And then there was one.
Yes, after Jackson Avery’s departure by the end of Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 15, it means that Meredith Grey really is the last of her class standing at Seattle Grace Mercy West Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
And the hour was supposed to be his big farewell.
After three-quarters of the season was devoted to sadness, tragedies, death, and what seemed to be neverending heavy storylines, the installment was the lightest, most upbeat that we’ve had.
Evidently, happiness, uplifting stories, and no death is associated with Meredith Grey’s recovery and official return to the land of the living.
We’ve established by now how obsessed Grey’s Anatomy is with Meredith Grey, and of course, she is the titular character and lead. However, that obsession has a way of impeding other storylines and characters.
In this case, Meredith’s recovery and last day at the hospital somehow usurped Jackson’s farewell.
It felt as if the hour was making space for Jackson’s moments, squeezing them in between cases, sexy reunions, guy talk, and the entire hospital fretting over and celebrating Meredith’s good health.
Some of what we saw from Jackson felt rushed. He had some of the hastiest goodbyes.
Bailey: To clarify what happened, Jackson Avery is now —
Richard: Our Boss.
The most meaningful goodbye was with, you guessed it, Meredith. He even had multiple scenes with her, the two of them spending more time bonding than they have in some time, and dare I say, it came at the expense of other relationships he had.
They knocked out his goodbye to both Richard and Bailey in one fell swoop. Jackson blindsided Bailey with his resignation, and he left her in the lurch as she lost yet another surgeon from the hospital. She’s lost, what, four or five surgeons that we know of, yes?
Jackson only gave her a day’s notice, which is an awful thing to do in the middle of a pandemic, and the abrupt nature of him needing to go to Boston right this instant is irksome from that perspective. Most people would take time to get their affairs in order.
Jackson had a sweet exchange with both, where he shared how he learned the most from them. He spoke of how he wouldn’t be the doctor he is today if not for their mentorship. It was nice enough, though a bit unfulfilling and lacking the emotional punch.
And that unemotional pattern continued throughout the hour as we checked in with Jackson every six scenes or so. Jackson leaning over the guardrail in a lovely shot (thanks, Kevin McKidd), drawing some parallels to his first day at the hospital with his fellow Mercy Westers, the others either dead or gone.
We got Jackson sitting in with Meredith as they joked and spoke fondly about each other. The truth is, these two Legacy Kids, as I loved calling them, were one of the most underrated friendships on the series, and the two of them reminiscing — it was sad.
It made you long for more scenes with the two. It made you mourn that they didn’t spend more time together over the years as Williams and Pompeo always had great chemistry; it was a fun, interesting dynamic the series didn’t take enough advantage of over the years.
Their scenes were sweet, but they also didn’t come without what remains an alarming amount of Meredith Grey praise. Did she start a cult without my knowing?
Jackson: I just didn’t want that to be our, um, I didn’t want that to be our goodbye.
Mer: I don’t want this to be our goodbye. You go give them hell, Avery.
Jackson: Thanks for showing me how.
Somehow, even their shared moment of bonding turned into an opportunity to say how he got things from her.
Their joking about her being the last one remaining and winning the bet was funny, though. And it was cute that he was the one to take her home as she ran away from her goodbye party.
Although, it sucked that Jackson mentioned how important the celebration was to everyone, and she bailed on them anyway.
Jackson spent a brief moment with Jo as she thanked him for being her bridge after their sexcapades that I strategically erased from my mind, but that was the extent of Jackson’s farewell tour.
The hour didn’t bring Catherine in to fret over her son’s departure to the other side of the country. For unfathomable reasons, Jackson shared a scene with Jo, but not Maggie, a woman he was in a significant relationship with for some time, and whom he attended “family” gatherings.
Regardless of the polarizing nature of the relationship, not addressing it in any of its forms was such a thoughtless, insensitive disservice.
And at one point, it did seem as if he had a close bro-bond with Link, yet that was unacknowledged as well.
For a farewell installment, it was light on the emotional punch. Most of the moments that came close didn’t have to do with Jackson at all.
And the efforts to put him into what seemed like random scenes only served as a reminder of how the series struggled to find significant plot points for him over the years. In hindsight, I can’t recall the last time we saw him at his absolute prime as a plastics surgeon.
But the flashbacks always evoke some feelings. It’s hard not to get a wee bit verklempt at the flashback montages of moments and characters over the years.
Jackson also shared his farewell with Tom Koracick.
