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Why Grey’s Anatomy Shouldn’t Have Spoiled That Big Character Return

Grey's Anatomy Meredith on beach Lexie handing her towel.

Spoiler alert for Grey’s Anatomy Season 17, Episode 9: “In My Life,” including the promo for Episode 10, “Breathe.”

Way to spoil it, Grey’s Anatomy! The latest episode of the medical drama, “In My Life,” took a deep dive into the psyche of Teddy Altman, as Andrew DeLuca’s death triggered the pain of her parents’ death, as well as Allison, the love of her life and her daughter’s namesake, being killed in 9/11. But in the wake of a poignant episode and powerful performance from Kim Raver, Grey’s Anatomy overshadowed itself with its promo for next week’s episode, “Breathe,” and the beach guest “you’ve been waiting for.”

I’ll do what Grey’s didn’t do and give a big ole SPOILER ALERT before revealing that Lexie Grey will reunite with her sister Meredith in her beach hallucination as she fights COVID. All said, this is great news for fans, who have asked for a Little Grey appearance since we knew it was possible to see our favorite doctors who have gone to the big OR in the sky. But why reveal it in the promo? Did they think that would draw viewers who weren’t going to watch otherwise? Were they getting ahead of a leak?

Whatever the reason, the surprise element of the beach appearances have been one of the highlights of the season. Patrick Dempsey’s return as Derek Shepherd was game-changing! It’s nearly impossible to pull off surprises like that these days, and it was so refreshing. Then to see George O’Malley on the beach was like getting everything I asked for at Christmas and then being surprised with a dream vacation. I cried! Possibly as hard as I did when George wrote “007” on Meredith’s hand way back in Season 5. Check out the Lexie promo below and see for yourself what won't be a surprise next week:

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It literally says "SURPRISE BEACH GUEST" before spoiling the surprise. That's not how surprises work! They should have ended the promo with the arm reaching out to hand Meredith the towel. We would have been speculating all week about whose arm that was (and after Cristina Yang was mentioned multiple times in “In My Life,” you can bet Sandra Oh would have been a candidate in that conversation). With an air date of April 1, is it all a big April Fool’s Joke? Obviously, that’s not going to be it, but it's fun to contemplate.

Lexie’s death was definitely one of the most tragic in Grey’s Anatomy history, as she died in the plane crash that stranded her, Meredith, Cristina and others who were on their way to perform a transplant. Part of the plane fell on Lexie, crushing her lower extremities. She died with on-again, off-again boyfriend Mark Sloan professing his love for her. Pure heartbreak. Losing McSteamy afterward was really just kicking us when we were down.

Since they did spoil Lexie’s beach appearance, I wonder if they’ve got another surprise cooking. Perhaps a Grey-Sloan reunion to remind viewers who the hospital is named after? Disappointed as I am, because I do love a good plot twist, I will definitely be tuning in next week to see the Grey sisters reunite, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that maybe there’s more to it than that. Is that being greedy? We deserve it after all the doom and gloom Grey’s has been throwing at us. Grey’s Anatomy returns next Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.