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

The organs in the human body have entirely different functions. The cells which make up those organs act independently of each other. But in a healthy body, seemingly independent cells quietly depend on the functioning of the others. Because when one system stops working, the others can't function for long. Just as organ systems are codependent for survival, so are human beings. Studies have shown that our happiness and health depends on our relationships not just functioning, but thriving. Sometimes the best we can do is bear each other's burdens and ease each other's pain. And hold each other's hands in the dark.

Nothing Left to Cling To is the first episode of the sixteenth season and the 343rd overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

Meredith, Richard, and Alex must deal with the consequences after Bailey fires them from Grey Sloan for insurance fraud. After disappearing into the fog, Jackson helps a man in a dangerous situation, as his relationship with Maggie comes to a new crossroad. Meanwhile, Tom gets new responsibilities at the hospital that throw the doctors for a loop.

Full Summary[]

As she checks into the psychiatric department, Jo is rid of all things that may be a danger to her, including her wedding ring. She is brought to her room, where she lies down on the bed as she tears up.

Maggie is wandering down the road. She hears him calling for her as an ambulance arrives. It's Victoria Hughes. She instructs Maggie to stay on the road and follows Jackson's voice.

She finds Jackson and a woman near the edge of a ravine. Mari and Jai were climbing. He fell and she caught onto the rope. Jackson took over for her, but he's got no leverage. They don't know if Jai is still alive. Victoria sees him hanging motionlessly and slides in to attach a Prusik. Together, they pull him.

Maggie hears them working together from the road.

In an AA meeting, Richard talks about how the person whom he mentored fired him without so much of an apology and how his wife just stood by. He knows he has his part in this, but he can't see himself forgiving anyone but himself any time soon.

Meredith is in a meeting with her lawyer. She takes full responsibility, but she's surprised to find out she can go home. Andrew will be let out once the charges are dismissed. The lawyer tells her they'll schedule a meeting where Meredith will be deeply repentant, she'll get a few hours of community hours at a clinic, and that'll be that. The lawyer deems it highly unlikely that the medical board will take action against her license.

Link and Alex are out drinking. Alex is afraid that the clinic won't be enough for Jo, like for the other people in his life. Link says she's a fighter. Link thinks Amelia dumped him.

Amelia brings in Leo to meet his sister. Bailey comes in to fetch Owen and Amelia for an incoming trauma. With three attendings fired and Andrew in jail, she can't spare them. Amelia hands Leo over to Teddy, who can't make him stop crying. Moments later, Tom comes in. He figured she had the baby since he didn't hear from her. He takes Leo from her and asks Leo if Teddy got back together with his father, whom he assumed rode in a white horse and made all the right promises. Teddy says it's all her. Tom knows he's a wonderful man, so she'll come to regret her decision and he'll be there when she does, because he's in love with her and this thing with Hunt won't last. In the meantime, they are friends. Tom takes Leo back to daycare.

Bailey, Owen, and Shepherd meet the ambulances bringing in Mari and Jai. Mari has a humerus fracture with extremity paralysis. Jai has a left broken femur and right lower leg deformity. Owen then sees Jackson and Maggie in the ambulance. They claim they're fine and then sit there in silence.

One week later

Link and the team are checking up on Jai. There was some talk of amputation, but Link worked his magic and they managed to save the leg. Dahlia presents Mari's case, calling her a hero. She held the rope for hours with a broken, shredded arm. They put in a plate for the fracture and they'll operate on her brachial plexus injury today for definitive nerve repair.

Alex arrives at Mercer Island Treatment Center to check in Jo. As they get out of the car, she says she hates how she became a name on his list of crazy women. He says it's just 30 days and he can come visit her. Jo tells him they are not legally married, so he has an out and she loves him enough to understand if he would want to take it. He doesn't respond, so she grabs her luggage and heads into the building.

Bailey sees Catherine and Tom enter the conference room. Catherine shuts the blinds on her.

Nico, Link, Jackson, and Amelia are operating on Mari. Seeing the damage, they have no idea how she didn't let go for hours. Amelia would have let go after 20 minutes, if not sooner. Link comments that sounds about right. Amelia thinks there's a misunderstanding, so she clarifies she likes him and wants to date him to get to know him. She has a history of going all in too fast and she'd like to change that.

Teddy and Allison are crying in their hotel room as Owen comes in with supplies. Owen wants her to come home with him, but she refuses. They are not supposed to start their lives together in that house. He takes Allison so she can go shower.

