It was a season finale we won’t soon forget.
Some major changes happened on Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 Episode 19 and Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 Episode 20, and now Meredith is stuck with a crumbling hospital and possibly no Nick.
Join Joshua Johnson, Meaghan Frey, and Jasmin Pettie for the final time this season as they discuss the milestone finale.
What would you rate this season finale? Do you think they did a good job celebrating this 400-episode milestone?
Joshua: I’d give it an A-.
Something I think Krista Vernoff has been doing well in her tenure as showrunner is finding believable ways for Grey Sloan and its doctors to experience hardship, so something like a blood shortage in a (nearly) post-pandemic world makes sense and heightens the already-occurring drama.
At the end of the first episode, I texted my mother about how intense it felt, and it did! There was so much drama, and it was all believable.
What was most surprising to me is that I actually forgot it was the 400th episode until they started showing flashbacks in the second hour because of what felt like good, solid story-telling.
To be honest, I thought that many of the flashbacks were unnecessary and detracted from the story. Everything we got from those flashbacks–Meredith’s history with Derek, the hospital, and Ellis–was already there in the present-day story.
Minus those flashbacks, I thought they did a good job celebrating the 400-episode milestone by tearing apart Meredith, Richard, and Bailey–the last three remaining cast members.
It was something delightfully meta in the accreditation consultant talking about how detrimental it can be to have people stick around for as long as the three of them had, so there was something poetic and refreshing about using the 400th episode to take all of that away somehow.
Meaghan: As a season finale, I give it an A, but as a 400th episode, I give it a C-.
The show had all the makings of a classic Grey’s Anatomy finale. There were exciting medical cases, tension and drama among the staff, relationships crumbling and coming back together, and a cliffhanger to leave us on the edge of our seats until next season.
However, to give us that great finale feel, they couldn’t really celebrate the fact that it was the show’s 400th episode. Personally, for me, the flashbacks just didn’t hit the mark.
Yes, flashbacks will always make me emotional, but half of the flashbacks were of some of Grey’s most depressing moments. I wanted it to feel more like a celebration.
Most of my disappointment probably comes from overinflated expectations. Given that it was such a huge milestone, I thought we would get some surprise appearances from the past.
With the accreditation committee coming to decide about the program’s future, they easily could’ve brought in former members of the residency program to advocate for it. Even if it didn’t work out in the end, it would have been nice to see some of our old favorites.
Jasmin: I would rate it a B.
I think they did, and they didn’t. I liked the ending montage, and the editing where Meredith saw her younger self through the window was very cool, but a lot of the previous flashbacks didn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Like when Meredith kept trying to revive the bleeding patient, and she flashed back to when Derek almost died in the mass shooting at the hospital. That didn’t really make sense to me.
Also, I don’t think the episode needed to be two hours. They should have split the episode into two separate episodes over two weeks or done a regular one-hour episode. I also thought the finale was pretty sad, but not in an interesting way.
I also felt like a lot of the dialogue was unnatural and too preachy. All in all, I had a lot of the same complaints that Joshua and Meaghan discussed.
Let’s discuss it. Did you have “Teddy and Owen go on the lam with their gaggle on children” on your Grey’s Anatomy 2022 Bingo Card?”
Joshua: I did not, and honestly, if you had told me that the two biggest self-righteous centers of morality on the show would RUN AWAY FROM THE LAW, I’d have called you a liar and a witch and tried to drown you.
I don’t know what else to say about this, other than I thought it was well written and well handled, and for once, I could see both Teddy and Owen’s sides of the argument. Ultimately, I appreciate that they committed to a decision together.
Meaghan: Absolutely not! I genuinely liked all the tension surrounding the decision and pleading their case to Bailey, but I also couldn’t help but feel like it was a dumb decision.
They easily could have pretended that Teddy didn’t know the truth about what Owen did that day to protect her from any possible charges. That way, at least if Owen goes down, she won’t go down with him. I don’t see where they go from here.
If they are staying on the show, they will either get caught or turn themselves in eventually. Now things will be worse for both of them than if they had stayed.
I honestly don’t think that Owen would have faced any actual jail time, given that physician-assisted death is legal in the state. He was only turned in because he refused to help someone he couldn’t even evaluate, showing at least some good medical reasoning behind what he was doing.
