It's a fantastic time to be a diehard Grey's Anatomy fan.
Whether you were along for the ride from the beginning or hopped onboard somewhere along the way, there is no question that this series is a phenomenon; it's an experience that's rooted so deep into pop culture it's hard to remember a time when the series wasn't in our lives.
Anyone else remembers MerDer come to life in New York & Co. advertisements or "I Cut the LVAD Wire" t-shirts at Hot topic, or folks flocking to the best burrito place in town because of Eric Dane's recommendation? It's it insane to think that this pop culture juggernaut predates Twitter and Tumblr?
Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 15 was the record-breaking 332nd episode making it the longest-running primetime medical drama. It's official; it has surpassed ER.
The hour, directed by one of Grey's Anatomy's OG's Chandra Wilson, was the quintessence of Grey's Anatomy and what has made the series great for all of these years.
The series celebrated this feat with the doctors coming together for a celebration in honor of Catherine, her health, and the doctors who saved her life. Of course, none of these doctors can have the night off or a night of fun without it being disastrous or dramatic as hell.
Sexy hookups, relationship angst, friendship, love, family -- the messy, complex, beautiful, intellectual, empowering portrayal of women are the embodiment of this series and what it represents, and it was front and center throughout the hour.
The series celebrated by being itself through and through, and that's what made the installment so rewarding. It also made some of the quotes poignant and emotional.
Most notable was Bailey's line to Catherine about them still being alive, and there and people still loving them, and that is cause for celebration.
It's a line that made you smile and maybe even gave you chills. It was a wink to the fans, an "I see you, and I appreciate you," and it was a promise that for now, the series is still kicking and will show up as long as fans do.
Just right now, we're alive. We are still here, and people love us, so that's cause to celebrate.Bailey
Speaking of the woman of the hour, all of the scenes between Miranda and Katherine were magic. The two of them are fabulous together, and what always remains fascinating is when you sit and think about how many people Miranda Bailey Warren is close to at this hospital.
She's a character who has unique bonds with many, but the extent of those bonds are often lost on us until she's in a scene with them and the chemistry takes over.
She and Richard always had a close relationship at the forefront, but then you think about how close she was to George, or Derek, or Callie, and it knocks the wind out of you a bit.
Or you see how close she is with Teddy or Catherine and you realize how amazing these relationships are -- the ones you never gave much thought to when you were focusing on others.
Miranda and Catherine's limo shenanigans were beyond entertaining. Catherine was not trying to attend that disastrous dinner and stalled for as long as she could. It was funny that she succeeded by distracting Miranda with the high-class champagne and limo life while encouraging her to celebrate and live a little.
Miranda is such a goody-two-shoes. Her consistency is refreshing; she's chief of a hospital and an innovator with an invention that has made her tons of money and been of great use to many, but she's still the nerdy, responsible person whose idea of spending her new fortune is house repairs and paying bills.
To make it better and even more endearing, her idea of a big splurge was a shiny expensive red blender. She was so excited about it too; how can you not love the heck out of Miranda Bailey?
Turnabout is fair play, however. As the mark of true sisterhood (something the series has been about at its core), Miranda returned the favor to Catherine.
There she was speaking about living life, splurging, and celebrating the here and now, but she ran away from her party. She didn't want to celebrate something that could be fleeting since she will spend the rest of her life not knowing if her cancer will get her this time.
Catherine's fears and feelings are understandable. Miranda was one of the best people she could speak to about it. Miranda knows what it's like to live the rest of her life feeling paranoid, in her case, due to her heart.
Surgeons are reluctant to celebrate; even in success, we obsess about what could have been better. And don't get me wrong that self reflection is important. We only get better when we admit our shortcomings. Acknowledge our limits. But there are so many moments along the way to celebrate. Some of those moments are bigger than others. And you really don't want to miss those moments. Because believe me when I say, the bad times are going to find you all on their own.Meredith Voiceover
But like Miranda said, that fear, dread, and uncertainty? That's life. There is nothing that any of them can do about that, but that's more of a reason to celebrate the moments worth celebrating as they happen.
Fortunately, Catherine came around to that, much like Miranda came around to buying her fancy blender and riding, um, with, her handsome husband in his firefighter uniform (Bailey was living her best life during this installment, God bless her!)
