It’s finally time for Amelia Shepherd to live up to the hype she’s created, but can she really do it without the help of her big brother, Derek?
On the March 5 episode of Grey’s Anatomy, things take a very serious turn when Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) realizes she’s taken on much more than she can handle in trying to save Dr. Nicole Herman (Geena Davis). Meanwhile, Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) is forced into a pre-natal surgery by herself, which reveals whether or not she can really handle taking over for Dr. Herman.
‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Amelia Saves Dr. Herman
From the moment Amelia tells Arizona it’s time to operate on Dr. Herman, you can tell she’s overwhelmed. The surgery hasn’t even started yet and she is already stunned, in shock, even, and walking through the hospital as if her soul is slowly leaking out of her body.
Before she preps for the surgery, Amelia finds herself alone in a bathroom and completely loses it. Maybe this is what she needs to find her cool? It’s a short breakdown, but she gets it out and then catches her breath.
Moments later, Amelia and Stephanie find themselves bonding in a “superhero” pose — something that Amelia says is scientifically proven to help them succeed. It seems silly, but it definitely improves their confidence, if only for a fleeting moment in the prep room.
It’s no surprise that the viewing room overlooking the operating table is packed to the brim. Everyone in the hospital has been buzzing about Dr. Herman’s massive, impossible to remove tumor, and Amelia has been so confident it’s hard to think she’ll fail.
At first slice into Dr. Herman’s skull, it’s unclear whether or not Amelia is going to succeed. The stakes are high, the tension is thick enough to cut with a knife, and I, personally, have an overall bad feeling about everything that is happening. Yikes.
Arizona Is Left To Her Own Devices
While this is happening, Arizona is doing a very serious surgery on an in-womb fetus whose life desperately needs saving. It’s the patient Bailey fought for Dr. Herman to treat, and now she’s been handed off to Arizona since Nicole — that’s Dr. Herman’s first name — was forced into surgery almost a month early.
Unfortunately, Arizona is failing. Not only is she seeing flashes of Dr. Herman speaking down to her and calling her a failure, but Bailey is badgering her because she’s so passionate about saving the baby’s life. Bailey even calls Alex in to deliver the baby entirely too early, but only because she thinks he can keep the baby alive if he has to.
Wow. There is so much on the line in this episode!
Eventually, Arizona completely loses it on Bailey and tells her to “shut up” because she could accidentally kill the woman with just one slip. Having someone yell at you while you’re elbow deep in someone’s uterus with a living fetus isn’t exactly a safe procedure.
Once Arizona gets Bailey in check, Amelia finds herself between a rock and a hard place inside of Dr. Herman’s brain. Every move she could possibly make is risky, and she’s at a total loss.
Dr. Webber Comes To Amelia’s Aide
Dr. Webber, who was watching in the viewing room, decides to go down and visit Amelia inside the operating room to see if she needs help. It’s obvious she does, and and even she doesn’t deny it when Dr. Webber offers his help. She cuts the mic to the viewing room and asks Stephanie to step aside, and then begs — literally begs — Dr. Webber to call her brother, Derek Shepherd, and have him get on the next plane to Seattle.
Amelia wants nothing more than to step out of Derek’s shadow, but at least she’s brave enough to admit that she needs him when she really, truly does.
Interestingly enough, Dr. Webber refuses to call Derek. He thinks Derek would hop on a plane, but he also thinks Derek would kill Dr. Herman because it’s Amelia who planned out the surgery. It’s Amelia who believed in this surgery, and Dr. Webber reminds her of that with a very powerful, very needed speech.
As usual, Dr. Webber’s words get to Amelia in the exact way he hoped they would. Suddenly, she knows her next move, and without hesitation she digs right back in to Dr. Herman’s brain. Pun not fully intended.
Twelve hours into the surgery, Amelia “clears” the optic nerve and it’s time for her to switch to radiation. Unfortunately, Stephanie’s body has had enough and she passes out right there in the O.R. Oops!
Amelia isn’t the only one have a successful run in surgery. It turns out that Arizona manages to save the fetus and the mother’s life, which makes Bailey very happy. To be honest, it makes Arizona pretty happy too, because it tells her that no matter what happens to Dr. Herman she might actually be able to be a pre-natal surgeon.
Arizona Finds Comfort In Callie’s Arms
Once the surgery is over, Callie finds Arizona in one of the resting rooms to see how her first solo surgery went. She also asks if Arizona wants to go watch Dr. Herman’s surgery, but she can’t bring herself to do it. That’s when Arizona’s emotions finally get the best of her, and Callie finds herself comforting her estranged wife through the tears.
When it comes to Amelia’s surgery, Meredith steps in for Stephanie after Dr. Webber passes on the opportunity.
She’s in the home stretch when things go awry. As she’s planting radiation seeds (or something doctorly and scientific like that) she is having trouble because of the protective gloves she has to wear. In a moment of frustration, Amelia rips off the protective glove and directly exposes her radiation for nearly 15 minutes — much too long for any one person.
Not only is Meredith expressing concern, but Dr. Hunt, the Chief of Staff, is screaming at her over the intercom because she’s going to make herself sick. It’s a tense few moments but somehow, Amelia gets what she needs done before anything bad happens. Phew.
Unfortunately, even though her tumor has been removed, Dr. Herman doesn’t wake up for quite some time. Amelia tortures herself and goes over her surgery again and again to see if she did anything wrong, but she didn’t.
Then, during a cat-scan, Stephanie finds that Dr. Herman suffered a stroke — and that’s why she’s not waking up as quickly as they hoped.
Dr. Herman Finally Wakes Up
Finally, at the very end of the episode, Dr. Herman’s eyes open and she fully wakes. Amelia and Arizona rush in and help her remove her breathing tubes, and then they go over the normal post-brain surgery questions: location, name, etc. etc. Dr. Herman passes with flying colors. She can even squeeze tightly with both of her fists.
But, she’s not perfect. She’s blind. Completely, totally blind. Although Arizona and Stephanie are devastated about this, surprisingly, Dr. Herman isn’t. She knows when it sinks it she’ll have trouble accepting it, but she knows that she’s alive — and that she gets to figure this out with a brand new life.
Amelia feels the same way, rightfully so.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — Are you surprised Amelia pulled off the surgery? Do you think Dr. Herman will be okay as a blind doctor? Do you think Derek is EVER coming back? Comment below.
— Lauren Cox