Gotta be honest here—that was not what we were expecting. And it was hard to get through. Here we were, all hunkered down with chocolate and Kleenex, fully prepared for two hours of real, serious mourning over one half of one of TV’s greatest couples, despite our many feelings about last week’s horrific, unnecessary, and totally cruel death episode.
We thought, well, at least it looks like we’ll get a nice funeral, and a decent send-off. At least. But then what we got was not that. It was the opposite of that. It was messy, confusing, heart-wrenching in a lot of weird ways, and it was just not what we wanted.
But it might have actually been exactly what we needed. At first, we really hated it. We hated how we only got to see about ten seconds of Derek’s funeral, and we hated how Meredith disappeared for the first hour, and we hated the insane number of time jumps. We went from Derek’s death in April to Memorial Day to Halloween to Thanksgiving in like half an hour. It was strange, and didn’t feel like it was really happening, and we found ourselves clinging so intensely to the moments when we did get to mourn, when Amelia lost it in the middle of the hospital and in front of Owen, and when Meredith laid in bed alone and yet another Chasing Cars cover played.
We needed that, and that’s what we thought we wanted, but what we really needed was the rest of the episode: Everyone moving on. Last week, and all throughout the next few days, it seemed like the show couldn’t really go on, and we couldn’t go on watching it. What was the point if Meredith—who was the show’s heart and soul from the very beginning—couldn’t ever get her happy ending? What was the point if there was literally no hope for the couple we had come for, and the couple we had stayed for through so many years and so much insanity?
And that was what this episode was answering. Now, in theory, the show can start anew. We don’t have to spend episode after episode wondering if everyone will make it out of this grief OK, wondering if Meredith’s pregnancy will go well, wondering if Amelia will manage to stay on the wagon even through losing her brother. Everything that happened in that episode could have been stretched through all of next season, and we would have hated it.
We may have hated watching that episode (and we did—we really, really did), but now it’s done. We got through the tunnel of that one difficult two-hour outing to find light on the other side. It’s not the brightest light, but it’s still light. MerDer may be over, but Meredith is still alive with a miraculously non-hostile uterus, and we don’t have to wonder what’s going to happen anymore, and we don’t have to suffer through any agonizing grief. We’re free.
Of course, the preview for next week’s episode showed Amelia confronting Meredith about pulling the plug on Derek before she got to say goodbye, so we’re not totally free, but at least we’re a lot closer than we were at the beginning of that roller coaster we just went on.
So thanks, Grey’s Anatomy. You just did us all a huge favor. Other thoughts:
—Killing off burn victim JJ was truly, truly unnecessary, as was that five minute conversation about dumb seven dwarf names.
—Meredith being pregnant was also unnecessary but we guess it gave her something to do for all those months she was in hiding.
—Way to nearly scare us to death with April and Jackson. If they had killed April, we would have actually thrown our TV (computer, let’s be real) across the room, as opposed to just threatening to do that multiple times.
—Bailey and Ben really need some other things to talk about FOR A YEAR that aren’t related to one of them having to pull the plug on the other one. And Ben should really know better than to present his living will on Valentine’s Day, of all days.
—Alex Karev is a treasure who may never die. Just keep that in mind, Grey’s writers.