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I've heard that when tidal waves hit, there are often people watching on shore. They see the disaster coming, see the horizon disappearing. They don't really see until it's too late. There's a lecture we take in residency that's meant to prepare us for such disasters. It's called Disaster Ethics, where future surgeons imagine what they would do when the unimaginable happens. But it's imperfect. Because while it's good to plan for the worst, you can't really know how you'll handle it until you're smack dab in the middle of it, under the wave, trying not to drown. Disaster has a tendency to melt away everything else in life. So if you want to know who you'll be in a disaster, ask yourself, "Who am I now?".

All Tomorrow's Parties is the first episode of the seventeenth season and the 364th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

In the midst of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grey Sloan Memorial and its surgeons' lives have been turned upside down. The season 17 premiere picks up one month into the pandemic, and it's all-hands-on-deck as Meredith, Bailey, and the rest of the Grey Sloan doctors find themselves on the frontlines of a new era. Meanwhile, an unintentionally started fire has first responders from Station 19 bringing patients into the hospital for treatment.

Full Summary[]

As the voice over talks about upcoming disaster, Meredith is sitting on a beach looking at the ocean.

She wakes up from her dream in a chaotic ICU filled with COVID-19 patients. It's April 2020.

The firefighters from Station 19, family and friends have gathered outside the ER to clap for the doctors, nurses and other frontline workers as they start and end their shifts. Bailey and Ben share an intimate moment from a distance. They tell each other to be careful. Bailey says they are doing everything right. She puts on her face shield. She is surprised to see Richard, who came to work. He's better than ever. Bailey tells him everything has changed. Specialties and the hierarchy no longer matter. It's chaos. Richard is happy to work with residents, like DeLuca. Bailey flashes back to a distraught Andrew lying down in an on-call room and tells Richard that Andrew is no longer a resident.

Flashback. Meredith tells Carina that Andrew is on-call room 3. She made him come in as she didn't want to leave him alone. Carina scoffs at Meredith caring about his wellbeing now. Bailey asks what's going on. Carina says he's going through the depression that follows the mania. She warned them but they pushed him anyway.

Bailey shows Richard the line of employees. Everyone has to have their temperatures checked and answer questions before they are allowed inside.

While in line, Maggie is video chatting with Winston, who's back in Boston. She tells him about a picnic with Zola that turned into a sleepover on the laundry room floor with Zola on the other side of the door. She was too tired to go back to her hotel, where she would end up watching the news with horrible statistics. Winston tried to talk to his grandmother about how it's worse for black folks but she's more concerned with being unable to go to church. A nurse calls Winston over. He tells Maggie bye, adding "love you." Jackson, who's behind Maggie, comments that it sounds like things are serious now. Maggie tries to brush it off and asks about Vic. She appreciates the daily clap-out.

Flashback. Jackson is playing with Harriet as his bell rings. It's Vic, who's wearing nothing but a coat. He covers Harriet's eyes. Vic thought he meant now when they were texting and he mentioned her coming over with nothing on. Jackson invites her in but she declines. She is not a stepmother. This was too much, too soon. She says bye to Harriet and leaves.

Zander is manning the triage post. As Richard and Bailey watch, he directs a man with an allergic reaction to the ER and shuts down a racist comment.

Inside a tent, nurse Karen is short with Teddy while friendly with Owen. Bailey explains to Richard they have another tent for visitors as they are not allowed in the hospital anymore except for those accompanying children. Richard greets the doctors and checks if Teddy still goes by Altman. She does. Owen and Teddy get back to work while Bailey explains that patients with symptoms suggestive for COVID are triaged here. Those with severe symptoms are admitted, the others are sent home to quarantine there. Richard brings up the voicemail of Teddy and Tom having sex.

Inside the hospital, Bailey tells Richard the entire east wing is now a COVID ward. Severe patients go to a special ICU. Staff are reusing the PPE that is available. A code is called inside but Bailey stops Richard from entering. Since PPE is in short supply, a limited number of staff is assigned this special ICU. Meredith yells at them from inside that she lost her fourth patient today. They are all dying alone. She welcomes Richard back.

