Grey's Recap: Mile-High Anxiety

As if this week hadn’t already given us a big enough reason to avoid air travel, Thursday’s Grey’s Anatomy found Meredith boarding a flight that was bound to get turbulent — and not just because Nathan also had a ticket to ride. What happened between takeoff and landing? Read on and find out.

greys anatomy season 13 episode 20 recap‘ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE NOT FOLLOWING ME?’ | As the Chandra Wilson-directed episode began, we were introduced to the jerk on the flight who insisted his overhead would fit in a space in which it clearly wouldn’t, and complained about the screaming kid nearby. When Mer kindly switched seats with the youngster’s dad, she wound up sitting a passenger away from Nathan. They were both on their way to the same conference, it turned out. Which sounded fun to him. Only “I told you, we’re done,” she reminded him. No messing around. “Not even a little messing?” he asked. Er, no. When Meredith got up to use the restroom, Nathan, thinking she’d made “Follow me” eyes, did as he believed he’d been instructed to, and squeezed into the tiny space with her. Though he was quickly set straight that her eyes had said nothing, much less “Follow me,” he still wanted to talk — and not in the way that they had been, with her feigning sleep or using another passenger as a buffer. There was something between them, he argued. Something that they shouldn’t have to deny, especially not in the friendly skies with Maggie 30,000 feet below them. That didn’t matter, she insisted, adding that he knew why. Finally acquiescing, he would have left the restroom… only she wouldn’t get out of his way. Why? “I don’t know,” she said. Then, staring into his eyes, she blurted out, “Whatever happens, this never happened… got it?” and the two of them joined the mile-high club.

greys anatomy season 13 episode 20 recap‘QUICK AND DIRTY… I CAN HANDLE THAT’ | When the flight began to get bumpy, the duo admitted in unison that they’d both been in plane crashes. Was hers bad? “People died,” she replied. “It wasn’t great.” What about his? “Did anyone die or lose a limb?” Having heard about Mer’s experience, Nathan insisted, “I’m definitely not telling you about mine now — it can’t compare.” When he of course relented and told his tale, it turned out that as an idiot teenager he and a mate had taken the friend’s dad’s crop-duster for a joyride that had lasted all of four minutes before they crashed into a shed. Just as they agreed that hers had been worse, way worse, the plane hit such bad turbulence that not only did the oxygen masks drop, but passengers were thrown out of their seats up against the ceiling, and Mer had flashbacks to her nightmarish crash. Unable to get up due to the threat of injury, Mer and Nathan at first had to give instructions on patient care from their seats, starting with Jay, who checked fiancé Max for a pulse. When they could get up, Mer tended to Max, while Nathan treated flight attendant Candice’s hurt wrist. A pediatric dentist also pitched in as best he could. Mer couldn’t tell if Max had a brain bleed, and argued with Candice that the pilot had to reverse her decision not to land the plane in these dangerous conditions. Max’s life could depend on it. The pilot, unmoved, wouldn’t even speak to Mer.

‘LOOK AT THIS BOO-BOO’ | As other call buttons went off, Mer left Jay in charge of keeping an eye on Max; Nathan flirted with Candice (didn’t he?); the pediatric dentist tried to flirt with Mer; and Ingrid, the woman formerly in between Grey and Riggs, complained that he’d said he’d come back and hadn’t. Speaking of complaining, the resident jerk did some of his own — even ordering an apple juice, no ice, from Mer. (The gall!) Nathan then teased Mer about her pediatric dentist; she, in turn, teased him about his stewardess. During a quiet moment, she discussed with him “the Seattle Grace Five” and admitted that her sister had died in the crash. She’d lost so many people that “sometimes I just feel like I’m waiting for my turn” to die, she added. Suddenly, he understood why she was so protective of Maggie — having lost Lexie, she didn’t want to lose another sister. But, at some point, he suggested, she had to start doing things that would make her happy. No, she said. “I am married.” (Cue the shooting pain to the heart.) Just then, they were interrupted by Ingrid. Max was throwing up and having a seizure — yeah, definitely a brain bleed.