He also didn’t directly administer the medications to the patients, so at most, I think he would be charged with voluntary manslaughter.
Most likely, his license would get suspended or revoked, and he would probably be on probation. Yes, that would be a major change for him, but he could spend his new free time being an advocate for veterans. Now that they ran, I don’t see any way he avoids at least some jail time.
Jasmin: I didn’t either! I was also surprised by this. I agree with a lot of the points Meaghan made.
I also thought the way this storyline played out in the finale highlighted why it was dumb. As Teddy clearly outlines, Owen could have helped all of those veterans in need the legal way, and Hayes leaving and Teddy and Owen running away would not have been necessary.
They live in a state where doctor-assisted dying is legal. Owen chose to be reckless when he had a legal option to help these people. They were Seattle residents!
I’m also not sure where they go from here. Either they are leaving the show, or they just made things worse for themselves.
On a scale of 1-10, how much did you enjoy the Japril return and confirmation that they’re together?
Joshua: I’m not going to lie; seeing April on my screen, especially in scrubs and running the pit, made me a little emotional!!
I assumed they were together–I thought it was more than implied by April going to the East Coast with Jackson–but it was still nice to see that they were happy and together. Also, it was just like Catherine to make Jackson eulogize her while she was still alive.
Meaghan: 7, but only because I wish they had been used even more. I, too, loved seeing April back in the pit.
I also desperately needed that confirmation that they were back together, even if it was assumed, so I was squealing with that elevator kiss.
Did anyone else’s mind immediately go to the fact that with Owen quitting, they now have a trauma surgeon opening?
Also, with the residency program shut down and Catherine and Richard traveling, they will need a face of the Fox Foundation on the ground at Grey Sloan to help get things moving back in the right direction.
This is probably just wishful thinking, but this opens up the door to Japril returning to the series. A girl can dream, right?
Jasmin: I’d say a 6! I thought their appearance added some much-needed levity to the episode, apart from Jackson’s ridiculous speech to Meredith about how she needs to stay when everyone else has left.
I did like seeing that they were back together and seeing April’s scenes with Amelia, and I too enjoyed when Catherine made Jackson eulogize her so she could hear it.
Did you appreciate how the series touched on the bigoted blood ban via Levi (and Station 19’s Travis)?
Joshua: I did! As a gay man, I’ve always been angry about this rule, and I usually lie about it and give blood anyway (I get tested regularly), but I shouldn’t have to choose between lying and not giving blood.
I thought it was great that Schmidt a) stood up for himself and b) that he, Helm, and Perez (the three queer residents that we know about) reached out to their queer friends for help.
What will be disappointing is that, most likely, this plot isn’t going to go anywhere. I’m glad it made its point, but I will be more glad if it doesn’t just get left there.
Meaghan: I wish they integrated it more smoothly, but I am so glad they addressed it.
There is ZERO medical/scientific reasoning for the FDA to keep these regulations. It also makes it even worse that they reviewed these outdated regulations and updated them to something that still has no basis in science. There are adequate protocols in place to screen all blood donations, regardless of the person’s sexual activity or sexual preference.
I, too, wish that this wasn’t a storyline that they would just drop — they can help spread awareness for the issue and encourage people to advocate for change — but I have very little faith that we will ever hear about it again.
Jasmin: I did, but I wish the dialogue had been more realistic and less preachy.
This is an issue we deal with in Canada as well. The ban on donating was recently lifted here. Still, with it, new rules were implemented where all donors are now asked intrusive personal questions about their sexual history for the past three months.
Anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, is now asked about whether they’ve had anal sex, and those that have in the past three months aren’t allowed to donate.
All of which is ridiculous because, as Travis pointed out in the episode, we can screen blood now in a way we couldn’t before.
If organizations put as much time, energy, and money into working with scientists to develop rapid screening tests as they do into discriminating against people and justifying bans and intrusive personal questions, we’d have better and faster testing options by now.
The Clark family’s case had a bittersweet conclusion. React!
Joshua: Oh. My. God. This plot had me tearing my hair out in drama and anticipation.
First, the ECMO monologue: I had not been impressed by the actress playing the wife in her first few episodes, but she murdered the ECMO monologue from a technical standpoint. Delivered it perfectly.
