It turns out a little Slexie, the Dirty Mistresses Club reunion, and some Cristina texts make everything better.
Lexie and Mark's not at all surprising but irrefutably welcomed appearances are just two out of many things that made Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 10 a great installment.
For so long, the overwhelming grief and sadness felt like wading through an endless slog, but the series was back to finding a perfect balance, and it felt like its old self again.
It was predictable that Mark would accompany Lexie on the beach along with Meredith, but I still squealed in excitement anyway. Eric Dane looks so good, and Chyler was such a vision, albeit the green screen effects and the wig were hard to ignore.
They had such a light vibe to them, one that we didn't experience quite the same way with the others, and their scenes were such a genuine delight.
Lexie always brings a certain innocence and sweetness that made her interactions with Meredith endearing. Lexie hasn't lost any of her quirks. However, she has made some peace with not having all the answers in the afterlife.
She was wise, and it seemed as if she was enjoying the fact that she got to listen to her sister talk about her life and the kids. She knew how to listen, and it felt like a crucial step in getting Mer headed in the right direction.
If having a life and a body is not worthy of celebration, then what is the point of avoiding death?Lexie
She spoke about Bailey with such love and affection, and the story about the cake was one of those tales a parent recounts that makes you smile along with them.
Bailey is the intuitive one, so it's not a surprise that he came up with something like smashing his face in a cake for the sole purpose of making his family laugh when everything around them was bleak.
At one point, it seemed as though maybe the sisters touched each other, but instead of it coming across as daunting and hopeless, it had the opposite effect.
Meredith felt at her most alive, and it was the first time in ages that it felt like she wanted to live. She needed that, and the viewers did too.
You're early, killer. Too early.Mark
Mark possessed that same laidback, fun vibe that he always carried, but with the seasoned air he had during the last days of his life. He's always had such an easygoing nature, and he and Meredith's relationship was one of the most underrated gems of the series.
Mark didn't waste any time telling Mer to get her crap together and go back to her children, and it's the typical blunt nature of his. What is life if not living it?
He's a proud father who did not get the chance to see his daughter grow up in her world, and he didn't hesitate to point out how traumatizing it would be for Mer's kids to lose her at such a young age when they've already lost Derek.
He spoke about Callie and Arizona. He does spend his time with them, looking over and sometimes even yelling at them. And he takes credit for some of their best ideas that they think they've come up with, and he's happy.
Mark is at peace, and it's such a beautiful thing. He wasn't a perfect man, but he was a good one, and something is comforting about the tranquility he found, not to mention that he and Lexie are happy together in the afterlife.
Mer: So you two are together?
Mark: On your beach, it looks like we are.
In many ways, Mark's presence was more exciting than Lexie's, which says a lot.
What we learned is that Mer wants to live. She wants to wake up and get back to her kids, and Derek's cryptic advice wasn't helpful, but she appears to feel closer to figuring things out now.
Meanwhile, in the land of the conscience, the vent shortage had Richard reconsidering taking Meredith off of it. He didn't want to risk losing her if they did it prematurely and she needed to go back on, but it was otherwise in use.
Mer's condition was one of many things that had everyone stressed out. Owen was at a loss too on what to do with Mer, and it didn't help that he had Cristina texting him demanding updates and checking and rechecking his work.
When you love someone, you tell them.Mark
Yes, we got Mark, Lexie, mentions of Arizona and Callie, AND we got text messages from Cristina. It doesn't get any better than that, no?
I love the fact that Owen and Cristina stay in touch and the reminders of how close-knit everyone else always brings home the family vibe coming from this group of people who have overcome so much together.
The vent issue was affecting patients like Marcella and Veronica, too, and it was heartbreaking that the mother and daughter reached a point where there needed to be a choice on who to save. They were both such great patients.
Of course, the case came with the extra layer of having the mother/daughter intern duo working on both of the cases, and they could relate to what Veronica and Marcella were going through.
It had everyone emotional. Levi's closeness with Marcella was enough to make you smile with your hand over your heart, and his cute little rap routine was a brief moment that elicited a chuckle. He has such a great bedside manner, so personable and sweet, and pure, dammit.
Everything is taking a toll on them, and Richard's heartbreaking breakdown after the briefly gleeful Link's surgery didn't pan out as hoped made you want to reach through the screen and hug him.
Everything is too much. They've all been through hell.
