Almost all human cells reproduce on a cycle. Up to ten percent of your heart is replaced each year. Red blood cells are replaced every four months, skin cells every two weeks. But neurons, the cells that make up the brain and spinal cord, don't regenerate. It turns out that under the right conditions, neurons can recover. If they can break from normal operations and focus on healing, they have a chance at regrowth. It's human nature to wanna fix what's broken. We may not be able to exactly replicate what we lost, but in its place, we'll grow something new. It's a long process, but it happens. Slowly but surely. Until we have what we need.

Good Shepherd is the twenty-first episode of the fifteenth season and the 338th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[edit | edit source]

Amelia and Link travel to New York to operate on a patient with a severe spinal deformity, but they're in for more than they bargained for when Nancy Shepherd invites them to dinner at her home.

Full Summary[edit | edit source]

Amelia and Link finish having sex in their hotel room in New York. She wants to go back to her room. He keeps suggesting they get something to eat. They can bend their rule of sex only when they're out of town. She closes the door to her adjoining room. He yells he feels used. Amelia agrees to pizza for breakfast in order for him to let her go to sleep.

The next morning, they are having pizza for breakfast. He knows this place from his cancer wish. He says he had an osteosarcoma. She asks about his wish. He wanted to attend a baseball at Shea Stadium and meet his favorite player. The next time he was there, he was the Mariner's team doctor. He ate here five times. He now remembers this great doughnut place around the corner. This city reminds him of better times from before his parents' divorce. For Amelia, it's the opposite. She grew up in Westchester, half an hour away. Her life in New York was not better times.

They arrive at the Catherine Fox Medical Center in Manhattan. They walked there. While waiting for the elevator, they are surprised by Nancy Shepherd. She thinks Link is Owen and Amelia confirms he is. Link rolls with it. She's covering the OB/GYN Chief's maternity leave here. Amelia says they are here for a patient. Nancy guesses her being in such high demand is why they haven't heard from her in such a long time. Amelia confirms she's been busy. Nancy welcomes Link to the family and apologizes for the deep-seeded dysfunction. He says he gets it. Nancy invites them to dinner, but they claim they need to leave tonight for a big surgery in Seattle tomorrow. Before walking off, Nancy tells Amelia to call their mother.

Amelia and Link enter Jonah Mays' room with Dr. Lew, the Chief of Surgery. He introduces them to Jonah and his brother Brady, who's Jonah's ride. Lew presents the case. Jonah was diagnosed with progressive kyphoscoliosis 12 years ago at age 6. He's had multiple posterior spine fusions with instrumentation for T4 to L4. He's had 15 surgeries. The metal rods busted right through his skin now. Lew leaves Link and Amelia to examine Jonah. They will remove the rods and insert a nylon tether, which will stabilize the spine and allow room for growth, meaning fewer surgeries in the future. Jonah is happy because he was accepted into UC Berkeley. They finish up taking measurements and says they'll prep him for surgery once they've compared those to the scans.

Outside the room, they agree they'll likely be able to follow their plan, meaning they'll be done by 5 PM and have another 24 hours of observation before flying back. Nancy, who came up behind them, overheard them and again invites them to dinner. She's not taking no for an answer. She'll make her chocolate cream pie. Amelia accepts the invitation.

Amelia doesn't want to go alone and begs Link to come with. They head back into Jonah's room. It's pre-op time. Jonah wants to wait for Brady to come back from the cafeteria, probably with fries. They have their special way of saying goodbye, which they started doing when their parents died in a car accident six years ago. Amelia asks what he's going to study. He hasn't made up his mind yet. Jonah asks if she always knew she wanted to be a doctor. She never thought about doing anything else because of her doctor siblings. Jonah returns and the brothers do their goodbye thing.

In surgery, everything's looking good. Amelia asks Link about food allergies. He's not going. He likes the begging, but he thinks neither of them should go. Life is too short. Amelia says one dinner will prevent months of family gossip and drama. They already think she's a trainwreck. Link says she's not, but Amelia says she never told them about the divorce. She explains they refused to attend the wedding. Not every family's like Jonah and Brady. He wonders why she's going to the dinner then. She says it's a chance for her to prove them wrong. She's here for a delicate surgery and she has a handsome "husband." She promises to make it worth his while if he comes.

