'Grey's Anatomy' Season 12 Premiere: New Beginnings for Everyone

The Shonda Rhimes medical drama kicked off its first full season without Patrick Dempsey.
Richard Cartwright/ABC

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season 12 premiere of ABC's Grey's Anatomy.]

ABC's Grey's Anatomy returned for season 12 facing a big question: how would the veteran Shonda Rhimes drama fare without leading man Patrick Dempsey's Derek Shepard. The premiere launched with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) questioning why she's here and, like viewers, starting a new life without her husband.

At home, Meredith is now living with sisters Amelia and Maggie, with the latter stuck in the middle between the feuding siblings now that the trio is living in the house that Ellis built.

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At the hospital, Meredith is overseeing things like a proud mother hen when she realizes Alex set the stage for the fathers of two star-crossed lesbian girls who are both being treated to mend fences. At the end of the hour, Meredith starts what appears to be the next chapter in her career: teaching students in the new cadaver lab.

Here's a look at what's going on with the rest of the Seattle crew:

• Arizona is searching for a roommate now that she has sold the house that she and Callie owned and is having trouble making rent. Stephanie tries to hide the fact that nobody wants to live with Arizona because she's a legend — and "one of the Seattle Grace Five." Her roommate situation is solved when Dr. Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) takes the room and reveals that he doesn't have any friends among his intern class after he posed as an attending.

• Callie takes on a young lesbian patient and her intolerant parents and Maggie winds up punching the homophobic mother after Calls called Child Protective Services. It's an incredibly compelling episode about bullying and acceptance that ends with the husband standing up to his wife to say, "I don't care if she's gay. I care if she's loved. I care if she's happy." All hail Rhimes and the Grey's writing staff.

• Bailey elects to skip her presentation to be chief after being intimidated by Tracey (guest star Joey Lauren Adams). Ben delivers an inspiring speech to his wife and gets her to fight for the position and make her presentation. Her impassioned bid for the chief position — done while she's in the middle of surgery — lands her the job. 

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• Jackson is anything but excited to see April when she returns home and opts to stay the night at the hospital — where his estranged wife walks in looking to sleep at the hospital and avoid him, too. While April wants to talk things out, Jackson already seems completely removed from his marriage — and worse, he doesn't seem to be talking about it with anyone.

• Alex and Jo are settling in to life together in their new place. He reveals he was a fat kid and bullied as a kid. It's almost jarring to see the typically guarded Alex opening up to Jo, who rewards him with a steamy smooch.

• Owen plants a big kiss on Amelia after giving her a ride home. Their moment is short-lived when Maggie pulls her roommate in for a talk with Meredith.

• The twisted sisters ultimately come to a good place after Maggie encourages Amelia and Meredith to "figure their crap out." Meredith confesses that she doesn't totally like Amelia but doesn't have to because she's family. As a show of solidarity, she knocks down the wall Amelia started taking down at the start of the episode.

The premiere helped set the stage for Grey's Anatomy 2.0, with a new chief, a new passion for Meredith and some of the show's much needed humor restored.

What did you think of the Grey's Anatomy premiere? Sound off in the comments below. 

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