Grey's Anatomy' Season 17 Wasn't the First Time Derek, George, Lexie, and Mark All Returned

When Derek (Patrick Dempsey) returned to Grey’s Anatomy Season 17, fans cried happy tears. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) was fighting for her life, but viewers got to see the fan-favorite couple reunited briefly. While this seemed like a monumental moment, there was one other episode that saw the return of Derek, George O’ Malley (T. R. Knight), Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), and Mark Sloan (Eric Dane).

Derek and George returned in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17

In an emotional two-hour season premiere crossover event with Station 19, Derek returned in the Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 premiere. After a tragic day coping with COVID-19 patient deaths, Meredith collapsed in the parking lot. Then, in a dream sequence, her dead husband appeared on a beautiful beach with her. 

The first few episodes with Derek in Grey’s Anatomy were heartwarming yet frustrating for fans. Meredith wanted to be closer to her husband, but he insisted the sand wasn’t real. They didn’t have a lengthy conversation, but she did have a long talk with George.

In Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 4, George and Meredith walked along the beach and talked for what seemed like hours. Although he died in season 5 of the medical drama, George admitted he would have stayed if he could.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ recap: Lexie and Mark appeared to Meredith in season 17

In another shocking turn of events, Grey’s Anatomy fans jumped for joy at the return of Lexie Grey and Mark Sloan during season 17 episode 10. The couple brought fans to tears when they ran and jumped on the beach together. Plus, they had deep conversations with Meredith. 

Throughout the episode, Lexie and Mark encouraged Meredith to return to her children. Mark described how hard it was to watch his daughter growing, learning, and making mistakes. He tried to whisper in her ear sometimes, but it wasn’t the same as being there. Somehow, it seemed the conversation with Lexie and Mark helped Meredith make progress in real life. She finally could breathe without a ventilator. 

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ 5 characters returned in Season 15, including Derek Shepherd

When Derek died in Grey’s Anatomy Season 11 Episode 21, fans could not stop crying. Meredith’s husband was mentioned throughout the early part of season 12 as the doctors grieved. The same thing happened when George, Mark, and Lexie died. The surgeons spoke about their friends fondly and missed them deeply.

However, they didn’t appear again until Grey’s Anatomy Season 15 Episode 6, according to Wikipedia. The end of the episode included a tear-jerking montage of past characters, including George, Lexie, Mark, Derek, and Ellis Grey (Kate Burton). The episode centered around mourning lost loved ones. So, it was only appropriate that Meredith walked down the hospital’s halls before she left for the night, saying goodbye to her lost loved ones.

Kate Burton was the only actor to guest appear in the episode. The Grey’s Anatomy producers used archival footage for Derek, George, Lexie, and Mark. Although fans loved the montage, the cast did not guest appear again until Grey’s Anatomy Season 17.

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