Chicago Med's Icy Crisis Had Me Flashing Back To Two Iconic Episodes Of Grey's Anatomy, And Now I'm Ready For A Rewatch

 Crockett Marcel on Chicago Med Season 9 and Meredith Grey on Grey's Anatomy Season 20.
Crockett Marcel on Chicago Med Season 9 and Meredith Grey on Grey's Anatomy Season 20.

Spoilers ahead for Episode 8 of Chicago Med Season 9, called "A Penny for Your Thoughts, A Dollar for Your Dreams."

The 2024 TV schedule features some long-running medical dramas, and the latest episode of Chicago Med on NBC dealt with a man whose experience was so near-death that he was nearly carted away for organ donation. It was a pretty specific kind of crisis, but not so specific that fans of Grey's Anatomy haven't seen something similar... twice, over the past twenty seasons. It's not an insult to Med that I was reminded of a different show, because they were two positively iconic episodes, and now I'm just glad that both shows are streaming for rewatch.

Let's start with what went down for Crockett Marcel, newcomer Zola Ahmad, and what might not have happened if Zola was a Grey's Anatomy viewer.

Dominic Rains and Sophia Ali in Chicago Med Season 9x08
Dominic Rains and Sophia Ali in Chicago Med Season 9x08

What Happened On Chicago Med

This particular case began when a man by the name of Leo arrived in the ED with a knife sticking out of his eye, seeming pretty dead. He was found frozen with a temperature of -11° Celsius, a.k.a. 12° Fahrenheit. Zola wanted to know why the EMTs didn't take him straight to the morgue, prompting Dr. Archer to drop a line that surely sounded familiar to anybody who has been watching Grey's Anatomy over the years:

He can't be declared dead until he's declared warm and dead.

So, they had to warm him up and provide care as needed, even if he seemed like he was bound to be brain dead. The complication came when Zola realized that his lungs could be a match for a man elsewhere in the hospital who needed a new set. She jumped the gun in performing tests, despite Crockett warning her that there are steps that need to be taken before somebody in Leo's condition could be declared brain dead.

And it initially seemed like Leo was indeed brain dead and Zola jumping the gun would pay off in a pair of lungs for a dying man, even if she broke the rules. As it turned out, however, she didn't do her due diligence in making sure that Leo had been fully warmed, and she was taking him upstairs for the lungs to be harvested when he woke up. Leo was alive after all, and just needed to be fully warmed.

This was Zola's third strike in the ED, but she somehow wasn't fired by the end of the episode, so it remains to be seen if there will be lasting consequences to how she almost harvested the lungs of a living man who very much still needed them. That element of the case wasn't so similar to Grey's Anatomy, but others definitely were. And somewhat ironically, actress Sophia Ali, who plays Zola on Med, previously played Dr. Dahlia Qadri on Grey's Anatomy.

Meredith Grey dying in Grey's Anatomy Season 3
Meredith Grey dying in Grey's Anatomy Season 3

Grey's Anatomy's Ferry Emergency

There are a lot of episodes from Grey's Anatomy's earlier seasons that are considered iconic. Episode 16 of Season 3, called "Drowning on Dry Land," featured the unforgettable ferry boat accident and ranks as one of our picks for the best Grey's Anatomy episodes so far. The episode that Chicago Med reminded me of was the one that aired directly after "Drowning on Dry Land" to continue to ferry aftermath story back in 2007, called "Some Kind of Miracle," with Meredith frozen and seemingly dead.

While Patrick Dempsey's Derek Shepherd freaked out that the woman he loved might be gone for good, Richard Webber took charge of her care and said this:

Her body temp is at 86 degrees. She's not dead until she's warm and dead. We need to warm her up to 98.6 and start her heart.

Now, even if you don't remember the particulars of an episode that aired on ABC back in 2007, Ellen Pompeo remained a series regular through Season 19 and Grey's Anatomy is still going strong in Season 20 with guest appearances from Pompeo. Meredith obviously didn't stay dead in Season 3. She was revived and recovered, allowing fans to think back on the ferry crisis and aftermath as an epic arc without the tragedy of a major character dying for good.

Obviously most of the case wasn't identical to what went down on Chicago Med since nobody tried to harvest any of Meredith's organs, but as somebody who was watching Grey's circa 2007, "not dead until warm and dead" immediately had me flashing back. And "Some Kind of Miracle" isn't the only episode that involved this kind of storyline, so I also started flashing back to another character's icy interlude.

Sarah Drew as April in Grey's Anatomy Season 14x23
Sarah Drew as April in Grey's Anatomy Season 14x23

Grey's Anatomy's Freezing Fall

More than ten years after Meredith's ferry fiasco left her frozen, the "Cold as Ice" episode of Season 14 saw none other than April Kepner in a similar situation to what Ellen Pompeo's character had been through in Season 3, although April had taken a fall out in the wilderness rather than been dunked in the Pacific. After a tragic accident, April was found frozen, with her heart stopped and seemingly dead for good. Owen found her and brought her to the hospital, and all hands were on deck to try to warm her back to life.

Like Zola on Med, the younger doctors didn't understand why they were bothering with trying to give April fluids when she was frozen, leading Meredith to snap a familiar phrase:

She's not dead until she's warm and dead!

Dr. Bailey informed the younger doctors that they need to get her up to temp before they could try to restart her heart. Now, at the time, news had broken that Sarah Drew was being cut from the show at the end of Season 14, and "Cold as Ice" was the penultimate episode of the season, so it seemed entirely possible that the doctors' efforts would fail and she would indeed still be dead even after being warmed up.

Fortunately and somewhat miraculously, April was warmed up and revived after what I consider one of Jesse Williams' best performances of the series when the atheistic Jackson said a prayer for her. It set the stage for Jackson and April to romantically reunite – albeit after several years of her being married to another man and him exploring other relationships – and helped make "Cold as Ice" an iconic episode. (So how about that Japril spinoff?)

Steven Weber as Dr. Archer in Chicago Med Season 8 and Chandra Wilson as Dr. Bailey in Grey's Anatomy Season 20
Steven Weber as Dr. Archer in Chicago Med Season 8 and Chandra Wilson as Dr. Bailey in Grey's Anatomy Season 20

How To Rewatch Chicago Med And Grey's Anatomy

Now, if you're anything like me, the reminder of "not dead until warm and dead" courtesy of Chicago Med put you in the mood to rewatch some earlier days of Grey's Anatomy, or even Med itself. Luckily, that's not hard to do. The full run of Chicago Med so far is available streaming now with a Peacock Premium subscription. As for Grey's Anatomy, the first 19 seasons can be found with a Netflix subscription and all 20 seasons so far are streaming with a Hulu subscription.

Plus, you can keep tuning in to NBC on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of Chicago Med Season 9, which had to give one actor a crash course on playing a doctor on very short notice. As always Med is followed by Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m., all on NBC.