Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) might die in Grey’s Anatomy Season 17. But Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) and Mark Sloan’s (Eric Dane) appearance gave fans some hope. Then in a recent interview, Dane shared his thoughts on Mark and Lexie’s impact on Meredith as she fights for her life in the real world — here’s what the actor said.

Lexie and Mark help Meredith in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17 Episode 10

Eric Dane as Mark Sloan, Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey, and Chyler Leigh as Lexie Grey in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Randy Holmes/Walt Disney Television via Getty ImagesRELATED: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17: Chandra Wilson Says the Cast Doesn’t Know What’s Coming Next

In Grey’s Anatomy Season 17, Meredith contracted the coronavirus (COVID-19). Viewers watched as the general surgeon’s health declined. Eventually, she was put on a ventilator. That said, Meredith was transported to a dream beach every time she was unconscious. She also reunited with a number of dead fan-favorites, including Lexie, Mark, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), and George O’Malley (T.R. Knight).

Mark and Lexie helped Meredith breathe in Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 10. The beloved characters — who died as a result of the devastating plane crash — encouraged Meredith to fight for her life and encouraged her not to “waste one single minute.” They also reminded Meredith of the beauty of life amid all the grief.

“The depth of grief that you felt with all the losses, it’s because of the depth of love,” Lexie said. “As long as you’re alive, you get to feel it, and you get to do something about it.”

Meanwhile, the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial took Meredith off the ventilator in the real world. Then to everyone’s surprise, Meredith was able to breathe on her own. 

Eric Dane on Lexie and Mark’s impact on Meredith in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17’

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Following Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 10, Dane explained what Mark and Lexie’s return meant for Meredith’s recovery. The actor also hinted that it was “too early” for Meredith to stay on the beach.

“Mark Sloan and Lexie Grey are embedded in the DNA of that show, and also literally, Lexie and Meredith share the same DNA,” Dane said. “I think there’s a connectivity there and reminding her that, gone but not forgotten, we’re always around if you need us, and it’s too early for you to stay on the beach.”

Then when speaking with The Hollywood Reporter following the new episode, Dane shared how he felt about the arc.

“It’s a pretty poignant moment,” the actor said. “I would think anybody speaking to anybody beyond the grave would probably provide the same advice. You get one lap in life, it’s very important that you live every day to the fullest. You keep both feet in today, you stay present. And you’re there for your loved ones.”

Will Meredith die in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17?

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For now, Grey’s Anatomy fans will have to wait and see whether Meredith dies in season 17. But in the promo trailer for season 17 episode 11, Meredith seems to wake up. 

That said, it’s too early to tell what happens next. In February 2021, Pompeo went on CBS Sunday Morning and claimed she doesn’t know whether Meredith’s journey will end in Grey’s Anatomy Season 17.

“We don’t know, I’m in that we,” Pompeo said when asked whether Meredith will live or die. “I mean, you know, we have choices.”