Richard shows up for a house call. He's working for a health app. Janice lets him in and dog Dumbledore starts attacking Richard's pants. Janice calls him off and brings him to her daughter Lolly, who throws up on him. Given her symptoms, he thinks she has the flu.

Jackson finds Maggie and tells her about Mari's nerve repair. He asks about her ankle. It's better. It's been a week since they agreed to let their tempers settle before talking about their fight. She recalls he abandoned her in the car on an unfamiliar road in the fog in the middle of the woods. She's still angry, so they shouldn't talk yet.

In Meredith's hearing, her lawyer pleads that her bleeding heart got the better of her. The judge asks Meredith why she didn't just pay for the surgery or do it for free. Meredith explains the girl has cancer, meaning a lot of money over a period of years, and she didn't think her father would accept charity. Meredith also states the system should have supported them. It's broken. She's asked if she regrets her choices. She replies to the extent that she can knowing that the girl is doing better. The judge is angered. The lawyer brings up her three kids to convince him not to throw her in jail.

One week later

Mari calls for help. Jai lost consciousness. Jackson and Link rush in and check on him.

Bailey is meeting with Catherine, who appointed Tom as Chief Medical Officer of her Foundation, meaning he's now Chief of all Chiefs of all Catherine Fox hospitals. Her standing by Bailey's decision cost her her marriage. Bailey thinks of Tom as her punishment. Catherine says she doesn't have the energy she used to anymore. As Catherine leaves, Bailey sees Andrew standing by the door. He cockily thinks she might need his help.

Meredith's picking up trash by the beach. Angie, who keyed her ex's car, approaches her about a mole.

Maggie finds Jackson studying Jai's scans. He was diagnosed watershed infarcts, which makes no sense in his case. Jackson says Mari hung onto Jai so hard that a tree sliced the nerves in her arm and almost cut it off. Then they put Jai through excruciating surgeries and now he's on life support. He's wondering if Mari should have let go back at that cliff. There's something inside Jai that's broken beyond repair and they can't find or name it. Maggie understands he's talking about their relationship.

One week later

Over breakfast, Amelia asks Maggie if her break-up is sticking. Maggie says it is. She deserves someone who doesn't abandon her for trees. She thinks they're back to being friends. Or siblings, Andrew suggests. Bailey comes in to ask if he can wear her safety vest to school. She says no because she needs it for work.

Nico finds Levi agonizing outside Jai's room. Jai and Mari climbed all the way to the top of the mountain. He stepped back to take a selfie and slipped. He was a miracle case and now he's on life support and they don't know why. It makes Levi's body ache.

A confused Owen comes into the ER. He and the baby are fine, but he's looking for Teddy, who sometimes comes here. She panics and brings the baby over here sometimes. Everything he says or does is wrong. It wasn't this hard with Leo. Amelia says giving birth is a beast to your body, so he has to be patient. Owen admits he offered to milk Teddy. Amelia understands Teddy now.

Richard is interviewing for the Chief of Surgery job at Pacific Northwest General Hospital, which ranks last in Seattle. The interviewer says the job is enormous. The investors want to turn this place around. Lilah asks if he's not considering retirement anytime soon. He does not.

Jackson runs into Vic in the ambulance bay. He never thanked her and informs them on how Mari and Jai are doing. He invites her for a burger at Joe's, but she has to work. She'd like a rain check, though.

Jo and Alex are meeting with Jo's doctor present. She tells Alex that when he tried to talk to her and she couldn't, she felt shame, fear, and pain. She was ashamed that she lost the ability to receive the love that he was offering. She pushed him away. She's afraid she won't be able to regain his trust. Alex says he felt fear and still does. Jo says he's had enough pain and crazy for a lifetime. He deserves someone who doesn't break like glass and doesn't need to be swept up. The doctor says Jo had a depressive episode caused by intense trauma. Her coming here doesn't mean she's broken, it means she's stronger than most.

Link and Amelia are on a date. They are going over Jai's case to find out what caused the stroke, but can't find anything. Amelia asks to list three things he's always wanted to do. His are surf a 20-foot wave, ride a camel through the Sahara, and cure Parkinson's. Hers are talking to her father through a psychic medium, getting licensed in scuba diving, and a threesome. He can't believe she never had a threeway while living in Venice Beach. She then recalls a patient of hers from L.A. who had a fat embolus. That comes with a telltale rash. They never checked Jai for one.

