Shondaland’s winter finales are fast approaching, so this week gave our characters a much-needed release of sexual tension before they defeat Command/cover up Sam Keating’s murder/do whatever it is Grey’s is building towards. For the characters, I can only imagine this felt exhilarating, but for the audience, it was awkward at best and disturbing at worst. The fact is, the #TGIT lineup is hardly a bastion of functional romances, and it can be painful to watch people we care about being caught up in relationships that are not all that great for them in the long run. Still, this was the most sex-filled Thursday ABC has seen in awhile, so let’s review, from sexiest to most unbearably uncomfortable.
On Grey’s, Meredith and Derek jump in the shower together after Meredith calls a much-needed time-out on their endless “I-gave-up-Obama-for-you” fights. Their timing could not be worse, because they aren’t available to answer the door when Pierce and Richard show up for dinner, leading to an awkward conversation in which Pierce reminds Richard that he is not, in fact, her father. “My dad is my present,” she explains, “and you are my past, my genetic history.” She leaves seconds before Derek opens the door to let Richard in, getting herself out of what would have been the most awkward bio-family dinner in history. By the time Derek’s ready to play host, Richard is completely shocked and devastated. Let this be a lesson to us all about the unfortunate consequences of poorly timed make-up sex.
And yet, I’m still relieved that Meredith and Derek let go of their marital tension, if only for a little while, to engage in a steamy shower scene. Between April and Jackson’s fight about her sweet yet overbearing mother, Calzona’s impending divorce, and Wilson’s irrational (but totally justified) fear that Karev will eventually leave her homeless again, we were in need of some positive relationship development this week. Sure, their marriage is a far cry from any definition of “healthy,” but shower sex is absolutely the right direction. Keep at it, kids.
Jumping ahead to How to Get Away with Murder, Wes and Rebecca finally hook up. It was inevitable, and the post-coital cuddle was an endearing backdrop for the reveal of (some of) Wes’ backstory. I’m a little worried, though, about where this relationship is leading. Putting aside the obvious (they’re about to cover-up a murder together, so clearly things aren’t going that well), they don’t treat each other particularly well. Most of their interactions revolve around Rebecca doing something stupid, and Wes yelling all indignantly about how he’s just trying to help her, and Rebecca lying and yelling back that she doesn’t need his help, followed by gazing through their sexual tension at each other. I don’t get the sense that this is a couple we’re really supposed to root for, so it’s a little frustrating to watch them go through the motions of a meet-cute, but I’m withholding any definite judgment until the payoff comes in the next two episodes.
Speaking of inexplicable couples, how has Annalise still not kicked Sam to the curb? I understand that, plot-wise, she can’t – we need him around so that he can be bludgeoned to death with that damn trophy soon. But character-wise, I don’t understand how she’s able to be so forgiving. Even though the pregnancy reveal didn’t come until the end of the episode, wouldn’t Annalise – a brilliant woman who sees through liars for a living – suspect that Sam might have an ulterior motive for wanting to prevent Lila’s second autopsy? She is way too good for him, and I hope she realizes that once she copes with the grief of his death. Until then, she’s reminding me a bit too much of another powerful woman who is being far too forgiving of a particular man.
Yeah. Let’s talk about that Scandal phone-sex scene, shall we? Olivia’s just found out from Tom that Fitz creepily broke into her apartment to look at her furniture and cry when she and Jake were on the island, and that his depression over her absence caused him to attempt suicide. So take a moment to think about the mental state she’s in when Fitz calls her. She’s worried sick about him, not waiting for him to tell her all of the dirty things he’d do to her body if she showed up for an Oval Office booty call. Yet, she’s completely turned on by his phone-sex performance, which, given the context, could not have sounded more desperate and unappealing. I’m glad for Olivia that she had a pleasant fantasy to end her night, but I don’t understand how it managed to work. Yes, there will always be “hope” for a happy ending to the Olivia/Fitz romance, but she has no chance with Fitz for anything as real as she could theoretically have with Jake (because, let’s be honest, he’s not going to be in prison for much longer). Fitz takes all of his marital stress and political battles and repressed sexuality out on Olivia, regularly, and expects her to be completely turned on by it. And somehow it works, and that makes me frustrated for both of them.
Still, the phone-sex was significantly less uncomfortable than Tom’s intense, and unnecessarily sexual, monologue from earlier in the episode. When Olivia arrives to interrogate him off-the-record, he steamrolls the meeting by going on about how he’s never really looked at Olivia before and now she is and she is beautiful, our own Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships! It’s complimentary on the surface, but Olivia just stares back at him, completely unnerved, and I can’t blame her. It’s ultimately a power move on Tom’s part. He’s trying to destabilize her, removing her agency and turning her into the object that has simultaneously saved and destroyed Fitz, Jake, and Command. This is not about Olivia or anything that she’s done; it’s about what she causes men to do to themselves and each other. And it is an objectifying and wildly unfair position for Olivia to be in. Brian Letscher delivered the performance perfectly, and I hope he has an Emmy nomination in his future. But for Olivia’s sake, I hope she never has to be alone in a room with creepy Tom ever again.
Now that Meredith and Derek’s marriage is (seemingly) safe, Wes and Rebecca are developing a shared intimacy, and Fitz is once again done trying to save things with Mellie, we’re ready to take the next stomach-churning drop on the Shonda-coaster. See you back here next week.