Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1 Review: Everything Has Changed

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I won't call it a comeback, but it totally is.

Holy crap, Grey's Anatomy actually did it. Nineteen seasons in, they successfully revitalized the series with a wonderful blend of nostalgia, fresh faces, and a renewed focus.

With Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1, it feels like a reboot of the series, and it's all the better for it. I'm genuinely excited about what's to come this season.

Throwback Thursday -wide - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1

The hour took us back to the series' roots, understanding the magic that was M.A.G.I.C. Using the series' staple beloved characters like Meredith Grey herself, Webber, and Amelia to buoy the introduction of these fresh, new characters was brilliant.

They already established a foundation with these characters that effectively ties and connects the newbies with our veteran actors, where the dynamics developed can be compelling.

A New Start-tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1

Simone, as our sweet, instantly lovable gateway character to the intern storyline, already had moments with both Mer and Webber that excite you about what those dynamics will be like moving forward.

Webber shines best when he has a mentee under his wing, and a soft spot for a young, up-and-coming doctor, and Simone gives him that.

SImone: My mom died. She died when I was born, in this hospital, so I haven't been here since then.
Webber: Since you were born.
Simone: I haven't been here since the birth of me killed my mother somewhere in one of these rooms, which is why I was late the first day, it had nothing to do with the tornado, I had a panic attack, and then I saw the colors of the walls I've been picturing this place my whole life. When I think of my mother and the walls are beige, and I get here and they're blue, it's disorienting, disappointing. I got it wrong all this time.
Webber: Well,t hey only painted the walls blue a few years ago. You got it right. S
imone: Makes me feel so much better. Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Webber.

The scene when she confessed why she was late gave us this great insight into her character and made her instantly rootable, but it made her endearing and one to watch, something Webber took note of there.

And Mer spoke to Simone with a familiarity that suggests that Mer truly carefully selected and crafted her unorthodox surgical intern class and sees something that others don't with each of them.

What's Next - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1

The Lucas connection was the biggest surprise of all and legitimately stopped me short and made me emotional. We have Derek's nephew, this unexplored part of him that keeps Derek and his impact on this series alive in this beautiful way.

But he's not another Derek, and they make sure of that. Instead, the more interesting angle is the notion that he's very much like Amelia. Not only does she get to mentor and guide her nephew, but Amelia gets to confront some things about her past and truly relish how far she's come, what she endured, and what she's achieved.

It's nothing like a mini-version of yourself looking to you as an aspirational goal that puts things into perspective. It reminds you of your roots and humbles you, but it also makes you proud.

Lucas and Amelia's dynamic, with her serving as his mentor, molding him into the brilliant surgeon that he's destined to be, is such an exciting storyline to explore, one not marred by the redundancy of Amelia's relationship trouble arcs or perpetual hangups about being a screwup or so forth.

Niko Terho ad Lucas Adams - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1

It feels like an arc that's worthy of Amelia, finally.

In many ways, the primary characters took a backseat to the introduction of the new kids, and it worked beautifully. We know there has been a six-month time jump, and we'll have the time to delve into all the changes.

Amelia: Derek was a god to him.
Mer: I know.
Amelia: And Lucas was Derek's favorite nephew, and I do love him, so I hate to keep saying this, but I don't think he has what it takes.
Mer: I know you don't.
Amelia: He's a mess. He doesn't follow instructions. He has to do everything he own way. Did you hire him because he reminds you of Derek?
Mer: Not Derek. He is a mess. He does need to do things his own way. But he does have a stroke of the family genius, and he's a bit of a black sheep. You don't see it, do you?
Amelia: Is that why he drives me crazy? He's me.
Mer: Yes, he's you. He's got the spark. He's got the drive. He just needs a chance.

For now, the callbacks and parallels between the surgical interns and the OG ones were too much fun. The series has always been about the characters evolving and growing, but the series desperately needed that element of wandering into GSM with new eyes, a clean slate, and the unknown ahead of you.

The series was always at its most engrossing when we watched young doctors fumble their way through learning how to be great with the guidance of those who came before them.

Amelia's New Trajectory - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1

Mer is an effortlessly natural fit in the role of chief. She's a fantastic mentor, and I absolutely adored her rendition of the "Welcome to Grey Sloan Memorial" speech.

It's a fresh start, she carved her own way, found her own voice and words to say, and the break from tradition marked the necessary changes and evolution of the hospital and show.