Catherine settled on a routine of celebrating after every scan in a limo eating junk food with her close loved ones. Catherine enjoying the high-life of a limo and bubbly but also indulging in cheap junk food captures this regal, poised woman who comes from humble beginnings.
Jackson was bending over backward trying to make this party a success, and it was the opposite of that. Thank God they addressed his massive penthouse apartment and his money expenses via that hilarious exchange with Alex because I have to admit, I was wondering how he could afford that thing when he gave his money away.
I have to admit, I thought Jackson and Maggie getting distracted by each other (that jumpsuit! That sexy look!), and their need for a quickie was the cause of the fire.
It would be just like Grey's Anatomy to have sweet and sexy times be the cause of the fire. There were a few psych-outs, but in a way, Merluca going out of their way to pretend they weren't on the verge of knocking boots in the guest room did start the fire.
Oh Grey's, don't ever change.
The two sisters were having simple problems compared to what others were enduring. Maggie was still fuming over Kiki usurping her accomplishment.
It was so classic neurotic Maggie to spend the majority of the party obsessing over that article. No matter what Kiki did, it would have felt like a slight. Where everyone else saw glowing positivity, Maggie saw something else.
She needed that moment with Richard to put her situation into perspective. He shared with her the difficulties he faced as the only black person in his class, and he reminded her that she's exceptional and should take control of her story and tell her narrative louder and better.
I found out that it's no good being pissed if you don't use it.Richard
It also felt like a nod to the series itself. It told stories of its own. An idea and concept sparked a landmark series and changed the landscape of television along the way. Tell your own damn story!
Richard's paternal moment with Meredith was simplistic and amusing. How many times will Richard walk in on or hear about the DeLuca sexytimes with someone who he looks upon like a daughter?
Meredith was like a teenager caught by her father, and it was funny when she deflected from the situation by explaining that she told Chief Alex about it already.
Alex, much like myself, doesn't give a damn about Mer dating DeLuca, but he's her best friend, and he wants her to be happy.
For what it's worth, Meredith was super happy during the hour. She was free-spirited, light-hearted, and having fun. She was similar to a teenager in lust.
Bohkee using her precious few words to tell her husband that Merluca is in love was too heavy-handed for me, but all things Bohkee are the cutest including her finding her voice and sharing moments with Meredith.
Don't they feel real? They feel like Ellen and Bohkee just happen to be filmed while having a moment, and it's too adorable for words.
All Meredith wanted was to get laid, and with the kids out of the way, she set it in motion. She spent most of the night afraid her sisters would cockblock her, but Carina did it instead.
First, I love the DeLuca siblings, especially when they bicker in Italian. Second, Carina's superpower is wreaking havoc on Andrew's life most of the time without even trying.
Mr. DeLuca: Andrea, ciao!
DeLuca: Um, Meredith, this is my dad.
We were about to see the apartment he mysteriously acquired somewhere along all that couch hopping, and Carina showed up with Papà DeLuca!
Dio Mio! In hindsight, we should have known he was slated to arrive after DeLuca spoke of his infamous father during the elevator confessions, but it was still a shock when he stepped out of that car.
It's the type of high-quality drama we eat up with a spoon. The senior DeLuca in America and ready to disrupt the life of his son whom he's not close is already exciting. Bring it on.
Meanwhile, Amelia was having a harder time than her sisters. She and Owen had to say goodbye to Not Betty and Leo, which was hard enough, but Amelia was left wondering what she and Owen were supposed to be.
Owen's pain was unimaginable. He grew attached to Leo, but throughout the fallout with the Dickinsons, he kept forgetting that everything was hard on Amelia, too. She was so strong for him, but he, well, he did what Owen always does. He shut down, lashed out, and expected things to blow over.
Amelia didn't have the time to address his ignorance regarding addiction, so it was a long time coming when she called him out on all of that.
Amelia: I think Owen still has feelings for Teddy. You should have seen his reaction when he found out Teddy was going on vacation with Koracick.
Mer: Teddy is always going to be in Owen's life baby or no baby. It was the same for Cristina. It was that way during your marriage and divorce. It's not going to change. Just make peace with it.
Amelia: I'm not in a love triangle. This is a circle, and it just keeps going round and round.
