'Grey's Anatomy' Season 16 Episode 19 Review: Richard Webber's escalating illness makes for a painful watch
There's a painful twist at the end of the episode and it gives a dark hint that we might lose a part of the Richard Webber that we know and love
Lately, watching 'Grey's Anatomy' has been rather difficult to stomach with its haphazard romantic plotlines, the miserable exit of Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) and the receding of important characters into the background.
Yet, the latest episode of the ABC medical drama was a punch in the gut. Well, at least the Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr) storyline, not much else is really worth mentioning. Ironically, Webber's illness and the sheer shock of it can make one forget the rest of the episode.
Teddy Altman (Kim Raver), Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary), Hayes and Richard Webber are at a grand medical conference and each of them has their own issues to deal with.
It turns out that Teddy isn't new to homewrecking. She meets an old friend, who lets her know that she is well-aware that Teddy betrayed her by sleeping with her girlfriend 20 years ago. Yeah, Teddy is bi-sexual. We didn't know that, and probably the showrunners didn't either, till this episode.
Teddy breaks down and apologises to her and says that she never meant to hurt her. "She loved you too," a tearful Teddy says while justifying that "It is possible to love two people at once". Nice going, Teddy. We haven't forgotten that you slept with Tom Koracick and cheated on Owe Hunt (Kevin McKidd).
Meanwhile, Maggie seems to be living out a grand fantasy. Don't you just wish that a handsome and rich man, who you might be formally acquainted with, comes up to you and confesses that he always had a mad crush on you? Well, that happens to Maggie.
In a span of five minutes, they sleep together and spend the evening sharing their life stories and personal experiences. They seem to have made a strong connection too and the over-enthusiastic lover asks if she could move to Boston or whether he should come to Seattle.
Yes, we've all been hoping for Maggie to find love and move over from Jackson, but hey, a little warning wouldn't hurt. Nevertheless, it was pleasant to see Maggie with someone and looking happy for a change.
The episode provides some insight into Hayes' backstory which is quite touching, to be fair. We learn about his heartwarming romance with his wife, and how she finally succumbed to skin cancer.
They have a painful bedside conversation, where she reminds him that "It is okay to be a mess". Something that we need to be reminded of, frequently.
Hayes is proving to be an intriguing character. We hope he stays and adds something to the story, rather than just being a potential love interest for Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). Speaking of which, there's no mention of Andrew DeLuca, who zoomed off on a motorbike in the previous episode.
Saving the best for last. You wouldn't have seen that Richard Webber arc coming this episode. Richard has been through such turbulent times that it seems rather normal that somewhere, it would take a toll on him.
His unresolved issues with Catherine Fox (Debbie Allen) rise to the surface and manifest in the form of what seems to be a heartbreaking mental decline. There's a painful twist at the end of the episode and it gives a dark hint that we might lose a part of the Richard Webber that we know and love.
One thing is clear, he doesn't want to end his relationship with Catherine. He wants to mend things. He wants to have those laughs and that safe feeling of love again. The end of the episode is unsettling and very difficult to watch.
For the first time in ages, you can't help but wonder what will happen in the next episode of 'Grey's Anatomy'. The show airs on ABC on Thursdays at 9 pm.