"I needed more time." I can't tell you how often I've heard surgeons say this after losing a patient. We think in time. We talk in time. Doses per day. Life expectancy. Take two and call me in the morning. And what is a heartbeat if not a ticking clock? A clock that's always counting down. The heart beats until it can't. Our limbs move until they don't. Our brains imagine futures we'll never see. We're struggling to overcome a simple, inescapable truth: everything ends. But for every clock that counts down, another restarts. Time goes on, and when one things ends, something new always begins.

Save the Last Dance for Me is the thirteenth episode of the sixteenth season and the 355th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short SummaryEdit

DeLuca can't figure out what's going on with his incurable patient Suzanne and he turns to a diagnostics genius, Dr. Riley from UCSF, for help. Bailey checks in on Joey, a foster kid that Ben brought into Grey Sloan. Meanwhile, Amelia is getting the results of her paternity test and Jo confronts her about how she is treating Link.

Full SummaryEdit

Meredith and Andrew are in bed together, kissing, but Andrew's pager goes off. Suzanne is being moved to the CCU. Andrew hopes Dr. Riley can help, and explains that she's a doctor from San Francisco. He might have used Meredith's name to lure her to Seattle. He then says they should probably talk about "this", meaning their relationship, soon.

Bailey and Ben share a good morning kiss, and he asks her to go back to bed with him. She says she has to check on the foster kid Ben brought in last night, to find out how he's doing. The kid, Joey, doesn't know his siblings were taken away, and Bailey reveals that she has to tell him. Ben says that they both know that even the Chief of Surgery can't control Social Services. She promises to keep him updated and tells him not to sleep all day.

Owen meets Richard and apologizes for being late, saying the kids are sick again. He asks what's happening, and Richard replies that the Fox Foundation has purchased Pac-North. Owen laughs, but realizes Richard is serious. Richard explains that he and Catherine got into a fight, so now they have to report to Grey-Sloan for job interviews with Tom Koracick. Owen groans and asks how big the fight was. It was pretty big. Richard says that Alex is dealing with family issues in Iowa, and when he told him that the place was closing, Alex replied with a "'laugh until you cry' emoji with a party hat." Maggie walks up to Owen and Richard and greets them for her first day of work.

Levi and Nico are walking to the hospital, and Levi is nervous and wishes he had one more day in Nico's bed. Nico asks if Levi's sick of staying at his place, and says they're not at the cohabitating step yet. He adds that Levi will love his new place once he finds one.

Cormac comes down the stairs with two boys following him. He introduces them to Meredith as his sons, explaining that there are Parent-Teacher Conferences. He leaves, and Amelia comes up to Meredith, asking if she saw a certain chief resident leaving the house that morning. Meredith says that that's interesting, and Amelia asks if they're back together. Meredith doesn't know and wonders why Amelia's so interested. Amelia says she's anxious, and she deflects when she's anxious. She also wants examples of "love enduring hardships". Meredith says she wouldn't go that far, but the sex is great. Amelia says that doesn't hurt.

Jo walks towards Amelia and says Link's not with her. She also says that she knows the paternity test results are coming back today, and that she knows Amelia's been avoiding Link. She says Link is human and has feelings, that he's allowed to be upset that he was taken for a ride. When Amelia tries to protest, Jo interrupts and continues saying that that doesn't matter. When two people love each other, they need all the information so they can rise. Amelia asks if Jo's going through something, and Jo confesses that Alex hasn't returned her calls. If she didn't know better, she's think he was getting revenge for when she needed time, but she also knows Alex wouldn't do that. She also deflects when she's anxious. Then she advises Amelia to stop avoiding Link.

Jackson asks Tom who he's bringing back and tells him not to act like he hasn't decided. Tom promises to let Jackson know when he's made his decisions. Bailey comes up and asks what decision, and Jackson explains the situation. Bailey says she'd like to make some recommendations, and Tom refuses, knowing that she's talking about the people she impulsively fired. 

The residents are brainstorming for Andrew's medical mystery in Helm's room. Bailey walks in and tells them that just because they're injured doesn't mean they can't shower. Andrew walks in, and Bailey asks what he's got. Blood cultures and ELISA are negative and the lymph node biopsy was clear. Andrew admits quietly to Bailey that he doesn't want to walk back into Suzanne's room with nothing. Bailey tells him to figure it out, so he won't have to.

