Grey’s Anatomy Season 11 Episode 21 Review: “How to Save a Life”

Grey's Anatomy

We were warned. We should have seen something like this coming, but we weren’t prepared. Nothing could have prepared us for the unexpected loss of one half of one of the most pivotal television couples ever. Grey’s Anatomy has officially bid goodbye to Derek Shepherd.

After last week’s reflection to the Season 8 plane crash, as well as the thoughts of Mark and Lexie I know we were all thinking, it was too much to hope that another disaster wouldn’t strike. Unfortunately, disaster is exactly what Grey’s Anatomy does best. So let me start at the beginning, and hope that I can get through this without going through my entire tissue box (not likely, I’m halfway there).

On his way to the airport to officially quit his job in Washington, D.C., Derek witnesses a horrific car crash in the middle of nowhere (seriously people, remember that The Fast and the Furious drivers are trained professionals). Derek does what he does best, immediately checking on the victims. Derek empathetically telling little girl Winnie that if she can feel her own pulse then she’s alive, that should’ve been my first clue that something was going to go terribly wrong. Clue #2 that this wasn’t going to end well? Winnie’s father also died right in front of her, while they were fishing. This is either cruel irony or a sick joke.

Winnie proves to be an excellent assistant to Derek (you can already tell this girl is destined for a career in medicine) in treating the victims. Then we get Ominous Clue #3 as Derek tells a sappy story about the first time he kissed Meredith, in order to keep everyone calm. Clue #4: “It’s a Beautiful Day to Save Lives”. Now I know something is very, very wrong. Sure enough, as soon as the victims are off to the hospital, Derek is hit head on by a truck.

He’s taken to a different hospital than his own, unable to communicate who he is, and what he needs medically. Winnie recognizes Derek and quickly tells the staff who he is and what he did for her that day. The doctors now understand the importance of the patient they have on the table, but Derek’s thoughts are a terrible prediction of what’s ahead: “I’m going to die because these people aren’t properly trained”. Derek’s narrates his own surgery to the audience, until he can’t anymore.

This isn’t a dream, it’s not something Meredith is going to wake up from when the police arrive outside her door. Derek Shepherd has no brain activity, and now Meredith has to decide to pull the plug on the love of her life while her children sleep in the hospital hallway. Before making that final decision, Meredith makes an impassioned speech to the one doctor who wanted to fight for Derek and failed; “Every patient you treat you’re going to see my husband’s face and remember that he was the one that died on your watch. He will haunt you…but [he] will make you better”. It’s the final push Meredith needs to do what she has to. Amidst a montage of Meredith and Derek moments set to the iconic “Chasing Cars”, Derek Shepherd is pronounced dead.

Rest In Peace Derek Shepherd. You will never be forgotten.

[Photo via ABC]

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