By Leighah Beausoleil
On Feb. 23 at 9 p.m., long-time fans of the 19-season saga, “Grey’s Anatomy,” tuned in for the show’s title character’s last appearance.
For 15 weeks, thousands of fans waited in anticipation of how this series - known for its shockingly dramatic twists - was going to say goodbye to none other than Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo).
In the final episode prior to the show’s winter hiatus, we learned Meredith is going to move to Boston in order for her daughter Zola (Aniela Gumbs) to attend a school for gifted students. There, she will be reunited with Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) who she had worked with for many years at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
Remembering the emotional and gut-wrenching episodes of some of the show’s familiar favorites’ departures, including Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), George O’Malley (T.J. Knight), Mark Sloan (Eric Dane), and Lexi Grey (Chyler Leigh), fan expectations for this ultimate sendoff were beyond high.
However, none of our predictions of what might happen in Season 19 Episode 7 “I’ll Follow The Sun” came to fruition and many fans, including myself, sat in shock as the episode came to a close.
That was it?
Meredith’s storyline this episode included the return of a patient who she was close with - a children's literature author named Tessa (Patricia Richardson). Tessa had overexerted herself picking up groceries, which led to her needing an additional surgery.
Tessa did not end up making it through the surgery.
We also followed the chronicles of Meredith and her “maybe” boyfriend, Nick Marsh (Scott Speedman), who were arguing throughout the episode as he had just moved to Seattle from Minnesota to be with her.
In one scene, Meredith’s growth as a character was revealed as her famous speech, “Pick me, choose me, love me,” in which she begged Derek to be with her and not his wife, was then replaced, demonstrating her new mindset.
Now, Meredith declares to Nick, “I’m not going to beg you to love me.”
However, when Meredith is boarding her flight to Boston at the end of the episode, Nick chases after her only to get stuck in traffic.
With no other options, Nick calls Meredith and professes his love to her, which was significant given that he did not say it back to her a few episodes prior.
Nick confesses, “I have loved you every minute of every day that I have known you.”
Despite this vulnerable moment, Meredith pretended she couldn't hear him, stating, “I can’t quite hear you. We’re about to take off, so I’ll call you when we get settled,” and immediately hangs up the phone.
Is this supposed to be a part of her character development?
This isn’t the Meredith we have grown to know at all.
Her storyline this episode was disappointing. All we got was a little party with the Grey Sloan staff in which everyone drank sparkling cider and ate a bar mitzvah cake as the wrong one was picked up.
There were no flashbacks.
There were no truly heartfelt goodbyes.
There was nothing.
It seemed almost as if Meredith was already gone because she was barely in the episode.
Storyline B was far more compelling, with the experimental surgery of a partial-heart transplant on an infant due to the donor heart not being completely viable.
Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) sharing her story of how she gave birth to her dead baby, Christopher, in order to provide organs to sick newborns was devastating and actually made me feel something for the first and only time in this episode.
Perhaps this episode is meant to demonstrate that “Grey’s Anatomy” will be just fine without Meredith and may even see some improvement given the failures of the recent seasons.
To have dedicated so many years to this show and these characters, it is quite devastating to see how carelessly the writers handled this episode.
They have done far more for less significant characters.
This episode was simply another case of television malpractice - the whole operation went wrong.
C+: Time of death… 19:07