I felt this episode is about building up to the last few episodes of the season.
This episode again started in media res, this is seriously getting old but as it has happened in every episode, I will accept that this is clearly going to happen in the remaining episodes. In this episode the use of in media res established the main plot–Lily gets promoted just before her 30th birthday.
I liked the tension between Pete, Jack, Simone and Vincent in the scenes leading up to the surprise party. It was nice to see Pete and Jack working together, however it was undermined by Jack asking Pete about his relationship with Lily. We get that they are clearly fighting for Lily, however it would be nice to have a scene between them where that’s not an issue. I also liked the scenes between Simone and Vincent, clearly the writers’ are building up their friendship into the cliche “I’ve never viewed him as nothing more than a friend” love story, however I’m interested to see how long the writers’ will drag it out. I also enjoyed finding out exactly what accident Vincent was in, which lead to him becoming a paraplegic.
The tension between Sasha and Lily was well-done, realistic and slightly heartbreaking. Sasha is clearly good at her job and loves Lily, therefore should would be understandably devastated at losing her job, however Lily is not the bad guy, at least not intentionally. I was thankful for only brief appearances of Eric and Nikki, who were interestingly placed in the scene to enhance Lily’s guilt.
Overall I loved the partying scenes as they exposed the characters for who they are and set future plots in motion. Pete only just stops short of declaring his true feelings for Lily, Ivan sees this and reminds Pete that ‘his focus is in the wrong place’, Meredith inadvertently reveals Lily’s feelings for Jack to Simone, and Jack’s choice to walk Lily home ultimately leads to them giving into their feelings.
On smaller notes, I did love the ‘quarantine period’ gag, Lily and Simone’s dance, and the flashback into Pete and Lily’s friendship. These small comic gags and moments are a great way to balance out the big dramatic ones.
Overall, this was a good filler episode and sets the remainder of the season in motion perfectly.