15 Most Heartbreaking Episodes of 'Grey's Anatomy'
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15 Most Heartbreaking Episodes of 'Grey's Anatomy'

A spoiler- and heartbreak-filled breakdown of some really sad "Grey's Anatomy" episodes.

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15 Most Heartbreaking Episodes of 'Grey's Anatomy'

I have been binge-watching Grey’s like it’s nobody’s business since Christmas break 2015. I’m almost finished with season ten, and this show has broken my heart more times than I can count, but for some reason, I still stick with it. This is a list of moments I have compiled that have broken my heart so far (and some that I haven’t watched but know all about because the "Grey’s Anatomy" fanbase is really good at spoiling everything for everyone).

15) Into You Like a Train (2x6)

This is the episode where the two train passengers come in from the crash attached to each other because they are literally impaled on a pole. Our beloved interns, alongside the residents and attendings, work hard to try to save them, but it is obvious that they can only focus on saving one of the patients if they want either of them to live at all. This episode was so sad because Bonnie, one of the patients, had the doctors call her fiancé, and he ends up arriving at Seattle Grace literally minutes after she dies. It was a seriously stressful episode.

14) The Other Side of This Life, Part 2 (3x23)

Literally the reason I get paranoid every time I get the hiccups anymore. Seriously, who would have thought that you could die from the hiccups? This is the episode in which Meredith’s mom has surgery to get rid of hiccups, has complications, and then ends up passing away. Her father, Thatcher, yells at her, and this is the incident that causes them to have a falling out and for him to become an alcoholic. It’s just so crazy that Susan went in with a case of the hiccups, and she ends up dying, right after Meredith had started to grow fond of her.

13) Song Beneath the Song (7x18)

The infamous musical episode. It shows the aftermath of the car crash at the end of the previous episode. Callie, having been thrown through the windshield as a result of not wearing her seatbelt, is having some sort of out-of-body experience (which, I’ll admit, was pretty weird to watch).

One of the most heartbreaking lines of the season, maybe even the series, is uttered by Arizona after they arrive at Seattle Grace: “I asked her to marry me and a truck came out of nowhere.” They end up saving both Callie and the baby, but the most insufferable part of the whole episode is not knowing whether or not they’ll make it. It’s so sad watching all of the doctors reacting to the thought of losing Callie, and the fact that they used all of the heart-wrenching music we have grown to hate because it signals the death of a character we love.

12) Stairway to Heaven (5x13)

I know it was a really controversial episode, but when Meredith sat in on the execution of William Dunn, a death row inmate, despite Derek’s anger with her for doing so. Meredith feels sympathy for William because he confides in her that he’s afraid to die. It really reminded me of the time that I had to watch the film Dead Man Walking, starring Sean Penn, in my high school government class and I couldn’t help but to sympathize (until we found out he really killed that girl, though. Sorry. Spoilers?).

11) Make Me Lose Control (2x3)

In case, you can’t remember that far back, this was the episode during which Cristina collapses in the OR because her pregnancy turned out to be ectopic. She hadn’t wanted the hospital to know, but they find out when they have to operate on her. The worst part of this episode is when Cristina starts crying hysterically and screams at her colleagues to sedate her because she can’t stand the way that she’s feeling. It’s one of the most heartbreaking moments on the show, especially since she had never wanted a baby in the first place but she’s so devastated by the loss.

10) Suddenly (8x9)

Teddy and Henry’s relationship to get him insurance felt very sketchy at first, but I know I soon fell in love with Henry’s charismatic, sarcastic personality. It was devastating knowing that if Cristina had been made aware of the fact that it was Henry on her table, she might have tried harder to save him, maybe done something a little extra. Watching Teddy break down after she finds out her new husband, the love of her life, has died was actually heartbreaking for me.

9) Some Kind of Miracle (3x17)

When Meredith was knocked into the harbor, I thought it was over. If I hadn’t known there were ten more seasons to look forward to, I would have thought she was going to die. The most devastating part of this episode isn’t thinking that Derek might lose Meredith; it was the thought that she didn’t want to live to be with him. When those elevator doors opened and Meredith saw her mom, when she realized it meant that Ellis had died – that was truly heartbreaking.

8) Things We Said Today (9x10)

I’m still not over this episode if we’re being honest. The fact that Richard was ready to walk Bailey down the aisle – to actually take on the role of the father figure that he had been to Bailey for so many years – was heartwarming, but on Grey’s Anatomy, you can never let your guard down. The call that Adele, Richard’s wife with Alzheimer’s disease, had been brought to the ER coughing up blood was shocking enough, but when Bailey disregarded her own wedding in order to attempt (and, unfortunately, ultimately fail) to save Adele’s life, I’m pretty sure my own heart stopped.

