Two weeks ago, Grey's Anatomy fans were treated to a hint we weren't quite sure we were ready for yet: Meredith might be ready to move on. And tonight? Well, the time of reckoning arrived — whether we were ready for it or not.
If you'll recall, two weeks ago Meredith sat down with a psychiatrist in the wake of her assault. Their very telling conversation went a little something like this:
Psychiatrist: You've gotten very good at being alone, Meredith.
Meredith: Are you saying I can't be alone anymore?
Psychiatrist: No, I'm saying I don't think you want to.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, let's pump the mental brakes here. Could the good doctor be suggesting Meredith is ready to start dating again? So it seemed and, judging by the events that transpired tonight, it's happening sooner rather than later.
This week, in an episode titled, "All Eyez on Me," Meredith, Jackson, Callie, Bailey and Jo — or, as they called themselves, the Dream Team — packed their surgical bags and hit the road to tackle a monster tumor threatening the life of a veteran at a military hospital called Bauer Medical.
For the first time since Derek's death, viewers got to see the hope Meredith's peers have for her as they tease her about a handsome doctor who's been asking about Mer. They want her to be happy again. To open up again. Maybe even to find love again.
Once at Bauer, talk mainly turns to the task at hand. However, we do meet one Major Will Thorpe (Scott Elrod, swoon), a very good-looking but rather guarded oncologist in charge of the patient Meredith and her team are preparing to perform groundbreaking surgery on.
While he seems none too impressed with their bravado, at first, Will quickly becomes taken with Meredith, even complimenting her for her surgical skills.
And we know. As fans of all this show has been and is, and as people who've logged the hours in Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital right along with these characters, we know something is about the happen. An imperceptible shift has occurred.
Meredith is ready.
After the team miraculously pulls off the risky procedures and gets ready to head home, Will tries to flirt with Meredith — but his casual advances fall on deaf ears. Until, that is, Jackson intervenes and tells Meredith that Will was asking for her number.
Gathering up her courage, Meredith turns around, walks back up to Will and gives it to him. Predictably, fans could not deal.
Nooooo Mer don't even think about it #GreysAnatomy— Whitney (@Whitt_Kaay) March 11, 2016
I'm sorry but Meredeth can never move on from Derek Shepard. No matter how hot the new doctor is. #GreysAnatomy— Hannah Holland (@HannahHolland7) March 11, 2016
I don't know how to feel about this Meredith... #GreysAnatomy— Andres (@_Andreshdez) March 11, 2016
I'm not ready for Meredith to date again #GreysAnatomy— Hannah RaeAnn Mizell (@HannahMizell) March 11, 2016
In full disclosure, the moment choked me up. What is my life? Someone, please reassure me that I'm not alone or headed for freakishly early menopause or something.
But in that moment, teary-eyed as I was, I could see clearly that my visceral reaction to the moment wasn't rooted in sadness or disbelief that Meredith could be with someone other than Derek. Rather, they were happy, hopeful tears.
Meredith is a woman who has been through a tremendous amount of heartache and hardship in her life. And while it doesn't seem like long ago to viewers that she lost her great love, in the timeline of the show it has actually been over a year. Maybe two? It's hard to keep track, but suffice it to say a respectable amount of time has passed.
Her mourning period is over, regardless of whether or not ours is.
Make no mistake, it was hard to see Meredith spark with someone other than McDreamy. Their relationship served as the golden standard of primetime love stories for a very long time. But just as it does in the real world, time marches on.
Kudos to the writers and Shonda Rhimes for creating characters as compelling as Meredith and Derek and for building a love so strong, we'd truly rather choose to ignore the whole parting portion of "'til death do us part."
So while Meredith has made it through the hardest part of her grief, now comes ours. As fans, we have to figure out a way to reconcile our loyalty to MerDer with Meredith's humanity — the fact that she is a woman who is ready to reclaim that part of her that was lost with Derek.
Hold on, super fans. We could be headed for rough waters.
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