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15 Filler Episodes of Grey’s Anatomy You Can Skip

15 Filler Episodes of Grey’s Anatomy You Can Skip

When Grey’s Anatomy first aired in 2005, no one, not even Shonda Rhimes, knew how long its success would last. There were plenty of other medical dramas airing at the time, like Scrubs, House, and ER, but there was just something about Grey’s Anatomy that broke through to fans. Between Derek Shepherd’s (Patrick Dempsey) luscious hair, Miranda Bailey’s (Chandra Wilson) unparalleled sass, and the countless crazy situations Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and the other original interns found themselves in, there was always something to look forward to.



Now, with 421 (and counting) aired episodes in the books, we know they cannot all be winners.

Out of Grey’s Anatomy‘s 20 seasons, there have been quite a few seemingly random storylines and just bizarre episodes that felt completely out of place. Naturally, these are looked at as filler episodes where the primary plot takes a backseat, and viewers get a better understanding of at least one character through flashbacks or unusual circumstances. Surprisingly, fans feel like many of these filler episodes can and should be skipped when watching the series because they add little or no substance to the main storylines.

Check out which Grey’s Anatomy filler episodes can and should be skipped during your next binge session.

15 Season 3, Episode 7 – “Where the Boys Are”

“Where the Boys Are” primarily follows the male doctors on a camping trip while most of the ladies are working back at the hospital. Meredith and Derek’s second chance at a relationship is up in the air, even though the ink on his divorce papers with Addison (Kate Walsh) is barely dry, and while Derek is away, Mark (Eric Dane) makes a few advances and inappropriate comments.

Cristina (Sandra Oh) is visibly distressed while Burke (Isaiah Washington) is away on the trip due to their little secret about his hand function not being completely restored.

The Following Episode Goes Into More Detail

While a few big situations are racking some characters’ brains, the entire episode feels fruitless. Sure, it is amusing to see the guys get together for a “boys’ sleepover,” as Izzie (Katherine Heigl) so kindly puts it, but there is no real need for the side plot. Alex (Justin Chambers) and George (T. R. Knight) get into a fight, which comes as no surprise given the constant tension between them, and George ultimately discovers that Burke’s hand is not fully healed.

Fans will certainly not miss much if they choose to skip over this episode because problems are further discussed in a more in-depth fashion in the following episode.

14 Season 6, Episode 7 – “Give Peace a Chance”

While Meredith is still at home on bed rest after donating part of her liver to her father, Derek becomes the focal point of “Give Peace a Chance.” A lab tech named Isaac (Faran Tahir) approaches Derek with scans of a beautiful and dangerous spinal tumor, and when Derek has a glimmer in his eye, thinking about how he would attack it, Isaac reveals that it is his tumor.

The episode then follows Derek and the rest of the staff as he creates a game plan to cut the tumor out of Isaac. Webber (James Pickens Jr.) is completely against the operation, and after Derek deliberately goes through with it, Webber fires him.

The Next Episode Acts Like Nothing Ever Happened

Though the ending of this episode could have had a significant shift in the entire medical drama, Derek comes back in the next episode like nothing had ever happened. There is no talk about the most amazing surgery, nor does Richard enforce his decision to fire Derek. In all, “Give Peace a Chance” is a heartfelt episode that shows the lengths all the staff in the hospital will go to when it comes to protecting one of their own, but it is a filler episode that can be skipped.

13 Season 6, Episode 15 – “The Time Warp”

With Derek as the new Chief of Surgery, an old tradition is brought back to the hospital: lecture day. Richard, Miranda, and Callie (Sara Ramirez) are brought up on the stage in front of all their peers to talk about the good times and the bad in their medical careers.

Miranda talks about how her intern year was with a horrible and vindictive resident; Richard discusses how he and Meredith’s mother, Ellis, were judged back in the day when they tried their best to help a patient with HIV, and Callie manages to overcome her fear of public speaking when she shows how she and Alex made a man walk again.

A Flashback Episode

Overall, “The Time Warp” is a great reflective episode that sheds light on three primary characters. However, fans will not be missing much if they choose to skip it. Fans already knew Richard and Ellis had an affair when Meredith was little. Seeing Bailey in her pre-Nazi days is humorous and enlightening but really not necessary.

