Is Meredith Grey...dead?
Grey's Anatomy shocked fans during its season 17 premiere on Thursday, Nov. 12, when Patrick Dempsey made a surprise return to the beloved series. At the end of the episode, viewers watched as Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) collapsed in the parking lot after working a tough shift amid the ongoing pandemic. The screen then cut to a beach, where Derek Shepherd (Dempsey) can be heard calling out Meredith's name. As fans will know, Derek died during a 2015 episode of the ABC series.
After the episode aired, Pompeo virtually appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to address the fate of her character. While Pompeo couldn't say much, she did reveal that she was at work "yesterday," so, as Kimmel said to Pompeo, "OK good then you're alive. Or maybe you're a ghost haunting the hospital, or maybe you're in a coma or something like that."
Kimmel then asked, "Would you like that if you got to be just in a coma and sleep for like half a season?"
Taking a pause, Pompeo played coy, replying, "Huh?"
Pompeo, 51, went on to discuss the surprise ending, telling Kimmel it was "so fun" because they knew that "people are gonna freak out."
"We all know 2020 has been a really long, ugly road," she noted. "And we were so happy just to be able to film these scenes and know how much joy it was gonna bring people...we definitely had a ball."
In an interview with Deadline, Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff explained how Dempsey's return to the show came to be.
"It started as, how do we give people some escape," she shared with the outlet. "I had this imagining of a beach motif throughout the season, and I called Ellen, and I said, 'What if we bring back, I don't know, some dead character that you could dream of on the beach, that would be so fun for the fans.' And she said, 'Let's get Patrick.' Even in my most excitable dream life, that thought hadn't occurred to me as an option, and there it was."
Fans can find out the fate of Meredith Grey as the season continues Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.