Owen is surprised to see an ambulance outside the ER since they are no longer open to trauma. It's Vic and Travis bringing in the boy with severe full-thickness burns. Vic points out he would be murdering this kid if they refuse him. Owen concedes.

Bailey shows Richard the empty OR board. Only emergent surgeries are allowed now. She then excitedly shows him their new UV light cleaning apparatus that can disinfect rooms in minutes. She loves it. Tom appears and welcomes Richard back. He is carrying a nine-iron to keep people at a six-feet distance. Bailey asks Tom about the shipment of PPE. He promises it's coming as he walks off. Richard asks about Catherine. Bailey says she has been coming in sometimes. As she is paged for a trauma, she instructs Richard to read the safety manuals and memorize the new protocols.

Flashback. Bailey enters the on-call room where Carina is comforting Andrew. She brings up Cindy Wright, the girl Andrew said was being trafficked. She came back. Carina objects but Bailey says Andrew is the only person that Cindy trusts right now. A broken Andrew reluctantly agrees to come. He accompanies Bailey to Cindy's gurney. Cindy apologizes. Andrew says she has nothing to apologize for and asks her how she came here. When she got sicker, Opal dumped her at the side of the interstate. Cindy remembered this place and him so she came back. Andrew decides to stay by her side during her scan. As he walks with her, Taryn questions his mental wellbeing but Bailey orders her to get him a lead vest.

As her patient is taken to the morgue, Meredith calls Levi to tell him that her patient died. She couldn't reach his wife, who is in the visitor tent with Levi. Her flip phone died. Levi hates that she didn't get to say goodbye after 62 years of marriage. Meredith says it happened fast. She asks Levi to deliver the news or find someone who can.

Bailey joins Owen and Jackson in the trauma room as they work on the burned kid. Jackson informs her the kid broke quarantine to go to a party. Owen and Jackson perform escharotomies to allow the kid's lungs to properly expand. Jackson wants to take the kid to the OR to start debriding. Owen paged help already since he has to stay here for more incoming traumas. Jo comes in. She and Jackson share an awkward moment as they flash back to them kissing in Jackson's penthouse. Owen checks if they are okay. They say they are.

As they scrub in, Jackson brings up that the kid was out partying with friends. Jo sighs and says people do stupid things.

Flashback. Jo finds Jackson in the scan room. She asks him for a sex favor. She wants to have sex with someone she trusts to get over Alex so she can stop feeling like a sad sack. Jackson is up for it. Jo proposes tonight. He agrees. She thanks him and awkwardly hugs him.

In the COVID ICU, Meredith calls Dora to inform her that her father's condition got much worse. If she wants to say goodbye, she should come now. Meredith says she is sorry and hangs up. She sits down and texts Andrew to check in.

Andrew is sleeping on the couch at this place, surrounded by half-eaten takeout. He has several missed calls from the hospital, Carina, and Bailey.

Flashback. Cindy tells Andrew that her name is Erin Banks. She is from Scottsdale, Arizona. This photographer followed her on Snapchat and asked to meet her for his modelling agency. Her parents said no but she snuck out to meet him. That was two years ago. Bailey instructs Taryn to go call the police and inform them. Erin feels stupid. Andrew tells her none of this is her fault. She is safe now. Opal threatened to take her sister, too, if Erin talked to anyone.

Maggie, Teddy, and several residents are excited to find that a delivery of PPE has just arrived at the loading dock. Maggie hugs a pile of boxes. Tom thinks they need a system. Teddy just wants to open all the boxes and run around the hospital like Santa Claus. Tom orders two residents to stand guard. As they open more boxes, they find that all the boxes contain booties. There are no masks. Tom works out his anger on the boxes with his iron.

Jackson and Jo are operating on Kayden Lee. Jo comments it's hot in the OR. Jackson explains that is because the burns leave Kayden unable to regulate his body temperature. Jo snaps that she knows that.

Flashback. Jo shows up at Jackson's with a bottle of booze. He brought out wine for them to drink. He realizes he set it up as a date while it's not a date. She mocks his plate of cheese and cured meat and the romantic music he has put on. He takes the bottle from her and takes a sip. She never dated a guy this rich. They remember why they are there and start kissing until Jo starts crying. He stops and says they can do it some other time. They sit down on the couch and he comforts her.

