Emotional Shonda-coaster: ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Scandal,’ ‘How To Get Away With Murder’

Episode 2!

THAT’S RIGHT. Is it fair that Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder get so much attention due to their newness, breathtaking amorality and engineered-for-Twitter plot twists, while dependable Grey’s Anatomy, currently in its ELEVENTH SEASON and still getting almost 10 million viewers for last week’s premiere, languishes a distant third in everyone’s minds? Nope, it’s not. Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t get nearly enough respect, despite paving the way for Shonda Rimes’s current domination of Thursday night TV, regularly killing off half its cast every season, and still retaining the ability to make me sob on my couch over the fate of the Patient of the Week EVERY WEEK. If Grey’s Anatomy were a person, this is what she’d be saying to any critics breathlessly recapping the other two shows she made possible while giving her short shrift.

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Grey's Anatomy

This is all to say that I’ll be recapping Grey’s, Scandal and HTGAWM in one block of continuously turnt programming, as God intended. Let’s do this.

Grey’s Anatomy

In addition to the absence of Cristina Yang (still not over it, will never be over it) we have gained a very important new cast member this season: Meredith’s long-lost half sister, Maggie. What’s that you said? Didn’t Meredith already have a half sister from her father’s second marriage who almost picked up Derek in a bar one time, fell in love with McSteamy and died in a tragic plane crash?

Grey's Anatomy
She also had a photographic memory.


It’s true! Lexie Grey existed! And now the show is doing it again with Maggie, Meredith’s mom’s kid from her illicit affair with Dr. Webber. Never change, show.

Grey's Anatomy
Weirdly, both of Meredith’s long-lost half sisters grew up to become brilliant surgeons.

Anyway, the second episode of the season is from Maggie’s perspective, as she hates Meredith (who is kind of evil to her, in typical Meredith fashion) despite Maggie being there to fill the void in the cardiothoracic surgery team left by Yang (and perhaps the cardiothoracic HOLE in Meredith’s HEART from losing her best friend?!). Though she’s instrumental in helping to figure out a case that puzzled Cristina last season, which featured multiple kids in the same family dying from the same mysterious heart disease, she earns Meredith’s wrath by doing bad CPR on purpose so an old lady who wants to die can shuffle off this mortal coil. Just another day at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital!

Other stories set in motion this season both have to do with career opportunities threatening relationships: for Arizona, a chance to become a double-certified surgeon right when she and Callie were deciding they wanted to have another baby, and for Derek to work for the POTUS, which Meredith nixes because compromising her own work to help Derek’s career makes her feel mommy-tracked in a way she resents, and also her life’s work is in Seattle, in the hospital, inside that 3D printer that caused so many fights last season.

Grey's Anatomy
— The printer


Both Arizona and Derek end up refusing the opportunities for the sake of their relationships which inevitably angers both of their spouses, because in Grey’s Anatomy-land the single unsexiest thing you can do is be insufficiently hardcore about your career. Everything is ruined! Also in question are Alex and Bailey’s quest to replace Cristina on the hospital board, and whether Bailey’s genome project will be able to resume after being shut down by said board last season. The episode ends with Maggie deciding to let Meredith in on a secret she wasn’t privy to before: that they are sisters, although neither seems to know that Maggie’s birth father is their coworker. Classic Grey’s Anatomy episode ending, one primed to leave you screaming into the opening minutes of…


Cyrus blackmails Liv into helping him with a White House snafu with…IRS audit threats? When Liv is like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, he threatens to tell Jake that she called from Zanzibar asking about Fitz every day, which gets her attention (and it’s not clear if it’s true or not). The case of the week is a couple — one a war hero, one a heroic elementary school teacher who rescued a ton of children from a shooter and was herself paralyzed from the waist down by a gunshot wound — who are supposed to go to a big speech where Fitz is going to push for gun control legislation, part of his big post-Jerry bipartisan initiative. The only problem is that the stress of being America’s Most Heroic Couple seems to have gotten to these two a little bit, and by that I mean they HATE each other.

