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'Grey's Anatomy' is one of the biggest medical dramas of all time, but how did it age? Open up our list of the show's most problematic episodes.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’: The most problematic episodes, ranked

For a show that holds the position of the longest-running medical drama on television, it’s impossible to please everyone. In the seventeen years that we’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy,  we’ve cherished some moments more than others as our beloved characters have suffered trauma, accidents, losses of loved ones…you get the drift. 

The show has often tied loose ends in a way that – in retrospect – may not have been the best way to deal with things. Here we list down some of the most problematic episodes. 

None Of Your Business (13×12)

We love Alex Karev. We love the journey he had on the show (except the ending), but nothing justifies how Andrew DeLuca was treated in the Jo debacle. The trial was called off and Karev was free, all because DeLuca withdrew the charges for Jo’s sake, who had her own issues with her identity being revealed to her abusive husband. Karev apologizes, credits Jo…but nothing lands. Not for us, not for Jo.

Our love for Karev — Meredith Grey’s person — overshadowed our reasoning. In retrospect, this was a very problematic way of handling things, considering the power imbalance between an intern & an attending. On the other hand, there’s the Eliza Minnick storyline. Never in the tumultuous history of this hospital has an outsider been able to do any good for the hospital. Minnick faced a lot of hostility too. 

Two Against One (10×08)

Cristina & Meredith are the epitome of epic friendship goals. Frequently giving us new standards in soulmate-level friendship, they refer to each other as their “person”. But all of that gets blown to smithereens when Cristina’s competitive ruthlessness comes between. She goes behind Meredith’s back to use her 3-D printer, ruining Meredith’s own research. 

Not to forget, by this episode, Meredith is already going through & dealing with a lot. In the fight that followed, Cristina goes so far as to accuse Meredith of not being ambitious enough, as if that was the only empowering option available to her. Not very feminist of our favorite characters to say things like that. We cringed. 

How To Save A Life (11×21)

We don’t need to explain a lot: Derek dies in this episode. And throughout the forty minutes, we were made to believe he wouldn’t. He was saving lives just minutes before he’s hit by a semi. The doctors at the substandard hospital nearby don’t do a great job, so karma will come for them as we’ll see in the later seasons, but right there & then, we hated every part of what went down. 

Shake Your Groove Thing (1×05)

Our reason for hating much of season 1 episodes is they all make cruel references to George’s sexuality & to Meredith’s sexual history. This hasn’t aged well. It’s particularly painful to think about T.R. Knight, who hadn’t come out by then, to have to stay in character while his sexuality was being attacked IRL. 

At the same time, this episode brings in questionable medical ethics as we saw Meredith reel in the possibility that she may have infected a heart during her first heart surgery. And then there was the cliched bit of Izzie’s boyfriend not understanding her profession. Nothing to like here at all. We’re surprised we even managed to sit through the episode the first time.

Damage Case (2×24)

For Meredith, Derek’s judgment about her sexual adventures never ends, even as he chose Addison over her. In this episode, we see him lose it because Mer had started dating their dog Doc’s vet, Finn. In fact, the epic “Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me” didn’t age well either. Ellen Pompeo herself said it felt disempowering to say those words. 

Every show has moments that are nothing to be proud of. We hope they wouldn’t do it again if given a chance, especially because the show has been doing a great job at depicting issues of race, class, immigration, among other things.

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