Suzanne and Hadley are discussing Matty, who has supposedly kissed someone named Taylor. Andrew enters and asks Suzanne how she is, which Suzanne replies to by saying Hadley has dug up some dirt on him. Hadley talks about the Hospital Hell article. Andrew defends it and explains that the author came back to work at Grey-Sloan. He reassures them that they're not going to find better care in the entire Northwest. A woman walks in and sets up a tablet and signals to Andrew that she is deaf. She introduces herself to Suzanne as Dr. Lauren Riley. Lauren explains that she's going to ask many questions and run lots of tests. She orders a few tests that Andrew says he already ran, but she tells him to do them again and to page cardio, so she can know why the fluid is building up.

Tom is in a room full of Pac-North staff. Owen explains that he's interim Chief in Alex's place, and Tom ignores him. Richard is called in first, and he's told that Catherine made sure his job was safe. This angers Richard, and he refuses. He thought he could do it because he missed Grey-Sloan, Bailey, Meredith, Bokhee, and OR 2. However, he compares his situation to a game of chess, where Catherine is moving him wherever she wants like a pawn. He tells Tom to tell Catherine to go to hell and storms away.

Irene tells Levi he doesn't look old enough to be a doctor, and he jokes that he sometimes doesn't feel old enough. Norman tells him that he first heard Irene gasp about 20 minutes out of Tacoma. Irene explains that they wanted to attend the Seattle Ballroom Championship. Norman adds that they had won 5 times in a row when they were younger. Levi checks Irene's abdomen, and after Norman tells him she has Stage IV colorectal cancer, Levi says she might have an intestinal blockage. She asks if she'll be out in time for the showcase, and he says they'll cut the line if they have to.

Maggie is telling Tom about her success during her interview, and her phone keeps buzzing. He asks if she's going to answer it, and she says no, but sees that she's being paged and is confused. Tom says that Catherine had Maggie's priviliges reinstated last night, and they are just killing time so the others won't think she was being shown favoritism, although she is. He says to thank Altman, and says that Teddy was gracious enough to let Maggie work in her department. When Maggie says it's her department, Tom says it was before Maggie ghosted them. Teddy is home with the sick kids, so Maggie needs to keep her posted.

Joey is asking Nico where they are. Bailey comes in and introduces herself, but Joey asks where his siblings are. Bailey explained that they were at the hospital when Joey was taken in, and they waited as long as possible, but Bailey was legally obligated to report them. Joey is angry, saying that she was tearing apart his only family. Bailey says they're with social workers, but Joey furiously asks if they're broken up. Bailey doesn't know, but she promises to call Social Services and find out as much as she can.

Maggie is running a test on Suzanne. Lauren comes in and confirms that Suzanne lost 25 pounds two years ago and never gained the weight back. Maggie says there's too much fluid and she needs to do a pericardial window, and she explains the procedure to Suzanne. Hadley thinks it's ridiculous and that they should go to a different hospital. Suzanne says she's too tired to move anywhere. Andrew says they'll be back soon to prep her.

Lauren asks where Dr. Grey is, and Andrew says she's in surgery. Maggie comes up and points out Meredith, who is doing something else few feet away. Lauren approaches her, and Meredith mistakenly says "consult from UCLA". Lauren is confused and realizes that Suzanne isn't Meredith's patient. Meredith is paged away, and Lauren accuses Andrew of lying to her and threatens to leave. He begs her to stay.

Tom calls in a resident for an interview. Owen asks him for a word and says that all of the attendings except for him have been interviewed, and now he's doing residents. He thinks Tom considers the situation a game. Tom says he'll have Owen out in time for his wedding, which he asks when it is again before leaving with the resident.

Joey is walking through the halls and sees Jo by the vending machine. She asks if he's lost, and he lies and says that the nurse said he could get some fresh air. She asks which nurse, and he makes up a fake name, and she chuckles and replies, "Good guess." She starts leading him back to his room, saying that his unbandaged wounds gave him away.

