Excuse me while I pick up the bazillion pieces of my heart, broken by this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy. If you aren’t crying, calling your mom, drinking wine with your sister or doing a self-exam of your breasts, you are clearly a cyborg sent here from the future.
In full disclosure, spoilers are forthcoming. If you haven’t caught the latest Grey’s yet, well, be forewarned — you’re about to find out all about it.
In the last few weeks, we’ve come to know (and totally adore, for the record) Maggie’s biological mom. She is a sweet, funny, caring woman who thinks the world of Maggie. Sadly, she is also riddled with inflammatory breast cancer.
In the last episode, we learned that her cancer had spread. And this week, we saw the emotional and physical toll that news was taking on everyone… especially Maggie and her mother.
While this week’s episode wasn’t necessarily the fast-paced, crazy-case-filled drama it typically is, there are many reasons why it was a beautiful and brilliant part of the Grey’s Anatomy canon. Like, for starters, that it was directed by Grey’s very own Ellen Pompeo.
When there are so few female directors in Hollywood, it’s a treat to not only have a strong female voice lead the narrative but also for that voice to be one so inherently connected to the series. If you ask me, Pompeo knocked it out of the park.
Another reason this episode worked so well? Kelly McCreary (Maggie) was a frickin’ force of nature.
This week marks the moment Maggie became an indelible part of Grey’s. If we’re really being honest, we’ve been on the fence about her character at times. McCreary just erased whatever doubts we had, though, because it was impossible not to be affected by her gut-wrenching performance.
For the first time in what seems like forever, Maggie was a raw, vulnerable, real, relatable human whose heart was just cracked open for all to see. It was haunting, really.
And, finally, the episode did what Grey’s does so seamlessly — once again raised awareness for a critical women’s issue without feeling preachy or forced. As a woman, watching Maggie’s mom lose her fight with breast cancer made me hypervigilant about my own health. I immediately went online to schedule an appointment with my OB/GYN for an annual wellness check and breast exam.
This week’s episode of Grey’s makes me appreciate how the show has evolved over time. It isn’t just a medi-drama anymore. It tackles issues that are real and relevant to women.
Maggie’s final scene with her mother perfectly captures the quiet of everyday life… and the searing pain of saying good-bye to someone you love so much it hurts. The show holds a mirror up to loss in a way that is both gutting and cathartic.
This episode feels to me like a shining example of Grey’s Anatomy 2.0: a drama that represents how beautiful and messy and multidimensional life is for women.
True, we lost Derek Shepherd. But through that loss, especially in episodes like this week’s, we’re getting to see a moving portrait of what is often left unsaid: that women, even in the face of unbearable suffering, are strong as hell.