7) It’s the End of the World/As We Know It (2x16/17)

Okay, I clumped these two together because they’re both pretty much telling the same story: that of two men who made a homemade bomb and how they got said bomb out of the literal chest of one of the men. Only Shonda Rhimes could make this shit up. So, the guy with the bomb in his chest is brought in by a paramedic, and the only way she could keep the bomb from blowing up is by keeping her hand on it the whole time. I only remember this entire plotline because it messed me up so bad.

The first episode ends with the paramedic succumbing to her anxiety about literally having her hands around a bomb inside of a man’s chest cavity, and as everyone throws themselves to the ground in case the bomb goes off, the camera slowly pans up to show that Meredith has taken the paramedic’s place. The really terrible part of all of this is that they actually do end up getting the bomb out of the guy’s chest…only to have it blow up in the bomb squad guy’s hands, killing him instantly. This is hard to Meredith, and it was hard on all of us, too.

6) Losing My Religion (2x27)

I do not want to talk about Denny Duquette. I do not even want to hear his name. I still cannot believe how ridiculously simple it would have been for them to save him. He had a heart attack. He literally had a heart attack right before Izzie was going to go upstairs from the prom to be with him. It was so devastating because they had found him a new heart. He was going to live, get his happily ever after with Izzie, and then he DIES. Thanks, Shonda. Having to watch Izzie be dragged out of Denny’s hospital bed by Alex was so awful.

5) Remember the Time (9x2)

This is the episode where Mark is taken off life support after the 30 days he had requested to be kept on it for were up. He wakes up, but this turns out to be just a rush of something like adrenaline before he ends up crashing and, eventually, dying. His death was devastating, especially because he left behind friends, family, and a daughter, but knowing that he was to be reunited with Lexie made it not so bad.

4) Sanctuary (6x23)

I have been waiting the entire time I was writing this to be able to talk about this episode. So much tragedy packed into one forty-minute period of time. How is it even fair? How are we even supposed to have enough time to recover in between each shocking event during the episode? First, the shooter, a grieving widower named Gary whose wife had been taken off life support by Derek, kills Reed, a transfer from Mercy West, before shooting Alex, who is later found by Mark and Lexie, and we find out that he had been bleeding out in an elevator for pretty much the entire episode. He kills a nurse when she reprimands him for being somewhere he shouldn’t be, and then Charles Percy, another transfer from Mercy West.

A terrifying part of the episode, however, is when Gary finds Derek on the catwalk, eventually shooting him literally right in front of Meredith holy shit what the hell. I think I screamed as loud as Meredith did at that point. They rush him to the OR, where Cristina performs surgery, but the shooter comes in, holding them all at gunpoint. Owen tries to charge him, and he shoots Owen too. How in the world an episode with so much trauma was even allowed to air is amazing.

3) Flight (8x24)

The plane crash was a weird plotline that the writers decided to follow, and it ended up definitely not working in our favor. While Lexie’s death is obviously the most profound moment of the episode (when she told Mark she loves him, I cried so hard) but this episode caused so much chaos and destruction amongst the doctors. It ends up forcing the hospital into bankruptcy. Arizona loses her leg. It ruins Callie and Arizona’s marriage. Arizona and Alex feud for quite a while, as she blames him for being on the plane in the first place. It’s all just very heartbreaking (have I used that word enough yet in this article?) and I don’t really know why I’m still watching this show, to be honest.

2) Now or Never (5x24)

For me, George O’Malley’s death was worse than almost everyone else on the show’s. Almost. I knew he was going to die (again, spoilers) but it still hit me like a bus (…too soon?).The fact that no one even knew that it was George was terrible. That he had been killed right after deciding to enlist in the army was even worse. Those elevator doors opened and showed us George in his uniform, and I immediately burst into tears. I couldn’t believe that 007 was gone, that heart-in-the-elevator-guy had died. George was so charismatic, so endearing, such a vital part of the show, that I couldn’t believe they could actually kill him. The show hasn’t quite entirely been the same without him.

1) How to Save a Life (11x24)

I DON’T EVEN WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. I haven’t even watched this episode yet, but I know it happens because the Internet exists and I can’t help myself from peeking where I’m not supposed to, so I know Derek dies. Mc-freaking-Dreamy dies. He gets blindsided by an eighteen-wheeler and SO DID ALL OF WE. Seriously, Shonda?! I HAVEN’T EVEN WATCHED THE EPISODE YET AND I’M STILL SUPER ANGRY ABOUT IT.

Moral of the story: this is a terrible show that ruins everyone’s lives but for some reason we’re all so attached to it that we couldn’t ever imagine quitting it. The end.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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