Warning: The following contains spoilers for Thursday’s excellent Station 19. If you haven’t watched yet, you might want to before reading any further.
Thursday’s Station 19 brought Jack one step closer to having the family that he’s always wanted — but in the last way that he’d ever want it: Marsha, who’d made every excuse in the book to ignore health and safety recommendations, collapsed and later tested positive for COVID.
Quickly, before Inara could work herself into a well-justified freakout over what Marsha’s possible death would do to her and Marcus’ safe living arrangements, the firefighter rode to the rescue, assuring his crush that they’d take it one day at a time, and in the meantime, he’d move in to watch over his makeshift family. (Like Gibson, Mother and son tested negative, by the way.)
So for Jack, it really was the best of times, the worst of times. On one hand, he got to play house with Inara and Marcus, who was so devoted, he slept on the floor next to his father figure on the couch. On the other hand, the woman that he loved like a mother (grandmother?) was isolated at Grey Sloan to fight for her life.
Yeah, it was a lot to process. And that wasn’t even half the action in “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” Read on, and we’ll go over not only Vic’s meet-cute with a possible new love interest and Travis’ heartbreaking realization about his father but the part of Sullivan’s return as a probie that turned out to be way harder than scrubbing toilets and mopping floors.
‘YOU LOOK SO FAMILIAR FROM THE NOSE UP’ | As the episode began, a montage revealed that lately Vic had been flirt-jogging with a ripped, masked stranger at the park. And yes, flirt-jogging apparently is a thing. When finally the twosome spoke, they discovered that it wasn’t just the exercise that was making each other’s pulse race. Unfortunately, the second they unmasked, they realized where they had once seen each other — at a fire; the fella — Theo Ruiz is his name — was from Station 23. “Damn,” said Vic, not about to pull a Jack. “This was going so well.” Meanwhile, at Station 19, our first-responders pondered how weird it would be to have their former boss as their probie. Sullivan, noted Travis, “looks like he came out of the womb telling the doctor what to do.” Robert advised Andy that they should just stick to shop talk since they were on a separation for the sake of his sobriety. Which sounded like a fine idea except for one thing: “Shop talk,” she reminded him, “is how we ended up married.”
Ah, if only those were going to be the biggest difficulties with which this transition presented our protagonists. During lineup, it became obvious that Dean hadn’t sat out Sullivan’s hearing only because of his injured knee; the shoulder Miller gave was so cold, it could’ve been a holdover from Season 3’s blizzard episode. When Robert confronted his colleague, Dean lit into him. Sullivan, he said, had reached a level that most Black firefighters never would, and “what do you do with all that success? Everything they think we do.” Sullivan tried to suggest that Dean didn’t understand what it was like to have an addiction, but Miller shrugged it off. “Everybody here knows the pain of the job,” he said. “Only one person stole drugs and lied about it. I’m not patting you on the back.” Later, having overheard the heated exchange, Ben asked Dean to reconsider the high horse on which he was riding. But since Warren had lied, too, he might not have been the ideal person for the job. Yeah, Sullivan had made a mistake, Dean said. But when Black men have to worry every second about where they are and how they sound, they don’t get the luxury of mistakes. What Robert did reflected on all of them; that’s just the way the world works. “That doesn’t mean that you have to” work that way, Ben countered.
‘DO YOU WANT ANOTHER CIGARETTE AND BEER, OR ARE YOU GOOD?’ | After Travis FaceTimed his mom, it was all he could do not to facepalm; she felt it was safe to go grocery-shopping during a pandemic because his father was out “golfing.” (Now there’s a new euphemism for ya!) En route to a call about a domestic disturbance, Vic told Travis that if her husband was cheating on her, she’d want to know. So Travis imagined how he would break it to his mom that her husband was off playing with penises. Wait, wait… “Why would I say ‘playing with penises’ in referencing my father?!?” Even in crisis, Travis is a hoot. At the site of the domestic disturbance, the firefighters found pregnant and possibly wasted Gina on the front lawn batting beer cans at her neighbors and spouting Bible verses. “Oh fun,” cracked Travis. “Church.” Needless to say, Gina wouldn’t wear a mask because “God protects us.” Yeah, Travis and Vic were gonna need some backup. So much backup. Even after Maya, Ben and Andy had arrived, Gina managed to nearly break Travis’ nose with her cellphone. And we hadn’t even met Eddie yet…
Surrounded by drug paraphernalia inside, Gina’s husband appeared to be trying to stitch up a wound on his cheek when Ben and Vic entered. I don’t need to mention that that procedure was not going well, do I? Didn’t think so. Having fled from the first-responders to the garage, Gina began having contractions. No big, she said. They were “just those Toni Braxton things.” Except they weren’t; in short order, her water had broken, and she’d dropped a baby into Maya’s hands. Hearing the commotion, Eddie bolted from the kitchen to the garage, in his drug-fueled state, knocking down Ben (who was cut by falling dishes) and slugging Vic (who even after that advocated for him to go to rehab, not jail). Taking the baby to Seattle Pres, Andy wondered about its chances for a decent life. In retrospect, her own dad had done OK. “I guess my mom kinda did OK, too,” she added, “’cause she knew better than to stay.” (Andy wasn’t thinking about trying to adopt that baby, right? That was just the way everybody gazes at babies, yes?)
‘I GET TO GO TO HELL FOR WHO AND HOW I LOVE’ | Later, Maya confided in Andy that she was afraid to go home for fear that she had turned herself into a copy of her dad; what if she snapped at Carina for turning their kitchen into an Italian restaurant with more pasta hanging everywhere than dish towels? “Being afraid to be like your dad,” Andy theorized, “is the first step to not being like him.” Thankfully, Maya did manage not to snipe at Carina, who shared that she was only making a Little Italy of the kitchen so that she could think of her home country without worrying about what it was going through and fretting over her father, who, as we well know, had never been one to follow the rules. Back at the station, Travis marveled to Vic that Gina and Eddie would go to church and be forgiven for everything — for hurting each other, for hurting the firefighters, for drinking and drugging while pregnant. “But if I went to church and talked about the deep love that I have for my husband… and don’t repent, then I get to go to hell,” he summed up. “That’s what my dad’s up against. That’s what he’s buying into.” Armed with a new, more compassionate perspective, Travis approached his father and revealed that he’d seen his hookup-ad profile. Dad was about to lie about it, so Travis wisely said they’d discuss it another time. Probably for the best to let his father live with that knowledge for a minute.
In the station’s gym, Dean went another round with Sullivan, who said that he had thought that he had put the worst time of his life behind him after his wife died and he’d endured countless racist jokes while working as a firefighter in Montana. “It doesn’t excuse you,” replied Dean. Uh-huh, but maybe, said Robert, if Dean pulled out the silver spoon that was stuck between his ears, he’d be able to listen better. “Us fighting,” the former chief said, “is exactly what they want.” Whatever, said Dean. No slack would be cut on this day. Off that exchange, Miller found Vic molesting a chicken in the kitchen. What? “I haven’t been touched in like a really long time,” she said. As for the Sullivan-vs.-Miller fight, she understood where her pal was coming from and wanted him to prove himself wrong by becoming the next Black battalion chief. In response, he invited her over to look at the lieutenant packet and see Pru. Bumping into Andy in the locker room, Sullivan, too, said that Dean was in the right. There was nothing he could do about it, though, but move forward. With that, they almost kissed in a way that couldn’t have been any sexier if they actually had locked lips.
So, what did you think of “Don’t Look Back in Anger”? Share your reactions, hopes, worries — all of it — in the comments below.