Some of the world's top trauma specialists have proven that our brains may forget the traumas we survive, but our bodies, especially our nervous systems, always keep score. Memories are stored in our shoulders, spines, stomach or hands, without us ever knowing. We assume a painful backache or shaky hand is something harmless, random, but it could be more. It might be our bodies reminding us of what we've endured and warning us not to let it happen again. Trauma doesn't tell time. It can't tell if we're eight or fort-one, if our kids have the chicken pox or if we have the biggest surgeries of our lives to perform. And when it sneaks up on us, it's easy to think we're right back at square one. But the truth is, even when our brain convinces us we're lost, if we try hard enough, our bodies always remind us there's a way back. And prepares us for whatever fight lies ahead.

Breathe Again is the fifth episode of the sixteenth season and the 347th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short SummaryEdit

Meredith has a court hearing after skipping out on community service, while Bailey and Jo have a patient that Jo realizes is from the treatment facility. Richard and Gemma grab breakfast together and things go awry.

Full SummaryEdit

Alex, Meredith, and Richard are operating. Meredith calls for a clamp and gets handed the tool she uses to pick up garbage. She says she needs a clamp, but Nancy Klein calls from the gallery that she shouldn't have skipped her community service. Meredith gets sent out of the OR.

Meredith wakes to Zola telling her she doesn't feel well. Meredith says she doesn't feel well either and holds Zola.

Ben comes in and tells Bailey he just helped put out one of the worst fires he's ever seen. She has something to tell him, but he lies down on the bed, saying he's just measuring it. She tries to tell him she's pregnant, but he falls asleep before she can get it out.

Meredith tells Ellis to eat her cereal. Bailey asks about her orange vest, but she's not wearing it today because instead she has to go to court. She goes over to Zola, who is holding her head. Zola says her head hurts and her eyes hurt. Then she vomits.

Richard is leaving when he runs into Gemma. He had an all-night surgery. Gemma says she was going to pick up her paycheck and take him to breakfast. He tries to decline, but she talks him into it.

Andrew is updating Tom on his patients, but Tom wants to talk about how Meredith is going to make things right with Grey Sloan. Andrew says Tom has to ask Meredith about it, but Tom gives some suggestions anyway. Meredith then comes up to Tom with Zola. She tells him Zola needs a CT and tells him about her history of spina bifida.

Levi talks about the history of the hyperbaric chamber as they wheel their patient to it. Bailey sees Jo and tells her the patient is Carly Davis and she has carbon monoxide poisoning from a suspected suicide attempt. Jo recognizes the patient from her residential treatment and says she'll join the case, pushing Levi off it.

While they wait for the CT, they talk about what might be hurting Zola. Meredith gets a text. She knows it's her lawyer reminding her she has to be in court. Amelia comes in. Zola's CT comes up and shows that she needs a shunt revision. Amelia starts talking about how she'd do the surgery, but Tom corrects that he'll be doing it because Zola's not his niece. As he goes to get ready, Andrew tells Meredith she can go to court and he'll stay with Zola. Meredith makes it clear she's not leaving and he goes to book the OR.

Meredith gives Taryn her number and tells her to text her every step of the way and not let Tom or anyone else kick her out. Taryn is delighted to do it. Meredith walks Zola to surgery and Tom reminds her that she needs to wait in the waiting room with the other people who don't work at the hospital. Meredith tells Zola she's brave and Tom says he's got her. Andrew offers to skip the surgery to sit with Meredith, but Meredith says he should be in the surgery, so he goes.

Bailey is upset to learn that Jo knows Carly. Jo says Carly was just one of her therapists. She had three, different therapists for different things. Jo struggles to keep her hands steady as the work, so Bailey takes over and asks if Jo knows anything about her medical history, anything to indicate why she'd would want to commit suicide? Jo only knows that she's 13 years sober with a serious addiction to almonds and science fiction. Jo doesn't know why she'd do this. Jo starts to laugh. She's forgotten everything Carly taught her about how to calm her nervous system. Bailey guesses that they were close, but Jo says she couldn't stand Carly.

