The ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 16 Finale Referenced George O’Malley in the Most Beautiful Way

George O’Malley (T. R. Knight) may have died in the Grey’s Anatomy Season 6 premiere, but it seems the legacy of Miranda Bailey’s (Chandra Wilson) favorite intern continues to live on through the hearts of fans. In the season 16 finale on April 9, the Shondaland series referenced George during the birth of Amelia Shepherd’s (Caterina Scorsone) newborn son. And basically, when Grey’s Anatomy viewers realized the scene was a subtle throwback to 007, everyone broke down into tears.

The ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 16 finale referenced George when Bailey helped Amelia

T.R. Knight stars as "George O'Malley" on "Grey's Anatomy" on the Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Television Network.
T.R. Knight as George O’Malley on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Frank Ockenfels/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

After a false labor in the previous episode, Amelia finally gave birth in the Grey’s Anatomy Season 16 finale. But as expected, there were a few bumps in the road. Amelia chose not to have an epidural, as it contains fentanyl and she is an addict. Meanwhile, the father of her child, Atticus “Link” Lincoln (Chris Carmack), was called out to replace Richard Webber’s (James Pickens Jr.) hip.

Nevertheless, Amelia had The Pregnancy Club, as Bailey was there to hold her hand. It’s already a touching moment. But then Bailey climbs behind Amelia in the hospital bed to support her through labor. This called back to when George did the exact same thing for Bailey in Grey’s Anatomy Season 2, Episode 17 — aka the second half of the bomb episode titled “As We Know It.”

In the episode from 2006, Bailey was in labor but she refused to push because her husband at the time wasn’t there. He got into an accident on his way to the hospital. But regardless, George was there to support his mentor as she gave birth to William George Bailey Jones.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fans react to the George throwback in the season 16 finale

When the Grey’s Anatomy Season 16 finale showed Bailey hopping into the hospital bed with Amelia, fans immediately caught the George callback.

“DID BAILEY JUST HOP INTO BED BEHIND AMELIA JUST LIKE GEORGE DID TO HER #GreysAnatomy” a fan wrote on Twitter.

“YES BAILEY! YES GET BEHIND AMELIA AND BE HER GEORGE!” a fan wrote on Reddit. “Oh god the flashbacks that gave me were glorious. RIP George, we miss you.”

Meanwhile, other fans couldn’t help but get emotional after the throwback.

“When Bailey got behind Amelia just like George did for her when she was giving birth… my whole heart melted,” a Reddit user wrote.

“Omg the george and bailey thing that bailey is now doing with amelia has me bawling my eyes out,” another fan wrote on Twitter.

Krista Vernoff reacts to the George callback in the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ finale

Now Grey’s Anatomy fans aren’t the only ones who teared up when the George referenced popped up in the season 16 finale. In an interview with Deadline, showrunner Krista Vernoff opened up about the throwback moment and shared her initial reaction when the idea was pitched.

“I love that scene where Bailey gets in the bed with Amelia, and we call back to when George got in the bed with Bailey and it’s just so beautiful,” Vernoff said. “It was pitched by Meg Mooney, who’s been with the show for 15 years. It made me cry when she pitched it, and it makes me cry every time I watch it.”

After watching 16 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, it’s always nice to see subtle nods to fan-favorite characters who hung up their stethoscopes long ago. And of course, the full-circle moment between George, Bailey, and Amelia was just what we needed to wrap things up until next season.

Read more: Will ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Return for Season 17? The Shondaland Series Has More Stories to Tell