Grey's Anatomy Premiere Recap: Going, Going... Gulp - Were You Surprised By the Big Twist?

Grey's Anatomy Season 9 PremiereThe following recap, by the very definition of the word “recap,” contains spoilers from the Season 9 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy.

After 17 weeks of rumors, innuendo and partial spoilers, Grey’s Anatomy kicked off its ninth season with an episode that picked up several months after last May’s deadly plane crash disaster with this ominous voiceover from Meredith: “Dying changes everything.”

At first, you think she’s referring to her sister Lexie’s tragic passing. But it’s soon revealed that Mark — who suffered a cardiac tamponade following the air disaster — was in a coma and just hours away from his DNR order kicking in.

RELATED | Exclusive — Find Out Why Eric Dane Left Grey’s Anatomy

Additionally, the fate of Arizona — who was critically wounded in the accident — remained a question mark for much of the episode, but Callie’s tears confirmed that something horrible had indeed happened (more on that later).

Here’s a character-by-character chronicle of what went down:

MEREDITH | Mer is mean — so mean the the new crop of interns (Smash!) are scared to approach her. So mean she’s earned the nickname Medusa. “Take it from ‘The Nazi,'” says Bailey. “It’s good to be feared.” On the flipside…

BAILEY | … The tyrant formerly known as “The Nazi” is nice, a direct result of her very active sex life with fiance Ben. (Alex informs her that her new nickname is “BCB” for “Booty Call Bailey.”)

ALEX | Alex was busy having promiscuous  sex with the new interns, most notably (but not limited to!) Veronica Mars‘ Tina Majorino, prior to departing for his new gig at John’s Hopkins. (In the final minutes, Karev decided to stay at Seattle Grace because, basically, he doesn’t trust anyone else to do his job.)

DEREK | Derek’s attempt to perform his first surgery since injuring his hand in the crash pretty much ended before it began. “My hand went numb in there,” he cried out to Callie.

CRISTINA | Yang’s ego is taking a major beating at her new job at the Mayo Clinic in the “frozen tundra” of Minnesota, her daily Skype sessions with Mer providing the only relief. “The fact is, we work as a team here,” her new boss informs her. “No one here is the superstar. Our hospital is the superstar. And our patients — they’re superstars. No ego. No competition.” He then assigned her to mandatory R&R.

MARK | Series creator Shonda Rhimes said she wanted to give Eric Dane’s doc a fitting send-off, and she kept her promise. The episode flashed back to various moments in Mark’s life, including Derek and Addison’s 1994 wedding and Callie and Arizona’s 2009 nuptials (in the latter sequence, he toasted the newlyweds before confessing that Lexie was the love of his life). Webber eventually took him off the ventilator, and nearly everyone kept vigil as his heart monitor ticked down to zero.

APRIL | Dr. Hunt tracked April down at her family’s farm to give her her old job back. “Nothing’s the same over there,” he tells her. “I should have never taken your job from you. You don’t belong out here. You belong in Seattle. Now come home.”

ARIZONA | Confirming the worst kept secret in TV land, the final moments of the episode revealed that Arizona had her leg amputated — and she blames Callie for her missing limb! “How the hell am I supposed to snap out of this,” she barks at her wife, “when you cut off my leg!”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Arizona says:

    After having time off to cool myself down from this episode and move an inchntowards forgiving shonda i am finally able to gather my thoughts: 1) meh about lexie and mark dyeing we knew this was goona happen SO PREDICTABLE i mean he cant jst leave sophia and going to heaven with lexie i find kind of settling some how 2)pooor callie man i just feel bad for her i am not impressed with how arizona lost her leg i mean even with all the spoilers deep inside i was thinking no way in hell would arizona have one leg shonda isnt this mean. havnt they been through enough crap and y do it to the only perky character on the show? Id rather it have been callie tbh 3) what was with leaving us hanging there for almost an hour until we found out arizonas fate i couldnt even laugh at baileys jokes, the intern was bugging me and even cristina was annoying 4) uh whats with the boring dereks hand storyline isnt this basically jst a repeat NEXT 5) am i the only one who finds jackson and april absolutely boring characters?! 6) meredith being the scary attending… Not really working for me 7) why all the hate on arizona for ha if i was her id rather be dead so she has absolutely every right to be angry 8) bailey basking in her happiness and sex was really pissing me off #grumpy 9) HUGE mistake ep one and two shouldve been swapped around everything seemsed so slow and not necessary/relevent to watch but thats jst shonda tryna be creative i guess and yes i second that id prefer mark dying instead of arizona. Since the cast has been cut BRING BACK ADDISON

  2. connie says:

    very confusing.

