From protests to racial profiling, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ airs a powerful BLM episode

‘Good trouble lights you up.’
Published April 16, 2021 11:02 a.m. EST

Well, the two weeks of joy that Grey’s Anatomy (Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV) delivered have come to an end, but that doesn’t mean Thursday’s episode was a one-hour onslaught of sadness and death. Instead, Grey’s Anatomy delivered one of its most powerful episodes this season by focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement and racial profiling.

Protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement hit close to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital on Thursday when Dr. Hayes (Richard Flood) was injured while marching with his sons.

Richard (James Perkins Jr.) was also standing shoulder to shoulder with other protestors and looking for some good trouble to light him up. He quickly returned to doctor mode when a woman near him named Nell (Phylicia Rashad) was hit by police with a tear gas canister that lodged in her shoulder.

Nell and Richard regaled the other doctors with their stories of protests and comparison of battle wounds, but we can’t help but feel a little cheated that Nell wasn’t cast as Catherine’s (Debbie Allen) "boots on the ground" sister. She would have made the perfect contrast to Catherine’s protest via trustees and board members.

Also, we just really wanted to see real-life sisters Rashad and Allen play Shondaland sisters together on Grey’s Anatomy. It’s the joy thing again. 

Jackson (Jesse Williams) has begun feeling the pull of the protests, especially when his mother Catherine refuses to look at the proposal he and Dr. Ortiz (Lisa Vidal) created to provide more Covid testing and support for low-income residents.

So, he gets in his car and drives 11 hours to…well, that’s for next week. Since we know Sarah Drew is returning as Dr. April Kepner, our assumption is that Jackson is off to pay a visit to April and their daughter Harriet. More joy?

Back in Seattle, Maggie (Kelly McCreary) can barely focus on her patients knowing that Winston (Anthony Hill) is currently driving cross-country from Boston to be with her.

Things get even tenser when Winston is pulled over by police and forced to end his call with Maggie. As a Black man in a nice car, Winston is subjected to a forced search, which understandably leaves him shaken by the side of the road where his belongings are strewn over the shoulder. The performances by both Hill and McCreary during this episode are some of the best we’ve seen in 17 seasons, with their fear palpable in every single frame.

Winston’s storyline hit extra hard during the same week the U.S. and Canada continue to grieve and take action over the police killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Winston’s experience of being pulled over by police and searched highlights the near-constant racial profiling that is a reality for millions of Black people and the real trauma living with that fear causes.

Back at the hospital, Miranda (Chandra Wilson) was forced to deal with a Covid-positive patient who refused treatment, calling the virus and pandemic a hoax. In conclusion, he was the worst.

After some much-needed stairwell screaming, Miranda managed to compose herself enough to outline the patient’s treatment, but he refused her help, signed himself out and was dead by the time he hit the parking lot. 

Someone who does believe in science and doctors and facts and common sense is Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), who is still breathing on her own but spending most of her time sleeping. Schmidt (Jake Borelli) is tasked with escorting Meredith into the hyperbolic chamber, a place where something always goes wrong.

He’s joined by intern Dr. Chee (Robert I. Mesa), who we met at the beginning of the season but haven’t seen much of since (Mesa will now be a recurring cast member and is the first Indigenous doctor on Grey’s Anatomy).

Meredith remains in her horizontal state, but when Dr. Chee’s patient literally explodes, Schmidt hears Meredith’s voice in his head guiding him on what to do. “Every win I have, I heard her voice in my head,” says Schmidt, who picked an excellent voice as his subconscious. 

Watch new episodes of Grey’s Anatomy every Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on CTV and catch up here. 

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