It can now be said: April Kepner is one tough mother.
In Thursday’s Grey’s Anatomy premiere (full recap here), the new mom once again found herself at odds with ex-mother-in-law Catherine, but this time the Kepinator pushed back. And portrayer Sarah Drew admits that harnessing her alter ego’s inner pit bull was as satisfying for her as it was for April.
“We never got to see April fight back or tell Catherine off for all of that drama that she caused last season,” the actress points out. “I think this was April’s moment to be like, ‘You know what? Back up. You are not in charge. I don’t have to be nice to you, at all.’ I loved seeing that side of April. It felt very good to be able to say something direct to Catherine.”
To recap: Catherine raised objections over April and Jackson’s decision to name their daughter Harriet (and not, you know, Catherine). She also wasn’t thrilled that April insisted on saddling the kid with two last name’s (i.e. Kepner-Avery). April, however, stood her ground on both counts.
“I think something happens when you have a kid — you don’t take sh-t anymore,” Drew posits. “All of the peripheral stuff that is buzz[ing] in your head just fades away, because you all of a sudden have this new focus. And, for April, that’s what it’s like with Catherine.”
With the baby-naming controversy squashed, April and Jackson can now focus on more practical, day-to-day co-parenting issues. As Drew previews, upcoming episodes will find the exes tackling such dicey questions as, “What’s going to happen once mom and baby go back home? Where is home? How do you split the time between mom and dad when you’re also trying to establish a routine with the baby and get the baby sleeping?”
And, perhaps the biggest question of all, will mom and dad be tempted to give their relationship another shot? “There’s clearly still feelings there, but they’re definitely not together,” Drew maintains. “There’s a carefulness that they have around one another in these first several episodes, because they don’t really know what they are. It’s challenging waters to navigate. In some ways, I feel like the audience is going to be like, ‘Why aren’t you guys just getting back together? What is wrong? Where is the conflict?’
“But you have to remember,” Drew adds, “the conflict that built up over the past two seasons still exists, even though we’re in this new tender space.”