On "Grey's Anatomy," Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) is boss.
The plastic surgeon is now on the board at Seattle Grace, after his mom Catherine Avery (Debbie Allen) bought him a hospital -- and there is going to be a lot of adjusting around the hospital.
Jesse Williams, who has been on "Grey's Anatomy" for four seasons now, chatted with The Huffington Post about who's butting heads with Avery, "psychologically getting beaten up," whether or not there's hope for him and April (Sarah Drew) and much more below.
Avery looked truly stunned when he found out his mom helped buy the hospital and put him on the board. Is it safe to assume he's not too happy with her?
Yeah, I think it's safe to say that he's pretty pissed. It's also one of those things that's scary news, but it's also good news. It's also a vote of confidence. It's also an inspired decision. It's not somebody saying, "I don't have faith in you." It's [somebody] saying they have more faith in you than you can even ever really have in yourself. And it's also from your mom. It's not from your enemy. It's not from someone you don't know ... It really is a complicated scenario.
It is terrifying, but it's also exciting. "Shit. I'm gonna be boss. That's cool, but there's no way I can do this. I'm definitely gonna melt down and my insecurities are gonna take over and I don't know how how I'm gonna do this. I don't know how to do this. I didn't study for this. I studied to cut people open and save lives and improve lives, not to read protocols and handle legal issues [and] hire and fire people." It's a different skill set. It's a different part of your brain and I think that's intimidating. Plus, he's not doing it in a vacuum; he's doing it with other, very strong personalities. You think Yang's [Sandra Oh] gonna roll over? You think she's not gonna speak up? You think Hunt's [Kevin McKidd] not gonna tell you how he feels? Or Derek Sherperd [Patrick Dempsey], etc.? These people are fierce that we work with and are half of them waiting for me to fail? Are half of them kissing up to me because they want their projects funded?
My mom also handed me a job, which is exactly what I always said I did not want all the way from back when Jackson had that conversation with Lexie [Chyler Leigh] about his legacy, about not wanting to parade around about being an Avery, not wanting to be in the shadow of his grandfather's name, but wanting to carve out his own future. This offering is kind of a combination of the two -- it allows him to carve out his own future, but it was handed to him because of his past.
I imagine some of the other doctors won't take too kindly to Jackson's new position. It's an awkward dynamic when someone who's your peer becomes your superior.
And on top of that, they probably view this promotion as nepotism. Is there anyone in particular who gives Jackson a hard time?
Yeah. There's some tension between Jackson and Callie [Sara Ramirez] early on and then, what I find really interesting is Jackson and Owen. They've had an interesting teacher-student relationship, like in the trauma episode. And a couple other times where Jackson kind of wasn't living up to his potential, Owen pulled him aside and gave him a stern talking to and was that leader to him -- a harsh leader, but a leader. And now, Jackson holds the reigns to his future. Jackson can fire Chief Hunt if he wants to. I think that Hunt, who's been cut out of this entire process -- he's been cut out of the guys in the plane crash deciding whether they wanted to buy the place or not -- he's not a part of them. He's their peer in every other part of the show, but not on this issue. So he's kind of been left out in the rain and it all hits him like an ambush. Also, he wasn't in that room when we got the news so me and him are gonna have some words and it's gonna be tense. I can tell you it's not gonna go well between Jackson and Owen early on. The first relationship casualty for Jackson is that Owen is no friend of his.
Is there anyone who will be an ally for Avery?
Not really. Well, his mom, certainly. Also, Jackson is not somebody like April who's gonna come find you to sit there and talk to about something. Jackson is kind of a lone wolf character -- he deals with his stuff by himself. He bottles it up, keeps it to himself, and you only know anything about him because his mom blurts it out. He's not a big sharer so when you're in a vulnerable position you're not any more inclined to share.
You are going to see him deal directly with Dr. Webber [James Pickens, Jr.] and his mom more because they were the arbiters of this, they brought this onto him. And Webber can't help but impart some wisdom because he does want a healthy relationship with Catherine's son with the intent to stay around. He's trying to put his best foot forward and offer some guidance, but that doesn't mean that Jackson's going to accept it or isn't going to look at with suspicion.
Does Jackson's new position create tension for Jackson and Stephanie [Jerrika Hinton]?
I think so and I don't think it's a direct result of "I've got this new job and position. We now have more tension." I think it's wear and tear. You know, if you're an athlete and you're getting pounded on the field, you're gonna be worn down. I think Jackson is just psychologically getting beaten up. He's never not working. He's always got a million things to do, none of which are what he came here to do, which is to be a surgeon.
So when you're exhausted, when you're tired, when you only can rely on your most trusted people and those you've known for the longest time, some new intern who you're sleeping with on the side is not exactly your go-to person. And that's to no fault of hers because she's terrific and has always been sweet and helpful to him and fun. I think that it's one of those things where it's on the fence -- it could be threatened and become the thing that kind of gets knocked off the table or it could be an opportunity for Jackson to pull her close and give her some real responsibility in his life. I think that's a decision that he has yet to make.
And then, there's April. Jackson's been concerned about her and her relationship, but does that change with his new responsibility? Is there any hope for them getting together?
Everybody wants Japril.
Are you surprised by that?
I am surprised by that because I think that nobody liked her at first. Nobody like me at first!
Well, you know ... You were the new kids.
Yeah, new kids are hard to accept and she kind of came in with a lot of energy. But now people have seen how terrific she is. [Sarah Drew] is a wonderful actress, really great to work with. You know, I get it because we do have chemistry. We do have terrific scenes. The writers do a really great job for us in creating that love and lust and distance and detachment. They're very different people with very different backgrounds but for some reason, that yin and yang seems to work and it's kind of magnetic.
But April is trying -- I would even say desperately -- to move on, to feel heard, to feel listened to, to feel cared for, to not feel judged. So she's going to keep going until she finds that partner and I think Jackson is just simply not driven romantically in that way. If he feels like he has a connection with you, he goes for it, even though it's not a smart idea. He had no business pursuing a relationship with Lexie. She was clearly on the heels of a very long, serious relationship with Mark [Eric Dane], but he couldn't help it. He was friends with her, he really liked her, he trusted her, he was attracted to her and he went for it and he got hurt as a result.
And he didn't initiate the relationship with Kepner. Kepner pushed it, pushed it, pushed it for them to sleep together and then immediately, he was sucked into this vortex of drama and feelings. Because they had so much trust for each other, they already, unbeknownst to them, had the foundation of a real relationship already built. It's a slippery slope and if you slip and fall, the momentum kind of takes care of the rest. I think he's got to, at some point, learn some self-preservation and I think that this might be an opportunity for Jackson to not get burned anymore and to realize, "Let her go off and do her thing. That's a whole different speed than you're ready to do and right now, by the way, you just had your workload quadrupled. So why don't you focus on not ruining the whole hospital and let her go be happy with some guy who seems perfectly nice?"
Find out what happens next on "Grey's Anatomy" by tuning in Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.