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Medical schools often ask applicants for an essay describing a time they faced adversity and how they overcame it. They want to know how people will cope with the challenges they'll face as a doctor. Some students worry they have nothing to write about. They haven't faced difficulty. I didn't have that problem. Experts say the more resilient we are, the better we can face life's challenges. And the single biggest factor for cultivating resilience? Positive relationships. So find your people and keep them close. Because when you're at your lowest, those people get you through.

You'll Never Walk Alone is the fourth episode of the seventeenth season and the 367th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

Owen faces a medical diagnosis that challenges more than he imagined. Meanwhile, Koracick begins to go stir crazy and Maggie gets a not-so-subtle glimpse into Winston's background.

Full Summary[]

Richard dons his PPE and enters the COVID unit. He walks straight to Meredith's room and tells her good morning, but she is sound asleep.

Richard has gathered the attendings for regional updates. They ask about Meredith but Richard assures them that Teddy and Andrew are taking good care of her. Owen goes over the new case number for Seattle, which indicate more patients are coming. The COVID ICU is at 68% capacity with 53 out of 72 ventilators in use. Much to the attending's dismay, Tom joins in through video chat. He is still asymptomatic and demands a new test. Jackson flips the tablet over to shut him up.

Jackson runs into Jo in the lounge. She says there are murder hornets now. He invites her to come out at his place since April has switched Harriet days. She's in for his proposed friendship reboot as long as he pays for the food.

Link plays guitar for his son. Amelia bursts into the bedroom looking for gauze. Bailey finally lost his tooth and with Meredith in the hospital, Amelia wants to take extra good care of him. Link suggests they look at the bright side, which is that they get to introduce him to the tooth fairy.

Teddy and Andrew meet Richard in Meredith's room. They tell him about Dr. Kuo's trial with monoclonal antibodies. There are two spots available but they have to act fast. Richard knows that two patients died in that trial but Teddy informs him that they likely got the treatment too late. Richard says he'll think about it, which doesn't please Andrew.

In the ER, Bailey's on the phone with her mother, who is disappointed she can't come to visit. She moved to them an assisted living facility just before the pandemic hit. A patient calls for help so Nico goes over. The patient asks him where he's from. He simply replies orthopedics and says he'll find a doctor to take care of her cut. As he walks off, Mabel points out the racist question. He downplays it. Paramedics bring in Dave Oyadomari, who fell off a ladder due to severe abdominal pain. Owen recently treated his appendicitis with oral antibiotics and sent him home. Dave wants to go home with more antibiotics but his wife Tammi, whom he's video chatting with, points out the severity of the situation. Bailey asks Nico to take the case.

Outside Meredith's room, Teddy tells Andrew she's hoping Meredith suddenly gets better so she doesn't need the trial.

Meredith finds herself on the beach again. Derek is no longer there, but she spots someone else leaning over the railing of the lifeguard tower. It's George O'Malley.

Dressed in full PPE, Taryn delivers the new COVID test to Tom's doorstep. He makes her take a few steps back and closes the door so he can do the test himself. While she waits, she talks about her own quarantine when she got COVID. Tom is not interested in whatever she did. Through the window, she sees a map of the world on his screen. He gives her back the test sample and claims he is stopping the pandemic.

Winston shows Maggie his lunch over video chat. He made a sandwich according to his nana's recipe. He invites Maggie to join him for a virtual family dinner tonight for his nana's birthday. She feels wrong doing something that is not about helping Meredith but Winston points out joy is in short supply, which is why he grabs every chance at it that he gets. He receives a text from his resident, meaning he has to go. Maggie says she'll see him at the dinner tonight.

While Dave is having a scan taken, he and Mabel talk about their immigrant family members. Owen joins Mabel, who tells him those scans show right-sided diverticulitis rather than appendicitis. Owen agrees and says it is even perforated. He adds Dave's collarbone is also broken. Owen tells Mabel to book an OR right away. Mabel is excited that he's letting her scrub in.

Levi points out an error Sara Ortiz made while ordering tests. He then greets Nico, who walks off after greeting him back. Sara comments that Nico is hot.

Over beers at Jackson's penthouse, Jo tells Jackson that Meredith used to kick her out of Alex's bed. Jackson says Meredith is a force of nature. They are cautiously optimistic that she will beat this thing.