Their pseudo-family was upended, and all they were left with was one another. It was time to reflect on their relationship status. Amelia attempted to give Owen the space to do that before, but without the familial unit, she needed to know that he wouldn't chase after his instant family with Teddy.
Owen was jealous of Teddy and Tom, and he felt threatened by Tom's presence. I could somewhat understand his fear of not being there if Teddy went into labor while on vacation.
That would be a tough pill to swallow, but Owen needed to sort through his feelings instead of lashing out at Tom.
Owen, Richard, and Jackson commiserating over their shared hatred of Tom was a funny scene for them, but Tom is a great guy, and he didn't deserve all the flack he was catching from Owen.
You can tell he and Teddy have developed real feelings for each other. They are a beautiful couple, and Tom is a person who would appreciate family.
I did chuckle when he made a few comments that suggested that he already has factored this baby into his life. It's not that he's trying to take over, but it suggests that he is in it for the long haul.
Owen's strong, angry and vocal opinions about Tom were off base. It was never more apparent that he didn't know the man well enough to be that judgmental than when he shouted in a room filled with people that Tom isn't a father.
Tom usually lets so much roll off his back, but the topic of his deceased son is a trigger. Owen deserved that punch.
Amelia was within her rights to end things with Owen. She, like the rest of us, knows that the moment that baby is born, Owen will get wrapped up in the whole thing.
Teddy has found happiness with Tom, but Owen will pine after Teddy. Meredith knew what she was talking about too. Teddy will always be part of Owen's life, especially now that they share a child.
It was evident the Dickinsons would bring Leo back. Carol appeared flustered and overwhelmed when they were packing him up and preparing to take him with them. A baby is a lot of work, and they have their hands full with Not Betty.
I'm happy they brought Leo back to Owen. Carol recognized, thanks to Not Betty, that Amelia and Owen are his parents.
Does that mean Owen is back to being a single dad though?
We're Britney's parents, but you're Leo's.Carol
As usual, the Amelia and Not Betty moments were emotional. Is this the last of Not Betty and Peyton Kennedy's arc? If so, I'm going to miss her.
Not Betty wants to be an average teenager again, and Amelia has set her on the right path and made a real difference in her life. They will always be connected and family no matter what happens.
Amelia received the goodbye that she was yearning for, and she got the reassurance that Not Betty loves her. Sometimes it gets so dusty watching this show, you know?
The arrival of Alex's mother was a delight, and it was great to have Lindsay Wagner back reprising the role.
The mix-up was funny, and it was both funny and sad that Alex and Jo spent the entire time wondering if she was having a psychotic break.
They heard her, but they didn't listen to her, so everything she said about the fire or Helm had their minds spinning. It's unfortunate that they were treating her like a child.
What made her visit? She took various forms of transportation, tracked them down, and didn't tell them she was visiting. It's a hell of a surprise!
Helen is trying to make amends, and this time, it feels like she wants to be part of her son's life. I love this appearance more than her introduction episode.
Alex doesn't know how to process any of this or make sense of her sudden presence in his life. I'm curious to see how long she's sticking around and what will happen.
Helen: Meredith. You're Alex's best friend.
Meredith: I am, and he's mine.
Alex: Well, the smoke is messing with my eyes. Let's go. Come on.
The Karevs have been in a honeymoon stage for a while, so the two of them dealing with family issues that normal couples experience will be refreshing.
Speaking of dusty air, Helen and Meredith meeting for the first time was another emotional moment. I couldn't fault Alex for getting choked up when Helen remembered that Mer is his best friend, and she said that he was hers.
Merlex forever! They have been together all these years. It was one of many ways the hour paid tribute to the series and this momentous occasion while also moving forward with storylines.
It was little things like that which carried so much meaning and were a treat for fans.
The hour also brought the drama. The most significant conclusion drawn from this installment is that this series still has a lot of life left and so much to give.
Over to you, Grey's Fanatics! Did you feel the hour paid tribute to the series? How do you feel being part of this historic series and experience?
When did you fall in love with Grey's? My Grey's first time was due to two words: Code Black. I had to find out what that meant, and I haven't stopped watching since.
Why do you think Helen is back? Did Daddy Deluca's arrival surprise you? Let's discuss the episode below in the comments!
You can watch Grey's Anatomy online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.