Grey's Anatomy has been on the air for over 300 episodes and counting, which is a heck of a feat. But they've also managed to do something rather remarkable: all of those 300 episodes and counting have had episodes titles that were taken from songs. Last week was "Out of Nowhere" (Ella Fitzgerald), next week is "Personal Jesus" (Depeche Mode). But this week is different. For the first time, an episode title is not based on a song. Instead, Grey's Anatomy Season 14 episode 9 title, which people thought was going to be "Four Seasons In One Day" (by Crowded House) turns out to be something quite different.
The title was originally that. But it's been officially changed to a simple phone number: 1-800-799-7233. That's the number to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline.
In the last episode that aired back on Nov. 16, prior to Thanksgiving, fans were left with a cliffhanger when Jo (played by Camilla Luddington) ran into her abusive-ex husband. We know this week will focus primarily on that story, as the synopsis is as follows:
Jo finally faces her estranged, abusive husband Paul Stadler.
For those who haven't seen the sneak peek for tonight's episode, here it is. Obviously, it, and the episode, should come with a trigger warning.
Fans first learned about Jo's past at the end of Season 12, when it came out that she couldn't marry Alex (played by Justin Chambers) because she was still married to the man she escaped from, Paul (played by Matthew Morrison). Her name wasn't even actually Jo Wilson. She changed it in order to escape.
This season she finally took the risk and attempted to free herself once and for all, by filing for divorce. But instead all that did was give him the means to find her once again, and track her down at the hospital.
According to showrunner Krista Vernoff, the title change was suggested by one of the show's actors — Giacomo Gianniotti, who plays Andrew DeLuca.
The episode picks up right where it left off, with Jo dazedly walking out of the elevator, in emotional shock at seeing a man she thought she was rid of in her life. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Luddington revealed that this is going to be a terribly difficult hour for her character.
You see her obviously absolutely horrified that he has infiltrated her world. When she initially runs into him, she feels like everything is completely turned upside down. It picks up exactly with that same beat walking out of the elevator, and you see her paralyzed. Jo is honestly trying to get ahead of the situation and do any damage control that she knows he will try and do. That’s, in general, how you see Jo handle the rest of the episode.
Like many abusers, Paul is a master manipulator, the kind who can gaslight everyone into taking his side and believing his version of events, to the point that his partner can't fight him. Jo is horrified to suddenly feel like that's all about to happen again, and even moreso that it might happen in a place where she felt strong and in control.
But though she's obviously having triggered flashbacks, and thrown into a PTSD panic as the idea of the floor opening up under her, there's a huge twist: Paul has a new fiancée. Like many domestic abuse escapees, that gives Jo a million more questions, starting with "Is this new woman in danger?"
According to Luddington, the show worked with domestic abuse organizations to make sure they hit all the right notes in the script. They consider this episode to be educational, and help dispel "misconceptions about domestic abuse, who it happens to, and what it looks like."
And if you, or someone you know, ever needs it, for any reason, the number for the National Domestic Abuse Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.