The show is called Grey’s Anatomy, so many viewers would expect to see Dr. Meredith Gray (Ellen Pompeo) pretty much all the time. In fact, it has, but it may surprise some fans of the drama to learn that the actress doesn’t appear in just two episodes, though that’s not bad considering there are over 370 episodes so far.
The first time Dr. Meredith Gray didn’t appear on screen didn’t happen until season 13, episode 16, “Who’s He (And What’s He To You)?” In this episode, doctors Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) and April Kepner (Sarah Drew) fly to Montana to perform a complicated surgery. Unfortunately for them, they were misinformed about the situation the patient was in and are forced to make a difficult decision.
The episode is focused on Jackson and April due to the difficult situation they find themselves in. At no time do we go back to consult with Seattle Grace Hospital, where all the other doctors are. As a result, fans never get a chance to see or hear Dr. Meredith in this episode, something that was too surprising for viewers.
Until now there was no mysterious reason why this was so. The producers apparently felt they needed to branch out and explore the show outside of Seattle Grace Hospital, so they decided to tap into the story of these two characters who were also intimately connected.
However, the other episode where actress Ellen Pompeo was not present occurred in the following season than the previous one, specifically in season 14, episode 11 “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper”. In this episode, all the focus this time goes to Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), who opens with a monologue about deathbed regrets.
Although the episode’s story begins lightheartedly, Dr. Bailey soon calmly shares that she believes she is having a heart attack. She is being pushed to the limit with all the responsibilities of hers, like being the chief of surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital. On top of that, her husband, Dr. Ben Warren (Jason George), has decided to become a Seattle firefighter.
Interestingly, this episode took place at Seattle Grace Hospital, but there’s no clear reason why Ellen Pompeo wasn’t in it. Although there is a possibility that a break with the character is necessary after all the drama of the previous episode, “Personal Jesus”, where she struggles to find who beat up a patient who ultimately died.