Grey's Anatomy: Derek Makes a Final Appearance as Meredith's COVID Battle Continues in New Promo
Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey has been visited by Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Shepherd in her dreams as she fights COVID-19
It looks like Meredith Grey's COVID-19 battle isn't quite over.
"Meredith's X-Rays have shown a remarkable improvement," Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) comments, though Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.) remains skeptical.
"She should be awake. Why isn't she?" he says.
The clip then turns to Meredith's idyllic beach dream sequence, where she has been reunited with various past characters throughout her COVID battle — including her late husband Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey).
"People love you Meredith, people need you," Derek tells Meredith.
"I'm tired," she replies.
"You're still fighting," he says, though Meredith seems to want to stay on the beach — a foreboding sign for her recovery back in the real world.
"I want you closer," she tells Derek, who is also the father of her three children.
"If you get closer…" Derek begins as Meredith knowingly finishes his sentence: "I'll never leave."
Dempsey, 55, first shocked fans when he made a surprise return to the series during the season premiere last November after his character died in a car crash during season 11.
Since then, Derek has appeared in Meredith's COVID dreams twice more. According to showrunner Krista Vernoff, fans would spot him one more time before the season's close — meaning his appearance in next week's episode will likely be his last.
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Meredith's dreams have also provided the backdrop for a series of other former Grey's stars to come back to the medical drama this season, including T.R. Knight, Chyler Leigh and Eric Dane. Knight appeared on the beach in a December episode after his character, George O'Malley, got hit by a bus and died in season five.
Dane and Leigh become the latest former stars to return, reprising their respective roles as Lexie Grey and Mark Sloane during an episode earlier this month. The pair returned to the show for the first time since the series' 2012 season eight finale when both tragically died as a result of a plane crash.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.