How do you move on with your life after suffering a loss, especially when you blame yourself?
That was a key question Station 19 Season 4 Episode 7 attempted to answer as Carina, and by extension Maya and Ben, found themselves grappling with the aftermath of DeLuca's death on Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 7.
And while we never got a concrete answer, that was mostly the point.
Death is nothing new in the Grey's Anatomy universe, though it has been a considerable amount of time since a beloved character was killed.
Station 19 fans, though, have become all too familiar with grief, as Station 19 Season 3 was a particularly bloody season for longtime viewers, what with the death of three characters -- two of whom had been with us since the beginning.
Even though we may be used to this by now, that doesn't mean it becomes easier.
However, DeLuca's death somewhat fell in the middle, as the ripples of his demise only went so far on this show.
Carina was understandably a mess throughout the entire installment, and Stefania Spampinato gave one of her finest performances to date as Carina grappled with her overwhelming grief, guilt, and restlessness.
Naturally, Carina feels like DeLuca's death was her fault, and if it hadn't been for Maya, that guilt would have been unbearable.
Carina: I didn’t want to call you when I was in the car with Andrea because I knew you would talk me out of it and tell me to make my brother stop, tell me it was dangerous, and you did, and you were right. And I still think… I feel like this is… why, why didn’t I stop it? This is all my fault. My brother is dead because I’m an idiot.
Maya: Hey, hey, hey. Listen to me, none of this is your fault.
Carina: Then whose fault is it then? Who am I supposed to blame?
Maya: Blame me. We have to get some of this off of you. I can take it. Blame me. I should have gotten to you sooner. I should have been there. Blame me.
Carina: Maya, this is not your fault.
Maya: Then why is it yours?
Carina: Because I let him on that train. I did that.
Maya: Give me the guilt. Give the blame. Give me the part that stings the most. Let me hold on to it for a little while, and when you’re feeling stronger you can have it all back. I promise.
Nothing Carina could have done would have stopped DeLuca from going after Opal, and if they hadn't split up, Carina might be dead as well.
However, she can't get past her own feelings that she's somehow to blame for her brother's murder.
Coupled with that guilt with the lack of sleep, anxiety over telling her father the bad news, and taking care of some loose ends, it's a wonder Carina could function at all.
Considering everything she had on her plate and was dealing with, she handled things amazingly well, which is all the more impressive upon her learning that her father already knew about DeLuca's death and hadn't yet reached out to check on her.
That alone should have been more to send Carina into a tailspin, but she's lucky to have such an amazing and caring girlfriend in Maya.
Maya stepped up in a big way this installment, as she took charge of the funeral arrangements and offering to shoulder some of the burden of Carina's guilt.
And even with everything going on, Maya was still respectful of Carina's boundaries, backing off when needed but also pushing her girlfriend to confront her feelings head-on.
For most of the series, Maya has struggled with monogamy and being the supportive girlfriend, the one her significant other could always count on.
Carina: I feel like there’s so much I have to do, and I don’t even know how.
Maya: What do you want? What do you need? What can I do?
Carina: I have to organize the funeral. I have to contact his landlord. I have to call the bank and sort out all the details and the paperwork. I have to tell my dad, but what I want to do right now is scream, scream until my throat hurts more than my head and my stomach and my chest. I just want to scream so some of this pressure goes away.
Maya: So scream. Do it. Let it out.
Carina: I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.
However, that's all begun to change since Maya started dating Carina, and if there was any doubt leftover if Maya was relationship material, this episode put those doubts to rest.
Yes, after everything Maya and Carina have been through, this couple seems to have what it takes to go the distance.
Who may have trouble getting there are Andy and Sullivan.
The marrieds are officially back together and living under the same roof again, but Sullivan still has some trouble adjusting to their new work dynamics.
He didn't take it particularly well when he found out Andy would be filling in for Maya as captain this week and got upset when she treated him just like any other probie.
Sullivan previously told Andy that he worried she regretted marrying him, not that he's a probie, but it seems as though Sullivan is the one with this chip on his shoulder.
Andy couldn't care less what rank her husband is, so long as he's still there with her.