Suzanne is trying to reassure Matty. Matty says that Hadley and Mei Li went to go get their grandma, who had too much wine at the sports bar. Suzanne says that maybe they should talk about what happened on the field trip with Matty and Taylor. Matty is shocked that Hadley told her, and Suzanne asks why she would talk to Hadley about it and not her. Matty says that the principal told Hadley because Suzanne wasn't there, and then suddenly declares that she doesn't want to talk to anyone and runs out of the room. Suzanne tells Andrew that Matty only started doing that when she realized Suzanne couldn't follow her. She advises him to never have children.

Link walks into the plant room, where Amelia is sitting. He asks if the results are back, and she says no. She asks what's going to happen when they meet back at seven and look at the results. Link doesn't know. Amelia starts to leave, but then asks if he could try to know what happens with them if the baby is Owen's. She reminds him that he said he loved her, and asks if it was true. She wants to know if he wants to be with her and in the baby's life. Link replies that she and Owen have a complicated history and that she left when she found out Teddy was having his baby. He says that she knew how much it meant to Owen, and it's crazy for him to think that that history won't shape the future if Owen's the father. He says that he loves her, and he needs to know. 

Jo is with Joey, showing him a good blood flow. Bailey walks in as Jo shows Joey his blood flowing badly, saying that if he leaves, they'll need to amputate or he'd die. Bailey tells him that she spoke to Social Services, and they told her that they do everything to keep siblings together. Joey interrupts and says that they aren't related, that they were in a foster home together and ran away when things got really bad. He promised them they would never split up. Jo tells him that she lived in twelve foster homes over the course of five years. She had foster siblings that she loved, so they made a system to call each other at certain times when they split up. She understands what Joey is going through.

Maggie is prepping for surgery when Jackson comes in, saying that Koracick gave at least one job. Maggie replies, saying that she isn't chief of her department. Jackson asks how Richard is. Maggie says he's not doing great, then asks about Catherine. She is mourning the way she usually does by travelling and buying extravagant items. Maggie jokes about how during their breakup, she bought jeans, but Catherine bought a hospital. She wonders if Richard and Catherine could be saved, but Jackson doesn't know.

Cormac asks Meredith if she's seen his sons. She hasn't, and Cormac says that they're trying to torture him and make them late for their conference. He doesn't know how she manages her kids and her job and still stay sane. She asks who says she's sane, telling him a story of when she forgot to pay her water bill and didn't even notice when her water was shut off. Levi calls to her, and Cormac leaves. He shows her a CT scan of Irene's lungs, which shows a lot of mets.

Irene is playing a video of one dance she and Norman did, Norman pointing out the moment they won. Levi introduces them to Meredith and asks if Irene has had any shortness of breath. Meredith tells them that a bowel obstruction is causing her pain, but the cancer has spread to her lungs and throughout her body. Irene asks if they can operate on anything, but at this stage of metastisis, her immune system is too weak to survive a surgery. Irene sees Levi crying and tells him that he's a doctor, so he's not supposed to be crying. Meredith says that he will set up a consult with the palliative care team to ensure Irene's comfort.

During surgery, Bailey tells Jo that Ben looked into Joey's history. Joey's parents died in a car crash, and when no relatives appeared, he bounced around in the foster system. He's a straight-A student who's raised three foster siblings on his own. She asks what will happen to him. Jo explains that no one wants to adopt a seventeen-year-old, since they think he's practically an adult and can survive on his own, but he's not and can't.

In surgery, Dr. Knox welcomes Maggie back, and Suzanne asks what he means by "back". Andrew says that she took a small break, and now she's well-rested and ready. Before she's put under, Suzanne reveals that Taylor Olson is a girl, but Hadley thinks she's a boy. Matty needs the support of her mom. She also says that Mei Li was an orphan once before, and won't recover if Suzanne doesn't make it. Maggie reassures her, and Suzanne is put under.

Norman comes out of Irene's room and tells Levi that he reminds him of his grandson, because he's kind and gentle. He asks Levi if he can do him a big favor. Levi says he'll do anything.

Maggie is operating, and it's going well. Andrew asks many questions, and Maggie asks if someone asked him to babysit her. He says it wasn't anyone, he's just worried about Suzanne. Maggie replies that Suzanne is here for her hands and expertise, which is her focus, and it should be his as well.