Jo sits in Carly's office. She's upset because she's missing pool time. Jo says she's already had therapy today, three hours of group, and it's fruit punch day, which is the worst. Now Carly wants her to do EMDR. She used her media time to research EMDR. Carly agrees to let Jo go if she can explain EMDR in 30 seconds or less. Jo explains it, but she misses the part where it helps illuminate your capital T Trauma. Jo denies having any of that. She just learned something horrible about her life. Carly grabs an almond and Jo says if she's going to eat in front of her, she could at least share. Carly says she doesn't share food because of boundaries. She starts the EMDR with Jo. Jo's safe place is an OR. Jo admits to feeling shame because she's not in an OR. Carly asks about a childhood memory that gives her that feeling. Jo says no. Carly asks about memories that play over and over. Jo tries to downplay it, but admits that she keeps replaying her birth mother pulling her hand away at the diner over and over. They start with that.

Jo's starting to panic more. She shouldn't be in the chamber with her. She was back at work, doing fine and now she's screwed up and she's back to square one. She needs to get out, but she can't leave. What does it mean for her if the one person who could make her feel better could go off and attempt suicide? Jo takes off her lab coat and shoes and untucks her shirt. She then starts listing the steps of a chest tube. She tells Bailey it's a way to calm down, listing things she knows by heart. She starts to panic again and can't think of something else, so Bailey yells out that she's pregnant to get Jo thinking about something else.

While Meredith waits, she gets a text from her lawyer that the judge is there, asking her to come to court. Then she gets a text from Taryn saying everything is going well so far. Amelia finds Meredith and asks if she wants Amelia to go through the surgery step by step with her or if she wants to watch crappy TV and distract herself instead. Meredith wants to sit in silence, thinking the worst about Zola and court, but Amelia did not give that option. She reminds Meredith that Derek did a beautiful job with Zola's shunt. Tom just has to revise. He poked around her in her brain and she turned out fine. Amelia admits to knowing nothing about the legal system, so she can't help there. Maggie comes in and they update her. To distract Meredith, Maggie talks about her surgery, which made her feel more than her entire relationship with Jackson. She's still feeling the rush. Meredith starts ranting about what's bothering her and about Andrew. She's upset that he offered to skip a surgery. He's a resident. He shouldn't skip surgeries. Andrew is trying, but he's not a parent and he doesn't get it. He's sexy and fun and good with the kids, but she doesn't know if she wants him to be more than that. She gets a text that they're tunneling in the new tubing. Meredith wants to be distracted, so Amelia talks about how little she knows about Link despite the fact they are having a baby together. She's trying herself to his blasé lifestyle. Meredith points out that she lives her life the same way. Amelia admits that's true. Maggie says they're going to love the baby no matter what happens with Link. Meredith thinks the surgery is taking too long. Then she gets a text that they're confirming the shunt patency, which means they're almost done. Meredith says Andrew's a good guy. She thinks she loves him, but they're at two different places in their lives and her gut needs to tell her one way or the other. Amelia's gut only says yes most of the time, but she likes that and if she falls, she learns. Maggie says surgery might be her truest love and that might not change. Meredith wants to go into the OR, but they stop her. Until someone tells her everything is fine, she won't believe it. Taryn comes in and Tom comes in behind her. Zola's out of surgery and she did great. Meredith asks Andrew to stay with her. Once the surgical team leaves, Meredith celebrates with Amelia and Maggie.

Gemma complains about a co-worker, a CPA who counts on his fingers. And he gave her grief for leaving early even though her work was already done. He's an idiot, but the job pays the bills. He's to thank for that. They talk about her search for a sponsor. It's not going well. She's never been one to settle down, except with Ollie. But Gemma doesn't want to talk about AA. She moves to sit next to Richard and asks him about him. He talks about the hospital's progress. She asks him about Catherine. Things are improving there, too. He says he and Catherine like to fight, but it works for them. The light has gone out recently and he's not sure how to get it back. When his mother died, he worried about his father not having his love sitting on the porch with him for the rest of his life. Gemma was the opposite. She never wanted marriage. She wanted a rotation of men. Richard's never been a fan of that. Gemma touches Richard meaningfully on the arm. He takes his hand and moves hers off him. Gemma questions him pulling away. He's married, but she doesn't want to interfere with that. Richard says she's mistaken in what signals she's getting. Gemma kisses him and he pulls back.

