By Nia Hopkins, Second Year, Theatre and English
Grey’s Anatomy has returned with its eighteenth season (yes, eighteenth), finally reaching UK screens this week.
The episode was reminiscent of the show’s original themes; love triangles, marriages, and breakups, differing from the pandemic- revolved season seventeen. Although it was refreshing to see Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and co. unmasked, it can be said that this premiere was slightly underwhelming, and only focused on setting the scene and evolving plot lines.
Shonda Rhimes reintroduces each character in short scenes that make us feel like they’ve never been away. Inside the wards of Grey Sloan Memorial, we see Meredith, Bailey (Chandra Wilson), and Webber (James Pickens Jr.) back at work as patients continue to rush in. This opening sequence also takes us outside of the OR, and we see the characters and their relationships blossom (and break down). We finally see Teddy (Kim Raver) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) marry after 4 seasons of on and off drama and Maggie (Kelly McCreary) and Winston (Anthony Hill) return from their eventful honeymoon. All seems pleasant until there’s a stark cut to Amelia (Caterina Scoresone) and Link (Chris Carmack) whose relationship is suffering a demise. Rhimes clearly has a vendetta against Amelia Shepard, and unfortunately doesn’t give her the happy ever after that the audience crave for her. This element of the show has become slightly repetitive and lends into the argument that the show should perhaps close its doors, as much as we adore the cast.
However, Meredith makes up for this deficit as the protagonist finds herself in yet another love triangle. The return of her former romantic interest Nick (Scott Speedman) suggests there is only more drama to come this season and perhaps Rhimes has managed to exploit another storyline to provide us with the thrill that the show originally gave us. This all occurs during a business trip where Meredith has been invited to view “The Grey Centre” (aptly named after her mother). New character, David Hamilton (Peter Gallagher) surprises Meredith with an offer of her own lab to research Parkinson’s Disease- where he is the patient on trial. This is certainly the most engaging plot line presented in the episode; Hamilton knew Ellis Grey personally and this provides a satisfying full circle.
During an interview for the Head of Plastic Surgery title, Dr. Lin (Lynn Chen) is awarded privileges to operate on a man who set off a firework in his face- this is the sort of bizarre spectacle that fans have waited for. It was thrilling to see a new face in the hospital perform so well under pressure and left me anticipating her role within the season to come. Additionally, a tandem bike accident results in a tragic death that viewers are more than accustomed to seeing.
Despite there being no major plot lines developing yet, Rhimes has done an excellent job of planting seeds for the characters to grow throughout the season, whilst still remaining faithful to the familiar structure that fans have grown with over that past sixteen years. Whilst I felt that viewers were slightly deprived of any real gripping drama, it is certain that all that and more is to emanate.
Understandably, the episode primarily sought to fill the cracks in each character’s plot since COVID-19 stole the show. It was slow at times, but this is plausible as Shonda Rhimes had the difficult challenge of creating a new world post-pandemic and generating the foundations for what will hopefully be another exhilarating season. This being said, I don’t know how many more characters they can continue to kill off for the sake of another season. Surely Dr. Grey needs to move onto her next conquest and say adieu?
Featured Image: ABC
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