After 14 seasons, Grey's Anatomy introduced viewers to Alex's mother with a surprising twist.
During Thursday's new episode Alex (Justin Chamber) and fiancee Jo (Camilla Luddington) venture to his home state of Iowa to find his mentally-ill mother.
As the couple began to plan their upcoming wedding, Alex realized his mother had not been cashing the checks he had been sending for quite some time, leading him to believe she could be in trouble.
Alex and Jo arrive at his mom's house. He knocks on the door and looks through the window, but finds no sign of anyone when a man approaches him. When he returns to the car he shares the update with Jo.
"What happened? Is it bad?" Jo said.
"Yeah, she's at work," Alex said.
Later, Alex reunites with Helen (Lindsay Wagner) at her job at a library, where she seems perfectly healthy.
As Alex wonders how she could have gotten her job back given her condition, Helen is overjoyed to see her son.
"I missed you so much," Helen says, revealing her schizophrenia "burned itself out."
"That doesn't mean you're cured," Alex says.
"No, but it's more like the volume's been turned down. The medication has a better effect and I just have to be very vigilant with my routine."
Alex wonders why his mother didn't tell him about her breakthrough and she admits she felt bad and wanted to give him space. Alex gets angry and the two fight, with Helen telling him he has to go so she can keep her feelings in check.
As they give his mom space, Alex and Jo go to the batting cages where he takes out his frustrations. He reveals he failed geometry in high school because his mother was getting out of the house every morning.
Later, Alex reveals he had one good year during his childhood. When his mother worked at the library and he would visit.
"My whole life, all I've ever wanted was a mom who wasn't sick. I didn't care about toys or sports or any of that crap," Alex tells Jo. "She is... She finally is, and she doesn't want me there."
Jo tells him that despite the fact he might not ever get an apology from his mom, he now has a chance to have a normal one, which is a privilege he should treasure.
Helen comes around and tells him to help her stamping the return dates. A small step toward rebuilding their relationship.
Not much was previously known of Helen Karen, other than she was suffered from mental illness throughout Alex's childhood, which forced him to become the adult in his family from a young age.0comments
Viewers got to see flashes from Alex's teen years in an earlier episode season 14, which also featured Jo and Alex's engagement. The couple is set to celebrate their wedding during the upcoming season finale on May 14.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.