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People often ask what I've learned from surviving COVID. I know they mean well, but it's a really annoying question. Being away from work, my children, getting hooked up to a vent, it's not exactly a masterclass. Though, it did teach me something. It taught me that I'm still alive. I'm still alive. People often laugh at that answer, but it's not a joke. Being alive, it's everything. Time to celebrate. And yes, time for pain. Time to change. To grow. To love. And time to give.


Someone Saved My Life Tonight is the seventeenth episode and season finale of the seventeenth season and the 380th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

It's wedding day for Maggie and Winston. Meanwhile, Meredith takes on a new role at the hospital, and Jo makes a life-changing decision.

Full Summary[]

April 2021

Meredith is walking on the beach, throwing flower petals around. Her voice over talks about having learned from surviving COVID that she is still alive.

Eight months earlier - August 2020

In the loft, Taryn and Levi argue over avocados and bananas. Jo is tired of them. She starts dumping some of her stuff in a bag. She deserves more than a place that is just livable and so does Luna. She is going to fight for her. She is going to sell her shares in the hospital and use the money to hire a lawyer for the adoption process and get herself a nice place to live.

Teddy answers Owen's page in the ER. His flirty patient, Sophie, had a fender-bender but she's tachycardic. Sophie attributes that to his looks. She touches his arm and then realizes you can't just touch people in a pandemic. Owen says he's wearing protection. As they walk off, Teddy mocks Owen.

Richard and Bailey walk with Meredith on her way to the residents. Richard says as Residency Director, you are responsible for the residents' losses and wins. Meredith has been watching him do the job her whole career so she knows what it entails. Bailey asks if she'll be using Richard's speech but Meredith is not giving any speech. She enters the skills lab and asks the interns about the statuses of all newly admitted COVID patients.

Bailey joins Levi in Gerlie's room on the COVID ward. He presents the case. She takes over to list her vitals. She is a nurse in a long-term care facility. She thinks she picked it up helping one of the residents to the bathroom. Bailey mentions the facility her parents were living at. After examining Gerlie's lungs, Bailey orders high-flow oxygen, high-dose steroids, and remdesivir.

Cormac finds Meredith staring at the OR board after his surgery on Luna. CPS finally approved her surgery. He tells Meredith her name will be back on the board soon. She doubts that since she was given an office. He jokes she could have just turned him down when he asked for a drink rather than getting COVID. That seems like a lifetime ago. She recalls him coming into her room to tell her to fight for her kids. He jokes that must have been the other Irishman. That being said, he's glad she survived. So is she. She leaves for Maggie's wedding.

Maggie and Winston are getting married in Meredith's backyard. Catherine, Link, Meredith and her kids, Antoinette, and Bill are attending the ceremony. Richard asks if anyone objects to the union. Antoinette and Bill stand up and say that they are. They think the couple deserves a bigger ceremony than this. Even Amelia is missing this one, and Maggie has uncles, aunts, and cousins. Bill has a savings account to do this the right way. Maggie says they can't do it the proper way now since it isn't safe. Bill suggests they wait then. They are already living together so they can't be in that much of a hurry. Maggie and Winston then agree to postpone the wedding. Ellis asks Meredith if she can get cake now, but Meredith tells her to wait. Maggie hears this and says it's fine. Ellis runs off to get some cake. Maggie indulges in the champagne.

September 2020

Gerlie is packing her stuff. She hates having missed a month of work. Bailey reminds her to take it slow since she has been on a ventilator for two weeks. Zander asks Bailey to be allowed to listen first. She agrees to let him, then listens herself.

Amelia is sharing at a virtual meeting. She talks about the high she felt after Skyler Nichols left the hospital. It lasted for 30 seconds and then she started thinking about all the worst-case scenarios for her own family. She has no clue why her thoughts have been so dark. Link is not an addict. Sometimes, she wishes he could understand how tough it can be.

