It doesn't seem like more than a few episodes of Grey's can ever go by without fans wondering if this character or that character is in mortal peril. The newest betting pool to pop up among the fandom is on the question of whether or not Betty will die on Grey's Anatomy. Just a few weeks after it seemed like Catherine Fox was the one close to shuffling off her mortal coil, this time it's Amelia's surrogate daughter in the cross hairs.
The troubled teen has been an at-risk youth ever since she was introduced on the show, but there's reason to be particularly concerned about her now. The synopsis for the Feb. 21 episode, "I Want A New Drug," teases that "the doctors are sent scrambling in the wake of a massive overdose within the community." As if that isn't ominous enough for the young drug addict, the promo for the intense-looking episode confirms that one of the victims is, indeed, Betty.
Amidst clips of the doctors doing their best to save Amelia's ward, there's a troubling shot of Dr. Shepherd breaking down into grief-stricken tears. Is Betty about to become the next Grey's family member to suffer a terrible fate?
It would certainly be in keeping with Amelia's tragic history. A recap of Dr. Shepherd's past reads like a greatest hits compilation of misery. It all started when Amelia and Derek witnessed their father's murder when she was only five years old. By the time she was 13, the traumatized Amelia was already a drug addict; she overdosed one day and was dead for three minutes before Derek brought her back. After that she got sober long enough to become a doctor and join a practice, but relapsed after accidentally taking a sip of champagne at a wedding.
She started writing herself and her boyfriend Ryan prescriptions for pills, only to wake up one day and find Ryan dead of an overdose beside her. Then she learned she was pregnant with Ryan's baby; but due to being conceived while on pills, the baby never developed a brain and died soon after birth. That traumatic experience led Amelia to getting sober again, and she eventually became engaged to James.
But when she decided to move to Seattle to be close to her brother, that relationship came to an abrupt end. Then the brother that she moved to be close to died in a tragic car accident. (RIP, Derek.) Following that calamity, Amelia married Owen, found out she had a brain tumor, almost died, and got divorced faster than you can say "neurosurgery."
In that light, the death of her young surrogate daughter would be pretty much in keeping with Amelia's history of having horrible things happen to her and the people she loves. Grey's fans all know that the writers love a good tragic death to stir up drama and put their characters through the emotional wringer. Watching Amelia struggle to put her life back together after losing Betty — and feeling like she personally failed the teen — would certainly provide several weeks' worth of Emmy-worthy acting for Caterina Scorsone.
But then again… that feels like a lot to put Amelia through. Hasn't she been through enough tragedy already? Where's the hope in a story line in which the young drug addict succumbs to her disease? Of course there would be realism and value in a story like that, but it doesn't seem very on brand for Grey's, which has always been a show about hope and love and overcoming hard times with the support of meaningful relationships.
While it's tempting to read too much into that clip of Amelia crying, promos are often built to be misleading. There was a similar clip of Jackson crying while Maggie comforted him in the promo for Catherine's surgery episode, and it turned out to just be a moment of stress and fear, not grief over her death. The same will probably — hopefully — be true for Amelia as well.