“Grey’s Anatomy” opened its twelfth season with a return to the Grey’s that fans and audiences fell in love with. The episode titled “Sledgehammer” confronted some tough issues, incorporated humor among the characters and occasional sweet moments. In spite of missing half of its original cast, including Patrick Dempsey whose character was controversially killed off earlier this year, the season premiere managed to feel a bit nostalgic.
The episode opened with a train accident that ended up being a suicide attempt between two gay females Jessica and Aliyah. Jessica’s mother was homophobic and was sending the daughter away to a religious camp. Callie gets involved and calls Children’s Services and Maggie eventually punches the mom. The most poignant scene was between the fathers of both the girls who talked about the difficulties of raising their daughters.
Another storyline revolved around Bailey vying to be Chief of Surgery. She competes with another candidate played by Joey Lauren Adams and almost gives up until her husband Ben (Jason George is now a series regular) gives her a pep talk. The pep talk works and she performs a surgery and gives her speech on why she should have the job to Dr. Webber and Catherine Avery who look on. The speech works. Dr. Miranda Bailey in the new Chief of Surgery!
Meredith wasn’t featured prominently in the episode. Her storyline revolved around not getting alone with Amelia and having trouble with her, Amelia and Maggie living together. In the end, they use a sledgehammer and knock down one of the walls in the house as a form of therapy. Jo and Alex seem to be progressing nicely in their relationship, Arizona can’t find anyone who wants to live with her and April has returned from overseas to a very disgruntled Jackson.
What worked best in this episode? What made Grey’s so great in the beginning was its ability to tackle issues that was relevant to today’s culture. The plot revolving around the two gay teenage girls who would rather kill themselves than deal with being apart was done beautifully and Sara Ramirez’s performance was captivating. The issue that has become such a hot button topic raising strong feelings on both sides of the spectrum was executed in a way that no matter how you feel about homosexuality, you couldn’t but feel sorry for these two girls who were suffering because they couldn’t be with the person they loved.
Also, for many fans who have watched Grey’s since day one knows that if anyone deserves to be Chief of Surgery it’s Miranda Bailey. It was wonderful to not only see her get the title she has sacrificed and worked so hard for, but to do it alongside a supportive husband signaling Bailey’s character finally being able to balance her personal and professional life.
What didn’t work? The Meredith, Amelia, Maggie “sisters” situation seems forced. It may be because nothing can top the beauty of Meredith and Cristina’s relationship but it seems that the writers are trying to force a camaraderie between these three characters that doesn’t necessarily come off authentic on screen. Also, I’m not quite sure what the writers have in store for poor Stephanie Edwards but I hope they find something soon. Edwards’ portrayer Jerrika Hinton just seems to mosey around the hospital with no real purpose. Since she was dumped by Jackson early last year when he chose to be with April, they have done nothing with her character.
Overall, I was very impressed and I hope that the rest of the season lives up to the premiere. Fans are still reeling from the loss of McDreamy and the show does have a decidedly different feel but that may not necessarily be bad. As long as it allows the natural relationship to develop between the characters and continue to tackle important issues, the show should be just fine.
What did you think of the premiere? Sound off in the comments below.
“Grey’s Anatomy” airs on Thursday nights at 7pm on ABC, Cox Cable Channel 5.