The 18th season of Grey’s Anatomy starts out with an announcement of the following: “This season, Grey’s Anatomy portrays a fictional, post-pandemic world which represent our hopes for the future.” While that kind of sounds like science fiction at this point, really this is just a statement to get Grey’s away from the COVID suits and the masks—basically the theme of the entire previous season—to move onto the relationship hijinks that have always been this show’s trademark. Meredith Grey survived COVID, everybody (just like she survives everything), so we can all move on.
Especially Meredith. She actually leaves her beloved Seattle this episode for Minnesota, to meet a dashing colleague of her mother’s (played by Peter Gallagher, who frankly should just be in as many series as possible at this point) who wants to woo her away to run a lab on Parkinson’s research. It’s an annoying tease to kick off what should be a momentous occasion for Grey’s, celebrating the show’s impressive longevity: We all know Meredith Grey isn’t about to leave Seattle. It’s possible, in theory, to try to set up a post-series life for Meredith Grey away from the hospital that bears her name, but since this season still has twenty-odd episodes to get through, it seems very unlikely. Even with the McDreamy-like Scott Speedman dangled as a very overdue possible love interest for Meredith (c’mon, none of these other guys have ever come close, not even DeLuca).
But it looks like we’ll spend some time watching Mere being torn between her home and a possible new life this season. Meanwhile, this plate-setting, wheels-spinning episode just crosses the i’s and dots the t’s of all the relationship developments brought to light in the season 17 finale: Link and Amelia break up. Maggie and Winston return from their honeymoon. Teddy and Owen finally get married, even though the priest dying at the ceremony seems like a bonafide red flag from fate that should not be ignored. Jo is finding life as a single mother extremely difficult. Riggs and Megan broke up because Riggs moved to Virgin River.
It wouldn’t be Grey’s Anatomy without some patients that mimic one of our central relationships, and here it’s a couple that attempts to ride a tandem bike in the city’s Phoenix Fest (a real thing, apparently) and instead manages to kill the priest at Owen and Teddy’s initial ceremony this episode, and both women wind up in the hospital. One of them tearfully explains that she suggested the bike ride at the fest in an ill-fated attempt to spice up the relationship, that she hated the fact that she and her partner were two people who just sat around despising each other. It was pretty much the proof that Link and Amelia (well, Amelia, anyway) needed to hear to realize that no amount of just wanting was going to make their relationship work. When you’re using you baby’s checkup as a marriage counseling session, or sit around actively hating your partner, it’s definitely time to move on. And if you don’t accept the truth and do so, someone’s bound to get hurt—in this case, an elderly priest. Link and Amelia prove this episode that they’re still excellent partners at work, or while parenting—that still doesn’t mean that they’ll stay together forever. After all, in the world of Grey’s Anatomy, what’s the likelihood of that?
Grey’s always has a huge cast to choose from, which helps account for that famous “is that show still on?” long history: In a cast with so many regulars, everyone should be able to spot someone to root for. But so many fan favorites have left at this point—like Cristina Yang, Alex Karev, and Jackson Avery, the last two within the most recent season—it’s hard to find anyone to root for at all, unless your favorite character is the one who shares the series title. Jo is irrepressible as usual this episode, as she grapples to find a balance between her demanding work life and her new role as a parent, and her pal Schmitt definitely has possibilities. Teddy and Owen’s nuptials may have had a rocky start, but their happily-ever-after seems like an inevitability; they’ve been through so much to get to the point where they can actually be together. But few of the newer cast members haven’t made much of an impact, and as the ranks are thinning, new blood is desperately needed.
Fortunately, the return of Kate Walsh’s Dr. Addison Montgomery will likely help to spice up this season. Which is good news, because this premiere should have been much splashier, instead of just tying up loose ends in a series of lackluster ways, and sending Meredith off on a wild goose chase to the Midwest. This series has always been at its best when it shoots for the outlandish and unexpected (remember the bomb? the flood? the capsized ferry?). This premiere only offered more of the same old Grey’s.
- Is that place that Meredith visited really called “The Clinic”?
- “There’s independence, then there’s do whatever you want to spite the other person.” Somehow, after this statement, Link still proposes to Amelia again.
- Meredith looked absolutely stunning at that business dinner.
- By bringing back Scott Speedman, isn’t this show just closing the Felicity gap here? After Teddy married Scott Foley?
- And that’s Grey’s Anatomy’s 18th season premiere, everyone. I don’t really have the strength to come back every week, but I will definitely keep paying attention and may drop in again if something really interesting happens. What did you guys think of the premiere?