Levi brought Bailey to the visitors' tent to talk to Kayden's parents. They hate that they can't see their son. Bailey understands but assure them he is getting the best possible care. Frankie's father arrives. Bailey checks and says he still must be en route. Bailey hates leaving the desperate parents behind.

Flashback. While operating on Erin, Bailey has Taryn check if missing persons was able to reach Erin's parents in Arizona or her sister in Portland. Meredith suggests she take over from Bailey but Bailey refuses to let Erin down once again. Meredith says she assessed the situation the best she could, and also Andrew was distracting back then. Bailey doesn't know what they should with Andrew. She understands the feeling of realizing you need help but resisting it. Richard helped her to seek treatment for her OCD. Meredith thinks they should not give up on Andrew.

Bailey hears from Owen that Frankie still hasn't arrived yet. Owen thinks he might have been taken elsewhere since they are not open to trauma. Richard comes up and starts talking about nurses cleaning their masks with bleach. Bailey stops him and orders him to get back to reading and memorizing protocols. This is no longer the hospital he left so he needs to learn how they operate now.

Maggie accepts a call from Winston, who brings up what slipped out at the end of their last call. Winston explains he was actually saying it to Kingsley as part of an initiative they started to make all staff feel valued. He asks if it freaked her out. She admits only a little. He is glad to hear that as he wouldn't want to lose the one person who can make him feel good during this mess. She says it's even more romantic than "love you."

While reading in his office, Richard sees Deborah Lee roaming the hall. Deborah explains that her son was burned badly. He just turned 18 and while he is an adult now, he is still her little boy. Knowing what it feels like to worry so much about someone that you fear it will break you, Richard takes pity on her and takes her to go see him.

Flashback. Bailey brings Andrew into her office, where Richard, Carina, Meredith, and Cynthia Cole are waiting for him. Carina talks about how happy she was the day she found out he was born. He will always be her baby brother. He doesn't have to be hurting. They all want to help him. Richard talks about how much talent he has and Meredith adds that caring so much and fighting so hard can be a strength. Bailey talks about living with mental illness, which she manages with therapy and medication. There is no shame in that. Andrew scoffs. His one goal in life has been to not end up like his father. He wanted that even more than being a surgeon. He would give up every life he has ever saved and knowing Meredith if it meant he wouldn't have to feel like this. He breaks down. He knows he's not okay but he doesn't know what to do. Carina says he has to listen to the people that know what to do and that want to help him. Meredith says they only want him to fight as hard for himself as he does for everybody else. He gives in.

As she enters a supply closet, Meredith calls Zander Perez to find someone to cover his shift so he can walk Dora up to the ICU so she can say goodbye. She grows increasingly frustrated and takes it out on the supply racks while completely melting down. Andrew, wearing navy scrubs, comes in and starts cleaning up.

Meredith asks him where he's been. He was at home sleeping it off and ignored his phone. Sleeping is the way not to let the mania creep back in. Meredith says all of her patients are dying. Andrew apologizes for not having been there. He tells her he is okay. She is glad to hear that but asks him to let people know where he is.

Flashback. Meredith and Bailey walk with Abby Banks to her sister's room and explain her condition. Meredith stresses that Erin will need years of support and therapy. Abby is determined not to let her out of her sight again. They arrive and Abby rushes to Erin to hug her. Abby repeatedly tells Erin that this is not her fault.

Richard and Deborah arrive in the burn unit. From inside Kayden's room, Jackson sees how Richard helps her put on a gown. He comes out and tells Richard this is not allowed. Richard pleads with Jackson to give her a few minutes. Deborah shouts to her son that she's there and that she loves him.

