The building is now empty of Meredith Grey. And that’s just OK.
I’m referring to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, which serves as the fictitious backdrop for the venerable medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC. Since 2005, Ellen Pompeo has portrayed the role in 19 seasons and more than 400 episodes. After starting off as an intern, she advanced to the positions of surgical resident, attending surgeon, and chief of surgery before leaving the show.
To say Meredith has experienced trauma is the understatement of the century. Almost lost her life. One of the patients assaulted her. She reached her hand into the body of another patient who was carrying a bomb. She gave the command to shoot herself. Beyond COVID, she succeeded.
Her farewell was far less violent and upsetting (and honestly was a little boring). But, it was essential for the programme to go on and survive her for many more seasons.
Meredith left “Grey’s Anatomy” in what way?
After realising that Zola (Aniela Gumbs), the oldest child she had with her late husband Derek (Patrick Dempsey), needed a specialised education, Meredith made the decision to relocate her family of three to Boston.
That didn’t mean there wasn’t some drama; after all, this is “Grey’s Anatomy.” In a previous episode, she declared her love for physician Nick Marsh (Scott Speedman), but he didn’t respond.
But when he became upset that she was departing, she said: “If you want to be a part of my life, then I want you to. Yet, if I had to choose, I would chose what was best for my family, my kids, and myself. I won’t ask you to love me either.” (This was a sappy reference to Meredith’s iconic monologue to Derek in Season 2 when she begs him to “Take me. Select me. adore me “)
Nick makes a last-minute decision to leave for the airport in the style of a romantic comedy, but instead phones her when he realises he won’t there in time. He declares his love for her, but she refuses to respond (perhaps because doing so would require her to do so in front of her children).
Although Meredith will continue to serve as the show’s narration and is anticipated to make comebacks, including in the ultimate series finale, this narrative probably isn’t ended yet. Maybe because it lacked the pomp of flashbacks often connected with a long-running “Grey’s” cast member’s farewell, the episode came across as a little flat (a la Cristina Yang, played by Sandra Oh, or Alex Karev, played by Justin Chambers).
Indeed, Meredith’s last patient passed away, and in her last narration as a regular on the show, she quoted from her postmortem book, which also served as a lesson in life. The main idea is that life is more important than happy endings.
Why “Grey’s Anatomy” succeeds without Meredith I used to believe Meredith was essential for the programme to continue. Without Grey, how could “Grey’s Anatomy” continue to exist?
Yet the plots of the most recent seasons screamed staleness. The same cast of people having the same number of babies, marriages, and job changes became tedious, despite the continuation of innovative procedures and hot sexual hijinks. Maybe it was just my imagination, but Pompeo nearly seemed to be pleading for the programme to finish.
Yet the first seven episodes of this season showed that the programme could continue without her. and not only survive, but flourish.
Simone Griffith (Alexis Floyd), Mika Yasuda (Midori Francis), Jules Millin (Adelaide Kane), Benson “Blue” Kwan (Harry Shum Jr.), and Lucas Adams (Niko Terho), the show’s best (and biggest) new batch of interns, are largely to credit for this. These are echoes of previous characters—one has an Alzheimer’s relative, another lives in a trailer, and some start dating—but without the baggage of earlier seasons.
The location of several characters in the programme is something in common. Meredith’s home has hosted several interns, residents, and attending surgeons over the years—so many that it started to be joked about. In the season finale, the home caught fire following a lightning strike, causing Meredith one more piece of pain (no one was hurt).
Yet the custom will continue. At the conclusion of this episode, all three interns have received the keys to the burned-out home.
Richard (James Pickens Jr.), Meredith’s mentor and figurative father, told her during a surprise departure party, “This place won’t be the same without you.”
Indeed, I believe things will go as usual; but, maybe not in the manner that everybody anticipated. Nobody knows where they could wind up, as the Psapp song “Cosy in the Rocket,” the series’ theme song, puts it.