'Grey's Anatomy': Meredith Lets Go of Derek After Traumatic Plane Ride -- Is She Finally Committing to Riggs?

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Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Meredith Grey finally faced her fears.
On Thursday’s Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) boarded a flight enroute to a medical conference, only to discover that her on-again/off-again beau Nathan Riggs (Martin Henderson) was headed to that same conference and seated in the same row. Though the plane took off without a hitch, it was only a matter of time before the ride would get bumpy.

Things between the two Grey Sloan doctors start out innocently enough: Meredith annoyed by their close proximity and Riggs excited at the prospect of spending three days alone with her in a city that wasn’t Seattle. But their relationship status gets complicated when they have bathroom sex on the airplane -- after Meredith repeatedly (but not so strongly) insists she doesn’t want to be with him. “Whatever happens, this never happened, got it?” she warns Riggs before they become the newest members of the mile-high club.

RELATED: 'Grey's Anatomy': Meredith and Riggs Make Their Relationship Official

After they have their moment of bliss, Meredith insists that “whatever happened back there, changes nothing.” Sure Meredith, whatever you say. It’s then that the pair share that they both have had traumatic experiences with plane crashes, though Meredith’s painful memories of the fatal accident in the Grey's season eight finale that took the life of her “kid sister” Lexie (Chyler Leigh) takes the cake.
“It’s weird. Sometimes I feel like I’m cursed -- a lot of people die around me,” Meredith confesses later, during a break from tending to several onboard medical emergencies (oh yeah, they’re flying in the middle of two storm fronts), a statement that holds a lot of truth. “Sometimes, I feel like I’m just waiting my turn.” To Riggs, it explains why Meredith is overly protective of her half-sister, Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) -- "You want to protect her,” he observes. “All the self-sacrifice, you don’t want to lose this one, too.”

When Riggs asks why she’s so hesitant to commit to being with him, Meredith tells him one reason why she isn’t ready just yet -- and it has to do with her late husband, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey): “I am married.” Cue the heartbreak.

RELATED: 'Grey's Anatomy' Star Justin Chambers Says Meredith-Alex Romance 'Is Possible'

After Meredith and Riggs (along with a cute pediatric dentist named Harrison) successfully perform a MacGyver-esque surgery on a man’s brain bleed while the plane is landing, no less, the two finally address their romantic status once and for all.
“I’m not scared. I’m making a choice. I’m prioritizing my family, my sister,” Meredith tells Riggs, deciding to keep things friendly between them. But Riggs (god bless him) is persistent, not willing to take her answer to as 100 percent fact -- not yet anyway. “You’re scared,” he says, before referencing Derek once again. “Of him. Of letting him go. … At some point, you gotta let go.”
And so the ball is in Meredith’s court: Does she choose to live? A montage of 13 seasons worth of history between Meredith and Derek flash by as she thinks about taking the plunge.

“It better be a nice hotel,” she tells Riggs with a hint of a smile. It sure seems like she’s finally moving on.

RELATED: Ellen Pompeo on Her ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Directorial Debut and Hiring a Baby Nurse

Pompeo recently spoke about making her directorial debut on Grey’s, which aired on March 30, and she credited executive producer Debbie Allen for pushing her to step behind the camera.
“I definitely had an advantage being there for 13 seasons,” the 47-year-old actress said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “It was super fun. Debbie Allen wasn’t going to take no for an answer and enough women don’t get the opportunity to direct, so I thought, ‘Who am I to get the opportunity and say no?’”
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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