‘ISN’T THAT BAD TO STICK A NEEDLE IN THE BRAIN?’ | At last, the pilot emerged from the cockpit to tell Mer that she wouldn’t endanger 200 passengers’ lives to save one by trying to land in unsafe conditions. Off that setback, Mer became inspired by Nathan’s talk of what they’d do in the field and decided to operate then and there. The trick for her? Evacuating a bleed with just a syringe, without ever hitting brain matter… in a moving plane… during turbulence. (Even if you had a miraculously stress-free day, watching her start the procedure had to make parts of you clench that you didn’t even know could clench.) After round five, Mer decided to remove to syringe so as to stop inserting the needle over and over. (Jeez, and I thought it was tense before!) At that moment, someone began yelling for help from the other end of the plane — it was an elderly woman near the jerk with pulmonary hypertension. Nathan ordered the flight attendant to ask for erectile dysfunction drugs — and the elderly woman actually had some. While a shaky Ingrid nervously replaced Riggs helping Grey, Nathan had to defib the jerk, who, even with the drugs, passed out. Just as the pilot announced that she’d found a safe place to land, the plane was knocked for another jolt — with the needle sticking out of Max’s head!

‘NICE FLYING WITH YOU’ | Miraculously, when the plane settled, the needle hadn’t moved. “Nathan, I could use your help,” Mer yelled. But he wouldn’t give up on the jerk. With the pediatric dentist’s help, Grey pulled some MacGyver s— to get the blood out of Max’s head faster. Nathan’s patient survived, too. As the pulse-pounding hour drew to a close, Riggs turned down Candice’s offer to call him for a follow-up and suggested to Mer, since they’d wound up in Sioux Falls, there was probably a nice hotel nearby. Not for them to sleep in together, she said. When he accused her of being scared, she insisted, “I’m not scared I’m making a choice. I’m prioritizing my family, my sister.” At that, Nathan called her on being afraid of letting Derek go. She didn’t want to talk about it, but neither did he — he wanted to live his life. He had one, and so did she. In the end, after careening through memories, Mer chose to live. “It better be a nice hotel,” she said.

So, what did you think of “In the Air Tonight”? Have we decided officially if we are pro-Mer/Nathan or anti-Mer/Nathan? Hit the comments.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. SB says:

    So could the dentist be Jo’s ex?

  2. Roo says:

    Glad Lexie was mentioned
    Miss her.

    • SB says:

      How is it that no one (Riggs, Maggie) know that “Grey Sloane Memorial” is named after Lexie and Mark? Maggie still thinks the Grey is for Ellis! You’d think since they worked at the place they’d know who it was named after. I’m glad Meredith told Riggs about the plane crash though. And that she loved Lexi.

  3. kn1231 says:

    I’m loving any Greys episodes these days that bring fans back to earlier seasons! Loved the flashbacks, and was happy to see the writers actually had Mer open up about her past. I’m really not sure how I’m feeling about Mer & Nathan, especially since Nathan lost his beard. If he grows it back, I’ll be 100% on board. I may sound a bit shallow, but he is not as sexy without the beard.

  4. Heather S. :) says:

    Who played Jay in this episode, he looked very familiar? I know Max was played by Jai from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Love him, such a cutie pie!

    • Amber says:

      Jay was played by Reggie Austin. He’s been on Pretty Little Liars, Devious Maids and, most recently, Agent Carter. I was SO excited to see Jai! He was my fav on QEFTSG!!

  5. Stacey says:

    I saw more chemistry between Mer and the cutie dentist then between Mer & Nathan.

    • Kim says:

      co-sign. here’s hoping he shows up to Grey Sloane as a surgical intern.

    • Kayte CookWatts says:

      Preach it. They are so boring. He is not unattractive, but there is something- I don’t know, not confident?about him. Not saying that he has to be arrogant but I just cannot get into him.