In the cab over to Nancy's, Amelia and Link go over the story of how she and Owen met. He wants to answer Nancy's questions as himself, but Amelia doesn't know his life, she only knows Owen's. At least it's just Nancy, who's forgiving. Kathleen is the worst. Amelia forbids Link from drinking so he won't screw up.

They arrive at Nancy's enormous house. Before ringing the bell, Amelia reminds him they did not have a honeymoon because they couldn't settle on a destination. Nancy opens the door and invites them in. She apologizes for the mess. They are right on time. They were just going to start with the appetizers. Kathleen then asks Kathleen where her corkscrew is from the other room, seeing as they'll have to drink before Amelia gets there. She then comes around the corner. Amelia introduces her to Link. Kathleen goes to put the wine away.

Nancy explains she knew Amelia wouldn't come if she knew. She also tried Liz, but she was out of town. She promises she didn't call their mother. Kathleen says Nancy has a compulsive need to fix all of them. Nancy hopes they can all be civil for one night. Kathleen greets Owen and asks where he was stationed. He says Iraq. She asks him questions about Iraq so he quickly excuses himself. Amelia shows him to the bathroom.

In the bathroom, Link tells Amelia they'll figure out he's not Owen in five minutes. Amelia says this just reminds her she's the black sheep of the family. Link says they'll go out there and fake a medical emergency. They are not in high school.

Amelia joins Nancy in the kitchen. She wants to put the avocados on the side for Amelia, but she's gotten used to them since Owen loves them. Nancy thinks Kathleen's got him cornered right about now. Amelia wants to go over, but Kathleen needs her help in the kitchen.

While setting the table, Kathleen tells Link he's not at all like she pictured him. She figured he'd be more uptight, but Amelia loves to be unpredictable. Kathleen says Amelia has a history of false starts when it comes to weddings. She bolts at the first sign of things getting hard. Kathleen's surprised she didn't run when she saw her. She thinks Amelia was more addicted to the drama than the drugs themselves, but luckily for her, she found someone with army training. Amelia comes in and says Jonah's scans came in early, so they should go. Link says they could review them in the morning. They should spend time with her family. Amelia tries again with the labs. Link claims he just looked at them and shows her his phone, which reads "Trust me." Amelia says they'll stay, then.

Over dinner, Nancy asks about Meredith. She read about Meredith's award. Link tells them about Amelia's research into non-addictive pain management. Kathleen wants to get wine, but Nancy stops her. She doesn't want to make Amelia uncomfortable. It's too late for that. Amelia leaves the room to answer a call from Owen. Meanwhile, Nancy offers Link some avocados. Link refuses, but Nancy knows he loves them, so he takes some.

Owen's calling because Leo's crying. He can't find Leo's favorite stuffed animal. He can't find the backup they bought. Amelia says he probably shoved it in the couch. Owen finds it there.

On her way back, she comes across a set of family pictures, including one of her as a teen.

When she arrives in the dinner room, "Owen" is de-boning the fish in one move. Nancy and Kathleen don't believe he managed to do it. They love him. Link says he loves Amelia. Kathleen doesn't understand how Amelia landed the hottest husband out of all of them.

As Nancy's handing out pieces of her famous pie, Carolyn Shepherd enters the house. Kathleen admits she mentioned the dinner to her. Carolyn comes in and hugs Amelia. She likes the short hair. Amelia introduces "Owen" but Carolyn has met Owen when she visited Derek and she knows this is not him. Nancy gets some wine.

