How Grey’s Anatomy Saved Itself From Huge Fan Backlash In Season 19’s Fall Finale

Ellen Pompeo on Grey's Anatomy
(Image credit: ABC)

Warning! This story contains major spoilers for Grey’s Anatomy’s Season 19 Fall Finale, “Thunderstruck,” so proceed with caution if you haven’t watched yet.

Grey’s Anatomy warned us that the fall finale crossover with Station 19 was going to bring tragedy to one of our own. As Meredith Grey prepared to leave Grey Sloan Memorial, Mother Nature decided to put an exclamation point on what is inarguably the end of era, when lightning struck Meredith’s house. Despite the firefighters' best efforts, it looked pretty grim. When you think of the number of doctors who have lived in that house over the past 19 seasons, the awkward dinners, and the dancing it out, it’s a devastating loss. Not just for Meredith, either, but for the longtime viewers as well. And it was almost so. much. worse. 

Earlier in the episode, Maggie and Winston were helping to pack up Meredith’s belongings, when they found the infamous blue Post-It note with Derek and Meredith’s wedding vows written on it. It was strange to hear Maggie talk about the story she’d only heard of — but we fans got to experience, in one of Grey’s Anatomy’s best-ever episodes back in Season 5. For a good 15 minutes after lightning struck the house, we were led to believe the Post-It was lost forever in the fire. However, in the episode's final moments, Maggie revealed that she had been able to grab it, thus avoiding huge backlash from the Grey’s Anatomy loyals.

I can’t imagine a more unforgivable offense than the most important symbol of MerDer’s love being destroyed. I’m afraid if that had happened, especially with Ellen Pompeo’s imminent exit from the show, it would have been enough to drive some viewers away. There may have been riots. There were tears just at the thought! Losing the house was bad enough, but Twitter fans were so relieved that this part of McDreamy lives on: 

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That’s not to say the significance of the house was lost on anyone. One fan pointed out that the house was practically a character all in itself. While the Post-It was rescued, every other memory of MerDer did go up in flames: 

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That house was, after all, the scene of Meredith and Derek’s very first hookup way back in the 2005 premiere: 

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When Grey’s Anatomy returns on February 23, 2023, (yes, you read that right), Meredith really will be saying goodbye, as she moves to Boston so Zola can attend a gifted school and she can start Alzheimer’s research at a program funded by Jackson Avery and The Catherine Fox Foundation.

With so much talk about Derek in the fall finale, it also wasn’t made clear what Meredith and Nick’s status is going forward. The couple squabbled a bit over the fact that she hadn’t told him that Lucas was Derek’s nephew, and she didn’t seem to care whether or not he came with her to Boston. 

That will certainly get cleared up when Grey’s Anatomy returns, but we’ve got a while to wait. In the meantime, Season 19 episodes can be streamed with a Hulu subscription, or you can relive the first 18 seasons with a Netflix subscription. Check out our 2023 TV schedule to see what premieres are coming up this winter. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.