They arrive at the hospital and rush into Jai's room as Levi's about to extubate him. Mari says living like this is Jai's worst fear. Amelia finds the rash under his arm. Amelia tells Mari this means they might be able to wake him up.

One week later

Jackson and Vic are having lunch together in the park. He's explaining the fat embolus syndrome. She enjoys hearing how her rescues are doing. Jackson says he's getting out a serious relationship. So is she. In fact, her fiancé died. He suggests it's not the best time for either of them to start something new. She jokes they are supposed to feel miserable for as long as possible.

A car pulls up next to Meredith's as she's picking up trash. It's Suzie Wilson, the classroom mom at Zola's school. She asks if this is a volunteer thing. Meredith says something like that. Now Suzie gets why Meredith never volunteered at school. Meredith says working moms don't volunteer at school because they are working. Robin then yells at Meredith to get back to work or she'll tell the court she's in contempt. Meredith tells Suzie she appreciates everything she does and goes back to work.

Bailey finds Teddy in a lounge at the hospital. Teddy confesses she hates maternity leave. She knows women would kill for that privilege. Owen offered to milk her. Teddy wants an opportunity to use her brilliant mind. Bailey talks about firing her favorite people and her least favorite person now having power over her. The anger is exhausting. Teddy fears she's a terrible mother. Bailey hated maternity leave, too, and she's an excellent mother.

Richard shows up at Alex's loft. As he sees how messy the loft is, Richard asks Alex if Pac North called him since he put Alex down as a reference. Alex doens't know because he never picks up if he doesn't recognize the number. Richard knows he's not getting the job. Alex suggests asking Catherine for a job, but Richard refuses and asks Alex about Jo. Alex says she's out of town and he doesn't know if she's coming back. Richard then tells Alex to get the job. He can turn the place around and hire Richard himself. Alex is hesitant. Richard points out his environment and says if he's worried about his marriage, he should give his wife a reason to come back home.

Jai's doctors are positioning him in the scanner. In the boot, Levi explains to a desperate Mari that it's an experimental protocol they're following, so she has to give it time. Mari wants them to stop. She promised Jai she would never let this happen. She starts banging on the window. She yells that Jai is living his worst nightmare. Andrew tells Mari it's not easy to hold onto hope, but it's not the time to give up on him yet. She makes Andrew promise to tell her when it's time.

One week later

Jackson and Andrew meet Mari in the waiting area. As they walk her to Jai's room, she says she found a nice long-term care facility for him. However, the doctors then show her that Jai woke up. She can't believe it. His cognitive tests are good. Mari thanks the doctors and caresses Jai's face.

Alex is waiting for Jo as she gets out of the treatment center. She's surprised to see him. He has something cheesy to do. He gets on one knee and tells her he doesn't want an out. He was scared and he thought about it, but he's a better man with her. He wants to be married. Jo says she did the work, but she can't promise it won't happen again. He doesn't care. They're together in sickness and in health. She agrees to marry him again.

Owen enters Teddy's hotel room. He has listed the house and he has a realtor looking for a new one. He also upgraded them to a suite because this room is too small. She's happy to hear about the house. She can't all do this on her own so she has to let him help. She gets up and kisses him.

Amelia drops by Carina's office. Carina has been wondering if Amelia would come see her. She has noticed the changes in her body and the fullness in her breasts. Amelia didn't know it was mutual. She admits to having a crush. Amelia tells her Link knows she's here. She has trouble getting to the point. Carina asks if she's here for her pregnancy or for a ménage à trois. Amelia says she's not pregnant but she admits to the threesome. Carina says sexual cravings can be intense during pregnancy. Amelia thinks she just gained a little weight, but then it dawns on her that Carina is right.

Maggie leaves the ER and sees Vic and Jackson talking before Vic takes off. She asks Jackson how long that's been going on. Jackson says they're just friends. She asks if they are friends with benefits. He says no, but it's not her business. She says they don't like each other, so they are not friends.

Catherine angrily storms into her bedroom and wakes up Richard. She found out he took a job at Pac North. He says she doesn't get to judge since she let Bailey fire him. She feels humiliated. He leaves to go sleep on the sofa.

Meredith and Andrew are eating ice cream on her bed. Zola overheard Suzie tell her teacher that Meredith's a criminal. She came home and asked Meredith to spell criminal. Meredith is happy she's not in jail. The community service is quite meditative. She still feels a sense of accomplishment. He wants a roadside vacation, too. She then receives word that the medical board is pursuing action against her license. There's going to be another hearing.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]


Medical Notes[]

Jo Karev[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Major depressive episode
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:
    • Intensive inpatient therapy

Jo spent some time in the Grey Sloan psychiatric ward. She was then transferred to a psychiatric facility, where she continued to work through her trauma.