Then, the whole story about Callie changing a man’s life and later sleeping with Alex did nothing for her character arc. The idea of a whole flashback episode is nice when it comes to giving characters a bit more backstory, but in all, this is one that can be overlooked.

12 Season 7, Episode 6 – “These Arms of Mine”

Season six ended with a two-part finale that dealt with a shooter in the hospital, and the sixth episode of season seven, “These Arms of Mine,” actually picks up with some of the same supporting characters and the tragedy that everyone experienced. The episode is unique because, instead of the regular camera angles, it is filmed like a documentary.

A camera crew comes in to interview the doctors and some of the patients, and they even manage to get in on Mark and Callie’s ground-breaking surgery. Tough questions are asked and answered, and it feels like several of the characters are content with sharing their experience.

More Distracting Than Important

If you are someone who does not like change within a series, it would be in your best interest to skip the episode. The change of camera angles and how the characters act can be somewhat of a distraction, but it is nice to see Cristina and Meredith open up about their traumatic experiences.

By the end of the episode, viewers can see that Cristina is still not mentally ready to be back in the hospital, but if you choose to skip this episode, you will easily be able to see that in the following episode when she actually decides to quit her job at the hospital.

11 Season 7, Episode 18 – “Song Beneath the Song”

“Song Beneath the Song” is one of the most skipped episodes in Grey’s Anatomy because of how different it is from the rest of the series. First, there is singing. Callie, who is pregnant with Mark’s baby, and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) get into a car accident, and they are rushed to the hospital.

Callie hallucinates a version of herself singing and watching over all that is happening. She then imagines that Bailey, Hunt (Kevin McKidd), and Lexie (Chyler Leigh) also sing as they do everything they can to save both her and the baby. It is by far one of the most emotional episodes, but the singing ruined a lot of that emotion for fans.

Skipping This Episode Doesn’t Affect Character Arcs

Just like “These Arms of Mine,” “Song Beneath the Song” feels like a very experimental filler episode. Of course, Callie almost losing her life is a huge deal for everyone, and seeing everyone rally around her, Mark, and Arizona is amazing. However, the musical aspect just feels wrong.

If you were to skip this episode, you would go from watching Arizona propose and hearing the crash at the end of episode 17 to seeing that Callie and her baby both survived the crash and made it through surgery at the beginning of episode 19. No real arc is lost unless you want to see the mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion everyone went through to keep the two alive.

Related: Why Each Original Cast Member Left Grey’s Anatomy

10 Season 8, Episode 7 – “Put Me In, Coach”

In order to break up the regular routine of the doctors, someone thought it was a good idea to throw in a bonding exercise for the Seattle Grace Mercy West crew. In an attempt to work on cooperating as a team, Hunt enters everyone in a friendly softball game against Seattle Presbyterian.

Unfortunately, he did not realize how horrible a bunch of doctors would be out on the field. Meredith and Cristina don’t even bother attempting to play, and Teddy oversells her pitching abilities. In the end, nothing truly significant comes from the group activity.

Quirky, but Not Important

The majority of employees in any profession will admit that they find forced bonding activities to be a pain, so seeing most of the Grey’s Anatomy cast in a situation too many fans have been in is quite comical. However, if you choose to skip over this quirky episode, no one will blame you. There are no major plot points addressed, but Alex does further help Meredith and Derek’s adoption with Zola; unfortunately, nothing is finalized by the end of the episode.

9 Season 8, Episode 13 – “If/Then”

A lot of series like to have a “What If” episode where characters’ storylines are completely skewed, and everyone lives a very different life with potentially different partners. Grey’s Anatomy’s “If/Then” starts off with Meredith loving the fact that she and Derek are now the parents of Zola, but she contemplates what would have changed had she done something different years ago.

The story then spirals into an alternate universe where everything is different. Ellis (Kate Burton) is alive and well (and married to Richard) because she never got Alzheimer’s. Meredith is a happy-go-lucky surgeon who is engaged to Alex and best friends with April (Sarah Drew). Everyone else also has a different life, but overall, no one seems truly happy with their situation.

