You are not ready for this, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fans. One of the original doctors is killed off in a devastating fashion. Don’t read this if you haven’t watched!
On the April 23 episode of Grey’s Anatomy, we finally learn where Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) disappeared to while he was on his way to Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is forced to make a decision that no one saw coming — especially her.
‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Derek Dies In A Car Crash
As this stressful episode begins, we re-live the moment Derek says goodbye to Meredith before heading to catch a flight to Washington, D.C. At the very same time, flashes of their relationship — some of the most important moments — are showing. This is not good, and we all know it.
Then, the episode cuts back to the morning Derek left. First, he’s on the ferry calling Meredith just to say hello, which is the sweetest thing ever. Then, a moment later, he’s driving through the hills and talking to his sister, Amelia, on speakerphone while she’s in a surgery with Bailey and April. He eventually loses service and the call drops.
A beat later a black sports car comes up behind him and swerves around to cut him off, and then he watches as it cuts off the SUV in front of him. Unfortunately, the sports car clips the front of the SUV and both of the cars go flying into the air. The cars roll, Derek slams on his brakes, and the screen goes black.
When the show returns, Derek is fine — but the two cars in front of him are upside down. He tries to call 911 but he doesn’t have service, so instead he does his doctorly duty and goes to check on the people in the SUV. It’s a mother and her daughter and even though they are okay, the mother is in pretty bad shape. She hit her head and she’s bleeding, and that’s only what we can see.
The little girl in the backseat, Winnie, is okay, too, but she thinks she’s dead. It’s not until Derek checks her pulse and tells her that her heart is still beating that she realizes she’s still alive. It’s another sweet moment that shows us Derek’s charm, the reason why we all fell in love with him in the first place.
Things take a turn when he goes to check on the people in the black sports car. When he looks inside, there is no one in the car, and he grows even more concerned. Then, he hears a girl’s voice saying “help,” and finds a young girl laying in the bushes and all banged up. But, the important thing is that she’s okay, and Derek is able to get her back up to the road. That’s when she tells him that someone else was driving, and he realizes another person is missing.
While searching the road with his eyes he sees a shoe in the road in the distance, and then he sees a young man stumbling along the road in shock. Derek catches up to him and finds that the young man’s skull is covered in blood, so badly that his hair is matted, and he has no idea where he is or what happened.
Once Derek has the young girl and guy resting on the side of the road, he goes back to the SUV to find a first aid kit because the one in his car — believe it or not — is useless. Hey, isn’t he like, a doctor or something?
It’s A Beautiful Day To Save Lives, Derek
First he gets Winnie out of the backseat and then he sends her to keep the teenagers company while he pulls her mom out of the car and to safety. After he gets the mom into a stable position on the side of the road, Winnie screams that the other car is on fire, and the young girl runs away as Derek picks up the guy and practically carries him across the road. The black sports car bursts into flames, and Derek tells Winnie that it’s actually a good thing because the black smoke from the explosion will save them once someone sees it from a distance and calls 911.
The girl from the black sports car starts to lose it, she’s going on and on about how she’s an honor student who “shouldn’t be here” but that when the guy asked her if she wanted to go for a drive, she couldn’t say no. That’s when Derek notices she’s clutching her stomach and writhing in pain. He gets her to lay down and opens her pants to see that her abdomen has split open — wide open. There are actual intestines hanging out of her abdomen.
Derek gets the girl to lay down and uses plastic from the dry cleaning inside the SUV to wrap her abdomen and keep it protected. Then, finally, there are sirens and a firetruck pulls up.
Once all of the car crash victims are packed up in ambulances, Derek says his last goodbye to Winnie and watches as the last truck leaves him alone in the road. He gets in his car and goes to make a U-turn, but gets distracted when his phone starts buzzing in between the seats. Derek stops to reach for his phone and when he looks up a massive truck slams into his drivers side door.
