Now that we’ve had a few days to digest the finale of Grey’s Anatomy, we can look back at all the saddest moments of a very emotional season 13. Grey’s is known for its own special brand of emotional terrorism, and the latest season delivered the tears. It was a rough one, for sure. Grab those tissues and let’s revisit the worst of the best.
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Maggie’s Mom Dies
It was a long time in the making, but it didn’t soften the blow when Maggie had to say goodbye to her mom. Grey’s laid the foundation for this tear-jerking scene when Diane came to visit earlier in the season. As Jackson worked with Maggie’s mother throughout her battle with breast cancer, we had to steel ourselves for the inevitable.
What we couldn’t prepare for was the shockingly raw scene between mother and daughter, in which the senior Pierce offers her daughter a lot of sound advice. Maggie is advised to wear more lipstick, have more fun and allow herself to be happy. I’m typing through tears right now, reliving it.
Stephanie Edwards had an embattled season 13. Between the loss of her boyfriend, her temper tantrums and her forced therapy, we could all guess Grey’s was building to a huge moment for her. Rumors of her exit rumbled on the internet, but watching her say her farewells to Dr. Webber was almost too much to bear.
Lying on the other side of the hospital bed, burned and in pain, Stephanie’s decision to leave medicine seemed the logical choice for her. That doesn’t mean we didn’t feel every bit of her pain and sadness in those moments.
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Alex Wants Waffle Sundays
Before Alex knew his fate over the assault of Andrew DeLuca, he became a little wistful about his last days of freedom. When he thought he would go to jail, he made one of the sweetest, most heartbreaking requests he’s ever ventured.
Alex Karev isn’t known for his sentimentality, so when he asks Meredith to participate in Waffle Sundays with the kids until he has to go away, every Grey’s fan broke down. This moment really cements the relationship between the remaining original members. It’s a reminder of the bond between these two, and how much they’ve come to rely on each other.
Pregnant Mom with Cancer Dies
There are so many horrific medical cases on this show, I’ve almost become desensitized to constant sadness. But this one really got me in the heart parts.
When a pregnant mom, a patient of Alex’s, returns to the ER with some mild symptoms, it later becomes clear that she has advanced pancreatic cancer. She and baby’s father have an agreement to raise the baby together, however, they aren’t a romantic couple, and their moments together are among the more poignant of the episode.
Of course, Veronica dies, because they all do on Grey’s, but the exchange between her and the baby’s father is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. Can you even imagine having to give birth to a baby you’ll never see? Grey’s really knows how to get you.
Amelia can be one of the more frustrating characters on Grey’s. Unlike Meredith, she doesn’t seem to actively dislike people, and the only real damage she does is to herself. Her withdrawal from her marriage to Owen was hard to watch on its own, but knowing she was keeping the secret of her prior pregnancy made things exponentially worse. Why wouldn’t she just tell him, so he could understand?
And then she chose to tell Alex, and watching her unload this terrible burden was so moving. It looked like she hadn’t said it out loud since her baby died, and the grief on her face was evident. Watching her relive it and then consider what it means for her present life was far more moving than anything else this character has done.
Meredith Revisits Derek’s Death
Any mention of Derek’s death, and I dissolve into a sniveling mess. It’s an emotional trigger of mine. So, when Meredith flashes back to telling her children, “Daddy died,” I fell apart.
Why does Grey’s have to go for the emotional jugular every single time?
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Jo Rejects Andrew
Hasn’t this poor man been through enough? Besides getting beaten to a pulp for trying to help, rejected by his fellow peers and forced to move in with Arizona, he also develops a pretty serious unrequited crush on Jo.
When he finally gathers up the courage to tell her how he feels, she rejects him outright. She actually interrupts him with, “I know what you’re going to say,” and then summarily dismisses him. Ouch.
Owen’s Reaction to the News About His Sister
Owen is another Grey’s character whose heart has taken a beating over the last few semesters. After Cristina Yang left him, I didn’t know if he was going to make it through. Then Amelia left him, and it was clear this man is made of stone.
However, when he received the news that his long-lost sister was still alive, his subsequent reaction was heartbreaking. The way they handled his process of acceptance was exquisite.
Jackson and His Dad
Grey’s pulled a casting fast one on us when they got Eric Roberts to play Jackson’s dad. But they nailed it. Affable and easy-going, Robert Avery was the prodigal father that Jackson never really knew. The younger Jackson traveled all the way to Montana to confront his dad, and when he did, it was achingly sad.
After sharing a few nights of bonding, Jackson told his dad, thanks, but no thanks. You can practically feel the disappointment and resent hanging in the air. I’ve never wanted to reach through a screen and hug a character more than I wanted to in that moment.
You really have to hand it to the actress who plays Maggie, Kelly McCreary. She’s not usually a master of subtlety, and that’s what we love about her. But she delivers an incredibly quiet realization when she sees Nathan’s hand graze Meredith at their press conference.
The way she just becomes so crestfallen and disappointed is the absolute worst. Every human with a heart in their chest has felt this exact emotion, and right then, Maggie was all of us.
What were the saddest moments of this season for you? Did I leave anything out? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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(Images courtesy of ABC)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
I am a freelance writer and critic, blogging about pop culture, and how it effects our shared identities. I absolutely love TV and will watch anything once, and I love to talk about TV. So, it makes sense that I am also an University professor teaching courses in, popular culture and mass media.