Richard paged Bailey, who immediately asks if he has gotten through all the protocols yet. He tells her she is not his mother. She quips that she is his boss. He knows what her job is because he taught her. He brought her down here for some good news but all she seems interested in is questioning his abilities. He found a way to clean the PPE without using antibacterial wipes, which deteriorates the masks. He shows her that he has set up a room with the UV light device to disinfect all the masks. Bailey is delighted. She is worried about his vulnerability. He is high-risk for COVID and he has already given more to this hospital than anyone ever could, so he has earned the right to stay home and stay safe. Richard says his relationship with the hospital and Bailey is the only one that hasn't failed. He will find no peace if he has to leave this place. Richard tells Bailey he is in awe of her work.

A nurse takes Deborah back to the tent. Jo joins Jackson inside Kayden's room. He is stable. Jackson wants to apologize to Jo if that will help her feel less angry. Jo says she is mortified around him, not angry. She cried and snotted into his mouth while he was trying to do her a favor. They agree she wasn't ready for it but she was doing her best. They are friends so if she can get over the mortification and stop treating him like crap, they are all good. They agree to pretend it never happened.

Deborah tells her husband that she saw Kayden. She couldn't see his face. Bailey comes in to tell Aaron that Frankie was taken to Seattle Pres but they turned the ambulance away since they are understaffed, so she reached out to Ben to bring Frankie back here. Frankie is stable and he should arrive soon. Nico walks up to Levi and asks him to let Mrs. Bronson know that her husband's ORIF went fine. Levi hopes that Nico is doing okay because Levi himself is not. He has told 100 people that their loved one has died. He's not sure how long he can keep doing this. He's scared things will get much worse. And while they are not together anymore, he stills cares about Nico. Nico just says he is doing fine and walks off. Meanwhile, Steve and Aaron have gotten into an argument over their teenagers breaking quarantine. Steve says they all did it for Frankie, who was only posting on his socials about missing his friends. Aaron says that happens when you miss a year of school due to being sick. Also, he doesn't want a lecture from someone who has get-togethers without masks at his lake house. Aaron states kids learn by example and Kayden happens to be learning from a selfish moron. Steve then punches him in the face. Aaron then tackles Steve, knocking down Bailey in the process. Security quickly intervenes while Bailey finds her leg is hurt.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]

Co-Starring[]

Uncredited[]

Medical Notes[]

Rashy Man[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Rash
  • Treatment:

A man came to the hospital with a rash on his face. He had a nut allergy, but didn't think he'd consumed any nuts. Zander took his temperature and then directed him inside the hospital.

Covid Patients[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Covid-19
  • Treatment:
    • Supportive care

Marvin Lindstrom, 83, Doris Sanchez, and Tom Richardson all died of Covid-19 at the hospital.

Kayden Lee[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Full-thickness burns
  • Treatment:
    • Escharotomy
    • Debridement
    • Burn cream

Kayden, 18, was brought to the hospital with full-thickness burns over almost his entire body. He'd been intubated at the scene and was hypotensive and tachycardic. They put in an IO line and did an escharotomy on his chest when his burns prevented his lungs from expanding. He was then taken up to the OR for debridement. After his surgery, he was stable in the ICU getting treated with burn cream.

Erin Banks[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Abdominal hernia
  • Treatment:
    • Hernia repair
    • IV antibiotics

Erin returned to the hospital after having been previously diagnosed with a hernia that wasn't treated. She was a human trafficking victim and when she got sicker, her captor said she was useless and left her on the side of the road. She was taken into surgery, where her hernia was repaired. There was still inflammation in her abdomen afterward, so they gave her IV antibiotics.

Andrew DeLuca[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Bipolar disorder
  • Treatment:

After his depressive episode following Richard's surgery, Andrew's loved ones surrounded him and convinced him to get help. Dr. Cole told him that sleep was an important part of maintaining his health.

Mr. Bronson[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Open reduction and internal fixation

Mr. Bronson had an ORIF and Nico said it went fine.