Richard leaves, but Gemma is tailing behind him. She thinks he's in denial, because he has a history of cheating in relationships. He tells her her behavior is not sober behavior, so she needs a meeting and a sponsor.

Bailey sees Jo's face and tells her to get it over with. Jo squeals and asks Bailey questions about her pregnancy. Carla's improving, but she should be awake but isn't. Jo tells Bailey it's okay to admit to being scared. She won't tell anyone. Bailey says she's not scared. She's surprised. Tuck is the light of her life, but she thought she was done. She could be happy, but she's also terrified. Jo corrects AND terrified. It's a therapy thing. Being terrified doesn't take away from her happy feelings, so it's and not but. Bailey doesn't like it.

Back at the treatment center, Jo tries to leave in the middle of the night, but Carly stops her. She's sitting by a tree. When Jo asks about it, she says the therapists rotate because there's always a runner. She thought it might be Jo. Jo says she doesn't want to run. It doesn't make any sense. She feels shame for things she didn't even do. Things that were done to her. Carly says Jo is used to being exceptional, but right now she's like everyone else there mentally. She's stuck and can't see past one moment that's defining her entire life. Jo thinks it's the moment of watching her mother walk away from her, but Carly says that's not it. She gives Jo her favorite kind of juice, but still won't share her almonds. Carly says she needs to move through the fear and shame and feel angry. Jo says she can't, so she'll be stuck there forever.

Jo has Bailey run through Tuck's childhood bedtime routine to calm her down. Bailey starts to panic going into the routine when he was a little older, so Jo takes her back to the baby routine. It works and Bailey is impressed. Carly starts seizing, though they thought she was getting better. Jo wonders if the almonds are because she's diabetic. Her sugar on admission was low normal and the hyperbaric treatment is making it lower, so they give her D50, which stops her seizing and wakes her up.

Jo comes into Carly's office and admits that she's pissed. She hates everything, her mom, her rapist father, Paul, the image playing in her head over and over of her mom pulling away. Carly starts smiling, which makes Jo more angry. Carly says it's a breakthrough, moving into the anger. It's progress. Jo says she can't be angry because it she starts she won't stop and then she's Paul. Carly says she doesn't know what healthy anger looks like. Jo says she can't do EMDR. She knows it's supposed to help, but she just can't. Carly says she feels pride because for the first time in 22 days, Jo has asked for what she needs. Carly gets a bucket of soft toys and starts throwing them at the wall. She invites Jo to join her. They're consenting adults, okay with throwing things at walls. Not at people. Jo agrees. That's what makes her different from Paul. She can feel anger and still control her behavior. Jo picks up a toy and throws it pretty softly. When Carly comments on it, she throws the next one harder. She throws several more toys and starts to scream as she does. Then she sits up against the wall. Carly says she used to be the on-call social worked for Safe Haven. People would drop their babies off at fire stations and she'd get the call. And no matter how fast she drove, by the time she got there, the baby was always wrapped up in a warm blanket, surrounded by love. Jo was five days old when her mother abandoned her. Her brain doesn't have a memory of her pulling away, but her body does. Her body felt the same way in that diner. That's why it hurt so much. But she was surrounded by love and she still is.

Bailey's examining Carly, who is now out of the chamber. Bailey offers to let Jo go home and take care of herself, but Jo wants to see it through. Before she leaves, Bailey says she watched Jo teeter on the edge and bring herself back all alone, bring Bailey back, and save someone else's life. There was nothing square one about what she did. Carly wakes up and Jo tells her about her carbon monoxide poisoning, but they treated her and in theory, she should be well enough to go home tomorrow. But she has to call psych now. By law, all suicide attempts have to be reported. Carly stops her and says last thing she knew, she was curled up with the new Margaret Atwood and her heater and then she woke up in a space chamber. She didn't do it on purpose. Her CO detector battery has been dead for months and she could have died. She thanks Jo for not letting her die. Levi comes in and asks Jo if he should get an endocrine consult for Carly. Jo tells Carly she can't be her doctor anymore. She shouldn't have been in the first place. Dr. Bailey will take care of her. Carly's proud of Jo for putting up boundaries.