Greg Germann is a treasure, and Tom was a personal fave, but they stopped knowing what to do with him over time, so it’s not a surprising development.
He got COVID and disappeared for most of the season as is, and we didn’t revisit him much since then. After the love triangle fiasco, there wasn’t much left for Tom to do, and it was a waste of Germann.
We’ve got the teeniest of tidbits of how recovering from COVID affected Tom. Not exploring it further was just one of many casualties and missed opportunities of the season. However, it does make sense that after what he endured, survived, and lost, he would want a fresh start and to make the most of his second chance at life.
Tom’s speech to Jackson was a bit heavy-handed and cringe-worthy with the overuse of buzzwords and a message conveyed with the subtly and nuance of a sledgehammer. It was a reminder of how much of the commentary the series has attempted this season felt more like lip service and came via clunky lines.
However, it made me love Tom even more regardless, and I love that he wants to dedicate his life to making a meaningful difference. It was in part inspired by the months he spent battling and recovering from COVID as a series of POC and disenfranchised patients died beside him.
Because if you don’t know where you are from, it’s kinda hard to know where you are going. Unless where you are going is home.
Again, for effectiveness, the series could’ve devoted more time to SHOWING us these things rather than telling us about them in lines. Tom’s time spent with his patients also inspired him.
Mr. Lawrence and his granddaughter Maryanna came into the hospital, and via them, the series chose to touch on the disenfranchisement of the Indigenous community. They slipped in that very well line about how some tribes’ extend of COVID relief was body bags dumped on the reservations.
If you want to be enraged, merely look that up. It was sickening and inhumane.
And the family introduced some aspects of their culture, which Tom and Levi respected with ease and didn’t dismiss while rendering treatment.
And it was the chance for the show to drag in that random Indigenous intern or resident they added some time back but rarely show, so he could speak on his experiences as a Navajo man who comes from a family of healers and knew rituals to perform.
Any positive Indigenous representation on network TV is a plus, so I was grateful for it at all, even if I wish it didn’t feel so one-note.
But the hour mostly saw everyone revolving around Meredith. They were either fretting over her and trying to make sure she was good or prepping the house for her return. Or they wanted to throw her a party or figure out how to share the news with her.
DeLuca’s farewell is a season-long one, as Jo took a moment to share how much she liked DeLuca with Carina, knowing she was going to spread his ashes. And Bailey and Richard praised DeLuca’s hard work for why Meredith survived.
Mer: Then, what is it?
Bailey: Meredith, there is something we need to tell you.
Richard: It’s about Andrew.
Mer: He’s Okay.
Bailey: Meredith, he’s not.
Mer: He is with his mother.
The two of them struggling to tell her the truth was as predictable as us, knowing that Mer knew anyway, but when she shared that he was OK and with his mom, it elicited some chills.
Mer’s reunion with her kids was sweet, and Amelia’s surprise and happiness when she unexpectedly showed up made you smile a bit. Amelia, bless her, always seems out of the loop with all things Mer.
Link can say whatever he pleases, but much like Owen and Winston pointed out, he’s going to be at the Sister House.
The trio of guys had some amusing moments and dialogue. They breezed through the Mer introduction to Winston.
And I guess we’re on another round of Teddy and Owen as a couple. If Tom weren’t already leaving, then he would’ve after finding out Teddy and Owen are back together after all the fighting and drama.
Teddy was in high spirits and in a good place mentally, but there’s no surprise there, no? At this rate, one can’t help but feel indifferent to her and Owen, making amends and jumping back into a relationship together.
Jo is happy as a lark as an OBGYN resident, and she looks cute in her pink scrubs; I’ll give her that.
Helm’s depression and Levi’s concern for her also got lost in the hour, and it would’ve had a bigger impact if we ever spent more time following Helm at all.
Maggie and Teddy both observed her loneliness and depression, but there hasn’t been any other follow-up or screentime to address her clear burnout.
Helm’s the only other resident remaining from Levi’s class since the others left or flat out disappeared, but we spend no real time with her.
Maybe that’ll change now that she is moving in with Levi, and it seems she, Levi, and Jo will become some new version of Meredith, Izzie, and George. The irony of a Mer-obsessed Helm, placeholder Izzie, and George-Lite living together isn’t lost.
Over to you, Grey’s Fanatics. Was that a satisfactory and emotional farewell to Jackson? What was your favorite goodbye? Are you surprised Tom left, too?
Are you happy Mer’s home? Hit the comments below.
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.