The Most Shocking Grey's Anatomy Moments Of All Time

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Grey's Anatomy isn't all cute doctors and elevator hookups. Shonda Rhimes' long-running medical drama is also packed with shocking twists. Just when you think there's no hope for a patient, a more hopeful song from Snow Patrol comes on, and you know the guy's going to pull through. And just when you think a couple is done for, a surreptitious romantic moment brings them back together. And when it seems everything is going great at Seattle Grace, (a.k.a. Mercy West or Grey-Sloan Memorial), a bus or plane or ferry crash throws everything into chaos. Or, patients walk in dying of the actual plague.
The most surprising Grey's moments are often sad, sometimes ridiculous, but always unexpected. Here are some of the most gasp-inducing moments from the past 13 seasons (yes, 13!). They're still every bit as dramatic, even when you know what's coming.
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When Maggie Can’t Save Holly

Season 13, Episode 22 (2017)

Maggie (Kelly McCreary) promises terminal patient Holly she can save her from a gigantic heart tumor. But, once Maggie removes Holly’s heart during surgery she realizes the growth has moved into Holly's esophagus, meaning she actually can't operate — and it’s absolutely gutting.
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When Meredith Enters An Alt Universe

Season 8, Episode 13 (2012)

Meredith dreams of what her life would be if her mother never had Alzheimer’s. In that world she’s engaged to Alex and enemies with Cristina, while Derek is expecting a baby with Addison (who's really pregnant with Mark's kid. It's A Lot).
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When Maggie's Mom Dies

Season 13, Episode 18 (2017)

Grey's made it clear we were about to lose Maggie's mom, Diane (LaTanya Richardson Jackson). But, it was still shocking to see Diane pass in the middle of Maggie (Kelly McCreary) painting her mother's nails.
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When Adele Dies

Season 9, Episode 10 (2013)

Bailey delayed her wedding to save Adele's life. But heartbreakingly, Adele still died from a heart attack.
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When Reed And Alex Get Shot

Season 6, Episode 23 (2010)

If no one dies, is it even a Shondaland finale?
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When Thatcher Slaps Meredith

Season 3, Episode 23 (2007)

Yes, he just found out that Susan died — but that's not an excuse for hitting his daughter.
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When Denny Dies After His Heart Transplant

Season 2, Episode 27

And we thought Doc being put to sleep was sad.
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When Kyle Dies

Season 12, Episode 23 (2016)

This episode featured two marriage proposals — so naturally, it needed a death to balance things out.
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When Meredith "Dies"

Season 3, Episode 17 (2007)

Meredith flatlines and sees her mom in a dream — but luckily, she's not lost for good. And Cristina refuses to give up on saving her.
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When April Goes Into Labor

Season 12, Episode 24 (2016)

April's baby was breech, so she needed an emergency C-section — that had to be performed in Meredith's kitchen.
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When Owen Chokes Cristina
Season 5, Episode 19 (2009)

Suffering from PTSD, Owen believes he's choking someone during a nightmare. But he's actually choking Cristina in real life. Luckily, Callie is able to stop him.
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When Grey's Showed Us The Reality Of Being Pregnant In Prison
Season 13, Episode 10 (2017)

Okay, this wasn't shocking because it was a plot twist for the doctors. But it surprised us to see the realities of how difficult being a pregnant inmate is. Grey's gave us a meaningful and raw look at prison pregnancy — this time, the shock factor was inspired by reality.
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When Meredith Finds Alex At Home
Season 13, Episode 11 (2017)

Meredith looks for Alex at a number of county jails — only to go home and find him sleeping in her bed. Why wasn't he in jail? Hopefully, we'll know more about this happy reunion soon.
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When Amelia Tells Owen She Doesn't Want To Have A Child
Season 13, Episode 7 (2016)

After avoiding Owen for weeks, Amelia finally reveals the real reason. She doesn't want to have a baby with Owen, even though he wants a child.
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When Preston Calls Off His Wedding To Cristina — & Her Response Is "I'm Free"
Season 3, Episode 25 (2007)

Preston (Isaiah Washington) recognized that he wasn't Cristina's first choice, so he walked away from their wedding. Cristina, naturally, cried, but she was also relieved, shedding the necklace given to her by Preston's mom.
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When Jo Tells Alex She's Married
Season 13, Episode 9 (2016)

Jo withheld the fact that she was married from Alex because she was afraid he'd try to attack her husband. The scene is shocking enough on its own, but the conversation also leads Alex to consider taking a plea deal and go to jail, eliminating the need for Jo to testify. (Jo is worried that if she names her abusive ex on the witness stand in Alex's trial, he'll track her down and possibly hurt her.)