Jai Prishna[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Left open femur fracture
    • Broken right leg
    • Watershed infarctions due to fat embolism syndrome
  • Treatment:
    • Surgical repair

Jai, 35, was taking a selfie with his wife, Mari, when he stepped back and flipped off a cliff. Mari caught the rope and held it until Jackson found them and held on. When Vic arrived, she helped him pull Jai up to safety. His left femur was fractured and so was his right lower leg. He had surgery on his leg. Link initially recommended amputation, but was able to save the leg at Jai's request. A week later, he was healing well. However, a week after that, he crashed and had to be intubated and resuscitated. He was diagnosed with watershed infarctions. Jai was put on life support and they couldn't figure out what caused the stroke. While having dinner with Link, Amelia remembered a patient from California who had a fat embolus that caused the same problem and he had a rash. They rushed to the hospital just as Mari was discontinuing life support and found that Jai had the rash. They started an experimental treatment in the hopes he would recover and regain consciousness. After a couple treatments, Mari began to lose hope and wanted them to stop. They convinced her to continue and a week later, as she was preparing to put him in long-term care, he woke up. His cognitive tests were all positive.

Mari Prishna[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Open right humerus fracture
    • Extremity paralysis
  • Treatment:
    • Right humeral plate
    • Brachial plexus surgery

Mari, 34, was hiking with her husband when he slipped off a cliff taking a selfie. She caught the rope attached to him and held him up for hours until help arrived. She had broken her arm and had paralysis in that arm. She had surgery on her arm and her wound was debrided before a right humeral plate was placed. A week later, she was ready to have brachial plexus surgery to repair the nerves. The surgery was successful and her shoulder continued to heal.


  • Diagnosis:
    • Influenza
  • Treatment:

Lolly had been acting sick since coming home from the park with her mother. Her mother called a doctor to come to the house through an app and Richard arrived. He sat down to assess Lolly and she vomited on him. Her mother believed she had the flu and Richard said that seemed likely.


  • Diagnosis:
    • Mole
  • Treatment:

Angie had Meredith check out her mole.


Song Performer Scene
"Hush" Seibold feat. Garrison Starr
  • Jo removes everything that might be dangerous to her as she's admitted to the psychiatric ward.
  • She lies in bed.
  • Maggie searches for Jackson and hears his voice as sirens approach.
  • Vic gets out of the rig and goes to locate Jackson.
  • Vic finds Jackson holding a rope that's attached to a fallen climber.
  • She taps in to help pull him back up as a second ambulance arrives.
"Tomorrow Man" Old Man Canyon
  • Alex and Link sit in the bar and talk about Jo and Amelia.
"Guiding Light" Mumford & Sons
  • Mari celebrates Jai being awake while the doctors watch.
  • Alex picks Jo up from the treatment facility. He tells her he doesn't want an out.
  • He asks her to marry him again and she says yes.
  • Owen tells Teddy he listed the house and is looking for another one.
  • She thanks him and they kiss.
"High and Dry" Phillip Larue
  • Maggie sees Jackson with Vic.
  • Vic leaves and Maggie asks Jackson when that happened. Jackson says they're just friends.
  • Maggie tells him about Ripley, but Jackson already knows.
  • Maggie says it's not her business because they're not friends.
  • Catherine and Richard fight about his job change and the firing.
  • Meredith and Andrew talk about Zola's class-mom. Meredith's happy with where she is.
  • Meredith gets an email that the medical board is investigating her.

Notes and Trivia[]


16x01 Promo

  • This episode's title originated from the song Nothing Left to Cling To, originally sung by The Buckinghams.
  • This episode scored 6.51 million viewers.
  • The table read took place on July 25, 2019.
  • Filming for this episode started on July 29, 2019.[1]
  • The episode picks up moments after the previous one to provide answers to the cliffhangers, then features time jumps of one week at a time.
  • This episode marks the addition of Jake Borelli (Levi Schmitt), Greg Germann (Tom Koracick), and Chris Carmack (Atticus Lincoln) to the main cast.
  • Victoria Hughes appears on this episode as part of this season's goal to blend the worlds of Grey's Anatomy and Station 19 together naturally instead of only a few big cross-over events.
  • Alex Landi is upgraded to recurring guest star after having recurred as a co-star throughout season fifteen.
  • Camilla Luddington tweeted that fans watched her and Justin film all of the outdoor scenes for this episode. The fans swore not to release any pictures and they kept their promise as no pictures were leaked to social media before the episode premiered.


