Grey's Anatomy is now the longest-running medical drama in TV history and the Shondaland drama rang in the milestone episode by doing something they've never done before: ditch the emergency room drama.
With no medical emergency in sight, Thursday's hour put the focus on the doctors outside of Grey Sloan as Jackson's (Jesse Williams) planned party celebrating Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Koracick's (Greg Germann) life-saving surgery on Catherine (Debbie Allen) didn't go the way he wanted. It was an intimate hour that saw Owen and Koracick come to blows, Catherine contemplate life with cancer, Bailey (Chandra Wilson) finally treat herself, and Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) take a huge step in their relationship.
Finally coming clean to Alex (Justin Chambers) about her new boyfriend, Meredith's reveal legitimizes their relationship as something to be taken seriously. But there may be trouble ahead with the sudden arrival of DeLuca's father (played by Lorenzo Caccialanza), who the doctor was not pleased to see. While we don't know what's ahead yet for the couple, it's clear that Meredith's life with DeLuca has been nothing but bliss so far.
"At this point, Andrew DeLuca is a wonderful surprise in Meredith's life. He is surprising to her on every level. And I think the biggest surprise for her is how much easy joy this relationship elicits," showrunner Krista Vernoff told TV Guide.
However, Meredith's new relationship, while fun, has been met with some division. While many are happy to finally see her come out of a huge funk following Derek's (Patrick Dempsey) tragic death in Season 11, some are still not ready to see her move on and that has left Vernoff baffled.
"For me, that is not even a valid debate. I am shocked that anyone could simultaneously love a character and wish that she remain without romantic love for the rest of her life no matter how long her life is. That seems like a cruelty. And it seems like a cruelty rooted in reverence for her first love and I don't relate to it. I don't understand it. The idea that anyone could root for her to live a loveless life after being widowed at such a young age is crazy to me," Vernoff said.
Derek's significance to Meredith can never be overstated. He was her first great love and his memory lives on through her and their children, but it's time for Meredith to start a new chapter in her romantic life.
"I think that the show spent years paying homage to the love that was built for the first 11 or so seasons with Derek. If you look at her in the post-Derek years, she's not wearing makeup. She took herself to and through that place of grief and that place of what does it matter and OK I'm spending my life alone now and I've hung it up now," Vernoff explained.
She continued: "And now if you look, you're starting to see more makeup, more wardrobe. Nail polish. She's very subtly returning ... to the land of the living and the land of the romantic living. It's a relief now for the character to be emerging and letting Derek live in a beautiful place rather than a deeply painful place in her memory."
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.