Is anyone else feeling as if they're emotionally compromised right now?
The season's tone is heavy, introspective, and more, and Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 4 was another installment that elicited a wide range of emotions as the hour unfolded.
It also gave us another blast from the past in the form of George.
It was so good to see George again, and he and Meredith had some profound discussions about grief and the afterlife. T.R. Knight looks good, and it's touching that he and Ellen Pompeo were able to reunite like this.
Mer's beach dreamscape is such a serene place, and in some ways, you don't want to venture far from them, but then, in others, it's almost too emotional tolling.
The beach shots are beautiful, and Mer's dreams are significant in this overall tone this season. Each installment feels almost akin to an Indie film, and sometimes it's slow, layered, and provocative. Other times, they're still trying to infuse the traditional Grey's humor, bonds, and whatever else.
It's also noticeable how they've limited some of the interactions. We're juggling multiple locations at once, and most of the time, there are only two people in a scene.
And when the show has a cast of a million people, you take notice of these things. It's not a bad thing; it's different, and the vibe is hard to pinpoint.
You have moments like Mer on the beach with George, Richard, and Bailey talking about Mer, Owen and Bailey's discussion on racial bias in healthcare, and Amelia and Link discussing their different coping methods -- and they're complex storylines that pull so many feelings out of you.
But then you get weird things like Jo and Jackson hooking up, Maggie's awkward meeting with Winston's family, and some of the Tom and Helm stuff, and it's like emotional whiplash throughout the hour.
Mer's moments on the beach with George were lovely for the simple fact that she was on the beach with a beloved character from the past. It almost felt as though they were closer in this dreamscape than they ever were during George's tenure on the series.
Mer: I was devastated when you died.
George: You were all cracking up at my funeral.
The discussions about life and death are deep and profound, and they're stirring, no doubt about it. No matter how many times Mer comes close to death, there is always a unique spin on the meaning of death and the afterlife.
It's always something new to explore. George and Mer reminiscing were beautiful, and when he reminded her that they all laughed at his funeral, it was hysterical.
He even admitted to haunting his mother, but his reasoning behind it was another lesson about grieving and processing death.
All of their interaction was enough to hit you in the heart. So many of their quips and conversation were Quotables.
George: I just want her to let it go. I want her to know I"m still me, even though she can't touch me; she can't see me. But I am still me.
Mer: It's not the same.
Mer is once again facing death, and she's there asking George about the afterlife, and she knows she has to decide if she wants to stay or not.
On some level, it's not entirely in Mer's hands if she lives or dies. As beautiful as these scenes are, it's hard to see them as anything other than a single mother of four debating whether or not she wants to fight for her life or surrender to the lure of an afterlife with other loved ones.
When they present it to us in such a way, the choice should be simpler than it appears to be for Mer. George reminded her of how hard it would be on her kids if she died.
He also was there listening when Richard --in a moment that was only eclipsed by Bailey joining them later-- appeared in her dreamscape too.
You changed my life, George. I didn't say it then, but it's true.Mer
George told her that if she died, it would break Richard. And she heard that Richard was grappling with a decision about Mer's health.
It's eating him up inside, and Richard's words about how isolating and lonely it is for the loved ones of COVID- victims too brought tears to the eyes.
Teddy and DeLuca, in particular, were getting frustrated with Richard's lack of decision-making. A new clinical trial came up that was perfect for Mer, and her health was declining by the hour.
But Richard's hesitancy was sensible since the only reason spots were opening up was because of the deaths of those in it. Putting Mer in the trial is a risk, but so is not doing it.
The choice is between doing nothing and doing something. Do something!DeLuca
He didn't even want to wake her up from her slumber to ask her about it, and one look at Mer shivering in her sleep told you why. But when he heard her mentioning George's name, he knew what that meant like the rest of us.
Mer is flirting with death speaking to the dead, so he had to do it. Later, when he spoke to Bailey about his memories of young Mer, ugh, why is this show trying to wreck us like this?
