Greys Anatomy Season 17 Preview

Maisie Jesse, Staff Writer

“Grey’s Anatomy” is a medical-based drama centered around Meredith Grey, an aspiring surgeon and daughter of one of the best surgeons, Dr. Ellis Grey. Throughout the series, Meredith goes through professional and personal challenges along with her fellow surgeons at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. They deal with life-and-death consequences on a daily basis, and it’s in each other that they find comfort, friendship and sometimes more. 

The show recently premiered its 17th season, now going for 15 years. If the promos were true, the premier, which continued stories begun earlier on their spinoff show, “Station 19”, was going to end with a “shocking… jaw-dropping” conclusion. It was a lot for a show, even one as popular as “Grey’s Anatomy”, to live up to. 

The show uses Richard Webber’s return to work after his cobalt-poisoning situation to give us a view of how things have changed since the pandemic hit. In short, everything has changed. This is not the Grey Sloan Memorial Dr. Webber left a few months prior. Now in April 2020, when the episode takes place, employees have to line up for temperature checks before entering the building, the O.R. board is blank since only emergency surgeries are allowed, and the COVID-19 wing looks like a scene out of a horror movie. 

The beginning of the episode is especially harrowing both because we can now look back at what things were probably like for doctors and first responders back in April, and maybe even worse today knowing that COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are rising at high rates. It’ll be interesting to see how the season progresses.

We see the COVID-19 wing mostly through Meredith, who spends the days calling codes and then having to tell people that their loved ones died alone. It is only death, all the time. She’s exhausted and frustrated, and at one point she takes it all out on a supply closet.

And then there’s Andrew DeLuca. One of the biggest storylines that didn’t get to fully play out, because of the show’s shortened season 16, was DeLuca’s bipolar disorder diagnosis. We watched him go through a manic stage and in the season finale, we saw that it had passed and he was having an extreme depressive episode. The writers were happy to show that DeLuca is back at work and is on medication, going to therapy and taking care of himself. Although we do not get to see his road to recovery, we do get to see the most important people in DeLuca’s life, (his sister Carina, Meredith, Bailey, and Webber) realize they need to figure out a way to convince him to get help. They have an intervention. This scene Is the most emotional moment of the premiere. 

Perhaps the most shocking part of the episode was the reappearance of Derek Shepherd, played by Patrick Dempsey. Shepherd was killed off the show in the finale of season 11, and was Meredith’s husband. In the present, Meredith passes out in the parking lot due to contracting COVID-19. In her “dream” she is on a beach and sees Derek. The beach represents the afterlife, and how she is very close to dying. 

The reappearance of Derek Shepherd was especially necessary after a two-hour premiere focused on how our doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial are coping emotionally with the coronavirus pandemic. It is difficult to watch at times due to the intense emotions the doctors feel and have to deal with. The episode also demonstrates the isolation doctors feel, having to be apart from their families. It is quite heart-wrenching to watch. 

The amount of content the writers stuffed into two hours shows that they made good use of their time during quarantine. Overall, the show did a remarkable job of showing what life is like for doctors during the pandemic and the impact it is making on doctors’ lives. As the season continues, it was revealed that neither Derek Shepherd or COVID-19 will be going away anytime soon. And it will be interesting to see how the doctors continue to adapt to new challenges coming their way and how or if Meredith will recover from the virus.