Grey’s Anatomy Finale Recap: Season 18, Episode 20 — You Are the Blood
Four-hundred episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, and it all came down to Thursday’s two-parter. In Season 18’s jam-packed finale, “Japril” returned, Meredith’s plan to move to Minnesota was questioned anew, Owen’s well-intentioned secret came back to haunt him, and the fate of Grey Sloan’s residency program was decided — and that was just for starters. Keep reading, and as we always do, we’ll dissect all of the goings-on.
‘IF YOU KNEW YOU WERE DYING, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?’ | As “Out for Blood” began, Ellis haunted Mer, telling her that Grey Sloan had really hit the skids and criticizing as only she could. Later, Mer and Zola started looking at homes in Minnesota, and Amelia revealed that her, her sister-in-law and Kai’s Parkinson’s research had been published. Arriving at work, Jo admitted to Link that she’d had sex with Todd for the first time, and he’d said that he loved her. She clearly did not love him back. Dude sang when he was, er, finished. (Which couldn’t have been too bad; it’s Skylar Astin!) Maggie wished that she and Winston could stay in bed all day. But with the accreditation council coming, they couldn’t. Meanwhile, he obsessed over getting back the $10k that Wendell conned her out of. In the pit, Owen was fretting over the blood shortage when a man named John approached him to help his wife Rosie, a very sick Marine. And by “help,” the man meant help her die. If Owen wouldn’t assist her in passing with dignity, John would report what he’d done with Noah and others, he threatened.
Shortly, Bailey assembled Grey Sloan’s team to encourage them to donate blood. Except for Levi, he noted to Taryn, since blood donations are not allowed from gay men who have been sexually active in the last three months. Nearby, Nick recruited Mer to consult on the case of seemingly doomed Cora, who at best they could make more comfortable — a worrying prognosis since she cared for Aunt Sally, who’d raised her. Soon, though, the docs decided to perform a whipple outside the patient’s body. Richard gave the idea a big thumbs-down, but Mer was a honey badger — she didn’t care and booked the O.R. “It is your only chance of survival,” Grey told the patient. With no other option, Cora agreed.
‘YOU BREAK UP WITH PAVAROTTI?’ | In other twists of plot, all of a sudden, Kristen started yelling through the halls that Simon had begun struggling to breathe. He didn’t want to be intubated, but after he lost consciousness, his wife gave the order to do so. When Jo checked in on Link to see how he was doing with his patient’s downturn, it became clearer and clearer that Todd didn’t have a shot of holding onto her. Consulting, Maggie and Winston weren’t optimistic, no matter how badly Link wanted Simon to live long enough to meet his son. Nonetheless, they floated the idea of putting the patient on ECMO in hopes of keeping him breathing until Kristen could give birth. If it meant her having to unplug him, it would be just one more impossible thing that the expectant mother would have to do. While Simon underwent the procedure to prepare for ECMO, Link assured Kristen that she wasn’t selfish and recalled the first time that he’d seen Scout.
‘THIS IS NOT A SPA’ | As Amelia and Maggie gave blood, the former lamented her breakup with Kai, and the latter stated her objection to the way that Winston had said that she didn’t know what it was like to have siblings… or at least siblings like Amelia’s biological ones. “There’s a lotta stuff that I don’t know” about my husband, Maggie was realizing. When Jamarah Blake showed up from the accreditation council, Bailey was chagrined to find the residents giving blood during a shift. As she and Richard showed her around to see that her fixes had been made, they happened into the gallery as Mer and Nick were performing the surgery on Cora that Webber had nixed. As Bailey became more desperate for blood, Levi beseeched her to accept his “sexually active gay blood.” She agreed that the rule was ridiculous but couldn’t accept him as a donor.
‘IT’S A SEX BEAR’ | As the episode drew to a close, Todd brought Jo a thank-you-for-the-sex bear… and she broke up with him. Xander blabbed to Jamarah that he was glad that Mer had decided to put off leaving — the first the decision-maker had heard that she was leaving! Miraculously, Simon pulled through his procedure and revealed to Kristen that he’d even come up with a name for the baby: Jamal. Getting real with Winston, Maggie confessed that she felt that she knew her husband better back when they were a long-distance couple. She was really hung up on his sibling remark; he handled it poorly, asking why she was making it a fight. “I love you,” she told him. But “maybe we got married too quickly.” Yikes. Elsewhere, Teddy busily packed up her locker. “We are running,” she told Owen, “because that is the only option you left us!” Just then, in came Bailey, futilely hoping that she’d be told John was a madman. Instead, Owen admitted that yes, he’d stolen drugs from Grey Sloan. At the same time, things went south during Nick and Mer’s surgery on Cora. “We should stop,” Grey decided. They needed blood for the patient. At that very moment, Bailey learned from Ben that there had been an accident — her blood was all over the damn street!
