This article will contain spoilers for season 18 episode one of Grey’s Anatomy. Consider yourself warned.
I have been counting down the seconds until season 18 premiered and, cutting directly to the chase, I was underwhelmed. This was a good premier, however, you don’t need to “brace yourself for one heck of a return” like the promo material suggests.
There was a lot of good to be had here, starting right at the top with the card they displayed.
“This season, Grey’s Anatomy portrays a fictional, post-pandemic world which represents our hopes for the future. In real life, the pandemic is still ravaging the community. Get the latest information on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 at getvaccineanswers.org.”
I was floored to learn that the show had put the pandemic in the rear-view mirror. Don’t get me wrong, season 17 had some powerful scenes in it that brought me to tears, however, I didn’t want it to drag on. This show is America’s Thursday night escape and honestly, one season of the pandemic on my TV was more than enough.
Then we move to the opener, how strange that was. I get what the episode’s writer, Meg Marinis is going for conceptually by bringing back Kate Burton’s Ellis Grey, however, I feel like the angle has just been done to death. Oh, Ellis comes to Meredith in a dream? Is it seasons three through 14 again? My question is just why? They could have achieved the same plot with some general narration instead of dragging back this dead angle.
They don’t even need to say it, Maggie is pregnant. They wouldn’t lay a sex injury on so thick if it wasn’t about to be a whole pregnancy. This also tracks as Kelly McCreary is pregnant in real life and I don’t think they want to hide it for an entire season. Furthermore, it gives Magston a reason to have screen time going forward. Frankly, this was the only reason they made it screen this episode, so this is all I’m going to say about them.
Moving right along to Owen 2.0 or Amelink. I audibly and aggressively groaned when these two started to fight a whole two seconds after they appeared onscreen. When this relationship began, neither one was interested in marriage and that was okay for them, but right about the time our hearts were shattered by season 16 episode 16 “Leave a Light On”, Link was more than ready to get married, conveniently blowing up his relationship right as Jo becomes single.
Krista Vernoff, the Grey’s Anatomy showrunner, if you are somehow reading this, please, for the love that is all that is sacred, do not make this a love triangle in the show. Either let Link and Amelia be happy or break it off. Neither Amelia nor Jo deserves to be put in this situation, not after all they have been through.
However, to wrap up Amelink, I am incredibly proud of Amelia for standing up for herself and not getting sucked up into a man’s orbit as she did with Owen. She knows marriage isn’t right for her and she’s not allowing herself to be put back into a bad place.
Oh Minnesota, why? Another weird angle. I know they need to liven things up in this show but where did the continuity go? At the end of season 17, Meredith took over as residency director at the request of Webber and Bailey, so I’m really confused why the show is pushing her in this Minnesota direction. Episode two promos (which I’ll touch on more later) indicate that this is going to be an ongoing storyline and the promo has Webber doing resident training things that we assumed would be Meredith’s job.
Thankfully, there are still likely 23 to 25 episodes left in the season, and this Minnesota thing could evaporate quickly. We could see Meredith back in her new position and I hope we do. However, they may just be trying to make us forget she ever got the job because, at the end of the episode, Webber is pledging to make the residents better.
Not to say that I don’t like Peter Gallagher’s Dr. David Hamilton because I do, Gallagher is a very charming actor, it just feels very forced plot-wise. I also don’t want them to try and create a Pac North situation where they are splitting the show between multiple hospitals. It would be quite annoying.
Proceeding to the next main story, the Towen wedding. This better be it for them. Everything has gone wrong so many times, including today, with their priest getting struck by a tandem bike. While they do end up getting married at the end of the episode, that’s not before we casually hear about the implosion of the end-game relationship of Owen’s sister Megan and best friend Nathan Riggs.
The vibes were off in this entire storyline. Teddy seemed skittish the entire time like she did another awful thing we have just yet to learn about, Megan’s break up and then something I found very strange was that Farouk just magically lost his accent? I know he’s on the younger side, but if we’re to believe that Megan has been living in America ever since she and Riggs rode off into the sunset, I just have a hard time believing that he lost his thick season 14 accent in like four years. Also, the whole tutu comment from Owen’s mom to Leo was just weird and unnecessary.
I really hope that this is the end game and Teddy, and Owen will stay together and just live happily ever after, but this is Grey’s Anatomy and we do not live in a perfect world.
Continuing along to Jo and Luna, this was honestly just above the Magston storyline in terms of depth. Jo is struggling as a single mother; she doesn’t want to leave Luna at daycare because doesn’t want her to feel abandoned. There, now you can skip every Jo scene in the episode. I don’t mean for this to come off negative because I like Jo, she just got virtually no screen time.
Finishing up Meredith, we get the transplant surgeon. *yawn* This was a Leah Murphy-style over-hyped return. He is a fine character, there just wasn’t any need in my eyes to bring in what I assume is yet ANOTHER series regular when there are already so many avenues they could send Meredith down for love. He and Meredith have decent chemistry; however, I am not going to bother learning his name until he graces our screens a few more times.
Rounding out the episode’s storylines, (hopefully) new hire Dr. Lin. I already like her! We have yet to have a female plastics chief and I think it’s about dang time. She’s headstrong but not in an arrogant way and she seems like she’ll be a good teacher when it comes down to it.
Overall, I think this was a good episode, however it felt like the premier of the 18th season of a show. It doesn’t compare to Grey’s premiers like “Time Has Come Today” (3×1) or “With You I’m Born Again” (7×1) or “Going, Going, gone” (9×1) or even “Break the House Down” (14×1). Some of these come off banging finales, I know, but I just felt underwhelmed.
Especially after I found out what could have been. Apparently, according to leaks, there were two versions of this premier, the one we got where the transplant surgeon is our surprise return and the one we didn’t get where Justin Chambers’ Alex Karev was supposed to come back.
I was heartbroken when Alex left and honestly a return would have made for some good TV because it was drudged up so much. Jo would have to face him; he would have to face Meredith and the other people he left behind and it just would have kept me on the edge of my seat.
Furthermore, if Alex came back, there wouldn’t be a need for the transplant surgeon to come back and Merhayes wouldn’t have had to have their weird off-screen relationship and breakup and we may have been able to see them happy on screen.
Finally, as much as this pains me to say, I believe this is going to be the last season of the show. There were a lot of parallels between this episode and the pilot episode. For instance, Meredith was wearing the same shirt she had worn in the pilot episode. Also, some of the dialogue she said in her opening narration was from Webber’s speech on her first day and some of the dialogue she exchanged with the transplant surgeon was eerily like dialogue she exchanged with Derrick in the pilot.
This could just be them trying to revitalize the show and bring back some of the magic of the MAGIC days, but there were just one too many details for me to think this is just revitalization. I am hopeful that this will be a good season as the promo for episode two looks very promising. It seems like the residents will finally get more screen time and we will find out more about the Minnesota research lab being offered to Meredith.