Derek Shepherd returned to Gray’s Anatomy for the season 17 premiere

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Season 17 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy. Read at your own risk!]

This isn’t an exercise: Grey’s Anatomy returned this week with a two-hour blockbuster premiere that no one could have seen coming. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) returned in a dream at the very end of the breathtaking episode to reunite with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo). It was his first time on the show since the character’s death in season 11.

Meredith broke down at the end of the episode and stared at the beach only to hear Derek call her name from further out in the sand. Next week’s episode preview confirmed that while Meredith was hallucinating, we didn’t picture McDreamy on our screens. While the Gray Sloan team investigates what broke Meredith down, she and Derek appear to be communicating in their limbo.

“The most important task we had this season was to appreciate the reality of this global pandemic and its impact, especially on healthcare workers. We also had to find creative ways to keep our show fun and enjoyable power.” romantic and offer some escape. Give Patrick Dempsey, “Grey’s boss Krista Vernoff said in a statement to TV Guide.” The beach theme – which will continue beyond the premiere – gave us the opportunity to live outside the pandemic for a while here and there as well. And Derek’s return brought us, Meredith and the fans pure joy. Season 17 has been a Herculean effort by our cast, crew, writers, and partners at Disney and ABC – and we’re proud of it. But our effort is nothing compared to the work done by our healthcare workers who are at the forefront of this season we hope our show inspires you to wear your masks to keep them and each other safe. As Derek Shepherd would say, ‘It’s a beautiful day to save lives.’ “

Elsewhere in the premiere, flashbacks let us know how Gray Sloan handled the pandemic in April 2020 and what has changed since our last visit to the doctors. Burning questions were answered in some storylines, important developments in others, and of course the shock at the end of the episode. Here is everything you need to know before that cliffhanger got us on the edge of our seats.

Owen and Teddy
They really made people wait until the second hour of the premiere to catch up on the aftermath of Teddy’s (Kim Raver) humiliating sex voicemail. In the flashbacks, Owen (Kevin McKidd) pretended not to know about Teddy and Tom (Greg Germann) until the perfect moment came for him to play the voicemail back to Teddy. It was wild but satisfying, and Teddy spent most of the episode shunned by the rest of the hospital staff. Teddy tried her best to approach Owen at the end of the episode, but it doesn’t look like he’s in an attitude to forgive her anytime soon.

Meredith and DeLuca
The last time we saw Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti), DeLuca had miraculously figured out what was causing problems with Richard (James Pickens Jr.), and then admitted that he had his own mental health problems. The season 17 premiere confirmed what Station 19 said in its third season: DeLuca has bipolar II disorder. In the current timeline, DeLuca sees a therapist and sleeps regularly, but it took another intervention and an emotional pause before DeLuca got the help he urgently needed. At the end of the premiere it was still unclear where he and Meredith stood romantically. Obviously, he will be by her side, trying to figure out what’s going on with her after the breakdown.

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Jo and Jackson
Never in a million years had we expected to put the two together, but season 17 apparently tries to make Jo (Camilla Luddington) and Jackson (Jesse Williams) one thing. In a desperate attempt to get over Alex (Justin Chambers), Jo hit Jackson over cordless sex – or, as she put it, the “bridge” between the husband who had left her and a woman who was willing to to move on with their lives. Jackson actually said yes (because obviously), but Jo was sobbing drunk in his mouth instead of getting to the Kenny G playlist that Jackson had curated for the occasion. After some uncomfortable tension the next morning, the two decided to forget about it and agreed to be friends. Is that what Pompeo was referring to when she teased that she has a new favorite couple this season? Yes, we don’t think the book closed this book yet, but it will be a minute before we know how we feel about it.

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Richard and Catherine
Richard is officially cobalt-free after his disastrous hip replacement and showed up just in time to help Gray Sloan find a much-needed cleaning hack for her personal protective equipment (PPE). However, he and Catherine (Debbie Allen) spent most of the premiere at odds. Richard was still furious that Catherine didn’t stand up for him when he was fired from Gray Sloan at the end of season 15. This struggle went on for a long time. A few curse words from the right people led to a reconciliation, however, and Catherine demoted Tom to make Richard Chief of Chiefs at Gray Sloan.

Amelia and Link
The couple will care for the Gray Shepherd brood, including a newborn, while they are on parental leave. They had broadcast-standard sex around 10 p.m. to celebrate Link’s (Chris Carmack) birthday. Oh, and the baby’s name is Scout Derek Shepherd Lincoln.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 / 8c on ABC.

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