Jo is reading Luna a story while Cormac checks her vitals. She gives Luna her bottle. Carmen arrives. She is glad Luna is eating well. She has found a family that is willing to foster to adopt Luna and the family has requested a timeline, but Cormac says it's too early to tell. Carmen asks Cormac to keep her updated.

In an attendings' lounge, Jo has asked Link to put in the request to foster Luna. He would be her foster parent on paper but Jo would do all the work. Link's background check is spotless. Jo can't bear the idea of losing Luna to another family. Eventually, he can transfer Luna to her custody once the legal issues have been resolved. Also, he won't even have to take Luna home since she's not ready to leave yet. Link agrees. He'll figure it out with Amelia.

Owen tests Teddy for COVID. Her most recent test came back positive yet she's asymptomatic. Owen says the kids can go to his mother so they are just going to follow quarantine protocol. They'll be okay.

Link presents Jo's plan to Amelia, who questions what will happen if Jo won't solve the legal issues. Link lightheartedly says they'll have a daughter then. He is confident that won't happen and reminds her they didn't think twice when Meredith needed their help. Amelia points out those kids are her family. Link says they aren't his, technically, but he loves them and he did. Link asks if this really is a problem. Amelia downplays it and says no, since it'll only be for a while. He takes off for his surgery. Her face reveals she's not okay with this at all.

Meredith's sitting on a bench outside when Gerlie is wheeled out. She tells Meredith she has been in the hospital for a month with COVID. Meredith shares that she had it too. Gerlie finds it encouraging that she is back to work. Meredith says everyone recovers differently. Gerlie lists some of her residual symptoms, including survivor's guilt. Meredith says the survivor's guilt doesn't go away. Gerlie's ride arrives. She gets up to walk to the car but collapses after a few steps. Meredith calls for a gurney.

October 2020

Bailey is surprised to learn that the grand rounds are cancelled.

Bailey finds Meredith and asks her about grand rounds. Meredith says Gerlie's post-COVID complications are far more instructional. She has a pneumothorax following a complicated VATS procedure as well as multifocal pneumonia. Bailey says grand rounds are tradition but Meredith says no one wants to hear someone talk about how surgery works, especially after the year they've had. Meredith is doing Gerlie's bronchoscopy later and she invited the class to come watch. Bailey is surprised to learn she's doing it herself. Meredith says it's a simple procedure. She reminds Bailey that she gave her the job to change things and that is exactly what she's doing.

Link approaches Jo, who cuts him off and says owning part of the hospital will look good on his fostering application. Jo needs the money for her legal fees and a new home but no one is willing to buy her shares because hospitals are bleeding money. Link declines the offer. Link then reveals he was approved to foster. An excited Jo runs off to tell Luna.

Amelia is at a physical meeting. She shares that a social worker came to check out their place. They were given a to-do list to get the place ready for a second kid and Link just dove right in. When she reminded him it was only temporary, he told her they would need it one day for a second kid of their own. It's become clear that she doesn't want what he wants. She's not sure if that is diseased thinking or just who she is. She doesn't want marriage or more kids. She can't tell Link. She's mad at herself for that. She knows all of this would be even worse if she were. That's the only thing she's sure of these days.

Owen knocks on the bedroom door. It's the end of Teddy's two-week quarantine period but she is hesitant to come out. Everyone in the family and her patients tested negative. She hasn't had any major symptoms. Owen convinces her to open the door. He tells her she looks beautiful. They start making out.

Meredith shows Levi the scar tissue and fibrosis in Gerlie's lungs. In the middle of the procedure, she asks for a wheelchair. She's feeling dizzy and her breathing is shallow. She sits down. Maggie enters from the gallery to take over.

December 2020

It's Christmas Eve. In the COVID ICU, Levi briefs Meredith that Gerlie maxed out on the vent overnight after coding. An hour ago, she coded for the second time. They meet Teddy in Gerlie's room. Teddy put her on ECMO, a decision Meredith agrees with. Teddy will see Meredith tomorrow for Christmas.

