The pandemic has forced people all over the world to reckon with their lives -- and for many LGBTQ+ people, that includes an examination of time wasted on shame.
Dr. Levi Schmitt (Jake Borelli) articulated this complex issue to his on-again, off-again romantic partner, Dr. Nico Kim (Alex Landi), in a tearful monologue Thursday on the ABC medical drama.
In the scene, Schmitt is processing the devastating impact of the pandemic on loved ones, including his friends Val and DeLuca. Although he does not mention being gay or the closet by name, the context can be inferred.
"I spent so many years pretending to be someone else," Schmitt said. "So many years afraid of what my mother thought, neighbors thought, what I thought. I wasted so much time. And now we're all just working and surviving and waiting. For what? Is this all just gonna end one day? Like, one day we're all gonna get a memo that says, 'COVID's over. Everyone back to normal?'
"I think I wasted all the time I was supposed to be happy." The scene ends with the pair, medical masks in hand, embracing.
Grey's Anatomy has not shied away from destigmatizing queer identity. The episode began with different shots of lovers in bed, including Schmitt and Kim. Earlier this season, Grey'saired the first oral sex act between two men that acknowledged the pandemic on network TV.
The new episode clearly resonated with fans. On Twitter, Megan Fitzgerald said the scene between Schmitt and Kim "BROKE me," and the message was retweeted by Borelli.
And Borelli, after this article was published, revealed he too shared his character's struggle.