It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating Grey’s Anatomy’s 300th episode. But it wasn’t yesterday. It was 50 episodes ago. We’re at 350 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and I am exhausted in the very best way. Much like the 300th episode of the show, “My Shot” has lots of nods to Grey’s history, but unlike that episode, these nods are mostly flashbacks that play like a horror show, all lined up to remind us of the considerable amount of trouble Meredith has gotten into over the past 16 seasons. As that hot fifth-year resident who hasn’t had a storyline yet reminds us when the residents start listing some incredible things Mer has done in her career, “You consider these things legendary, but they’re also crimes.” Wow, way to cut to the core of us, Hot Resident With No Purpose.
The reason we’re dredging up all of Meredith’s questionable choices is because, yes, my friends, we’ve made it: Today is the day Meredith Grey faces the Medical Board and they decide if she can keep her license or not. The hearing, held in the ballroom of a hotel, gets off to a terrible start, which you probably guessed would happen based on the 349 episodes prior that detail a myriad of terrible things that happen to our heroine.
This one is pretty bad: Meredith learns that one of the doctors on the panel who will be deciding her fate is Dr. Paul Castello. Also known as the man who was too busy to order a CT scan that would’ve saved Derek Shepherd’s life. Of course the man who killed her husband would reappear on what could end up being the second worst day of her life! To make it worse: He doesn’t even remember her. They could ask to appeal the trial due to conflict of interest, but that could mean waiting another six months for a ruling. Another six months of Meredith in medical purgatory. Meredith is fuming, but is under strict orders to be still and shut up.
Things go downhill fast. The first witnesses are Bailey, who acts as if she just met Meredith and answers questions with no emotion or context (even when they bring up the LVAD wire! The goddamn LVAD wire!); Gabby’s father Luis, who is actually great up there as a champion for Meredith; DeLuca, who is quickly outed as having a relationship with Meredith and for, oh yes, that one time he reported the attendings — specifically Meredith — for sidelining him after he charged Alex with a felony FOR BEATING HIS FACE IN (sorry, they just don’t bring that up enough), so his testimony is garbage; and finally Schmitt, who eventually testifies that he was the one who noticed Ellis Grey’s name on Gabby’s medical bracelet and told Bailey, not thinking it would get Meredith in trouble. Schmitt’s so upset about it — and later, he gets ostracized by his fellow residents when they learn the truth. He was just doing his job, people, yeesh.
Everyone is upset, really, because, as Alex tells the group of doctors waiting outside the room for updates, the whole thing is “a crap-pile of crap.” Oh, Alex, never change.
The 15-minute recess helps exactly NO ONE, but especially not Meredith, who is freaking out and tells DeLuca that this might be her last day as a doctor and if that’s true, their relationship is as good as done. There’s no way Meredith could be with him if he could be a surgeon and she couldn’t. It’s much more offensive than Meredith realizes. I’m surprised DeLuca doesn’t just jump into the beautiful body of water they’ve been staring out at. No one would blame him.
The second round of witnesses is stacked with heavy-hitters, but doesn’t go much better. Webber straight up lies about Meredith tampering with the Alzheimer’s trial those many moons ago, and instead takes all of the blame, and even still it becomes clear that Webber has spent much of his career bending the rules and covering for Meredith. It becomes especially clear when they call Patricia, Webber’s old administrative assistant, to the stand and she reveals that Meredith didn’t even match with Seattle Grace for residency initially — Webber called in a favor and got her a spot. Well, that’s some new and interesting information.
And then Alex is up. He says some very nice things about how Meredith makes him a better person and I am but a puddle, but it is followed by a line of questioning about how Meredith almost wrecked Zola’s adoption. Alex gets upset because he doesn’t think it’s relevant, but you know who does think Meredith’s cavalier attitude toward the law is relevant? Dr. Castello. He starts talking about Meredith using her daughter for insurance fraud and that is it for the Sit Still and Shut Up portion of the evening. Meredith goes off. How dare he sit up there and judge her when there’s no way he should have his license after what he did to Derek. Did I need flashbacks to the night Derek died? No. Was this scene gripping as hell? Uh, duh.
Dr. Castello certainly remembers Meredith now. And as he gets up to ask for a recess to figure this out, the man up and has a seizure. A seizure! He’s rushed off to Grey Sloan where, yes, he will be under the care of Amelia Shepherd. It’s all very dramatic. Of course, there’s no way Amelia can operate on him since, well, he killed her brother and she’s dreamed of him suffering every day since Derek died, which has to be some sort of conflict of interest. Tom takes the case on and Amelia and Link watch from the gallery as … Dr. Castello dies in surgery! Hand to heart, I did not see that coming. The part where Amelia returns to the hearing to tell Meredith and kind of enjoys talking about how the guy is dead? Yeah, that part I could’ve guessed. Man, I know Castello was a shit doctor but like, literally no one cares that he died.
While Castello is in that fateful surgery, several things happen. Bailey and Webber have at it outside of the hotel and it is a fight so informed by love and shared history that it is hard to watch. Bailey is mad at Webber for constantly bending the rules for Meredith, covering for her other people be damned. He chooses Meredith over and over again. That yes, Meredith and Webber lost their jobs, but she lost everything — her hospital at the hands of Tom Koracick, her best surgeons, her best friend. Webber talks a lot about family and yes, he risked a lot for Meredith but only because he knows she’d do the same. That’s family. He thought Bailey was a part of that, too, until he saw her testimony. Anyway, someone please hold me.
The panel calls them back in only to inform them that in light of the Castello situation, they’re postponing the hearing. But Alex stops them: He has an entire room full of Meredith’s former patients ready to speak on her behalf. Guys, those doors opened and those familiar faces (I mean, Katie Bryce!) flooded in and I wept! I wept! 350 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy will do that to a person.
The emotional punches keep on coming: Alex also has a whole pile of letters written by friends and colleagues, including Cristina (“She is the sun and she is unstoppable,” I’m a dead person), Callie, Arizona, April, and even Addison! Addison freakin’ Montgomery. If we can’t see their faces, at least they get some shoutouts. And then the recommendation of all recommendations comes in: Bailey has something more to say. She gives a perfect Bailey speech about how Meredith is a pain in her ass, but she’s worked hard to get where she is, and that even though she has suffered, life hasn’t hardened her, it’s made her better. She ends it with “I’m Dr. Miranda Bailey, Chief of Surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital and I approve this message,” which is definitely over-the-top, but allowed because look at the circumstances.
Oh, did I mention that this entire section is set to a cover of Tegan and Sara’s “Where Does the Good Go?” Like, you’re really going to read me a letter from Cristina Yang about Meredith Grey set to that song, Grey’s Anatomy? I have nothing left to give you. You have taken it all.
Obviously, after this outpouring of support and the fact that the show is a medical drama called Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith Grey gets to keep her medical license. Bailey offers Meredith her job back and all is right with the world again.
Well, until Meredith gets home. First, she walks in on Maggie tossing Jackson out of the house after he told her he missed being with her but then rejected her when she went in for a kiss, because he really seems to enjoy rubbing salt into that wound. It’s an intense welcome home. Even worse, DeLuca shows up to talk about their previous chat and how he’s literally gone to jail for her, he’s taken care of her every way a person can, but she still doesn’t see him as an equal partner. Meredith might love him, but she doesn’t respect him. He needs her to take some time and figure out if she ever will. You can’t win them all, Meredith Grey. I mean, you’ve seen this show.