  3. carolann says:

    i agree.. mer should be alot mor e compassionate with derek thru his difficult time with his arm…
    and after all christina chose to leave seattle ..grace… we realize she is upset ovr lexie and all but
    come ..on ..where is that former hot…. and sexy love between her and derek….
    that they so had in th epst… yes they have grown…and matured..but they still need
    need to have that also… in the picture…. and as for christina…bring burk back….. in…
    and see what occurs…. feel sad about mark… really…. but i guess w.o lexie.. makes no sense
    ………. for him… to be around..tho they still cld have kept him for the baby and derek bst friend…of course… too sad…. really. to o much death. shonda… no more….

  4. Kelly says:

    Meredith Grey = the only person in the WORLD to go ballistic on an airplane, and NOT be arrested.

  5. Anjali says:

    I thought the episode was well done and I didnt see the twist with Arizona coming. I didn’t think she had died as Mark was set to go but I enjoyed the suspense and then the pay-off.
    I think, though I don’t like it, that this was the right way for Mark to go. Shonda had to cut a character for budget reasons, he made the most sense as I don’t think most viewers would have been very receptive to another love interest given how popular Mark and Lexie were, she was the love of his life and vice versa, and him moving wouldn’t have made sense as he had Sofia. However they were two of my favourite characters, especially when it came to the comedic relief moments. I am interested to see how this season will play out but, for me, they have 2 very huge gaps to fill.

  6. gwen says:

    I won’t miss Mark, and at least he got a decent send off -unlike every other character that left. I only have watched – can’t stand Callie/AZ, don’t like Owen or Avery, and there was too little of Meredith, Alex and Cristina together. After all this time, they’re still the only ones who make Grey’s work for me. Their bar scene at the end was the premiere for me.

    • Arizona says:

      I have to disagree with this. I only watch the show for calzona and cristina the rest is like MEH and i dont understand why everyones saying the seasons after season five are crap.i Actually think theyve gone better (thank god izzie left wished alex went with her though) but thats just me

      • gwen says:

        Yeah, different strokes. I wouldn’t watch without Alex, and I wish they’d written out AZ when they had the chance, and Callie too. Love Cristina, though. Different strokes.

  7. Linda Frazzo says:

    Worst episode since they killed off George!!!

  8. Carl says:

    Burke- Not killed off
    Addison- Not killed off, sent to PP
    Hahn- Not killed off
    Izzie- Not killed off
    Teddy- Not killed off

    George- Killed off
    Lexie- Killed off
    Mark- Killed off

    That’s 3 killed off, 5 sent off for other reasons. I’m not counting Henry or Denny because they weren’t series regulars, if we were counting them because they had a lot of appearances than we should count Lucy from season 7 and Doctor Stark (ugh) so in that case it would be

    Henry- Killed off
    Denny- Killed off

    Lucy- Not killed off
    Dr. Stark- Not killed off

    Which pretty much evens the slate on that. But as far as the series regulars go (the ones who matter most IMO) only 3 of them have been killed off, and the rest have gone in other ways.

    • NA says:

      they killed Reed and Charles too… I know they weren’t really regulars but I’d pretty much gotten used to them. I thought Reed was going to get with Alex.

  9. Elisabeth says:

    Worst premire ever! This show is just gonna get worse and worse from now on. I mean to kill off two of the most favourite charakters is just stupid. If the actors don’t want to do the show anymore fine, write them out but not like this. I’m sure that there would have been a way to make them stay for one more season. Then Mark and Lexie could have got back together (like we were always promissed), she will do her boards, will get an awesome fellowship somewere else and Mark will go with her and will see Sophia on holidays (like done by a lot of people in reality). A much better ending to me. But NO! Stupid sex jokes while Mark dies. Just tacky. And Arizona is an amputee now? Seriously? I mean, yeah it’s realistic because of the injurie but still, just makes me sick. Just seems like forced drama to me.
    The only thing I liked was Medusa, I find it a good role for Meredeth.
    3 more episodes tops, if it dosn’t get better, I’m out and I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one.
    Reminds me a lot of Dallas. Main charakter died, nobody liked it anymore, and the new season turned out to be a dream of another person. Let’s hope thats whats going to happen.