      • lemonlime623 says:

        It’s because-for me, anyway-I’m reminded of how easily Derek cut through Mer’s BS excuses why they couldn’t be together aaaallllll the way back in the first few episodes of season 1. And that exuded confidence and sexiness — it’s why he became McDreamy. Is Riggs a McAnything? I mean, I really don’t want to sound like I’m comparing Riggs and Shepherd-I’m comparing Meredith’s reactions. I’m just not buying Riggs (again, nothing against Martin Henderson, I was an avid Off The Map viewer).

      • Cat says:

        I wish he didn’t have to put on an accent, sometimes a fake American accent doesn’t sound quite right.

      • fiberlicious says:

        He’s cute. For me, it’s Meredith who exudes zero personality or chemistry.

  6. Sara says:

    Best episode of the season!!

    Mer being a badass, the flashbacks, Meredith and Nathan and moving forward.. incredible episode, will rewatch it soon.

    • Casey says:

      Totally agree with all of this – loved the flashbacks to Derek, but also loved that Mer is choosing to move on, and FINALLY we got some momentum with the Mer/Nathan storyline. Also just really loved the whole episode, it was really well done. Cracked up at the old lady with the ED meds. I hope if I ever have an emergency on a plane, badass Mer is on board with me!

  7. EM says:

    The dentist and the flight attendant were there to show they would choose each other. . Solid episode and loved the flashbacks.

  8. Tahina says:

    Agree, this was one of the best episodes yet since season 8 maybe.. I was missing old Greys. :)

  9. Aeol says:

    I’m pro Mer and Riggs. It’s okay to have another love story in a lifetime.

  10. Jaws says:

    Who played the dentist?

    • Ted says:

      Callard Harris: he was Edmond Hayes on season 2 of Sons of Anarchy, Tommy on Dallas (TNT version), and Thierry on The Originals.

  11. Jan says:

    This episode just made me miss Lexi all over again!

  12. Kayla says:

    Who played candice the flight attendant she looked so fermilure?

  13. Anya says:

    I just can’t get behind Mer and Riggs. Maybe its because we watched for so many episodes Meredith and Derek fight to be together, everything just pales in comparison. Could also just be I’m not a huge fan of Riggs. She could do better; hell she has!

    • Amber says:

      Agree that Mer could do better than Riggs. Why does no one on Grey’s Anatomy date? Why is every pairing “This is THE one. End all, be all of relationships”?

    • be916 says:

      I can’t stand the slimy, arrogant, gross cheater. (That is the way these writers have written him since day 1) ANYONE that forces themselves on someone that constantly says no, is a creep of epic proportion. Shall we talk about rape culture here? When he told Mer she’s afraid of him (Derek) I about wanted to throw something at the tv. Shonda Rhimes wouldn’t know how to portray grief if it hit her in the face. I have experienced grief and that is a person I would NEVER give a second thought to. I thought it was the worse episode, by far. It was also SR way of saying FU to the MerDer fans again. I thought the flashbacks were nice, until she goes off with him after just having Derek flashbacks. No thank you Grey’s. That was the last nail in the coffin for me.

      • Eran says:

        For you to even bring the word ‘rape’ into the conversation is an utterly outrageous exaggeration of this scenario between these two people. Incidentally, I am not feeling the chemistry between these two people either, but rape culture?! The guy has lost a loved one once, forever. Of course he is going to want to cast f’ing caution to the wind and pursue it with everything he’s got. When you’ve tasted true loss, a lot of your social inhibitions go out the window and more often than not, it is for the better in moving forward. I totally get why Nathan is so full on even though for me that might also be a turn off. Oh and you’re not the only person who’s been through grief and a lot about how Meredith has been walking around the past two years with part of herself just switched off, not really there – that is SO true to life and so real. We each experience grief differently and move on differently.

  14. Jim says:

    Ellen Pompeo’s really starting to look old, isn’t she? Noticed it in this episode for the first time really.

    • Pedro says:

      You don’t really notice it, but, when you see episodes from the first season, she and Justin Chambers aged a lot. He was very boyish.

    • Eran says:

      It’s been 13 years. Would you rather she showed up next season looking embalmed like some Melanie Griffith/Meg Ryan-esque mummy?

