Just a week after Dr. Andrew DeLuca heroically died trying to take down a human trafficking ring, Grey’s Anatomy has delivered another sucker punch of an emotional episode. But this time, it didn’t kill any characters–instead, viewers got more time with someone who was already dead.
Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), Meredith Grey’s (Ellen Pompeo) late husband, has been visiting her in dream sequences set on an idyllic beach throughout the season. Meredith, suffering from COVID-19, is sedated and on a ventilator.
In the episode, Derek talked almost like he was a guardian angel who had been watching over Meredith and their kids from heaven. He spoke lovingly, and in detail, of their daughter, Ellis, named after Meredith’s mother, whom the living Derek never met. Of their other daughter, he said (per People), “Zola is amazing, isn’t she? She’s just so brilliant. She writes me letters in her journal—did you know that?”
The episode also hinted that Meredith’s time on the beach–and under sedation–might be coming to an end soon. Dr. Cormac Hayes (Richard Flood) seemed to get through to Meredith as he told her, “We all need you to fight.”
From within her dream state, she replied, “I don’t know that I can.” But Hayes was persistent. “I believe that you could, because I’ve heard the stories about all the fights you’ve already won, so I’m asking you to fight,” he said, while Derek, or Meredith’s manifestation of Derek, comforted her, saying, “It’s okay. I’ll be right here.”
Pompeo and showrunner Krista Vernoff have been vague on whether or not the current 17th season of Grey’s Anatomy will be the last. Obviously, it would be hard to continue the show if Meredith never wakes up.
In the meantime, fans are reacting online to the episode, proving that after nearly 20 years, Grey’s can still get hearts racing.
What exquisite torture will they think of next?