‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 13 Finale Recap: How Did Stephanie Edwards Leave?

Since Jerrika Hinton announced that she wasn’t returning to Grey’s Anatomy Season 14, fans wondered how her character, Dr. Stephanie Edwards, was going to be written out. Many feared she would be a casualty in the explosion in the hospital, but did she actually die in the Grey’s Anatomy Season 13 finale?

Caution: There are spoilers in this recap. If you don’t want to know what happened to Stephanie or any of the other doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial, don’t read after this trailer for the Grey’s Anatomy Season 13 finale.

Shonda Rhimes has a habit of killing off characters. It looked like Stephanie had been killed at the end of the last episode. In fact, she should have been. Her proximity to the blast should have killed her instantly. However, it quickly became clear that she was very much alive with barely a scratch on her. It was the most unrealistic part of the episode, but considering what happened throughout the rest of the episode most fans will be able to let the writers off.

As the lost little girl, Erin, screamed for help as she found herself trapped, Edwards woke up. Realizing that the little girl needed her help, Edwards got straight to work to help temporarily fix Erin’s leg and find a way out of the building. With the fire spreading in the stairwell, the only way was up to the roof. By the time they got there, the door was locked and only Steph’s key card would let her out.

Of course, Steph’s key card was missing. Initially giving up, Steph suddenly saw what looked like her card and ran down into the flames. It was a dangerous move and for a few seconds we were left wondering if she was going to die in the stairwell, but she returned and got herself and Erin outside. While shouting down to the parking lot, Erin collapsed and Steph and to administer CPR. This goes give the audience a chance to see the nasty burns up Steph’s arms and neck from when she ran back into the stairwell.

Meanwhile, everyone looked around for Edwards and Erin. The police were already alerted to Erin being missing, but Jackson hadn’t told the police about Edwards. Minnick—shouting all about protocols—agreed to alert the police about her resident, while Jackson went off in the hunt for his ex-girlfriend. Of course, Minnick disastrously forgets to tell the police about her missing resident, arguing later that she was following protocols for her patients. More on that later.

We’re later reminded that Jackson is one who will always run into a burning building. Remember the burning bus in the Grey’s Anatomy Season 8 finale? While getting that reminder, April notes that Jackson likes Maggie—and more than as his stepsister. It’s going to be a tricky Season 14.

When Ben finds out that Steph is missing, he takes a look at the blueprints to try to remember where he last saw her. The best option is for him to go into the building and retrace his steps. The anastesiologist-turned-surgical-resident becomes detective, as he leads the police and firefighters through the hospital to the roof, where Steph is still administering CPR.

Steph isn’t going to leave Erin alone until she knows the little girl is okay. Minnick isn’t happy about it, but Bailey isn’t about to move Steph out of the way. It isn’t until Erin’s out of the woods that Steph can finally relax. As the adrenaline leaves her system, she collapses from her own wounds. Is she going to die?

While all this happens, Meredith is on the hunt for Riggs. She needs to tell him about Megan Hunt being alive. She finds him in the OR (with Bokhee!), where he refuses to leave until his patient’s surgery is over. Scrubbing in, Meredith helps him finish the surgery and they all get out alive. It’s only when Meredith is sure that Riggs is fine from the smoke inhalation that she tells him about Megan.

There are a mixture of emotions—brilliantly acted by Martin Henderson—as Riggs starts with disbelief, to shock, to relief, and then worry about Meredith. They were supposed to start a new life together, but now Megan was back. Would this be a messy love triangle for Grey’s Anatomy Season 14?

Not at all! Meredith is genuinely happy for Riggs. She even offers to drive him to the hospital that Megan is currently going to, fearing that Riggs isn’t in any state to drive. Of course, if this was the other way around, she would drop Riggs for Derek in an instant and wants Riggs to go be with his former fiancee. It’s a touching moment that shows just how much Meredith and Riggs understand each other. Riggs has always been a couple of years ahead of Meredith in terms of grieving, but they both knew the pain that each other had been through at the loss of the loves of their lives.

With the fire out, we finally get to find out what happened to Steph. She’s in the burn unit, where Webber sees her to share how fast they will try to get her back in the OR. But Steph doesn’t want to be there anymore. She’s spent too much of her life in hospitals and wants to live that life and see the world. The burns, the difficult few months, and the situation with the rapist has taught her that she needs to travel. But she does thank Webber for being the teacher that he was.

It’s a heartwarming moment. Leaving the show doesn’t mean death and the exit doesn’t have to be full of angst and pain. While there were physical pains for Steph, she gained a new lease on life after her almost death experience. There is an opportunity for the character to return in the future, but right now we can believe that she is going to live the rest of her life to the fullest.

There is one more exit to cover. After admitting that she failed to alert the police about her missing resident, Minnick tried to push the blame onto Steph. Surely if Steph hadn’t returned to work without going through all her counselling session, the whole situation wouldn’t have happened.

Well, Bailey wasn’t happy with that. She was fed up hearing about protocols. One thing that Bailey didn’t want to happen in her hospital was her doctors turning into robots. They needed heart and humanity, which is something Steph showed when she put her own life at risk to save one patient—when she fought against everyone to remain by Erin’s side until she knew Erin was safe. And that heart was something Bailey learned from Webber.

It’s about time that this happened. For the whole season, Catherine Avery pushed the idea that there was a fault in the method of teaching. Bailey followed her like a puppy, but now gained her own views on the matter. There is nothing wrong with Bailey at all. If all the doctors were like Minnick, Steph and Erin wouldn’t be alive—Erin especially, who could have been hurt by the rapist if Steph wasn’t there to stop him.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but Minnick was fired in the end. She’s not happy, but there’s no love lost.

That’s it for Grey’s Anatomy Season 13. The finale left no major cliffhanger for the first time in a very long time. The only questions are around Megan Hunt: what will she be like after 10 years in captivity? Will Owen and Riggs forgive themselves for giving up on her? Will she understand why they moved on with their lives?

Grey’s Anatomy Season 14 premieres sometime in the fall on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

[Featured Image from YouTube Promo Clip]

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