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This job isn't easy. The sheer amount of pressure and loss that we square off against every day can leave you exhausted. Or hopeless. You're going to need to find an outlet for the stress. Maybe it's physical. Maybe it's emotional. Maybe it's family. But trust me, you're not going to survive residency unless you have a happy place. Somewhere that you can just escape it all. I'm a little bit of an exception when it comes to a happy place. Because the hospital has always been mine. Maybe it's because it’s where I grew up. But if you're not like me, you're going to want somewhere else.

Helplessly Hoping is the seventh episode and mid-season premiere of the seventeenth season and the 370th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

Both teams tend to a tense situation with so much at stake. Meanwhile, Jo convinces Hayes to bend the rules on a case, and Maggie and Winston reconnect.

Full Summary[]

Carina holds Andrew's hand while Ben and Maya rush to treat him.

Maggie and Winston sleep contently. Maggie's phone rings, a call from Amelia, but it goes to voicemail as her phone shows a nearly-dead battery.

Jackson exercises.

Nico and Levi cuddle and sleep.

Teddy FaceTimes with Leo.

Bailey sleeps by Meredith's bedside as she remains in her coma.

Ben continues to treat Andrew on their way to the hospital. Carina asks why they aren't there yet and Maya says they're going as fast as they can without crashing. Carina tells Ben they need to tell the hospital it's Andrew so they're ready, but Ben tells her she's not helping. Andrew tells them his blood type is B-positive, which Ben says they'll tell the hospital.

Jo and Reza are rounding on Val, who is two days post-op from her liver resection. She's severely jaundiced. Despite this, Val insists that she feels like she could get out of bed and do a lap. Jo knows she's lying because she wants to see Luna. Jo orders meds and a CT. Val is upset because she hasn't been able to see Luna in person at all for her whole life. She tells Jo that she got a hold of Luna's father and he immediately signed over his parental rights and wished her luck. She feels sick that she made a child with someone who doesn't even care that she exists.

Winston brings in their room service breakfast and starts to get it ready for Maggie. He brings her coffee. She's happy to have her brain finally turned off. Winston says they can go for a walk, but Maggie's already where she wants to be. She pulls Winston back onto the bed.

Amelia tries to call Maggie, but gets no answer. She is worried that could be a bad sign because the last time a sibling was missing, he was dead. Her comment is overheard by Zola, who asks if her mom is going to die.

Levi tells Owen he had the blood bank put B-positive on standby as the ambulance pulls up. Owen is surprised to see Carina step out and tell him it's Andrew. Ben and Maya explain what happened and his injuries as they bring him into the ER. Carina stops Owen and begs him to save Andrew.

In the ER, Owen does an ultrasound, which shows fluid in his abdomen and around his heart. An x-ray showed a hemothorax, so Owen put in a chest tube to relieve the pressure. Then they prepared to move him to the OR. Carina asked to go with him, but both Andrew and Owen objected. Taryn looks in from outside and is horrified to see Andrew in the bed. Maya holds Carina as they take Andrew out.

Richard goes to see Meredith and watches her through the window. Taryn approaches him and is visibly nervous. She tells him a big trauma comes in and he's confused as to why she's telling him about it until she tells him it's Andrew and he's been stabbed. Richard rushes away.

Meredith is joined by Andrew on the beach. Andrew throws a rock into the ocean. She does as well, but doesn't get it as far. She says it's the first time in her life she doesn't feel competitive. Andrew questions if this is her life. Meredith thinks they are alive. They each agree that the beach suits the other.

Amelia says she made Zola a grilled cheese and now she's watching a movie with the other two. Ellis interrupted the conversation before she had to tell Zola anything, but it's good because she had no idea what to say. She can't lie and Zola would see through it anyway. Amelia needs Maggie because Maggie is thoughtful and level-headed and she has to tell Zola something. Amelia says she needs to go get Maggie, but Link says she's too sleep-deprived to drive, so they need to send someone else instead.

Levi finds Ben in the ER and asks where Carina is. Ben says she and Maya went up to the chapel, so Levi asks him to tell her that Andrew is stable and on his way to surgery. Levi sees a picture on Ben's phone and asks who it is. Ben says it's the woman they were chasing and Levi recognizes her as the woman who claimed to have been mugged. He starts to worry that it was his fault.

Teddy enters Tom's room. He starts joking with her, but realizes she's somber. He thinks she's there to criticize him for going to see Meredith, which he says was no big deal, but she informs him that they ended up having to intubate her, which he didn't know. She came to see Tom because she wanted to be in a room with someone who didn't hate her. He tells her to have a seat. He says he doesn't hate her, but it would be helpful if she admitted that she never loved him. She doesn't have to say it now, but it would help him to hear her say it soon.

