It's been almost three months since we caught up with the staff of the Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital, but episode 9 of Season 12, "The Sound of Silence" quickly thrust us back into the hustle and bustle of Grey's Anatomy with a packed emergency room following an accident.
"Pfft, sounds like a normal day," I hear you scoff, but alas no, nothing can ever be so normal in the world of Grey's Anatomy, and soon enough the drama sets in, and with it a rather strange side effect: silence.
After a patient named Lou has a seizure, Meredith is left alone to tend to him while waiting for a neuro consult from sister-in-law Amelia, which never comes. Meanwhile, Lou (who has suffered a head trauma) wakes up confused and begins to savagely attack poor Meredith. While the audience is shown Lou's first few strikes, we're soon left to our imagination as the camera moves back into the busy emergency department, showing us only shadows of the struggling Meredith and the towering figure of her attacker.
As the camera returns to Meredith, we experience most next few moments mostly from her point of view as her friends, family and colleagues rally to work on her various and extensive injuries. As they do, it soon becomes clear that in addition to broken bones and bruising, Meredith has gone temporarily deaf, and the audience joins her in her silent panic, as she screams in pain but is unable to comprehend what is happening to her. After 12 seasons of drama, it's hard to shock a hardened Grey's fan, but in all honesty it was all pretty intense, and Twitter certainly agreed:
Following Meredith's initial treatment and operations, we flash through her early recovery, in which the days blur together as she numbs both the physical and the emotional pain with morphine. While friends and workmates come and go, it's Alex who's really Meredith's rock. We see him frequently comforting her, and it's soon becomes pretty clear that he's also holding down the fort at home as well, much to the detriment of his relationship with Jo.
After some time, Meredith's hearing recovers, but despite this her jaw remains wired closed and she's still confined to a hospital bed. Following a traumatic attempted reunion with her children, Grey suffers a panic attack. It's all pretty horrible to watch, and at this stage in the game Ellen Pompeo is an absolute pro at pulling at our heart strings as Meredith Grey.
Following her panic attack, substitute father figure Dr. Webber takes Meredith for a heart-to-heart, eventually convincing her that she needs to forgive -- forgive Amelia for not being Derek, forgive Dr. Blake for making the wrong decision when she was working on Derek, and also to forgive Derek for dying too soon. Ultimately he tells her that she needs to forgive herself for hating Derek for dying. It's all pretty heavy stuff, but something that an angry Meredith Grey needed to hear in order to begin to fully heal.
Following her talk with Dr. Webber (which was less of a "talk" and more of a "listen" on Meredith's part considering the wired jaw), Meredith begins to take steps of forgiveness, first reaching out to her attacker, Lou. As it turns out, Lou was in a fugue state and remembered nothing of the attack, though obviously feels intense guilt. He and Meredith share a touching moment, and it seems the spring forward her recovery needed.
After getting off to a good start, Meredith's jaw wire is removed, and she meets with Amelia. Despite both women admitting that they aren't ready to forgive one another, it's a conversation more civil than they've had in the recent past, and it seems as though they're on the path to one day reconciling. We'll no doubt see more of this rocky relationship through Season 12, especially considering Amelia is now back in early stages of sobriety, having fallen off the wagon after feeling guilt about Meredith's attack.
Regardless of the fact that Meredith and Amelia are still technically at odds, the episode ends on a high note -- After prompting from Grey, Alex returns to his life with Jo, and Meredith reunites with her children, resolute to never let the privileged of having a voice go under appreciated. As the scene fades out, Meredith implores the audience to "find your voice, and when you do, fill the damn silence." Words to live by indeed!
Wow. There's not much else to say except that episode (which was directed by Denzel Washington!) was quite the emotional roller coaster, and the perfect return to the series following the winter break.
After 12 seasons its hard to imagine you could still be shocked by any show, but if this tweet by one fan is anything to go by, Grey's Anatomy is still managing to do so just fine:
Honestly, I don't know if I can cope either...Ah, who am I kidding, after 12 seasons and 254 episodes I think it's pretty safe to say I'll be back next week!
Grey's Anatomy returns on February 18th with "All I Want Is You" on ABC
What did you think of Grey's Anatomy episode "The Sound of Silence"