TV & Movies

Link & Dr. Beltran’s Grey’s Anatomy Surgery Could Repeat Arizona’s Storyline

This can’t end well.

Link on 'Grey's Anatomy.' Photo via ABC
Disney/Anne Marie Fox

There’s nothing quite like a bit of Grey’s Anatomy nostalgia — and any reference to Derek, Cristina, or the early days of MAGIC is sure to elicit a wistful smile. But sometimes, throwback references are less cozy and fun and more “I think I’ve seen this film before, and I didn’t like the ending.” The promo for the May 2 episode falls into the latter camp.

When Grey’s Anatomy returns after a three-week hiatus, Dr. Atticus “Link” Lincoln and Dr. Monica Beltran (played by guest star Natalie Morales) will perform a residual limb revision on a young patient. Or at least, that’s the plan — but as Link describes the surgery (as seen in a new trailer), the patient’s parents (presumably) don’t seem super impressed with the course of action laid out in front of them.

“They are major benefactors,” Catherine Fox tells the doctors. “Is that surgery the best you can do? Do better.”

If the exchange felt familiar, you’re not alone. Link and Beltran’s upcoming surgery sounds a lot like one Arizona was urged to perform in Season 6 — not in the specifics of the procedure, but in the nature of pursuing a more advanced operation to satisfy hospital donors.

Remembering Wallace

If you need a refresher, this storyline takes place in Season 6, Episode 8: “Invest in Love.” Here, viewers met Wallace Anderson: a precocious 10-year-old patient with short gut syndrome. Wallace was a long-term resident of the hospital — he even did pretend rounds and had an adorable, custom white coat — and Arizona was fond of him. They shared a birthday, too.


Wallace’s parents pledged to donate $25 million to the hospital shortly before their son’s condition worsened. They wanted Arizona to perform a risky surgery, but she resisted — explaining he was simply not strong enough, and it was time to prepare for the worst. “It’s not a question of if I can,” she said. “It’s whether or not I should.”

However, Dr. Webber urged Arizona to do it anyway. “These aren’t people who hear the word ‘no,’” he said. “If they want surgery for their son, they’ll get surgery for their son — whether or not you’re the one to do it.”

Although Webber truly believed in Arizona, Wallace ultimately died in the operating room (on his and Arizona’s birthday, no less). In a remarkable display of grace, Wallace’s parents went ahead with their donation — explaining to hospital chairman Mr. Jennings that it was Arizona’s compassion for their son that made them want to give back.

Echoes Of Arizona

Fifteen years after Wallace and Arizona’s heart-wrenching episode, it seems Grey’s Anatomy is repeating the storyline of a hospital higher-up pushing surgeons to change their approach to make powerful patrons happy.

It’s not the only similarity to Arizona. Beltran, too, is a pediatric surgeon — one who “is really, really passionate about her job and will put her patients first no matter what,” Morales recently told Shondaland.

Disney/Anne Marie Fox

“Like, she doesn’t care if nobody likes her as long as she’s doing what she thinks is best for her patients,” the Grey’s guest continued. “Which I admire and respect, and I wish more doctors were that way.”