By David Oliver
OK, let me preface this by saying I’ve been a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” since I started watching at the start of season three (don’t worry, I binged my way through DVDs as I quickly discovered my obsession). It’s the first prime-time show I really got into. I know it’s arguably fallen by the wayside over the years, but this premiere proved to me how much life this show still has in it, despite the tremendous void filled by Cristina’s departure.
Case and point: a season premiere instantly referencing back to the show’s oft-forgotten lore. Scrub in, because this episode was a doozy.
“When I was 5, my mom lost me in a park,” Meredith says. We get a flashback to Meredith at the carousel, a scene we’ve seen before. But this time we learn what happened after – Meredith clutching Anatomy Jane as she accompanies her mother to the hospital. Tiny Meredith waiting as doctors are working on her mother. A baby cries. “Would you like to see her?” “Absolutely not,” Ellis says. Ellis and Meredith pack their things and move. “…The things you can’t quite remember and the things you never forget,” Meredith’s voiceover says. Flash forward to today.
Meredith shows up at her old house and kicks Jo out of Alex’s bed because she needs someone to talk to about her marriage. Does this sound familiar? Except Jo isn’t as understanding as Derek when Cristina would barge in. Anyway, Meredith tells Alex that she and Derek plan on staying together but living apart.
Later, Richard goes to an AA meeting and announces he just found out last night he had a daughter he never knew about – unbeknownst to him until after he says this, Amelia is at the same meeting. They discuss this in a quiet elevator scene later in the episode, Amelia agreeing not to say anything. Let’s see how long that lasts.
April is worried about Owen with Cristina gone – he accidentally pages Cristina instead of Maggie – that she asks Jackson, Richard and Derek to invite him to do things. Owen has enough when he feels like Derek is asking him out on a date. Though playing Jenga with Richard actually sounds like fun.
As for this week’s patients, a helicopter has some trouble landing because of wind. It’s carrying a hiker that was wandering in the desert searching for his missing family. The wind knocks down a gurney off the roof and lands on two teens having sex in a car, one of whom was scheduled for a cancer surgery.
Owen and Meredith are working on the hiker when Maggie wants to do an echo(cardiogram), but Meredith doesn’t listen and insists her work takes precedence. Maggie knows that Meredith is her sister but does not tell her.
Despite a misplaced kidney and a code, the hiker lives and his missing family shows up (yay), though Maggie and Meredith’s professional – and ultimately personal – relationship is not off to a great start. “I found my sister and I think I hate her,” Maggie tells Richard. Richard has not told her the truth, and especially seems less inclined to once she says she doesn’t want to know about her other blood relatives.
The horny teenagers both live despite a scare from the girl who was rushed to brain surgery. The boy’s mother helps confirm to Callie that parenting is scary and you don’t know what’s going to happen, but it doesn’t matter. Callie decides she wants to be a surrogate after all – she’d be questioning it throughout the episode.
But it’s Arizona that may yet again throw a wrench in the relationship: Enter Geena Davis, who plays Dr. Herman, a fetal surgery specialist who offers Arizona a fellowship that would make her double certified. Fellowship + new baby = uh oh. These two can’t catch a break, can they?
Alex and Bailey vie for a seat on the board – loved the touch that Cristina had the legal documents she gave to Alex in a folder labeled “Evil Spawn.” Again, back to the show’s roots. This remained unresolved by episode’s end.
Derek realizes he doesn’t want to live without Meredith and his kids after confirming to a little boy his dad is dead, so he resigns from his D.C. job. Meredith is still upset, seemingly fearing he is going to resent her for this, like she would if she were to move with him. Meredith earlier tells Alex, “I just don’t know if my marriage can survive this.” I mean, it has to, right? They’ve been through enough. I am enjoying this extra Alex/Meredith time, though. I’ve always been a fan of that friendship, even if he can’t really be her person like Cristina is.
Jackson returns Richard’s engagement ring from Catherine, opening up to him about his fears of fatherhood and tells him that it would have been nice to have him in the family. D’aw.
Meredith’s voiceover closes out the final lines of the episode, “Try and be open to where the wind is going to take you next.”
Maggie and Meredith, who happen to be next to each other at the bar, both order tequila at the same time. Cheesy, yet perfect.
This one-hour premiere reaffirmed to me the hope I have in “Grey’s Anatomy” to saunter on. My bet is ratings take a dip at the 8 p.m. hour and the show ends next season when Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey’s contracts run out. But for now, I’m enjoying “Grey’s” once again more than expected.