‘I HOPE YOU LIVE FOREVER’ | As “You Are the Blood” began, nooo! Jackson was reading a eulogy to Catherine. Oh. Phew. He was amusing his mother, alive and well, by doing it in front of her, April and Harriet. When it was Kepner’s turn to sing her ex-mother-in-law’s praises, Jackson excused himself to go try to charm Jamarah into continuing the residency program. It didn’t go well. She was all about Mer planning to leave without her knowing anything about it. Jamarah even wondered what secrets Jackson was keeping. When April wandered into the doctors lounge during Bailey’s rant at Owen and Teddy, Miranda realized that no one was covering the pit. Kepner, do it, Bailey ordered. Soon, Ben showed up with 37 units of blood — which was something but not nearly enough to keep Trauma open. “Bailey’s definitely going to yell about that,” Kepner knew. While April gave blood, Amelia unloaded on her about her breakup with Kai. She hadn’t fallen in love, she’d just fit with her now-ex. Was Amelia sure it was over? ‘Cause sometimes love comes back around, April said. “Japril” 2.0?
‘YOU WORK TO CHANGE THE LAW, YOU DON’T BREAK THE LAW!’ | Though Bailey didn’t seem inclined to budge, Owen and Teddy pleaded with her to understand that he’d had to help the dying vets. “The world is broken in a thousand different ways that I cannot fix,” Miranda lamented. Now she had to call the police or she could be sent to prison. But she had to manage the blood crisis, which would take a few hours. In that time, she’d accept Teddy and Owen’s resignations and wished them both the best of luck. With the time that Bailey had bought them, Hunt and Altman were on their way to grab the kids and flee when the cops arrived at the hospital. For them? Unclear. When Amelia brought the kids to Joe’s Bar, she begged Owen and Teddy to tell her what was up. They wouldn’t, though.
‘THIS IS YOUR ARENA… HOW WELL YOU PLAY, THAT’S UP TO YOU’ | When no blood arrived to allow Mer and Nick to complete their wild surgery on Cora, Richard called her on the carpet and accused her of maybe not just killing the patient but the residency program. Boy, “Ellis would finally be proud of you,” he barked. Alone with Nick, Mer admitted that her mother had told her not to come to Grey Sloan. He noted that she had pushed to operate on Cora that day. Did he think she was arrogant or trying to sabotage the residency program? (Just me, or has she oddly often seemed eager to pick fights with him?) Sadly, Mer and Nick were not able to save Cora, even with flashbacks to Derek’s shooting and eventual death to keep Grey pushing. When Mer broke the news to Sally that Cora had passed away, the poor woman’s response was “Who?”
‘HELLO FOREVER’ | As Kristen started experiencing pains that might or might not have been contractions, she suddenly began bleeding… a lot.”Stay alive,” she told her husband. One way or another, Jo was going to be delivering the baby stat. Since Kristen needed blood and she and Simon were the same blood type, he insisted that she receive the blood that was earmarked for him. “I’m a dead man,” he said. “Save them, please.” Winston arrived with Simon’s blood for Kristen just in time. At that point, Winston raced newborn Jamal to Simon’s bedside, where the new dad was able to meet the baby, however briefly. Following Simon’s death, Link got an apology from Amelia for breaking his heart. If she’d remembered how badly it hurt, she would’ve handled it differently. He wasn’t sorry, though. “You gave me a son, and I get to be his dad,” he said. “So I don’t hate you, I love you — but not in the painful way anymore.”
‘GET YOUR SPEECH READY, WE HAVE A LOT TO CELEBRATE’ | While all that was going on, Amelia was able to happily report to Catherine and Richard that she was responding to treatment — she was living with, not dying from cancer. Levi vowed to fight the blood ban on sexually active gay men, and Bailey swore that she’d do so right there with him. “Yass, queen,” cheered Xander. When Miranda returned to her office, Jamarah was waiting for her. Bailey admitted that Owen and Teddy had resigned, and Mer was leaving. Jamarah, in turn, described Grey Sloan as a dysfunctional family and shut down the residency program, challenging the chief to rebuild, start over. As hour No. 2 and the season drew to a close, the residents sadly cleaned out their lockers (while we saw flashbacks to the OGs). Teddy and Owen boarded a flight to who knows where with Leo and Allison. In the parking lot, Winston shared with Maggie that he’d never said “I love you” to anyone before her. It just takes him more time to open up, he said. He didn’t think that they got married too fast, he just thought that they needed to keep learning each other. Her kiss suggested that she was OK with that.
In the nursery, Jo asked Link over to watch Encanto (again) with the kids, because he was her favorite person. OK, he said — but he was gonna sing! Jackson approached Mer and asked her to stick around. Her article was “noisy” — her rep was how Grey Sloan would rebuild. Bailey then approached, announcing that she was quitting with no notice. She put the keys to the chief’s office in Mer’s hand and told her, “You broke it, you bought it.” Desperate, Jackson offered Mer a raise, the title of interim chief and the night to think it over. Alone in the elevator, Jackson and April kissed. Aw, they were together again. As Amelia left for the day, Kai approached her and admitted, “I can’t sleep.” Aw, they weren’t over after all. (This ending had me “Aw”-ing a lot.) In the chief’s — well, now Mer’s — office, Grey told her boyfriend to go back to Minnesota. He didn’t think that she’d intentionally sabotaged the residency program, he insisted. Wrong thing to say. An argument ensued. Why hadn’t he stopped her from operating on Cora if he’d thought Mer was wrong? He respected her enough to admit that he might be wrong and knew she didn’t like to be told that she was wrong. Again, she tearfully told him to go back to Minnesota, and this time, he went. Seconds later, she ran after him, but by then, he was gone.
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