Meredith recalls that Derek told her the sand isn't real. George says neither is the ocean, but it is nice. He brings up her kids. He says he checks in sometimes. She wonders how he's looking older. His body isn't real either, so he suggests it's more peaceful for her to imagine him older. They have a laugh. She asks if she gets to decide if she goes back. He doesn't know. He didn't get to decide, or he would have stayed. He says it's different for everyone, though.

Bailey finds Richard sitting by Meredith's bedside. She is still asleep. He tried to wake her to ask her about the trial. She offers to talk about the decision. Richard says they can't talk pros and cons since they don't know anything about this virus.

Maggie is enjoying the dinner with Winston and Antoinette, his nana. However, the mood shifts when Clifford Ndugu, Winston's father, joins in. Winston is not pleased but Ante says they better get along since she invited him for her birthday. Clifford is introduced to Maggie and proceeds to downplay Winston's genius, bringing up that he almost failed sixth grade. Winstons snaps that he missed school so much because he had to take care of his mother while Clifford was gambling away all their money. Clifford says he never pretended to be perfect but he loves Winston and his mother, so he prefers if they could be civil. Winston then leaves the chat.

In the morning, Jo is surprised to see Jackson up already. He ordered breakfast. She spent the night on the very comfortable couch. She thanks him for the friendship reboot. He goes to grab her the pizza leftovers but she pulls him in for a kiss. She's ripping off the band-aid. They take off their clothes.

Tom shows Taryn that he made an algorithm that simulates the spread of COVID. He shows the difference social distancing and masks would make. A zombie appears on the screen. He explains he built the algorithm by converting a Zombie Apocalypse game. Taryn loves that game. Tom then tells her to get the test back to the hospital.

As they walk, Meredith tells George she was devastated when he died. It made him happy how they were all cracking up at his funeral. Meredith says even with Derek, she managed to go on. George says his mother didn't go on. Some grief is heavier than other griefs. Sometimes, you can't move through it and you get stuck. He has tried to shake the grief out of his mother but she can't seem to let it go. He's still himself, even though she can't see him. Meredith says it's not the same.

Andrew tells Richard that Meredith's stats are getting worse. He had to make calls to get another spot for the trial. Richard asks if that spot opened up because someone else died. Frustrated, Andrew says Richard needs to make the decisions that Meredith chose him to make. They have to decide between doing something and doing nothing, and Andrew urges Richard to do the former.

Nico, Owen, and Mabel get Dave settled in the ICU. They had to leave his abdomen open. They had to perform an ileostomy. Nico says the clavicle fracture should heal properly. Owen asks Mabel to put Dave on the OR standby list in case they need to do a wash-out tomorrow and again tells her she did well today. Once he's gone, Mabel asks Nico if she should tell Owen that he should have done a scan when Dave first came in, because Asian-Americans have a greater chance of developing right-side diverticulitis than white patients. Nico says Owen will hear that she is accusing him of being a racist, so that conversation won't end well for her.

Taryn is back at Tom's house, to his surprise without a test kit. They wouldn't give her another one since he keeps testing positive. She did, however, pass level eight in Zombie Apocalypse. Tom says he stopped because it showed they would all die before year's end.

Jo and Jackson are naked on the couch. That was bigger than a bridge, but they can't do it again or they'll become a thing. Jackson suggests they go again before they get dressed so it all counts as one experience. She agrees. They start kissing again.

While folding laundry outside, Maggie tells Amelia that Winston bailed on dinner. She hasn't heard from him since. Amelia points out she seems very calm about that. Maggie says he gave her the time she asked for back in L.A. and having Meredith be alone in the hospital puts things in perspective. They hate that they can't be with her. Maggie hears Link whistling inside. Amelia says he is a one-man pep rally, which she hates, too.

Taryn finds Teddy frantically doing research outside. She feels enormous pressure to keep up with everything to help Meredith. Taryn wanted to inform her that Tom is in a dark place and in need of a friend, but since Meredith's life is on the line, Teddy should proceed.

Owen enters Dave's room while updating Tammi on his condition. Tammi hopes her husband can come home soon. After she's hung up, Owen comments it's awful that she can't visit. Mabel adds it's awful that it happened in the first place. Nico tells her to step out. He then tells Owen that she's upset over the misdiagnosis. Owen is, too, but sometimes you have to weigh the risks and make a decision. Nico then say right-sided diverticulitis is ten times as likely in patients of Asian descent, which Owen clearly didn't take into consideration. All this could have been avoided with a scan.

