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Grey's Anatomy: Meredith and Riggs Are In for a Bumpy Ride

Where do they land?

liz-raftery.jpg
Liz Raftery

There's nothing like a (near) plane crash to bring two people together.

That was the case for Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Riggs (Martin Henderson) on Thursday's episode of Grey's Anatomy, when the docs found themselves sitting next to each other on a plane after Meredith gives up her original seat so that a couple can sit together. It turns out that Riggs and Meredith are both flying to the same conference, and while Riggs is excited they'll have three days alone with no one to bother them (hint, hint), Meredith shuts it down, saying their hookup days are behind them.

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Still, Riggs believes it's a sign from the universe that they ended up sitting together -- so much so that he follows Meredith into the bathroom, thinking she made eyes at him when she got up to "stretch her legs." She repeatedly tells him no until he actually tries to get out of the bathroom, when she stops him and they hook up. (Issues of consent are very murky when it comes to these two.) Meredith insists it doesn't change anything between them.

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Post-coitus, they discover they both hate flying because they've both been in plane crashes before -- Meredith's in Season 8, of course, and Riggs' when he was a teenager and took a friend's parents' crop-duster out for a joyride. And naturally, right at that moment, the plane hits massive turbulence, triggering painful memories in Meredith to her previous plane crash.

Mitchell Haaseth, ABC

As Meredith and Riggs spring into action to treat injured passengers, they each get jealous -- Riggs of a dentist who's on board and has taken a shine to Meredith, and Meredith of a flight attendant who's caught Riggs' eye. Meredith demands that the captain lands the plane since a couple of patients seem critical, but that's impossible because the plane is traveling in the middle of two dangerous storm systems -- begging the question, why did this plane take off in the first place? Anyway.

They also find time to have a heart-to-heart, in which Meredith tells Riggs about losing Lexie in the previous plane crash, and he says that makes him understand why she's so protective of Maggie.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm cursed. A lot of people die around me," she says, which is a pretty accurate summation of 13 seasons of Grey's Anatomy. When Riggs continues to pressure her, she shuts him down by saying "I am married." Ouch! And technically untrue.

Later, after some heroics including draining a brain bleed mid-flight using a straw and a needle, Meredith's forced to reevaluate her priorities once the plane safely lands. At first, she says her rejection of Riggs is simply her making a choice by prioritizing her family and Maggie over a relationship, but he accuses her of being scared of letting Derek go. Finally, she gives in, agreeing to go with Riggs to a hotel for the night (but only a nice one).

And it looks like next week, their secret's out of the bag. So much for protecting Maggie!

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.