Spoiler alert: The following story contains spoilers for Grey's Anatomy, Season 17, Episode 13, "Good As Hell."
This episode could have been called “Satisfying As Hell,” as Grey's Anatomy finally wrapped up its beach hallucination storyline, answering the question of whether or not Meredith Grey would recover from COVID or let her husband Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd escort her into the afterlife. The conclusion made the wait (almost) worth it, with the vow renewal I never knew I needed and Meredith’s words to Zola ringing in my head as I start crying all over again.
It was November 2020 when Patrick Dempsey’s McDreamy shocked Grey’s Anatomy viewers everywhere when he appeared in Meredith’s beach hallucination. We've been through a lot this year, and that’s a long time to have your titular character in a coma. But this latest episode, “Good As Hell,” came out strong and made it worth the wait, as Meredith regained consciousness to the voice of her daughter Zola, who dominated a lot of MerDer’s beach conversations throughout Derek’s return. Seeing the beloved couple just talk and laugh together was everything, and Ellen Pompeo’s chemistry with Dempsey was electric as they laughed at how much Zola hated their Post-It wedding.
Instantly the couple was transformed into beach wedding attire, Meredith with a white dress and bouquet, and Derek with a tux, exclaiming that Meredith hates weddings! But she says she’d give that to Zola if she could. There weren’t really vows, except Derek sweetly made Meredith promise to torture herself less. They just hovered inches away from each other, with Meredith saying she didn't want to leave the kids. And they kissed, but it was the beginning of the end.
Back in the real world, the Grey-Sloan doctors were beating themselves up about why Meredith still hadn’t woken up, and Zola was understandably struggling as well. Winston got the idea to have Zola come try to talk to Meredith to wake her up. So Zola ran to her unconscious mother, and the tears were coming (my tears, but maybe the characters' too), because I was practically yelling at Meredith to wake up for her daughter already! On the beach, Derek was holding Meredith, and he whispered in her ear:
You have to go. It’s not your time yet. Our kids need you. You have to go.
Meredith’s eyes fluttered open to hear Zola just talking away about everything, and there was hugging, and there were tears, and as McDreamy was shown walking away, alone, on the beach, Meredith told her daughter:
We love you so much. We love you so much. We love you, Zozo.
Never has the word “we” caused such a guttural reaction. It's going to take me a minute to compose my emotions, and it looks like we will in fact get a little break. Grey's Anatomy returns in two weeks, when we'll find out what Jackson Avery has been up to since he took a leave of absence. And NBD, but April Kepner is in the promo! Don't miss it, as Grey's airs at 9 p.m. ET Thursdays on ABC. Be sure to check out our 2021 TV schedule to keep track of all your favorite shows.