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My mom used to tell me never to judge people until you know their story. You might think you understand, but you don't. That's why, as a patient, it's important to have an advocate. Someone to tell your story, to be your voice, to say your name, especially when you don't have a voice yourself. Patients lose their power when they're referred to as "bed number four" or "arm pain guy". Even in their deaths, they are not faceless. They are not nameless. They are more than statistics. More than comorbid conditions or nursing home patients. They are sons, brothers, and uncles who speak five languages and run restaurants—Wade Klein, 66. They are great-grandfathers who love Broadway—Jacob Lappin, 92. They are baseball-loving nurses with an easy laugh—Dane Wilson, 45. They are the world's greatest mothers, and they are the most beloved wives—Elena Rose Bailey, 84.

Fight the Power is the fifth episode of the seventeenth season and the 368th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

Bailey panics as she hears there has been a surge of COVID-19 cases, knowing she has loved ones in an assisted living facility. Meanwhile, Jackson and Richard team up against Catherine to teach her a lesson, and Teddy continues to try to mend her frayed relationships. After an intense surgery, Jo is uncertain about her future.

Full Summary[]

Bailey goes through her routine, checking COVID numbers and marking items off her to-do list. As she finishes her last tele-health patient, Ben calls her on FaceTime.

Andrew writes Meredith's new numbers on her window. Her oxygen needs have dropped significantly. She's doing much better. She woke up just long enough for them to tell her she got into the trial. Teddy asks Andrew to keep her posted.

Levi goes to Jo's bed and jumps on her to wake her up. She's upset at the state of the world, but gets up so she can go to work anyway.

Bailey talks to her father on FaceTime. He's upset because Elena complained first that the salad he made was too small and then that it was too big. Bailey assures him that it's just the dementia. Not to mention he only sees her on the phone. She didn't know there'd be a pandemic. She's not seeing her sons or her husband and half the time, she's too tired to go to her hotel. Silver Villas is more comfortable than her office. He said it's not fair and she says COVID isn't big on fair. She tells her father not to go outside because it's not safe. He tells her to tell her mother that and they say goodbye.

Jackson vents to Richard about the number of trachs he's done on long-term vent patients. The number is going to keep rising. But the problem he can help with is Catherine. Jackson wants him to convince her to wear her mask and wear it properly.

Reza reports on Val, who is still in the hospital following her surgery. Jo is concerned by her labs and is ordering a CT. Val is upset that she hasn't been able to see Luna. Jo says it's too dangerous to move Luna and they also need to make sure Val is cared for.

Teddy asks if Tom is okay just as the ambulance with him arrives. As he's unloaded, he says things that don't make any sense. He may have had a stroke or encephalitis due to COVID. As they go to take him inside, he starts seizing.

In the ER, Teddy orders a CT. Taryn is ordered out of the room despite having already had COVID. Tom is confused and fights them off as they treat him.

Val FaceTimes with Luna. She asks Reza to move the phone close enough that Val can smell her head and he offers to bring Val one of her blankets, which she wants. Jo comes in and tells her she has a pseudoaneurysm and needs surgery. Val throws her phone to the ground in frustration, so Jo sends Levi out. Val tells Jo about how much she wanted to be a mother and now she's doing it over a phone screen. She's missing everything. It might never be real for her. She begs Jo to make it real.

Maggie and Bailey talk about Tom being at the hospital. Maggie has asked for more converted rooms, but may have to wait. She mentions that assisted living facilities are sending in a lot of people, including one that sent three patients in one day. Bailey recognizes it as the place where her parents are staying and runs off.

Bailey begs Ben to go get her parents and take them out of Silver Villas to her hotel room. He assures her he will.

As Jo operates on Val, Levi explains that Reza was a vascular surgeon in Pakistan. He left to escape persecution and bombings. He then started over. Levi couldn't imagine it. Jo sees how friable the tissue is and goes to do a modified Pringle maneuver.

Maggie tells Bailey her phone has been ringing repeatedly. She has a dozen missed calls and voicemails from Ben. She calls him back and learns that he has her mother and they're arriving at the hospital. Her mother is sick. Just then, he brings he ran the door. Her breathing is labored. Bailey ties to reassure her mother from a distance.

Elena fights Bailey and Maggie as they try to treat her. Maggie offers to order meds to calm her down, but Bailey instead starts singing, which calms her mother.

Amelia consults on Tom from home. She decides to come in to the hospital because it's Tom. Amelia tells Link she's going to the hospital to treat Tom. She's upset because he was her teacher and her first sex after Owen. Link didn't know about that, but Amelia leaves before answering him about it.

Jackson checks in with Richard. Richard says he hasn't had the time yet because of Bailey's mother. He asks Jackson to fill in for her.

Jo gives Reza post-op instructions for Val. Jo suspects she'll end up needing a transplant, but they can try liver dialysis first if it comes to that. Reza thanks Jo for allowing him to observe her process. He's impressed with her surgical skill. He goes to do the op notes. Levi thinks it means something that she impressed Reza.

