Grey's Anatomy Universe Wiki
Grey's Anatomy Universe Wiki

The harder the hit, the more it'll sting. That's usually the case. So we prescribe meds, ice, compression, elevation. Things you do to stop the immediate pain. But you can only dull the pain for so long, and when the drugs start to wear off, it really hurts. There's a reason these fixes are called temporary. They were never meant to last forever. So what happens when you're faced with a fix that's more permanent? Do you fight it? Do you try to resist? Or do you step back and decide that maybe acceptance is the best fix of all?

Falling Slowly is the fourth episode of the thirteenth season and the 273rd overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

Alex tries to do the right thing, but still can't catch a break. Jackson and April adjust to their "new normal" with the baby. While Meredith and Nathan establish what's going on between them, Amelia questions the status of her relationship with Owen.

Full Summary[]

Alex is setting things up at the Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic. Meredith comes in and he tells her he's opening the clinic today. It makes him look good, because he has to show he's a valuable member of the community. He also has a strategy session, which is make or break. Meredith doesn't offer to help, because this is scut. She feels for him, though. Nurse Timir comes in and tells Alex that he doesn't get points for arriving first, because he forgot to do a bunch of things yesterday. Also, this is not a place to hang out with friends. Meredith leaves.

Amelia and Owen are in bed. She just found out he goes to church. She wonders what to tell their children about the afterlife and God. She's not sure she wants children with him now that she's found out there's so much she doesn't know about him.

Nathan walks into the lounge where Meredith's reading. He suggests they hang out sometime, but she declines the offer. She's not someone who hangs out. Nathan says they're in the clear now that he let Maggie down, but Meredith says they're not that type of friends. He asks what type they are then. She gets up and leaves.

Ben meets with Jackson, who's fallen asleep. Harriet got up six or seven times and she always wakes up again when they go to put her back down. Ben asks if they're not taking turns. Jackson says they try, but he always ends up checking on April, who then feels guilty and comes to help when it's his turn. Ben says he'll take point on rounds, but he then gets paged to the helipad. He leaves and Jackson puts his head down.

Meredith gets on the elevator to the helipad with Owen. She notices he looks tired. He says he was up all night talking with Amelia. She gives him the rest of the ride to talk about it. He says Amelia's like a relentless shark who won't back down. When he answers a question, there are only more questions that arise. It's exhausting. They arrive on the helipad, where Ben's taking care of the first patient. The patients were in a plane crash. Ben takes Daniel to the elevator while Meredith and Owen go to see Polly, who has blunt trauma to the chest and abdomen.

Alex asks Timir for a favor. He has to leave at noon for a personal reason, but he'll be back before close. Timir knows Alex considers this grunt work and that it must not be easy to take orders from a nurse. Alex says it's fine. Timir says it's vaccination day on top of the usual stuff, so Alex can't go. He'll have to figure out his personal stuff on his own time. He throws the keys to Alex and tells him to get the doors.

Nathan asks Maggie if she's seen the page for a cardio consult in the pit. She was on her way, but now that he's going, she won't go.

Owen and Meredith are examining Polly. She has free fluid in her belly. She asks about Daniel. He was flying the glider without an instructor for the first time. He really wanted her to come, so she did. Her sats drop and Meredith asks for a chest tube. Nathan comes in and wants to help, but Meredith says she's got this. She apologizes to Polly and puts in the chest tube, allowing her to breathe again.

Meredith goes to the other trauma room. Ben says Daniel has superficial facial lacerations and a leg laceration. Daniel asks about Polly and Meredith tells him she's being treated in the next room. Meredith notices that Daniel has no feeling in his legs. She asks for sandbags and a spinal X-ray, but he says he's been paraplegic for three years. Owen's transporting Polly and she calls out for Daniel. He hears her and they tell each other that they're fine and that they love each other.

Alex is checking out an infected abscess. He wants to open it up, but Timir interferes. He has to page surgery. Alex is not surgery in here so he can't use a scalpel on anyone. Alex sighs as the patient says he thought Alex was a surgeon.

