The emotional 'Grey's Anatomy' scene where Addison meets Derek's kids for the first time is an act of 'ultimate forgiveness,' the episode's writer says

·3 min read
Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) meeting Derek's kids on Grey's Anatomy season 18 episode 3
Addison (Kate Walsh) returned on "Grey's Anatomy" season 18 for episode three, "Hotter Than Hell," and finally met Derek and Meredith's kids. ABC
  • Kate Walsh's character Addison Montgomery returned to "Grey's Anatomy" on season 18, episode three.

  • Addison met her ex-husband Derek Shepherd's kids at the end of the episode. Derek died in season 11.

  • The writer Jamie Denbo called the meeting "the ultimate forgiveness" between Meredith and Addison.

Kate Walsh returned to "Grey's Anatomy" as Dr. Addison Montgomery on Thursday in an emotional episode titled "Hotter than Hell."

After Addison breaks down in an elevator with Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) because she doesn't feel Derek Shepherd's spirit in the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, Meredith tells her late husband's ex-wife: "He is here. And he's in his children. And they are very real."

Meredith invites Addison to come and meet Zola, Bailey, and Ellis, and we get to see it happen in the episode's final scene. If you had dried your eyes and recovered from Addison's emotional moment in the elevator, this scene probably had you crying a new round of happier tears.

Jamie Denbo, the episode's writer, spoke with Insider about what it was like to write these scenes and then watch them come to life.

Kate Walsh Ellen Pompeo
Addison and Meredith in "Hotter Than Hell." ABC/Eric McCandless

Addison meeting her late ex's kids for the first time is a loaded moment for both her and Meredith

Denbo said that Addison meeting Meredith's children was an act of "ultimate forgiveness" between the two women who have so much complicated, and often negative, history between them.

As longtime "Grey's Anatomy" fans will recall, Meredith doesn't know that Derek is married when she gets involved with him in season one, but the affair does make the cracks in Derek and Addison's marriage deeper. Addison places blame directly on Meredith for the affair when she shakes her hand and says, "And you must be the woman who's been screwing my husband."

Season 18 is a long way from season one. So much time has passed, and with Derek dead, Addison and Meredith's relationship is bound to transform.

"The ultimate forgiveness, the most vulnerable you can be, is to allow your children to be exposed to someone," Denbo said. "You don't let your children connect with someone you don't trust, love, forgive, and, to me, that's the ultimate kindness."

Kate Walsh as Addison Montgomery
Walsh as Addison Montgomery. ABC/YouTube

Denbo and Walsh know each other from their days in comedy together, and the writer, who invited Walsh to her wedding to "The Big Bang Theory" actor John Ross Bowie, told Insider she was happy that Addison's introduction to the Shepherd children allowed the world to see Walsh's improv skills.

"For those of you who haven't done deep dives on Kate Walsh, she's one of the funniest people on the planet," Denbo said. "And the entire ice cream at the table sequence when she's hanging out with the kids is Kate hanging out with the kids as Addison. She's not leaving her character."

Denbo was on the "Grey's Anatomy" set for the filming of that scene and said it "was so touching and loving and funny" to watch it all unfold.

The episode's final scene is "the ultimate gesture on behalf of Meredith to say, 'We're good. The past is the past. We've loved, we've lost. Look at all we've been through,'" according to Denbo.

Jamie Denbo
"Hotter than Hell" writer Jamie Denbo. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Plus, Walsh confirmed to "Entertainment Tonight" that Addison was still happily married to Jake (the "Private Practice" star Benjamin Bratt), so she probably hadn't mused about what could've been with Derek for a long time. There is truly no bad blood for the interns to talk about anymore.

"Grey's Anatomy" airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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