The following contains spoilers from ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.
In the most recent episode of Shonda Rhimes’ (Bridgerton) ABC hit drama Grey’s Anatomy, Chyler Leigh’s (Supergirl) Lexie Grey and Eric Dane’s (Euphoria) Mark Sloan made returns, making them the third and fourth formerly deceased characters to join Ellen Pompeo’s (Station 19) Meredith Grey’s dream sequence while recovering from COVID, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Season 17 of the show has implemented the COVID-19 pandemic into its storyline, introducing how healthcare workers have been handling these unprecedented times.
Dane’s character previously played Sloan for more than seven seasons, alongside Leigh’s character, who joined the cast in season three. Both characters perished as a result of the plane crash in the season nine premiere and the season eight finale, respectively. In former episodes of Grey’s Anatomy this season, Patrick Dempsey’s (Enchanted) Derek Shepherd and T.R. Knight’s (The Flight Attendant) George O’Malley had been featured in Meredith’s metaphorical beach while she continues her battle with COVID. The former was killed in season 11 of a car accident while the latter was killed after he was hit by a bus in the season five finale.
A surprise death was also revealed in another episode this season, with Giacomo Gianniotti’s (Station 19) Andrew DeLuca dying following his stabbing. He appeared in Meredith’s dream sequence until his official time of death was called, which was when he was able to finally reunite with his late mother. This dream sequence has been described as “an in-between place where Meredith can hang out and the dead people she loves can visit her,” by showrunner Krista Vernoff (Grace), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The most recent episode reunited love interests Mark and Lexie after series creator Rhimes previously stated that killing off Dane’s character was the only way to ensure he and Lexie would be together. The duo served the purpose of bringing Meredith off the ventilator and on to the next step of fully recovering from the virus that has killed over half a million people in the United States thus far. After seeing her late husband and being unable to touch him, the character struggled with wanting to leave the magical beach. Now able to breathe on her own, all that is left for Pompeo’s character this season is to awake and reunite with her loved ones – we hope.