We did it, Grey’s fam! Three-hundred episodes! Yes, the writers, crew, actors, and Queen Shonda deserve a big ol’ congratulations for their hard work, but so do we. We have watched 300 friggin’ episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. That’s 300 hours of our lives we could’ve spent doing so many other things. Good things. Things with loved ones. Things that bettered ourselves. Things that bettered the world. Instead, we chose to spend those 300 hours with Meredith Grey and her band of sexy, capable doctors who have a knack for getting into life-threatening situations. And that’s nothing to say of those of us who have watched all 300 episodes more than once.
But you know what? I don’t regret a single minute. Just kidding, I regret many of those minutes. Like the ghost-sex minutes. And the Penny minutes. And the Bailey suddenly has OCD minutes. There are many minutes I regret, but you learn to take the good with the bad because that’s life and that’s Grey’s Anatomy. And if we didn’t put up with some of the bad, we’d miss out on the “Pick me. Choose me. Love me.” And the dance-it-outs. And the fact that anyone who became Meredith’s person became ours, too.
Plus, if we didn’t love to be tortured every once in a while, we would never have made it through 300 episodes. So, here’s to you, Grey’s Anatomy fans. You’ve done good. Seriously.
The actual 300th episode doesn’t do much to push the overall plot forward, but, man, is it fun. It is a love letter to the longtime fans. It lets us laugh and cry and remember. It is all about the remembering. As Meredith says in her closing voice-over, “That history and memory and the ghosts of our past are sometimes just as tangible as anything we can hold in our hands.”
But before we dive into some of the best memories, let’s quickly burn through the plot that will be important going forward. Meredith Grey wins the Harper Avery Award. Apparently, working at a hospital partially funded by the Harper Avery Foundation is no longer an important enough conflict of interest. You know what? I’m totally fine with that because Meredith Grey deserves that award. She deserves that award so hard.
Elsewhere, Ben has told Bailey about his firefighting aspirations and she is not pleased. She’s doing things like riding the train to work, giving him Creepy Clown suture duty, telling him that he’s just bored again, and taking his car keys while informing him that he can take a fire truck home. DeLuca and Intern Sam were crazy in love but also ruin each other’s lives, so, yes, they have hot on-call-room sex. Hot skills-lab sex, for that matter. Oh, and Sofia comes home. Both she and Arizona are scared about it. Lots of shades of green paint are involved.
That stuff is all cool, but we are here for this momentous occasion to enjoy all the callbacks and trips down memory lane we’ve been promised. There are so many, I doubt I’ll touch on all of them, so please add your favorite moments from “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” below. It’ll be like our own little Grey’s Anatomy support group. (Why haven’t we had one of those before? We need one of those.)
Meredith is preparing to head out to Boston — on a very tiny private Avery plane which she does not want to get on, for obvious reasons — for the Harper Avery Award ceremony. She prepares by forcing Alex to go on a ferry with her so that she can be one with Derek and let him know she might win this thing. Derek had a real thing for ferries. How does Derek feel about the award? Alex asks. He’s jealous, Meredith replies.
Anyway, I’m already crying.
It’s business as usual at Grey Sloan Memorial. There is a group of new, exhausted interns complaining while hanging out in the OG intern tunnel (a location that was so important to the early seasons, it was time they brought it back), until they get paged for an incoming trauma and book it out of there. Glasses even trips like George!
What is this trauma, you ask? A roller-coaster car (have you seen the Shondaland logo?) has gone off the tracks. Two people are trapped in the car, and one man is severely injured after jumping in between the car and some kids.
Let’s talk about that man first. He’s a hero who risked his life in order to protect others and ends up getting hurt. And he can’t speak. He’s the ghost of Derek Shepherd. It’s why, even though Owen doesn’t want Amelia to do a head CT because there’s no apparent head trauma, she pushes for one. She pushes for one so hard that while Owen is performing surgery on his liver, Amelia brings in a CT machine and gives him a scan right there in the OR. She’s right: The man has a hematoma and he will die if she doesn’t operate. When Owen tries to apologize from bringing up Derek, she tells him not to. “You were right, about Derek,” she says. “He was in my head. And he saved this guy. He was that good.”