End your day better than it started.

Nick

The prospect of Mer and Nick working together to continue building up this new and improved intern program, one Nick largely inspired in the first place, is also a promising storyline.

We know that Ellen Pompeo will only be in eight installments this season, and presumably, Nick will take her up on the offer and stick around to serve as residency director for a bit.

Welcome, Interns -tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1

But one fully expects the two of them to fall back into some happy bliss and go through with their relocation plans. Mer needed to get this program off the ground, and that six-month time frame gave them the space to handle some business and realize how much they wanted to be with one another.

From the sounds of it, on a personal level, Mer has been sad this entire time. Even Zola wanted to contact Nick to cheer her mother up.

The two of them working together briefly gives them time to rekindle that connection and allows Mer to have her cake and eat it too. She had to make this sacrifice and fix this program, postponing her own happiness.

But now that she's established this, she poured her all into getting this program off the ground, and even that proved to be a love letter to this hospital that means so much to her and Nick; her reward will be Nick and whatever the future holds for them.

Pushed Away  - Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 20

She still considers this job as an interim one, and Nick got the opportunity not only to see how much she missed him in their time apart but he also got to see what she achieved at the hospital.

Mer sacrificed their relationship, but it wasn't in vain. And Nick is a great enough guy and doctor to see and respect that now, even if he's a simple and human enough one to have wanted Mer to fight for him more and harder.

Jules: I think I may have already slept with an attending already.
Mika: You work fast.

They're already setting up a Mer departure, and it'll work. One can already envision her naming Amelia the Chief if Bailey doesn't step back into the role.

It seems the past six months of the residency program shutdown have weighed heavily on the staff. But we're catching them past the thick of it, and it's a brand new day on the horizon.

Midori Francis as Dr. Mila Yasuda - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1

Levi, for example, having the come up of getting chief resident suits him, particularly since he's been the most notable resident of his class by design since the others disappeared or got sidelined.

Even that is interesting because he'll be lording over the surgical interns. Their class represents what Levi's class with Sam, Parker, Helm, and so forth should've been upon their introduction.

It wouldn't be Grey's Anatomy if they didn't have the inappropriate romantic entanglement aspect of the show. Link as the Derek who slept with an intern he met at a bar before he realized who she was good for a giggle.

Link is fully in his casual hook-up era. We're past the uncomfortable Amelia stuff and the unresolved Jo stuff, too. They could still revisit some of it. And womanizing, Sloan-like Link is still a far cry from the guy we first met, but a girl will just be content that he's not randomly a dick anymore.

Best Friends -tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1

Mer's response to Link's admission was priceless. She truly isn't the one to judge, and her advice about avoiding elevators couldn't be better.

They could play around with this Link and Jules thing, maybe recycle that type of relationship again, or they can truly stick by Jules' assertion that it meant nothing and leave it there.

Link was merely covering his bases, and doing the best possible thing he could with the H.R. paperwork, but Jules' unfazed rejection of them even having a relationship was hilarious.

Jules is fun. She seems savvy, and she has heart. She took her first day in stride, and I can't wait to learn more about her.

What Happened? -Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1

They played around a lot with giving the new interns similar traits to beloved characters of the past while still trying to make them their own.

Simone has that sweet earnestness of an April with an Izzie edge. She instantly stood out, and she'll be one to watch. She handled her cases well and expertly managed to smooth so many things over.

Link: I slept with an intern. But I didn't know she was an intern, it was before, it was not today. Wow, this is awkward.
Mer: I am in no position to judge you on this. I do recommend you stay away from elevators for the foreseeable future. Go to HR. They have paperwork for this sort of thing.

Mika is also fascinating out of the gate. Initially, she had a bit of that Cristina quality with the dark humor and inappropriate jokes. But she quickly pivoted and exuded such genuine, open compassion and heart.

Her connecting with the patient's mother by sharing she'd hope enough for both of them as if that patient was one of her seven sisters was such a great moment for the character.

New Interns - Grey's Anatomy

Blue comes across as incredibly competitive and a bit of a jerk, but in an endearing way, which has shades of Karev. And as much as you want to dislike him for lying about a dead organ donor brother, it was effective.

Of all of them, he seems to have a hell of a story to explain why he's there. Harry Shum Jr., in anything, is instant gold.