Andrew's in Bailey's office. She tells him that the internal rapports are done and filed. He'll get copies and all his records have gone to the D.A. While the legal proceedings are still ongoing, Andrew can't talk about it to anyone in this hospital. He understands. He says that won't be hard since no one talks to him now anyways. She ignores him. He says they're gonna call in Jackson as an expert. She reminds him he can't talk to anyone, including her. He leaves.

While Polly's in the scanner, Amelia checks with Owen. She asks how old she was when her dad died. He knows she was 5. She has no clue when and how Owen's father died. She thinks it should've come up. They gave themselves a two week engagement. Owen thinks they're good, but she needs to know more, like how old Owen was when his father died. Nathan comes in and says he was almost 10. Amelia hates that Nathan knows. She leaves. Nathan wonders if it was a secret. Owen says Amelia's worried about things she shouldn't be worried about. She's making things more complicated than they are, but it's worth it. Nathan agrees.

April enters an on-call room and steals the bottom bunk from Stephanie. April's here six hours too early for an appointment with Arizona, but she needs sleep. Stephanie asks if there's no bed at home. April says it's not her home and it's cleaning day, so it's rude to lie there and sleep when people are cleaning. She asks if Stephanie's heard the phrase "sleep when the baby sleeps". Because it's a lie. Babies never sleep, and when Harriet sleeps, April can't sleep because she's trying to be the perfect guest. It's a hard job. Stephanie really empathizes, but she's only got a couple of hours and she really needs her sleep, too, so she'd like April to be quiet. By the time she's finished, April's fallen asleep and started snoring. Stephanie covers her head with a pillow.

In the clinic, Alex is explaining to Earl that there's no bleed in his urine. It's just beeturia. He wants to explain, but Timir interrupts and sends the patient to the desk. He takes Alex away and tells Alex this is not a hotel. He directs Alex towards bed six. Emma's a monthly visiter after some binge drinking. The protocol for alcoholics is fluids and a pamphlet. He needs Alex to get Emma out as soon as possible, because they need the bed.

Alex walks up to the bed. Emma says she's feeling perfect. She'll be out on her way once he gives her an IV bag. He says he'll take her vitals first and decide what she's getting. She thinks he's new and tells him to put the IV in her left arm, and she explains she's dehydrated. Also, if he's an intern or dumb, he should get help, because she got poked 100 times last time and her arm was purple for weeks.

Owen tells Meredith that the scans indicate a grade III splenic injury. She tells him that Daniel's fine. He wants to take Emmy for an ex lap, but Meredith sees no reason for that since there's no active bleed. There's fullness around the aorta, so there's no clinical reason. Owen says there could be if her aorta's in trouble. Nathan takes a closer look and sides with Meredith. Observation makes more sense now. It's safer. Owen disagrees, but since it's two against one, he backs down. He demands checks every 30 minutes and leaves. Nathan tells Meredith they make quite the team, but she doesn't need a team since it's just the right call.

Owen's talking to Amelia about what happened. Amelia asks why he joined the army. He says this feels like a job interview. She thinks it's scary not to know stuff about each other, since they might not like it. He asks how bad it could be. She tells him never mind.

While talking to Jo about a case, Arizona sees Andrew and calls his name. She checks out his face and says it looks beautiful. Jackson did a great job. She asks how he's feeling. She keeps missing him at home and asks about the trial. He says he can't talk about it with anyone per Bailey's orders.

Alex sneaks away from bed six to meet with Meredith in a separate room. She's sitting on the bed eating lunch while he's on the phone. He has two patients who want to be character witnesses for him. He says he'll try to be there. The meeting is supposed to be at 4 if he can get past Timir. Maggie and Amelia come in with lunch. They notice the AA pamphlets and Alex tells them about Emma. Amelia says pamphlets won't do it. Maggie wonders what would make you stay away when the alcohol is right in front of you, doing cardio surgeries. Amelia says count to five and if that doesn't help, remove yourself from the situation. Amelia asks Meredith how much she knew about Derek when they got married, but Meredith doesn't want to be in the middle of that. Amelia tells Alex his kid might need an ally. She's not offering, because she's got her own stuff going on. Timir comes in and reminds Alex off all his patients, including the abscess. Alex says he paged surgery. Timir reminds him he's in a room full of surgeons, but they all pass. Alex says he's gonna pay for that.

