'Grey's': Meredith and Derek Get the Wedding They Never Got

Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Meredith and Derek got their moment — even if it was bittersweet.

On Thursday’s Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) — still dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and coming in and out of consciousness — was faced with an impossible decision: go back to the living or stay on the beach, which had become her “safe place” during her COVID recovery and reunite in the afterlife with Derek (Patrick Dempsey). The answer ended up being a simple one, though it took Meredith a while to get there because either way, she was letting go. She didn’t want to leave their kids. Not yet, anyway. Derek didn’t want her to either.

In a sweet callback to their iconic post-it note “wedding” from season 5, the couple found themselves on the beach — Derek in a khaki tux, Meredith in a white flowy dress with a bouquet in hand. They never had a formal wedding (the post-it note promise was meant to serve as one), but many, many years ago, they dreamed of getting married on the beach somewhere. Meredith tells Derek of a drawing their daughter, Ellis, had made of them in similar garb. Derek, during their impromptu beach wedding, made her promise to torture herself less.

“I don’t want to leave the kids,” Meredith says to Derek, who shared her sentiments. “I don’t want you to leave the kids.” But that didn’t do the trick in pulling Meredith out from her prolonged slumber. Instead, it was a combination of heartbreaking moments — Zola’s desperation to see her mom and Derek finally letting her go. “It’s not your time. Our kids need you,” Derek tells Meredith, moments after their eldest daughter Zola heartbreakingly pleads with her mom to wake up. And, while in the middle of Zola recounting a story to her mom at the hospital, Meredith finally wakes up.

Thursday’s episode was an emotional one for Grey’s fans, who have been on a roller-coaster ride since the start of the season, after Meredith was struck with COVID and had been struggling to gain consciousness for more than minutes at a time. It also marked the end of Derek’s story on Grey’s (for now), as the final imagery of him walking away alone on the beach drew chills. (In a coincidental stroke of luck, Dempsey’s final episode as a series regular, the one in which Derek dies, aired April 23, 2015, almost six years ago to the day.)

Fans took to Twitter after the episode to react with passionate, heart-tugging takes.

MEREDITH GREY AND DEREK SHEPHERD MARRIED, THIS IS TWEET. #GreysAnatomypic.twitter.com/zvkylpHIVW

DEREK BROUGHT HER BACK TO LIFE #GreysAnatomy

this. is. forever. #GreysAnatomypic.twitter.com/RtSKFsWVWl

MA STI BAMBINI SONO TUTTI PRODIGI#GreysAnatomypic.twitter.com/6FdAgwIOTS

Omg ive been sobbing for 15 minutes🥺 first Zola hugging Meredith, then she wakes up then Derek walking away on the beach😭♥️ #GreysAnatomy

Derek smiling and walking away after he sent Meredith back 😭😭😭 #GreysAnatomy

Derek’s entire role/scenes this season were perfect 😢😢😢 him smiling n walking away when Meredith woke up UGH 😭😭❤️ my heart! #[email protected]

A Meredith acordoooouuuuu 🤩🥰😍😍🥰🥰😭😭😭😭 goodbye Derek #GreysAnatomypic.twitter.com/JWV0vUH94R

Meredith and Derek will always have the most iconic wedding/s in the history of television! #MerDer#GreysAnatomy#Greys

apr 23.
the day derek died.
merder's beach wedding.
the day derek left again.
the day mer woke up. #GreysAnatomypic.twitter.com/y9BY1EhAOV

Pain is watching Derek walk away alone on the beach. Merder deserved their happy ending #GreysAnatomy#greyspic.twitter.com/be1RV31Spl

THE MERDER BEACH WEDDING DRAWING ON THE FRIDGE!! #GreysAnatomypic.twitter.com/41R0tpMRfB

me knowing MerDer will always be superior especially after their beach wedding #GreysAnatomypic.twitter.com/KC8tsdF4lC

"We will go to the Bahamas and get married on the beach."-Derek Shepherd 5×23#GreysAnatomypic.twitter.com/jVOzzPL8oU

For more, watch below.

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