Oh, my perfect little petals. My flawless unicorns. We’ve lost many tributes together, haven’t we, in The Shonda Games? Lexie and Mark and George and interns. And interns. And interns interns interns. So often have we set our hopes, only to have them dashed upon the rocks. Well not this time, motherfuckers. Not this time.
Whoops, did I spoil you? I’m sorry. It’s just that your makeup looks great today, and I want to save you the tears so you don’t mess up your mascara. Oh, you’re not wearing makeup? That’s just your natural radiance shining through? Well! You look absolutely fantastic! And your ass is killer in those jeans. Way to go, you!
And way to go this lady, too. Dr. Amelia hands-on-my-hips-like-yeah Shepherd.
Right, okay. When last we left our illustrious cast of surgeons, Dr. GD’s tumor had invaded her optic nerve, and you and I were gnawing our fingernails down to the quick. We pick up this week exactly where we left off. Amelia is staring at Dr. GD’s scans, obviously rocked back onto her heels. She thought she had more time. So did we, pretty lady. So did we. She leaves the MRI room to get the OR prepped, looking = shell-shocked but no less breathtaking than usual, and this is the state she’s in when Owen hustles his dumb ass up to her like a monkey chasing a peanut, yammering about, “Are you nervous? You’re not nervous, are you? Huh? Huh?wp_postsAmelia squirts him in the face with a water pistol.
Then—oh, tender little buttercups! Then Amelia walks into the scrub room to get ready. She reaches for a mask, then puts it down, turns around, and wipes her eyes—and she becomes a superhero. Chin up, chest out. Her hero music plays, and if you don’t think she could solve even the mystery of Who Is A? right now, you’re out of your head.
Hold up your head. Enter the arena. Fight until you can’t fight anymore. Never let go. Never give up. Never run. Never surrender. Fight the good fight—even when it seems inevitable that you’re about to go down swinging.
She splashes some dye into Dr. GD’s brain, which will light up in the places where the tumor is. They flip the lights and that thing shines like a glow stick.
Elsewhere in the hospital of broken dreams, Arizona is prepping for the fetal surgery on Bailey’s patient.
“We’ll do some medical things, and then some more medical things with some instruments that look terrifying,wp_postsArizona tells Bailey. Bailey, who spends most of this episode with a pretty severe case of volcano mouth, starts flapping her hands, demanding “We? The hell do you mean, we? You got a rat in your pocket? Where is Geena Davis? I WANT GEENA DAVIS.wp_postsThe look on Arizona’s face tells me she’s about twelve seconds from sending Bailey into the hallway with a box of animal crackers and a juice box.
You know who isn’t having a juice box? Edwards. She tells Amelia that as long as Amelia isn’t taking breaks, she’s not taking breaks either. The hero worship is kind of cute, but it makes me think of when my son was really little, and wanted to play video games with me but was just terrible at it, so I’d give him a controller that wasn’t hooked up to anything and let him have at it. Someone else can hold Amelia’s retractors, Edwards.
Down in the ER, Arizona learns that Dr. GD is in surgery. She hightails it up to the gallery with her head on swivel and her Arizona radar turned up to eleven. Owen tells her that she’s in surgery. Callie’s perfect eyebrows furrow together. “Fetal surgery? Alone?wp_postsshe asks, and Mr. Bailey shushes her. He shushes her like some kind of naughty preschooler. That dude was already on my shitlist after his brattiness with his sister two weeks ago. He’s rushing headlong toward the top spot. Get it together, Mr. Bailey.
“She is gonna pull it off though, right?wp_postsCallie asks, meaning Arizona.
“Yeah, yeah she will,wp_postsOwen answers, meaning Amelia.
Unfortunately, something is wrong in Mudville. Amelia is starting to look like she’s in the wars. Dr. Webber hops up out of his seat, and so help me mother of god, if he’s going to call Derek, I will fistfight—
Oh, wait. No. He’s going down to the OR to see if Amelia wants a sounding board. Amelia turns, and with panic writ large on her face, she quietly asks Dr. Webber to call her brother.
When I was little, I got into super big time trouble at daycare over a sloppy joe. I’m not sure if it’s that I wouldn’t eat the sloppy joe, or the fact that I barfed it up all over the teacher when she insisted that I had to eat it. I suspect it was a little of both. Whatever. When recess time rolled around, my punishment was to sit on the “hot seat,” which was literally a little plastic stove that had been dragged off to one side of the playground, where the bad kids had to sit and watch everyone else play. When my sister came out for her own recess and saw me sitting there, she lost her damn mind. She stomped over to the teacher on her scrawny little legs, demanding I be let up from the hot seat. My teacher, who I guess was a bit of a smartass, asked if Heather was going to take my place, and Heather told her yes, she was. She stomped back to me, shoved me off the hot seat, and sat there for the rest of recess.
