Grey’s Anatomy: The Best Episode In Every Season, Ranked

Believe it or not, the season 16 premiere of Grey's Anatomy is only two weeks away! It can be hard to believe that the surgeries and romances at Seattle Grace Hospital have been going on for nearly 20 years now, but the show has no signs of slowing down. Before we reunite with our favorite residents, we're looking back at each season's standout episode and comparing them against each other.

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We've seen everything on Grey's Anatomy: plane crashes, shootings, train wrecks, roller coaster disasters, storms, fires, you name it. Is your favorite episode on the list? How does rank against all the episodes from fifteen seasons of medical and romantic drama? Find out in our breakdown of the best episode from each season.

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15 Golden Hour (7x15)

In "Golden Hour," Meredith steps up to prove she is Chief Resident material. The episode takes place in real-time, charting what happens at the hospital over one tumultuous hour. Meredith soon discovers she is in over her head with everything going wrong simultaneously.

Perhaps the most shocking moment is when Richard's wife, Adele, shows up at the hospital with a broken wrist in what would soon become a new storyline about her Alzheimer's.

14 Freedom: Part 2 (4x17)

Despite this season being affected by the writer's strike, it doesn't stop it from being an excellent hour of television. George decides to retake his intern test after learning he only failed by one point.

Izzie and Alex kiss, while Meredith and Derek finally start their romance on the same page for once. The medical case is compelling too, with everyone still trying to save a boy encased in cement.

13 Who's Zoomin' Who? (1x09)

Who could forget the epic moment that Addison Montgomery showed up on the scene and put a significant hole in the middle of Derek and Meredith's fledgling romance? It's a scene fans of Grey's Anatomy have a hard time forgetting.

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At the time, none of us could have guessed Derek was secretly married. "You must be the woman sleeping with my husband" is still one of the most iconic twists and lines in the series.

12 True Colors (13x23)

Sometimes, the penultimate episode winds up being even more dramatic than the finale. Such is the case for True Colors, which gave us some genuinely intense plotlines with one of the patients taking Stephanie hostage and Alex confronting Jo's abusive ex-husband.

Fans of Jo and Alex had been waiting for some closure on Jo's ex for a while now, and we finally got it at the end of season 13.

11 Drowning on Dry Land (3x16)

This season 3 episode saw Meredith almost drown after a massive ferry accident. Meredith winds up getting pushed into the water by accident and Derek has to save her.

It's a close call back at the hospital as she fights for her life. This near-death experience kicks off a storyline about why Meredith didn't swim and what she's dealing with deep down that leaves her so dark and twisted inside.

10 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (12x05)

Callie is dating Penny, who was one of the doctors present when Derek died. Unsurprisingly but unfairly so, Meredith still partially blames Penny for the death of her husband.

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So when Callie invites Penny over for dinner, it causes all kinds of tension at the dining table. It's the kind of drama we wanted to see ever since we found out who Penny really was.

9 The Distance (11x14)

For fans of Amelia Shepherd or Caterina Scorsone, this episode is a tribute to her talents. Scorsone delivers a pitch-perfect performance, and Amelia is put the ringer as she performs one of the most challenging operations of her entire career.

Not only that but she manages to excise a massive tumor in full. Unfortunately, Dr. Herman is left blind in the process. Still, Amelia did the impossible.

8 Remember the Time (9x02)

This devastating episode is also one of the series' best as it occurs in the aftermath of the terrible plane crash. It's set slightly in the future, but tells us everything that has happened through flashbacks.

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We watch as Callie is ultimately forced to remove Arizona's leg, as the doctors visit a comatose Mark, all the while seeing Cristina go into a catatonic state. This episode is beautifully written and incredibly well-performed.

7 Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story (14x07)

This episode is a special tribute to the legacy of Grey's Anatomy, as the series reached its landmark 300th episode. It's an honor that many series can only dream of.

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As a way to make it extra special for fans, the doctors tend to patients who remind them of past doctors and characters like Izzie, George, and Derek. We even see some brief moments of them appearing with old footage, which will definitely bring a nostalgic tear to the eyes of long-time fans.

6 Dark Was the Night (8x09)

This episode puts the spotlight on the relationship between Teddy and Henry. It's the midseason finale of season 8, and it packs an emotional punch.

Henry dies on the operating table, and Owen decides they should lie to Teddy, who is in the middle of surgery herself. It's really hard to watch. Elsewhere, Meredith and Alex get into an ambulance crash with a newborn baby.

5 Fear (of the Unknown) (10x24)

This episode marked the official exit of one of the most beloved characters in the series: Cristina Yang. Sandra Oh rightfully received enormous praise for her performance in this episode as Cristina prepares to say goodbye to everyone.

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But one of the best scenes is between Meredith and Cristina, as they dance it out one last time and she gives Meredith some sage advice about Derek: "He is not the sun; you are."

4 It's the End of the World (2x16)

Who could forget the bomb episode from season two? It may be hard to remember, but this episode actually helped put Grey's Anatomy on the awards season map. Kyle Chandler, who guest-starred in this two-part episode, even received a nomination for his work as the bomb squad member.

By the end of the first half, Meredith has her hand on a bomb inside a patient's stomach. It's as exciting yet nerve-wracking as it should be.

3 Now or Never (5x24)

Put lightly, the season finale of season 5 is one of the saddest episodes of the entire series. It contains an iconic scene of Izzie's memory, where she imagines getting off the elevator in her pink dress and greeting George dressed up for the U.S. Army.

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This is the episode where we tragically lost George after he got hit by a bus. No one could figure out who the John Doe was until he signed 007 on Meredith's hand.

2 Silent All These Years (15x19)

The fact that one of the best episodes of the entire series aired only last season (i.e. earlier this year) is proof of how good Grey's Anatomy still is even after all this time. In this incredible hour, we learn about what happened when Jo visited her mother.

She discovers she was the product of rape. Meanwhile, at the hospital, Jo helps treat a rape victim. The scene of all the women lining the hall to give her strength as she goes into surgery is profound and immensely powerful.

1 Sanctuary (6x23)

Some may disagree about this episode's ranking, but it truly was one of Grey's Anatomy's best. What's crazy is that when the episode featuring a hospital shooting first aired, many people thought it was over-the-top.

As time goes on and gun violence sadly remains an everyday occurrence, this episode only gets increasingly relevant with each passing day, resonating deeply with fans who watch it today.

NEXT: Every Sizzling Season Of Grey's Anatomy So Far, Ranked

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