Reza shows Jo Val's labs. She quickly realizes that Val's remaining liver is failing, so she orders liver dialysis. As Jo goes to the nurses' station, Cormac asks if she's Luna's mom's doctor. She says she is and he tells her that Luna has a bronchogenic cyst and needs surgery and he thought she might want to go with him to tell Val. She doesn't because she doesn't want him to tell her either. Val needs some not-terrible news. Cormac says they all do.

Richard questions Owen's decision to do an ex-lap and a sternotomy on Andrew. Owen says it's indicated because there's cardiac and abdominal trauma. Richard wants to scrub in, but Owen says he hasn't operated in months and this isn't a good surgery for his first one back. Richard says he needs help and he's not going to wake Bailey, who is sleeping for the first time since her mother died. Owen tells Richard to get Teddy. Richard says Teddy's coming off a long shift and just had to intubate Meredith. Andrew deserves the best. Owen says Teddy's used to operating on her own guys on little sleep. It's what they did in the military.

Nico got a page from Levi, but says Andrew doesn't need ortho. Levi says he's the one who needs ortho. He tells Nico about treating Opal in the ER. He thinks he should have put the pieces together. He knows that's crazy, that he needs to focus on Andrew's surgery. Nico says he can't scrub in like he is now, so he needs to switch services.

Cormac explains Luna's condition to Val. Val is upset that Luna needs surgery. Next, Val will need surgery again and back and forth. Val asks if anyone has even held Luna since she was born. Cormac says she needs to stay in her incubator for her own safety. Val says Luna is helpless and scared and babies aren't supposed to live in plastic containers. Jo says she's right and she needs to see her daughter. Jo says she'll bring Luna to see Val before her surgery over Cormac's objections.

Teddy enters the OR and Owen explains to her what happened and Andrew's injuries. Owen reminds her of a case they had before with a similar injury. They sent that guy home in one piece. They step up to operate and Owen is surprised to see Reza Khan has replaced Levi. Teddy says he'll assist her with the sternotomy. Owen makes the first incision.

Carina shakes as she tries to light a candle. She can't and goes for another match to try again. Maya says Ben got called away to a four-alarm fire downtown. Carina asks if she has to leave as well and Maya says she's not going anywhere. Maya comes up beside her, takes the match, and lights the candle. Carina says before her mama died, she called Carina and Andrew two halves of one whole. Their dad thought they were completely different, but their mom knew they couldn't breathe without each other. One year, her father was manic and spent all their Christmas money on things he didn't need, but their mother saved up and surprised them with one gift: a pair of roller skates. Andrew tried to give them to Carina, but she put on one and he the other and they skated around the house together like that, like two parts of one whole.

Teddy says the knife went through the pericardium and nicked his ventricle. She goes to repair the ventricle. Owen realizes he'll have to remove Andrew's spleen to try to get the bleeding under control. He's already gone through a lot of blood and FFP, so Teddy calls to have his clotting factors tested. From the gallery, Richard watches and prays for Andrew to live.

Maggie falls back on the bed happily. Then she reaches for the remote and asks Winston if he wants to watch a comedy or a drama. He wants to watch C-SPAN because he finds the scrolling at the bottom soothing. Maggie comments about them being 80. She tries to backtrack, but he knows she meant it. There's a knock at the door, surprising them. The knocking continues as they go to get up. Winston answers the door to see Jackson there. Jackson thinks he has the wrong room until he sees Maggie. He tells Maggie she needs to get home.

Teddy has finished her repair and Andrew is starting to improve. Owen goes to run the bowel before they close.

Link opens the door and asks Winston, Maggie, and Jackson when they were last tested. After they answer, he lets them all in. He asks them to keep it down because Scout just went to sleep. He offers beers and goes to get them even when they decline.

Carina and Maya are sitting together in the chapel when Teddy and Owen come in. They tell Carina that Andrew pulled through. Carina says it hurts not to hug them, so Maya says she can look at them while she hugs Maya instead. As they leave, Teddy thanks Owen for calling her. He says not to read into it, as he would have called someone else if he could have.

Cormac tells Jo he meant it when he said no. He won't let Jo take Luna to see Val. Jo says he's already moving her and this is just adding a stop. She asks if he was nice before his wife died. She lost the love of her life. He didn't die, but he might as well have. She was angry and sad and confused, but she still cared about other people. He reminds her that Meredith was laughing and joking a few hours before being put on a ventilator. The rules exist to keep people safe. She asks him what he would do if it were Meredith asking to see her child. He agrees to give her five minutes, but no more. They start to move Luna.

Richard tells Teddy that Meredith's labs are decent and she doesn't have a fever. Teddy says Andrew's awake. Bailey's been sleeping, so she doesn't know. He'll tell her in a bit. Teddy goes to check on her other patients.

