After nineteen seasons, Meredith Grey has scrubbed out from Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Although she is expected to return in the season finale, Grey’s Anatomy has led up to Meredith’s exit since the beginning of the season.
But, as far as character exits on Grey’s Anatomy go, “I’ll Follow The Sun” was a reasonably subpar series regular exit for the long-time main character.
For the most part, “I’ll Follow The Sun” acts as any other episode of Grey’s Anatomy, which is the episode’s biggest downfall. Ellen Pompeo’s exit as a series regular should not have been presented as just another episode.
Instead, Meredith’s farewell episode should have been emotionally connected to her journey over nineteen seasons as a surgeon while focusing on the relationships of those she had grown closest to.
Meredith barely spends time with Richard Webber and Miranda Bailey, who had been on the series as long as she had and thus are the two central characters to whom Meredith had two of the most profound connections.
Webber and Bailey barely have anything to do in the entirety of the episode as a whole. Even Meredith’s long-time connections with Owen, Teddy, Jo, Amelia, and Maggie do not get that much screen time or references.
While there is a party to celebrate Meredith’s last day at the hospital, it is far too quick of a scene to acknowledge everything Meredith has accomplished over the years or the friendships she gained.
Most of Meredith’s final story is devoted to handling loose ends with Nick, which even includes a reference and upgraded version of Meredith’s “Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me” speech, where Meredith explains that she will choose her children and herself and that while she wants Nick in her life, she will not beg him to love her.
Otherwise, “I’ll Follow The Sun” also highlights that Meredith’s exit does not mean the world stops turning as three of the new interns take over Meredith’s house, a connection to how Meredith, George, and Izzie had all lived there together as interns, and how many of the Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital doctors had lived in that house at one point or another.
Overall, however, Grey’s Anatomy’s decision to split the episode through multiple storylines allows it to feel like any other episode; this one, in particular, should not have been like any other episode.
In the past, Grey’s Anatomy has delivered emotional exits for many of its central characters, whether it be Cristina Yang moving to Switzerland, Alex Karev’s goodbye letters, or Derek Shepherd’s tragic death.
Although “I’ll Follow The Sun” is not the last that Meredith Grey will be seen, nor the last episode that Ellen Pompeo will be affiliated with, Meredith Grey still deserved an episode centric to her professional achievements and friendships for her final episode as a series regular.