We're trudging through the 13th season of Grey's Anatomy, which means we've spent a lot of time with the show's original characters. After all the drama in the premiere and the second episode, one burning question hit us harder than it ever has before: is Meredith Grey a bad person? Sometimes she seems to have good intentions, sure. But, at the end of the day, it's hard to know whether or not she's inherently good.
Let's start with her behavior in the first episodes of season 13. To give context, Alex has just beaten the living daylights out of DeLuca. Like, DeLuca's in critical condition, so badly injured he's hospitalized and taken in for immediate surgery. With the way Alex messes up his eye, it's not even immediately clear whether or not DeLuca's surgical career is in jeopardy. In this week's episode, Meredith calls Alex's behavior an honest mistake. "Haven't you ever made a mistake before?" she asks. Well, yes, Meredith, we all make mistakes. But, you know, many mistakes don't leave a hospitalized, traumatized victim in their wake. Meredith is just trying to help a friend, it's true. But how can she minimize this incident in such a dramatic way?
And then there's the whole situation with Maggie and Riggs. At this point, it's clear Maggie and Meredith might be building toward an all-out war. The thing is, Meredith is making catastrophic decisions left and right. In the premiere, after she's spent the whole episode lying to protect Alex (whoop, there it is), Maggie calls her out on her dishonesty. Maggie asks Meredith not to lie again, and Meredith agrees. But, uh, she's already weaving another deceptive web.
Let's all recall how Meredith hooks up with Riggs at the end of season 12. This is a man Owen Hunt hates. By extension, it means that Meredith is going back on a promise she made to Cristina, to watch over Owen and to make sure he's OK. But hey, now they're hooking up. What's worse is Maggie has just admitted to Meredith she likes Riggs, too. Meredith could have come clean in the moment where Maggie asks for honesty, but she doesn't. To make matters worse, she also tells Riggs to reject Maggie when she asks him out. Like, what the hell? Is this any better than just straight up telling Maggie what's going on?
The reality is, that's just the tip of the iceberg. This could be written off as poor judgment, perhaps even temporary insanity. But what about when she botches Derek's Alzheimer's trials to make sure Adele gets the "miracle drug"? She wrecks Derek Shepherd's marriage to Addison Montgomery. She up and leaves for over a year after Derek's death, without a word to anyone. She ices people out, and has consistently strained her relationships with Maggie, Lexie Grey, and so on. She constantly calls herself dark and twisty, writing off her personal damage as irreparable. She says she hates everyone.
We know, we know: it's hard to pass these judgments. Meredith has had a tough time. She's almost died 10 separate times. But, it's hard not to ask whether she's always been like this, or if her circumstances have somehow made her more jaded, more angry, and less good. All I know is, this woman — who's justifying DeLuca's brutal injuries, who's knowingly toying with her half-sister's emotions — this is not the Meredith Grey I thought I knew. Or, who knows, maybe I just chose not to see her for what she's always been.