Andrew tells Meredith he doesn't regret it before she can even ask. He just knew she wanted to know. He says we go through life ignoring atrocities all the time. But it makes sense to fight for people, like Meredith risking her license to help Gabby and Andrew following Opal. He doesn't regret it because it was the only thing that made sense.

Owen takes Carina to see Andrew, saying he suffered a lot of bleeding, but his vitals are stable. He's awake, so she goes to his bedside and takes his hand. She tells him it's over. They arrested Opal and the man who stabbed him. He saved many children, but she's still mad at him.

Teddy enters Tom's room. He asks for details from her surgery. She just tells him it went well. His oxygen saturation has gone up, which is encouraging. She tells him she did love him. She tried not to because she also loves Owen. She thought she could love them both, but instead she tore it to the ground and took them both with her. Tom says he asked her for one thing. She's convinced herself she loved them both, but empirical evidence suggests otherwise. Owen doesn't want her. But Tom is still there. If she loved him, they'd be together instead of miserable. He asked her to admit it because he needs it. If he survives COVID, he wants to get up off the ground where she dropped him, so he needs her to say she never loved him. Teddy tells Tom she never loved him and he thanks her.

Link paces around the backyard. He can't sit because as soon as he does, Scout will start crying. Scout needs him to keep moving. Zola, Bailey, and Ellis need them to keep moving, playing songs and eating. They keep eating, so he keeps going to the grocery store to buy food that Amelia pretends she knows how to cook. If Meredith doesn't survive this, what will come of his life. He realizes what he's said, but Jackson and Winston say it's okay. Link says he's praying every night she survives and he's not that kind of guy. Jackson says it's okay. Meredith is family and he doesn't want her to die either and some of the reasons why are selfish. Link doesn't have to be selfless all the time. Link says the kids already lost their dad and he doesn't want them to have to grow up without a mom, too. All they can do is keep moving. Link thanks Jackson for getting Maggie to the house even though he knows it was probably awkward. Winston suddenly realizes Jackson is Maggie's ex.

Amelia says she was Zola and Bailey and Ellis. She was the kid who lost a parent and the world turned upside down. She doesn't know what they would have told her, how long they would have waited, if she hadn't been there to see her dad dead. No one talked about it. There wasn't room for questions. Just silence. Maggie says Meredith told the kids about Derek. They can do this for her. They need to step up for Meredith and the kids.

Jo and Cormac have Luna almost to Val's room when Levi calls Jo to come run the code on Val.

Owen asks Andrew if he's comfortable and Andrew nods. Carina went to get coffee, but left Owen strict instructions for no more car chases. Andrew gives a thumbs up. As Owen goes to leave, Andrew starts coding. Owen is forced to open Andrew's chest bedside. He calls for Teddy to be paged to meet him in the OR.

Owen holds pressure on Andrew's chest as they rush him to the OR.

Jo defibrillates Val.

Teddy comes into the OR and Owen tells her Andrew went into DIC and is bleeding out. She steps up to the stable and starts working on the damage. Owen starts cardiac massage.

Jo prepares to defibrillate again, though Levi thinks it's too late.

Amelia tells Zola they put Meredith on a ventilator. Zola asks when they'll take her off it and knows her dad never came off one. She asks if they think her mom will. They're hopeful, but they don't know. Zola says they shouldn't tell Bailey and Ellis unless they need to because they're too young to understand. Amelia says they'll wait.

Jo is waiting in the NICU when they bring Luna back from surgery. Cormac tells her Luna is doing well. She's a trouper and Jo says she'll have to be, which Cormac realizes means Val died. Cormac admits that he was nicer before Abigail died. He was better in a lot of ways. It was kind, what Jo wanted to do. Jo sanitizes her hands, then reaches into Luna's incubator to hold her hand.

Nico finds Levi in an on-call room and learns that Val is dead. Levi also says Andrew was okay and now he might not be. Levi spent so many years pretending to be someone else, worried about what other people thought. He wasted so much time and now everyone is just working, surviving, and waiting. He wonders if it'll all just end one day, with a memo saying COVID is over. He's worried he's wasted all the time he was supposed to be happy.

Bailey wakes up and asks how long she's been asleep. Richard tells her it's been most of the day and says something happened. She looks over at Meredith in a panic, but he says it's not her. It's Andrew. She asks what happened.

Owen and Teddy work frantically, trying to save Andrew's life.

