Grey’s Anatomy “The Great Pretender” Review (Season 11 Episode 12)


Last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy was all about secrets, or in some instances, secretive behavior. Was Meredith cheating on Derek? Was Ben’s brother, Curtis, on drugs? Does Owen have the secret to taking home the ladies? Why are Jackson and April shutting Catherine out? Was Amelia’s patient hiding a serious medical condition? Although most of the secrets ended up not being a big deal, we did get some interesting insight on some of the Grey Sloan Memorial doctors and some of their patients.

Stepping Out On McDreamy?

As we saw on the previews for this week’s episode, Meredith did not make it to DC for emergency sex with Derek. After a lot of prying from Maggie and a few inappropriate questions about the emergency sex from her colleagues, Meredith finally opened up to her sister about her whereabouts. Meredith made it to the airport, but could not muster the courage to board the plane. As she later explained to Alex, Meredith feared that Derek would not be happy to see her or that they would spend their time together arguing.

When Meredith said she couldn’t get on the plane, I thought she was going to say it was due to fear stemming from the plane crash from a few seasons ago. Although I thought that would have made much more sense, I can understand Meredith’s hesitation as she and Derek are not exactly on solid ground right now. That fear led Meredith to spend her weekend in a hotel near the airport with a suitcase full of lingerie and absolutely no intention of ever telling anyone what happened. What Meredith didn’t anticipate is that Derek would call to check on the kids and want to speak with her while Aunt Maggie was at the house babysitting. I’m generally fine with turning a blind eye to some of the antics the Grey’s Anatomy writers pull, but it is a little weird that it would never dawn on Meredith that Derek might call to check on the kids and expect to speak with her as well.

Luckily for Meredith, Maggie managed to pull together a few lies, which was quite the feat as we are learning that Maggie is no good at lying and does not have a good poker face. I’m glad that Meredith opened up to Maggie, but I thought her comment about Maggie just “being a babysitter” was harsh and unnecessary. Meredith has more than enough conflict with Derek, so I would prefer that the writers not add Maggie to the mix.

Rosalind’s Story

The most compelling storyline of the episode centered on Ben’s brother Curtis, who was transitioning to a woman. I like Ben, but with a huge cast, he often gets relegated to supporting roles in other storylines on the show. It was nice to see the writers build out a bit of his back story, although it took me awhile at the start to get used to the idea that the episode was opening up with the news that Ben’s father – who I do not think we ever met – died and wanted his ashes spread in the woods. Ultimately, I understand the choice the writers made. We did not need to know anything about Ben’s father, as he was not the focus of the story. As the brothers walked up the hill after spreading their father’s ashes, I started to feel anxious because I just knew he was going to take a tumble.

As soon as Meredith mentioned that Curtis had elevated estrogen levels and that his liver was compromised, I suspected that he had been taking hormones so that he could transition. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for transgendered people to begin hormone treatment without medical supervision. Thankfully for Rosalind, she was able to get medical intervention before she went into complete organ failure. I thought Rosalind’s story was timely and refreshing. Bailey’s kindness to Rosalind and the speech that she urged Ben to give upon learning about his sister was touching. Bailey’s perspective is what I wish every transgendered person could encounter when they make the difficult choice to transition and to share the news with their family and friends.

Initially, I thought Ben’s frustration was due to transphobia. I love that the writers took a different direction and made Ben’s outrage about his feeling of betrayal that the sibling he’d spent more than two decades with would not open up to him about something so important. Ben needs to get over himself. It’s not about him and it was not his secret to tell. I’m hopeful that Ben will come around, but in the meantime, it’s good to know that Rosalind has a loving, supportive sister-in-law. I actually got a bit teary when Bailey brought Jackson in for a consultation. Jackson’s bedside manner was also reflective of what I would hope any transgendered person would experience when seeking medical supervision for their transition. I love that Grey’s Anatomy introduced this storyline and I hope that Rosalind’s connection to Ben will mean that we will see more of her in the future.

Thoughts From The Grey Sloan Memorial Surgical Observation Deck

– It really was not a good day for Seattle residents partaking in the great outdoors. Amelia and Callie took on a patient with serious injuries after she “fainted” upon hearing her boyfriend’s marriage proposal. When the boyfriend was petting his injured girlfriend, I thought it looked like she was faking it – turns out she was. What an extreme measure to take to avoid telling someone the truth. Callie should charge that patient for making her do the dirty work of breaking up with that poor clingy boyfriend.

– There was lots of talk of having game and getting laid among the doctors last night, including a super awkward exchange between Owen and Dr. Herman. That awkward exchange somehow led to another awkward moment for Amelia as she stumbled through a very shaky attempt to flirt with Owen. Luckily for Amelia, she got her mojo back by the episode’s end and managed to do so without being under the influence of drugs. I’ve been hoping for an Amelia/Owen pairing and I’m excited to see the two taking the next step.

– While Callie blew off steam at the bar with a cute guy, Arizona learned to relax and unwind a bit thanks to Dr. Herman. It was nice to see the light side of Dr. Herman and I got a kick out of her teasing/taunting Arizona.

– We did not see April in last night’s episode, but we did learn that she and Jackson continue to mourn privately. Unsurprisingly, Catherine was not quite amenable to the couple’s need for space. She used Richard’s bed as a distraction and his operating room as a way to finagle time with her son. Catherine was a great source of comfort and support last week to April and Jackson, but as she reminded Richard, she is still Catherine. I was hoping she and Richard would reconcile, but it does not look like they’ll be more than comfort/distraction buddies for now.

Until Next Week!

Based on the limited insight we got from Jackson about April’s current emotional state, I suspect things will be very interesting when she eventually returns to work. Thanks to the lighter scenes with Dr. Herman, I’m starting to feel more invested in the success of her surgery.

What did you think of this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy? Sound off below!