Thanks to Derek and Zola.

Look alive, people. I'm 98 percent sure Meredith Grey is awake. I was burned once when I thought she ditched the dreamland beachfront property that day she got off the vent. Therefore I'm a little hesitant to outright claim this as absolute truth. But thanks to Ghost Derek and very much alive Zola, things are looking permanent. 

Emotions are definitely frayed at Grey Sloan Memorial. Jo is irritated that Bailey won't let her switch to OB. Schmidt is mad that his boyfriend won't give him a drawer at his apartment, then shuns Nico when he asks Schmidt to move in. Teddy is freaking out that Meredith's enzyme levels are jacking with her liver. And Dream Meredith is having a conversation with Ghost Derek about how dying is exhausting. 

Thank goodness the sweet ICU nurse who contracted COVID is finally leaving the hospital. I appreciate the small bits of light in these dark and twisty episodes. 

Of course, we do have the awkward tension between Link and Amelia. While virtually visiting one of his patients, Link is appalled when Amelia grabs the computer to assess Felix herself. She grows concerned that the budding baseball player has more than a shoulder injury. She thinks something neurological is going on. 

It turns out that Amelia is right. Felix has a tumor, and it has to come out now. The good news is that Amelia is a badass. The bad news is that if she is off by a millimeter, she will paralyze Felix from the waist down. This reality causes her a moment of insecurity in the OR. Luckily, Link is there to cheer his baby mama from the gallery and exhales a huge sigh of relief when she settles into her warrior pose. Felix is healed. 

Meanwhile, Teddy orders a CT scan to see what could be keeping Meredith from joining us in the real world. While she slides into the tube, we see Derek walking through several reasons why Meredith needs to go back to the kids. They need their mother. The family needs her. People at the hospital love her. Her body may be tired, but her soul is fighting. 

The scan is clear, but there's a clot in her liver that is probably causing the trouble. Teddy assumes Winston will handle the procedure, but he insists Teddy do it since he's about to marry Meredith's sister. It's too close. 

Richard stares Teddy down and asks her three times if she's "up for this." Teddy never assures Richard that she is, so he sends Owen in to check on her nerves. Instead of berating her, he shares that he just broke down in the stairwell because he had to call the parents of a young kindergarten teacher who was fine yesterday but died of COVID today. It broke him.

And if Teddy makes one wrong turn, and something goes wrong, this surgery will break her, too. 

Teddy asks Owen to call Winston, and when he arrives, she barks for him to assist in removing the clot. Two of the finest cardiovascular surgeons are working on Meredith Freaking Grey. They will watch each other. Egos will be left at the door. And no question is too stupid. 

The procedure is a success. While various people crowd around Meredith's room waiting for her to wake up, Bailey and Schmidt operate on a woman who flipped COVID the bird, quit her job, and lives life to the fullest now. She roller skates, makes peanut brittle, and jumps into deep holes, causing internal bleeding. Bailey thinks Erica is silly. Schmidt praises her for turning COVID into lemonade. 

During the surgery, Bailey realizes that she would be happier if she tried to adopt Erica's viewpoint. COVID doesn't have to ruin everything. She babbles on about an oyster and a pearl. Both Schmidt and I are confused, but I eventually catch her drift. Maybe COVID is an opportunity for something irritating to transform into something great.

Bailey thanks Erica for reminding her of the importance of joy. Then she pages Jo to tell her that she can switch to OB. Look at Bailey spreading that joy around. Now, if she can walk over to Teddy and dump a bucket of happiness on her head, that would be great.

Teddy is unwell. She's hyperventilating in the room where doctors go to sleep on a cot between surgeries. Owen is there trying to get her to calm down. Teddy pushes her anxiety away by slamming her mouth into Owen's. He shuts that business and encourages Teddy to cry. So she does. 

Back in Meredith's room, Winston comes up with a very bad idea that could get him fired. What if Maggie brought Zola into the hospital to talk to Meredith? It couldn't hurt, right?

There was a lot of back and forth, but Maggie eventually caves and dresses Zola in a blue onesie scrub that is way too big for her. She puts on a special mask and face shield and walks with her entourage like a boss. When Zola sees her mother, she flings herself on Meredith and starts talking.

It's actually gut-wrenching and darling at the same time. Zola chats it up while everyone watches from the window. We're talking Teddy, Winston, Richard, Maggie, Bailey, and even Amelia, who begins to mutter, "I need her to live. I need her to live. I need her to live."

Then we see Derek touching Meredith. Traditionally, someone who touches Meredith in her dreamworld dies. Naturally, I thought for a hot second that my idea of changing the name of this show to Bailey's Anatomy might come true. But I guess if an already dead person is touching you, things are cool. Derek did mention before that Meredith's soul wouldn't let him near her.

I guess this is her soul's way of saying goodbye. Meredith slowly fades, and we hear Zola's voice telling a story about her siblings. Meredith chimes in with a feeble "that's nice," and everyone is hugging and crying as Meredith whispers, "We love you. We love you so much."

Cue Derek walking down the beach, out of our lives again. Let the record show that I love the good Dr. Shepherd, but if not seeing him means Meredith is fully awake, I'm glad to see him go.

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