Bailey goes over her mother's numbers. She and Maggie both realize there's nothing they can do. Her organs are starting to fail. Maggie offers intubation, but Bailey says her mother wouldn't want that. Bailey says she needs to call her dad. She's not sure how to tell him that her mom won't make it through the night.

Amelia says Tom's neuro exam showed no deficits. She thinks the confusion was due to hypoxemia or possibly early sepsis. She suggested watching him. Jackson comes by and learns about Tom's hospitalization. After he leaves, Teddy and Amelia make awkward small talk about Scout, Leo, and Allison and the situation with Owen and Tom. Amelia says she'll keep checking on Tom and thanks Teddy for getting Meredith into the trial before leaving.

Bailey goes to talk to Meredith, who is still sleeping. She tells Meredith she misses her. She starts crying.

On the beach with Meredith, she talks about her mother helping her manage her big feelings when she was a child. Now she's an adult and she can't do what she did as a kid. Meredith offers to help her.

Back in Meredith's room, Bailey explains that her mother has Alzheimer's and she never told Meredith or Richard so she wouldn't bring up their old wounds. It's been hard and painful, even as a doctor. She still feels like she doesn't know anything. It's hard to talk about it to someone who hasn't been through it. Bailey wishes Meredith were awake.

Reza updates Jo on Val and she gives him orders. When he goes to do so cheerfully, she asks if he's always been so cheerful. His mother taught him to celebrate being alive. As Jo walks down the hall, Terri Akumbu, an OB nurse, pulls her into a room, where Kathy Elmore in in labor. They need a doctor to deliver her baby and no one else is available. Terri guides Jo through delivering the baby and putting him Kathy's chest. Jo is in awe as she watches Jake Elmore cut the cord. She wants to stay, but Terri gives her the paperwork to sign and nudges her out.

Bailey holds up a tablet so her parents can talk. Her mother is confused and then passes out, upsetting her father, who is having a hard time staying upbeat. He asks Bailey to call him back when she wakes up. He wishes he could be there with her, but it's not safe. Bailey hangs up and tells her mother it's okay to go if she's ready to go. Elena says she's not ready to die and says she wants to go home.

Bailey calls Ben. She thinks her mother was lucid for a minute and now she doesn't know what to do. Maggie approaches her. Bailey tells her what her mother said about not being ready to go. Bailey doesn't know what to do now. She's just mad because no one told her her mother was sick and her mother has no idea what's going on. If she's being honest, she doesn't want her mother to suffer from Alzheimer's anymore. But she doesn't want COVID to take her out, for her to be just another Black woman statistic in this pandemic. Maggie says none of it is easy. Bailey thinks maybe she was wrong about what her mother would want. Maggie says she was the one who did everything. But in the end, it didn't give her more peace of mind. It might have done the opposite. It was just the easy option. She says Bailey's given her mother so much. She's never going to be ready to say goodbye, but she's had an amazing life. Bailey blames herself for bringing hare parents to Seattle. If she hadn't, they'd be at home isolating. Bailey's upset because the facility let someone come in from New York after saying they had shut down to all outsiders, including family. Maggie tells Bailey it's not her fault. Bailey shares a memory of her father leaving her five happy birthday voicemails on her last birthday because she kept forgetting that she'd already called. She kept them because she thought it might be the last birthday her mother remembered at all. Maggie tells her that Bailey choosing palliative care is respectful of her mother. She wishes she'd given her own mother the same dignity. Bailey shares a story of getting a scholarship from the DAR. There was a reception. Her mother told her not to go, but she wanted to show them what Miranda Bailey looked like, who they'd given their scholarship to, so she went with her father. They had a good laugh at the white women who were horrified. She also faced guidance counselors who trie to push her toward state school. When she graduated from Wellesley, her mother cut out the graduation announcement and mailed it to her guidance counselor. Bailey starts to cry. She's not sure how she's going to let go of her mother.

Teddy goes to check on Tom and finds Amelia finishing an EEG. She wanted to make sure he wouldn't have another seizure before she went home. She tells Teddy his numbers are holding. Once Amelia is gone, Teddy starts talking to Tom. She wants to believe he was too sick to answer the door when she went over instead of avoiding her because that means there's hope for them. She could use the hope. She'd decided that they mean enough to each other that even though she hurt him, they could be fixed. Their friendship could be salvaged. She doesn't know how they'll get through the pandemic, but she knows they won't do it alone, so if he wants to get rid of her, he'll have to get better and tell her himself. Otherwise, he won't get rid of her. Tom opens his eyes and tells her she was wrong. He was ignoring her. She realizes he heard everything she just said. He suggests a friendly sponge bath.

Jo checks on Val, who has fallen asleep with the image of Luna on her broken phone screen.

