Quite a few heavy-handed messages...

'Grey's Anatomy' Takes On Black Lives Matter And COVID Skepticism

Grey's Anatomy Takes On Black Lives Matter And COVID Skepticism

This week's episode of Grey's Anatomy chose to deal with several extremely topical issues at its forefront. Not only were Black Lives Matter protests and systemic racism incorporated into the show, the episode also showed the consequence of not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously. Find out what happened!

Grey's Anatomy isn't afraid to take on topical issues, and the show's latest episode is no exception. While the popular medical drama has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, season 17, episode 12— which is appropriately titled "Sign O' the Times"— had several storylines that feel incredibly timely.

Grey's Anatomy talks about the power of protesting

Grey's Anatomy immediately sets the scene in the episode's opening moments, showing a Black Lives Matter protest taking place. Seattle is put under curfew, but "Webber" says he'll be taking part in the protest. While the protests are going on, "Maggie" is also concerned about the safety of her fiancé "Winston," telling him to be extra careful as he drives to her from Chicago.

Protestors keep getting wheeled in with injuries, including a woman who was hit with a canister of tear gas. "Hayes" mentions that while his teenage sons wanted to stay out at the protest, he decided to pick them up, worried about their safety. "Webber" then talks about how the protest was organized, describing the communal experience he witnessed. "You have to put yourself on the line to be part of it," he says.

As "Webber" comments on how powerful gatherings like that can be, "Jackson" admits he hasn’t actually taken to the streets himself. He explains that he has contributed in other ways, such as donating and signing checks, but has made excuses for not protesting. While "Webber" says he won't judge him, the conversations causes "Jackson" to question how effective his methods are.

"Winston's" storyline interrogates systemic racism

Grey's Anatomy also dealt with the issue of systemic racism through "Winston's" storyline this episode. When "Winston" is on the phone with "Maggie" as he drives to see her in Seattle, the police suddenly pull him over. "Maggie" panics, telling him not to turn off his phone and to turn on his camera. However, the police tell "Winston" to turn off his phone, and he complies out of fear.

"Maggie" is still on the phone with her fiancé when she has to give an emergency charge with a defibrillator. She rushes back and forth from her phone to the v-FIB patient, telling "Webber" what has happened while panicking that she can’t get a hold of "Winston". Webber tells her to go and take care of her patient, reassuring that he'll let her know when "Winston" is back on the phone.

While "Maggie" is in the surgery room, "Webber" suddenly signals to her to take a call. "Winston" is back on the phone, but shaken up from the experience. After his bike rack blocked the license plate and the police saw him, he explains, they made him get out and take everything out of the car. Sniffer dogs even got involved. "Maggie" tells him to breathe, reassuring him that she is there.

"Bailey" expresses her disbelief at patient's COVID doubt

Grey's Anatomy also took a different angle this week when it came to the topic of the pandemic. In the episode, "Bailey" deals with an incredibly frustrating patient who tells her that he doesn't believe in COVID. Even after she tells him that his covid test came back positive and lists his many symptoms, he still doesn’t believe the virus is real and takes off his mask.

When he asks her if the doctors are getting paid by the government to make people believe they need treatment, Bailey can't handle any more. She goes into a private room to freak out, in complete disbelief at how ridiculous the situation is. Despite being very sick, the patient is extremely flippant about his condition, saying that he's still waiting on his albuterol prescription.

"Bailey" jokes with "Teddy" about the ridiculousness of the patient's claims about coronavirus, which turns into recounting the devastating impact the pandemic has had on their lives. The patient in question is then found lying outside in the parking lot with no pulse, having left the hospital against orders. He dies shortly afterwards, as "Bailey" vents her frustration over the his refusal to be treated.

"Jackson" talks to his mother about feeling discouraged, asking why they don’t have protest scars themselves. "I don’t want to play a role in a system that’s just broken." he says, explaining he wants to take action. "Hayes" also admits to his sons he was wrong to make them stay home from the protest. He even says they can attend protests in daylight— as long as he joins them.

The episode ends with "Maggie" relieved that "Winston" has come home safe after going through his ordeal with the police, running to meet him when his car pulls up. As he arrives, "Jackson" has also set off on an 11-hour drive, heading for a destination that's sure to be revealed in next week's episode!