‘Grey’s Anatomy’ season 13, episode 9 (winter finale) review: Alex, Amelia face key decisions

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In the opening minutes of Thursday night’s “Grey’s Anatomy” winter finale, Dr. Alex Karev proclaimed that it could be his “last day on Earth.” He was facing the possibility of facing prison, and with that, you can’t fault him for feeling a little bit doom-and-gloom.

Unfortunately, there was something that came mere minutes later that put almost everything into perspective: A horrific building collapse that put many lives in jeopardy, and also forced many of the doctors at the Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital to be on high alert. They were inundated with patients. What complicated all of this is that per the building landlord, who was being treated in the hospital and was somewhat delirious, he knew that the building had earthquake damage and could fall apart at any moment. As a result of this, let’s just say that there were many people at the hospital who were reading and willing to turn the hospital into more of a battle arena to get their revenge on the guy.

The landlord responsible tried to find solace in Ben of all people, even though he wasn’t a priest — he just wanted some essence of forgiveness for what he’d done, and he realized that he was not going to be getting it from anywhere else. We admired Ben trying to help him in some way, but here’s what we find slightly frustrating about this story: Given that it was clear that so many patients were targeting the landlord, why in the world would he let a woman who lost a loved one in there to see him, claiming that she was his wife? Luckily he stopped her before anything could happen, but this could’ve been a disaster and it was an avoidable one.

Back to the trial – While at the hospital, Jo understandably became concerned when she found out that someone wanted to put her on the stand; in doing so, she ran the risk of her true identity being leaked and her dangerous husband coming after her. Couldn’t there be an arrangement made with attorneys so that this information did not become public record? In hearing her fears, that was the one question that we had.

Anyway, Alex later revealed to her that it was his attorneys who wanted her up on the stand, and he apologized to her specifically for some of the things that he said to her previously — most notably that she was “trash.” These are the words of a man who knows that the sky is falling all around him. At first, she didn’t say much, but later in the episode she trapped the two in an elevator (hey, whatever works) to reveal to him the truth about why she didn’t get engaged to him. The irony was that her biggest fear was that he would do something that would lead to him getting arrested, and that’s happened now anyway — albeit under a very different set of circumstances.

This elevator exchange was tremendous for both Camilla Luddington and Justin Chambers, and it ended with him telling her not to leave — this was her home.

Given that Alex seemingly lacks the ability to keep anything from Meredith at this point in the series, he eventually went back and clued her in to what was going on with Jo being married. Eventually, he told her that he was going to accept the plea deal for two years, given that he felt responsible for what happened and didn’t want Jo’s life to be uprooted because of his actions.

The episode ended with Alex waiting to meet the District Attorney, listening to a voice message from Meredith to not give up and keep fighting. Presumably, Jo may also be rushing to see him. Cliffhangers aplenty here.

Owen searches for common ground – For those of you hoping for a bromance between Owen and Riggs, there were moments aplenty tonight! Specifically, Owen confided in him as to why his marriage with Cristina fell apart, and how he wonders if he is now in a similar position given that ultimately, Amelia has the same unwillingness now to have children.

We thought that this story was just going to end with some lighthearted / sweet bonding moments. Unfortunately, Owen went home to face the reality that Amelia may be leaving him. Devastating after all he’s been through.

Arizona and Eliza – While we were uncertain as to if we could get on board with a new romance for Jessica Capshaw’s character, we actually liked the way that the series approached her with Eliza Minnick. Namely, Arizona was resistant to accept the various advances of Eliza over time, if for no other reason than that Eliza was super-cocky about her wiles. She wanted her to earn it, and eventually, she did.

Webber’s realization – For the past several weeks, the good doc was facing the possibility of having his job trimmed away because of Minnick’s presence in the hospital. Tonight, it finally happened, and he was upset both about that and also the way in which Bailey decided to tell him. She tried her hardest to avoid it for as long as humanly possible.

Webber eventually wanted to throw in the towel, but soon after that he realized that every doctor at the Grey – Sloan Memorial Hospital had his back — it wasn’t just Maggie.

Overall – As you can see with the overall length of this review, there was a lot that transpired over the course of the episode. We had revelations aplenty, heartache, bonding, and resolutions. We probably don’t know enough about the courts to know if Jo’s fears are valid, so we’d say that Ben’s carelessness is probably the only weird moment of the episode. While this episode may fall short of the classics, it was a worthy winter finale that REALLY has us anxious for the second half of the season. Grade: A-.

If you want to see when “Grey’s Anatomy” may potentially return with new episodes, be sure to head over to the link here. (Photo: ABC.)

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