    By the way if there are and grammar mistakes sorry but I’m german so I’m not a native speaker.

  10. Kath says:

    I thought it was a good send-off for Mark, until the Mark Sloane 1968-2012 card which was an insult to the audience members who have had real people die in their lives.

    I knew Arizona would still be around — Shonda and ABC love their lesbian couple so much. But it was a good twist to see her like that.

    I HATED Owen going to get April. He didn’t let her down (except when he made her chief resident because she’s imcompetent); she failed her exam. When a grade school student fails, you hold her hand and help. When a resident fails, it’s on her. April on this show is like Thirteen on House; there are endless plot contrivances and special favors to keep her on the show and while unlike Olivia Wilde, Sarah Drew can act, I still hate both characters.

    • brisbaner says:

      I’ve just started watching re-runs of Greys Anatomy and today saw the one where April and the others from Mercy West join the Seattle hospital. Now I have to say I preferred April in this episode than the other chick who took George’s locker and who gets a bullet in the head in a later episode (never liked her), but her introduction to the series reminded me how insecure she is – witness her red book full of affirmations that Lexie read and used against her. And in another episode coming up in the re-runs, which I recall was very well done, it turns out April is responsible for the death of the mother from the fire because she got distracted and didn’t check her for smoke inhalation. And I never understood then why they kept her on.

      Having said that, consider the series has lost three major characters as a result of last season’s finale (Mark Sloane, Lexie and Teddy) so I welcome the return of April just for ‘comfort sake’. After all, the series started with five interns – and only three remain nine seasons on. Sometimes familiarity is better than risking the introduction of new people who may not really contribute to the series. Witness how many of Lexei’s fellow interns are still at the hospital and have major roles – none!

  11. luc says:

    God what depressing comments. I usually go to the comments to have a laugh but what a bunch of whiners. Stop watching!!!

  12. AuntyEm says:

    At the end of last season I read that Eric Dane wouldn’t be returning and wondered how they could really make that effective as it would have been out of character for Mark to walk away from his daughter, regardless of everything else he lost, so I should have expected Mark would die. However, it still came as a bit of a shock. The flashbacks on Mark’s life were well done, and a tribute to his character, but I also feel somehow cheated that he got a whole episode dedicated to him, and Lexie and Teddy are just gone, with one brief mention of Lexie and none of Teddy. I’m assuming later episodes of this season will show more details about what happened after the air crash that led to Callie cutting off Arizona’s leg. And I can’t believe Cristina would have taken up an offer to go the hospital that the old man from her Boards was at……..especially if she had so many offers…….. Couple of final comments – the situation with Derek’s hand reminded me of Burke’s hand so I wonder how they’re going to do this differently. And it’s kind of fitting that Meredith takes over Bailey’s old “nazi” role. It was a decent start to the new season. Will be interesting to see how it progresses.

  13. Kristin says:

    I absolutely love greys… it is my favorite show… but i am incredibly disappointed with my 2 favourite actors being killed off! I would have liked for them to take anybody else… it is truly disappointing.. but i know i will keep watching in case something turns around…. fingers crossed! I hope ill fall inlove with a new character from the show!

  14. Faith Wavinya says:

    I love it that Christina never changes at all. She causes scenes everywhere she goes. Can’t wait to see her back in Seattle.

    It was a good start of the season though I miss Mark. he died silently compared to poor Lexie who had all the pain on earth. ‘Better die silently like a driver. Passengers die screaming’.

  15. Kathryn says:

    You all need to get a life. It’s just a T.V. show! Pretend stuff, not reality. What does all of this hoopla about a program matter? Really!

    • brisbaner says:

      I have a life. Sometimes, however, it’s nice to share your thoughts with others who have a similar interest. It’s like going to work on Monday and chatting to your colleagues over coffee about what you did on the weekend. If you don’t like it, don’t come back.

  16. shanty says:

    Seriously! Shonda Rhimes is one crazy writer. I think I’ll stop watching this TV series eventually. I don’t like watching my favorite characters — it’s my second favorite couple after all, Lexi and Mark–are killed. Why didn’t this crazy writer just sent them off by moving them to other towns. The next thing I know it could be Derek or Meredith dead. Just keep killing ’em Shonda!

