A plane crash causes bad memories to resurface.

By Ariana Bacle
April 17, 2015 at 02:24 AM EDT
Mitchell Haaseth/ABC

Grey's Anatomy

S11 E20
  • TV Show

Webber’s driving to work, wearing an especially snazzy purple sweater and looking relatively happy, when, bam. An airplane zooms quite close overhead, and then, apparently, crashes. Most importantly though: No, Derek isn’t on it. You didn’t think Grey’s would put him through two plane crashes, did you? (Just kidding—they totally would. This is the show that chopped off a guy’s penis not once but twice just last week, after all.)

In fact, we never find out where Derek is (unless you stayed to catch the preview for next week’s episode). Instead, Meredith spends the entire episode worrying—who wouldn’t?—and looking back on happier times with him. All of her Derek-centric flashbacks focus on the morning he left when they lazed about in bed talking about having more children and how in love they are and how much they missed each other and all that sappy stuff. It’s sweet, sure, and a definite relief to realize that their Dark Period is (hopefully) over, but also so, so, so manipulative. We get it. Derek disappeared right when things were finally going right. We’re supposed to feel sad about that.

And, okay, I do feel sad about it. These two have been through so much that I wouldn’t object if they just coasted the rest of their lives, never encountering any other huge struggles or tragedies. But this is Grey’s, and no one coasts on Grey’s. So we’re left worrying along with Meredith where her husband could be.

On top of all this, Mer’s also having flashbacks to the plane crash. Victims from the present crash start pouring into the ER, and she has trouble facing the reality of the situation. She eventually finds Arizona hiding in the supply closet, also struggling. “We’re okay,” Meredith keeps repeating. “We’re okay.” For once.

Karev—who was supposed to be on that plane—feels bad, so he tries his best to be there for his PTSD-stricken pals. They aren’t really having it though, and eventually Arizona blows up at him for “hovering” and “creeping.” She later feels bad for snapping and apologizes, which gives Karev the chance to drop a major truth bomb: Callie didn’t cut off Arizona’s leg. He did.

So those two seasons of Arizona holding a grudge against Callie for sawing off her leg? Pointless. (It was also pointless to hold a grudge in the first place because, hello, Callie saved her life—but that’s a rant for another time.) She confronts Callie about this and discovers that Callie never wanted her to find this out. “No matter what, it was still me making the call,” Callie says. “I didn’t want you to hate Alex, too. I wanted you to have somebody.”

First of all, Callie’s a saint for putting up with Arizona’s occasionally way-too-harsh resentment for all that time—but we already knew that. Second of all, I wonder if things would have turned out differently for them had Arizona known this all along. They always had their problems, but this was the main one, the one Arizona blamed everything on. Then again, Callie has a point: She was the one who made the call even if someone else physically cut off the leg. Arizona was likely always going to blame her no matter what.

NEXT: Owen’s feeling guilty.

We’ll eventually find out if this revelation has any impact on their relationship, but for now, Mer and Arizona aren’t the only ones trying to fight memories of the plane crash: Owen is, too. He wasn’t on the plane, but he feels responsible for it. “I was in charge,” he tells Amelia. “I failed them.”

There must be a part of Owen telling him that, rationally, the plane crash isn’t his fault. But he’s not thinking rationally, and this is a major facet of PTSD: Owen knows deep down he’s not responsible, but his brain is telling him to feel this overwhelming guilt—an emotional reaction that often overrides logic. We probably all remember Owen going through this before (Cristina does, too), but watching him battle these demons never becomes less intriguing. So often, television characters are given neat little explanations for all their actions and emotions. In this case, Owen’s not—his guilt is irrational, but it’s real. And to see that, something that so many people struggle with in real life, on TV is both comforting and powerful.

Meredith’s current emotions, on the other hand, are pretty reasonable. Bailey told her she had to stay focused on work until 5 p.m., and then she would be allowed to freak out—call the paramedics, the police, whatever. Her husband is missing, so of course she’s freaking out. As the clock strikes five, Mer recites a monologue about how none of us can ever know how we’ll react to our worst-case scenario until it happens. Apparently, her worst-case scenario is about to happen.

Last week, Amelia told Meredith she didn’t know what it was like to lose the love of her life. The entire rant was somewhat random, but that part stuck out. No, Meredith doesn’t know what it’s like to lose the love of her life—but will she soon? Let’s be real: Probably not. But, still—that foreshadowing is pretty ominous.


  • Two of the plane crash victims, the pilot and a passenger, had a “first date” on the plane, and Edwards spends the entire episode trying to make sure they’re both fine so their love can live on. At first, Kate gets out of surgery and doesn’t remember the flight at all—but eventually she remembers that she and the pilot shared sandwiches together. Edwards gets the fairytale romance she wanted. (Also: Someone get this girl a date. This obsession with getting these two patients together proves she’s due for one.)
  • Owen and Amelia have some dramatic conversations. Basically, they’re probably not going to work out. Big surprise.
  • Webber’s role these days is to be the comic relief: He spends most of the episode telling various groups of people how close he was to the plane when it crashed, how he almost died, etc. After hearing the increasingly exaggerated story six times, April confronts him about it. Instead of getting defensive though, he gives her a sweet speech about how he’s feeling grateful for all the great things in his life. Still no excuse for going around the hospital and fibbing to anyone, but, hey: Good for Webber.

Episode Recaps

Grey's Anatomy

Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.

  • TV Show
  • 16
  • TV-14
stream service