Derek is dead. Derek is dead. Derek is dead.
This is what I had to remind myself multiple times throughout the two-hour episode, which very rarely touched on Derek. Actually, it rarely touched on anything of great importance—hell, we barely saw Meredith. Instead, the episode focused on the rest of Grey-Sloan’s doctors as they lived through the months after Shepherd’s death.
Let’s get this out of the way: The episode was weird. Meredith wasn’t just MIA onscreen; she was MIA from Seattle. She jumps ship soon after breaking the news to Callie, Karev, Owen, and Maggie. She doesn’t tell anyone where she’s going or what she’s doing, and only leaves a note that says, “The kids and I are safe.” This doesn’t stop Karev from incessantly calling her though, hoping that she’ll pick up. She doesn’t, at least not for a while.
While Meredith’s off wherever she is, Amelia’s trying her best to hold it together. When Owen initially tells her Derek is dead, she backs away from him and puts on a gruff face. “I’ve done this before. I know the drill,” she says. “Not a big deal.” It is a big deal, and everyone watching this scene knows it. But this is going to be how Amelia acts for the coming months as she tries her best not to feel—actually feel—the loss of her brother.
Derek gets a funeral, but the service itself gets very little screentime. Instead, the episode goes on to zone in on what everyone is doing while Meredith’s missing. And to be honest, the answer is “not much.”
April decides to go off to war with Owen for three months, but they stay in touch thanks to video chat. Jackson wasn’t happy when she left, and he doesn’t seem to be happy three months later on the Fourth of July: During a video chat, she confesses she’s not coming home the next week as previously planned. Then the call cuts out.
Meanwhile, Webber’s attempting to propose to Catherine at a nice restaurant. He stands up, but she immediately realizes what he’s doing and stops him. “You should not be asking the question without knowing my answer,” she explains. She has a point, but also, what about romance!? Webber feels the same way: If things were his way, he would have made this almost-proposal even more romantic. But if things are her way, she wants to have discussions about their future before making any big decisions. This disagreement creates a huge divide between the two, and hints at what I’ve believed all along: Catherine and Webber are not right for each other.
Months later, during Halloween, Amelia’s cracking jokes about her dead brother to Edwards—who is feeling very uncomfortable about it. She voices her discomfort and suggests going with Amelia to a grief support group. But Amelia, still putting on a face, rejects the offer. “Let’s just put it to rest,” she jokes, “like my brother.” Although Amelia didn’t take Edwards up on the offer, it was still a great move for Edwards to even ask. Sometimes the grieving just need someone to reach out like she did, to know that someone is there for them.
Meredith is still missing, but Alex finally gets ahold of her on Thanksgiving. Twist: She doesn’t say where she is. Instead, she orders him to stop calling. Mind you, this happens 50 minutes into the two-hour episode. That’s nearly 50 minutes without the main character, the one everyone’s wondering about. I get that her absence helped make the episode conclusion stronger, and that it reflected what happens to someone when they’re grieving—sometimes they emotionally disappear—but still: Could we at least have gotten just a little more time with her?
NEXT: Amelia almost relapses.