Meredith is still unconscious on Grey’s Anatomy, and Teddy’s attempt to take her off the ventilator hasn’t yet worked. But fans may be able to exhale a bit, because star Giacomo Gianniotti pretty much confirmed that Meredith will wake up.
After the death of his character Andrew DeLuca, Gianniotti hinted the loss would really affect Meredith specifically. “This is going to have a huge, huge impact on Grey Sloan and all the doctors. Most of all, I think, for Meredith when she wakes up and finds out,” he told Entertainment Tonight. He doubled down in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “[DeLuca’s death] hits different and it's going to send a shock wave through all the characters at the hospital — and maybe Meredith the most.”
It’s a pretty big spoiler to say that Meredith will wake up, considering her fate has been the major question hanging over Season 17. But it’s also a relief to know that there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. That light just isn’t necessarily coming soon.
None of the episodes synopses for the next three Grey’s episodes mention Meredith at all, and the March 25 episode is focused on Teddy and thus likely won’t be the one Meredith wakes up in. Showrunner Krista Vernoff also told THR that there are more new faces coming to Meredith’s beach, which means she’ll be unconscious for a while longer.
If it feels like the show is dragging out Meredith’s illness, it is. Executive producer Andy Reaser told Entertainment Tonight that they wanted to reflect the realities of COVID for many patients. “It's not something that we take lightly and we don't want to feel like Meredith is being let off the hook too easily. The virus keeps everyone guessing and it's relentless, so it's going to take relentlessness to fight it,” he said.
It also feels long to fans because a lot of time has passed since the season premiered in November, but not that much time has passed in the world of the show. “We didn't want Meredith in a bed with COVID for 11 months. We are still in like May/June of 2020 creatively. We're not jumping forward so we don't have to try and keep up with what's happening now; we're looking at what was happening then,” Vernoff told THR, adding that Meredith’s illness will “span a fair amount of the season.”
Vernoff also said that part of the reason they kept Meredith on the ventilator through the spring premiere is because it drives home the seriousness of COVID. “As an image, that works on people's psyche and helps them understand that this pandemic is ongoing and profound and impacting communities in really painful ways. It's a powerful image to help people remember why they're staying home. If this thing can hit Meredith Grey, it can hit anybody.”
But just because Meredith hasn’t woken up yet doesn’t mean she won’t. Thanks to Gianniotti, fans can rest assured that it’s not so much an if as a when.