Photo: Liliane Lathan/ABC
Everybody at Grey Sloan is so horned up! It’s a miracle! I know we’re only three episodes in, but everyone has been so tense and yell-y over there, and although I am in no way, shape, or form what one might call a “doctor,” my professional diagnosis was that they all needed to get laid. And they did, mostly, and that’s great for them and us and the entire world, really. So what, pray tell, has our good doctors all hot and bothered? Why, just a [checks notes] sex-education class for high-school students. Hey, whatever gets you going, right?
Now, the actual reason behind that sex-education class is the furthest thing from a turn-on you can imagine. In fact, it’s like the angriest, most infuriating cold shower you could take. I don’t know, you may have heard that earlier this year the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and stripped women of their bodily autonomy. I’ll pause here so you can go scream into a pillow or punch a hole in the wall — whatever you do to get through the day. Miranda Bailey gets through her day living in a waking nightmare by springing into action. She may be on an extended break from Grey Sloan, but she’s as busy as ever: Once the Supreme Court ruling went down and she realized so many people, including teenagers, would be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, she started working on a sex-ed curriculum for high-school students. She’s enlisted new Mom Friend Jo to help her out, and they’ve called in Addison to swing by with some 3-D models of reproductive organs … because I guess the OB department at Grey Sloan didn’t have any? It’s unclear why Addison made this trip, is what I’m saying. Anyway, their big plan is to make some “fun” sex-education videos that can “go viral” on social media. These ladies sound like they’re 100 years old explaining this, but hey, at least they’re self-aware: That’s why they enlist the interns to be the on-camera talent.
The interns are not thrilled once they learn how they’ll be spending their day, and it gets even worse when Bailey and Addison shuffle in a whole class of actual high-school students to whom the interns will have to talk about sex. As you can imagine, things don’t go well at first, mostly because the scripts Jo wrote up are dry as hell. (A metaphor for her own sex life? Perhaps!) Jules suggests they talk to the kids about things they might actually want to know, but that’s just a bridge too far for the women in charge. They must stick to the scripts even though they are clearly not working!
Eventually, when a student in the group keels over in pain and they discover she has ovarian torsion, Bailey — who gets privileges from a gleeful Webber — Jo, and Addison all head to the OR to operate and leave Jules, Benson, and Mika to their own devices. All Jules has to do is get up onstage and ask, “Who wants to know where the clitoris is?” and the sex-ed project has risen from its early grave. Those high-school students would very much like to know the answer to that question! They’ve never been so interested in learning. All it took was some people talking to them in a less clinical, much more human way. Mika going all Oprah Winfrey on those condoms (you get a condom! you get a condom!) doesn’t hurt, either. Throw in some frank conversation about how porn isn’t real life, let Owen and Teddy explain sexual consent (because sure, why not), and add some dancing (because … sure, why not?), and those videos are a hit.
Although the day was supposed to be about the teens learning safe-sex practices and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies, it seems the biggest takeaway ends up being the doctors all realizing that talking about safe sex is an aphrodisiac. The episode ends with a little sex montage, should you be into that: Amelia and Kai, who’ve been doing the long-distance thing, are finally reunited and hop into bed; Teddy and Owen stop arguing long enough to have sex again; and I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Jo gets off during a foot rub with Link. It’s an image I’ll never be able to scrub from my brain! What was Link’s face doing when Jo started moaning in pleasure? I don’t want to think about it anymore, but also I can’t stop thinking about it, you know? The most interesting sexcapade, however, belongs to interns Jules and Benson, who run off to the on-call room. They make it very clear that this is a onetime thing and aren’t even sure if they like each other as people, so you know that this will very much be a two-time if not three- or four-time thing. Good for them! I really needed these interns to start pairing off!
Speaking of, Lucas awkwardly bolts out of sex-ed class when he sees Addison. She obviously doesn’t know that he’s trying to keep his Shepherd status under wraps and is so excited to see him. He tries to cover by mumbling something about being so interested in fertility, but decides it’s best just to avoid anymore run-ins with Auntie Addison. He winds up helping Teddy in the pit and is put in charge of helping Mrs. Ward, a confused older woman who comes in looking for her daughter, Denise, who is giving birth here at “Seattle Grace.” We already know that Mrs. Ward is Simone’s grandmother and that she has dementia, and once Lucas looks up Denise Griffith in the hospital records and learns that she died here back in the ’90s giving birth to a daughter named Simone, he figures it out, too.
Lucas is there to witness Simone’s heartbreak once she comes down, and it’s clear her grandmother thinks Simone is Denise. Simone explaining over and over that Denise died only escalates the situation. Thankfully, Mer is around to help calm Mrs. Ward, and she has a little heart-to-heart with Simone about caring for someone with dementia. It’s all very Mama Meredith of her. Mer has come so far in regard to the trauma of her mother’s illness, hasn’t she? She tells Simone that even though it’s hard, letting the person live within their reality is “the most humane option.”
Simone does her best — she tracks down her grandmother, who is playing a rousing game of cards with Lucas (he’s very good with her), and goes along with it when her grandmother starts calling her Denise. Just because Simone is being kind doesn’t mean it isn’t still heartbreaking! This whole story line not only gives us some more insight into Simone — she tried desperately to match at a residency program as far away from Seattle as she could so she didn’t have to watch the woman who raised her disappear, but failed — but it bonds Simone and Lucas. She’s grateful for the way he treated her grandmother, and he promises to keep the situation to himself, per Simone’s request.
Of course, part of that is because Simone figures out that Lucas is related to the Shepherds and she promises to keep that a secret too. But I’d like to think there’s a connection outside of some friendly blackmail: By the end of the episode, these two are making cutesy eyes at each other in the intern hallway. Is this a budding slow-burn romance? Give the people what they want, Grey’s!
• Bailey’s back for good, people. She wants to do as much as she can to champion abortion rights and women’s health care and so asks Webber, the chief of chiefs, if she can reopen the Denny Duquette clinic as a reproductive health-care clinic. She’ll run it part-time and work as an attending in the hospital the rest of the time. She wants 40-hour workweeks and then wants to go home to her babies. I guess that means Meredith will have to stick around as chief of surgery for a little longer?
• Addison and Schmitt walk Lucia, a high-school student who is pregnant, terrified, and knows she can’t keep the pregnancy, through the process of having a medical abortion. Addison is happy she can help this girl, but fears for all the other teens going through something like this in states where abortion is not an option. She’s had 18-year-olds coming to her practice asking to have their tubes tied before they go to college because they’re so scared of getting pregnant. She’s furious and sad, and she feels helpless and “erased,” but it’s Webber, a person who understands feeling erased, who reminds her that she needs to refuel with sleep and food and friends in order to “keep fighting the good fight” another day. The Webber-Addison friendship is very special to me personally!!
• Zola’s a genius! Not like we didn’t already think our girl was something special, but now it’s official. She stays home from school since she’s been having more of those panic attacks and winds up hanging out with Nick in the skills lab. She starts doing a bunch of Kai’s cognitive puzzles and finishes them faster than most adults. Mer’s a little annoyed that people were testing her daughter without her consent, but at least it explains a lot of Zola’s anxieties and troubles at school.
• Maggie and Amelia have a nice scene together post-Zola’s genius diagnosis, in which Maggie, also a genius, beats herself up for not noticing the signs in Zola and letting her niece feel like an outsider and suffer with anxiety all this time.
• “Porn is to actual human sex as The Fast and Furious is to actual human driving.”
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