Grey's Anatomy celebrated Day of the Dead with the surprise return of some of Meredith's dead loved ones.
Thursday's episode dealt with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) finding out that her father Thatcher Grey is in hospice and will die in a matter of weeks. As she debated whether or not to say goodbye to her estranged family member, Meredith learned about the traditional holiday and was visited by some the ghosts of her past, including Derek (Patrick Dempsey), George (T.R. Knight), Lexie (Chyler Leigh) and her dog, Doc.
The touching moment happened at the end of "Flowers Grow Out of My Grave," and showrunner Krista Vernoff revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the sequence was one of the first moment pitched for season 15.
"When we got our air date, which was before we had our season planned, the writer of tonight's episode, Kiley Donovan, asked to do a Day of the Dead episode because we're actually airing on the same day," Vernoff told THR. "I loved the idea because after 15 seasons, it's exciting to be airing on a holiday we've never done an episode about — and because it's the holiday of the community that is being attacked in our country right now by our government and misrepresented... the idea that our loved ones who died can come visit us on this one day of the year was moving."
The quick sequence featured the former main characters of the ABC medical drama, courtesy of footage from previous episodes, as well as new appearances from Doc the dog and Ellis Grey (Kate Burton).
"When an actor leaves the show there is paperwork put into place that allows us to use clips," Vernoff told the outlet. "We have some iconic footage that the fans will immediately recognize: That shot of Derek, the fans who have watched the show multiple times know what episode that is from.
There are iconic moments and shots that we pulled from moments that actually never aired on the show," she added, referring to the moment that showed both Derek and Mark.
Vernoff said that the point of the emotional sequence was to represent some people's belief in life after death; as well as in the belief that our loved ones live in our memories and imagination.
The scene was also set to feature Denny (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Dylan the bomb squad guy (Kyle Chandler), but Vernoff decided to take them out to keep the scene to only loved ones for Meredith.
Did you enjoy seeing some of the old beloved characters again?
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.