'Grey's Anatomy' Gave One Doomed Couple Their Bittersweet Happy Ending in Latest Beach Scene

Grey's Anatomy is in the business of breaking hearts, but it also mended them in Thursday night's episode. Season seventeen has seen a bunch of former faces return on Meredith's mind beach, and tonight was no different: not only did Meredith's sister, Lexie (Chyler Leigh), return, but the rumors were true and the love of Little Grey's life, Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) appeared as well.

As Meredith and Lexie reminisce over the younger Grey sister's former love of the rules, Mark appears as well and tells Meredith that she was "too early" to be ready to leave her family behind, embrace death, and stay on her peaceful beach. Meredith tells Mark that she isn't sure how to go back, informing him that she's seen Derek and that he won't tell her how. Mark reminders her that it's up to her to make it back and that the "sand isn't real." Meredith also witnesses Mark and Lexie happily cavorting amongst the waves, showing that they may not have had time together on Earth, but that they were happy together in the afterlife.

Considering the fact that the last time that Grey's Anatomy fans saw this beloved couple together was as Lexie was dying from the plane crash as Mark sobbed his goodbyes, telling her that they were "meant to be," seeing the couple again in a happier context was like a brief balm to a nearly decade-old wound.

Mark also spoke to Meredith about how he had kept an eye on his daughter, Sofia, and how he tried to talk to her, Callie (Sara Ramirez), and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw). He likes to "hang out" and he revealed to Meredith that he can see things coming -- like Callie and Arizona's divorce -- and that he tries to warn them when they're "missing out on the best parts of life."

Meredith also shared a heartfelt moment with Lexie on a swingset, getting a child-like moment that they never got to share when they were actual children. When Meredith tells her sister that she feels guilty enjoying anything in her life because people were dying in record numbers from the pandemic, Lexie tells her that that is a waste. If she is lucky enough to have her life and her body, she can't waste it. Considering the fact that Meredith has been trapped in this lovely prison due to her COVID coma, it makes sense that Lexie uses this to help shake her out of it.

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If this does end up being the final season of Grey's Anatomy, showrunner Krista Vernoff really is pulling out all the stops bringing back old cast members. Could Christina Yang (Sandra Oh) be next? Either way, it was a lovely way to tie a bow on a tragically cut short romance.

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