      • Jim says:

        No, definitely not. I was just struck by how old she looked and I’ve never noticed before. She’s 47 and looked it last night when she was in flirty scenes with two guys who were much younger than her (Henderson is 42 and the dentist guy was definitely in his 30s). Not that there’s anything wrong with that, or that it was unbelievable, only that it was noticeable for the first time.

  15. Tennisnsun says:

    A giant bore! I’m only half way through in CA but wanted to ck your recap before I bail. No reason to continue. …

  16. jessica says:

    ANTI!!! Hate them as a couple.

  17. Corey Ackerman says:

    hey does anyone know if that was terri ivens from amc who played concerned mother on plane??sif that is she looks real good….

  18. just me says:

    I’ve been rooting for Mer and Nathan. Per timeline, Derek died a few years ago. I’m ready for Mer to move on, and I like these two together.

  19. Lorie Hall says:

    It is sad that none of the couples on the show ever get along,there’s rarely an ever after.I don’t see Merr and Alex together, there like brother and sister,but not sure Nathan is the guy.

  20. samhexum says:

    The flight attendant was played by Kelsey Grammer’s daughter. K Callan, the old lady with the ED pills, played Dean Cain’s mom on Lois & Clark. Max was played by one of the guys from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

  21. N says:

    I didn’t like seeing Derek

  22. Claire says:

    I like Martin Henderson, but man. His accent sure sneaks into a lot of his dialogue.

  23. staindpam says:

    I wish they would give Meredith a sexy/attractive love interest.

  24. lea says:

    Wow. What an amazing episode! Kudos to Ellen, Martin and Chandra for directing this fantastic hour. Didn’t want to to end.

    Everything was so perfect. My favorite episode in a long time.

  25. Ok, not only are relatives of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital doctors unlucky if they have medical issues, it is also unwise to travel with any staff member. Also, was it just me or did that airline bathroom seem spacious? Usually a single person has trouble moving around in one.

  26. Freya says:

    Have been waiting for Meredith to move on for ages, but the flashbacks of her and Derek made me a bit teary! Maybe it has been a few years, but surely there would be a part of you that would never truly let go of your life partner.

  27. Fido says:

    Right, so did Meridith need to pee or not ? I can’t imagine her peeing in front of NotDerek and having sex whilst wanting to see, well for men it’s kinda not a good thing so can women do that ? And if she didn’t, then NotDerek DID read her come hither look correctly so by denying it, isn’t she just playing games with him ?

  28. thangboihi says:

    with this episode, just like Mer, I’m finally letting Derek go.

  29. Brittney says:

    I love Merthan. I’m glad they are finally together! 😍 Took long enough. #teammerthan

  30. Brittney says:

    I’m so happy that Mer and Riggs are finally going to be together! And by the way if you truly love and care for Meredith you should be happy she’s with someone (Nathan) ❤️ I know Nathan could never replace what Mer and Derek had, but it’s time to move on. I know it takes time to move on, but you should all be happy for Mer. And I know some of you want Mer and Alex to get together, but honestly don’t you just think they’re way better off staying as friends like they are now. That’s what they have always been good at. And that shouldn’t change. Meredith and Alex friendship forever! Meredith and Nathan forever! 😍❤️ #teammerthan #merthan #greysanatomy

    • Stacey says:

      Why do people assume that if you don’t like Nathan with Mer, it must mean that you are not over MerDer. I have been ready to see Mer move on for a awhile, I was excited to see what was next for the character. This is why I am so disappointed with Nathan, I don’t like the character & I see not chemistry between the actors. I do like the idea of Mer with Alex, and no I honestly don’t think they are better off as just friends. I also like the idea of Mer with the dentist from last night’s episode or with the hot doctor she hooked up for the first time after Derek’s death, or any number of new guys they could bring on. Nathan & Mer do nothing for me because I want better for Mer because I ‘truly love and care about the character’

  31. Erin B says:

    I guess Meredith has never wanted a relationship with Molly? I mean, she would have at least seen her again at Lexie’s funeral, right? I know they don’t have a foundation, but neither did Maggie when she showed up, & they are very close now.