Carolyn asks who the man is. Amelia reveals he's actually her colleague and friend Atticus Lincoln. She admits she and Owen are divorced. Since they have been married for less than two years, Kathleen wins the bet she made with Nancy and Liz. Amelia is furious they made a bet on her marriage after skipping the wedding. Nancy reminds her she was in jail during hers and Kathleen reminds her she was caught screwing an usher at hers. Carolyn says it was too short notice. Amelia says this is insulting. This is why she didn't tell them about the brain tumor. She adds it was removed. Kathleen and Nancy share some bad stories from Amelia's past. Amelia says there's no need for that. Nancy says she has always been impulsive. Kathleen adds she also always concocts these incredible stories to cover the truth, which inevitably surfaces. Out of all the stories, fake Owen might be the most demented thing she's ever done. And since she can't blame it on the tumor or drugs, they're back to delusional. Amelia tells her sisters they don't know her. She's still 14 years old in their minds, but she's sober, responsible and a neurosurgeon at the top of her field at one of the top hospitals in the country. Nancy thinks that happened because Derek gave her his job. Link intervenes. He hasn't known Amelia that long, but he wanted them to stay so they could get to know Amelia as the woman she is. She's a brilliant surgeon and a respected mentor. She cares, she's beautiful, kind, and strong. She has overcome a lot of adversity. The way she feels her feelings in a big way is what makes her authentic. She was and is an amazing mom to Betty and Leo. Carolyn and the sisters didn't know about the baby. Amelia rushes out, which does not surprise Kathleen.

In the cab back, Link asks if she's okay. She blames him for what happened. Link says everything went fine until her mother called them on their bluff. Amelia says it was a lifetime of dirty laundry on display. Link doesn't care, but Amelia does. She was his pain management and now he knows too much. They get a message that Jonah's in respiratory distress.

They are examining Jonah. His lungs are compressed. The tether has stopped working and they need to replace the rod so he can breathe. Jonah says the rods don't work. He'll just need more surgery by the end of the year. He wants the doctors to find another way. Amelia suggests a vertebral column resection, which entails removing the vertebrae causing the curvature and protecting his spinal cord with a titanium cage. Link objects due to the many possible complications, but Amelia says it would be a permanent solution. Jonah wants it, but Brady objects. Jonah tells him he had everything and gave it all up for him. He's the world's best brother, but Jonah will do it no matter what and he'd rather have Brady by his side. This is the part where he has to be brave. He can see in Amelia's eyes that she believes she can do it. Brady then starts their goodbye greeting.

Before scrubbing in, Amelia defends her decision to Link. He thinks she's doing to prove herself. It's been a rough night. Amelia can't care what they think. She can't let them define her or she'd still be the messed-up baby of the family, the one she reverts to when she's with them. That's not who she is. He knows that, but he's not sure she does. He needs to know she's not doing this to prove something to people who clearly have no understanding of her at all. Amelia says Jonah deserves more than surgery after surgery. It's what he wants and she knows she can do it. They scrub in together.

They have just inserted the cage and start spreading it. The neurophysiologist informs them they have lost the signal. There's too much traction on the spinal cord. Link fears he's paralyzed, but Amelia remains calm and reverts the cage back to the point before they lost signal. The signal returns.

Brady and the surgeons wait by Jonah's bedside for hours. After hours, he wakes up when it's just Amelia in the room. He smiles at her.

The exam concludes there are no neurological deficits. His doctors here will oversee the follow-up, but Jonah knows where they are. Jonah thanks them for giving him a future. Amelia says being brave paid off.

On their way out of the hospital, Amelia thanks Link. He tells her she was brave and it paid off. She wants to get something to eat, but he needs to walk. He'll see her on the plane. He leaves. Amelia then sees Brady in the waiting area. He doesn't know what to do now. He wants to follow Jonah to California. Amelia understands missing your brother, but he should give Jonah some breathing room to become who he is outside of his shadow. He can always visit. Amelia then texts Nancy asking if she's at the hospital, but she's not. However, Amelia is surprised when her mother shows up. Carolyn wants to talk.