I was a mess by the time it was over, and everything else that happened after that had me nervous, or crying, or ecstatic, or grateful…it was very, very well done. That’s all I have to say: they ended this plot perfectly.
Meaghan: I loved that scene too, Joshua. She did incredible work in delivering that monologue. I knew they wouldn’t let him pass before he got to meet his child, but I still couldn’t help but freak out that it would be just a little too late.
I was an absolute mess through the entire end of the storyline. These are the types of cases that Grey’s Anatomy does best.
Jasmin: I also thought the acting was great in this storyline. I was surprised that they had Levi running around getting the blood from the husband to the wife when they could have had the husband sign a waiver and had Levi donate his blood to him.
How did you feel about Amelia and Link finally having a mature conversation, her apologizing, and them making peace?
Joshua: I enjoyed this scene between Amelia and Link entirely because of Amelia. I figured that, at some point, Amelia would realize that how she felt about Kai not wanting what Amelia has would be similar to how Amelia didn’t want what Link wanted.
I thought that Amelia was very mature to apologize to Link, who, quite frankly, didn’t deserve the apology and owed Amelia an apology himself.
Amelia was upfront and honest about what she didn’t want, and Link held that honesty against her all season. I understand the need not be around someone for a while or not to talk to someone for a while, but Link was openly hostile not just to Amelia but also to Kai (a person he didn’t even know).
This whole “I have to hate you until I love you again” is immature as all get out. I’m glad the situation seems to be resolved, but Amelia deserves better, and we as viewers deserve not to have Link’s character ruined by giving him a fragile, male ego.
Meaghan: To quote Lizzo, “It’s about damn time!” All season long, Link has been an entirely different person than the man we have known, and it has been exhausting. I’ve been beyond ready for him to get an exorcism, and this apology did just that.
While I do agree that Link owed Amelia an apology as well, I think Amelia realized through her breakup with Kai how Link must have felt when things fell apart between them. When things initially fell apart, I don’t think she could see his side.
Does that excuse his behavior? Absolutely not, but it does make her understand it and realize the role she played.
It’s zero surprise to me that Amelia was the more mature one, and I’m willing to forgive and forget Link’s sins from this season so we can all move on from this mess.
Jasmin: I agree with Joshua and Meaghan on this one! It was about damn time! I’m glad they finally talked it out and made peace. It was long overdue. Hopefully, Link will be back to his old self next season, and everyone can finally move on.
What are your thoughts on the Kaimelia reunion?
Joshua: I don’t like the reunion. Something is refreshing about an honest, mature breakup that happens because of one major thing, like not wanting what the other person wants.
Again, it leads back to this show’s desire to pair people off in romantic situations constantly; why not let Amelia sit in this hurt? Why not let Amelia take the pain of the breakup and put it into medicine?
What future could Amelia and Kai have with Amelia in Seattle and Kai in Minnesota? To me, it’s lazy writing and lazy story-telling.
Meaghan: I never want to see Amelia unhappy, but I also did not love them reconciling. It probably doesn’t help that a similar situation just played out on The Resident, and someone also compromised what they wanted so the pair could get back together, but wanting children — or not wanting them — is a HUGE thing.
Shows too often act like it’s just another obstacle to overcome, but it’s so much more than that. I actually think the only way that this could work is the distance. Putting distance between them makes the kid issue less of one. They can plan trips to see each other around when Link has Scout.
I never saw the two of them having a traditional relationship anyway. Eventually, Amelia will probably want more, and the kid issue will once again become an obstacle. I was okay with Amelia dealing with this pain, taking time to figure out what she wants out of a relationship, and finding exactly that because she deserves to be happy.
Jasmin: I agree with Joshua and Meaghan on this one as well. While I like Amelia and Kai as a couple and I want to see Amelia happy, the fact that you miss someone and can’t sleep without them doesn’t change the fact that you don’t want children and that the person you love is a mom and a beloved aunt.
I’ve been in a long-distance relationship before where the other person wanted children, and I wasn’t sure if I did.
It led to a messy and painful breakup, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Kai was adamant that they didn’t want children after one dinner party where they had to interact with Amelia’s family.
