“Grey’s Anatomy” Returns for 17th Season

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Entertainment Tonight

Season 17 Grey’s Anatomy promotional suggests hard times ahead for characters.

Tara Goff, Staff Writer

Note: This post contains spoilers for the 17th season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy

“Grey’s Anatomy” fans rejoiced after the medical drama returned Thursday, Nov 12. The previous season of the longest running primetime medical drama had been halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans were left hanging, wondering if Teddy and Owen would get married, Deluca would be diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder, if Richard Webber would recover from his cobalt poisoning, and more among the main characters.

Because production of season 16 never finished, the already-shot footage has been included in the current season as flashbacks. Characters are reliving events we missed, so that viewers do not forget any of the important storylines that contribute to the dramatic show.

While “Grey’s Anatomy” has been known for its extreme storylines in the past, this season presents itself with something that all viewers can relate to. Characters are now seen wearing N95 masks, even when not performing surgeries. The producers have greatly exemplified the hard work being done by doctors and first responders, as well as the consequences faced by patients who are not careful.

The season premiere begins with Richard Webber returning and asking Dr. Bailey how he can help in any way. She is reluctant to allow him back, considering his recent surgery to correct his hip replacement, but she advises him to review safety measures. Other doctors can be seen putting these measures into place, including the heart-wrenching circumstances in which family members of patients cannot see their loved ones in final moments.

Meanwhile, drama takes over the hospital as past romances create riffs amongst the doctors. Owen is still devastated that Teddy cheated on him the day of their wedding, and their coworkers begin taking sides. Jo Wilson is still distraught over her husband leaving her and seeks comfort in other doctors. Andrew Deluca is seen recovering with the help of his therapy sessions, creating extra stress for Meredith. She, as well as many other doctors, miss the operating room and their families, both of which they cannot see because Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital became a COVID-19-only center. The only two who seem to be at relative peace are new parents Amelia and Link, who are welcoming their new son at home.

Most fans agree, however, that the most thrilling part of the episode was the last minute or so. Meredith, who is exhausted and sad over the new situation, is found collapsed and unconscious in the parking lot. In her mind, she is on a beach, where she is greeted by her late husband, Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd. Fans were devastated when he was hit by a semi truck and died due to a head injury in season 11 and have been begging producers to somehow write him back into the show. The actor claims that the audience can look forward to future appearances from him this season.

Overall, the episode was heavy and relatable. Perhaps some may be upset of the incorporation of COVID-19 into the script, as watching TV is sometimes an “escape” from the real world. However, this is unfortunately something very prevalent for the entire world and would be difficult for the medical show to avoid talking about. It is exciting that past storylines were not forgotten, and there are some moments where characters are mask-free in their flashbacks. Additionally, the return of one deceased character poses the question of other favorites from the original cast returning.

Watch “Grey’s Anatomy” every Thursday at 9 PM EST on ABC.