"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 thing 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

Andrew and Meredith are kissing, but stop when a pager goes off. It's Andrew's, saying Suzanne is being moved to the CCU. He tells Meredith he's bringing in Lauren Riley from San Francisco to work on Suzanne's case. She's a diagnostic genius and Andrew admits that he used Meredith's name to lure her to Seattle. Andrew says they should talk about them, but Meredith says he should go save Suzanne's life first.

Ben comes in after shift. He tries to lure Bailey back to bed with him, but she says she has to check on the foster kid he brought in last night. He doesn't know his siblings have been taken away and Bailey has to go tell him. She's sorry she couldn't keep them together, but Ben knows she doesn't have that power. Bailey leaves, telling Ben not to sleep all day. Once she's gone, Ben says he's going to sleep all day.

Owen finds Richard and apologizes for being late. Then he asks what's going on and Richard informs him that he and Catherine got in a fight and she has purchased Pac-North to shut it down. Now they all have to go to Grey Sloan and interview with Koracick to keep their jobs. Owen wonders how big the fight with Catherine was. Richard says Alex knows and sent a laugh until you cry emoji with a party hat in response. Maggie comes up to them, excited to start her first day.

Levi tells Nico he's feeling nervous as they walk to the hospital. He wishes he had one more day in Nico's bed. He figures out that Nico's not as excited to have Levi at his place. Nico says they're not at the cohabitating step yet. Nico says he'll love his own place. He just has to find one.

Cormac leads his sons down the steps and tells them to say hello to Meredith, which they do. There's no school because of parent-teacher conferences. He leaves with his sons and Amelia approaches, asking about Andrew having been at the house the previous night. Amelia asks if they're back together. Meredith isn't sure and wonders why Amelia's so curious. Amelia admits it's deflection and she's looking for examples of love enduring hardships. Meredith wouldn't go that far, but the sex is great, which doesn't hurt.

Jo walks up to Amelia and says Link's not with her. Jo knows she's getting the paternity results back and she's been avoiding Link since he asked for the test. Jo says Link has feelings and he's allowed to be upset about what Amelia did. Jo says people in love to be given all the information, because if given the chance, they will rise. Amelia asks Jo is she's okay and Jo confesses that Alex hasn't returned any of her calls and she also deflects when she anxious. She tells Amelia that Link loves her and Amelia should stop avoiding him.

Jackson asks Tom who he's bringing back and Tom says he doesn't know. He promises to tell Jackson once he's made a decision. Bailey overhears their conversation and when the situation is explained to her, she asks to make some recommendations. Tom refuses because he knows she's talking about the people she impulsively fired. He says he'll do the interviews and make the decisions himself.

In Taryn's hospital room, the residents are brainstorming possible diagnoses for Suzanne. Bailey comes in and tells them being injured doesn't mean they can't shower. Blake says Andrew told them they can only eat and sleep. Andrew comes in with more tests results and eliminates some of the residents' ideas. Andrew doesn't want to go back to Suzanne and admits he has nothing, so Bailey tells him to figure it out so he won't have to do that. Bailey leaves after telling Blake to take a shower.

Suzanne's upset to learn Matty has kissed someone as she's only 13. She thinks she should have a few more years before Matty's in the kissing stage. Hadley reminds her that she kissed someone when she was 13, but Suzanne says that's different because Scott Thompson gave her a Styx record. Hadley supposes that maybe Taylor gave Matty something. Suzanne clarifies that Matty kissed Taylor Olson and is shocked. Just then, Andrew comes in and asks how she is. She tells him that Hadley's been doing research on him. She didn't have to dig very far to find the Hospital Hell article. Andrew explains that article and tells them the doctor who wrote it actually came back to work at the hospital recently. They won't find better care in the whole northwest. Just then, a doctor comes in. She puts a tablet on Suzanne's table and calls Mary Powers, who interprets for her as she introduces herself as Lauren Riley. She explains how she works and then orders some tests and tells him to page Cardio and let Meredith know she's there.

Tom finds a crowded waiting room full of Pac-North staff and says he'll be as efficient as possible. Owen starts to explain that he's been acting as interim chief, but Tom dismisses him and calls for Richard. Then he explains to Richard that his job is safe. Richard is angered by this and refuses. He thought he could do it because he missed the hospital, but he doesn't want Catherine to play him like a game of chess. Richard tells him to tell Catherine to go to hell.

Levi is examining Irene Sholman, who doesn't believe he's old enough to be a doctor. She and her husband are in town to attend the Seattle Ballroom Championship, a competition they won five years in a row in their prime. She started having abdominal pain on their way. Norman Sholman explains that she also has stage IV colorectal cancer that didn't respond to chemotherapy. Levi believes she has an intestinal obstruction, so he admits her for tests.

