5 'Grey's Anatomy' Season 17 Winter Finale Theories That Have Nothing To Do With Meredith Dying

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5 'Grey's Anatomy' Season 17 Winter Finale Theories That Have Nothing To Do With Meredith Dying

The first half of Grey's Anatomy Season 17 has felt much like the year 2020: terrifying and exhausting. Sure, familiar faces like Derek and George returned to the show, but only to seemingly usher Meredith Grey into the oceanic afterlife where everyone wears linen. The tragedy that Meredith Grey may die continues to loom as we round the corner into the Grey's Season 17 winter finale, but there's also a lot of other things going on that have absolutely nothing to do with the titular doctor walking into that warm beach-y light.

"Fight The Power," which aired on Dec. 10, was mostly setup for what is bound to be an emotionally draining winter finale. Bailey's mom is dying (and has Alzheimer's), Jo has decided to try her hand at being an OB, and Amelia rushed to the hospital to perform surgery on Koracick, who is suffering from COVID-19 complications. (Oh, and Richard made some sort of sex bargain with Catherine to get her to wear her mask which is just... a lot to take in.)

But while Meredith still slips in and out of consciousness, everything happening outside of her COVID bubble suggests the Dec. 17 winter finale will be hard on fans, but not because Meredith is a goner. Yet.

Mark Sloan Is 100% Appearing On That Beach

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It's pretty clear that Meredith will be in and out of consciousness for at least one or two more episodes this season, which hopefully means more ghosts of doctors past. She's already seen the love of her life (Derek), and gotten closure with George — now she's going to need someone to sardonically talk to her as she likely fights for her life, and who better to do that than Mark Sloan?

The likelihood of Eric Dane, who still remains tight with the cast, showing up seems high when you consider a tweet earlier this year. Back in May, Dane tweeted at Ellen Pompeo asking her to "go for a walk," cryptically saying that he'd "find" her. (Perhaps a nice long walk... on a beach?) Filming didn't resume for Season 17 until September, but it's very possible that the writers knew by then that they would be inviting alumni back for the initial episodes this fall with Dane already signed on.

Tom Koracick Is Definitely Dying


Sorry, Tom. Last week hinted that Koracick was on his way out, and things seem to be moving along as planned. While the episode ended with Koracick waking up and Teddy completely spilling her guts out to him, chances are he's not long for this world.

The show has already tackled the racial and political aspects of coronavirus throughout the season, so it makes sense that next we'll see Grey Sloan be hit with a tragedy that is close to home, like losing one of their own in the pandemic. (It's dark, but that's showbiz, folks.) Also, it opens up so many other storylines for the characters who were close to him. Which brings me to...

Owen & Teddy Will Finally Reconcile

At first, it seems like a good sign that Koracick woke up, but that doesn't mean he's safe by any means. (Don't forget what show we're watching. Mark Sloan "woke up" at one point, too.) If Koracick does die, Teddy will be a wreck, and who else to comfort her other than Owen Hunt. Hopefully it allows them to reconnect in a way where they can finally mend their relationship.

Amelia Will Operate On Meredith

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This may be a long shot given that Amelia was initially called in to perform brain surgery on Tom, but one Twitter user thinks that in the mayhem of having two of their own in the throes of COVID-19 (and with Bailey preoccupied with her mother), Amelia will have to operate on her sister.

As @sheplincoln points out, the description for "No Time For Despair" says that Owen and Amelia "are faced with one of the most controversial surgeries of their careers." Could the controversy be Amelia bending the rules about operating on family in order to help her sister? And if she does help save Meredith, will she find or do something that comes between them?

Meredith Will Be Diagnosed With Alzheimer's

Alright, this theory list was supposed to be non-Meredith centric, but this is too possible to not include. Fans have long thought that Grey's will eventually end one day with Mer suffering from Alzheimer's, just like her mother, Ellis. While I don't think Meredith will die from COVID, it could be possible that some type of treatment or scan before surgery reveals that she has early-onset Alzheimer's. It would be the tragically poetic way to introduce the decline of Meredith Grey as we know her and bring the series full circle (as sad as it will be). Even the fact that Bailey's mom has the same condition and talked to Mer about it on the beach screams foreshadowing.

With multiple lives hanging in the balance, hopefully the winter finale allows some of the characters to take steps toward personal and physical recovery. And if that means Meredith finds herself walking along that beach one final time? Well, we'll welcome it with (preferably Mark Sloan's) open arms.

Images: ABC

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