Promo for tonight’s December 3 episode of Grey’s Anatomy season 17 has been teasing fans with the promise of a special appearance from another character from Meredith Grey’s past. While the show has been tight-lipped about who that person is, that hasn’t stopped viewers from guessing and hoping that another killed-off character will show up on the beach in Meredith’s dreams.
— Greys Anatomy (@GreysABC) December 3, 2020
On Twitter, the account for Grey’s Anatomy shared a brief promo video ahead of the new episode, writing, “As Mer’s life hangs in the balance tonight on #GreysAnatomy, see who’s waiting for her on the beach.”
The tweet was quickly flooded with responses, and the commenters seemed nearly unanimous in their hopeful prediction that the person “waiting” for Meredith will be her late half-sister Lexie Grey.
If it doesn’t turn out to be Lexie visiting Meredith in her dreams, fans are also hoping for a reappearance of George O’Malley, who was a main character on the show since its pilot episode, before dying at the end of season 6.
In anticipation of the big reveal, Twitter user Kayli Bossard wrote, “I swear if I’m getting this hyped up and it’s Ellis or Thatcher I’m throwing hands lol. I’m hoping for Lexie because next to Derek I think that’d mean the most to her , but I’m not opposed to George id love that to . Just not her parents I swear lol.” Both of Meredith’s parents have passed away on the show, and Meredith was visited by her dead mother during a previous near-death experience season prior.
Fans Were Surprised With the Return of Derek Shepherd at the End of the Season 17 Premiere
In the final moments of the two-hour Grey’s Anatomy season 17 premiere, the show revealed that Meredith Grey had COVID-19 and, in her illness, was dreaming that she was on a beach with her husband Derek Shepherd. This was a huge reveal for longterm fans of the show, as Shepherd, played by Patrick Dempsey, was killed off unexpectedly back in season 11.
Dempsey has had cameos in the first two episodes of the season so far, and told Deadline he’d be down to do more. He said, “With everything that we’re dealing with right now, and certainly we have been distracted with the election, but we’re going to get back into the reality of COVID and being in a pandemic, and all the lives that have been lost. Where are these souls going? And I think that’s what attracted me to this storyline, I think it can be really helpful and healing to so many people.”
Bringing back Derek opens the door for the writers to bring back any of the very many characters who have died on Grey’s Anatomy over the years, so long as the actors who played them are interested and available to return.
Ellen Pompeo & TR Knight Visited With Each Other During This Year
Back in March, days before the nation-wide shutdown and quarantine due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Pompeo shared a selfie on Instagram with TR Knight, who played George O’Malley on Grey’s. In the caption, she wrote, “Old friends are the BEST friends @t.r.knight… but like we aren’t old… we’ve just known each other for a very long time yes yes that’s it….” Knight reshared the photo, captioning it, “I’m just happy we met when we were fetuses.”
Since they’re living near enough to one another that they can meet up for a casual get-together, could that mean Pompeo asked Knight to come back to the medical drama to reprise his role as fan-favorite George? Knight’s latest project, The Flight Attendant starring Kaley Cuoco, premiered last month on HBO Max; provided the filming dates did not conflict, it’s very possible that he’s who returned to the cast after years away.
In an interview with Deadline, Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff revealed that Pompeo was consulted on who should return to the show posthumously. She said, “In the pandemic, people are having really intense dreams because of the lockdown. We’re not getting enough stimulation, and so, it’s happening in our dreams. So, it started as that. It started as, how do we give people some escape. I had this imagining of a beach motif throughout the season, and I called Ellen, and I said, what if we bring back, I don’t know, some dead character that you could dream of on the beach, that would be so fun for the fans.” Since Pompeo and Knight are friends in real life, it would not be surprising if she asked to bring him back in addition to Dempsey.
New episodes of Grey’s Anatomy season 17 air on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern time/8 p.m. Central time on ABC.