Lauren is pacing in Helm's room in front of Suzanne's brainstorming whiteboard. When Andrew and Maggie walk in, she immediately asks how the surgery went. It went smoothly. Lauren says that when Suzanne wakes up, they need to withdraw all treatment. Everyone is shocked, but Lauren explains that they have to consider that some clue is being suppressed by the medication, so withdrawing treatment would allow it to present itself. Andrew protests, saying that Suzanne could go into septic shock and be dead within days, which Maggie agrees with and leaves. Lauren says that Andrew asked for her recommendation, and that this is it. Levi bursts in and asks for the residents to come to the cafeteria with him.

Owen is still waiting outside the interview room, and Amelia comes to sit down. Owen is furious at Tom because he's being forced to wait outside while Tom consults with Catherine. Amelia is surprised that he's actually doing it, and Owen explains that he can't give Tom a single reason not to hire him, because then Tom would win. Amelia tells him that he won, because he has the girl, the family, the "whole Megillah". He should just let Tom have his fun—or pain. Owen asks how she feels everyone's feelings so deeply, and says it must be exhausting. She says it is.

Candles are lit, and Levi wheels a coughing Irene into the cafeteria. Norman is wearing a tux, which he named Mr. Grant. He says he'll never forget the day they first met, when she was yelling at the judges about docking a quarter of a point from her dancing. He asks her to dance. Levi disconnects her oxygen and reassures her that he's right there. Irene says that she doesn't have a gown, but the doctors bring  forth a sort of colorful cardigan for her to wear. Music begins to play, and the couple dances. More staff comes in, including Meredith.

Richard is sitting on a bench outside the hospital. Jackson walks over and says he thought Richard would've been long gone. Richard says he already went to a meeting; he didn't want to go to an empty house as well. Jackson sits down. Richard says he chose to work at Pac-North, that they were building a program, and Catherine came and took it all away with one phone call. Jackson says that it'll be over soon, that one day Richard and Catherine will joke about it over coffee. Richard responds by comparing Catherine to Godzilla.

Back in her room, Levi asks Irene how she's doing, and Irene says she's still floating. Norman is calling the kids. Irene tells Levi not to be sad, as she had a beautiful life that ends with a beautiful partner. She asks him if he's met the love of his life, and he hesitates.

Bailey is watching Joey from afar as he sleeps. Jo joins her, and Bailey tells her that she hates that he's alone. Jo replies that she and Alex were both him, but they were okay in the end, so there's hope, but it won't be easy.

Meredith is sitting on the couch, and Bailey walks in and asks if she's okay. Meredith smiles and says that there was a time when she would've build a dance floor for the dying old lady. She and Andrew broke up after her trial, and long ago, that would've meant drama for her. Instead, she went to bed, and she was excited to practice medicine the next morning. She used to be a romantic. Bailey says that she's growing up a little. Meredith asks what Bailey would do if Ben broke up with her, and Bailey says she'd burn him to the ground. Jackson bursts in and announces that Richard's left, that he doesn't want to work on Catherine's terms, and neither does Jackson. He asks if they're just going to let this happen. Bailey forcefully says no. She tells Meredith and Jackson to follow her.

Andrew tells Suzanne and Hadley the plan, which they take as Lauren giving up. Andrew explains that they'll monitor Suzanne. Hadley continues to fight and begs her sister to go to another hospital. Suzanne asks Andrew what happens if she agrees, and Andrew explains. Lauren steps in and tells them about her three sisters. The oldest is her hero, the youngest is her baby, and the middle one is her best friend. She then proceeds to persuade Hadley that removing the medication is the best option. Suzanne agrees to do it. 

Outside, Andrew goes up to Lauren and says that he has a sister, but Lauren interrupts and says that she's an only child. 

Tom walks into a room to see Bailey, Jackson, Meredith, Richard, and Owen standing there. Richard says that the board has come to a decision. Meredith says they're ready to quit, and Richard says that Catherine wouldn't like that. They warn him that Catherine would not be happy to lose all of them and it would make her question Tom's title as chief of chiefs. Tom asks them to name their terms. They demand that Owen and Richard get rehired, Maggie and Teddy become co-chiefs of cardio, Alex and Cormac become co-chiefs of peds, or they all quit. Cheering is heard when Tom leaves the room, shaking his head.

