Meredith is off the beach. Let’s say it loud and at the top of this recap because this is something that should’ve happened six episodes ago, maybe more, and we have been waiting for this season to move forward instead of being held hostage by this story line, and the people deserve to know it is (seemingly) over. Sure, Meredith doesn’t wake up until the very end of the episode, but it is something! Before we get too ahead of ourselves, we should talk about our final visit to that God forsaken Death Beach and how the doctors at Grey Sloan ultimately get Meredith to pull through. Also, the Meredith Doll is back, so beware.
It was a thrill to see Derek back on Grey’s and saying swoony stuff to Meredith at first, but let’s be honest: This whole beach thing probably peaked when George showed up (in episode four!!). Sure, it was nice to see Mark and CGI Lexie, but really, what has this beach thing done for us lately? Stretched over 13 episodes, after George’s visit, this little figment of Meredith’s near-death state hasn’t taught us much about Meredith. Yes, life is full of pain, and yes, she’s tired, and yes, her hair looks so goddamned glorious in the salty sea air, but we got that by now.
Here, with Derek again, she is still considering getting closer to him even though she knows if she does, she will never want to leave this beach and go back to the land of the living. They talk about his death and how her giving him permission to let go was what he needed, that she always gave him what he needed (except for that whole Alzheimer trial debacle, am I right??). They talk about how he’s totally cool with Meredith humping other hot dudes because he doesn’t want her to be lonely (this is all clearly stuff Mer needs to hear since we are in her head, after all). Hey, they even put on a lovely white dress and suit and give us those wedding lewks we never got with the Post-it note. But really what this comes down to is if Meredith is willing to fight to get back to her kids. No one tell Zola, Bailey, and Ellis, but at one point Mer’s like, Kids are fine when their parents die, look at you, Derek, and Derek’s like, Yeah, but look at Amelia. Truly, what a joy to see that Derek is dragging his sister even on Meredith’s Death Beach.
While Meredith is contemplating what she wants to do, back at Grey Sloan, Teddy is having a hell of a time trying to figure out why Meredith won’t just wake up. She can’t even enjoy the celebrations of COVID patients finally being discharged, of a turn in fortune at Grey Sloan. Teddy and Winston are working together this week, and they eventually discover that Meredith has a blood clot. It could be the reason why even though all of her scans and tests look good, she can’t stay awake for more than two minutes. It needs to be removed, immediately, but it’s risky. Winston doesn’t want to do it since he’s about to marry Meredith’s sister, which means Meredith is family. Bless his heart, Winston has only been at Grey Sloan for like five minutes so he hasn’t figured out that everyone is pretty much related in some way.
As they debate if Teddy is really ready to do this surgery, she yells, “Meredith doesn’t have time for this conversation!” which is just gloriously dripping in that sweet, sweet melodrama, and so even though Teddy’s been spiraling all day, she’s going to operate. Owen comes to see her beforehand and tells her that although he knows she can do this, it’s Meredith Grey and if something goes wrong, even if it has nothing to do with her work, he’s afraid she’ll never recover. It is a terrible pep talk. It’s hard to blame the guy too much since he’s coming from a COVID patient who was getting ready to be discharged suddenly crashing and dying and he broke down into tears telling her family. Just kidding, I will blame him.
Teddy decides that to get through this, she’s making Winston join her. They are professionals, and they are great surgeons, and together they will support one another to make sure they get this job done. And they do! They get the clot out. Meredith still doesn’t wake up. It is infuriating for our doctors. At one point, Teddy is hiding in an on-call room crying and she starts to kiss Owen and he puts the kibosh on that real quick and honestly, doesn’t Teddy know we have enough to deal with at the moment?
It’s Winston who comes up with the idea that ultimately brings Meredith back to us. He thinks that since they’ve treated all of her medical problems and the science says she should be recovering, maybe it’s time they treat the psychological aspect of recovery: He thinks they should bring Zola in to be with Meredith. Maybe hearing and feeling Zola will bring her back. Maggie is against it at first — Zola is going through it at the moment, between not having her mom and trying to process the protests going on in the city — but when Zola hears about it, she tells her aunt that she wants to do it. She wants to go see her mom.
They get Zola in her scrubs and gown and walk her to Meredith’s room. Instead of being scared, she bolts in there and gives her mom (thankfully NOT the Meredith Doll from hell, Zola’s been through enough) a hug, begging for her to wake up, and then proceeds to fill her in on everything that’s been going on. All of our major players eagerly wait outside the room, hoping this Hail Mary play works.
Back on the beach, Derek’s holding Meredith as they gaze out at the ocean, and it’s Derek who repeatedly tells her this isn’t her time. Neither of those two beautiful ding dongs want Meredith to leave their kids. They need her. Zola’s telling Meredith about taking care of Bailey and Ellis and slowly Meredith’s eyes open and she’s talking to her daughter. “We love you,” she tells her Zozo. She’s back. Zola hugs her mom, and people are crying, and over on Meredith’s Death Beach, McDreamy walks away along the surf, smiling.
The OR Board
• Bailey refuses to let Jo out of her general surgeon contract to switch specialties until she works on a patient, Erika, who in quarantine realized life was too short to be spending all of your time doing something that makes you miserable, and it reminds Bailey about priorities. She gives Jo her blessing: “Just love it, Wilson, with every part of you,” she tells her.
• Nico’s being weird and distant with Schmitt after Schmitt brings up giving him, like, one tiny drawer at his apartment for a few things. When Schmitt calls Nico out for being scared and reminding him that one drawer does not equal a lifelong commitment, Nico agrees. After all, what does he have to be scared about? He loves Schmitt and asks him to move in with him. Now Schmitt’s the one who’s scared: He makes up an excuse and runs off before answering.
• Amelia pretty much steals a patient from Link, but he’s cool with it because they find a tumor she needs to remove and he’s so in love with her and in awe of her, blah, blah. It’s very nice to see these two out of baby land and back in the hospital.
• Are Tom and Meredith going to become best friends after this, because I am very much here for that alliance.
• Jackson is still mysteriously gone on whatever trip he drove off to last week. According to the promo for the next episode, it looks like the road has led him to April’s door.