Maggie explains her credentials as Tom plays on his phone. Maggie's phone goes off and she's surprised she's being paged. Tom says Catherine had him restore her privileges last night, but he had to bring her in just to make it look like he wasn't playing favorites, even though he is. He tells her to thank Teddy, who allowed Maggie to come work back in her department. Maggie says it's actually her department, but Tom says it stopped being hers when she left them abruptly. Teddy is home with her sick kids, so he tells Maggie to keep her posted.

Nico examines Joey, who is asking where his siblings are. Bailey comes in and explains that social services came and took them. He's upset that they've been split up and isn't reassured by Bailey saying they're safe. Bailey agrees to call social services and find out as much as she can.

Maggie is checking Suzanne's heart as Lauren questions her about her medical history, including an unplanned weight loss two years ago. Maggie says Suzanne needs a pericardial window to drain the fluid. Hadley wants to go somewhere else if they're just going to start over. Andrew says they aren't starting over, but Lauren says that's exactly what they're doing. She approaches all her patients as if they're on their first day in the hospital. Suzanne says she's too tired to move anyway.

Lauren asks Andrew where Meredith is and he says she's in surgery. Maggie points her out, where she's standing nearby, not in surgery. Lauren approaches her and introduces herself. Meredith is confused about where Lauren is from, leading Lauren to figure out that Andrew had lied to her and Suzanne was never actually Meredith's patient. Lauren threatens to leave, but Andrew begs her to stay.

Tom calls back Mabel Tseng, a second-year resident, to be interviewed. Owen interjects, saying Tom has interviewed all the other attendings and Owen thinks he's treating it like a game. Tom says he'll be out in time for his wedding and then takes Mabel back for her interview.

Joey leaves his room and is walking the halls. He sees Jo and asks her where the exit is, since the nurse said he could get some fresh air. She realizes he's lying and leads him back to his room.

Suzanne tries to reassure Matty. Matty tells her that Hadley took Mei Li to pick up their grandma, who drank too much and needed a ride again. Suzanne wants to talk to Matty about what happened on the field trip between her and Taylor. Matty is upset that Hadley told her after she promised she wouldn't. Suzanne wonders why she'd talk to Hadley about it and not her. Matty says the principal told Hadley because Suzanne wasn't there. Matty doesn't want to talk about it anymore and leaves the room. Suzanne says she started doing that when she realized Suzanne couldn't follow her anymore. She tells Andrew never to have children.

Link enters the plant room, where Amelia is waiting. He asks if the results are back. She says they'll be back tonight and asks him what's going to happen. He says he doesn't know. She asks him if he could try to know what will happen to them if they find out it's Owen's. Amelia asks if he wants to be with her, to be in the baby's life. He says she and Owen have a complicated history and he's worried the future will be shaped by that history. He loves Amelia, but he needs to know.

Jo shows Joey the good blood flow in his uninjured arm and says it's good. Then she shows him the poor blood flow in his injured arm and says that's bad. If he leaves the hospital, they'll end up having to amputate or he'll die. Bailey tells him she talked to Social Services and they said they do everything they can to keep siblings together. Joey says they're not actually related, so they won't. They were in a foster home together and ran away when things got bad. He promised them they'd never be split up and now they are. Jo explains her history of being in the foster system and being separated from foster siblings she loved, so she understands what he's going through. Joey reiterates that they're his family and Jo reminds him he can't help them if he's dead.

Jackson sees Maggie getting ready for her surgery and notes that Koracick gave at least one person a job. Maggie quips that she was hired not to be head of her department. Jackson asks how Richard is doing and Maggie admits that he's not doing well. She asks about Catherine, who is traveling the world and buying extravagant things. Maggie says when they broke up, she went online and bought a pair of jeans while Catherine went to Paris and bought a hospital. Maggie asks if there's any saving them and Jackson's not sure, but hopes so.

Cormac asks Meredith if she's seen his sons. She hasn't and Cormac says they're torturing him and trying to make sure he's late for their conference. He doesn't know how Meredith does work and kids and stays sane. Meredith tells him she's not sane. She forgot to pay her water bill and didn't even notice when the water got shut off until her daughter told her. Levi calls out to Meredith, so Cormac leaves her. Levi shows Meredith Irene's CT, which shows a lot of mets.

Irene and Norman are watching a video of them dancing. Levi and Meredith explain to them what the CT showed, that the cancer has spread. Meredith isn't confident she'd recover from any surgery, so she can't recommend it. Levi starts to cry and Irene says as the doctor, he's not supposed to cry. Meredith says Levi will set them up with a palliative care consult to make her more comfortable.

As they operate on Joey, Bailey says Ben looked into his history. His parents died in a car accident and then he bounced around the foster system. He's a straight-A student and took care of the other foster siblings on his own for months. Jo says no one wants to adopt a 17 year old. They just see a kid who they think is basically an adult who can fend for himself, but he's not and cannot.