Amelia is not doing well, taking care of the kids while Mer is away. She doesn't feel in control of anything, and she's someone who has dealt with so much loss that you know not being there for Mer is hurting her.
And Link is this ray of positivity and sunshine, at least, he always tries to be. However, Amelia is a dark and twisty sort, and she needs to feel her emotions, however dark they are. When she internalizes and stifles them, it feeds into her addiction.
Link responded well during the moment, as usual, but then he had a time of his own to explain why he is the way that he is. I love it when we get more background on Link. He had to acquire a more positive outlook when he was battling Leukemia as a kid, and it's how he processes.
And he let Amelia know that he needs room to be his own, too. He also played his guitar, and my God, can Chris Carmack play more often? Better yet, when is he dropping a Blues album?
And yeah, if COVID doesn't kill us, then climate change will. It sounds like a chart-topper.
They are endearing, and Maggie and Winston are cute enough, but it was a misplaced story during this installment.
Winston has issues with his parents, namely his father, and it's hard to care because we don't know him well enough yet, and there were other more pressing stories to which to pay attention.
And Jo and Jackson are weird together. Somehow, they have fast-forwarded their friendship, and they're in the Friends with Benefits stage.
Jo made her move, and they had sex. Jackson did make a mature choice when he told her that he isn't ready to rush into anything or a relationship, and she told him it was about friendship and sex for her.
Jackson: What are you doing?
Jo: Ripping off the band-aid.
However, it's such an odd, random pairing, and they could've cut their portion out altogether.
Nico and Levi are also in some weird place, but they're trying to be friends now.
Nico is still all over the place as a character. He's an ass for the majority of the time, but he has moments. One of those was when he checked Owen on his racial bias.
Racial bias in healthcare is prominent enough to be a hot-button issue. Owen misdiagnosed and cost their patient weeks all because of his ignorance of the higher percentage of Asian-Americans with Diverticulitis.
I knew COVID patients had to suffer in isolation but I never gave any thought to how helpless and alone it feels for the people who care about them.Richard
It was a great storyline to implement into the show, and it's unfortunate that it was sandwiched between so many other things and didn't have time to breathe.
Nevertheless, Nico's blunt lambasting of Owen was a good scene, and while Owen immediately going to his resident Black friend, Bailey, to essentially ask if he was racist was predictable, that, too was a great scene.
Wilson was fantastic, and she explained everything so well. Her advice to Owen about staying abreast in his craft and learning was perfect. The misconception everyone has, regardless of profession, is that they've learned everything.
As Bailey said, everything Owen learned was mostly based on White patients.
And Bailey's fear about her parents in a nursing home is ominous. Since Grey's Anatomy Season 17 seems fully devoted to hitting all the COVID beats, struggles, and topics, they'll address the high-infection rate and deaths among seniors, especially in facilities.
We all have biases, Hunt. Including you. What matters now is what you do about it. You're the Chief of Trauma. If protocols don't work then read, learn, question, and then change them.Bailey
Speaking of ominous, most of Tom's scenes felt like filler. The thing he had going on with Helm was lighthearted but fluff.
It was all leading to Helm's observation that Tom was in a bad headspace.
The relentless bashing of Tom is so old and annoying. It makes no sense that no one seems to care about him at all.
But Teddy went over there to check on him after Helm's prompting, and Tom didn't answer. He went from someone who thought he had a false positive and asymptomatic to shivering in cold sweats on the floor.
It still feels as though Tom is on borrowed time. Everyone will feel like crap when they realize how sick he is.
And that means we have another COVID-heavy installment. Are you starting to feel as though it's too much?
Over to you, Grey's Fanatics. Did you predict George as the next person Mer would see? Did Richard make the right choice?
How do you feel about all of this extensive COVID-19 focus? Hit the comments below.
You can watch Grey's Anatomy online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.