Levi and Nico are kissing in an on-call room. They fall onto the bed, but Levi pauses. He says he doesn't want just sex, he wants a dance partner. He wants the kind of dance partner that takes practice and communion.

Link is sitting in the plant room, and Amelia watches him through the window, then walks away. Link gets a text from her saying that she never ordered the test and that she needs time.

Jo enters her house and looks around. It's empty.


  • Meredith Grey
  • Miranda Bailey
  • Richard Webber
  • Owen Hunt
  • Jackson Avery
  • Amelia Shepherd
  • Jo Karev
  • Maggie Pierce
  • Andrew DeLuca
  • Tom Koracick
  • Levi Schmitt
  • Atticus Lincoln
  • Ben Warren
  • Cormac Hayes
  • Lauren Riley
  • Norman Sholman
  • Suzanne Britland
  • Hadley
  • Irene Sholman
  • Taryn Helm
  • Nico Kim
  • Blake Simms
  • Hannah Brody
  • Joey Phillips
  • Mabel Tseng
  • Janet Linn
  • Matty Britland
  • Liam Hayes
  • Austin Hayes
  • Dr. Knox
  • Mary Powers

Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Medical NotesEdit

Suzanne BritlandEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Pericardial window

Suzanne was moved to the CCU due to continued fevers and chest pain. They continued to run tests, which all came back negative. As Lauren questioned her about her medical history, Maggie did an echo, which showed fluid buildup around her heart, so she needed a pericardial window to relieve the pressure on her heart. After her surgery, Riley decided to withdraw all treatments, saying it would help reveal the condition.

Joey PhillipsEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Broken clavicle
  • Treatment:
    • Surgical repair

Joey was still in the hospital. He had to have more tests because his pulse was still weak in his arm. Bailey and Jo later did surgery on his arm.

Irene SholmanEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Stage IV colorectal cancer
    • Bowel obstruction
  • Treatment:
    • Palliative care
    • Supplemental oxygen

Irene had stage IV colorectal cancer. Levi suspected she had a bowel obstruction, so he admitted her to run some tests. Her CT also showed several mets in her lungs and liver. Meredith wasn't confident she'd recover from surgery, so they decided there was nothing they could do except palliative care.


Song Performer Scene
"Dip Dow" Sugar & The Hi-Lows
  • Meredith and Andrew are making out when it's interrupted by a page.
  • Andrew explains Suzanne's situation before leaving.
  • Bailey greets Ben when he comes home.
"Wake Me Up" Tommee Profitt feat. Fleurie
  • Meredith talks to Irene about her prognosis.
  • Irene tells Levi he's not supposed to cry.
  • Bailey and Jo talk about Joey as they operate.
  • Maggie prepares to do the procedure on Suzanne.
"Moon River" Lena Horne
  • Irene and Norman dance in the cafeteria.
"Goodbye" Cage the Elephant
  • Irene reassures Levi that she's okay.
  • Bailey and Jo watch Joey sleep.
  • Meredith talks about how her life has changed.
  • Jackson comes in and they start to make a plan.
"Make It Easy on You" Aron Wright
  • Nico and Levi kiss in an on call room.
  • Levi tells Nico he wants a dance partner.
  • Amelia watches Link agonize in the plant room.
  • She sends him a text saying she didn't run the test.
  • Jo goes home to an empty loft.

Notes and TriviaEdit

Grey's Anatomy 16x13 Promo "Save the Last Dance for Me" (HD) Season 16 Episode 13 Promo

Grey's Anatomy 16x13 Promo "Save the Last Dance for Me" (HD) Season 16 Episode 13 Promo

  • This episode's title originated from the song Save the Last Dance for Me, originally sung by Michael Bublé.
  • This episode scored 5.579 million viewers.
  • The table read for the episode took place on November 15, 2019.
  • It is noteworthy that the people imposing the ultimatum on Tom are portrayed by the five actors who have been on the show the longest at this point: Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens, Jr., Kevin McKidd, and Jesse Williams. The first three have been with the show since the beginning while Kevin and Jesse have been on for 12 and 11 years, respectively. Their being on the show for so long is reflected in the status that their characters hold at the hospital, allowing them to make the demands that they do.


Episode StillsEdit

Behind the ScenesEdit


See AlsoEdit

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.

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