Emotional Shonda-coaster Week 3: ‘Grey’s,’ ‘Scandal,’ ‘How To Get Away With Murder’

Recapping ABC's Thursday Night lineup.

In case you missed last week’s episodes, here’s everything you need to know about the most important programming block of the week. All right, let’s get into it.

Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s kicked off a night of terrible parenting with a undocumented mother so scared of deportation, she lets her 10-year-old daughter get so sick that the doctors think that the mass in her abdomen is a baby. Eugh! Speaking of babies, Meredith is hunting through her mother’s old journals (aided by some flashbacks, both to moments from earlier in the show when her mother was alive as well as new scenes of Ellis and Richard as young, horny adulterers) for clues about her mysterious pregnancy.

Eventually she figures out that Ellis was pregnant when they moved to Boston after Richard failed to uphold his part of the bargain to leave his wife, and when she went to the hospital to deliver the baby and not only gave her up immediately for adoption, but never mentioned to Meredith that she was pregnant at all, Meredith eventually forgot about/repressed what had happened. I’m not sure I totally buy this explanation, but based on the flashbacks little Meredith appears to be some kind of replicant (she barely blinks!!!) so it’s not super hard to believe that this one got past her.

Meanwhile, poor Alex is humiliated all over again when he learns that the board vote was not close, as Robbins told him, but unanimously in favor of Bailey. He yells at Meredith for not supporting him and she yells back that she didn’t think he would want her pity vote, not having much extra empathy to go around at the moment. She’s also on the outs with Derek, who basically tells her that unless she cures cancer while in Seattle he will resent her for keeping him from the White House job. Cool! He softens when she finally lets him in on what she’s been going through with Maggie, and Maggie herself relents a bit when she and Meredith both pull off last-minute successful surgical maneuvers and Meredith shows her that Ellis started writing down everything she was eating in her journal while she was pregnant with her (aww!).

Next week: Torres and Robbins are on the brink of divorce!
I was not mature enough to handle Scandal this week, but that’s mostly their fault. Only this show would have an A-plot that not only features the president’s daughter making a sex tape, but the president’s daughter making a sex tape in which she is being Eiffel Towered. I mean, what?! Olivia and Quinn rescue Karen Grant from a party using a helicopter before realizing that the scandal is worse than they thought and it’s time for the parents to get involved. Fitz has a very unearned confrontation with Mellie where he yells at her for not being present because she’s been mourning the death of their son and in so doing has contributed to her daughter becoming the kind of teenager who makes sex tapes. Mellie takes this all in and then goes “I guess she takes after her dad!” and does not sweep out of the room to thunderous applause and a champagne toast, but she may as well have.

Olivia ALSO serves Fitz in another unearned confrontation where he whines about how she’s not allowed to go away without telling him again, and she’s like “I went with Jake, so…” causing Fitz to make his Going To Abuse Some Power face. Later when Tom the Secret Service guy, who was the guy tasked with actually murdering Jerry Grant, comes under fire for some suspicious activity at a military base, he pins the murder on Jake Ballard with Rowan’s help, and it turns out that Fitz has been watching the whole time! Judging by the previews for next week imprisoning your girlfriend’s new boyfriend is NOT the quickest way to make her like you again, but Fitz is so dumb he can’t help but try!

Ultimately the sex tape is traced to a privileged, snotty boy whose privileged, snotty parents try to extort the Grants to the tune of $2.5 million. But when they ask for another $500,000 to “cover expenses,” Olivia loses it, photographs them both and threatens to go to the press with the story that they are child pornographers who actively encouraged their son to make the sex tape so that they could extort the First Family of the United States while they are still grieving the loss of a child. There’s the Olivia I know and love! Also some other boring stuff happens with Cyrus and his prostitute pal, as well as David Rosen and Jake, but it was sort of hard to keep track given that in this episode the President of the United States screamed “EIFFEL TOWER” at the First Lady while they were both standing in the Oval Office. Until next time!

How To Get Away With Murder

How To Get Away With Murder was really the crown jewel this week. We got some more information about the murder (I still think it’s Paris Geller who did it!), namely that Connor is worried that Asher will figure out that they were at the crime scene (this is a good time to shout out Matt McGorry’s ridiculous performance. Every week he seems on the verge of dumping a beer over his own head whether he’s in a bar, at the office or in a court room, and it’s hilarious) and that he went to his cute techie boyfriend for help after it happened. They are broken up at this point in part because Connor’s habit of having sex for information got back to his cute boyfriend, who threw him out.

The guy that Connor was seducing was an assistant to the defendant of the week, a Jordan Belfort-esque hedge fund owner and the type of woman who probably proudly refers to herself as a “cougar.” Annalise knows her well from years of representing her in sexual harassment suits. This time she’s being accused of insider trading, but it turns out that her disgruntled assistant set her up. Whomp. Except wait — after she says some VERY mean things to him, he immediately opens a window (in a high rise?!) and jumps out of it to his death. The theme of employees betraying their bosses is carried over into Annalise’s firm, when Paris Geller gets a crucial confession tape that shows Rebecca’s confession was coerced and allows her to be released on bail in part by exposing that Annalise’s hot detective boyfriend is still researching her husband’s alibi. What?!

With Rebecca out on bail, Wes kind of breaks bad and manipulates her into giving up the code on the phone she was storing in his apartment before bringing the phone to Annalise. She’s impressed by his subterfuge, as she should be.

All of this is to set up the last scene, however, which blew everything else that happened on ABC Thursday out of the water. While waiting for Sam to come home, Annalise sits at her vanity and removes her wig, lashes, and makeup. It’s amazing to watch a character strip away her “public face,” so to speak, in this way, and it’s also a really remarkable moment for broadcast TV. It’s ESPECIALLY amazing in light of comments about Viola Davis’s perceived “non-classic beauty,” and it makes me really excited about the places that the show is going to go this season. When Sam comes home and greets Annalise, she has one question for him: “Why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone?”


Emotional Shonda-coaster Week 3: ‘Grey’s,’ ‘Scandal,’ ‘How To Get Away With Murder’