While there’s so much to say about the two-hour premiere of Grey’s Anatomy, it’s hard to process anything after that ending.
So much was happening on Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 1 and Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 2, as they blended some of the remaining elements from the previous season into this one and tried to accommodate COVID-19.
It made for a mishmash of confusion and too much crammed into the premiere. However, it delivered the shock of a lifetime with a fallen Meredith and a Derek sighting!
But before we get into that, we have to cover everything else.
It was no way around the most popular medical drama on-air covering the pandemic, so it was easy to brace yourself heading into all of this.
And the premiere attempted to touch on every facet of it. The installment thrust us into the early to middle stages of the pandemic when it was pure chaos, and the doctors and medical staff were overwhelmed, fatigued, or numb to the weeks they spent fighting a virus that was taking so many lives.
They touched on every note they could, from those refusing to wear masks, social distance, or quarantine to the disproportionate number of Brown and Black people battling and dying from it.
They touched on the lack of PPE available for hospitals and their staff and the methods they used to protect themselves and make do. They covered some of everything.
I only wish there was more room for the pandemic and its effects to breathe. We had a few moments like Catherine and Maggie’s yell session or a haggard Tom’s breakdown over a neverending shipment of booties, but it felt as though they were trying to check notes off a list.
DeLuca: Who died?
The most notable moments were Meredith’s frustration bordering on defeat as she lost patient after patient. It was palpable, and you could feel the tension in the air leading up to that breakdown in the supply closet.
Meredith was hanging on by a thread, and that’s where they captured what our real-life first responders and essential workers have been enduring.
With the knowledge that it would be a two-hour premiere, the formatting would’ve been better if they devoted the first hour to the flashbacks that connected the events following Grey’s Anatomy Season 16 Episode 21 to the weeks (or months) time jump.
The second hour could’ve carried on without going back and forth between the past and the present. It made the premiere unnecessarily confusing.
Patient: I don’t want a Chinese doctor.
Resident: OK, then you can follow the green line to the parking lot and hope you die of anaphylactic shock.
The premiere needed a filter or another indicator to distinguish flashbacks from the present. They spent both hours straddling between both, so it was hard to follow some of the plot-lines.
The DeLuca one was the perfect example. I couldn’t tell when the intervention took place or if Carina was upset about DeLuca’s behavior when he was diagnosing Richard or what happened when Erin, the young human-trafficking victim, returned to the hospital.
We went from DeLuca’s depressive stage that must’ve lasted for some time to a DeLuca who has figured out a routine and is more stabilized.
I’m happy they touched on his Bipolar storyline again, and they acknowledged Carina’s concern for her brother and Bailey’s personal experience battling mental illness too.
Mer: All we’re asking you to do is fight as hard for yourself as you do everybody else.
DeLuca’s breakdown as he admitted that he would trade the lives he saved and all of them for a chance at not being like his father was crushing, but I loved Meredith telling DeLuca how he needs to take care of himself the way he does others.
Giacomo Gianniotti has done well with this arc, and despite how confusing it was and cluttered the premiere, his performance was great yet again. Hopefully, as DeLuca works through his illness and learns how to regulate it, the storyline will remain present and evolve into a nice arc.
Meanwhile, Merluca doesn’t have the same romantic vibe, but DeLuca does consider her a friend again. During his statements before he got help, you could tell he still has feelings for Meredith, and his parting words before taking over her shift suggest that Merluca may not be over for good.
Richard’s return to the hospital was rewarding. GSM isn’t the same without him, and no matter what happens and how much changes, he always adds value to the hospital.
He was doing whatever he could to adjust to their new normal and make himself useful. He thought Bailey was hard on him, but it was more about her fear that he would get sick. The Richard and Bailey familial feels were such a delight and the only thing that trumped it was the Richard and Jackson scenes.
They are family, and when Richard said that Jackson was a son to him, it got dusty in the room. Even though Jackson and Maggie aren’t together anymore, they both serve their roles in that unusual Webber/Fox/Avery/Pierce familial thing they have going on.
Jackson was there to talk some sense into Richard about Catherine, and Maggie did the same with Catherine about Richard. It led to the two of them making up by the end of the installment and Catherine reinstating Richard.
Richard: You know I’m not too old to kick your ass. I always wanted a son.
Jackson: Well, you’ve got one. When she calls answer the phone. If you don’t want to do it for her, do it for me.
Richard’s anger and Catherine’s defiance are still headscratchers, but whatever it took to get them past that rough patch is fine.
Jo’s rough patch is something else. Is anyone as turned off by this Jo and Jackson thing as I am? Why was that a thing?
Jo thought she needed sex to get her over the hump and over Alex, and for some reason, she thought Jackson was the best person to engage in some casual hookup action.
While Jo and Jackson have developed a bit of a friendship over the past season, they still haven’t spent enough time together where you would think they’d pull off that Callie/Sloan friends with benefits type of thing.
It was hard not to cringe at the two of them kissing, and it only got worse when Jo burst into tears. I don’t know what to do with that possibility of them as romantic or sexual partners.
And for the record, I still think Jo and Jack from Station 19 would be a much better option for both a sexual or a romantic relationship. I’m just saying.