Music[]

Song Performer Scene
"For a Minute" Wizthemc
  • Tom and the others celebrate the arrival of PPE.
  • They start opening to find it's all booties.
"Surviving" Luca Fogale
  • Carina and Meredith comfort Andrew as he breaks down.
  • Andrew agrees to get help.
  • Meredith calls for a family member to be brought up to say goodbye.
  • She starts shoving supplies off shelves and crying.
  • Andrew comes in and starts picking things up, surprising her.
"Feels Like Freedom" Joanna Jones
  • Bailey and Meredith bring Erin's sister to see her.
  • They have a happy reunion.
  • Richard brings Kayden's mom to see him.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • This episode's title originated from the song All Tomorrow's Parties, originally sung by The Velvet Underground.
  • This episode scored 5.93 million viewers.
  • The table read for this episode took place on September 3, 2020.
  • Filming started September 8, 2020.
  • This is the first episode of the series to feature Richard Flood and Anthony Hill as part of the main cast. Flood recurred as Dr. Cormac Hayes throughout the sixteenth season while Hill made one guest appearance as Dr. Winston Ndugu in the episode Love of My Life. It can be presumed that Winston was set to appear in more episodes which ended up being cut from the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Jay Hayden makes his first appearance as Travis Montgomery on Grey's Anatomy, which means all series regulars on Station 19 have now appeared on Grey's Anatomy. Jay filmed scenes for last season of Grey's Anatomy but they always ended up being cut from the episodes.
  • Goof: Andrew's badge still reads Chief Resident despite being promoted to attending.

Gallery[]

Episode Stills[]

Quotes[]

Richard: Just tell me where you want me, but don't say back home.
Bailey: Well, everything's changed. I mean, specialties no longer matter. Surgeons check temperatures. Attendings do scut. It's a madhouse. On fire.
Richard: Well, you better show me around. Unless you're too busy. You can send me off with a resident. You know, I'd love to say hello to DeLuca.
Bailey: DeLuca is no longer a resident.

Rashy Man: This happens when I eat nuts, but I didn't eat any nuts. Uh, I don't think. Those food labels are small.
Zander: Okay. So you are going to want to follow the purple line to the ER.
Rashy Man: I don't want a Chinese doctor.
Zander: Oh, okay. Then you're going to want to follow this green line to the parking lot, put your rude self back in your car and hope you don't go into anaphylactic shock.

Owen: Hughes, we're not taking...
Victoria: No, I know. I know you're not taking any non-Covid cases, but you are taking this teenager with full thickness burns from head to toe from a car explosion. I intubated him on the scene. He's hypotensive and tachycardic and you are the best so you are taking him because if you send us away, he dies, and that makes you a murderer.

Richard: Bailey, what the hell is that?
Bailey: Oh, not that, her. She's my new best friend. She hates germs as much as I do. See that UV light? It can disinfect a room in minutes. Hands-free.
Richard: That's incredible.
Bailey: I used to go see babies when I needed serotonin. But they don't let visitors on the OB floor anymore. So now I come see her. She's sleek, beautiful, she hates germs. I love her.
Tom: Uh, do my eyes deceive me? Captain Cobalt, welcome back!

Jackson: I'm about to be done here if you need the room.
Jo: No, actually, I was looking for you. I need a favor.
Jackson: Cool. Consult?
Jo: Yeah, kind of. Actually, no, not like a consult. Um... Sex.
Jackson: What's that?
Jo: Sex. I need sex. I need a sex favor. A sexual favor.
Jackson: What?
Jo: I need a bridge over the river of the husband who abandoned me. A short bridge. No, like a one-night bridge.
Jackson: I can't tell if you're being serious. Are you...
Jo: Look, I don't know how to be single or feel single again. I just... I don't know how to cross over the bridge over into the land of Not a Sad Sack. Of Not a...
Jackson: The land of Not a Sad Sack? Okay.
Jo: Okay, I need to have sex, Jackson. With someone that I trust to be safe and just not murder me in my sleep. And I need a bridge, so I'm asking. I am truly asking for a favor. A sexy favor. And you can say no if you feel used or objectified or whatever, but I hope that you just feel flattered because I'm mostly saying that you're a human male that I kind of trust.
Jackson: Okay.
Jo: Like, okay okay?
Jackson: I mean, it's not exactly a hardship, Jo.

