When Grey's Anatomy Will Probably Reveal Meredith's Fate

greys anatomy season 16 abc meredith deluca
(Image credit: ABC)

Spoilers ahead for the second episode of Grey's Anatomy Season 16, called "Back in the Saddle."

Grey's Anatomy Season 15 ended with a shocker concerning Grey's ability to do anatomy at her longtime hospital. The insurance fraud Meredith Grey committed with the help of Alex Karev and Richard Webber to save a life caught up with them, and Bailey fired them after the truth came out. Meredith has to face the most music; although she avoided jail time, her medical license is in jeopardy. For any fans hoping that the situation would be resolved and Meredith's fate as a licensed doctor would be revealed soon, "Back in the Saddle" delivered what is probably bad news.

The episode opened with a surprisingly upbeat Meredith ready for a day of court-ordered community service, although part of it may have had to do with the fact that she was wearing a "disguise" in the form of a hat and sweatshirt. No embarrassing encounters with people who recognize her this week! She got some frustrating news, though, when she learned that the hearing from the medical board to decide her fate won't be for another three months.

Assuming Grey's more or less follows the passage of time in real life, give or take a few weeks as usually happens on television, and intends to save the reveal for a big episode, then we likely won't learn whether or not Meredith keeps her medical license until the winter finale or the midseason premiere, which would probably mean December 2019 or January 2020. At this point, my money is on the reveal -- or at least the hearing -- happening in the midseason finale.

Grey's Anatomy is known for killer cliffhangers, and using the possibility of Meredith losing her license as the midseason cliffhanger after spending the first half of Season 16 building to it strikes me as underwhelming. Admittedly, Meredith can't have her hand on a bomb in a guy's chest and the hospital can't explode every week, but surely Grey's would want more than a hearing as the final punch of the year before the brief winter hiatus, right?

Meredith has been tempting fate in the first two episodes of Season 16. In "Back in the Saddle," Meredith more or less turned her community service group into a walk-in clinic, getting one of her friends to steal -- or "steal," considering she's an owner of the hospital -- medical supplies, and then treating her community service boss in the parking lot until Jackson happened to walk by to be roped into doing an official biopsy.

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By the time the episode ended, Meredith had made up her mind to publish despite being advised to lay low, and the promo for next week (which will also include a Charmed reunion) shows the team at the hospital finding a way to let Meredith work on a stubborn patient without letting her back on hospital premises as a doctor. Even if she's not breaking rules, she's definitely pushing boundaries, and that could come back to bite her.

Find out what happens next with new episodes of Grey's Anatomy airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC in the fall TV lineup.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).