Grey’s Anatomy may technically be described as a medical drama, but at the core of the long-running series, it’s a show about relationships. Romantic, platonic, and patient-doctor relationships have come in various sizes, shapes and iterations over the course of the series, but throughout it all, one thing has become apparent – Grey’s Anatomy is much better at friendship.
This week’s episode was a prime example of Grey’s once again providing examples of healthy and successful friendships, while also focusing on romances that were crashing and burning.
This week we saw a grieving Maggie manage to make it through a difficult surgery, saving her breakdown for when the tiny baby was safe and sound. Taking her anger out on Jackson, Maggie screamed at her friend for not saving her mother. Rather than scream back at Maggie, something Jackson’s character likely would have done if Maggie were April, he supported his friend in her time of need, sharing pictures Maggie’s mother had given to Jackson to save. Actually, that reminds us – Jackson and April were much better as friends before April cast her virginity aside. Not that we blame her. Those eyes!
Alex had a whole two minutes of screen time this week, just enough to remind viewers that he and Meredith are much better as friends than as a couple. Although, we’re not sure Meredith really sees her buddy clearly, something that became apparent when she asked Alex ‘When did you become a grumpy man who hates people?’ Uh, Season 1?
As for Richard, he’s still not on speaking terms with his wife-wife, but he and his work-wife Miranda were able to finally overcome their differences, getting their friendship back on track. Why is saying ‘sorry’ easier with people you’re not legally tied to?
Amelia, on the other hand, can’t get out of her own way to save her marriage with Owen, but when it comes to supporting his sister-in-law, and her sister-in-law’s half sister (still with us?), her emotional intelligence skyrockets.
And then there’s the Meredith-Riggs will they, won’t they? In preparation for his first non-date-date with Meredith, Riggs confides in Arizona, who promptly launches into a speech about the epic love story between Meredith and Derek. Arizona, what show were you watching?
Sure, the pair had some intense moments over the years and there was definitely love, but Meredith’s most important relationship wasn’t her marriage with Derek, it was her friendship with Christina.
When Derek and Meredith met, their relationship put Meredith and her position as an intern at risk. When Derek’s wife Addison showed up in Seattle, the two reunited, leaving Meredith to beg Derek to ‘pick her.’ When Meredith took Richard’s sick wife Adele out of the placebo group and into the treatment group of Derek’s study, Derek didn’t hug his wife and tell her that he understood, saying he too would do whatever he could to save the people he loved. Nope, he yelled at her and then moved out, leaving Meredith alone with their newly adopted baby. And when Derek was offered a job at the White House? Frankly, they were both selfish in that scenario.
As for Meredith and Cristina, the two women stuck by one another through infidelity, deaths, abortions, divorces, and whatever else needed to be danced out, keeping one another in check while also being emotionally supportive. Cristina was Meredith’s person, not Derek. He was not her sun, but Cristina could have been.
Sure, romantic relationships come with much more baggage than friendships. Being able to fall asleep next to someone and wake up with them the next day, committing to one person forever is not the same as having multiple close friends. Grey’s Anatomy has never shied away from showing that romantic relationships are messy, layered, and difficult. But while almost no romances have lasted on Grey’s Anatomy, the strength of friendships keep the characters afloat.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.