That's definitely one way to end on a mid-season cliffhanger.
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When Jackson Stops April's Wedding
Season 10, Episode 12 (2013)

Possibly the most shocking thing about this moment was the fact that it took ten seasons for Grey's to get an interrupted wedding. Jackson gets a lot of points for this romantic gesture, but also a bunch of demerits for using this moment not just to really ruin things for April's would-be husband, but for Jackson's actual wedding date, too.
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When Cristina Almost Kills Alex
Season 8, Episode 12 (2011)

Sometimes the Grey's docs are more of a danger to each other than their patients. This isn't even the first time a doctor has gotten injured in the OR (see Derek's ex kind of stabbing him in the hand).
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The Explosion
Season 2, Episode 17 (2006)

Seriously, Meredith, I understand curiosity and everything, but maybe don't go out to watch the active explosive be taken away?
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When Derek Dies
Season 11, Episode 21 (2015)

Did anyone really think they'd kill off McDreamy? Send him on a long fellowship to get Patrick Dempsey off the set? Sure. But hadn't Meredith been through enough?
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When Addison Shows Up
Season 1, Episode 9 (2005)

Maybe it's just shocking that Seattle Grace's star-crossed lovers have nine relatively happy episodes together before shit starts hitting the fan.
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When Cristina Collapses In The OR
Season 2, Episode 3 (2005)

Really, what except for a medical emergency could make Dr. Yang miss an answer? A later shock is when Meredith isn't allowed in the OR to hold her hand.
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When Izzie Reveals She Has A Daughter
Season 2, Episode 15 (2006)

Grey's knows how to handle the big backstory reveals, but this one came from a bit of a misdirect. It seemed safe to assume the biggest secret from Izzie's past had already been exposed: her time as an underwear model.
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When Cristina Gets Stabbed By An Icicle
Season 5, Episode 1 (2008)

Oh my god, winter is so scary. Nature is scary. Everyone stay inside. But not inside a hospital, though, that's scary too.
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When Mark Breaks His Penis
Season 5, Episode 13

I mean, in medical terms, he suffers a "penile fracture," but you know that in the years following the incident, when they went out for a drink, Derek and the rest of the Grey's bros referred to it as "that time Mark broke his penis."
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When Owen Has A PTSD Episode
Season 5, Episode 19 (2009)

Look how great things are going. Look how cute they are! Just kidding, what show did you think you were watching, this is Grey's Anatomy!
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When John Doe Is George
Season 5, Episode 24 (2009)

I get that writing out "007" is quicker than "George O'Malley," but still, George was putting a lot of faith in Meredith's ability to figure out that he was referring to a no-longer-used nickname rather than making a fairly ubiquitous pop culture reference.
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When Meredith & Derek Get Post-It Note “Married”

The season 5 had way too many surprises. Did we ever expect Derek and Mer to say their "I do’s" in a traditional way?
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When Derek Gets Shot
Season 6, Episode 24 (2010)

Derek isn't the first, or second, or even third doc to get shot in this heart-pounding episode, but because he is McDreamy, you may have thought he'd be spared. I mean, April convinces the shooter to spare her with a tip from Oprah, surely Derek could use his charm to do the same, right?
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When Bailey Is Pulled From Under The Bed
Season 6, Episode 24 (2010)

At this point in the terrifying episode, it's shocking that a main Grey's doc could remain (physically) unscathed. But watching as Bailey tries to claw her way further under the bed seemed like a moment straight out of a horror movie.
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When Meredith Gets Attacked By A Patient
Season 12, Episode 9 (2016)

On the one hand, this moment wasn't truly "shocking," because this promo played nonstop for a week prior. But it was still super upsetting and jarring to see Meredith get so violently knocked around in what she seems to see, despite the shooting, as a safe space.
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When Mark Is Injured In The Plane Crash
Season 8, Episode 24 (2012)

That will teach Cristina to yell at someone for being in emotional pain before she knows for sure if they're also in physical pain.
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