The 'Grey's Anatomy' Premiere Just Ended With a Huge, Jaw-Dropping Surprise and We Cannot Function

Welcome to the most deranged Grey's Anatomy recap you'll probably read all night/year.

We were sitting here all prepared to write about how our favorite medical show handled COVID-19 and made us cry multiple times and then BAM, they go and throw literally the last thing we ever expected at us, and we're literally having trouble functioning. (We've been through a lot this year, okay?)

Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) might be dying (or at least she's currently passed out in a parking lot), and in her near-death dream world, she's now hanging out on a beach with none other than her dead husband, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). Meanwhile we may have also passed out and we're also on the beach, just kinda wondering if this is really happening.

Like oh no, Meredith might be dying, but Derek is here!

Grey's Anatomy and Station 19 Couples Status Check

Showrunner Krista Vernoff confirmed that it really is happening in a statement.

"The most important task we had this season was to honor the reality of this global pandemic and the impact it's having—particularly on healthcare workers," she said. "Along with that we had to come up with creative ways to allow our show to still be fun and romantic and provide some escapism. Enter Patrick Dempsey. The beach motif—which will continue beyond the premiere - provided a way for us to live outside the pandemic even for a little while here and there. And Derek's return provided pure joy for us, for Meredith, and for the fans. Season 17 has been a Herculean effort by our cast, our crew, our writers, and our partners at Disney and ABC - and we are proud of it. But our effort is nothing compared to the work of our Frontline healthcare workers to whom this season is dedicated. We hope our show inspires you to wear your masks to protect them and each other. As Derek Shepherd would say, 'It's a beautiful day to save lives.'"

Grey's Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey
Grey's Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey

While you continue to freak out, check out the promo for next week's episode, which is wildly concerning and proves this isn't just a case of Mer being really, really tired. If Meredith Grey dies, we might genuinely need (more) therapy.

Now, that development only took place in the last 30 seconds of the premiere, meaning there's still two hours of Grey's Anatomy we have yet to discuss. Long before we know what surprises this show was pulling, we were already positively thrilled to be back at Grey Sloan Memorial, even in the middle of a devastating pandemic.

Most of the doctors were wrapped up with cases that carried over from Station 19, including on boy whose recent kidney transplant was nearly ruined by a tree branch and another who was badly, badly burned. They'd been at a party (in a pandemic!), which caused a fight among their parents.

Even through all of this, the doctors still had their own issues to work through. Here's the gist:

Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy


After a heartbreaking intervention, DeLuca finally got some help with his bipolar disorder and is even back at work, supporting Meredith through a particularly hard day and tagging her out when it was time for her shift to end. We're not saying we're fully team MerLuca (even in the ghostly face of McDreamy) but we're also definitely saying we're fully team MerLuca.

Owen and Teddy

After Teddy accidentally sent Owen a voicemail of her sleeping with Tom, they were pretty much dunzo. Owen threw the voicemail in her face and she got real upset about it, as if she didn't do it to herself. She even yelled at Jo about it, which was so uncalled for. When last we saw Teddy, Owen had driven away and left her standing alone in the ambulance bay.

Maggie and Winston

Maggie and her new boyfriend are doing the long distance thing and they're cute as can be. He even had Link and Amelia set up a tent for her in the backyard so she didn't have to worry about infecting any kids or family members, and he for sure needs to stick around.

Grey's Anatomy Is Embracing Long-Distance Romance in Season 17


Richard returned to work after recovering from his hip surgery (and bout of metal poisoning) and quickly got caught up on all of the new protocols. Bailey wouldn't let him do anything at first, but then he proved he's still Richard Webber and now he's got Tom's job (Chief of Chiefs) and he's got Catherine back, so things are looking good for Richard for once.

Amelia and Link

Amelia and Link got to take full advantage of the second hour of Grey's being in the 10 p.m. hour by taking part in the sexiest scene this show has had in ages. They also took a very long time to name their son: Scout Derek Shepherd Lincoln.

Nico and Schmitt

While these two are not together together, they did get together for a moment of what Nico called "stress relief" there at the end. But honestly, Schmitt deserves better!

Jo and...Jackson?

Jo tried to have sex with Jackson as a "bridge" after Alex abandoned her, and Jo definitely deserves better than crying into Jackson's mouth after an awkward near-hookup. Find Jo a hot non-Jackson date immediately, please!

Now if you'll excuse us, we've got some more freaking out to do!

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.