Richard wakes up and finds Catherine there. He tells her he worked all night then came home after breakfast to lie down and slept all day. He asks about her trip. She says it was the same as always. Richard looks tired and he says he is. She tells him to go back to sleep as she leaves the room. Richard gets a text. It's from Gemma, apologizing for what she did.

Ben finds Bailey and asks her what's going on. He quickly realizes there's no emergency. Bailey takes him aside and tells him she's pregnant. He's shocked and surprised, but after a moment, he picks her up and twirls her around in celebration. She has nausea, so she makes him stop. But he's happy that she's pregnant and hugs her. He then tells the rest of the staff that's nearby.

Alex comes home to Jo sitting on the couch and asks about her day. It was rough, but she doesn't want to talk about it. She asks him if he wants to throw things. She gets a toy from her bag and throws it at the wall. She's getting to okay. She gives a toy to Alex, who throws it softly. She tells him to throw harder. He does and hits a light. They move to another area and continue to throw toys.

Meredith kisses Zola and tells her she'll be right back. She runs into Andrew in the doorway and says Zola's doing great and asking for Jello, so that's where Meredith is going. Andrew pulls one out of his pocket for her. Meredith sees Nancy and asks about Zola. Meredith says she had to have neurosurgery, which is why Meredith couldn't leave her. Nancy says she'll have to leave Zola and her other children now. She squeezed a drop of humanity out of the judge, but Meredith has to make up the hours. Meredith says she'll be back at work crew first thing, but Nancy corrects that she's going to make up the hours in jail instead.


  • Meredith Grey
  • Alex Karev
  • Miranda Bailey
  • Richard Webber
  • Amelia Shepherd
  • Jo Karev
  • Maggie Pierce
  • Andrew DeLuca
  • Tom Koracick
  • Levi Schmitt
  • Catherine Fox
  • Ben Warren
  • Gemma Larson
  • Carly Davis
  • Nancy Klein
  • Taryn Helm
  • Zola Grey Shepherd
  • Derek Bailey Shepherd

Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Medical NotesEdit

Zola Grey ShepherdEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Spina bifida
  • Treatment:
    • Laparoscopic shunt revision

Zola vomited and complained about a headache and eye pain, so Meredith took her to the hospital for a CT, which showed widened ventricles. Tom said she'd need a shunt revision due to growth. He took her into surgery, which went well. After surgery, she was awake and stable.

Carly DavisEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Carbon monoxide poisoning
    • Diabetes
  • Treatment:
    • Hyperbaric therapy
    • D50

Carly, 46, came into the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. Bailey took her into the hyperbaric chamber for a 90 minute session. After a while, her CO level came down, but she still didn't wake up. She seized, and they realized that she was probably diabetic and they gave her D50, which caused her to regain consciousness. After she was done in the chamber, she was told they'd have to call psych because by law, all suicide attempts had to be reported, but Carly said it wasn't a suicide attempt. Her carbon monoxide detector had a dead battery and that's how she got poisoned.

Jo KarevEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • PTSD
  • Treatment:
    • EMDR

Jo received EMDR to treat her PTSD while she was in residential treatment. 22 days into her treatment, Jo admitted she was feeling anger and she and Carly threw toys at the wall to calm down. Carly then told Jo that the reason the image of her mother pulling away hurt her so much was because her body remembered her pulling away when she was five days old. But then she was surrounded by love and she still is.


Song Performer Scene
"Explaining to Do" Trent Dabbs
  • Ben comes home and quickly falls asleep.
  • Bailey tells him she's pregnant.
  • Zola's head is still hurting and she vomits.
  • Richard runs into Gemma, who invites him to breakfast.
"Little Bit of Lovin'" Elle King
  • Gemma flirts with Richard at breakfast. He moves her hand away.
  • She propositions him. As he goes to leave, she kisses him.
  • Gemma reminds him of his history. He tells her to call her sponsor.
"Silhouette" Unions
  • Jo throws toys at the wall.
  • Carly sits with her and tells her about her work with Safe Haven.
  • She explains to Jo why her birth mother pulling away hurt her so much.
  • She tells her she was surrounded by love and still is.
"Need You Now" Dean Lewis
  • Ben and Bailey hug and celebrate the pregnancy.
  • Alex comes home to Jo, who says her day was rough.
  • Jo asks him if he wants to throw crap at the wall.
  • She starts to throw things and says she's getting to okay.
  • They continue to laugh and throw toys.
  • Meredith kisses Zola.
  • She meets Andrew in the doorway. Zola wants jello, but Andrew already has some.
  • Nancy comes and tells Meredith she has to make up her missed hours in jail.