Jo wishes Luna a merry Christmas in her room as she hangs a baby mobile over her crib. Link enters and shows Jo a ring. He's nervous Amelia will say no. Jo remembers Amelia telling him she did not want to get married. Link says she just didn't want it to feel compulsory at the time. He has been planning for months. He takes out two more rings. He needs her advice but Jo doesn't know what Amelia would like. She wishes him luck.

Cormac meets Meredith in the attendings' lounge doing research into lung transplants for COVID patients. Cormac says he misses Abigail the most around the holidays. He presents Meredith with a present, a half-empty bottle of whiskey. He brings out two cups. "Sláinte," he says. They finally have their drink together.

On Christmas morning, Meredith, Amelia, Link, Owen, and Teddy watch as the kids unwrap gifts. Amelia gifts Leo a brain plush toy. Just as Link announces that he has a gift for Amelia, Owen points out it is snowing outside, yet surprisingly only in the backyard. The group heads outside. As the kids play in the snow, Teddy thanks Owen for getting her a snow machine for Christmas. He then gets down on one knee, much to Link's dismay. He knows him and Teddy have hurt each other and they may not make sense to the rest of the world, but he wants her to marry him so she can continue to make him the happiest man alive. She accepts. The guests cheer as they share a kiss.

January 2021

The staff is lined up in the tent outside. They receive their first dose of the vaccine. BokHee and Linda hold hands and shed a tear. Everyone smiles after the vaccine has filled them with hope for the future.

As they watch staff get vaccinated, Richard tells Bailey the entire staff should have received their first dose by day's end. Meredith finds Bailey and advocates for Gerlie to be put on the list for a double lung transplant. Bailey disagrees. She knows all about Gerlie and the lives she's saved. She survived COVID so she can recover from this, so the double transplant could be unnecessary and dangerous. Meredith fears Gerlie will develop sepsis and then it will be too late for a transplant, yet Bailey stands her ground.

Richard and Amelia have coffee after a meeting. He noticed she didn't share today. She was tired of hearing herself talk in circles about a subject with no answer. Richard tells her it doesn't have to work with a partner even though he's sure that she and Link love each other. He has noticed in recovery that addicts get it in their heads that their addiction is the only reason that their lives are a mess, but that is not always the case. Amelia is allowed to want what she wants, even if it's not what Link wants. Giving yourself permission for the relationship not to work might give her peace of mind to stay. He wishes he could have followed that advice in his life.

Bailey overhears Jo receiving good news on the phone. Luna's lawyer assured her she is getting custody. Jo then reveals she shared her shares of the hospital to fund the lawyer. She then FaceTimes the buyer. Bailey is disappointed to see Tom, who says he wanted some skin in the game. As he starts listing all the ways he'll be working with Bailey, Jo hangs up and leaves a speechless Bailey to process the news.

Outside Gerlie's room, Bailey asks the residents to pitch treatment options since Gerlie has not made improvements since the ECMO. All of them pitch a double lung transplant, which Bailey shuts down due to risk of bleeding or sudden death. Bailey understands Meredith put the class up to this.

Owen administers his mother's first vaccine dose. He assures her she got a leftover vaccine from the doses provided for the staff. She looks forward to hugging him without a mask. Teddy arrives, disappointed that she's too late to witness the vaccination.

Bailey finds Meredith and confronts her about the way she riled up the residents. Meredith says this is her teaching the residents. They need to stop thinking about COVID in terms of who lives and who dies. Millions of people will be suffering from the aftereffects of COVID and those people need advocates, too. Bailey hates that she is not respecting legacy. Meredith says they will all die at some point and this year has taught them that that may happen sooner than expected. Therefore, she will be teaching what matters most. Meredith points out Bailey would be screaming from the rooftops if the patient were Meredith or Bailey's mother. Bailey budges and agrees to call UNOS but only if Meredith restarts grand rounds.

April 2021

Zola runs up to her mother on the beach. After a hug, they start spreading flower petals together. The beach is set up for a wedding.

Antoinette helps Winston with the finishing touches on his suit.