It was also confusing when Vic showed up at Jackson’s apartment naked. Weren’t they over? When did they start hooking up again?
It was such a weird scene, but Harriet was adorable, so there’s that.
Baby Scout Derek Shepherd Lincoln is precious, too. It makes sense that someone had to watch the kids while Meredith and the others were working at the hospital.
Surprisingly, Amelia and Link went from having a kid of their own to taking care of Meredith’s children too. It’s always a family affair, and it’s one of the best things about this show.
New parents in a house filled with children — it’s insane, but Amelink was making due and living their best-domesticated life together.
They both forgot Link’s birthday, but they found some ways to make up for it. They seem to be doing well, and they’re happy together. They added levity to some of the other things going on in the installment.
Other than that, it wasn’t too much to report.
I’m not yelling at you, I’m yelling at the world through you!
The same goes for Maggie and her relationship with Winston. He’s a nice guy, and he loves Maggie. He dropped the “l-bomb” by accident during a Face Time, and ironically, Jackson overheard it.
Maggie didn’t have a freakout about it as you’d expect. They’re doing the long-distance thing, and she seems happy. We still don’t know a lot about Winston and what else he’ll bring to the table yet.
Of course, with everything going on, they dragged out the Teddy and Owen drama for the entire premiere.
Teddy is such a mess! Owen played his cards right with how he handled everything. He didn’t say a word to Teddy about the voicemail at first.
Teddy noticed just enough that he was a bit cold, but she still wasn’t putting the pieces together. Owen gave her all the rope in the world to hang herself, and boy did she.
He gave her so many chances to confess, and she was committed to lying to his face. It was appalling. How do you get over any of that?
Teddy becoming this much of a villain was not on my 2020 card, but she’s something else. It’s incredible how she thought things would go back to being the same after she slept with Tom.
Teddy’s attempts to talk to Owen weren’t amounting to much, although their talk about death felt a bit ominous. Didn’t it seem as though they were implying Owen could or was already sick when he brought up the thing about Leo?
Owen, I love you. I am sorry. I will do anything you say to fix this.
He trusts Leo with Amelia and Link more than Teddy. It’s nuts, but I guess that was supposed to be a natural conversation in case they caught COVID-19.
Owen pulling out the receipts and playing the voicemail was one of the best moments of the hour. Although, Richard and Bailey gossiping about the sex tape was a hilarious scene too.
It was Owen’s mic drop, and Teddy’s face was priceless.
As usual, she found a way to make herself a victim, though. It was so bizarre when she was whining to Jo about everyone judging her. Then she had the audacity to bring up Alex when she lashed out at Jo.
Teddy needs to grow up. The parking lot confrontation was intense, and my sympathy for Owen skyrocketed.
Teddy doesn’t make any sense. She kept saying that she loves Owen, but as he pointed out, Teddy never told Tom she wouldn’t run away with him. She did talk about marrying Owen as if it was a chore she didn’t want to do.
She kept saying it was a mistake, but come on, Teddy. It’s the THIRD time she’s cheated on someone.
After three times, that isn’t a mistake; it’s a pattern. It’s an active choice, and she’s a serial cheater.
Owen said when he cheated on Cristina, it was because he hated her at the time. It was harsh to say, but if that’s his truth, then so be it. Therefore, he couldn’t reconcile Teddy saying she loved him but still doing this.
Owen is not letting Teddy off of the hook, and they are bringing the relationship drama.
Nico and Levi are giving it a go with their racy hookup as “stress relief,” but the Schmico train went off the rails a while ago, so it’s not compelling.
Nico is an underdeveloped, one-note ass, and Levi deserves better.
Look, I was a terrible boyfriend and I get if you want to say no but I think you could use some stress relief. While I couldn’t provide you with the love and support that you deserve, I can provide you with that.
The Meredith love triangle was DeLuca and Hayes, but a ghost Derek has thrown his hat into the ring.
Meredith was unraveling for most of the premiere. She was pushing herself too much, and DeLuca had to remind her that the same advice she gave him about getting rest and taking care of herself, she needed to heed.
All of it was getting to her, you could tell, and the exhaustion was setting in. It had to make her prime for contracting the virus.
I’m assuming that’s what caused her to collapse. It was a jaw-dropping moment when Hayes found her passed out in the parking lot, but even that didn’t compare to laying eyes on Derek Shepherd himself.
They’re a couple that always has this tie to water, so the opening beach scene should’ve been a giveaway to something.
It was a complete and utter shock when the camera zoomed in on the figure waving at Meredith from across the sand, and it was Patrick Dempsey.
No way they would kill Meredith Grey off, no? Would she fight like hell to survive or succumb to a desire to be with Derek?
Did they seriously get Patrick Dempsey back on the show for this?! I can’t find the words to describe how huge this is.
You could knock me over with a feather right now! The premiere was a nice, albeit poorly executed attempt at keeping us entertained, but the ending is where they knocked it out of the park.
Derek is back! What the hell is going to happen next?!
Over to you, Grey’s Fanatics! Did your jaw hit the floor with that Derek appearance?
Let’s discuss everything in the comment section below!
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.