Levi is surprised to see Jo in the parking lot. Since she was gone when he woke up, he figured she came in early. She claims she was exercising. Nico passes by them and Jo immediately figures that he and Levi are back together. Levi defends his decision, citing an advice from the Dutch government to get a designated sex partner. He still has needs in war time.

Link joins Amelia out in the yard. Scout is napping and the other kids are watching TV. Amelia says Meredith is not improving. Link says it's good she's getting rest, which frustrates Amelia. She is sad and enraged and she doesn't want to be dismissed by his pep talks. If she keeps shoving everything down, he will have a very hard time finding the bright side to the consequences. He grabs two chairs for them to sit while she has her feelings.

Meredith starts shaking in her bed with Richard sitting by her side with the trial consent forms in his hands.

George asks Meredith if she still dances it out. She hasn't done that much since Cristina left. George misses dancing and laughing and food and textures. As she closes her eyes, Meredith can hear Richard talking about the consent forms. She sits up as Richard appears next to her on the beach. Seemingly oblivious to her presence or the beach itself, he talks about the decision.

Richard tells Meredith that everyone is worried for her. He's trying to be strong for them but he is struggling to see her like this and to not know what to do.

Meredith apologizes to Richard. George says there are so many choices in life.

Richard thinks Meredith is trying to communicate.

George tells Meredith that Richard might break if she stays here. She knows that.

"I know, George," Meredith says. Richard then leaves the room to tell Andrew that he consents to the trial.

Nico joins Levi outside. He hates everything but Levi right now. Levi says he lives with Jo now, but she hasn't been sleeping at home, so he wants to invite Nico over. But they have not been great to each other and he doesn't know what has changed. Nico points out there is worldwide pandemic and says a lot has changed. They take off.

Jo drops by Jackson's penthouse. She starts talking about how their plan went to crap but he interrupts her to say he can't be in a relationship right now. He moved on from April to Maggie to Vic so fast, so he needs some time to sort things out. Jo says her husband left her shortly after they got married for the second time. With virtual therapy three times a week, she is trying to put herself back together in a sad and lonely world. She needs friendship and sex, not a relationship. She is open to have him be her designated sex partner. He is open to that.

Owen sits down with Bailey in the tent outside. He brings up Dave's case. It was a classic appendicitis presentation for him and he didn't give it much thought. He defaulted to a standard of care. Bailey says that it is centered around white patients. Owen never wants to make that mistake again. He wants to treat everyone equally. Bailey says equal doesn't work for everybody. It's about equity, patients getting what they need. She just put her parents in assisted living. She worries they won't get enough care because there are so few black folks there. Her dad is freaked out because the nurses are male on his floor. Everyone has biases but what matters if what you do about them. If the protocols don't work, Owen can read and learn and change them.

Link is playing his guitar in the living room. Amelia put the kids down for the night. It's Link's turn to talk. He's good, though. He is okay with her processing her feelings by talking a lot, but he has already been through a period of illness and isolation. When he had cancer and his parents split, he could barely get out of bed for a year. He met a kid at cancer camp who didn't want to talk about cancer or treatment. Link then tried to focus on the good stuff only, too, and turns out it works for him. He can't be a partner in misery for Amelia. She asks about the song he's playing. He wrote a song titled "If the Virus Doesn't End Us, Climate Change Probably Will Blues."

Maggie accepts video call from Winston. He's glad that she answered. She says they don't have to talk about it. Winston says his dad makes him crazy. He seems charming, but he has a temper. Winston wants to do something else tonight, though. They are going to watch Coming to America together.

Teddy arrives at Tom's house with soup. He doesn't open the door. She knows she is the last person he wants to see, but they can talk through the door so he can have a semblance of human contact. She can't blame him for wanting to keep his distance, pandemic or not. Since he doesn't answer her, she leaves. Inside, Tom is sweating and shaking on the floor.

Meredith tells George she was mad at him for choosing someone over himself. She asks if he regrets it. He asks if it matters. She would have done the same thing, which is why she's here. She guesses that's right, meaning she can blame this on him. He went all in for everyone around him. That affected her. He changed her life. She never told him that but it's true.

Bailey joins Richard in Meredith's room. She thinks he made the right call. Richard talks about having known Meredith since she was a child and spending time with her in the hospital. He watched her grow up. He knew COVID patients have to suffer in isolation, but he never gave a thought to how helpless and alone their loved ones feel. Bailey briefly touches his shoulder to comfort him. They watch Meredith in silence.