It Doesn’t Add to Character Development

As unique and fun as this episode can be, there is no projection of anyone’s present storyline. You may find it amusing to see Meredith and Cristina hate one another for 40 minutes until they become friends and drink tequila at Joe’s after work, but most fans are grateful that this scenario did not actually play out. If you choose to skip the episode, which you should if you just want to stick to the main plot, then you will not miss out on anything that helps you better understand the characters.

8 Season 10, Episode 9 – “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word”

It is no secret that Callie Torres is a fan favorite in Grey’s Anatomy; however, seeing an entire episode that focuses on the end of her career is not something anyone wants to see. “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” puts Callie in a very emotional and vulnerable state as she is put on the stand against one of her former patients.

Unfortunately, a risky operation and several tough calls ended up costing her patient, who happened to be an Olympic athlete, both of his legs. Callie claims she did everything she could to help him, but he and his ruthless lawyer think otherwise.

Its Storyline Is Never Addressed Again

If you are a huge Sara Ramirez fan and want to see how amazing she is when it comes to showing every single emotion throughout a single episode, then go ahead and watch “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.” However, it does not add to any Callie’s main storyline. The following episodes don’t even address the almost-lawsuit, and Callie goes back to being an incredible surgeon that takes on difficult cases.

7 Season 12, Episode 11 – “Unbreak My Heart”

Jackson (Jesse Williams) and April’s relationship was a roller coaster from the start, and “Unbreak My Heart” takes fans on a whirlwind through their ups and downs over the years. In a series of flashbacks, you will see numerous fights the pair had, when they first got together, and when it felt like their love was completely unstoppable.

You will also see the two sign divorce papers after many therapy sessions failed to repair their relationship. Afterward, when April is with Arizona, a huge secret is revealed that makes matters a bit sticky.

Only Important if You’re a Fan of “Japril”

If you are not a fan of the “Japril” love story, then feel free to skip over this episode. There are a few scenes that are new (though they are set in the past) that make viewers better understand why Jackson was ready for divorce, but overall, most fans knew the pair was not going to last. There is a frustrating supporting storyline within this episode that makes it seem like Jackson had found love with a former patient of his, but in the end, it turns out the two just became really good friends after several years together.

6 Season 13, Episode 8 – “The Room Where It Happens”

Rather than following the doctors around Grey Sloan Memorial as usual, “The Room Where It Happens” focuses on a single team of doctors in the OR as they work on an unidentified patient. Meredith, Richard, and Stephanie (Jerrika Hinton) are a part of this team, and the goal is for them to help the John Doe the best they can with what they are able to discover while he is open on the table.

Richard is the first one to tell everyone that they need to create a backstory for the mystery man, so they can think of him as a person with a history rather than a nameless patient. Everyone then thinks about people they have cared for, sending viewers into their traumatic pasts.

Kind of an Annoying Episode

The intimacy of the episode is ever present here because several of the surgeons think about horrible things that have happened in their pasts while trying to save a life, but that is not enough for some fans to want to actually watch this episode. In fact, some may find “The Room Where It Happens” rather annoying because it is wedged between a huge storyline about Alex potentially going to jail. If you want to keep things moving and stick with the present timeline, feel free to click past this particular episode.

Related: Grey’s Anatomy: The 15 Most Surprising Plot Twists Throughout the Series

5 Season 13, Episode 10 – “You Can Look (But You’d Better Not Touch)”

Jessica Capshaw, Chandra Wilson, and Camilla Luddington are the only original cast members to appear in “You Can Look (But You’d Better Not Touch),” and fans were not too fond of the entire scenery change. Arizona, Bailey, and Jo respectively make their way over to a maximum security women’s prison to treat an aggressive yet pregnant teenage inmate. Bailey is visibly uncomfortable with the whole ordeal, and Jo and Arizona do their best to stay professional, even when things take a turn for the worst.

Truly Unnecessary

While it is interesting to see these incredible women go above and beyond for a patient, this episode was simply unnecessary. If anything, it frustrates fans to see Bailey so reluctant to help a woman in need, but there is a silver lining of truth behind how horrible the medical conditions are for people behind bars.

