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Derek Shepherd is one of the most popular characters in Grey’s Anatomy and for good reason. His journey is fascinating, as he falls in love with Meredith when she is an intern, realizes her marriage to Addison is over, and struggles to reconcile family and work. His absence is definitely felt on the beloved hospital drama and his season 11 death will never be forgotten.

RELATED: 10 Episodes Of Grey’s Anatomy That Will Attract New Viewers

While Derek is on Grey’s Anatomy involves many dramatic stories from his relationship with Meredith to his skill as a surgeon, there are several episodes that stand out as the most memorable and important.


ten “A hard day at night” (S1, E1)

It is interesting to compare the Grey’s Anatomy pilot of the series, and in the first episode, fans see the beginning of Derek and Meredith’s romance. As the characters meet at a bar and it looks like they’ll only have a one-night stand, they see each other in the hospital and realize that they can’t stay away from each other. others.

Derek’s realization that Meredith is an intern is fun and juicy to look back on, because it creates a lot of drama right away. While not as intense as others, it is one of Derek’s greatest episodes as this is the moment his life changes forever as he will never be able to let Meredith go.

9 “If tomorrow never comes” (S1, E6)

Once Derek and Meredith realize that they work in the same location, they swear to keep their relationship a secret. Unfortunately for them, Bailey sees them in this episode and doesn’t want Derek to allow Meredith to have opportunities that the other interns won’t.

RELATED: 5 Times Meredith & Derek Were The Perfect Couple On Grey’s Anatomy (& 5 Times They Weren’t)

This Season 1 episode is important because Derek knows he needs to understand his feelings for Meredith so that they don’t affect his job, which is so important to him. Other episodes could take the Meredith / Derek love story in a new direction or create more personal turmoil for Derek, but it remains a key part of his journey.

8 “Drifting and at peace” (S7, E10)

There are beautiful friendships on Grey’s Anatomy as doctors have grown closer over the years. Fans loved watching Derek take Cristina fishing in this Season 7 episode.

Derek can tell Cristina is struggling after the hospital shooting, and he thinks a fishing trip will help her heal. Cristina is having a lot more fun than she thinks because she manages to catch a fish. Yes Grey’s Anatomy fans had to choose their favorite episodes of Derek, they would probably choose the ones involving his love affair with Meredith, but this one is still very sweet.

7 “I am a tree” (S3, E2)

Shared image of Meredith, Finn and Derek in Grey's Anatomy

In this Season 3 episode, Meredith lets Derek and Finn know that she wants to date the two of them, which is certainly a shock as it’s likely they each thought she would choose them.

This episode is a huge deal for Meredith and Derek as he becomes terrified of losing her. While Derek may be a very confident doctor who is used to doing well in his professional life, this episode makes him see that his personal life may not always be so happy and successful. He will eventually realize that he has to fight for the person he loves. It’s not the best Meredith and Derek episode, but it’s still dramatic.

6 “Remember the time” (S9, E2)

It’s a tough time for Derek because, after the tragic plane crash at the end of Season 8, he’s unsure if he’ll be able to use his hand properly again. He begins teaching so that he can continue working at the hospital and make a difference in the industry he is so passionate about.

Since Derek is at a crossroads here, wondering if he can continue doing the job he loves, this is a crucial part of his journey on Grey’s Anatomy. It’s also nice for fans to see Derek being vulnerable and scared as he often comes across as totally cool, calm, and collected.

5 “Good as hell” (S17, E13)

Meredith confesses she misses Derek in Grey's Anatomy

Meredith has beach visions in season 17, and in this special episode, Meredith and Derek connect with each other about the traditional wedding they never had. Meredith tells Derek that their daughter Ellis hates seeing their wedding post-it because she wanted them to have a real wedding. In an incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking episode, Meredith sees a vision of her and Derek getting married on the beach.

This is one of the most important episodes of Derek because he gets the chance to conclude with his one true love. Fans were also thrilled to have the opportunity to see this couple again, and while it is so sad to see them in wedding attire, it feels good to them.

4 “Now or never” (S5, E24)

Derek and Meredith’s post-it wedding explains their whole love affair, as it’s quirky and tells everyone they don’t like tradition.

RELATED: 10 Things That Make No Sense About Meredith & Derek’s Relationship On Grey’s Anatomy

Given that this Season 5 episode features this big moment for Meredith and Derek, it will always be a fan favorite episode. This storyline sets the tone for the rest of Derek’s time on the show, as he is fully committed to Meredith and they are able to plan for the future. Of course, the fact that Derek will tragically die and their romance cut short will always linger in the background when fans watch this episode again.

3 “Fear (of the unknown)” (S10, E24)

Derek Shepard and Meredith Gray from Grey's Anatomy

Derek is thrilled to be offered a job for the president, but in this important episode Meredith tells him that she won’t be moving to Washington, DC with him. She loves him so much but can’t ignore what she wants out of life which is to continue working and living in Seattle.

While fans love the romantic scenes between this couple, this Season 10 episode just might be the most meaningful for these characters. It’s a real crisis as Derek and Meredith can’t agree on how to move forward with their relationship. While they want to be together, their careers take them to different places.

2 “Who’s Zoomin ‘Who?” “(S1, E9)

Of each Grey’s Anatomy season finale, it’s one of the most intense, as Meredith learns that Derek is married to Addison.

It’s a shocking moment in this favorite relationship, and it’s weird and confusing that Derek doesn’t tell Meredith he has a wife. Given that Derek is behaving so badly here, it can’t be ignored, and this moment also sets up a dramatic and compelling Season 2 of the show. Fans are riveted, wondering if this couple will make things right and what will happen to Addison, who is a strong and fascinating character in her own right.

1 “How to Save a Life” (S11, E21)

The episode where Derek dies is definitely his most dramatic and it’s one that viewers will never stop thinking about. This is especially gruesome as it looks like his death is not supposed to happen at all, as Penny struggles to save his life and Derek ultimately leaves Meredith and their children behind.

When fans look back on Derek’s days Grey’s Anatomy, they can’t help but think about the harsh and heartbreaking way her story ends. Since this episode comes with so many massive changes for all of the characters who love Derek, this is his number one episode.

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