Emma wants to go to work. She can't call in. She needs to know how long it's gonna be. She notices the pamphlets and says she's not an alcoholic. She's just figured out what makes her body feel better. Alex says she's full of crap. He's partied before so he knows what's going on. She says she only had one beer. He says she comes in here routinely after a night of drinking. Alex says she's going down a dangerous road. Before she knows it, she's out on the street with all the other junkies. Richard calls Alex and says that's enough. They step away. Richard then tells Alex it was very convincing. Richard's got about half an hour to do his thing since Alex slowed down the IV drip. Alex wishes him good luck.

Maggie bumps into Nathan in an X-ray viewing room. He says he's almost done. She counts to five and walks off, saying she'll come back.

Meredith's taking Daniel to see Polly, who's stable and awake. Daniel says they were engaged when he got hurt. He gave her an out, but she hauled the chapelin into his room. Nothing gets to her, except glider planes. Daniel knows she's not wild about heights. They arrive outside the room and Meredith walks in to tell her that Daniel's here. Polly's in pain. Meredith examines her abdomen. It's rigid. She calls for help. She wants Hunt and Riggs paged and access to an OR right now.

Owen and Nathan rush to the OR. Meredith tells them that Polly's spleen ruptured and now her aorta's dissecting. Owen says this wouldn't have happened if they hadn't teamed up against him. Meredith tells him they'll do this later, but right now she needs them to get in there and help.

Richard is with Emma. She says this is just what her body does and she doesn't need this idiot doctor to tell her she's got a problem when she doesn't have one. Richard says he used to tell himself he didn't have a problem. He talked a lot about that in AA. She thinks this is some good cop, bad cop play and gets up to leave. Richard grabs her arm and suddenly, her arm's dislocated. Alex and Timir come running over. She takes a few steps back and says she can fix this. She reduces the dislocation, stunning the doctors. Emma asks if she can go now.

Bailey just heard about Emma, who appears to be fine. All she needs is some X-rays to rule out a fracture. Alex comes in and says Emma's back in her bed and not happy about it. Richard and Timir leave to check on the X-rays. Alex asks Bailey for help since Timir won't let him leave to meet with his lawyer. Bailey tells him to figure out on his own, since she's already helped him enough by getting him this job.

Jo and Andrew meet at the lab. Jo says Bailey also told her not to say anything, but they both know what happened so they can talk. Andrew sees Bailey down the hall and he and Jo scatter.

In surgery, Jackson tells Ben that April always makes him coffee, no matter if he has to leave or not. He can't walk away from the coffee without feeling like an ass, so he drinks it and makes smalltalk. Ben finds it amusing, because that's what it was like when Jackson stayed with him and Bailey. Jackson says he's sorry about that. They should've talked to him. Ben says he should also talk to April.

Arizona is examining April, who says she's tired. She wakes up early every day to make coffee for Jackson, just to be nice. Arizona says she's not just a guest. She's a roommate. April says Jackson's her ex and he's being nice, so April needs to be a good guest. She might die of sleep deprivation anyway. Arizona tells her to move out. Her incision's healed, so she can move out and do whatever she wants.

Timir scolds Alex for making him look incompetent in front of the Chief. Emma wants to go. Alex says she still needs X-rays, and reminds Timir that he made Emma upset. Emma says her boss is like the worst person. Alex comments he can relate. Timir says he may have a cushy job to get back to, but this is Timir's cushy job. He doesn't need Alex causing trouble. Jo arrives to answer Alex's page for surgery. She's disappointed that she was paged for scut. Alex says he's not allowed to do it. Timir says he's also not allowed to go near Emma again. Alex is done with it. He gives Timir the patient files, says that Jo is his surgical consult and that he's got somewhere to be. He walks out.

Alex gets on a bus, but he realizes something and gets off.

