Is Meredith Grey looking to cure an estranged relationship?
In Grey’s Anatomy‘s upcoming episode “The Winner Takes It All,” Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) goes to visit her dying father, Thatcher Grey (Jeff Perry), before his time is up.
In an exclusive clip from the tear-jerking episode, the beloved doctor wears a grim expression and takes a deep breath before entering her dad’s house.
While the surgeon is known for being confident during emergencies, her hesitation is palpable.
After she rings the doorbell, a caretaker answers and catches her off-guard by knowing her name.
“I’m sorry, you look just like your picture,” he explains, after interrupting her introduction. “You’re the surgeon, right?”
When asked if she would like to come in, Meredith jokes, “That’s a loaded question.”
The candid comment is a nod to the pair’s divided relationship, which stemmed from him leaving her when she was five. After his abandonment, he never reached out during their 20-year estrangement.
Despite their differences, when her father was admitted into the hospital seeking a liver transplantation in season 6, she donated part of hers to him.
While Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.) had a complicated relationship with Thatcher after having an affair with his wife, the former Chief of Surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital sympathizes with him because they both suffer from alcoholism and, he pushes Meredith to see her father again.
“Thatcher, you have a visitor,” the nurse says, as her dad turns around from a cozy chair.
Upon seeing his daughter, Thatcher lights up and exclaims, “Meredith, hi!”
Despite doing her best, Meredith still looks uneasy and just stares at him for a moment. “Hi,” she says, while looking him up and down.
This season of the medical drama has been filled with blasts from the past, including a montage of familiar faces who lost their lives throughout the show for the Halloween episode titled, “Flowers Grow Out of My Grave.”
As Meredith left the hospital at the end of the episode, viewers saw George (T. R. Knight) run around a corner; her mother Ellis (Kate Burton) smiling at her from behind; her dog Doc walking down a hallway; her sister Lexie (Chyler Leigh) behind a counter; and her husband Derek (Patrick Dempsey) and his best friend Mark (Eric Dane) watching her as she walks out the door.
The emotional moment was set to the song “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol, which has been used by the series during several impactful scenes in the past.
And while old footage of past characters was used to create the moment, Vernoff said a few actors actually returned to set to film the scene.
“We talked about it for four months with the visual effects people. You have to really plan a sequence like that,” she said. “We have combined some old footage that aired, some old footage that didn’t air — we pulled old dailies — and we shot some new stuff. Doc, we shot. Ellis, we shot. And the idea of that, for me, is that we don’t know if this is in Meredith’s imagination or memory, or if it’s actually happening. For whatever anybody believes, there is a little bit of something.”
While Pompeo has starred as Dr. Meredith Grey since season 1 of Grey’s Anatomy first premiered in 2005, she is also looking to make a “change” sometime soon.
“I’m clearly not prepared right now to make any formal announcement about what my future is on the show, but I am really feeling like we have told the majority of the stories that we can tell,” Pompeo told Entertainment Weekly last year. “I’m really excited to do some new things, it’s about time that I mix it up and I’m really excited about my producing career, and I’m definitely looking for a change.”
Along with exploring new career opportunities, Pompeo said she also wants to spend more time with her kids, Eli Christopher, 21 months, Sienna May, 3½, and Stella Luna, 8½.
“My children are getting older so I want to be more available to them now. I can’t be an absentee mom if they’re teenagers, I have to be around to whip their butts,” she said. “So it’s definitely time for change in my life. I’m really looking forward to it and that’s the beauty of my situation.”
“I have definitely played this out for everything that I possibly could,” she said of her time on the show. “I’ve given it 200 percent of my energy and my love and my time and my commitment and my dedication.”
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.
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