I don’t think they will change their mind, so I’m not sure what the point of thereconciliation was. Unfortunately, none of their problems were resolved, and I don’t think they will be unless they break up.
Do you think with Jo breaking up with Todd, Link moving on from Amelia, and the two being friendly again that they’re setting up a JoLink endgame?
Joshua: I mean, probably? And that’s all I’ll have to say about that because y’all know how I feel about the idea of setting people up just for the relationship drama. Let Jo be a doctor already, damn!
Meaghan: I’m assuming that’s where we are headed, but I’m indifferent to it now. I was all on board the JoLink train when it started, but Link not reciprocating Jo’s feelings was where it should have ended. They’ve got a lot of work to do at this point if they want me to be Team JoLink again.
Jasmin: Yeah, I feel the same way. I figure that’s where they are ending, but I’m indifferent. I was Team Todd, so I was sad to see them completely rewrite his character in an episode just to set up Jo and Link again.
Are you shocked that Bailey quit to be with Pru and Webber took a sabbatical to be with a healthy Catherine?
Joshua: Honestly? YES. Out of everything that happened during these two episodes, this was the most surprising that Bailey quit. Bailey! Quit!
It makes sense because, at some point, the stress of the pandemic and the physician shortage will cause Bailey some burnout as well, but just to up and leave with no warning was the most un-Bailey-like thing to do. I’m glad she’s prioritizing her own mental health, though, especially as she’s given to flare-ups of her OCD.
I’m less shocked about Richard taking a sabbatical, but the fact that both are leaving at the same time, right after giving Meredith shit for wanting to leave, seemed hypocritical.
If I were Meredith, I’d be even madder that literally anyone could leave except for her. If anything, the episode showed that all three of them need to move on if they want the program to be as successful as it once was or for them to feel as fulfilled as they want to feel.
Meaghan: I predicted Bailey stepping down as Chief and Meredith taking over as soon as she was offered the permanent Minnesota position, but this is not how I saw it going down. I get Bailey stepping down from the position but from the hospital as a whole?
My jaw was on the floor. Richard taking a sabbatical was less shocking, but both of them leaving after the mess that they caused and just leaving it for Meredith to clean up? The same Meredith wanted to leave, and they treated her like she had murdered their mothers. Completely ridiculous.
Meredith should have run when she had the chance. Jasmin: Not really. It made sense, given the situation. Bailey was at her wit’s end already, and I think the accreditation board shutting down the residency program was the final straw for her.
I get why Richard is stepping away as well. When he was married to Adele, he always worked or spent time with Ellis. Now that Catherine is healthier and they’re in a good place, I think he owes it to himself and his marriage to take some time off and do what he didn’t the first time around.
Did Mer go too far with that surgery on Bridget? Do you think she was trying to sabotage the program?
Joshua: Meredith absolutely went too far with that surgery on Bridget. I don’t think she was trying to sabotage the program, but she was absolutely doing something that Meredith tends to do: make the choice that she wants to make, and damn anything else that’s going on.
There was a great moment when Ellis appeared during the surgery where she upbraided Meredith for not having a plan, and that’s where I realized that Meredith was falling victim to hubris.
Taking out all of the abdominal organs to do an ex-vivo Whipple procedure and transplant is precisely the kind of cutting edge case the hospital could use to contribute to the program–but Bridget did not need surgery at that moment. She was safe in a hospital where she could be monitored until the conditions were right for that surgery to be performed.
Even if Meredith had just waited until some blood had arrived, she would have made a more rational decision. Instead, she chose to do what she does–consider herself to have the right and responsibility to make these decisions. It was thrilling to watch but disappointing to see happen.
While I don’t necessarily like Jackson, I thought he made a great point to Meredith that this program made her, so why shouldn’t she want to help it thrive?
It doesn’t mean she has to stay there forever, but what’s the point of her ducking out in the middle of a crisis and leaving everyone else to clean up afterward?
She has zero obligations to stay where she doesn’t want to stay, but her name is on the hospital. Her sister’s name. Her mother’s name. Why would she let her namesake–a place she once was so passionate about saving that she rallied with her friends to BUY THE DAMN HOSPITAL–crash and burn?
Meaghan: I don’t think she intended to sabotage the program. The choice to do that surgery had Ellis PTSD written all over. It’s no coincidence that it happened after she had an Ellis dream.