The guests arrive and take their place. After Winston has taken his place in the front, Meredith walks down the aisle with her kids. The girls spread more flower petals. Bill then walks Maggie down the aisle. The ceremony starts. As the couple says their vows, Link briefly looks at Amelia. Hayes and Meredith share a look as well. Richard quotes scripture. His prayer for them is that they may love one another with their entire souls. He then pronounces them husband and wife. The newlyweds share a kiss as the guests applaud. Afterward, they jump the broom. As the guests head to the reception area, Meredith finds Teddy. UNOS found lungs for Gerlie. The two take off.

Jo is FaceTiming Jackson. She tells him he better give her a good price. He jokes she'll finally figure out how money works now that she has some. He welcomes her home. She says the same to a sleeping Luna in her car seat. She looks around the penthouse, where she has set up a crib already.

Meredith and Teddy get gowned and gloved and step up to the OR table. Meredith said she had a village of people pulling for her with every complication. It helped. Gerlie's people can't be here so they are Gerlie's village. Meredith tells Gerlie they got her. She then asks BokHee for the scalpel. She makes the incision. Mid-way through the procedure, Teddy checks if Meredith needs a break but she's fine. They finish the procedure flawlessly.

Meanwhile, everyone dances at the wedding.

Link is waiting for Amelia on the beach with Meredith's kids, each of them holding a ring box behind their backs. Amelia walks up and asks what's going on. Link says she didn't want compulsory and then they present her with four rings so she can pick. He knows the last year has been intense. It doesn't make sense for them to wait for life to settle down, because knowing them, it never will. But no matter what happens, he wants to go through it with her. He gets down on one knee and asks her to marry him. She stays silent. His smile fades. Heartbroken, he closes the ring box.

Meredith and Teddy are met with a round of applause from their colleagues as they leave the OR. Meredith hugs Bailey, whom she knows is responsible for this. Teddy hugs Meredith, too, as she basks in the applause.

Someone knocks on the door of the penthouse. Jo opens the door with Luna in her arms and sees a distraught Link. She figures out what happened. He asks if he can crash there. She lets him in.

Sitting by Gerlie's bedside, Meredith texts Cristina that her patient is stable. Cristina herself is performing a double lung transplant on a COVID survivor in the evening. Meredith reminds her she did it first. Gerlie wakes up. She is surprised to see that Meredith is still there. Meredith smiles and assures Gerlie she is not going anywhere.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]

Co-Starring[]

Medical Notes[]

Sophie[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Tachycardia
  • Treatment:

Sophie was in the ER after a minor car accident. Owen checked her out and said she was fine except her heart rate was slightly elevated, so he called Teddy to do an EKG. Sophie said it was probably just that she found Owen attractive.

Gerlie Bernardo[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • COVID-19
    • Pneumothorax
    • Multifocal pneumonia
  • Treatment:
    • High-flow oxygen
    • Steroids
    • Remdesivir
    • VATS procedure
    • Bronchoscopy
    • Mechanical ventilation
    • ECMO
    • Double lung transplant

Gerlie, 37, was in the hospital with COVID. Bailey examined her and ordered high-flow oxygen, chest films, steroids, and Remdesivir. She spent two weeks on a ventilator. A month later, in September, Gerlie was discharged from the hospital to go home and finish recovering. However, as she went to leave the hospital, she collapsed and had to be taken back inside. In October, Gerlie was still fighting her post-COVID complications in the hospital. She'd had a VATS procedure and had a pneumothorax and multifocal pneumonia. Meredith did a bronchoscope on her. On December 24, she had to be put on ECMO. In January 2021, Meredith asked to put her on the transplant list for lungs, a request Bailey denied due to her risk of sudden death. Meredith put pressure on Bailey and she ultimately agreed to the transplant. In April 2021, they found a donor and Gerlie received her lung transplant, which was successful.

