In a normal season of television, Grey’s Anatomy fans could expect the beloved medical drama to run comfortably into May 2020. In fact, the ABC drama was meant to finish out its sixteenth season with a whopping 25 episodes. But, this year isn’t a normal year — it’s the year the COVID-19 pandemic shut down TV production around the world, Grey’s Anatomy included. So Grey’s season 16 isn’t wrapping on its usual late-spring schedule. It’s ending four chapters early on Thursday, April 9, with its twenty-first episode, “Put on A Happy Face.”
With Grey’s prematurely ending this season, it’s likely fans are worried they’ll be left on a particularly painful cliffhanger — the kind the series’ writers weren’t even planning to hand to them. While those concerns are valid, it is at least clear “Happy Face” will kick off this season’s most-awaited conclusion: the arrival of Amelia Shepherd’s (Caterina Scorsone) baby with partner Atticus Lincoln (Chris Carmack). The real mystery of Grey's 2020 finale is whether we’ll actually get to meet the newest Shepherd baby — or if time will run out on “Happy Face” before that happy moment.
The trailer for the surprise season 16 finale confirms that Amelia will go into labor during the installment. First, we see Amelia announce, “My water just broke,” while in the middle of a shift (notice her deep blue scrubs). Then, we get a glimpse of Amelia seemingly breathing through contractions in one of the hospital rooms. Linc is by her side and Carina DeLuca (Stefania Spampinato), Grey Sloan’s reigning OB-GYN and Amelia’s primary doctor for the pregnancy, is going over some sort of document that could easily be a test result.
If you’re worried that Amelia has gone into premature labor, don’t be. In Thursday night’s “Sing It Again,” Amelia confirms she has just “a couple weeks left” in her pregnancy. Amelia's ex, Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd), tells dad-to-be Linc during a surgery that “Amelia is close to term.” It’s official: Amelia is genuinely a month or less from giving birth. “Happy Face” will take place weeks after the events of “Sing,” even though it will air seven days after the episode. We get that confirmation in the “Face” trailer, when Catherine Avery (Debbie Allen) yells at the Grey Sloan team about the lack of a diagnosis for her ailing husband Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.).
“You’ve had weeks and have found nothing!” Catherine screams. Seconds later in the trailer, we see Amelia go into labor. That means, at minimum, Amelia’s baby will be carried to full-term — which, as Amelia reveals to Linc in “Sing,” was originally her single goal as a mom.
However, it is unclear if Amelia will actually complete labor and meet her baby in “Sing,” thereby introducing Grey’s fandom to the new baby. Amelia’s pregnancy was one of the most dramatic storylines of Grey’s Anatomy season 16, from Amelia’s anxiety over carrying a child after her tragic pregnancy so many years ago — her first baby was born without a brain — to the episodes-long paternity mystery fans were put through. It is unlikely the Grey’s writers would wrap up the crescendo of this story in just one episode, particularly one that was initially meant to arrive long before the traditionally explosive finale.
Even the snippet we see of an in-labor Amelia during the “Happy” trailer suggests her birthing journey is just beginning, especially when you compare it to previous Grey's delivery scenes. In the season 15 finale, “Jump Into the Fog,” Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) similarly goes into labor. In the bloody midst of giving birth, there is a full gigantic blue medical cover placed over the bottom half of Teddy's body and Carina is fully covered in protective blue scrubs and latex gloves. In the “Happy” trailer we see no such game-time medical paraphernalia — Carina is still wearing her pristine light pink scrubs.
If Grey’s had high-drama shots of Amelia pushing out a baby so many fans have been desperate to see, it’s improbable the series’ team would hide them from the trailer for a bland shot in a hospital room. It instead seems likely the season 16 finale will end with Amelia in the middle of the “ring of fire” portion of labor that Carina mentions to Teddy in “Fog.”
If you're going into “Happy Face” excited to meet the newest little member of the Grey’s Anatomy family, don’t hold your breath. Unless, of course, you want to keep holding it until the fall.