Ellis always wanted her to be extraordinary, and she has spent her entire career trying to live up to that impossible threshold Ellis set for her, even with Ellis gone.
Everyone praising her for the Parkinsons research had her worried that it was just a fluke or that it was still not enough, so she had to push herself to prove that she was as great as everyone thought.
Too bad she isn’t aware that the entire medical community has a Meredith Grey god complex. She absolutely went too far with it, but we’ve seen most of the surgeons on the show go too far as well. It actually reminds me a lot of when Derek had his breakdown.
Jasmin: I agree with Joshua and Meaghan on this. Meredith went too far with the surgery on Bridget, but I don’t think she was trying to sabotage the program on purpose.
She was doing what Meredith tends to do, which is make a choice she wants to make and damn everyone and anything else that may be going on. She’s so confident in her own abilities that she doesn’t always see the consequences of her actions if something goes wrong until it’s too late.
What did you make of all the parallels between her and Ellis and the Ellis content and mentions during the finale?
Joshua: Meredith was 100% acting like Ellis and has been all season. She’s been absent to her kids (specifically, to Bailey and Ellis), she’s focused solely on her own career with very little thought or consideration for anyone else’s careers, and she’s been lowkey using Nick due to his likeability and easy-going nature.
As we saw in the operating room, the difference is that Ellis wouldn’t have gone into the OR without a full and clear plan for every contingency. Meredith wanted to prove that she was the best, and she got in her own way as a result. Then, she began to push everyone away.
She was impudent to Richard–a surgeon who has DECADES of experience more than Meredith–and she never even spoke to Bailey–the Chief–about the surgery. She just moved forward the way she wanted to.
Finally, at the very end, she pushed away someone who wanted to be with her, who could help her when she needed it most. But Meredith chose to be on an island and didn’t realize until Nick walked away from that she had become her mother.
I was proud of her for going after Nick and realizing that she was completely being unfair to him (and, honestly, kind of treating him the way Derek used to treat her), but I kind of hope she didn’t get to him in time before he got away. I love Meredith, but she’s gotten a bit unlikeable this season, and her ego has gotten way out of control.
I hope that this series of events allows her to take a step back, take stock, and move forward in a manner befitting of the advice “Be extraordinary.”
Meaghan: I agree with everything Joshua said. We have watched Meredith slowly become more and more like Ellis — mostly since Derek’s death — and it is hit an all-time high this season.
I think this episode needed to happen for Meredith to see the full picture and see what she was becoming. Honestly, she has become the most unlikeable character in the series for me. I hope this sets Meredith back on a path where she is a little more like the Meredith we first met, just a more mature version of her.
Jasmin: I agree with Joshua and Meaghan on this. I talked about how Meredith behaved like Ellis with her relationship with Nick and focused on her work earlier in the season.
While I think we’re all on the same page about that, I got some flack from other fans who saw my comments online, but I think this episode really drove the point home and made it clear that those allusions were intentional. Meredith has been very unlikeable this season, and I’m hoping they can turn that around in Season 19, as it will likely be the final season.
Mer is now Chief of a failing GSM, seemingly against her will, and she pushes Nick away. Discuss your feelings about that, the final scene, and what you think it all means for Mer in the future and her relationship with Nick.
Joshua: I can’t even begin to think about how it will affect her relationship with Nick. Personally, I hope he goes away (I don’t hate Nick the way Jasmine does, but I also don’t think that we always need to pair off characters with other characters to be in a romantic relationship) so that Meredith can go back to focusing on being an extraordinary surgeon.
Still, I also appreciate the storyline that just because you had one great love doesn’t mean you don’t get a second. At the same time, on a TV show, you’ll never introduce someone who will be for Meredith everything that Derek was. In terms of story-telling (and the show’s lore), I think Meredith is better off alone.
Also, I assumed that Meredith would end up the Chief of surgery by the end of the season but didn’t anticipate that it would happen in a falling dominos sort of way and that it would be a consequence of her actions. I like the way that it happened, to be honest.
Meaghan: This episode — and storyline in general — just felt like a giant metaphor for the entire series.
