GRAPHIC BY YING YANG
By JUSTIN YEH
The carousel never stops turning, and Grey’s Anatomy never stops impressing.
On Nov. 9, 2017, the popular medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy, reached a milestone upon releasing its 300th episode, titled “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.” The premise of the episode centers around the doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital as they tend to patients who spark memories about ghosts from the doctors’ past.
As promised by the synopsis, the episode is very nostalgic and packed full of emotion, making it one of the most memorable episodes in the show’s history.
As the milestone episode unraveled, various doppelgängers brought viewers fourteen years into the past, when the original cast debuted as interns at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, previously known as Seattle Grace Hospital.
Shonda Rhimes, creator of the show, came up with the clever idea of including ghosts from past seasons to pay tribute to memorable characters who had been on the show before.
In the episode, two county fair victims, Cleo and Greg, startled Meredith Grey with their uncanny resemblances to past characters Cristina Yang and George O’Malley, respectively. Cleo, blunt and ambitious, serves as a wistful reminder of Cristina before her departure from the show, while Greg, sweet and a little dopey, reminds fans of the friendly George before his untimely death on the show.
After noticing Cleo and George, Meredith sees Liza, a pregnant Izzie Stevens doppelgänger. With her perky attitude and constant smile, even Alex Karev is shaken by how similar Liza is to his ex-wife.
Perhaps the most emotionally impactful ghost is that of Meredith’s late mother, Ellis Grey. When it counted the most, the one person closest to Meredith appeared to her in the operating room gallery. As Meredith finally gets the award she’s been long awaiting, viewers get closure as Meredith gains approval from the person whom she always sought it from.
In addition to references to past characters, the episode also refers to several iconic scenes from the past. For example, the newest medical interns slump against a wall in the hospital, groaning about how tired they are. Through this special throwback moment, viewers are pulled into the past and relive the close relationships formed by the original cast of interns.
These ghosts undoubtedly drew viewers in, especially those who have been following the show since 2005, as they eagerly awaited the revival of past characters. Every character in the 300th episode served an important role as a reminder of how the drama has not only evolved but also improved in the last fourteen years.
However, the episode did include an unfortunate mistake, as can be expected from any television show.
In the opening credits, Kate Burton’s name appeared, startling several viewers. According to showrunner Krista Vernoff, Burton, who plays Ellis Grey, agreed to have an uncredited cameo in order to surprise fans. With her name accidentally showing up on the credits, Burton’s intended surprise appearance was compromised. Nonetheless, the episode had many other unforeseen moments that made up for the show’s mistaken reveal of Ellis’s cameo.
Although some may argue that this mistake ruined the show, it may have in fact actually kept viewers engaged throughout the episode. Viewers mostly likely became captivated to the show as they watched closely to spot Ellis for the first time in three seasons.
All in all, this one small mistake did nothing to take away from the memorability of the landmark episode, which is overall one of the strongest episodes in the history of Grey’s Anatomy.