Somehow aware of their presence, Meredith imagines them sitting with her and George on her dream beach.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]

Co-Starring[]

Medical Notes[]

Meredith Grey[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • COVID-19
  • Treatment:
    • Oxygen

Meredith was still in the hospital on oxygen. She was reported to be sleeping most of the day. Teddy told Richard about a trial out of Manhattan using monoclonal antibodies. Richard spent the day considering it and ultimately agreed to let Meredith join the trial.

Tom Koracick[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • COVID-19
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:

Tom was isolating at home after a positive test. He believed the test was a dud and requested another. The second test also came up positive, though he refused to believe it. However, later, he developed chills, though he hid this.

Soccer Mom[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Laceration
  • Treatment:

A soccer mom came into the ER with a cut on her arm. Nico looked at it and said it was just a cut, so he handed her off to another doctor.

Dave Oyadomari[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Broken collarbone
    • Right-sided diverticulitis
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery
    • Ileostomy
    • ABTHERA

Dave, 37, came into the ER with a head laceration and shoulder pain after falling off a stepladder, along with abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting along with fever. He had recently been treated for appendicitis at the hospital and had been sent home with oral antibiotics. Bailey ordered a COVID test, x-rays, labs, and a FAST exam. He was taken for a CT, which showed pelvic free fluid and a pericolonic abscess, indicating right-sided diverticulitis, which had perforated. He also had a broken collarbone. Owen operated, but was unable to close afterward due to the swelling of his colon. His clavicle fracture was not displaced, so Nico said it would heal nicely in about a month.

Music[]

Song Performer Scene
"Meet Again" Harry Hudson
  • Richard dons his PPE and enters the COVID unit.
  • He goes to Meredith's bedside and watches her as she sleeps.
"I'm Here" Celeste
  • Link sits down to listen to Amelia.
  • Richard holds vigil by Meredith's bedside, considering his choice.
  • Meredith and George talk about dancing.
  • Meredith hears Richard toiling over his decision.
  • George says if she stays on the beach, it might break Richard. Meredith knows.
  • Richard gives his consent for the experimental treatment.
"Refuse" Kevin Garrett
  • Teddy leaves Tom's place, not knowing he's shivering on the other side of the door.
  • Meredith and George talk about his life.
  • Bailey comes to see Richard, who is in Meredith's room.
  • He talks about watching Meredith grow up.
  • Meredith sits on the beach with Richard, George, and Bailey.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • This episode's title originated from the song You'll Never Walk Alone, originally sung by Gerry & The Pacemakers.
  • This episode scored 5.84 million viewers.
  • The beach scenes with George were filmed in mid-October 2020. Krista Vernoff wrote most of the beach scenes herself since the majority of the writers did not know about the special guest stars appearing on the beach. The final scene where Richard and Bailey appear on the beach with Meredith and George was pitched by Meg Marinis and Andy Reaser, who read Krista's beach scenes and saw an opportunity to create an iconic moment by reuniting the four characters.
    • Julie Wong, the credited writer for the episode, learned of George appearing in the episode after turning her first or second draft, when Krista decided that the George scenes would be included in the fourth episode. Since some of non-beach scenes for the episodes had to be removed in order to accommodate the decision, they ended up having room in the episode and time on the schedule with T.R. Knight for more one more beach scene that had not been written yet. Krista then asked Julie to write the scene. Julie then went to rewatch the first five seasons with George before writing the scene where Meredith tells George that he changed her life.[1]
  • In the scenes where Meredith is in a coma, she is played by a doll made to look like Ellen Pompeo to help maintain COVID safety protocols.
  • Levi has a Human Rights Campaign sticker on his bike. HRC is the largest LGBTQ advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States.
  • In this episode, Hunt misdiagnoses an Asian-American patient because he doesn't recognise how protocols are white-centered and thus not always adequate for Asian-American patients. It is Bailey who explains to him in the end how he should handle such a mistake by adapting the protocols. This points us to another episode, (Don't Fear) the Reaper, in which it is Bailey herself who is the patient being misdiagnosed because of a doctor ignoring how heart attack presents itself differently in women and how it is more likely dangerous for especially Black women.

Gallery[]

Episode Stills[]

Quotes[]

Meredith Grey (to George): Because you… went all in for everybody. For your friends, your family, a woman at the bus stop. You think that somehow didn't affect me?


Meredith Grey: You changed my life, George. I didn’t say it then, but it’s true.

See Also[]

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

  1. Deadline ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: T.R. Knight & EP Krista Vernoff On George & Meredith’s Touching Reunion & More
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