'Grey's Anatomy' Season Finale: Ranking all 12 finales before season 13 comes to a close

'Grey's Anatomy' Season Finale: Ranking all 12 finales before season 13 comes to a close

If there's one thing Shonda Rhimes — Grey's Anatomy creator and all-around queen of ABC's Thursday nights — is known for, it's her penchant for seriously tearjerking and sometimes farfetched season finales. Considering she told Entertainment Weekly the final installment of her flagship series' 13th season would be "a pretty exciting episode that's very on fire," it's safe to say we're in for a wild ride come 8 p.m. Eastern this Thursday.

In honor of the season 13 finale of Grey's Anatomy — which has been renewed for another season — we're ranking the closing episodes of seasons past from least to most heart-wrenching. Warning: Get ready to relive some of the series' most iconic moments.

Season 1 — "Who's Zoomin' Who?"

After nine episodes' worth of secret dalliances and Meredith's eventual surrender to her feelings for the affectionately dubbed "McDreamy," season one's final hour ended with the surprise introduction of Dr. Addison Forbes Montgomery-Shepherd — aka McDreamy's estranged wife. Though it was a shocking reveal to both viewers and Mer, it didn't exactly make us reach for the Kleenex.

Number of tissues required: 0

Season 12 — "Family Affair"

Though twisty in its major storylines — e.g. Amelia's wedding to Owen, April's unmedicated C-section, Alex's beatdown of DeLuca after Jo turned down his marriage proposal, the resolution of Arizona and Callie's custody battle — season 12's final outing came up short in particularly sob-worthy moments.

Number of tissues required: 0   

Season 7 — "Unaccompanied Minor"

The conclusion of the Grey's Anatomy's seventh season put some of its biggest relationships front and center. Teddy and Henry's marriage of convenience became something real; Owen lashed out at Cristina after she insisted on getting an abortion; and Meredith took baby Zola home to an empty house after she and Derek unexpectedly separated. If you did shed tears, it was likely during Owen and Cristina's powerful confrontation over their conflicting views on parenthood.

Number of tissues required: 1, maybe

Season 9 — "Perfect Storm"

There was no shortage of distressing narratives in this episode — Owen and Cristina's breakup, Arizona's ill-advised tryst with Lauren and Jackson's potential death via bus explosion, to name a few. But "Perfect Storm," the conclusion to the series' ninth season, just didn't have the same emotional impact for which Grey's has become known.

Number of tissues required: 1

Season 4 — "Freedom"

Between the tragic story of Jeremy and Beth — two star-crossed teenage sweethearts in a risky clinical trial for inoperable brain tumors — and Mer building the legendary house of candles for future hubby Derek, season four's two-part finale definitely triggered a steady stream of tears, runny nose and all.

Number of tissues required: 2

Season 10 — "Fear (Of the Unknown)"

Cristina's departure from the hallowed halls of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital induced tears both sad and happy. It was hard not to smile watching Cristina and Meredith dance it out for one last time, and it was similarly difficult not to cry during her wordless goodbye with ex-husband Owen. Plus, who could forget Cristina's parting words of wisdom to "her person": 

Don't let what he wants eclipse what you need. He's very dreamy, but he's not the sun. You are.

Number of tissues required: 2

Season 11 — "You're My Home"

In an otherwise average episode, season 11's finale took a poignant turn when Meredith shared Derek's last message with a grieving Amelia. Fans will remember that when Derek died, Meredith decided to cease lifesaving measures before consulting with the rest of his family, something Amelia struggled with after her brother's untimely demise. Hearing Derek's voice helped give Amelia — and viewers — a little bit of closure.    

Number of tissues required: 3

Season 3 — "Didn't We Almost Have It All?"

Cristina's devastation — and simultaneous relief — after Burke left her at the altar is some of Sandra Oh's best work on Grey's. Watching Mer comfort her soul mate in such a desperate moment only upped the crying factor. 

Number of tissues required: 3

Season 5 — "Now or Never"

George O'Malley deserved better. Plus, the look on Alex's face when Izzie started coding left even the most cold-blooded Grey's fan curled up in the fetal position.

Number of tissues required: 4

Season 2 — "Losing My Religion"

A single line uttered by Izzie Stevens after the death of her patient-slash-fiancé, Denny, is the only explanation you need for why "Losing My Religion" is ranked so high on this list: 

An hour ago he was proposing. And now ... now he's going to the morgue. Isn't that ridiculous? Isn't it the most ridiculous piece of crap you've ever heard?

'Nuff said.

Number of tissues required: 5

Season 6 — "Death and All His Friends"

Meredith's miscarriage. Derek's near-death. Cristina operating on Derek with a gun to her head. The beloved Dr. Bailey being dragged out from underneath a bed by the shooter. Alex's devastating injuries. The deaths of Reed, Charles and others. Need I say more?

Number of tissues required: An entire box

Season 8 — "Flight"

Mark and Lexie's devastating goodbye is the Grey's event that launched a thousand tears. Though no one would emerge from the plane crash unscathed, Lexie's death — which came before she and Mark had a chance to live out their love story — was one of the most painful moments in Grey's history. 

Number of tissues required: All of them

Grey's Anatomy's season 13 finale airs at 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday on ABC.

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