    • SB says:

      She didn’t have a foundation with Lexie either, until Lexie showed up at Seattle Grace and they spent time together. My guess is that they just lead separate lives and neither has made the effort to get to know the other.

  32. AlliDone says:

    I have a question… Why is it that no one seems to remember that Thatcher had TWO daughters by his second wife? The one that got married and had a kid? Did she die too (wouldn’t be shocked tbh), did Mer just choose to forget she ever existed?

    • Fabrizia says:

      Meredith chose to forget she ever existed. They met twice and were never introduced to each other. Lexie mentioned her living in the middle east in season 6. I doubt Mer has her number since she doesn’t have a relationship with her father either.

  33. Mary says:

    I kind of liked the dentist more with Mer, but I guess he wouldn’t fit into the show as a regular. I liked how the flashbacks were tied in.

  34. Vincent Caligione says:

    I honestly think Shonda Rhimes is running out of ideas for the show. This plane episode was a waste!! There was really no need for this episode and scare us like that since they already had an actual plane crash in the end of season 8! If you want to scare us like that, then actaully make it happen!!! Why put them throguh all of that to make them come out practally unharmed!?

  35. Stacy says:

    I wonder if the writers/casting agents for this episode knew how many comments & tweets would be in support of the dentist & Mer? Lol

  36. Eve A Wichner says:

    It looked like the airplane stirs said Joe Boss Field. It is Joe Foss, who is a famous South Dakotan.

    • Fabrizia says:

      It did say Boss. It was probably for legal reasons, like the airport not wanting to be associated with a fictional emergency landing on tv.

    • Chelsea H says:

      Yeah, I live in Sioux Falls. The airport is (locally) known as Joe Foss Field. Like the other person said, I’m sure it was for legal reasons. Like how on Big Bang Theory, they cover up letters of different logos (“atorade”, “itimin water”). “Joe Boss Field” was also on the shuttle that they were picking everyone up in.

  37. kath says:

    It seems to me that the only reason they’re doing Mer/Riggs is because she’s the star of the show and needs a relationship.
    There is certainly no charm between the characters or creativity in the writing.

  38. fiberlicious says:

    How did you not include Meredith blurting out ‘I’M MARRIED” during that argument about the hotel??? It was pivotal!
    Also, how did the pilot not turn on the seatbelts on light at the first sign of turbulence? I know – so people could be flying around the cabin, thus the plot! Does not pass the sniff test.

  39. Agnes says:

    The idea that the captain would not have landed that plane after it was clear passengers were injured and in need of emergency care is beyond absurd. Pilots are in direct communications with medical professionals in emergencies like this. Please stop insulting us with dramatisation

    • Barton Torbert says:

      There’s not much to land on between Sioux Falls and Seattle – maybe Rapid City, SD (the motels are better, but the hospital is worse)

  40. Barton Torbert says:

    fun to see them land at Sioux Falls. Incidentally, the name of the airport is Joe Foss Field, not Joe Boss as you see emblazoned on the bus and the steps. Also, it’s a full featured airport (but not international) and no one gets off the airplanes onto the tarmac. Still, a fun episode.

    and i don’t think there’s a great motel in Sioux Falls, they could stay with my mom.

  41. Yoko says:

    Oh please. No more Mer & Riggs. Horrible couple. She could do so much better. Yuck. Worst season, worst writing ever.

  42. Ana says:

    I loved
    ❤❤❤Mer and Riggs

  43. Issie says:

    Think paediatric dentist will turn up somewhere and be boyfriend of Meredith. She and Nathan are just not a good match.

  44. A. Sides says:

    Still missing McDreamy; shondaland, please write in more flashback scenes of Derek and Mer. Or how about a visit from Callie or Cristina or Adddison? Really miss the good old days. Most of our favs have exited or worse, been killed off. Mer/Der, were after all, the foundation of the show. They, were “extraordinary together, instead of ordinary apart…