"Grey's Anatomy" stunned viewers with actor Patrick Dempsey's return as Derek Shepherd. He reunited with Ellen Pompeo, played by Meredith Grey, on a breezy beach and is slated to return for next week's episode as well.
Dempsey in the show is still dead. However, in a dream sequence, this is the first time he has made a comeback to the show since Shepherd's 2015 death.
If for some reason, you did not expect that your favorite shows would touch down on the COVID-19 pandemic, the plots of these shows would remain business as usual, notwithstanding the "new normal."
When "Grey's Anatomy" returned for its 17th season, it only makes sense that a medical drama would revolve in a pandemic-based plot.
According to a new interview with showrunner Krista Vernoff, Ellen Pompeo, and Dempsey, it is not the last appearance of McDreamy this season. Vernoff announced, "It's more than the one scene you saw. He will appear three more times," reported MXDWN.
Having aired on November 12, the series tackled the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in an authentic way by offering viewers a look at the doctors and healthcare workers of Grey Sloan Memorial combat the outbreak as frontliners.
After Grey contracts the virus, Shepherd appeared in a dream-like sequence with Pompeo's character.
Grey and the rest of the hospital staff had the dilemma of not having enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the heartbreak of patients' deaths to the coronavirus. After extreme fatigue, Grey ended up passing out in the hospital's parking lot.
Shepherd was standing on a beach, calling Grey's name in the sequence.
It was surprising for viewers not only because Shepherd's role was killed in the show's 11th season but due to the controversy surrounding his exit.
According to Pompeo, "It was so fun because we know that people are gonna freak out," she said during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel's show Thursday night. And we all know 2020 has been a really long, ugly road, and we were so happy just to be able to film these scenes and know how much joy it was gonna bring people," reported Deseret News.
The episode's pandemic portions were set in April 2020, which was weeks into the global health crisis that in real life halted production on the series back in March prior to finishing the filming of the final episodes of their previous season.
Dempsey's character has only been witnessed in archival footage since. The appearance left fans with many questions on Thursday.
Shepherd would also appear in an episode next week, but the meaning of his return was not made clear.
According to Vernoff, "From a writer's perspective, it happened because it was my job to find a way -- once we determined that we were doing the pandemic -- to also bring joy, and escape, and fan candy, and all the things that at Grey's Anatomy we give people," reported World News Era.