For a series that has 24 episodes to fill each season, there are going to be a few Thursday nights that are, how do we say this nicely, ‘filler’ episodes. That was the case with this week’s Grey’s Anatomy.
It became evident very early in the episode that not much was going to happen thanks to Meredith’s opening monologue about exhaustion. Like surgeons, writers also get exhausted, and that’s what happened with this week’s episode.
Meredith, Owen, and Edwards were commiserating about their lack of sleep when a difficult patient arrived in the operating room along with Richard, who had just finished a nap, a balanced meal, and a delicious cup of coffee. Taking a note from Dr. Minnick, the woman who is trying to get him fired, Richard pushed Meredith and Owen to actually teach Edwards, and even make it fun by playing the world’s most depressing game.
To humanize the patient, Richard encouraged everyone to make up a new identity for the man and show off some face morphing technology that we haven’t seen since Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” video. Edward’s attempts to play along and guess names and characteristics was more filler, since the game was just Richard pretending the patient was his mother. Only Richard could win this game, making it another example of how doctors are terrible teachers at Grey Sloan Memorial. This is why he’s going to lose his job.
Owen’s ghost was his sister Megan, aka the woman Riggs cheated on. Showing up primarily to give Grey’s Anatomy a chance to hop on the #MannequinChallenge viral trend, Megan pointed out that Owen only brings her around when he’s feeling guilty and then questioned whether Owen had a thing for Meredith. Yeah, that’s about as likely to happen as someone else winning Richard’s rigged surgery game.
Next there was Edwards remembering the ghost of her childhood. Actually, it was just a younger version of herself. Okay, we take it back. She’s bad at games. She didn’t even have an actual ghost vision, which is what we’re playing tonight.
Finally, there was Meredith, who was the only character to give us a scene of substance in an episode full of dead people that were supposed to make us sad. Grey’s Anatomy loves trying to squeeze out as many TPMs (tears per minute) as they can, but this episode fell mostly flat and dry, except for Meredith and her memories.
Meredith’s ghost included a quick shot of McDreamy (RIP) that was a great reminder of why we could always tolerate Meredith’s dark and twistiness much better before. If this was a dinner party, you invited lovely and optimistic Derek and endured his sullen wife Meredith. Without Derek, we’ve been struggling to send Meredith an e-vite each week.
To ensure they reached the weekly mandated TPMs, this week’s episode also included Meredith telling her children their father was gone. This was a scene we didn’t see when Patrick Dempsey’s Derek died and it was a welcome change of pace for the usually emotionless Meredith Grey. She cried! She grieved! She was sad! She let her children hug her! We were never sure whether any of those things ever occurred. Ultimately, Meredith gave us something new in an episode that was otherwise forgettable.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.