As if the circumstances surrounding Derek’s death last season hadn’t been bad enough — he ended up in a hospital not equipped to handle his case with doctors who weren’t at his level holding his life in their hands — Meredith had to relive those moments of her husband’s death over and over again at the dinner party she hosted in the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode. It turned out that Callie’s new girlfriend, Penny, is the doctor who hadn’t pushed hard enough to have the right test done, which may have resulted in a different outcome for Meredith’s late love. However, that wasn’t even the worst part of the night.
At the very end of last week’s Grey’s, Meredith answered the door to let Callie and her girlfriend into the house for the dinner party only to recognize the girlfriend as Penny. She covered her reaction by being too nice, as Alex noticed, as she continued to prepare for the dinner party, though she did take a few moments to herself in her bathroom before the party. She kept Penny’s identity to herself — though she almost told Alex when he helped her bandage a cut before Callie and Penny walked in — until she learned that Bailey recognized the doctor’s name from her calendar. She had a meeting scheduled with her because Penny’s transferring to Grey Sloan. Meredith had thought she’d only have to get through the party and then Penny would be gone.
That was when the truth came out, and Arizona’s earlier concerns about meeting her ex’s girlfriend (and therefore getting drunk) were nothing compared to the fallout. Meredith left the table, with Alex following her and joining her in drinking in her room, while Amelia demanded to hear about her brother’s final moments from the woman, as she said, who killed him. Since Callie had been called into work, by the time she returned, the truth was out. It was a truth that she had no idea about because, as Penny told her later, she figured the hospital was big and she didn’t know Callie had known Derek.
Surprisingly, when Meredith ran into Penny yet again in the last scene of this Grey’s Anatomy episode, she told her she’d see her at work Monday, which is just going to make things very, very tense at Grey Sloan. As executive producer Debbie Allen told Entertainment Weekly, “it’s very difficult” for Meredith to have Penny there.
“It’s a constant reminder. …How can she see her without thinking about Derek? This is a journey for Meredith of personal growth. Is she going to rise, or stay in that dark place? That’s what we’re going to play out.”
As Meredith had explained to the interns when talking to them about telling a patient’s loved ones of the patient’s death, their face is the one that the loved ones will remember for the rest of their lives as being responsible for delivering the bad news. Now, Meredith’s going to have to see Penny’s face every day at work.
Meanwhile, Callie has her own feelings about Penny to sort out, namely that the woman she’s been dating and happy with is also the doctor who failed to save her friend’s life – and didn’t tell her about it, especially since she at least knew she worked in the same hospital as Derek. This week’s Grey’s Anatomy episode already saw Meredith close the door to her bedroom in Callie’s face when she tried to talk to her, and Allen told The Hollywood Reporter that it’s “going to be really intense” between Meredith and Callie moving forward.
As for Callie’s relationship with Penny, she has to figure out how she feels because, as of the end of the latest episode, she didn’t even know. While she “feels that maybe Penny should have told her more,” the EP also acknowledged that “it’s not like Penny could have told her” and “this was beyond her.”
One thing’s for certain, however, and that’s how Amelia feels about Penny and about Meredith, since the latter didn’t tell her when the former first showed up at dinner. In fact, Allen described Meredith and Amelia’s relationship moving forward as “a wrecking ball” to EW.
It doesn’t look like anything is going to get better in the next Grey’s Anatomy, which is not airing until November 6, though ABC has already aired a promo for “The Me Nobody Knows.” Not only is Penny at the hospital, but she’s also on Meredith’s service, at least to start off the day. That seems like something that someone should have prevented from happening.
Grey’s Anatomy Season 12 airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
[Image via ABC]