The hospital (the series) is falling apart, and Bailey and Richard (the producers) won’t let Meredith (Ellen) off the sinking ship despite how ready she is to move on. Meredith could be a great Chief of Surgery, but she shouldn’t have been forced into that position. If she had been offered the position under better circumstances, she would have accepted. It would have felt like a logical next step in her career vs. just remaining stagnant in her position as head of General Surgery.
By being forced into it, she will automatically resent the position, which could impact how she does the job. They need someone who wants to be in the position, not someone that is chained down to it.
I personally think that Nick is good for Meredith and actually doesn’t want to see more focus on her doing surgery. Part of what has made Meredith so unlikeable for me is the idea that she is the “sun” of the hospital. If they focus too much on her professional life, it will worsen.
I want to see some balance between her professional life, her family life, and her romantic life. Nick has made it clear that he is all in and doesn’t want to take her away from being a mom.
That’s the type of person that Meredith needs in her life. No, Derek can never be replaced, but Nick is probably the closest thing we have gotten to Meredith being happy with a romantic partner since his death, so I’ll take it.
Jasmin: To be honest, I didn’t like where they left things at the end of the finale. Meredith should stay because she wants to, not because she feels like she has to, especially after the rest of her class has long since moved on or died.
I thought Jackson was very high and mighty in asking her to stay when he himself left and almost left multiple times before that. I’m glad she pushed Nick away because he was a terrible partner during the entire finale.
This episode really highlighted for me why I don’t like Nick. He should have had Meredith’s back in the finale, and he didn’t. Derek would have. Riggs would have. Hayes would have.
The fact that the show gave up on both Riggs and Hayes to put her with a guy who doesn’t have her back in a crisis? Ridiculous. I hope Nick does not come back next season, and Meredith moves on and finds someone who actually has her back.
What was your favorite part of the finale? What was your favorite part of the season?
Joshua: The resolution of the Clark family plot. Helm, Schmidt, and Perez mobilized their friends and were the originals’ kind of interns. The shakeup of Bailey and Webber ducking out, leaving Meredith holding the bag.
As far as my favorite part of the season–I don’t know. I didn’t love this season that much; it took too long to feel like Grey’s Anatomy, especially after a season that was perhaps one of the hardest to watch.
Meaghan: The residents mobilizing to help with the blood drive. These residents have grown on me so much, and out of all the turmoil with the hospital and the program shutting down, they are probably the casualty that hurts most for me.
As far as the season goes, I loved the nostalgic callbacks to earlier seasons of Grey’s Anatomy that were sprinkled throughout. They were all woven in perfectly and never felt forced. However, that also made me miss old Grey’s Anatomy, so that it might have had the opposite of the intended effect on me.
Jasmin: I don’t think I had a favorite part of the finale. I liked Travis, Helm, Levi, and Perez’s comments about how gay people know how to mobilize and that the LGBTQ+ population is an untapped resource for blood donations.
Their comments were funny, and they made an excellent point. My favorite part of the season was the scenes with Meredith and Hayes. I’ll forever mourn what we lost there.
What do you hope to see next season, and what have you most excited?
Joshua: I truly am looking forward to seeing what Meredith does as Chief and if she learns from her own hubris. What’s got me most excited is the fact that there is a season 19 because I”m ultimately hoping for an even 20 (plus, the longer the show is on the air, the more chances I have to audition and get cast, I’m just saying).
Meaghan: I just want to know what the hell this show will look like next season! How will Richard and Bailey be incorporated now that they have left the hospital for the time being?
What is going to happen with Teddy and Owen? Are we still going to see the residents, or are all of them exiting the series? So many things are up in the air, and I’m genuinely excited to see how this all plays out of pure curiosity.
Jasmin: I’d like to see a return to form for the show. Apart from Season 15, I’ve really truly enjoyed all seasons of Grey’s up until this one. They really dropped the ball on pretty much everything, so I’d like to see the show get back to what made it a success. I’d love to see a lighter tone next season as it feels like every case they treat is super depressing these days.
The show had all the makings of a classic Grey’s Anatomy finale. There were exciting medical cases, tension and drama among the staff, relationships crumbling and coming back together, and a cliffhanger to leave us on the edge of our seats until next season.
Over to you, Grey’s Fanatics. Do you agree with us? Do you disagree? Sound off below.
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.