Time will tell.
- Exploding ambulance? Really? I couldn’t even figure out how the exploding ambulance factored into the entire episode. Did we meet anyone from this exploding ambulance? It feels like this fact was just lost in the shuffle of the episode. Could have made a strong Pierce/DeLuca storyline.
- Meredith’s curt “crappy” is going to be the GIF that owns the internet on people’s bad days.
- I desperately want to comment on Hunt and Riggs and their fight, but Shonda teased so little in this episode that I can’t come up with a coherent thought.
- DeLuca’s so cute, but he doesn’t realize just how much she stepped in it. Dude, has no one told you that Grey-Sloane Memorial has the biggest web of interpersonal relationships ever?
- This episode seems like a giant deck shuffle. Everyone is paired with someone else’s party. Did they draw keys out a bag or something? Tell me some of these couples will find their way back to each other. I know that life isn’t a Jane Austen book but something has to work. Calzona? Japril? Jolex?
- The magical printer? One day, one of the doctors is going to get into an accident, be in a coma, and they will be able to print new nerves or something. Because Grey-Sloane is magical like that!
What did you think of this week’s Grey’s Anatomy? Any thoughts on what Meredith might decide to do now that she’s not attached to a person?
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.