As die-hard Grey’s Anatomy fans probably already know, the show’s creators have been incredibly diligent and detail-oriented when it comes to one tiny little factoid: the name of each episode. From Episode 1 to the present, each and every episode of the groundbreaking Shonda Rhimes media drama has shared its name with a song. From Grey’s Anatomy Season 1 Episode 1, “A Hard Day’s Night,” to Season 14 Episode 8 (the mid-season finale), “Out of Nowhere,” the show’s producers haven’t deviated from their thoughtful episode naming scheme.
Fans of Grey’s know that the mid-season finale, which aired on November 16, left off with a terrifying cliffhanger. Doctor Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington) found herself face-to-face with her abusive estranged husband Dr. Paul Stadler (Matthew Morrison). Jo (formerly Brooke) had been, up until that moment, living in hiding, under an assumed name and in fear for her life, after escaping an abusive marriage that nearly cost her her life. In Season 13 of Grey’s Anatomy, Jo’s closely guarded secret past nearly cost her her relationship with Dr. Alex Karev (Justin Chamber), as well as almost costing Dr. Karev his medical license and freedom.
The Grey’s Anatomy mid-season premiere, which airs on Thursday, January 18, reportedly picks up right where the last episode left off, and was originally titled “Four Seasons in One Day,” reports Digital Spy. However, a recommendation by actor Giacomo Gianniotti, who plays Dr Andrew DeLuca, prompted the title being changed to something more fitting.
(Possible Spoilers Ahead)
The episode, which will air on Thursday (January 18) in the U.S., has had its title changed to “1-800-799-7233,” which is the number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. According to Refinery 29, the upcoming episode ofGrey’s Anatomy will feature Jo facing down her former abuser, who also manages to creepily charm one of her hospital co-workers during his visit.
It’s unclear if Thursday’s Grey’s Anatomy episode will feature any (potentially triggering) depictions of new domestic violence, or if the change in title is simply a reference to the abuse that Jo has already endured. Not to mention a potentially life-saving reminder for anyone who might themselves be a victim of domestic violence. According to TheHotline.org, over 12 million women and men are impacted by domestic abuse each year.
According to Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff, who announced the episode name change on Twitter as well as gave a shout-out to Giacomo Gianniotti for his potentially life-saving pitch to feature 1-800-799-7233 so prominently on prime-time TV, she wants women to come away from the darkness of the “quite painful and quite dark” storyline feeling empowered.
“I’ve talked a lot about how this season [we’re refocusing the show on] fun and joy and laughter, and my commitment has been to make sure there’s laughter in every episode – even the ones where the stories that we’re telling are quite painful and quite dark…And my hope is that women will come out of this story feeling empowered. I’m really proud of this story. I’m really proud of the work that we’re doing.”
With the mid-season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy now just days away, many fans have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts about the decision to break with show tradition and name this week’s episode “1-800-799-7233” in an effort to pay homage to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Grey’s Anatomy Season 14 returns from its mid-season break on Thursday, January 18, at 8:00 p.m. on the ABC network.