Notes and TriviaEdit

Grey's Anatomy 16x05 Promo "Breathe Again" (HD) Season 16 Episode 5 Promo

Grey's Anatomy 16x05 Promo "Breathe Again" (HD) Season 16 Episode 5 Promo

  • This episode's title originated from the song Breathe Again, originally sung by Toni Braxton.
  • This episode scored 6.10 million viewers.
  • The episode is structured like One Day Like This, focusing on four major storylines and central characters.
  • Carly mentions being 200 pages into Margaret Atwood's latest book. She is talking about The Testaments, the sequel to the same author's book The Handmaid's Tale, which gained widespread popularity with the release of the eponymous Hulu TV series based on it.


Episode StillsEdit


Andrew: Mr. Wilkerson is stable this morning, post-op day 1 from his ACDF, and you also have an aneurysm coiling this afternoon.
Tom: And how are we getting your girlfriend to undo the mountain of damage she did with her article?
Andrew: Well, you'll have to ask her.
Tom: Oh, I see. You think I put you on my service because of all the promise I see in you. I don't. But I do think you could talk her into suing that website for libel. Maybe you could withhold sex until she cracks?
Andrew: Yeah, that's not going to work.
Tom: What? What? The sex not good enough? Are you two on the rocks?

Meredith: Hey, it's just gonna be a quick little nap, and when you wake up, you're gonna feel so much better.
Zola: I know, Mommy. I pay attention.
Meredith: I'm gonna be right here the whole time.
Tom: And by "right here," she means in the waiting room with the other moms and dads who don't work here.

Amelia: Tell me what we're doing. Am I walking you through the surgery step by step in real time? Are we ignoring it altogether and watching bad TV?
Meredith: We're sitting in silence, thinking the worst about Zola. And about court.
Amelia: Yeah, I didn't give you that option. Derek did a beautiful job with her shunt the first time. All Koracick has to do is go in and revise it. And as someone whose brain he has poked around in before, I turned out great. Tumor-wise. As for court, I know absolutely nothing about the legal system whatsoever, so I'm guessing you are either fine or locked up for life.
Meredith: Very helpful, thank you.
Amelia: I have a very specific set of skills.

Meredith: First he thought that I would abandon my child to go to court. And then he offered to skip the entire surgery so that he could hold his crying girlfriend's hand?
Maggie: It's kind.
Meredith: No, it's incredibly stupid. Cristina and I would have mocked him mercilessly for volunteering to skip out on a shunt revision to be someone's human tissue!
Amelia: I rescheduled a spinal decompression.
Meredith: You're not a resident. You're not volunteering to skip surgeries.
Amelia: For the woman he loves.
Meredith: Oh, well, you know, when you say it like that, you make me sound like an ass.
Maggie: No.
Amelia: Not at all.
Meredith: He's kind. He's trying. But he's not a parent, and he does not get it.
Amelia: Okay, so let me get this straight. He was wrong to assume that you would go to court, but also wrong to support you while you wait for Zola.
Meredith: I already said I sound like an ass.
Maggie: But?
Meredith: He's sexy, and he's fun, and he's so good to the kids.
Maggie: But?
Meredith: I don't know if he'll ever be more than that. I don't know if I want him to be.

Amelia: I don't know Link's parents' names. I don't know his taste in movies or his favorite song or if he actually likes breakfast for dinner or just pretends to because it's all I can make. And I am having a baby with him. I am tied to him, no matter what, no matter how things go between us for the rest of my life because we made a decision to have a child. Together. And I will learn his parents' names eventually. But I don't know him. I'm just tying my life to his "you jump, I jump" style, which sounds...
Meredith: Exactly like what you do.
Amelia: Okay, I sometimes leap and hope the net will appear...
Maggie: Yeah, all the time.
Amelia: I had a brain tumor.
Meredith: You also have a personality apart from that tumor.
Maggie: Which is a wonderful thing, and sometimes it is your Achilles' heel. We will love you and that baby no matter what happens with Link.