Derek Gets Taken To The Worst Hospital Ever
Next we see Derek arriving at a hospital that is not Grey-Sloane Memorial — and he knows it. The doctors say he has blunt force trauma to the head and neck. They cal him John Doe. He knows he needs a CT because even though he can’t talk we can hear him talking inside his own head. When the doctor orders the CT, another doctor shuts her down — repeatedly. It’s because he’s bleeding internally into his stomach, but even Derek knows he needs the CT first. It doesn’t matter, the male doctor shuts her down, and that’s the end of it.
Even after they find out he’s a surgeon they don’t order the CT, and they prep him for surgery. He keeps saying over and over in his head that he needs a CT, and the female doctor suggests it again — but the other one tells her there’s “no time.”
“I’m going to die because these people aren’t properly trained,” is the last thing we hear Derek say before he’s wheeled into surgery. And, he’s right. He’s going to die.
Even throughout Derek’s surgery, he’s still talking to us, narrating the surgery and calling their moves before they do them. His stats keep spiking erratically, and it’s because he needs a CT. They finally realize that and page the neurosurgeon, but he doesn’t respond. Apparently he was at a dinner, and when they say he’ll be “20 minutes” even Derek knows it’s too long. It’s too late.
The neurosurgeon takes an hour and a half to get to Derek, and by then it’s too late. That’s the last time we hear Derek’s voice.
Meredith Finds Out The Awful Truth
Suddenly, we’re back to current time, and Meredith is staring out the window at the flashing lights. There’s a knock at the door and when she opens it, we are suddenly back at the hospital with Derek. He’s laying in a hospital bed recovering from his surgery, and Meredith is standing in the doorway when he wakes up. He jokes about almost killing himself, she tells him not to do that, and he tells her that everything is alright and he’s not going anywhere. That’s when Meredith climbs into the bed next to him, and the cuddle for a moment.
But, it’s not real, it’s Meredith spacing out in the doorway as she faces police officers asking her if this is Derek Shepherd’s home. They tell her there’s been an accident and that she needs to come with them, but she tells them she can’t because she has two small children inside.
When we see Meredith again she’s walking through the hospital Derek was taken to with her children. Someone from the hospital staff takes the kids from her, and she’s taken up to see Derek. He’s braindead. As the doctors profusely apologize to her for her loss, Derek lays in a bed unresponsive. Meredith takes his chart and reviews them and immediately tells them not calling for a CT was a bad move. Exactly what Derek said.
Hours later Meredith is sitting in a hallway with Zola sleeping in her lap and Bailey sleeping in his stroller. A doctor approaches to tell her he has to talk to her about what to do next, but she asks him for the papers he’s holding. He tells her there’s a protocol, but she stops him before he can keep talking. She knows that enough time has passed that they can declare Derek dead, even though he’s not, and now she has to decide whether or not to pull the plug.
A moment later Meredith runs outside to catch a breath of fresh air, and the female doctor who was asking for a CT in the beginning is out there hysterically crying. She approaches Meredith to share her condolences, but Meredith doesn’t want to hear it. Instead, she offers her some sound advice — keep going. Keep saving lives. Remember Derek, remember how you could have saved him, and use it to make yourself a better doctor.
It’s a shocking response considering what Meredith is going through, but once the doctor heads back inside we see how she’s really feeling as she pukes in the bushes. Poor Mer.
Meredith Says Goodbye To Derek
Finally, it’s time to say goodbye. Meredith walks into Derek’s hospital room for the last time, and another doctor takes he papers from her before starting to turn of his machines. Just before they start, Meredith takes a seat next to Derek’s bed and asks the doctor to wait. She calls him name quietly just a few times to see if he responds, but he doesn’t.
Scenes from their first meeting and more relationship highlights flash across the screen again. We see the candlelit outline of their dream home, their I love you’s, and so much more.
When Meredith realizes he really is gone and that she’s making the right decision, she brushes the hair off of his forehead and tells him that it’s okay for him to go.
The doctor finishes turning off his machines and carefully removes his breathing tube. Derek takes one last breath and then, that’s it — he flatlines.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — Are you devastated over the death of Derek Shepherd? Will you continue watching the show now that he’s gone? Comment below with your thoughts.
— Lauren Cox