After being on the air for thirteen seasons, and doing more than 22 episodes for many of them, “Grey’s Anatomy” is a show that’s earned some leeway here and there. It likes to explore some new avenues, and on the winter premiere Thursday night, we saw a little of that in the form of Jo, Miranda, and Arizona in prison.
Their mission was clear: Help a young prisoner who desperately needed it. She was pregnant and about to give birth, and had no one there for support. To be fair, it’s not that she was all that inviting, but it was still sad. She lashed out at everyone at first, and for a time, tried to play into their fear. it wasn’t until she started to realize the severity of her situation that she started to slow down and realize that these women were not the enemy. As a matter of fact, they ensured both her and her child were okay, and that the child got off to a fresh start with her mother — even though said mother was so cold that she did not even want to be in the delivery room with her.
One of the best things that this episode did in particular was not force the issue with many of its stories, and allowed there to be an air of mystery. For example, it’s still not entirely clear if this child will end up in a different position from her mother, since we didn’t get a lot of backstory as to what happened to send her down this dark road in the first place. Also, we appreciated that the show didn’t disclose what she necessarily did in order to get locked up — doing so would have dehumanized her, and the writers clearly wanted to keep some of that humanity intact. Obviously, this young woman made a grave mistake to end up in this place, but she’s still a person with the right to not be treated like an animal.
Bailey’s discovery – Out of the three doctors, Miranda was the one least excited to be at the prison, and was used to viewing hospitals through the lens of the Grey Sloan Memorial. When she realized just how ill-equipped the place was, she lashed out about the level of care these people were receiving … not realizing just how underfunded the place was. This was another subtle move for the show to push for awareness of the state of our prisons, while not being overly political about it. She came to understand the point of view better of the brave women running the institution, and even told the top doctor overseeing their patient that in the event she ever decided to move on to another job, she’d be happy to bring her aboard. (Maybe we’ll see her again? Time will tell.)
Watching these characters learn is always excited more than a decade in, especially when it is someone like Bailey who is already so intelligent and so savvy in general.
A brief update on Alex – He didn’t take the plea deal! He’s facing trial, but we never saw him in this episode. Heck, we didn’t see any major characters other than the three pictured above.
We imagine that this is going to be a polarizing episode to some fans of the show, mostly because you do want to see Meredith Grey on a show entitled “Grey’s Anatomy.” Yet, there was something about the change of pace and the performances from Jessica Capshaw, Chandra Wilson, and Camilla Luddington that was magnetic. Even the little moments were perfectly planned-out, from Arizona being singled out for her prosthetic leg (which isn’t mentioned often these days) to Jo being slightly more comfortable in this tough situation than the other women, a reminder of everything difficult that we’ve seen her go through. Grade: B+.
What did you think of the winter premiere of “Grey’s Anatomy”? Did the episode bring to the table everything you wanted to see from these characters? Share below, and head over here for more news. We’ll have a preview for the next new episode online shortly. (Photo: ABC.)