Gemma: Now tell me how this works again when she's out of the state more often than she is in your bed.
Richard: Gemma.
Gemma: What, you want to take the South out of me, too? I already quit drinking.
Richard: You know Catherine and I like to fight. Part of what I love most about her is her her passion, her fire. But it's like the the light's gone out, and I don't know how to get it back, you know?
Gemma: You have the biggest heart I've ever known, Richard. Catherine may be too wrapped up in her own head to see that right now.
Richard: When my mother died, the first thing I thought, and I was a kid, was that my father's never gonna have that love, sitting on that porch beside him, the rest of his life.
Gemma: See, when my girlfriends would throw pillowcases on their heads as veils, they was like, "This was the best day of my life." I thought the only thing better than one man to love you is a rotation.
Richard: I've never been that.

Gemma: Now, why would you pull away from the first little bit of comfort that you've had in weeks?
Richard: Because I'm a married man.
Gemma: I am fully aware that you and Catherine have rings on your fingers for better or worse. Forgive me for thinking that because you have hit the worst, that you may be, you know, looking around. And don't insult me by pretending you don't know what I'm talking about. Because I've known you too well for too long.
Richard: I love my wife.
Gemma: I have no intentions of competing with Catherine Fox. Y'all are having a hard time. You'll find your way back. But in the meantime, you're miserable and I'm here, and life is too short to deprive ourselves of what we've been feeling for so many years.
Richard: You know, I think you've mistaken my friendship for something else entirely.
Gemma: And if you think this is just friendship, than you're as dumb as that man who counts on his hands.
Richard: Okay, if I've done anything to mislead you, Gemma, okay, I apologize. But there is nothing between us, and there never has been.
Gemma: Well, suit yourself, but if history serves, when hard times hit, you bury yourself in a bottle of vodka or another woman. And we both know which one you can handle.

Gemma: Are you really going to just walk away after what we felt in there? All that talk about rigorous honesty.
Richard: I'm in love with Catherine. My wife.
Gemma: And you're in love with Adele, too. Until there was Ellis Grey, and then it was back to Adele, and when she lay in that home dying of Alzheimer's, who were you with?
Richard: I tried to visit Adele all the time. It only upset her.
Gemma: And whose arms did you fall into then? Catherine.
Richard: Just because you know my history doesn't mean you can use it against me to make yourself less lonely.

Jo: Feet on the ground, list the things you know by heart. It's supposed to trick your nervous system into thinking that you're safe. But it's not working. It's not working.
Bailey: Okay, well, how can I help you? What do you need?
Jo: What I need I need to think of something else. I need to think of something else.
Bailey: I'm pregnant! 100% p-r-e-g-o. With a live baby inside. Ben's baby. Our baby. Super pregnant.
Jo: Okay, yeah, that worked.

Jo: How are you feeling? How's Ben feeling? Was it planned?
Bailey: Don't know, doesn't know yet, and hell no.

Bailey: Today I watched you teeter on that edge, bring yourself back by yourself, bring me back and save someone else's life in the process. I don't know what square one looks like, but there was nothing square one about that.

Jo: I can't be your doctor anymore. I never should've been in the first place. So Dr. Bailey will take good care of you. What?
Carly: Boundaries. Looks like somebody learned something after all.

Carly: It's a breakthrough. You're finally allowing yourself to move past your fear and the shame and into the anger. This is progress.
Jo: Okay, I can't be angry.
Carly: Why not?
Jo: Because if I start being angry, I will never stop, and then I'm Paul. I'm no better than him.
Carly: That's because you don't know what healthy anger looks like.
Jo: No, no, no. I'm not... I can't do EMDR today. I'm not doing it. I know it's life-changing or whatever, but just, I can't, not today.
Carly: Hi, I'm Carly, and my core feeling today is pride because my patient asked for what she needed for the first time in 22 days.
Jo: What's happening?
Carly: I'm throwing crap at a wall. Care to join me? Are we both consenting adults?
Jo: Yep.
Carly: Are we okay if we agree to throw things at walls not people just the walls?
Jo: Yep.
Carly: Right there. That's what makes you not Paul. Because you can feel anger while controlling your behavior.

See AlsoEdit

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

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