However, Sullivan obviously has an issue with Andy being his superior, which was only made worse when she was the acting captain.
Sullivan: You know you could have had my back out there. Bumped me back to the probie seat, put me on bag.
Andy: Just doing my job, Sullivan.
Andy: I’m sorry, is that not your name?
Sullivan: It’s Robert, at least that’s what you called me in bed this morning.
Andy: Stop it. I’m just trying to finish this report.
Sullivan: All right. Andy, look at me.
Andy: When we’re at work, I’m not Andy. I’m Herrera. You said no special treatment.
Sullivan: OK, but you’re gonna have to make it up to me at home, Capt. Herrera.
He just can't wrap his head around this new dynamic, and it's going to cause friction in their relationship.
Andy shouldn't have to apologize for her career advancement, but I'm fearful she'll hold back on going after what she wants to protect Sullivan's fragile ego.
And speaking of career advancement, Dean decided to forgo the lieutenant's exam to sue the racist police officers.
While it's not fair or just that Dean had to decide between getting justice for Joyce and himself or getting promoted, it's reflective of the world we live in.
Cops and firefighters work side-by-side together, and the optics of a firefighter suing the Seattle Police Department doesn't look good.
So it was completely realistic that Dean would have to choose, and in the end, he decided that was right for him, weighing the pros and cons and talking it over with Vic and Ben.
He felt he would be able to enact real change or hold the racist police officers responsible through the courts rather than by climbing the ladder and playing politics.
People always say the best way to affect change is from the inside, but Dean had a great point when he mentioned Gregory and Sullivan.
Vic: You have to apply Miller. You have to change things.
Dean: Why, why is it always us who has to change things or fix our faces?
Ben: Because it is.
Dean: And you still think by getting a seat at the table that I’m gonna change anything. Look at Gregory, look at Sullivan. No shade, but what has changed?
Vic: Yep, they say change the system from the inside, and once you’re inside, you’re part of the system.
Dean: The only part of this job that’s not corruptible, the reason why I left a cushy, corporate life, it’s the helping people part. So, I’m gonna help Joyce, and if that means I have to put my career on the backburner, then that’s what I’m going to do.
They played the game to get where they are, but it doesn't seem like that did them any good besides advancing their careers.
So, even though it's the more contentious path and will cause much controversy, Dean made the right choice in continuing with legal action, as this way has the greatest potential to make impactful change.
Elsewhere, Jack finally took the plunge and made things official with Inara.
All it took was a crazy cult leader jumping off the roof to give Jack some perspective. Go figure.
However, I still worry that Jack loves the idea of being a family with Inara and Marcus more than he loves her.
He's been alone for so long and has wanted a family his entire life, so I hope he's not trying to force something that just isn't there just to fill this hole in his life.
It's clear that Inara is in love with him, and Marcus sees Jack as a father figure. If this all goes south, it'll break everyone's heart.
Some stray thoughts:
If crazed cult members can wear masks, then I think we all can.
Travis and his father are still on the outs, and I have absolutely no sympathy for Paul.
He's been a crappy father to Travis for years, and this revelation about Paul being gay could have been a chance for him to own up to his mistakes and apologize for all the shit he put his son through. Instead, he just doubled down and had the audacity to lie to his son's face. Travis deserves way better.
Vic and Theo are cute together. I like how they lowkey stalked each other, and their relationship is in the fun, flirty stage without all the emotional baggage that comes later. As long as this doesn't turn into a love triangle with Dean, then I'm all aboard this 'ship.
It was stupid of Ben to treat the injured pianist. While it was a nice gesture and the right thing to do, there will be serious repercussions if anyone finds out.
At best, Ben could be suspended; at worst, there could be legal action. I get that he was grieving DeLuca's loss and wanted to help the poor man, but it was still a risky thing to do.
So what did you think, Station 19 Fanatics?
What are your thoughts on the show's handling of DeLuca's death?
How big of an issue with Andy being Sullivan's superior present for the couple?
Did Dean make the right decision?
Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you missed the latest episode, remember you can watch Station 19 online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.