The world seems to have changed entirely from 2005 when this romantic drama series first got started. Back then, smartphones would be deemed alien technology, and having Wi-Fi in every household sounded bonkers. The one thing that remains from then, however, is Grey’s Anatomy. The show just finished up its 15th season and has already been renewed for two more, so it won't be ending any time soon.
With the episode tally now over 340, there are many quality offerings from the show. However, there are 9 such episodes that have the best replay value. After fifteen seasons worth of content, these are the ones we’d watch again and again thanks to how they elicit such strong emotions from us—something for which Grey's Anatomy is undeniably famous.
10 A Hard Day's Night - Season 1
It’s impossible not to watch the first episode when you’re planning on rewatching Grey’s Anatomy. The episode’s excellent execution of Meredith and Derek’s chemistry was what put faith in the network to commission Grey’s Anatomy for a second extended season.
You get to watch McDreamy once again (and back when he was at his hunkiest), with the introduction of all the core characters. The episode didn’t lay it thick with drama, instead focusing on creating the atmosphere of Seattle Grace. Looking back, “A Hard Day’s Night” is like going through your High School yearbook and recalling all the fun you had so long ago.
9 Didn't We Almost Have It All? - Season 3
Season 3 saw many tensions heading into the final episode, and we knew something had to give. It’s an episode to watch because it brings it all stories to a wonderful collision course. Mostly, though, the episode is watched again just for Cristina’s breakdown at the end. As soon as she mouths the words, “I’m free,” we all bawl down along with her, as we realize—the same moment she does, too—that she did love Burke after all. The music accompanies the scene so beautifully that, despite it being heartbreaking, it makes for wonderful television.
8 A Change is Gonna Come - Season 4
The first three seasons had focused on the group of friends being interns, and the fourth season premiere changed things up by making them Residents. It’s a fun episode since it’s so different from the series’ norm up until that point.
We get to see “Lexipedia” make her first entry, and some steamy moments between Meredith and Derek that remind us why they had such turbulent yet fiery chemistry. Thankfully, the George “I love you, too” declaration to Izzie is kept at the end so we can focus on how funny it was to see the former interns now struggling as residents. Did we mention Izzie resuscitates a deer in this episode?
7 Some Kind of Miracle - Season 3
The thought of having a fantasy episode on Grey’s Anatomy would’ve sounded like a “Jumping the shark” moment at first, but having Denny back once again makes this worth watching. We all loved Denny, and his stint on the show was painfully brief; here, he gets to show us a healthy version of himself.
It’s a superb Meredith-centric episode that has her facing her problems for a change (although she tries to avoid it even in her limbo state), and ends with a parting from her mother. The best reason to rewatch remains Denny, though; we can use it to remind us that Jeffrey Dean Morgan wasn’t once best-known for swinging bats and smashing heads on The Walking Dead.
6 We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - Season 10
Having chemistry trumps a bad story any time of the year; had George and Izzie had even a little chemistry, their awful angle would’ve felt special. It all comes down to chemistry, and Cristina and Burke are ever-living proof for this. They had a few scenes together in this Season 10 episode, and it reminded us why their relationship was so brutally passionate. It was an excellent callback to the best days of Grey’s Anatomy by giving us one last Cristina/Burke argument, which is where we were treated to a chemistry-filled exchange of dialogue. Both have one shining moment that makes the episode so watchable—Cristina, when she tells him she’s “done”; Burke, when he tells her the way he loved her was “consuming”. Just crazy chemistry all around.
5 Perfect Storm - Season 9
Like the case was with Season 3’s finale, Season 9’s final episode also saw long-brimming tensions come to a close. Most of all, the episode’s replay value comes from the Jackson/April storyline. Who among us didn’t squeal in delight when April was beside herself with relief as Jackson walked through the flames of the bus explosion? Moreover, her anguished declaration of love was what everyone had wanted to see the whole season.
It’s also a unique episode, where the action takes place in a blackout. Although the Callie/Arizona angle is sad, it does represent the best storyline they had on the show. Plus, it’s satisfying to watch Callie confront Arizona for how awful she’d been to her for months. Finally, a baby makes for a memorable episode every time.
4 Freedom - Season 4
Rather than tensions blowing up, this season finale had us all sigh in relief for resolutions meeting in the best way possible. Of course, the true stars of this episode—and the reason for all the repeated viewings—are Meredith and Derek.
Fans flock over to rewatch Meredith’s final declaration of love for Derek, and it’s even more special for us now after McDreamy’s death and because this was the one couple that truly stuck through Grey’s Anatomy’s run. Meredith arranging the candles around for Derek and her future home was surprisingly sweet coming from her, and Derek had everyone swooning as usual. The theme by Bryn Christopher, “The Quest” only added to the episode’s feeling of finality.
3 Losing My Religion - Season 2
It shatters our hearts into thousands of fragments, but the passing of Denny is almost the ultimate moment of Grey’s Anatomy’s greatness. Fans watch this episode as a reminder of just how perfectly the show was capable of giving us hope, only to rip it out of our hands, and that’s very satisfying for some reason.
The ending scene steals it for us, but it’s doubly worth watching the whole thing just to have that impact hit bigger in our hearts to see Izzie crying over Denny’s body. Add to that, “How to Save a Life” playing over Meredith’s decision between Derek and Finn is still the best way to leave a viewer both hanging and satisfied.
2 "How To Save A Life" - Season 11
It might have been the episode where we lost McDreamy, but it’s the one you want to watch to bring closure to their relationship. Fans revisit this episode for the emotional weight it carries; a trait the show has lacked in recent years, but fulfilled in heartbreaking execution for this episode.
The acting of the cast is phenomenal, with Meredith’s grief feeling as raw as we felt when we watched Derek being declared brain-dead. Since we love watching the pilot episode that began their love, watching "How To Save A Life" completed their story - a heartbreak we’re willing to take. It was perfect in its own way, no matter how many buckets of tears we cried.
1 Now or Never - Season 5
You thought the previous point was the saddest? Then prepare for easily the saddest moment for the show. While Derek, Mark, Lexie, and a whole others’ deaths were sad, none of them had the execution of George’s passing. We watch the whole episode just to get to the end because that’s where things kick into overdrive. This scene has been immortalized in the hearts of every Grey's Anatomy fan, as George and Izzie stand apart—one inside the elevator and one outside—while their friends try to bring both of them back from the brink of death. The second the elevator doors open, we know we’re going to be watching this episode over and over again.