Episode Stills[]

Behind the Scenes[]


Owen: I offered to milk her.
Amelia: What?
Owen: She had a clogged duct and she was in pain, and the heat pads weren't working. I just...
Amelia: So you offered to milk her?
Owen: Yeah.
Amelia: In those exact words?
Owen: Yeah. I was just trying to help!

Teddy: I hate maternity leave. Which is, I know, there are women the world over who would kill for the privilege of being able to stay at home with their newborn baby and know that they have a job to come back to. I know that I should be grateful, but I hate it. Owen called me a cow the other day.
Bailey: He did what now?
Teddy: He offered to milk me.
Bailey: Yeah, I don't even know what to do with that.
Teddy: I have a brilliant mind with no opportunity to use it. So, I came to work. I'm not working, but I'm at work. Tell... Bailey, tell me, tell me. Come on, tell me a little bit about work, please.
Bailey: I fired all my favorite people, and my least favorite person now has power over me. And the anger I feel, the righteous anger, it's exhausting.
Teddy: I think I might be a terrible mother.
Bailey: For what it's worth, I hated maternity leave, too. And I am an excellent mother.

Jackson: Jai was hanging on the edge of a cliff with two shattered legs, and Mari hung onto him. She hung on so hard that a tree sliced through the nerves in her arm and almost cut it off. But she hung on, pulled him from the brink, like the edge of certain death. And then we show up and we bring him back here and we put him through excruciating surgeries, and now he's on life support, somewhere between alive and dead. So, I'm wondering if she should have, back at that cliffside, if she should have just let him go. Because there's something inside him that we can't find. Hell, we can't even name it. There's something there that's broken, beyond repair.
Maggie: In this metaphor, am I the thing that is broken beyond repair? Am I the thing that should just be thrown over a cliff now?
Jackson: No. No. Not you, Maggie. Us.

Amelia: So, you're still broken up? That's sticking?
Maggie: It's very, very sticking. I think I deserve better than someone who regularly abandons me for, you know, trees.
Amelia: Right?
Maggie: So, yeah, it's sticking.
Meredith: You're okay, right? I mean.
Maggie: Yeah. Oh, yeah. We're fine. I mean, we're friends. Our parents are married to one another. So, yeah. Friends.
Andrew: Or like siblings.
Maggie: We're definitely not like siblings.

Jo: Alex, you've had enough pain and crazy to last you a lifetime. You deserve someone who doesn't break like glass and need to be swept up and shipped off to places like this.
Therapist: Do you think that person exists?
Jo: I think some are stronger than other others.
Therapist: Jo, you've had a depressive episode caused by intense trauma, and even though our society tells us places like this mean we're broken, I think the truth is coming to a place like this makes you stronger than most.

Alex: There's something I have to do. It's a little cheesy, but I'm gonna. I don't want an out. You hear me? You offered me an out, and you were right. I was scared. So, I thought about it, and what I know for sure now is I'm a better man with you. I want to be your husband. I want you to be my wife.
Jo: I did the work here, but I'm not magically fixed. I can't promise that it won't happen again.
Alex: I don't care. I love you. I want to grow old with you, no matter what. For better or for worse. In sickness and health. Marry me again, please.
Jo: Yes.

Catherine: Pac-North?! You're going to work with Alex Karev at Pac-North?!
Richard: You stood by and watched Bailey fire me, so you don't get to judge where I work now.
Catherine: You betrayed me, Richard Webber. You chose your loyalty to Meredith Grey and her criminal enterprises over your loyalty to your wife and her foundation, and now you want to humiliate me and go work at Pac-North?
Richard: I'm sleeping on the sofa.

Meredith: Listen, you know, I'm healthy. My kids are healthy. And I'm not in jail. I'm getting exercise. It's quite meditative, actually. You sort of just pick up the trash, one piece at a time, and I'm helping the city, I'm helping the planet. I still feel a sense of accomplishment.
Andrew: So, it's kind of like a roadside vacation, then.
Meredith: Exactly.
Andrew: I want a roadside vacation. Maybe I'll go rob a store or something.
Meredith: Please don't do that.

See Also[]

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