Geez, Grey’s… pump the brakes on the emotional warfare, will you? In this week’s heart-tugging installment of everyone’s favorite medi-drama, Meredith and Riggs find themselves stuck together on a flight that seemed bound to go down.
If that gives you fan flashbacks, well, imagine how Meredith must feel. From the first bump of turbulence, we the viewers knew we were in for more than a simple case of atmospheric assault. Rather, we knew that what transpired next would be an all-out battle to keep our emotions in check as Meredith plunged into the recesses of her mind to remember her worst flight.
You know, the one that nearly took Derek out of the surgical game, and did take both Arizona’s leg and Lexi’s laugh (Lexipedia! We miss you!).
The flight starts off rocky for a different reason. Meredith immediately encounters a schmuck of a passenger trying to pass off his rudeness as due to his pulmonary hypertension. When she agrees to switch seats so that the family the rude guy targeted could sit together, she finds herself sitting on the same aisle as none other than Riggs.
Surprise! They are both, unbeknownst to each other, headed to medical conferences. They do their now-classic back-and-forth needling for a bit before he follows her to the bathroom to plead his case. But things take an unexpected turn when they wind up becoming members of the mile-high club.
No sooner have they returned to their seats than the turbulence really kicks up — enough to fling a passenger into the ceiling hard enough to give him a brain bleed and potentially break a flight attendant’s arm.
Meredith and Riggs must work together (along with a random pediatric dentist) to try and save the passengers’ lives, all while dealing with the terrifying turbulence. And, oh, did I forget to mention the utterly haunting flashbacks?
Naturally, Meredith’s mind keeps going back to that day in the woods… when she woke up after their plane had crashed, and she couldn’t find Derek. When she had to say good-bye to her little sister. Basically, to one of the worst days ever.
Still, Meredith maintains her composure because, let’s be honest, she’s used to horrible things happening to her at this point. In fact, they even address the elephant that has been lingering in Grey’s Anatomy‘s proverbial room: that Meredith might just be cursed, considering how many people die or wind up gravely injured around her.
All of this is hard enough to sort through emotionally, but the real bullet to the heart comes when Riggs presses Meredith about dating him, to which she blurts out, “I’m married.”
Damn, that hurt so bad I might have a little Derek-shaped bruise in the morning where my heart should be. For the first time since the death of McDreamy, we are seeing a more vulnerable side of Meredith. We are seeing a wife who, despite having lost her husband some time ago, just isn’t ready to let go yet.
The raw honesty of the moment makes it that much more brutal to bear.
When the plane starts to plunge, and in those moments, everyone believes they may be about to die, Meredith’s life flashes before her eyes — only her life has been filled with so much pain and death. Fortunately, this isn’t the end for Meredith. She still has time to squeeze more love and life into her years, because the plane manages to make it down the landing strip.
When she and Riggs de-board, he follows her once again to plead his case. What he also does is call her out, forcing her to come to terms with the fact that she hasn’t been open to anything with Riggs because she hasn’t been ready to let go of Derek.
None of us are ready, Riggs. NOT A ONE OF US.
The moment leads Meredith to look back on her great yet tragic love story with Derek and ask herself, “If you know the plane crash is going to happen, do you not get on the plane in the first place? Do you play it safe?”
After the montage of Merek rips the still-beating hearts out of our chests, Meredith pauses for a moment before accepting Riggs’ invitation to bunk with him at his hotel. It would seem Meredith is finally ready to say good-bye to Derek.
And although I’m cool with Meredith moving on and starting the next chapter of her life, I sure do hope there’s room in it for a few more Derek flashbacks in the future.