Grey's Anatomy Season Finale: Webber Finally Gets a Diagnosis and Devastating Truths Come Out
COVID-19 may have led to an abbreviated season for many popular network shows — but Thursday night's season 16 ender of Grey's Anatomy still had plenty of finale-worthy reveals
Warning: The following article contains spoilers from the season 16 finale of Grey’s Anatomy.
The novel coronavirus may have meant the early shutdown of production for Hollywood — and therefore an abbreviated run for many popular network shows — but Thursday night’s season 16 ender of Grey’s Anatomy still had plenty of finale-worthy reveals.
Starting with what’s going on with Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.).
For weeks, it was clear something was off with the former chief. His hands were shaking, his moods erratic, and then there was his meltdown during a conference that sent Maggie (Kelly McCreary), Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), Catherine (Debbie Allen) and the rest of his loved ones scrambling to figure out what was wrong. As he faced test after test and theories were eliminated, Maggie and neurosurgeons Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Tom (Greg Germann) became confident he had Alzheimer’s.
Meredith, along with ex-boyfriend Andrew (Giacomo Gianniotti), were not convinced. When the docs were preparing to check Richard out and send him home with Catherine, he slipped and admitted to numbness in his legs and fingers. That, Meredith quickly pointed out, is not a symptom of Alzheimer’s — and she talked the gang into running tests on his nerves.
When it was clear there was indeed an issue, Meredith and Bailey (Chandra Wilson) prepared Richard for surgery. Just as they were about to cut, Andrew, who was on suspension for his own erratic behavior (more on that later), barged into the O.R. and dramatically insisted they stop. He believed Richard had cobalt poisoning from a hip replacement surgery he’d had three years ago … and he was right.
Richard was immediately prepped for surgery to have his hip replacement replaced. From the goop Lincoln (Chris Carmack) pulled from his body, I really hope cobalt isn’t part of hip replacements for real. Or that cobalt poisoning isn’t real. I should really Google that, but I have a recap to finish. So back to it!
Richard made it through the surgery just fine and, as he woke up, he seemed back to his old self. He recognized Jackson (Jesse Williams) and Maggie and even cracked a joke about the easy questions they were asking him. But then Catherine came in and was sweet and rubbing his legs and talking about taking him home — and he was (rightfully!) having none of it. He remembered every last second of her firing him last season and then buying and shuttering Pac North hospital where he was working just to humiliate him, and he wanted nothing to do with her. So we’ll have that to sort out when the show comes back for season 17 …
In other news, oh hey! It’s Teddy (Kim Raver) and Owen’s (Kevin McKidd) wedding day! And Tom didn’t approve Owen’s time off, in what only seems like one last effort to keep the wedding from happening.
But Teddy is insistent — it is happening! — when Tom later pages her to his office and vows to sit in his car and wait for her to be a runaway bride and take her anywhere she wants to go. Because he loves her and he’s convinced she loves him too and now he’s in her face and they’re kissing and, oh no!
Well, make that a double oh no, because for some reason, Teddy was calling Owen while she was in Tom’s office and then dropped her phone on the floor as things got steamy. And Owen must have quite the lengthy voicemail greeting (or Tom … nevermind, not going there) because the message left after the beep was the sound of Teddy and Tom peaking and then Teddy claiming it was goodbye sex before her wedding.
Ooph. Poor Owen. He wisely canceled the evening’s nuptials and didn’t bother telling the bride, who showed up ready to go like nothing happened, only to find Owen’s mom (Debra Mooney) putting away decorations and talking about rescheduling. The whole thing almost makes you miss the day Owen actually did have a runaway bride, Amelia, who ran back just in time. And then ran again not long after the wedding (but we’ll blame that on her brain tumor and stop the sordid Owen and Amelia rehash there). Definitely makes you miss him and Cristina Yang (but when don’t we miss Sandra Oh’s Cristina Yang?). Still, Owen’s had a rough go of his love life — and it doesn’t look like it’ll be any easier come season 17.
After making the remarkable diagnosis of cobalt poisoning — a call that even Meredith recognized could be “career-defining” — Andrew had a total tear-filled meltdown, seemingly proving Meredith and his sister Carina’s (Stefania Spampinato) fear that he has bipolar disorder, which runs in his family. That truth may continue to be a hard pill to swallow come season 17, but hopefully he’ll get the help that he needs.
I’m just not sure that help should be coming from Meredith, though, who perhaps is sending mixed messages about whether or not she wants to be with him when she brings him home. Still, she cares, and that’s good. But it’s high time Meredith actually goes out with her gift from Cristina, Cormac (Richard Flood). At least she asked him to ask her again this time. We’ll get there next season, no doubt.
Season 16 didn’t just end with super-sad, heavy, drama-laden lows. There was one very big high: Amelia and Link were friggin’ adorable (they may have had the best chemistry they’ve had all season in this episode) and are now the proud, madly in love parents of a baby boy.
Grey’s Anatomy may be over for the season, but doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are working their tails off around the globe as they save lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For ways to help support and feed them, click here.
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