I gave her a hug. I just gave her one hug, and I might have killed her.Veronica
But Maggie pulled a Maggie and came up with an innovative plan to have patients share ventilators, and it was that silver lighting at the end of a day to make everyone feel as if the day was worth it.
Maggie's innovative genius is always slept on, so it was a fantastic moment for her, and it was good to see her get the accolades that she deserves. She made her biological father happy-- she made him dance, and she and Jackson are in a good place in their friendship these days.
Her plan meant they didn't have to shut down the trauma unit, and they could save so many more lives.
Maggie gave credit to her relationship with Winston for that. Winston has been a safe harbor for her amid all of the darkness she's endured. She was torn up at the prospect of him leaving her again.
But then he proposed, and all was right in Maggie's world. Maggie and Winston have had sweet moments, but it also feels like the series built their romance offscreen.
But she's happy, and she deserves that, so good for her and them.
It almost feels like Mer and Hayes will be the same way. We haven't seen as much of them together as we have apart. Based on the conversations that Hayes had with his sister-in-law, he caught feelings.
God, it was amazing that Hayes had a storyline of his own. He's been due for some time, and this brought up some feelings about losing his wife.
I can't, I cannot do this again. I cannot look at my boys who have already lost everything and tell them they're losing her too.Hayes
It turns out that he and his wife's sister, Irene, are close, and she's the one who has helped him raise the kids during the pandemic. She came in with a kidney stone issue that became far more complicated, and you could sense the terror Hayes felt that he might lose another person.
He couldn't bear the thought of losing his wife's sister, too, and the effect that would have on his children was indescribable. He only wanted the best for his family, and that came in the form of Catherine Fox herself.
It's been a while since Catherine got her hands dirty and showed off why she's one of the most brilliant surgeons at Grey Sloan, and her scenes were fantastic.
Child, who throws away a kidney? Lord!Catherine
Her commentary to Jo during the surgery had me in stitches more than once, but she does see something in Jo and thinks that she'd be good in a new field.
Maybe Catherine approves of yet another woman in Jackson's life, but their pairing is still odd.
Nevertheless, I loved Irene and appreciated another peek into Hayes' world.
And while he was making sure nothing happened to his sister, his brood of cuties went to Meredith's house, which has basically become a daycare.
Teddy: I tried therapy, it makes me uncomfortable.
Amelia: Mammograms make us uncomfortable, we still get them.
Amelia enlisted Teddy's help with the kids, but it was also part of a joint effort with Owen to make sure that Teddy was OK. Understandably, they didn't want to leave her alone with the children, and they needed to make sure she was on the mend.
Teddy saw through it, but she didn't put up much of a fight, and she also got some sound advice from Amelia about therapy. Even after a catatonic state, Teddy was still trying to say that therapy wasn't for her.
I loved Amelia's analogy, comparing therapy to a mammogram. No, there isn't anything fun about telling a stranger all of your dark secrets and the inner workings of your mind, but it's sometimes necessary.
You have to treat mental health as you would any other ailment. When any other part of your body is hurting, you seek help. Amelia wouldn't let Teddy dismiss her, and she had the perfect comeback about trying different people out until the right one fits instead of giving up altogether.
So, no, the series didn't ignore Teddy's state, and that's a plus, but we'll have to see where it goes from here.
- Guest-star Azure Antoinette played Hayes' sister-in-law, Irene. A part of me wished she shared screentime with Kevin McKidd, and they broke out into a performance. Their cover of "Chasing Cars" is amazing.
- Um, when did Tom get a clean bill of health and start working at the hospital again? Did we miss that?
- It makes sense that Tom has Survivor's Remorse, and Owen taking a moment to talk to him about it was one of the best moments of the hour.
- All of the doctors having a dance-it-out moment celebrating Mer coming off of the vent made me smile so hard.
- SLEXIE ENDGAME! While it sucked that the different filming times and locations meant Dane and Leigh couldn't be near each other or interact as much, a wonderful ship is thriving in the afterlife!
- "Child, who throws away a kidney? Lord," Catherine Fox is badass and hilarious.
- Link is a full-blown dad now, with the kid stories, and dad jokes and the utter glee that he got to be at the hospital around other adults again made me laugh.
Over to you, Grey's Fanatics. What was your favorite part of the hour? Are you thrilled about Mark and Lexie's appearance? Let's discuss!
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.