Watching Amelia, the little sister in me aches for her, because we will always always always think our big sibling is stronger and better and can save us. Hell, I call my sister if I so much as smudge my nail polish. Amelia doesn’t ask for Dr. Shepherd; she asks for her brother. But the thing is that Amelia Shepherd doesn’t need Derek Shepherd. She doesn’t need a Katniss Everdeen. She doesn’t need saving. She’s a goddamn superhero.
Dr. Webber knows this. He tells Amelia he thinks calling Derek is a great idea, if her main goal of the day is getting Dr. GD all kinds of dead. Amelia stares him down, her mind whirling like mad. Then she turns and barks out “Navigation probe.”
Arizona is elbow deep in Bailey’s patient, whose name I can be bothered with. She’s in the wars too, but she must have superhero posed off-screen, because she’s just as calm as can be. She has Bailey hold the fetus up so she can perform a bit of in utero CPR. It’s successful and frankly pretty gross, so I’m going to leave it at that and not even think about screencapping it, and you’re welcome. You can send your thank yous in the form of cookies, or pictures of Shay Mitchell. Either are most welcome.
Another round of hero music. Amelia is back on track, but Edwards should have taken that juice break. Her eyes glaze over and she nosedives right onto the OR floor like some kind of Mercy West intern.
Show of hands: who thought we were about to get a full on sucker punch in the form of Edwards dying of some sort of brain cloud that Amelia could have fixed if only she wasn’t already in surgery? Fortunately that’s not the case. She literally just passed out from exhaustion. I’m so, so sorry Cristina isn’t here to endlessly ridicule and mock her for it. Remember when she and George retracted that huge tumor for, like, seven or eight days? She would have zero patience for this kind of amateur hour.
Anywhoodle, Meredith scrubs in, because she is well versed in the Ways of Shepherd Surgeons. She has no problem with Amelia having basically no plan for inserting radioactive seeds into Dr. GD’s brain. What she does have a problem with is Amelia stripping off her protective gloves so that she can get a better grip on the seeds and their placement. Up in the Penis Gallery, Owen and Mr. Bailey hyperventilate and exposit that Amelia needs to move faster. Ugh, shut up, Owen and Ben. Shut up your whole faces. Amelia doesn’t need their outrage, or their concern. She’s a big girl. She gets the seeds placed, and Meredith, speaking for all of us, calls her a badass.
Back in the lounge where Arizona and Dr. GD have set up camp, Arizona looks at the empty Board of Babies. All those babies she and Dr. GD saved, and now she’s alone and Dr. GD is on a table with her brain full of radiation. She’s been holding it together pretty well, but then Callie comes in. It’s probably the first time Arizona has felt safe in ages, and she starts tearing up immediately. Callie takes her hand, and Arizona cries and leans into her, letting Callie take some of the weight, just for a little bit. Because that’s the kind of love they share. They lost sight of it for a while, and they didn’t nurture it like they should have, but theirs is the kind of love that says even though this pain is not mine, I will stand in it with you anyway.
Edwards wakes up from her little nap and sprints to the OR. Amelia is barely able to stay on her feet. She leaves Edwards to close and staggers from the OR. She collapses against the wall, plants her butt on the nearest horizontal surface and sobs.
Arizona’s patient is discharged, whole and healthy and still knocked up. Her first fetal solo, and she can’t even enjoy it, because every ounce of her heart is consumed with the knowledge that Dr. GD still hasn’t woken up, and there could be tough decisions—impossible decisions—that need to be made. Arizona doesn’t know how to make them alone, but she’s not alone. She has Callie. She’s always had Callie.
It takes a few days, but Dr. GD wakes up. Arizona and Amelia fly into her room on the wings of angels, only to find that while her motor function and mental faculties are intact, she’s lost her vision entirely. Arizona breaks the rules and cries, and so do I, but I’m out here and they’re in the TV box, so I’m too concerned about Dr. GD kicking my ass.
“You’re missing the point. You’re so thick, Robbins. You’re always just to the left of the point. The point is, I’m going to get to figure it out. Something is going to happen next. The point is, I’m alive.”
We are broken in some way. We’re all wandering around on this bit of rock that’s hurtling around in space, and for each of us, every person you meet, there is something in all of us that, if we sat and thought about it, could drive us to our knees. Those things make us stronger and they make us better. They’re our humanity.
We are all just humans. Some days we fall down during what’s important. And some days, we’re superheroes.