Meredith sees Andrew building a sandcastle in the sand and tells him the tide is coming in. He knows, which is why he's working so fast. He's trying to beat the tide. He had more to do. He had plans. Suddenly, the water rushes up and destroys the castle. He says he doesn't know what happens from here. Neither does Meredith. Andrew tells Meredith no matter what happens, he never felt seen the way she saw him and she made him want to be better. He sometimes felt small around her, but that's because he wanted something from her that he needed to give himself. But on the beach with her, he understands and he feels it. He knows who he is and knows his own strength. Meredith asks if he wants to go for a walk so they can watch the sunset. He says he wants to hold onto the feeling for a little longer.

Teddy, Owen, and Reza are still working on Andrew.

Andrew and Meredith watch the sunset. A woman's voice calls out to Andrew. He looks over and sees his mother waving to him. Meredith tells him she'll miss him if she goes back and he doesn't. Andrew tells her it'll be okay, but he has to go. He gets up and runs to his mother. They embrace happily.

Reza tells Teddy and Owen that his heart won't restart. He's been down for 40 minutes. Reluctantly, Teddy stops. Everyone in the OR is silent for several moments as the heart monitor flatlines. Reza asks if anyone's going to call it. When no one does, Reza himself calls time of death.

Andrew and his mother hug on the beach. Then together, they walk away from Meredith. Andrew looks back at her and waves.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]

Co-Starring[]

Medical Notes[]

Andrew DeLuca[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Stab wound
    • Hemothorax
    • Cardiac tamponade
    • DIC
  • Treatment:
    • Chest tube
    • Laparotomy
    • Sternotomy
    • Splenectomy
    • DXA

Andrew, 35, was stabbed in the abdomen. In the ER, an ultrasound showed fluid around his heart. Owen said he had a hemothorax and placed a chest tube. He was then taken into surgery for a laparotomy and sternotomy. In surgery, they found that the knife had gone through his pericardium and knocked his ventricle. Teddy repaired the ventricle. Owen discovered that the night had also gone through his spleen, stomach, and diaphragm. Owen did a splenectomy and worked to repair the other damage. After doing that, Teddy placed a drain and they were able to close. He was taken to the ICU, where he was stable. He woke up after his surgery. However, he later developed cardiac tamponade. Owen had to open his chest in his room before moving him to the OR. On the way, he went into DIC. They transfused blood, but then he started coding. They attempted resuscitation for over 40 minutes before Khan called time of death at 22:50.

Meredith Grey[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • COVID-19
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:
    • Mechanical ventilation

Meredith remained in a coma and on a ventilator.

Val Ashton[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Sepsis
    • Jaundice
  • Treatment:
    • Liver dialysis

Val was two days post-op from her liver resection. She had sepsis and jaundice. Jo prescribed antibiotics and ordered labs and CT. Labs showed that her liver was failing, so Khan started her on liver dialysis. However, she later coded and despite Jo's best efforts, she was unable to be resuscitated.

Luna Ashton[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Bronchogenic cyst
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Luna had a bronchogenic cyst. Cormac took her into surgery to remove it. She was stable after her surgery.

Tom Koracick[]

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

Tom was still in the hospital on oxygen. Teddy told him his condition was improving.

Music[]

Song Performer Scene
"Little Runaway" Celeste
  • Andrew is rushed to the hospital.
  • Maggie and Winston sleep and Maggie misses a call from Amelia.
  • Jackson exercise.
  • Levi and Nico sleep in an on-call room.
  • Teddy FaceTimes with Leo.
  • Bailey sleeps by Meredith's beside.
  • Meredith stands on the beach.
"Wake Me Up" Josh Ronen
  • Owen and Teddy prepare to operate on Andrew with Reza assisting.
  • Carina shakes as she tries to light a candle in the chapel.
  • Maya takes over and Carina tells Maya about her brother.
  • They prepare to remove Andrew's spleen as his condition worsens.
  • Richard pleads for Andrew to live.
"Not Dark Yet" Calum Scott
  • Andrew and Meredith talk on the beach.
  • Carina goes to see Andrew.
"Pressure" Ruelle
  • Andrew is rushed back to surgery.
  • Jo runs the code on Val.
  • Andrew crashes in the OR.
"There's a Place" Roo Panes
  • Andrew and Meredith look at each other on the beach.
  • Teddy and Owen continue working on Andrew.
  • Andrew and Meredith look at the ocean.
  • Andrew's mother calls out to him.
  • Andrew tells Meredith he has to go and runs to his mother.
  • Reza tells the others that Andrew's heart won't restart.
  • After several moments of silence, Reza calls time of death.
  • Andrew and his mother walk away from Meredith.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • This episode's title originated from the song Helplessly Hoping, originally sung by Crosby, Stills & Nash.
  • This episode scored 5.11 million viewers.
  • This episode marks the first time that a main character dies since Derek's death in How to Save a Life.

Gallery[]

Episode Stills[]

Behind the Scenes[]

Quotes[]

See Also[]

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

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