And Meredith is awake the entire episode

To say that the season 17 finale of Grey's Anatomy was choppy is an understatement. The episode spans nine months, zipping viewers through COVID so we can return next year to our regularly scheduled hospital antics. Will I miss the white headpieces with the Britney mic? The answer is no.  

The episode's theme is an ode to Sir Elton John, where all of our favorite medical professionals celebrate the fact that they are still standing. COVID is the worst, but they are determined to make the best of the new normal. And that starts with Meredith. 

The woman is finally walking around as the residency director, which brings me great joy. I much prefer her barking questions at interns instead of wandering on a beach. Since Bailey agreed to let her run the program how she sees fit, Meredith wants to tackle the virus to make sure everyone has a shot at living their lives. It's called survivor's guilt, and Meredith owns it.

Especially when she meets Girlie. Girlie contracts COVID from the assisted living residents where she works. It takes her a month to beat the disease, and just when she's ready to leave the hospital, the poor woman passes out. This ignites a journey that lasts the next nine months. Meredith will stop at nothing to make sure Girlie gets the best treatment available. She deserves a chance to beat this virus. She deserves a chance to stand tall again.

This means Meredith will inevitably butt heads with Bailey. Meredith fights for treatments and surgeries and eventually wrestles Bailey into making a call to get Girlie on the list for a double lung transplant. It all seems unnecessary until Meredith reminds Bailey that if Meredith is lying there or Bailey's mother, they would be calling in every favor. 

Bailey agrees. Girlie scores some new lungs. And Meredith literally helps breathe new life into this woman's world. Meredith knows it takes a village to survive COVID. She is Girlie's village. And when Girlie comes out of the surgery, the entire Grey Sloan staff applauds Dr. Grey as she leaves the OR. Girlie is alive. And so is Meredith. The moment is endearing, tear-jerking, and appropriate since Meredith skipped out on her own "I survived COVID" goodbye. 

The only missing piece of this puzzle was a make-out session with Dr. McIrish. Hayes even teases Meredith about contracting COVID instead of going out with him. Remember how Meredith was on her way to get a drink with Hayes when she fainted? He shares a drink with her in the doctor's lounge, and the meet-cute begs for some intimacy. Here's hoping next season Meredith will pick him, choose him, and love him. Tell me I'm not alone in this wish. 

Speaking of making out, Teddy and Owen are still standing. And horizontal. Nothing will stop them from doing the deed, excluding COVID. Teddy has a mild case and quarantines from the family. When everyone tests negative, she reunites with Owen, and he falls in love with her all over again. So much so that he proposes to Teddy on Dec. 25 in front of the whole gang. She says yes, and everyone rejoices in the snow that Owen fabricates so his bride-to-be can have a white Christmas. The relationship that was once dead is now very much alive.

The celebrations continue as we see Maggie and Winston gathered with a dozen close friends in Meredith's backyard. Just as Richard is about to begin the ceremony, relatives convince the couple to wait. They want them to blow it out big, which eventually happens on a beach much later in the year. No, it's not Meredith's beach, but it does make me want to see McDreamy one more time. I wish he were still standing. Maggie and Winston are man and wife, and it is adorable.

Do you know who else is adorable? Baby Luna. She's still hanging in there, too! Jo decides to sell all of her shares in the hospital to Tom, uses that money to hire a lawyer, and convinces Link to foster Luna so another couple doesn't get custody first. Since Jo didn't pass the background check, her next best bet is making sure Luna goes to someone she knows who will transfer custody later. Amelia pretends to be cool with Link's decision to help Jo, but she's actually not. Amelia divulges to her support group that she neither wants to be married nor have kids. But she's sober and still standing.

Richard tells Amelia that it's okay for it "not to work out" with Link. No, he's not suggesting she leave Link, but addiction isn't the only reason why someone's life can be a mess. People often think if they are sober, then life should be 100 percent. It's not true. You are allowed to want what you want. It's okay for it not to work out. 

Unfortunately, she forgets to have a conversation with Link about this revelation. The next thing we know, Link has Meredith's three kids standing by him on the beach after Maggie's wedding, each holding a box showcasing an engagement ring. He drops to one knee, showers Amelia with compliments, and asks for her hand in marriage.

Amelia stares at the children. Her gaze wanders to Link. Her eyes blink. Ten seconds tick away, and Link's broad smile slowly begins to fade into shock and embarrassment. Later, he heads to Jo's new place, which is Jackson's old place, and asks if he can crash. 

He's still standing, but barely.

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

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