And Lucas is impossibly pretty and sweet, like a human version of a labrador. His undeterred optimism, earnestness, social awkwardness, and ability to ramble and put his foot in his mouth are shades of our beloved George, making him an instant favorite.

He even made the first screwup that the others won't let him live down anytime soon. It was all because he wanted to be as personable and compassionate as possible when informing relatives that their family members were braindead.

Drama for the Interns - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1

I look forward to learning why each of these recruits, who weren't the highest-ranked in their class, and are essentially a merry band of misfits and rejects, got into this program.

They all had some screwup that made him the unwanted ones out of the bunch, but they are diamonds in the rough, and Mer saw the potential in all of them.

I hate it. I hate it so much. You need senior surgical residents. I may go as far as to say you need a chief resident. And if you make me him, I will be mean. I will be bossy. And if I'm ever tempted to go soft, I would picture a return to OB, and I will get stronger. Stronger like a vagina, which I've been forced to learn can stretch to 200 times its natural size and lift a 30lb weight just by flexing. I'll be the vagina of the program if you'll let me.

Levi

She's picked these versions of the best of the people she got to work with over the years, and it's hard not to love that for what it is.

Also, there's a frustratingly binary outlook on intelligence, as if grades or ranking dictate any of that. The most book-smart individual isn't always the smartest in the room. For every Cristina, Maggie, or Bailey, there are people like Karev or whoever else.

A Teaching Hospital Again - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1

It also speaks to the pandemic's effects on the medical field. So many people got thrown into the deep end of practicing medicine, and looser criteria have expanded options and afforded genuinely talented, good people opportunities that they would've gotten locked out of because of low scoring, ranking, or where they got educated.

I love that this new batch of interns is rough around the edges and an embodiment of what the generation has the offer -- brilliant and talented but in unorthodox ways, bucking against tradition.

The hour absolutely nailed their introduction, and I'm already invested in each of them and want more.

Additional Notes:

  • Guys, even the music choices felt so old-school Grey's Anatomy!
What's Next for Link - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1
  • We didn't get much of Bailey, but she looked carefree, stressfree, and happy, so good for her.
  • Maggie and Winston's relationship needs more substance.
  • Levi's Vagina Monologue was top-tier. Ten out of ten execution and delivery.
  • Is it too early to ship Simone and Lucas? Because there were vibes, and I want to see more of them.
Making Strides - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1
  • Boo! It sucks that Niko Terho and Jake Borelli didn't have a scene together yet. If you want to watch a fun, queer romance, check out The Thing About Harry. They were both great in it.
  • Interns on the gurneys in the hallway will never cease to hit me in the feelings!
  • The weird wrap-up of Teddy and Owen's legal troubles offscreen was bizarre. But tanned, unfazed Owen and annoyed, wine mom Teddy was interesting.
  • They forked over half a million for Owen's defense after they went on the lam, and now Owen has a suspended medical license. If I were Teddy, I would be pissed. Like, are they are their marriage okay? Because oof.
On the Run -tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Episode 20
  • The baby intern jokes, wait for it, never got old. Bokhee's was the best. And yes, we should always say "please," to her. I don't care.
  • Transplant cases are some of the best, without fail, and I appreciate the reverence and respect Nick always exudes during them. It's essential to see that. Good for him that he got to do a triple-organ surgery!
  • I've only had these five interns for a single episode, and I already would kill for them.

Over to you, Grey's Fanatics.

Did you enjoy this soft reboot of the series? What are your thoughts on that? Which new character did you enjoy most? What are your thoughts on that Lucas/Derek reveal? Sound off below!

You can watch Grey's Anatomy online here via TV Fanatic if you need to catch the premiere!

Everything Has Changed Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (141 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1 Quotes

Amelia: Derek was a god to him.
Mer: I know.
Amelia: And Lucas was Derek's favorite nephew, and I do love him, so I hate to keep saying this, but I don't think he has what it takes.
Mer: I know you don't.
Amelia: He's a mess. He doesn't follow instructions. He has to do everything he own way. Did you hire him because he reminds you of Derek?
Mer: Not Derek. He is a mess. He does need to do things his own way. But he does have a stroke of the family genius, and he's a bit of a black sheep. You don't see it, do you?
Amelia: Is that why he drives me crazy? He's me.
Mer: Yes, he's you. He's got the spark. He's got the drive. He just needs a chance.

Jules: I think I may have already slept with an attending already.
Mika: You work fast.