Richard watches Meredith sleep. Jackson comes and updates Richard on Bailey's patients. Richard tells him her mother isn't expected to last the night. Jackson says half their COVID patients are Black or brown. In a city that's 7% Black. It doesn't compute. You can't blame it on pre-existing conditions as if those aren't man-made as well. The pre-existing condition is existing while Black. Jackson says he knows his mother is stubborn and she feels like she's invincible. But they can't lose her. Richard says it's been handled. Jackson asks how, but Richard says it's best kept between them, so Jackson realizes it's a sex thing.

Levi comes home to see that Jo has pizza. She tells him she delivered a baby today. She explains what happened. She was the first person in the universe to hold him. And it was the happiest thing she'd ever seen. No wonder Val is depressed. She wonders if that's why Carina DeLuca is always so happy. Levi points out that she also has an orgasm hobby. Jo wonders what if she changed programs. She asks if that's insane. Reza did it and what he did is even harder than changing specialities. He started over with nothing. She put years into surgery, but if it's not bringing joy, wouldn't it be insane not to change. Levi tells her to eat and sleep before making any major decisions. Jo wants to be happy. Everyone is dying. Tomorrow is not promised and she wants to be happy.

Bailey tells Richard her mother is decompensating. Richard encourages her to go into the room. Bailey wants to be there for her, wants her father to be there for her. But her mother barely knows who she is. Richard knows this isn't what she imagined for her mother, but her mother needs her now. It's time. And if she doesn't go in, she'll never forgive herself. Bailey admits that she's scared and Richard says he'll go with her.

Bailey sits by her mother's bedside and starts to sing to her. She continues to sing, along with Richard, as her mother dies.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]

Co-Starring[]

Medical Notes[]

Meredith Grey[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • COVID-19
  • Treatment:
    • Supplemental oxygen

Meredith's oxygen requirements had decreased and her other numbers had also improved.

Val Ashton[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Pseudoaneurysm
  • Treatment:
    • Surgical repair

Val was still in the hospital following her hepatectomy. She had concerning labs, so Jo ordered a CT. It showed an abscess that was eroding into an artery in her liver, creating a pseudoaneurysm. They had to take her into surgery immediately to repair it. After her surgery, Jo said they needed to keep an eye on her liver panels.

Tom Koracick[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • COVID-19
    • Seizure
    • Hypoxemia
  • Treatment:
    • Lorazepam

Tom was brought into the hospital, incoherent and disoriented. On his way into the hospital, he started seizing. Once they got him inside, Teddy ordered a CT of his head and called Amelia for a consult. She said he had a lesion on his thalamus, but it was small. She came to the hospital and did a neuro exam, which showed no deficits. She recommended watching how he responded to treatment. Amelia did an EEG to make sure he wouldn't have another seizure.

Elena Bailey[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • COVID-19
    • Atrial fibrillation
    • Multi-system organ failure
  • Treatment:
    • Supplemental oxygen

Elena, 84, was brought to the hospital with COVID-19. Her labs were concerning and she was struggling to breathe. She also developed atrial fibrillation. It quickly became clear that she was dying. Her condition continued to decline until she finally died with her daughter holding her hand.

Kathy Elmore[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Pregnancy
  • Treatment:
    • Vaginal delivery

Kathy was in labor and Jo delivered her baby with the assistance of the OB nurses.

Music[]

Song Performer Scene
"The Fight (Reprise)" Overcoats
  • Bailey goes through her day.
  • She has a video call with Ben.
  • Andrew writes Meredith's new stats on her window. She's improving.
  • Levi wakes Jo, who is bundled in bed.
"My Girl" Cast (Chandra Wilson and Bianca F. Taylor)
  • Bailey sings with her mother to calm her.
"Pirouette (Stripped)" Chiiild
  • Bailey and Maggie talk about Bailey's mother.
  • Bailey realizes her mother's going to die.
"New Kind of Beautiful" Lindsey Ray
  • Jo is pulled into a room to deliver a baby.
  • Once the baby is delivered, Jo puts him on his mother's chest.
  • Bailey holds up an iPad so her parents can talk.
  • William struggles with not being there with his wife.
  • Bailey tells her mother it's okay to go, but she says she's not ready.
  • Elena says she wants to go home.
"Roots" AG feat. Goldford
  • Maggie reassures Bailey that she's doing the right thing.
"Lifted" TRVSTFALL
  • Tom wakes up and tells Teddy he was ignoring her at his house.
  • He starts joking with her.
  • Jo checks on Val.
  • Richard watches Meredith and then updates Jackson on Bailey's mom.
  • They discussion the systemic racism that led to where they are.
"My Girl" Joy Oladokun and cast (Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, Jr.)
  • Richard encourages Bailey to go be with her mother.
  • When she says he's scared, he goes in with her.
  • Bailey sings her to her mother and Richard sings along.
  • She holds her mother's hand as she dies.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • This episode's title originated from the song Fight the Power, originally sung by Public Enemy.
  • This episode scored 5.69 million viewers.
  • This is the first episode not to feature Anthony Hill as Winston Ndugu since his addition to the main cast.

Gallery[]

Episode Stills[]

Quotes[]

See Also[]

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

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