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Grey's Anatomy Inducts Two New Members Into The Mile High Club

Meredith and Riggs use a turbulent flight to work through their incomprehensible relationship.

As I watched this episode, I idly wondered if the Meredith/Riggs pairing has to be the most drawn-out tease with the least amount of anticipation in this show's history. They had sex for the first time twenty episodes ago, and rather than being eager to see where they would go, I spent the intervening episodes low-key dreading when they would actually get together. Lest you think I am being harsh -- and unless I am reading her body language (and words) wrong -- Meredith seemed about as enthusiastic about their eventual hook-up as I was. I mean, could this ship be any more lackluster?

However, the heart wants what the heart wants, and apparently Riggs and Meredith are love's newest dream on Grey's Anatomy. Since many contrived obstacles appeared to make their road to love rocky, the only way to push them forward is to push them together in a closed space from which Meredith could not escape.

Riggs and Meredith are taking the same flight to a medical conference. Initially, they're not aware of each other, but because Meredith sympathizes with a frazzled mother who's sitting apart from her husband, she offers to exchange seats with the husband. Surprise! Riggs is one of her new seatmates. They flirt-snipe at each other, which devolves into a yet another discussion about the state of their non-romance. Ingrid, the poor woman who has the bad luck to sit between them, gamely offers to allow them to sit right next to each other; they both refuse, but then proceed to regale her with the state of their non-romance. When Riggs mentions Maggie, Ingrid immediately perks up, believing she is going to hear something interesting and guessing that Riggs cheated on Meredith with her. Ingrid is my type of gal: being stuck between two strangers telling you about their non-romance is only fun if it involves dirt.

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Meredith decides she is over this endless loop of a conversation (girl, me too!), and takes a quick trip to the bathroom. Where Nathan promptly follows her and locks the door, claiming she gave him a "sign" than she wanted him to join her.

See, this is why this romance irritates me so. No, Nathan, Meredith did not give you a sign. She went to the bathroom because she has to pee, not because she is giving you the go-ahead for a clandestine meet. It makes him feel rather stalkery. Then Meredith validates his previously wrong assumption by basically shrugging, and the two get busy in the bathroom. This has been a pattern with them: Nathan steadfastly ignoring her spoken refusals, always claiming that her words mean one thing but her behavior means another. Rather than shutting that idea right the fuck down, Meredith proves him right.

The sex doesn't solve anything: Meredith treats it as an itch she is scratching, while he thinks it means something more. However, before they can wrangle about it any further, the plane hits a nasty spot of turbulence, and Meredith flashes back to the plane crash that killed Lexie.

While Meredith is having her momentary psychological trauma, the turbulence is bad enough that various other passengers are physically hurt. Meredith pulls it together as she, Nathan, and another doctor (who turns out to be a pediatric dentist) leap into action to help the injured.

The most seriously hurt is Max, a chatty traveler played by Queer Eye For The Straight Guy's Jai Rodriguez. He is thrown into an overhead light fixture and hits his head hard enough to pass out for a few moments; his head is also bleeding copiously. Meredith, ever the pessimist, assumes right away that he has a brain bleed...and she is correct: after a few moments where it seems he might be okay, he starts seizing and foaming at the mouth. With the help of Dr. Dentist, Ingrid, and a steely-eyed flight attendant named Candace, Meredith goes into MacGyver mode using a straw, a plastic cup, and a syringe, evacuating the blood building under Max's brain in order to relieve the pressure.

Meanwhile, another passenger -- who, up to this point, has been a bit high maintenance, a seeming hypochondriac, and rather annoying -- has pulmonary hypertension and begins to experience real respiratory distress. Nathan begins frantically working on him with another flight attendant and a handy on-board defibrillator.

In between their feats of sky-high derring-do and as the plane travels through two severe storm systems, Mer and Nathan manage to sneak away and take a few lighthearted moments to commiserate over their current situation.

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But inevitably, the talk turns back to their relationship. Mer opens up to Nathan about the plane crash and the loss of Lexie. He now understands why she is so protective of Maggie: she doesn't want to lose another sister. But he continues to push, pointing out that her devotion to her sister is a bit excessive. Finally, Meredith blurts out that she is a married woman.

You know what? If I were Nathan, I would totally peace out at this point. Meredith thinks of herself as married? Present tense? She is not reconciled to her husband's death, clearly.

Besides that -- and not to belabor a point -- Meredith and Nathan have no chemistry! Dr. Dentist, who is super-cute, is giving Meredith the heart-eyes during the episode, and frankly I was feeling him way more for Meredith than I was feeling Nathan. And that's after just a few scenes of soulful staring and making earnest thoughtful faces.

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Nathan also gets his share of come-hither looks: tough-as-nails flight attendant Candace makes it very clear that she would like to fly some friendly skies with him, or at least heat some friendly sheets with him. Candace is played by Spencer Grammar -- formerly Casey Cartwright on Greek, one of my favorite shows (and a woefully underrated one)! Even she's working a vibe better with Nathan, in just a few scenes, than Meredith.

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But Nathan, ever the stalker hero who can't take no for an answer, keeps after Meredith. After the plane makes an emergency landing and all their patients are on their way to the hospital, Nathan tries to tempt Meredith with a hotel stay together. They are alone, just the two of them in a strange town. Meredith still says no. But Nathan tells her she needs to move forward.

Finally, Nathan's words seem to puncture whatever wall Meredith has been keeping up, because we get a series of flashbacks of her life with Derek. It feels as if Meredith is shuffling through a series of visual flashcards to file to memory before she can put them away. Honestly, all those flashbacks accomplish, as far as I am concerned, is reminding me what a good romance on this show actually looks like. For Meredith, however, they seem to give her to go-ahead to finally admit she wants to be with Nathan. She agrees to share a hotel with him and they walk away together to begin their own romance. Or..."romance."

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