There will only ever be one Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd. But does that mean there should only ever be one great love for Meredith Grey? The Season 15 winter finale showed Mer juggling at least two potential romances — with DeLuca and Link. Not all fans are into those options, but at least one fan apparently felt Patrick Dempsey’s character and legacy were being maligned by the plans of current showrunner Krista Vernoff. Here’s how Vernoff responded to the frustrated fan:
At least the mini spat stayed relatively respectful. For many fans, the chemistry between Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey and Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Shepherd made the show. It is possible, as this fan suggests, that the show wouldn’t have lasted so long without Dempsey. But he left in Season 11 back in 2015, and Grey’s is still going strong into 2019.
Patrick Dempsey left of his own volition, ready for a break after a decade the same character. He even said he probably should’ve left a couple of years sooner than he did. Show creator Shonda Rhimes defended killing Derek since it was either that or — what? Derek leaves Meredith? The show ends with Dempsey leaving, so Derek and Meredith could stay in pick me, choose me, love me bliss forever?
The show has gone on for many highly rated seasons without Patrick Dempsey. However, trying to give Meredith post-Derek love has not been easy. She did have a brief romance with Dr. Nathan Riggs, but that didn’t pan out. For one, Ellen Pompeo said she was surprised by how fast the show wanted to get another dude in Mer’s life after Derek. Ultimately, The Powers That Be decided they didn’t like the (pretty forced) Riggs storyline, so Martin Henderson exited stage left in Season 14.
Now it’s Season 15, which Krista Vernoff has dubbed The Season of Love. Meredith Grey is being pursued all over the place, including by Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) and Atticus “Link” Lincoln (Chris Carmack). Not everyone thinks Mer needs another romance — thinking she should focus on her work as a surgeon and life as a mother of three.
But some of us are ready for Meredith to fall in love again, even if she’ll never quite have a love like she did with Derek. The show regularly name-drops Derek, and he is the father of Mer’s children, so he’ll always be in their lives.
Even pop star Ariana Grande seems to have feels about Meredith and Derek. The apparent Grey’s superfan recently responded to tweets like “mcdreamy taught me pain,” and tweeted a photo of Mer and Der with her song title “thank u, next”:
Krista Vernoff retweeted that photo. Ariana Grande also got star-struck when addressed on social media by actresses Ellen Pompeo and Kate Walsh, who both played Derek’s wives:
We’re not suggesting Meredith Grey say “thank u, next” to Derek’s legacy. (Although, she’d be doing well to marry Ariana Grande.) The show has stayed respectful — despite murmurs of behind-the-scenes drama before Patrick Dempsey left. Ellen Pompeo said she was more worried about Grey’s when Sandra Oh left as Mer’s “person” Cristina Yang. When Grey’s survived that, she figured it could survive without Derek too. And she was right.