1. 8. Izzie Sees A Ghost, Has Cancer
Short Term Affect: 8 She was seeing a ghost. She had sex—with a ghost. She was carrying on two relationships at the same time, one with a real person, and one with a hallucination produced from her cancer riddled brain. Seriously? Seriously.
Long-Term Affect: 2. She leaves the show after making a mess of her “free of cancer but now I’m married to a guy I’m not sure I love, oh my, what do I do” situation. Never to be heard from again (not really, anyway)
Season 5, Episode 3—“Here Comes the Flood”
2. 7. Bomb in A Body Cavity
Season 2 was a washed with angst and unrequited feelings, which was exemplified in this episode, in which a body with a homemade bomb enters the hospital, setting off panic and fear and the hospital waits to be blown up.
Short-Term Effects: 7. A bomb squad officer dies, the hospital is damaged, and Meredith almost dies.
Long Term Effects: 3, or 10. Not so much changes after the bomb goes off, except that Meredith envisioning Derek as the only way to keep calm in a life-and-death situation solidifies the viewers understanding of her feelings for him, and the concluding moment between the two solidifies the viewers understanding of his feelings for her.
3. 6. The Ferry Boat Incident
Short-Term Effect: 8. A ferry crashes into the shore causing major damage, and many major characters are effected, but it mostly focuses on Meredith, who is pushed into the water and nearly drowns, causing a lot of heartache for all major characters.
Long Term Effects: 2. Aside from nearly dying, Meredith is not much changed,and the story line does not improve, although some might say it was the catalyst for Meredith and Derek to break up, Meredith to go to therapy, and finally, for the two to get back together. Again.Taylor Swift need not apply to this relationship.
Season 3, Episode 16, “Drowning On Dry Land”
4. 5. Meredith Messes With Derek’s Trial
Short Term Effect: 8. Meredith almost gets fired, the trial ends, and Derek gets into major trouble.
Long Term Effect: 8. The Chief steps down as Chief, and Derek and Meredith deal with the fallout it caused to their relationship, and to their adoption plans for much of the next season.
Season 7, Episode 19, “It’s A Long Way Back”
5. 4. Into you Like A Train
Short Term Impact: 10 A train derailment coincided perfectly which Derek and Meredith’s train wreck of a relationship. Meredith had just ask Derek to choose between her and Addison—and it didn’t go her way. Meredith was left feeling like carnage on the side of the road—and it didn’t help that the girl died as well. And who could forgot—“She said if love were enough, she would still be here, with you.”
Long Term Impact: 3 Meredith and Derek eventually overcame their will-they-won’t-they relationship problems, and not much was seen or heard from the patients, save Meredith’s near-death brush with Katy after her ferry boat accident.
Season 2, Episode 6, “Into You Like A Train”
6. 3. There’s A Shooter in the Hospital!
Season 6 concluded with a two hour nail biter—a distraught husband of a dead patient comes to the hospital to take out those responsible for his wife death. On his list: Lexie, the Chief, and of course, Derek.
Short Term Effects: 10. Cristina has to perform a complicated surgery under duress, Derek nearly dies, Meredith suffers a miscarriage, and many doctors die.
Long Term Effects: 8. Cristina gets P.T.S.D. and gets married to Owen. Derek becomes an adrenaline junky, Meredith finds out her body and babies don’t go together well, Lexie has to go to the psych ward, and Alex breaks up with her. The only people coming out of this ok is the Chief, who reclaims his place as the one and only Chief of Seattle Grace Mercy West.
Season 6, Episodes 23 and 24, “Sanctuary” and “Death and All His Friends”
7. 2. L-Vad Wire, and Denny Dies
One of the most saddening and depressing moment of Grey’s Anatomy, Izzie steals a heart for her fiance, who ends up dying anyway, due to a blood clot. The acting was terribly moving and heartbreaking all at once.
Short-Term Effects: 10. Izzie’s fiance dies. Moments before seeing her in her glorious pink metaphorical wedding dress. Her friends rally around her, but Izzie is shattered.
Long-Term Effects: 10. This event changes Izzie’s character for the rest of her time on the show. It was a pivotal and life changing event.
Season 2, Episodes 26 and 27, “Deterioration of the Flight or Fight Response” and “Losing My Religion:
8. 1. The Plane Crash
A plane carrying half of the main characters on the show crashes in the forest.
Short-Term Effects: 10. Lexie dies. Mark dies. Arizona loses a leg. Derek has a damaged hand and arm.
Long Term Effects: 10. Cristina leaves Seattle, and her husband, for a while anyway. The decision to cut of Arizona’s leg to save her life causes long-term ramifications for her and Callie’s relationship. Did I mention Mark and Lexi die? Because their deaths change Meredith and Callie/Arizona/Sophia forever. Boom. Done.
Season 9, Episode 24, “Flight