On a bench in Central Park, Carolyn asks what happened with Owen. Amelia says it didn't work out. She asks her mother if she thinks she sabotages relationships, if she doesn't know how to love. Carolyn takes a while to answer. She remembers when Amelia learned to ride a bike. Derek and her sisters rode theirs all around the neighborhood and Amelia was desperate to join them, so she pulled a bike from the shed. She refused training wheels and help from Carolyn, who had to spy on her from the kitchen window. It was hard to watch her fall. Amelia once took a big spill and ripped open her pants, but by the time Carolyn had ran out, Amelia had pulled up her bike and was halfway down the block. Every time she fell, she pulled herself up and came back stronger. She did care about falling, but she wasn't afraid of it. That's what makes her the most like her father out of all of her siblings. For Carolyn, it was hard to be around anyone or anything that reminded her of him. Derek said he'd watch out for her and he did his best, but he was not her mother. She deserved a mother. But Derek offered and she let him. It's Carolyn's biggest regret. Amelia then tells her about Betty and Leo. Parenting her was the hardest thing she's ever done and she's sure Betty was just a tenth of the trouble that Amelia herself was. She put her mother through a lot and she knows it wasn't easy. Carolyn apologizes for missing her wedding and tumor and she's sorry things aren't better with her sisters. Carolyn tells Amelia that she's wrong if she thinks she's not capable or worthy of love. That's on her. When Amelia needed help most trying to make sense of life or loss or love, Carolyn wasn't there. Amelia can put that on her and move forward. Amelia asks what if she can't move forward. Carolyn says that would be on herself, then.

Amelia appears on the plane with doughnuts from Link's favorite place. She tells him he's kind and he was brave with her family. He didn't have to do that with her. He's surprising to her and he deserves better than the things she said to him. He's more than a blue light. She'd like to make it up to him. He grabs a doughnut from the box and crams an entire doughnut in his mouth. She gives it a try, too. They laugh and continue eating.

Amelia comes home and finds Meredith and Maggie working at the kitchen table. They ask how it went. Amelia says it's a long story. They want to hear it anyway. Amelia sits down and informs them about what happened.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Main Cast[edit | edit source]

Special Guest Star[edit | edit source]

Guest Stars[edit | edit source]

Co-Starring[edit | edit source]

Medical Notes[edit | edit source]

Jonah Mays[edit | edit source]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Progressive kyphoscoliosis
  • Treatment:
    • Vertebral body tethering
    • Vertebral column resection

Jonah, 18, had been diagnosed with progressive kyphoscoliosis at the age of six. He'd had multiple spinal fusions, but nothing had worked to straighten his spine. Amelia and Link came to New York to remove the rod and replace it with a tether, with the hopes that it would stabilize his spine and make it so he would need fewer surgeries in the future. The surgery went well, but that evening, he went into respiratory distress. He was told he'd need another rod, which he didn't want. Amelia suggested a vertebral column resection, which involved removing the vertebrae where the deformity was and replacing it with a titanium cage, which was risky but would be a permanent solution if it worked. He decided he wanted that surgery. They operated and despite a brief scare, it was successful. After his surgery, he showed no neurological deficits.

Music[edit | edit source]

Song Performer Scene
"Wild Ones" Crystal Fighters
  • Amelia and Link finish having sex. She thanks him.
  • He suggests room service, but she turns him down and goes to her room.
  • He yells he feels used and she agrees to pizza for breakfast.
"My Kind of Happiness" Nicolle Boggs
  • Amelia quizzes Link on their way to dinner.
  • Amelia complains about her sisters, but says Nancy's the most forgiving, so it's lucky.
  • They arrive at the house and Amelia shares one last tidbit before realizing it's a terrible idea as they ring the bell.
  • Nancy invites them in.
"Eight" Sleeping at Last
  • Amelia and Link operate on Jonah. They lose signal and have to reverse to regain signal.
  • Link, Amelia, and Brady wait for Jonah to wake up.
"Safe" Regina Price
  • Amelia and her mother have a heart-to-heart.
"Stick the Kettle On" Lucy Spraggan
  • Amelia sits next to Link and they eat donuts.

