RETURNS THU JAN 19 8|7c

S11 E14 The Distance


03/05/15 | TV-14 | CC

The time has come for Amelia to perform her near-impossible surgery on Dr. Herman. She puts on a brave face before having a mini-meltdown in the bathroom. She quickly regroups. She tells herself she can do this. Amelia pauses again before heading into the OR. She strikes a superhero pose because she’s about to do a super-heroic thing. Stephanie joins her. Then they both head into the operating room to face the enemy.

The gallery is full of spectators for the surgery. Meredith denies Maggie’s assessment that this is like watching a movie just before handing out snacks. This is going to be a long show. Richard notices that Amelia’s shoulders have tensed up. Something’s wrong. Amelia admits that she’s trapped.

April joins the group in the gallery. She’s not ready to work yet. She just wants to be the doctor who was with her on her worst day. Jackson wonders why there’s nothing happening. Richard enters the room. He offers to be the sounding board. Amelia wants him to call Derek because she’s in over her head. Richard assures her that she can find a way through this without him. This is her plan.

Amelia takes a beat to let Richard’s words sink in. Then she gets back to work. She finds a way out of the trap. Fourteen-plus hours into the surgery Amelia declares that she’s cleared the tumor out of the optic nerve. That’s the good news. The bad news is that 14 hours of nonstop surgery have taken a toll on Stephanie. She passes out. Richard asks Meredith to step in for the homestretch.

In an effort to speed things up during a crucial part of the surgery, Amelia exposes herself to direct radiation. It allows her to work more efficiently. Owen yells for her to put the lead gloves back on. Amelia doesn’t do so until the job is done. Meredith calls it a completely badass move. Elsewhere, Stephanie awakens from her fainting spell to race back to the OR. She’s just in time to finish closing for an exhausted Amelia, who breaks down in tears out in the hallway.

Arizona breaks the news to Bailey that Dr. Herman will not be coming to Glenda’s surgery. It’s all on them. Bailey fears for the baby’s survival. She calls for Alex to deliver early. She believes Arizona is trying to prove something. This debate ends abruptly. Arizona instructs Bailey to get onboard or get out. The baby is in distress. He flatlines. Then he comes back. Bailey is overwhelmed. The baby hasn’t even been born and she held him in her hands. Arizona knows what she’s feeling. It’s called privilege.

Arizona recalls a conversation she had with Dr. Herman as she removes Glenda’s card from their near-empty surgery board. Callie interrupts the daydream. She sits with Arizona as she breaks down. As for Dr. Herman, everyone keeps checking in as she remains unconscious in her recovery room for days. The situation is better for Glenda, who is ready to go home. She asks about Dr. Herman’s condition. No change.

Amelia reviews the procedure to figure out what the problem is. Stephanie realizes that Dr. Herman had a stroke while in surgery. Arizona realizes that she may need to make a decision soon. Callie assures her that she’s not alone. Then something happens. Dr. Herman wakes up. She asks for her mommy. Everyone is nervous until they realize she was joking.

Dr. Herman asks for a moment alone with Arizona, who realizes that she’s completely blind. She’s alive though. That wouldn’t be the case if Arizona hadn’t been such a nag all those months. The two friends hold hands. Elsewhere, Amelia lets a teary-eyed Stephanie know that, even with the blindness, they should be on a high. They defeated death. That’s what superheroes do.

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