Olivia gets them to Washington and then assigns stupid Huck and Quinn to watch over them, all but guaranteeing that something terrible is going to happen — which it does, when the paralyzed schoolteacher stabs her husband in the leg while Huck and Quinn were pawing at the ground and snorting at each other in the bathroom. It’s so disappointing that the show had the opportunity to leave their weirdo licking/face smashing “romance” behind last season and is hauling it out already in episode two. Olivia swoops in to save the day and guarantees that she’ll be able to help the couple get a divorce while maintaining enough goodwill from the public that they’ll still be able to make a living doing speaking engagements. …Yay?
She delivers them to the President, who, despite getting this favor from her when she owes him NOTHING, STILL NEEDS HER TO DO MORE STUFF FOR HIM. He asks for some feedback on his speech and Olivia is like “it’s fine, idk” and the viewing audience hits pause on the ol’ DVR and is like
So naturally, she tells him exactly what to do, which is make the issue personal and reassure the public about the emotional state of the Grants at the same time — devastated by their son’s death, but all the more committed to things like gun control because they too know what it’s like to lose a child to something that ought to be entirely preventable. Fitz makes a few too many references to being OFF THE TELEPROMPTER Y’ALL when he delivers the speech, but overall it’s just another demonstration of Olivia’s competence and genius, which I was kind of missing last season, so I’ll allow it. She also heads to a very chiseled Scott Foley’s hotel room wearing nothing but high heeled boots and one of her trademark fabulous coats, so, you know. I FORGIVE YOU, SHOW.
Other developments this episode: Mellie is continuing to go Full Dirtbag, gnawing on fried chicken legs and getting CHICKEN IN HER HAIR, being papped eating potato chips while sitting next to her son’s grave, and refusing to support Fitz at his big speech despite Cyrus getting real with his feelings about the death of his husband.
“There’s Chicken Caught In My Wig: The Mellie Grant Story”
Cyrus unwittingly gives Abby a pump up speech where he says that while he knows Olivia won’t fail at getting the hero couple to Washington because Olivia Doesn’t Fail, he is certain that Mellie won’t be there. Of course, Inferiority Complex Abby goes to the First Lady and gives her a classic Scandal pep talk, i.e. one that makes someone Pull It Together while also crushing their faith in humanity. In this case, Abby is like “Kids die every day! Including the kids of people who watch the State of the Union. You’re not special!” Because this is Scandal, it works. Mellie gets dressed up, goes to the speech, then rips her pearls off and collapses into a heap in the room with all the First Lady portraits afterward, which is heartbreaking.
Finally, David Rosen is getting prepped for his confirmation hearing for Attorney General, but it’s derailed by the photos Olivia faked to get Abby to break up with him that made it look like he had beaten up a former girlfriend. Except David Rosen is done being a pawn in Olivia Pope’s games, and stalks off to Blackmail Some Senators. All right! This makes Portia de Rossi’s Lizzie very angry because the only thing she hates more than hair that moves in a breeze is bipartisanship. She’s playing some kind of long game with Cyrus, who gets picked up in a bar by a guy who, it turns out, is a sex worker! Who then offers Cyrus a roll in the hay, on the house!!!!!!!!! And Cyrus appears to consider it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then when he briefly comes to his senses and throws the guy out it turns out the guy is being paid for some mysterious reason by Lizzie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Since Cyrus is already out I’m not sure what the point of all this is because a prostitution scandal seems like the least of this administration’s worries, but still!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The viewing audience is like


How To Get Away With Murder!!!

Oh boy oh boy, the case of the week this week features Steven Weber as a rich guy accused of murdering his wife. In keeping with the very factual and professional nature of this show, he’s currently using one of Annalise Keating’s 1L students as a stand-in for the murdered wife while he shows them exactly how he ALLEGEDLY murdered her. All you really need to know is that he’s one of those Law & Order: SVU types who TOOOOTALLY did it but delights in exploiting legal technicalities in order to get off scot-free while ALSO making sure everyone knows that he TOOOOTALLY did it.

The 1Ls work the same boring magic they did last week, sleeping with people/lying to people for information (I’m yada-yada-ing this in part because I still don’t remember anyone’s names except for Wes. It’s not my fault, they are all boring!) and managing to figure out that 1. Steven Weber totally murdered his first wife and 2. He is likely being framed by his daughter, who killed his second wife in order to ensure that he would get put in jail for at least one murder. Sure, okay. The most important part of the A-plot is the end, when he gets off (thanks to Laurel figuring out that he’s a hunter and thus they can argue that he would never murder someone in such a sloppy and haphazard way) and the defense team is accosted by furious press/bystanders, and all the 1Ls are ~supes bummed~ that everyone is mad at them while Annalise Keating grins like it’s the best part of her day. I love her!

The other interesting thing is that we get some more flash-forwards to the 1Ls trying to deal with Annalise’s husband Sam’s body. In particular, we find out that Wes’s neighbor Rebecca is somehow involved, which sets off alarm bells that suggest to me that she was either dating Sam, about to be murdered by Sam, or both. She’s also MAKING OUT WITH WES in the flash forwards. Get it! Except don’t get it, because she seems terrible.

In the non-flash-forwards Wes is still sort of generally bewildered by her, which makes sense because one second she’s screaming at him and the next she’s suggestively asking him if she can use his shower, which may or may not be where she makes drug deals? She gets picked up for the murder of Lila Stangard, along with that football player who Wes saw her fighting with. That apartment building is full of mysteries, not least of which is why the previous tenant was apparently one of the guys from Teen Wolf.

Teen Wolf
“I had to bounce, Rebecca was making it weird.”
The point is, at some point in the next three months Wes goes from being baffled by Rebecca to swearing to protect her before mashing his face on top of her face in a dingy motel room! Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!
Finally, the most important development this week, as will be the case every week, belongs to Annalise Keating. She’s no dummy and will not stop rummaging through Sam’s phone for evidence that he and Lila Stangard were more than just professor/student. Maybe boyfriend/girlfriend? Maybe murderer/murderee? Apparently the former has happened before, which she screams at him in full earshot of her students and the other associates, demonstrating the downside of running a law firm out of what appears to be the Charmed mansion.
Annalise’s hot cop boyfriend Nate is also giving her grief and rightly so, since he’s been suspended from the force after she emotionally blackmailed him into lying on the stand so she could win her case last week. Whew! But when she discovers that Sam’s entire message history with Lila, innocuous as it seemed, has been deleted from his phone, she goes to Nate and begs him to help her figure out if Sam had anything to do with her murder. I don’t trust anytime Annalise cries, because she’s so self-possessed in all her other dealings with the world that I always assume she’s being manipulative, but in this case it’s probably a combination of sincerity and also knowing what she has to do in order to get what she wants.
Ultimately Nate agrees to help her figure it out…and she heads home  and jumps right into bed with Sam, distracting him from her shady behavior by straddling him, and the viewing audience is like
And that’s it until next week’s ride on the Shondacoaster of intrigue and emotions. Until then — be gentle on your wine glasses, and your livers.

Emotional Shonda-coaster: ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Scandal,’ ‘How To Get Away With Murder’