Alex paged Richard. He shows Richard Emma's chart and tells him to look at the symptoms. There's something wrong with her, but she's not an alcoholic. Richard takes a look and realizes what Alex means. It's Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. He's only seen a couple of cases in his entire career. They'd have to run tests to confirm, but if Alex is right, he just saved this girl's life. Alex needs Richard to tell Emma, because if he does it himself, he's undermining Timir's authority. Emma needs this way more than Alex needs the credit.

Amelia and Stephanie are about to scrub in. Amelia says Stephanie had sickle cell anemia. Stephanie trusted Amelia with the information. She also knows that Stephanie doesn't like dogs, that she never goes church, and that she does like mushrooms. Amelia says she should have married Stephanie. Stephanie is not sure that would've worked for either of them.

Richard just told Emma the diagnosis with Timir by his side. Richard says it's hard to diagnose. She did a great job listening to what her body needs. This diagnosis is a good thing, because they now know better how to help her. Emma is glad to hear she's not overreacting or crazy. Emma thanks Richard, because there's no way this other asshat doctor would've figured it out. Timir says this is why the clinic's here. Alex has been listening in from a distance. He smiles.

Owen is telling Polly about the surgery. He's glad they caught the dissection in time. Polly says she didn't want to be in the plane, but she doesn't want Daniel to know since he's probably already blaming himself enough over what happened. She wants to see Daniel. Polly says she can't feel her legs yet, and she asks when the anesthesia's gonna wear off.

Meredith, Owen, and Nathan are looking at Polly's scans. Nathan says when the aorta dissected, it compromised the vessels to the spinal cord right around L4. It damaged the cord there. She's paralyzed from the waist down and it's irreversible. Nathan says there's nothing they could've done, since it dissected right in front of them. No one could have foreseen it. It happens, unfortunately. Owen leaves to go tell Polly. Meredith asks if that was the truth. She needs to know for sure that their decision to wait didn't put this woman in a wheelchair. Nathan says it didn't. She wonders if Nathan sided with her because of what's happening between them. Nathan says he'd never play around with a patient's wellbeing to get into Meredith's pants. He finds this offensive. Meredith wonders if they made this decision for the right reason. Nathan says he's not that stupid.

Jo finds Andrew eating outside the hospital. He asks if she's heading home. She's not sure she's at liberty to disclose that information. He says they both can't talk to anyone, and no one will know if they talk to each other. She agrees. He shares his food with her.

Daniel's on his way to Polly's room. She wanted to see him. Daniel says he can't go in there since he's the one who did this to her. He can't face her. Meredith says he has to, because he's the only one she needs right now. Polly is alive and if there's anyone who can tell her that this isn't the end, it's Daniel. She's still breathing and she needs Daniel to be strong for her. Owen comes out of Polly's room and says she's ready. Daniel wonders what to say. Meredith says he can say anything, because they love each other. Daniel takes a deep breathe and wheels into Polly's room. She smiles at him and they hold hands. Owen watches them.

Jackson comes home and finds April lying on the couch while rocking Harriet in a bouncy seat. Harriet's finally gone to sleep. She's very happy about that. April feels like she'll wake up if she stops rocking her. Jackson says he'll go watch the game in his bedroom. April says she can try to move Harriet to her crib since the living room's TV is bigger. Jackson doesn't really care. He says he can't keep walking on eggshells in his own house. They have to figure out a way to exist together. She says it also hasn't been easy for her. It's weird and hard. She says she can move out. She's healed, so she can. Also, Harriet just slept right through this. Jackson says she can be quiet when she wants to be. They sit down to watch their baby girl. Jackson doesn't want April to move out. She doesn't want to go either. April's scared she'll never sleep again. Harriet can defeat her. Jackson says they've got her outnumbered. He says they are staying. April says okay. She says she'll go set up the coffee tank, but he says enough with the coffee.

Amelia and Owen are about to go to sleep. He says she can tell him anything. She knows that. She tells him she was in love with a man with whom she did drugs. One day, she woke up after taking a lot of drugs and he had overdosed and aspired on his vomit. He died. She gets emotional. She told him it was bad. He tells her about the time he choked Cristina. She asks if they are okay. He says they are. Their kids will be okay, as well. They share a kiss. She says she can't wait to have kids. "Let's not wait," he says. They start making out.