4 Season 13, Episode 16 – “Who is He (And What is He to You?)”

In “Who is He (And What is He to You?),” Jackson and April travel to Montana to perform a risky surgery on a young girl, and while in town, Jackson actually meets his biological father. Things go well with the surgery, even though the doctors had to resort to their second plan, but as far as Jackson reconnecting with his father, things are a bit rocky.

He learns that his dad was a brilliant doctor who just could not live up to the pressure of being an Avery. With his own daughter in mind, Jackson admits that he is content having met the man with whom he shares his DNA, but he is adamant that he will never be anything like him.

The Episode Only Focused on a Couple of Characters

True fans knew something was going on behind the scenes when yet another full episode was dedicated to just a couple of the original cast members. In fact, four people were out on maternity leave at various times while season 13 was being shot, so the limited cast members in several episodes actually makes sense.

If you want to see some loose ends tied up as far as Jackson’s life goes, then this episode will satisfy your soul, but for the fans who want to focus on bigger issues going on back in Seattle, this episode is definitely one to skip.

3 Season 13, Episode 20 – “In the Air Tonight”

After Derek’s death, Meredith was not sure that she would ever find love again, but all of that changed when she met Nathan Riggs (Martin Henderson). To further their love story, the two find themselves on the same flight to a conference, and Nathan is all too amused at the fun little coincidence. Unfortunately, “love is in the air” is not the tune the two are singing during their flight when horrible turbulence causes panic and several injuries aboard.

Forced and Feels Out of Place

If you were a fan of the great love story between Meredith and Derek, or you simply want to stick to current events that don’t solely focus on Meredith’s love life, feel free to skip over this episode. It feels forced and out of place, but plenty of fans will understand that Meredith is never allowed an easy life, especially when it comes to opening up and being vulnerable with someone.

If you choose to skip over this episode, you will just pick up back in the hospital when Maggie (Kelly McCreary) is angry because she knows something happened between Meredith and Nathan.

2 Season 14, Episode 20 – “Judgment Day”

“Judgment Day” is a fun and quirky episode that deals with the full cast of Grey’s Anatomy. In short, Arizona is gifted a tin of cookies, and she naturally distributes them to all of her colleagues during a very important competition. However, everything comes crashing down when she learns that the cookies were made with cannabis. Chaos ensues when Meredith and Jo try to round everyone up to let their high pass, but naturally, a few stragglers manage to get away and find themselves in a bit of trouble.

Nothing Significant Happens

While “Judgement Day” is humorous and a bit of a break from the heavier topics that the later seasons have chosen to address, it is definitely one episode you can skip. Sure, seeing April, Miranda, Maggie, Arizona, Alex, and several others stoned out of their minds at the hospital is comical, but nothing significant really comes from the episode.

Instead, you should go from episode 19, where Sam Bello (Jeanine Mason) is on the run from ICE, to episode 20, where light is shed on the terrible things Harper Avery has done in his past. You will certainly be on the edge of your seat wondering just how in-depth this medical drama is willing to go on tough issues.

1 Season 18, Episode 12 – “The Makings of You”

While “The Makings of You” may not feel like a standard filler episode because it deals with three storylines and a handful of prominent characters, it is still considered one based on the episode’s content.

In this episode, Meredith and Nick (Scott Speedman) go to his cabin in the woods to work on their relationship away from the hustle and bustle of their busy schedules, but Nick’s niece and her new boyfriend show up and make things a bit complicated. Maggie finds and reads a letter from Ellis addressed to her, and Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) dives deeper into her relationship with Kai (E. R. Fightmaster).

The Storyline Feels Repetitive

A lot of big conversations are had throughout this episode, but it is still skippable for many. Some fans are tired of Ellis’ ghost coming back to haunt her two daughters, and Meredith’s relationships are coming to an almost annoying head at this point. Seeing Amelia and Kai’s relationship blossom is sweet, but at this point in the series, it feels like so much love and so many crushes are at the forefront of storylines, so it is okay if you miss a couple.

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