Notes and Trivia[edit | edit source]


Grey's Anatomy 15x21 Promo "Good Shepherd" (HD) Season 15 Episode 21 Promo

  • This episode's title originated from the song Good Shepherd, originally sung by Jefferson Airplane.
  • This episode scored 6.81 million viewers.
  • This episode is Amelia-centric, featuring only 4 out of the 11 main cast members.
  • The episode was produced as the 22nd episode of the season but it aired as the 21st instead.
  • The episode introduces the fourth Shepherd sister and holds the record of most Shepherds appearing in an episode together, missing only Derek, Liz and Mr. Shepherd.
  • This is the first episode of Grey's Anatomy to feature a character's name in the title.
  • Originally, the episode wasn't part of the plan for the fifteenth season even though Krista had been having the idea for an Amelia-centric episode for a while. It was decided to incorporate it into the season when ABC ordered an extra episode for the season.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Episode Stills[edit | edit source]

Behind the Scenes[edit | edit source]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Link: Five minutes in the lobby is one thing. Dinner is a terrible idea, and I'm not going.
Amelia: You can't make me go alone. It's like sending Red Riding Hood to visit the wolf.
Link: I'll be having pizza and donuts in the city. You're more than welcome to j-
Amelia: I'm begging. This is me begging. Aren't I cute when I beg?

Kathleen: You are not at all what I pictured. Trauma surgeon. Army. I thought you'd be a lot more...
Link: Rugged? Armed?
Kathleen: Uptight. But Amelia loves to be unpredictable, so maybe it makes sense.
Link: It keeps things interesting.
Kathleen: She has a history of false starts when it comes to weddings.
Link: Well, we're definitely married.
Kathleen: I'm saying congrats on not being abandoned at the altar.
Link: She would never do that.
Kathleen: Oh, yes, she would. She is a Houdini-level escape artist. First sign things might get hard, and she is out the door. I'm surprised she didn't bolt when she saw me here. She thinks we gang up on her. She provokes it, though. Honestly, I always thought she was more addicted to drama than the drugs. But, I mean, good thing she found someone with Army training, right? What's that old slogan? "No mission too difficult"?

Carolyn: Amelia Frances Shepherd, you have a brain tumor and you didn't tell your mother?!
Link: You have a brain tumor?
Kathleen: Are we supposed to feel better that your fake husband doesn't know, either?
Amelia: Had. I had a benign Grade I meningioma that they removed.
Nancy: Completely? 'Cause this seems pretty brain damaged.
Kathleen: I'd say more like delusional. But, you know, par for the course. Remember when she bought herself that ring and she told us all she was engaged to that guy she dated in high school?
Amelia: He couldn't afford to buy the ring himself.
Nancy: She got my car stuck in the ditch, walked home, said somebody must've stolen it, but left the keys inside.
Amelia: That was years ago, and I made amends!
Kathleen: Or when she was so drunk at Uncle Adam's funeral that she dropped her end of the casket.
Amelia: I wasn't drunk. I was high. And, yeah, I had some bad years. You don't have to bring up every transgression.
Kathleen: Yeah, we don't have that kind of time.
Nancy: The point is all that crazy happened before the brain tumor. You've always been impulsive. You don't think things through or the impact they're gonna have on other people. You just do whatever the hell you want.
Kathleen: Yeah, and then you concoct these preposterous stories to cover the truth that inevitably surfaces.
Carolyn: Okay, girls, that's enough.
Nancy: Bringing fake Owen to dinner tonight might just be the most demented thing you've ever done.
Kathleen: And if you're really clean now, then we can't blame the drugs or the tumor, which brings us back to personality disorder.
Amelia: Okay, you don't know me. You have not seen me for years. I am trapped in your minds and on your stairs at about 14 years old, and I am not that person anymore. I am sober. I am responsible. And I am a neurosurgeon at the top of my field. I save lives every day. In fact, I am the Chief of Neuro at one of the top hospitals in the country.
Nancy: Because Derek was moving and gave you the job.