Meredith finds Nathan sitting on the stairs outside the hospital. She says she can't do what they did today again. She can't have a case where she questions her medical decisions, or his. She can't do her job if she's thinking about what he's thinking about her. She does not want to be thinking about him. She suggests they just be colleagues, nothing more. He thinks it's sounds stuffy. He doesn't see why they can't be friends. "Who can't be friends?" Maggie asks, having walked up behind them. Nathan gets up and says him and her. He feels like thinks have been strange between them. Maggie says it's fine. They are all friends. Nathan walks off and Maggie thanks Meredith for talking to Nathan. It's good to have it out on the table. While Maggie goes to the car, Meredith goes back into the hospital.

Meredith finds Alex in the clinic and asks if he's ready to go. He just needs another minute. She asks him about the meeting. He says he's going to jail. She notes he's in an awfully good mood for someone who's going to the slammer. He says he caught a one in a million case today. He smiles and says he's good. He turns off the lights and they leave the clinic together.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]


Medical Notes[]

Daniel Campbell[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Superficial facial lacerations
    • Leg laceration
  • Treatment:

Daniel was in a plane crash. He had superficial facial lacerations and a large piece of shrapnel in his leg. He insisted he was fine. Meredith tested the sensation in his legs and got no response. She ordered a spinal x-ray, but he said he couldn't feel his legs. He'd been paralyzed for three years.

Polly Campbell[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Grade III splenic laceration
    • Splenic rupture
    • Aortic dissection
    • Paralysis
  • Treatment:
    • Chest tube
    • Surgery

Polly, 33, was in a plane crash. She had blunt trauma to her chest and abdomen. In the ER, they did an ultrasound, which showed free fluid in her belly, so they ordered a CT. When she struggled to breath, Meredith put in a chest tube and she stabilized. The CT showed a grade III splenic laceration. Owen wanted to take her into surgery right away, but Meredith wanted to watch it and Nathan agreed. When Meredith went to check on her later, her abdomen was tender and rigid, so she had them transfuse blood and took Polly to surgery. Her spleen had ruptured and then her aorta dissected. They rushed to stop the bleeding as quickly as they could. After her surgery, she mentioned she couldn't feel her legs and asked when the anesthesia would wear off. They ran tests and found she had damage to her spinal cord at L-4 and had irreversible paralysis from the waist down.


  • Diagnosis:
    • Infected abscess
  • Treatment:
    • Irrigation and drainage

David came into the clinic with an abscess on his foot. He said he'd had it for a few weeks, but it started to smell, so he came in. Alex wanted to lance and drain it, but Timir reminded him he couldn't do that and told him to page surgery. Jo later responded to the page to take care of it.


  • Diagnosis:
    • Beeturia
  • Doctors:
    • Alex Karev (pediatric surgeon, acting as clinic doctor)
  • Treatment:

Earl came into the clinic with what he thought was blood in his urine. Alex ran tests and found out it was beeturia, red tint in his urine caused by eating beets.


  • Diagnosis:
    • Dislocated shoulder
    • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • Treatment:
    • Fluids
    • Closed reduction

Emma came into the clinic dehydrated after drinking. Timir told Alex she was in there once a month after binge drinking. The protocol for alcoholics is to give fluids, give them a pamphlet for treatment, and send them away. Emma told Alex she wasn't an alcoholic. Alex, on advice from Amelia, got Richard to talk to her from the point of view of an alcoholic. Once she figured out what he was doing, she tried to leave. As she got out of bed, she dislocated her shoulder. She told them not to touch her and reduced the dislocation herself. They ordered x-rays. After thinking about Emma's symptoms, Alex believed she had Ehlers-Danlos. Tests confirmed it.

Jackson and Ben's Patient[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Jackson and Ben operated on a patient together.

April Kepner[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Arizona examined April's incision and said she was healed.

Amelia and Stephanie's Patient[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Amelia and Stephanie scrubbed in together to operate on a patient with a dural carotid cavernous fistula.