Tom: Altman, can I help you?
Teddy: Uh, yeah. I mean, our nurses are using rubber bands to hold on their masks. Can't we help you open these?
Maggie: Or were you planning to sell them on the black market? Oh, my God, were you?
Tom: No, no, I just... We need a system.
Teddy: Yeah, okay, well, you know, we open these, we take the masks, and run around the hospital like Santa Claus on Christmas. That's the system.
Tom: Fine, fine, but you two stand guard in case someone sneaks in from another hospital.
Mabel: Are you serious?
Tom: This stuff is paper gold, Tseng. So now you're the best-educated security guard this side of the Mississippi.

Winston: So when I said goodbye earlier, something kinda slipped out.
Maggie: Hmm. You're gonna need to be more specific. Oh, you mean when you dropped a "love you" on me and then jumped off our call?
Winston: Right, okay, so you heard. Yeah, so, um, so, yeah, I wasn't really saying that to you. That was to my colleague Kingsley. It's this little initiative we started at my hospital. It's kind of like a morale boost, so that the whole staff feels valued.
Maggie: Oh, yeah, that makes way more sense than you saying it to me because that would be...
Winston: Ridiculous, yeah, I know. And maybe scare you away. For real, though. Did I freak you out?
Maggie: Weirdly, only a little.
Winston: Okay, good. Because if I lost the one place in the world where I actually manage to feel good during this mess, I think I'd be done for.
Maggie: Me, too. And somehow you just made it more romantic than saying "love."
Winston: See how I do?

Carina: Andrea, the day you were born, Nonna was babysitting me. And when she told me I had a baby brother, I ran outside and I splashed around in the puddles of rain and shouted at the sky because I was so happy. You will always be my baby brother. And I know you're hurting right now. I know that. But you don't have to be. There is help for you. All of us want to help you.
Richard: DeLuca, even if you hadn't saved my life, I'd be here. I've seen class after class come through this program. I've done it enough to know when someone has something special. Don't throw this away.
Meredith: What seems like a weakness is actually a strength, if you get help. Because you care so deeply. You fight so hard for your patients, for the people you love. That's not illness. That's you.
Bailey: You know I live with obsessive compulsive disorder. But I take medication. I get therapy, and I stay on top of it. And, no, it is not always easy for me. Look, you're not alone. You have an illness, but there's no shame in that.
Andrew: No shame?
Bailey: No.
Andrew: That's a joke, right?
Cynthia: Why do you think it's a joke? To say there's no shame?
Andrew: My whole life, I've had one goal. One thing that would mean I did okay. Don't end up like my Dad. I wanted it more than being a surgeon. One thing. And I just... I failed.
Carina: No, you're not like him.
Andrew: I don't care what you think, okay? I don't care about Bailey's OCD. I don't care about saving Richard's life. I would give up every life I have ever saved if I could just not feel like this. I'd give up knowing you! God!
Carina: Hey. Hey.
Andrew: I know I'm not okay. I just don't know what to do.
Carina: Okay. You listen to the people that know what to do and let them help you, Andrea. That's it.
Meredith: All we're asking you to do is fight as hard for yourself as you do for everybody else.

Bailey: You're genius.
Richard: I know. I'm not sure how you forgot.
Bailey: I did not. And it's not about your ability, Richard. It's about your vulnerability. You know you are high risk for Covid right now. Look, you have already given more of yourself to this hospital than anyone ever could. And you have overcome, you have suffered, and you are why this hospital is as good as it is today. You're why I am as good as I am today. And you, Richard, have earned the right to stay home, to stay safe, and to rest. This thing, it's only going to get worse.
Richard: Every relationship I've ever had has failed. Except this one. And this place. I will find no peace, no peace, if I have to leave it.
Bailey: You are going to give me a second heart attack, you know that?
Richard: Bailey... You know I got to tell you that this place couldn't ask for a better chief. I'm in awe. Even though I taught you most of it.

Levi: I hope you're doing okay. Because I'm not. I hit 100 this morning. 100 times I've had to tell someone that their loved one has died. That's 10 times as much as I've had to do since I started here. And it's making me wonder how much longer I can keep doing this because 100 is a big number. And I'm afraid of getting to a place where it's not so big. And I know that we're not together, but you're still a person that I care about and I don't know. I thought that you might want to know how I'm doing. Which is terrible. And I really hope that you're okay.
Nico: I'm fine.

See Also[]

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.

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