It’s not the last Derek Shepherd shout-out, either. Maggie and Zola are getting some auntie/niece time in the hospital and Zola brings up her dad. She’s going to be a brain surgeon like him. She asks if Maggie misses her mom. “Every day,” she replies. They hug. I weep into my Riesling.
As if McDreamy’s ghost isn’t enough, his old pal McSteamy gets a mention, too. I really miss Mark Sloan, so this hits hard. Arizona misses him, too, which surprises her. During surgery, she keeps her patient calm by telling her all about Mark and how he could always make her laugh. Then she launches into a Mark Sloan impression and it is perfect. WHY, MARK, WHY?
Meanwhile, the real hullabaloo in the hospital has to do with the two people stuck in the roller-coaster car. They turn out to be second-year interns at Seattle Presbyterian, their names are Cleo and Greg, and they look and act just like Cristina and George. Oh, and they have a very tall, blonde, perky (and pregnant) friend named Liza, or Baby Izzie.
Everyone is freaked out, no one can stop looking at these three interns, there’s a moratorium put on the word “seriously,” and Meredith certainly isn’t flying off to Boston until she sees this thing through. Baby George is the one they’re worried about most — when they realize that moving his neck could fracture his spine, Meredith has to stand there and hold his head in place. It’s cool, though: She has lots of experience from holding that bomb inside a guy.
When they pull Baby George out of the car (and Meredith is free to use her hands again), they notice that Baby Cristina has a puncture wound in her stomach. No, it’s not from an icicle. (BTW, if you need a good laugh, go and watch that insane scene when a legit icicle fell from the roof and impaled Cristina. God, I love this show.) Now Meredith definitely will not leave Seattle — her person’s doppelgänger needs her. Baby Cristina even tells Meredith to pretend she is Cristina, because Baby Cristina doesn’t want to die today. That’s so Cristina.
Of course, Alex gets paired off with Baby Izzie. When Baby Izzie faints in the waiting room, ALEX CARRIES HER LIKE HE CARRIED REAL IZZIE WHEN DENNY DIED. Is this too much? That’s a dumb question, because there is never enough.
They discover that Baby Izzie’s baby has a tumor and she’s suffering from mirror syndrome. Join the club, Baby Izzie: Tonight, we’re all suffering from mirror syndrome. Everyone ends up okay, but it does pave the way for Alex to get some Izzie closure. When Jo sees how spooked he is by this look-alike, she tells him it’s okay for him to call Izzie. But he doesn’t need to. He’s invented an entire life for her, in which she has kids and is a surgeon and her house smells like muffins. He has a happy life with Jo, and he wants that for Izzie, too. He’d rather stick to that story than know the truth. So, I guess we are really closing that door on any surprise Izzie return ever. Noted, Grey’s.
After Meredith and April successfully finish the Baby Cristina surgery, Bailey and Webber have a surprise. All the doctors in the hospital gather in the OR and they watch a live feed of the awards show. Meredith wins! Jackson gives a heartfelt speech on her behalf about how she’s suffered so much loss — Lexie, Derek, Ellis — but that pain gives her the drive to move forward, to be innovative, and to be the best surgeon she can. It’s emotional and cheesy and a tiny bit ridiculous, just like this show.
The entire OR applauds, and as Meredith looks up into the gallery she sees her mother standing there, applauding her alongside everyone else. All Meredith has ever wanted was to make Ellis proud and now she has. Meredith exhales and cracks a smile. Girl just won the Harper Avery. And so, she celebrates the only way she knows how: She and Alex sit in the Intern Tunnel, pop some bubbly, and Cristina calls. Meredith is with her people in the place where it all started.
Call them O’Malley Tears, call them Shonda Tears, whatever they are, they are flowing tonight.