Grey’s Anatomy season 17 premiere aired in a two hour special on Thursday November 12.
After season 16 cut four episodes short, we were all anticipating the return of television’s longest running medical drama: Grey’s Anatomy. There was so much left up in the air with the end of last season: Chief of Neuro Surgery, Amelia Shepherd and ortho surgeon Atticus Lincoln and their baby, the sudden cancelation of cardio chief Teddy Altman and chief trauma surgeon Owen Hunt’s wedding, and so many more. Then there was the pandemic that would obviously play a role in the season, and smaller things like chief cardio surgeon Maggie Pierce and newcomer cardio surgeon Winston Ndugu, and general surgeon Richard Webber and owner of the hospital Catherine Fox relationship suspense. To sum it up, months of waiting finally paid off to see my favorite fictional doctors take the screen again.
The show starts off in April 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Richard, who was now thankfully cobalt-free came strolling right back into Grey-Sloan Memorial ready for work. He especially wanted to see DeLuca, because DeLuca was the doctor who found the connection between his symptoms and cobalt poisoning. The show uses flashbacks to show the jump between last season and this season and viewers are reminded that DeLuca has been struggling a ton mentally after Richard’s surgery. I felt so bad for DeLuca when we later learned all he wanted to do was help his patients, but his mind was interfering. He was at a breaking point were he needed an intervention from the people that loved him most.
We also learn that a new romance has begun, Maggie and Winston. Personally, I have been shipping this since I first met Winston on screen at the conference last season. Although their relationship was long-distance, you could tell that they were truly making each other happy.
Along with a new romance, we also saw one crumble right in front of us. In a flashback we saw Station 19 character Vic Hughes show up at chief of plastic surgery Jackson Avery’s door. She had misread a text that Jackson had sent. When she discovered that he was home with Harriet, Jackson’s daughter, and she was frightened off saying “I’m not a stepmom”. I personally was not to sad about this move because I never thought that they really fit as a couple, even though I do say I prefer Vic over Maggie. It was just too step sibling-like because Maggie’s biological father Richard was married to Jackson’s mom Catherine.
Chief of chiefs Tom Koracick soon ran into Richard and was carrying a golf club to make sure everyone stays a safe distance away. Later when Tom gets his PPE delivery, he used that golf club more how it was built to smash some of his frustrations out after finding out that no masks had come and they were actually just booties. Seeing Tom get this frustrated shows that it even affected the higher-ups in the hospital world, and even the almighty chiefs of chiefs could not get away from the frustrations the pandemic has put on healthcare workers around the globe.
While Jackson was treating a burn victim from the earlier crossover episode of Station 19, he sees general surgeon Dr. Jo. This leads into another flashback where we see really what went down in the time gaps between the two seasons. Jo was seeking a “bridge over the river” from Jackson from when her husband Alex Karev left her for the wife that abandoned him. Jackson agreed to want to help a friend out. Before they could hook up, Jo drank too much and got caught up in her feelings over Alex, to the point that all she could do was sit on his couch and sob. This was a perfectly understandable reaction to the love of her life leaving her with no real warnings ahead of time.
Finally we get to a point in the episode where we see some good and some hope. In a flashback we see DeLuca fighting off his mental health problems to go and help Cindy, the girl he suspected in season 16 that was being trafficked. She got so sick that Cindy’s human trafficker, Opa, had not wanted her anymore and left the poor girl. She made her way back to Grey-Sloan in hopes of receiving help. There she was able to inform the doctors that her name was actually Erin, and her family was able to be found. This was one of those moments that really showed the doctors, especially DeLuca just why he fights so hard for his patients.
In the present Richard can just not contain himself with the new rule book and helps a burn victim from Station 19 Kaden’s mom sneak in to see her son. Before being met with heavy criticism for breaking the new protocols, he is able to save himself by offering a handy trick to Chief Bailey so the masks can last longer. Of course, Richard would always be able to skate past disciplinary measures.
From the beginning of the episode all we saw from Meredith Grey was stress. She was working inside the COVID ICU and had seen four of her patients die in only one day. Soon enough, Meredith could just not take the stress or the sadness anymore and swept through a supply closet like a hurricane just to relieve a little bit of frustration.
Later in the episode we learned that Jo does apologize to Jackson. And Levi is struggling to be away from Niko, especially since he has lost over 100 patients.
The first episode ends when the stressed out parents of the wildfire victims get in an altercation with one another leaving them brutally beaten and also leaving Chief Bailey with a sprained ankle.
At the end of the episode I was satisfied with what I learned, but also very happy that this was a two hour premiere because there were still too many gaps to fill and loose ends to tie up from season 16, like where are Amelia and Link.
I recommend this show to anyone who wants to get invested in stories and characters. I also suggest that you catch up on previous seasons, they can be watched on Netflix.
Great start to the season, 9/10