Is Grey's Anatomy Redoing Izzie's Denny Duquette Story With Another Major Character?

greys anatomy season 16 richard webber abc
(Image credit: ABC)

Spoilers ahead for the March 26 episode of Grey's Anatomy Season 16, called "Love of My Life."

Grey's Anatomy spent most of "Love of My Life" seemingly dwelling on past loves of several of the characters, with Teddy reflecting on a woman she'd been intimate with, Maggie connecting with a guy she used to know who turned out to be very attractive, and Richard reconciling with Catherine in a hotel. The bombshell of the episode came courtesy of Richard, whose romantic bliss as he prepared to give a talk at a surgical conference was revealed to be all in his head, as Catherine was back at Grey Sloan. Yes, Richard was hallucinating the woman he'd loved, which seems very... well, familiar.

Well, Grey's Anatomy already redid the "I cut the LVAD wire!" scene back at the end of Season 15, so why not another piece of the Denny Duquette saga?

Longtime Grey's Anatomy fans undoubtedly remember back in Season 5 when Izzie was hallucinating a romantic relationship with her lost love, Denny Duquette. Of course, Izzie knew her hookups with Denny were all in her head because Denny had died years ago, and Richard believed he'd been with Catherine throughout his talk at the conference. Catherine is of course very much alive. In fact, she (along with many of the doctors) was watching a live stream of his talk back at Grey Sloan. So, it's not a perfect parallel.

Still, the reveal that the Catherine that Richard had been talking to throughout the episode was a hallucination was the first sign that something was off with Richard, which was more or less the case with Denny and Izzie in Season 5. This reveal also indicates that there's something very wrong with Richard; could whatever led to his hallucinations and possible stroke be the real source of his tremor? And could a diagnosis cure both the tremor and the more serious issue, also like what happened with Izzie?

Izzie survived her brain cancer despite all odds, and in the process forged such a strong connection with Alex that he ran away from Jo to start a life with her again. Richard could survive whatever is wrong, have his tremor fixed, and be back in surgical scrubs by Season 17. Grey's Anatomy could stick to the status quo after delivering a scare.

That said, I really hope not. In fact, I'm hoping this health scare results in Richard's death, although it pains me to say so. Grey's Anatomy is just due for a tragedy at this point, after Justin Chambers was written out via a happily-ever-after rather than an untimely death that might have, in my opinion, avoided ruining his character. Meredith got to keep her medical license, DeLuca got out of jail, Link is the father of Amelia's baby, and everything has worked out a little too well lately for my taste.

I'd hate to lose one of the few remaining original series characters, but Grey's Anatomy needs to do something drastic to resolve this if it continues with a storyline that is so similar to what started with Izzie's Denny Duquette hallucinations. Unfortunately, resolution one way or the other might not come by the end of Season 16, since Season 16 will likely end sooner than anticipated.

For now, though, you can count on the next new episode of Grey's Anatomy on Thursday, April 2 at 9 p.m. ET following an episode of Station 19 with some Grey's characters in the mix on ABC.

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. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. 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).