As any longtime fan can tell you, Grey’s Anatomy has had more than its fair share of heart wrenching incidents. With so many makeups and breakups, tragedies and triumphs, it’s incredibly difficult to narrow down the top Grey’s moments. After all, there are over 200 episodes to choose from! But, after much deliberation, grab your tissue box and please read on for the first five of the top 10 Grey’s Anatomy episodes of all time.
If you haven’t been keeping up with McDreamy, McSteamy, and the whole Seattle Grace/Mercy West/Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital gang, then beware – major spoilers lie ahead. Head over to Netflix to catch up on the last ten seasons of unforgettable drama. If you’re all caught up, then read on for a trip down this Seattle-based memory lane!
Season 1 episode 9 – “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?”
This episode starts out with some very lighthearted fun; George has an unfortunate rash that, as it turns out, has spread throughout the entire hospital due to the frequent canoodling amongst Seattle Grace doctors. In a tender moment between Cristina and Burke, they tell each other that neither has “anything to worry about” re: the rash, finally affirming their exclusivity as a couple. Towards the end of the episode, the always-tumultuous Mer/Der relationship seems to have finally reached a high point when Meredith leans on Derek for emotional support regarding her mother’s advancing Alzheimers.
Alas, it was too good to last; the episode ends with our (and Meredith’s!) first glimpse of Addison Shepherd. She delivers this squirm-worthy final line to Mer: “And you must be the woman who’s been screwing my husband?”. Yikes.
An Explosive Event
Season 2 episodes 16 & 17 – “It’s the End of the World” and “As We Know It”
Grey’s Anatomy loves it’s two-part or even three-part story arcs, and these Season 2 eps were as thrilling as any. In “It’s the End of the World”, Dr. Bailey has just gone into labor when a patient arrives at Seattle Grace with unexploded ammunition lodged inside his chest, putting the entire hospital at danger. At the same time, Derek and Cristina are mid-operation on a very important patient – Dr. Bailey’s husband. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Grey’s episode without a little romance; in another part of the hospital, Izzie confesses her feelings of passion to Alex. At the end of the first episode of this two-parter, we’re left with major cliffhangers: Mr. Bailey is in cardiac arrest. A panicked Dr. Bailey is refusing to push, putting her unborn child’s life at risk. And Meredith ends up glued to the dangerous patient’s side – her hand placement inside his chest is the only thing stopping the bomb from exploding.
Thankfully, in part two, everything shockingly works out somewhat ok. George convinces Bailey to push, and she delivers a healthy baby. Derek and Cristina perform a successful surgery and save her husband. When Cristina rushes to help Burke and Meredith with the bomb situation, Burke shows how much he truly loves her by forcing her to leave, saying he can’t concentrate on his tricky work knowing she could be in danger. Ultimately, he, Meredith, and the hospital’s bomb squad successfully remove the explosive, saving the patient and the lives of many doctors. Sadly, the bomb later explodes, killing two bomb squad members. Towards the end of the episode, Cristina whispers, “I love you, too” to a sleeping Dr. Burke – their relationship is better than ever. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the Mer/Der relationship, which is at a low at this point in the series. When Derek visits a shaken Meredith at the very end of episode 17, he does show her he cares about her, but they make no move to reconcile.
A Devastating Death
Season 2 episode 27 – “Losing My Religion”
Though Denny and Izzie’s relationship on Grey’s was one of the shorter ones, it was incredibly beautiful, and his death at the end of this episode is shattering. In the previous episode, Izzie had cut heart-patient Denny’s LVAD wire so that his health would rapidly deteriorate, forcing him to the top of the transplant risk. Albeit very dangerous and completely illegal, this plan actually works, so episode 27 opens with Denny coming out of a successful transplant surgery. When Chief Webber finds out about the cut LVAD, none of the interns will admit to cutting the wire, so he punishes all of them equally by barring them from surgeries and forcing them to plan a prom dance for his niece instead. While Izzie is off getting all dolled up in a gorgeous pink prom dress, Denny’s new heart fails suddenly and he dies. No true Grey’s fan could ever forget the image of Izzie, still in her pink gown, sobbing over Denny’s lifeless body.
The Wedding That Never Was
Season 3 episode 25 – “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”
As always, leave it to Grey’s to bring us an astonishing Season finale. This episode brought Season 3 – and Cristina band Burke’s relationship – to its final close. After major marriage preparations, Burke leaves Cristina at the altar, devastating her as well as Cristina/Burke shippers all over America. But that’s not this episodes only major element. Chief Webber’s wife, Adele, has a miscarriage, and caring for her brings the couple back together. Additionally, George finds out he has failed an important medical exams, meaning he will have to stay an intern. As he dejectedly sits in the intern locker room, a new girl introduces herself, and we meet Lexie Grey, Meredith’s half-sister, for the first time. She announces she will be starting as an intern at Seattle Grace, thus ending Season 3 with the potential for lots of sister drama in the future!
Good News and Bad News
Season 5 episode 24 – “Now or Never”
Another Season finale, another best episode. Grey’s Seasons 4 and 5 were widely regarded as disappointing, and full of too many relationship twists and confusing storylines to recount. But with “Now or Never”, Grey’s got it’s groove back. Rounding out the first 5 of our top 10, this episode is full of highs and lows, and is memorable for being so incredibly bittersweet.
Izzie has just undergone brain surgery to remove her cancerous tumors, and her closest fellow doctors, including her new husband Alex, are all waiting for her to wake. Meanwhile, George leaves the hospital to take a day off. Nearby, Meredith and Cristina discuss Mer and Der’s plans to get married at the courthouse that day. Soon afterwards, Izzie wakes up her short-term memory is completely destroyed, devastating Alex.
Later, Meredith and Owen are tending to a trauma victim whose face has been so mangled he is unrecognizable; they call him John Doe. Meredith is so busy with John Doe throughout the day that she and Derek have no time for their marriage at City Hall. Instead, in a heartwarming scene, they write their own vows on the infamous post-it note and declare themselves married. At the same time, the combination of love and sadness she has witnessed that day through Mer, Der, Alex, and Izzie has inspired Cristina, who rushes to Owen and confesses her love for him. They kiss passionately.
Back in Izzie’s room, Alex yells at her harshly, getting out all of his frustrations about her memory loss; he figures no harm done, as she won’t remember anyway. Soon after, Cristina comes to Izzie’s room to check on her and she retells the story of her fight with Alex – demonstrating that her memory is returning! An elated Alex comes running in to embrace Izzie, and all seems well – but only for a moment. In a shocking turn of events, everything in the hospital seems to fall apart simultaneously. First, John Doe manages to communicate with Meredith – by tracing his nickname on her hand – that he is actually George. Mer and Der, now knowing they are working on their close friend, frantically operate on him. At the same time, back in her room, Izzie suddenly goes limp in Alex’s arms. She is coding, and Chief Webber and Bailey rush to try to save her. As the episode ends, it is unclear whether either of these much-loved patients will survive. (As those who have seen Season 6 will know, Izzie makes it out alive but sadly George does not.)
Check Out Part 2!
There you have it, the first five of the top 10 Grey’s episodes ever. For the final five best Grey’s moments, all from Seasons 6 through 10, you’ll have to check out Part 2!