It is called Grey's Anatomy for a reason, as Meredith Grey, aka Ellen Pompeo, is the sole base of the show. However, the show has been on the air for 18 seasons, so even the main star can skip an episode or two.
Grey's Anatomy started in 2005, and it is one of the longest-running TV shows in history. It suffered significant changes, some amazing and some quite underwhelming storylines, friendships, romance, and of course, medical mysteries.
Even the hospital is titled by Ellen Pompeo's character, but she was not in all episodes. In fact, she did not even narrate some of them.
Ellen did not show up in the following episodes, and they were narrated by other actors' characters:
Grey's Anatomy Season 13, Episode 16, "Who Is He (And What Is He To You)?"
Jo, Bailey, and Arizona are sent to a female prison, so Alex Karev and Meredith Grey are not part of the strong storyline. This was the first time the viewers did not see Meredith Grey in a Grey's Anatomy episode.
Grey's Anatomy, Season 14, Episode 11, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper"
Miranda Bailey is the main character of this episode, which is not set anywhere near the famous Seattle hospital.
Meredith's face comes from older episodes, which is not quite the same.
Grey's Anatomy Season 17, Episode 14, "Look Up Child"
This is an April and Jackson-centric episode, and Meredith Grey is still in a coma. In case you missed it, she got Covid. This marks the final time Meredith was not in an episode in any capacity.
Meredith Grey narrated but did not appGrey's one episode:
Grey's Anatomy Season 13, Episode 10, "You Can Look (But You'd Better Not Touch)"
In this episode, Meredith was suspended, and in true Grey's manner, it was all about Murphy's Law.
What do you think could Grey's Anatomy survive without Meredith? Or is the show well past its due date?