Link: Listen, I'm new to all of this. And I haven't known Amelia that long, but I wanted us to stay for dinner tonight so you could meet the woman that I've been getting to know, because she is not at all the person you are describing.
Amelia: Link, you don't have to...
Link: She is a brilliant surgeon, the kind you fly across the country when you need the best. She just performed a surgery that very few human beings on the planet can do. She is a respected teacher and mentor. She cares about her patients and her colleagues. And she's beautiful and funny and kind and strong.
Nancy: They're sleeping together, right?
Kathleen: Obviously.
Link: She's overcome a lot of adversity. And, sure, she feels her feelings in a big way, but that makes her better than most people I know, not worse, because it makes her authentic. She was an amazing mom to Betty, and still kinda is to Leo. I mean, even if she doesn't have legal custody, that baby is so lucky to have her in his...
Nancy: Wait, did you just say "mom"?
Carolyn: Did you say "baby"?
Link: Well, crap.
Nancy: You have a baby?
Kathleen: Baby or tumor, which is crazier?
Nancy: Who's Betty?
Kathleen: I am going with baby.

Link: You okay? I said we shouldn't go.
Amelia: I said we shouldn't stay!
Link: Wow, okay. So your sisters are terrorists, but now I'm your problem? Look, everything was going fine until your mom called us on our bluff. And I know it got a little rough...
Amelia: A little rough? It was a lifetime of humiliating mistakes and dirty laundry on display.
Link: I don't care about your laundry.
Amelia: No, I care. You were pain management. You were my human blue light, mood-enhancing when placed over my body. And now you know too much. And I'm... I can't.

Amelia: Do you think I sabotage relationships? That I don't know how to love? Well. That answers that.
Carolyn: I remember when you were learning to ride a bike. Derek and your sisters were zipping all over the neighborhood, and you were desperate to join them. And so you pulled that old purple bike out of the shed. You know, the one with the the streamers hanging off the handlebars.
Amelia: Those things were all ripped out by the time that bike was mine.
Carolyn: And you refused to use training wheels because you said that was for babies. And you wouldn't let me help, either. I had to spy on you from the kitchen window. You don't know how hard that was. Watching you fall over and over again. My other kids didn't like to fail, but you...
Amelia: Okay. Yeah, Mom, I get it.
Carolyn: One time you took this this big spill, and you and you ripped open your pants. And by the time I ran out, you had pulled that old ratty bike up, and you were halfway down the block. Every time you fell down, you got up and came back stronger. But not that you didn't care about falling, but just you weren't afraid of it. And that's what made you, what makes you, out of all the kids, the most like your father. After he died, it was hard to be around any anything that reminded me of him. And Derek said he'd watch out for you. And he did his best, but he wasn't your mother. You deserved a mother. But he offered, and I let him. And it is my biggest regret.
Amelia: I took in a drug addict. Betty, Leo's birth mom. 15, so of course, she already knew everything. Parenting her was the hardest thing I've ever done. And I'm pretty sure she was a tenth the trouble that I was. I put you through a lot. I know it wasn't easy.
Carolyn: I'm sorry I missed your wedding. I'm sorry I missed your brain tumor. I'm sorry things don't go better with your sisters.
Amelia: It's fine. Not everyone's close to their siblings.
Carolyn: If you don't think you're worthy of love if you don't think your love is valuable, you're wrong. And that's on me.
Amelia: Mom, I don't blame you for...
Carolyn: Oh, I know, hon. But when you most needed help trying to make sense of life or loss or love I wasn't there. So put that on me and move forward.
Amelia: What if I can't?
Carolyn: Well then that's on you.

Amelia: You are kind. And you were brave last night, too. With my family. And in that surgery. You didn't have to do that with me, either thing. You are surprising to me. And you deserve a lot better than the things that I said to you. You are more than a human blue light. Though you are very, very good at bluelighting. I'm sorry. And I'd like to make it up to you, if you'll let me.

Amelia: The case went fine, but then we ran into Nancy.
Meredith: Your sister?
Amelia: Yep.
Maggie: Is she the snarky one?
Meredith: They're all the snarky one.

See Also[edit | edit source]

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

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