Luna Ashton[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Treatment:
    • Nissen fundoplication

Luna had a Nissen fundoplication for her gastroesophageal reflux, which Cormac said went well. A month later, her social worker was told it was too soon to tell when approximately she could be discharged. Jo was eventually able to take Luna home in April 2021.

Skyler Nichols[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Amelia told her AA group that Skyler had recovered and left the hospital with her father.

Teddy Altman[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • COVID-19
  • Treatment:

Teddy unexpectedly tested positive for COVID-19. A retest showed the same result, so Teddy went home to isolate alone. She had mild symptoms and was able to remain at home during her illness.

Medical Staff[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:

In January 2021, many members of the hospital staff received their first vaccination for COVID-19.

Evelyn Hunt[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Evelyn received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Music[]

Song Performer Scene
"Love" Hydrate
  • Taryn and Levi argue about bananas and avocados.
  • An angry Jo starts packing her bag to move out on her own.
"Paper & Ribbon" Sweet Talk Radio
  • Meredith and Cormac share their drink on Christmas Eve.
  • The kids unwrap presents on Christmas morning.
  • The party heads outside and the kids play in the snow.
  • Owen proposes to Teddy. Link puts his ring away.
"Back Where You Belong" Lindsey Ray feat. AG
  • The hospital staff gets their first vaccine dose.
  • Richard and Bailey bask in the joy as they watch the vaccinations happen.
"Conversations in the Dark" John Legend
  • Meredith and Zola spread flower petals on the beach.
  • Everyone takes their place for the ceremony. Finally, Bill walks Maggie down the aisle.
  • Richard officiates the wedding.
  • The newlyweds share their kiss and jump the broom.
"Take You Home" Aaron Espe
  • Jo welcomes Luna home.
  • Meredith tells Teddy they are Gerlie's village.
  • As they operate, the guests dance at the wedding.
"To Begin Again" Ingrid Michaelson feat. Zayn
  • Amelia turns down Link's proposal.
  • Meredith is applauded by her colleagues.
  • A distraught Link asks Jo for a place to crash.
  • Meredith texts Cristina as she sits by Gerlie's bedside.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • This episode's title originated from the song Someone Saved My Life Tonight, originally sung by Elton John.
  • This episode scored 4.76 million viewers.
  • Filming for this episode wrapped on May 7, 2021.
  • The song used in the trailer for the episode and its last scene is "To Begin Again" by Ingrid Michaelson and Zayn Malik.
  • Sarah Drew visited the set while the cast was filming the Maggie-Winston wedding in Meredith's backyard. She was on the studio lot to record audio for Look Up Child.
  • This is the final episode to be (co-)written by Andy Reaser, who has been part of the show's writing staff since season 11.
  • While Ellen Pompeo had signed on for the eighteenth season earlier, contract negotiations with Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, Jr. dragged on. With season seventeen coming to a close and the show's future still up in the air, Krista Vernoff had to design for this episode to be fitting for both a season and a series finale. She requested Disney have an answer about the show's future for her before the finale was actually filmed, presumably to allow for some changes.[1]
  • This episode marks the final regular appearances of Jesse Williams and Greg Germann as Jackson Avery and Tom Koracick, respectively.
  • This is the final episode to credit Giacomo Gianniotti as a series regular.
  • In the scene where Richard and Amelia talk after a meeting, there is artwork in the background created by Iona McKidd, Kevin McKidd's daughter.
  • This episode ends with the following note: Producers wish to acknowledge the Grey's Anatomy Health and Safety Team whose dedication made the telling of these stories possible
    • Alysha D. Haran
    • Christopher Nuzzi
    • Danielle Sost
    • Leah Young
    • Madi Smith
    • Hannah Wilson
    • Ben Modabber
    • Dijon Edwards
    • Jason Goodman
    • Shomari Johnson
    • Katie Sanderson
    • John Vogt

Gallery[]

Episode Stills[]

Behind the Scenes[]

Quotes[]

See Also[]

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

References[]

  1. The Hollywood Reporter ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Renewed at ABC as Ellen Pompeo Inks Rich New Deal for Season 18
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