    • brisbaner says:

      You know, 24 hours after watching the season opener and commenting here about disappointed I was with it, I watched both the season finale then the opener again and in retrospect like them. Brave Lexie had her farewell scene at the plane wreck and must say she was so much braver than Arizona, screaming out like she was, while Lexie who would have been in so much more pain was stoic. It’s not pleasant saying goodbye to favourite characters and I don’t know what the new lot are going to turn out like. Would have to say to Shanty, though, that if Meredith and Derek die it would no longer be “Grey’s” anatomy, as there’d be no Grey left, so perhaps Shonda will leave that to the series finale.

      Also Lauren commented that there was no mention of Lexie, but there was briefly by Alex in the cafeteria when he, Avery and Meredith were eating together. Also although it may seem like Meredith deserted her husband at the time of Mark’s death, you have to think about what SHE would have been feeling – it obviously brought back the plane crash and her sister’s death as well and to lose another long-time friend, well, I perfectly understand why she would want to be with Cristina (her person/BFF despite being married), because with Mark’s death she would have felt it continuing to all fall apart……… wonder she’s such a ‘meanie’ now to the new interns – sometimes throwing yourself into work is the only way to cope with such crises.

      I’ve been re-watching season 6 (on cable tv) and the acting and storylines there are more memorable than what happened this season, apart from a few memorable episodes, and the finale and season opened would have to be two of them……their impact was felt. Why else would we be debating them?

  17. Lauren says:

    Very disappointing show. I’ve been watching greys since the beginning and feel its been slowly going down hill. Can’t believe bailey was giddy as ever and fooling around just hours before mark died. Her character has been increasingly more annoying since meeting anesthesia boy. Also, just don’t understand why meredith was more focused with getting on a plane to see Christina than supporting her husband. And what about poor lexie, no one even mentioned her. Besides Caley and Derek, I felt like acting was rather poor and heartless. It didn’t feel genuine like it should have and used to feel with old greys.

  18. NA says:

    SOOOO GAY! They killed too many people in the past two seasons. It’s like they can’t keep anyone on the show anymore… maybe that’s because it’s going downhill. I don’t know if these people are getting fired or quitting but it’s getting old! REALLY OLD! Just when you get to like someone, they’re gone! I’ve been waiting 2 seasons for Lexie and Sloan to get together again (I loved them together) and they finally admit they love each other and die!? This is not Romeo and Juliet, Oh well, Sloan had lost too much weight to be hot anymore. I’m done with Grey’s. 8 years of loving a show and they go and butcher it. As if tolerating the lesbians didn’t make it bad enough! Why don’t they change the name to Gay’s anatomy?!

  19. Emzy says:

    i have no words for this episode im sooo tearful shonda what are you doing to our people

  20. JEn says:

    As much as I was thrown for a loop with Mark Sloan’s “eventual” passing, I don’t think I was as shocked that it happened b/c Lexie passed, but that Mark was allowed to come off the mountain/hill alive to die in Seattle Grace. Then there is Arizona and her eventual missing leg and requiring Callie to “save it” and of course blaming Karev. Granted these are relatively normal responses, but the PTB missed the moment where either Karev or Callie tells Arizona to do what she tells her pediatrics to do smile and make the best of it! Then again that might just be coming around the corner. Personally I figured Meredith or Derek would be killed off (even w/Chyler wanting to leave…) o r even Christina since it appears the Owen/Christina relationship has been played out – seriously, Owen chose to fly out to get April, and now (*** spoiler based on “next on G.A.”****) Christina has a “sex buddy” – really!?!!.

  21. The Mentalist all the way.

  22. thomas says:

    just waiting for the new season,
    it will be amazing.

  23. plan cul says:

    I hardly drop remarks, however after reading a few of the comments here Greys Anatomy Season 9 Premiere Recap – Eric Dane Left
    Greys Anatomy | TVLine. I actually do have a few questions for you
    if it’s okay. Could it be just me or do some of these comments
    come across like they are left by brain dead
    people? :-P And, if you are writing at additional social sites, I’d like to keep up with you.

    Could you make a list of the complete urls of your social community sites like your Facebook
    page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?