Song Performer Scene
"Broken Bones" Kaleo
  • Alex stocks shelves in the clinic.
  • Meredith comes in to talk to him.
  • He says his lawyer told him to act like a pillar of the community.
  • Alex sarcastically thanks Meredith for offering to help and she says it's scut and she doesn't do scut.
  • Timir comes in and berates Alex for what isn't done.
  • Amelia's shocked that Owen goes to church.
  • They talk about what to tell their future kids.
  • She says they can't have kids because she barely knows him.
"Conqueror" Estelle
  • Maggie, Meredith, Alex, and Amelia have secret clinic lunch.
  • Amelia asks Meredith how well she and Derek knew each other when they got married.
  • Alex asks Amelia for advice on his young alcoholic patient.
  • Timir comes in and breaks up the party.
  • Alex asks the others to lance an abscess, but they all say no.
"Whispers" Davie
  • Jo chats with Andrew. She wants to talk about the trial.
  • Ben and Jackson talk about his life with April and Harriet as they operate.
  • April and Arizona talk about the issue from April's side as Arizona examines her.
  • Arizona tells her she's healed, so she can go back to work and move out.
"West" Sleeping at Last
  • Amelia and Owen decide not to wait to have kids.
  • Meredith tells Nathan she can't question her medical decisions anymore. That's what she was thinking about when he was thinking about her. She doesn't want to be.
  • She says they should just be colleagues. Nothing more.
  • Maggie interrupts, asking who can't just be friends.
  • Nathan covers, saying it's them. They can't be friends.
  • Once he leaves, Maggie thanks Meredith for talking to Nathan.
  • Meredith asks Alex about his meeting with the lawyer. He says he's going to jail.
  • He also tells her about diagnosing Emma.

Notes and Trivia[]


Grey's Anatomy 13x04 Promo "Falling Slowly" (HD)

  • This episode's title originated from the song Falling Slowly, originally sung by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.
  • This episode scored 7.80 million viewers.
  • The table read for this episode took place on August 30, 2016.
  • Filming started on September 2, 2016.
  • Emma's line "I'm feeling perfect. Got it all together. I'm Kendall and Khloé and Kylie and whatever other "K" names you got." is a reference to the Kardashian and Jenner sisters.


Episode Stills[]

Behind the Scenes[]


Meredith: You look tired.
Owen: Well, I've been up a while with Amelia talking and talking.
Meredith: She's yours now. I'm not taking her back.
Owen: I'm good. She's great. We're great.
Meredith: You have the rest of this elevator ride. Go.
Owen: You know, she gets an idea into her head and she just won't let it go. She's relentless, like a shark. She just won't put it down.
Meredith: Two more floors.
Owen: And she asks me a question and I answer it, and my answer just causes more questions, and suddenly I've forgotten what we're talking about and I'm late for work. And I love her, and it's exhausting.

Amelia: It's a big thing for me not to know.
Owen: What is? Which one?
Amelia: The church one, that you go to church.
Owen: You go to AA. That's a lot of praying.
Amelia: What are we gonna tell the children about God and the afterlife or-
Owen: Wait, the children? What children?
Amelia: Our children.
Owen: So we're having children now?
Amelia: No. How can we have children? I barely know you.

Jackson: I don't want you to move out.
April: I don't want to move out, either. I'm scared I may never sleep again. She's stronger than I am. She could defeat me.
Jackson: There's two of us. We got her outnumbered. You two are staying.

Nathan: You know, I had a thought. You and I should hang out together. You know, somewhere that isn't here. Like a movie?
Meredith: No.
Nathan: Maybe I could just show up there, and then you show up, and hey, look, we're hanging out.
Meredith: I don't hang out.
Nathan: You could. Come on. We're in the clear. Pierce asked me out, I let her down gently. We could try.
Meredith: There's no trying. We are not that type of friends.

Alex: Thank you for offering to help.
Meredith: I love you, and I feel for you. Solidarity and all of that. But this is scut.

Amelia: So, on a scale of lots to nothing, how much would you say you knew about my brother when you guys got married?
Meredith: I'm not getting in the middle of that.
Amelia: Why? Did Owen... I knew Owen would say something to you.
Meredith: See? There's something you know about him.

See Also[]

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