Despite all the promos and interviews you might have seen in the past couple of weeks, don’t be fooled into believing that Grey’s Anatomy has changed.
The twelfth season premiere had a lot riding on it, especially for a show that’s just coming out of its most depressing season ever, so it was natural that Shondaland would try to lighten up the mood a little with a perkier tone and goofier subplots. And most of the times it works, whether it was with Meredith bantering with her new sisters about trivial stuff or Arizona desperately trying to find a roommate or even Pierce (whose first name I need to look up to remember) punching a patient’s parent. It was all fun, goofy material that managed to force a smile on my face and was entertaining all throughout. But boy was it old.
Literally nothing feels fresh or original about this “new” Grey’s Anatomy. While the only medical case we had involved a touching, emotional story about two young girls in love, the whole episode just screamed predictable. It was clear from the start that by the end of the hour, Meredith was going to come to terms with Amelia living with her and vice versa. It was also predictable that Arizona would find a roommate and Maggie (I looked it up!) would punch someone by hour’s end since the promos kind of gave it away and her previous speech about bullying was huge foreshadowing and not at all subtle.
I just feel like I’ve seen these stories before, down to the knack of following every other joke by an elevator ding in the background, done on this same show and much better. And while I hate to be that fan who constantly nags about the show feeling strange without the original cast, I couldn’t help but miss Cristina, Derek and the old gang. I hardly noticed their absences in season 11 because the show was at least being creatively different and bold back then. Remember the haunting Ellis-carousel flashbacks? Yeah, I actually miss those.
And while I absolutely adore Ellen Pompeo, it’s hard to see this as Meredith’s show anymore. She gets adequate amount of screen-time and a few engaging moments, but she’s not driving this thing anymore. The whole cast is—which would have been great if I actually cared about Ben for one second or didn’t roll my eyes every time Amelia and Owen kissed.
But if there’s one thing I loved and really appreciated about the premiere, it was Bailey’s speech at the end. The entire storyline felt very season three-ish to me at first with Bailey once again trying to compete for position of chief, but it was inspired the way she won everyone over at the end. Using what she does best (surgery, duh) to deliver a truly engaging speech while operating was exactly what the premiere needed to distinguish itself from other episodes.
Bits & Scalpels
– I don’t remember the show ever going meta before, so I particularly loved the teaser with Richard and Bailey’s voices in the background on Day 1 of intern year while Meredith’s voiceover admits that we’ve practically seen all this before. Of course, this turned out to be a glimpse of the final scene of Meredith’s new anatomy class, but it was still a nifty nod to the audience.
– Look at that, April was barely in this episode! And I swear I hardly noticed!
– Speaking of which, what’s the status of their relationship? There was very little mention of these two in the premiere probably because their drama isn’t on par with the show’s new lighter tone.
– Honestly, Arizona’s poor attempts at finding a roommate were more pathetic than funny. Where’s the sunshiny goddess that ruled the hospital halls on skates?
– Callie mentions George for a brief second and Stephanie mentions the Seattle Grace Five! Aww. Even though I don’t think of Arizona as one of the Seattle Grace five.
– I still love everything about Catherine Avery and Debbie Allen who portrays her (and also directed this episode).
– Owen and Amelia do not look good together, show. Get it through your head already.
– We don’t even get a glimpse of baby Zola and Ellis? Unfair.
– I thought the choice of songs were a bit weird and too “pop” for this show this time around. Did I really hear a cover for Wrecking Ball?
– How I Met Your Mother fans, there’s another Tracy McConnell in town and her voice is so annoying. I don’t think we’ll be seeing much of her again anyway.
Meredith (opening voiceover): So you might be thinking, I’ve been here before. This is familiar. This is old hat. Maybe you’re wondering why are we here? But I promise you’re about to find out that everything has changed.
Stephanie: You’re one of the Seattle Grace five.
Arizona: I survived a plane crash. Big deal.
Stephanie: And a car crash. And a shooting. You might be immortal.
Amelia: Pierce punched a homophobe.
Bailey: The point is McConnell and I offer different things. She is new and shiny and she likes a good challenge. I know, I spent the whole day with her. She jumps into new challenges all the time. And that’s what this place is to her…her newest challenge. Until she finds her next one. And her next. But that’s not me.
Take Me Up by Coleman Hell
Try by Tyler Ward
Although the premiere had an interesting start, it dragged quite a bit in the middle section only to be saved by a somewhat optimistic ending.