Before Suzanne is anesthetized, she hears Dr. Knox welcome Maggie back and questions it. Maggie assures her it was just a small break and she's back and well-rested. Suzanne then reveals that Taylor Olson is a girl. Hadley thinks Taylor's a boy, but she's not and she just accidentally outed Matty to Suzanne and doesn't even know it. She says Matty needs her mom's support right now. And Mei Li was an orphan before and she won't recover if Suzanne doesn't make it. Maggie reassures her and then she's put under for surgery.

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

Andrew keeps asking questions as Maggie operates and she wonders if someone sent him to babysit her. He's worried about Suzanne and she says Suzanne is there for her hands and expertise, not her feelings.

Maggie and Andrew find Lauren and tell her the surgery went well. The next step is to withdraw all treatment. Sometimes treatments can disguise symptoms and they need to see those symptoms. Andrew says Suzanne needs those medications and Maggie says she believes it would be a mistake. Lauren reminds him that he asked for her recommendation and this is it. Levi then comes in and asks if the other residents can come with him because he needs their help. Andrew says they can go.

Owen is still waiting and watching Tom talk on the phone. Amelia comes by and they start talking. Owen had to wait all day to be interviewed, now he's waiting outside again while Tom consults with Catherine. He knows Tom hates him and Amelia reminds him that Owen stole his girlfriend. He has the girl, the family, he has everything. He won. He should let Tom have his pain. He's lonely and he's in pain. Owen wonders how she feels everyone's feelings so deeply all the time. It must be exhausting. She says that it is.

Levi wheels Irene into the cafeteria, where candles are lit and Norman is dressed in his tux. He reminisces about the day they met. Then he asks her to dance. She says she doesn't have a gown, but the residents put one on her. They then start some music and Irene and Norman dance as the hospital staff gathers to watch.

Jackson is surprised to find Richard outside on a bench. Richard says he went to a meeting, but didn't want to go home to an empty house and he's not sure where he works anymore. He was helping to build a new program, and Catherine took it all away with one phone call. Jackson thinks it'll all blow over soon and they'll be laughing about it, but Richard doesn't think that's the case.

Levi gets Irene back into her bed and asks how she's feeling. She says she's still floating. Her husband is calling their kids. Irene tells Levi not to be sad. She's had a beautiful life and she's ending it with a beautiful partner. She asks if he's met the love of his life. He doesn't answer.

Bailey watches Joey sleep. Jo joins her and Bailey says she hates that Joey is all alone and has nowhere to go. Jo says she was him and Alex was him and they turned out okay. It's not hopeless, but it won't be easy.

Bailey asks Meredith if she's okay. Meredith says there was a time when she would have been the one to make a dance floor for the dying old lady. There was a time when breaking up with Andrew would have been months of drama. Instead, she went to bed, woke up, and was just excited to practice medicine again. She used to be the romantic. Bailey says she's grown up a little. Meredith asks what she'd do if Ben dumped her and Bailey says she'd burn him to the ground. Jackson comes in and says Richard is leaving because he doesn't want to work under Koracick's terms. They agree that they don't either. Bailey tells the other two to follow her.

Hadley and Suzanne worry that Lauren is giving up by removing all treatment, but Andrew says that's not the case and they'll continue to monitor her carefully. Hadley wants Suzanne to go to another hospital, but Suzanne just asks what will happen if she agrees. Andrew explains that they'll remove all her medication. She'll get sicker and feel more pain. Lauren then steps in and tells Hadley the story of her three sisters. The eldest is her hero. The youngest is her baby. But the middle one is her best friend. If she were in Suzanne's position, that's the one who would decide for her. That's why she's talking to Hadley. It's not safe to move her and if they do move her, they won't find anyone better than Lauren. Her ears don't work, so she's learned to listen with her whole body. With the medication gone, the disease can start talking so she can figure out what's wrong with Suzanne and save her life. Suzanne gives her consent to withdraw everything.

Outside Suzanne's room, Andrew starts to talk about his sister, and Lauren tells him she's an only child.

Tom enters the conference room and finds Bailey, Jackson, Richard, Meredith, and Owen waiting there. They've decided they're ready to quit en masse. Catherine wouldn't like that. If they all quit, it will look bad for Tom and Catherine might reconsider his position. Tom tells them to name their terms. They demand that Richard and Owen get re-hired and cardio and peds get co-heads. If he doesn't agree, they'll all quit. If he agrees, he gets to take all the credit with Catherine.

Tom leaves the room and hears them all cheering inside.

Levi and Nico are kissing in an on-call room. Levi says he wants a dance partner, the kind that takes practice and communion. Nico wants to know if he's being literal.

Link is in the green room. Amelia watches him through the window then walks away. He then gets a text telling him she didn't get the test and that she needs more time.

Jo goes home to the loft and looks around the empty space.


  • 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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