7:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Grey's Anatomy's' Jason George: Bailey's Betrayal Is "Tough to Come Back From"
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's two-hour Grey's Anatomy event.]
Dr. Ben Warren (Jason George) learned the hard way about taking risks as a surgical resident on ABC's Grey's Anatomy.
During Thursday's two-hour event, the doc went above and beyond in a bid to save a patient's life amid a Code Pink emergency when the hospital was put on lockdown.
Unfortunately, those efforts didn't work out the way he wanted when his efforts to save a pregnant woman and her unborn baby both fail. Worse: his wife — chief Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) — took him to task for it and, were it not for a task force, nearly fired her husband. Instead, he was put on a six-month suspension, where to hear George tell it, Ben will be forced to re-evaluate who he is. It also leaves one of Grey's Anatomy's most stable couples facing what might be an insurmountable obstacle.
Here, THR talks with George about whether Ben and Bailey's marriage can withstand his suspension as well as the fears the new series regular felt after he initially read the storyline and more.
Bailey said she planned to fire Ben. How will that sit with him?
That was a big gasp in the room during the table read. It's hard because Ben has given up so much to become a surgeon and to take care of his family. He gave up surgery at one point, which he loves, because he didn't want to be away from his family. He gave up going after fellowships because he didn't want to be away from his family. He took a pay cut to become a surgeon because he was inspired by his wife as opposed to being the rock star anesthesiologist that he was. Bailey inspired him so much to be a surgeon and he has given up so much to get where he is so for her to say, "If it were up to me, I'd fire you and you'd have no career"? That's a pretty big betrayal and it's tough to come back from. But Bailey is looking at this surgical resident — he's a doctor but not a surgeon yet, so he has all the experience and confidence of a doctor but not the full skills of a surgeon. She's looking at it as a question of if she can trust this surgical resident. Each of them has a deficit of trust. But I have to side with Ben on this one — that was messed up!
Is Ben going to appeal this suspension?
Because Ben has been a resident so long you and has to eat what comes his way, you forget how strong a personality he was — that's what Bailey fell in love with. He's a force to be reckoned with. Whether you can legally appeal this or not is irrelevant; Ben is going to fight to stay a surgeon and stay in the game.
Is this betrayal something that Ben and Bailey can come back from?
I don't know. It has significant ramifications that last for a bit. That's a lot of trust to gain back in the workplace; it's a lot of trust to gain back in the relationship. Do you truly have my back? Even if you manage to get to that point, then you have to figure out how do Ben and Bailey make rules so that they can keep working in the same place? That's a lot to do and if that's even possible, it certainly doesn't happen quickly.
How concerned should viewers be about their marriage?
Ben and Bailey are not quite in the same place and that's part of the problem. If Ben had become a full surgeon, they they'd be in the same place. Ben did what he thought he had to do but got slapped down because he was a resident. If a doctor did the same stunt, you'd look at it differently. But when a resident does it, you wonder if they know what they're doing. Ben feels like he's being treated more harshly. Each of them feels like their personal situation of being husband and wife as well as resident and chief puts them in a different situation than it would be if it were any two other people. They took forever to find each other and they've been the rock-solid couple for a while. … Ben and Bailey are brutally honest with each other all the time and that's the foundation of their love. But this is a whole other thing. For the first time, nobody knows if this rock-solid couple can come back from this.
How much will the show follow Ben during his suspension? Will viewers see what he's doing when he's not at the hospital? Or will we just not see you for a few episodes?
One of my first questions was: what am I going to be doing? I asked [head writer] Stacy McKee and she said the medical piece — as huge as it seems on Grey's — it's a reflection of what's happening in the characters' lives and relationships. She said the fact Ben doesn't have that medical piece as a way to to look the world — that Ben is lost — is a new way to look at the world. You'll see Ben trying to figure out who he is if he's not the thing he's always been trying to be. He's been a doctor his entire adult life and suddenly someone is telling him, "No, I don't think you get to be that." I told Stacy that they just made me a series regular, you're not really getting rid of me already!
How much will he struggle with trying to find a new identity, post-suspension?
He is trying to figure it out. Ben doesn't give up, no matter what. He's not going to give up on a patient, even if it's going to cost him his career, and he's not going to give up fighting to become a doctor. The suspension for six months, as Ben says, is like saying you'll miss next two years of high school and you're not graduating. Ben will be damned if he lets that happen. He's trying to find his way and find a way to fight for what he wants but just because he wants it, doesn't mean he will.
Bailey ignored the DNR and saved the father. Might that be a bone of contention for Ben?
I don't know if that will. To lose mother and the child, Bailey did it because she wanted to save the father but she also did it to save her husband. Some part of her knew that if she saved her husband, she'd save her marriage. She knew if that father died, Ben could never come back from that; that it would break him and his spirit. It kills him that he lost mother and child in the first place and Bailey's respect for him at all as a doctor could not have come back from that. She did it to save the man's life but she also did it to save her man.
What does this do for Bailey?
She's harsh, I'll put it that way. If you're willing to fire your husband, that's a whole other level! The [so-called] Nazi [from season one of Grey's] is still in there, if anybody is wondering. She and Ben struggle to figure out who they are. Ben was inspired by her to become a surgeon and has made tons of sacrifices — he took pay cuts, pushed her to become chief — and all that is now sitting in front of them. The stuff that used to push them together forward is now between them and pushing them apart. Bailey is trying to figure out what this means as much as Ben is. The difference is she has to do it while running a hospital and Ben has to do it while feeling lost in space.
What did you think of Ben's suspension? Sound off in the comments below.