Meredith's beach is the imaginary beach where Meredith Grey mentally resides whilst battling COVID-19. The exact nature of the beach is kept vague on purpose to allow free interpretation by viewers. As mentioned by several characters, Meredith is somehow in control of what happens there even though she herself is unaware of its rules, if any exist at all, and possibilities.
The beach can be seen as a place between life and death as well as a some sort of dream world. The latter is evidenced by the fact that Meredith is said by her doctors to be asleep most of the time. She can be visited on the beach by living people who are talking to her, with conversations happening in real life either continuing on or echoing through on the beach, highlighting the fact that Meredith retains some degree of consciousness whilst asleep and being talked to. An example is Bailey and Richard appearing on the beach alongside Meredith and George as they talk about her condition by her bedside.
A second interpretation is the limbo between life and death. Meredith spends time and talks with deceased loved ones in warm, welcoming, and comfortable surroundings. Through their conversations, it appears that they are not mere figments of Meredith's imagination but rather the spirits of said loved ones visiting from the afterlife as they comment on their life post-death. All of them have stated that they have visited their living loved ones (such as Louise O'Malley, Callie Torres, Arizona Robbins, Ellis Shepherd, Zola Grey Shepherd, and Derek Bailey Shepherd) though said people were never aware of their visits. Lexie also stated she has been with Meredith since her death. Andrew DeLuca spending his dying moments on the beach with Meredith and crossing over to the afterlife by running up to and leaving with his mother signifies that the beach, in fact, is some sort of limbo.
A particularly interesting case is Derek Shepherd, who appears to represent death for Meredith. She cannot get close to him with his comments seemingly indicating that the distance between them is inversely proportional to the degree to which Meredith is clinging to life. The more time she spends on the beach, the less she appears to be willing to fight for her life and the closer she can get to him. When he first appeared to her, he appeared at the other end of the beach and she could not get in his vicinity no matter how hard she tried. He later shows her that her goal of diminishing the distance between them can be reached by relaxing, i.e. stop fighting for her life. Recently, they were seen talking while sitting on a tree trunk merely a few feet apart. It should be noted that Derek in no way encourages her to stop fighting, he merely guides her while she remains in control of what happens. In fact, Derek even encouraged Meredith to listen to Cormac when he pleaded with her to fight for her life for her kids.
Meredith has spent time with multiple people on her beach, both dead and alive in real life.
Notes and Trivia
- Derek and Bailey are the only people who have spent more than one episode on the beach.
- The filming location is a private beach located around Los Angeles. The exact location has been kept secret given the spoiler-sensitive scenes that are filmed there.
- Lucia DeLuca is the only person to have appeared on the beach who had no connection to Meredith herself as well as the only person who never appeared on the show alive.
- Chyler Leigh filmed all of her beach scenes through green screen as she had to remain in Vancouver for Supergirl due to the COVID-19 protocols.
- Krista Vernoff shared that she came up with the recurring beach motif while walking on the beach herself. After it was decided that the season would tackle the COVID-19 pandemic rather than portray a fictional world where it did not exist, Krista was trying to come up with a way to provide viewers with some sort of escapism from the harsh world with all pandemic regulations. Since she herself felt free to take off her mask while walking on the beach by herself, she decided to incorporate the beach motif into the season. It also proved handy to provide a space for Ellen Pompeo, who has asthma, to film the majority of her scenes for the season outside with no mask on.
- The decision to bring back fan favorite characters who had left the show stemmed from the same desire to provide some escapism for viewers.
|Grey's Anatomy, Season 17|
|#01||"All Tomorrow's Parties"||#07||"Helplessly Hoping"||#13||"Good as Hell"|
|#02||"The Center Won't Hold"||#08||"It's All Too Much"||#14||"Look Up Child"|
|#03||"My Happy Ending"||#09||"In My Life"||#15||"Tradition"|
|#04||"You'll Never Walk Alone"||#10||"Breathe"||#16||"I'm Still Standing"|
|#05||"Fight the Power"||#11||"Sorry Doesn't Always Make It Right"||#17||"Someone Saved My Life Tonight"|
|#06||"No Time for Despair"||#12||"Sign O' the Times"|