Grey's Anatomy Recap

Grey's Anatomy Season 12 Premiere Recap: 'Everything Has Changed'

After Derek’s death, Calzona’s breakup and the demise of April and Jackson’s newborn — if not also their relationship — who wasn’t relieved when Shonda Rhimes said that the 12th season of Grey’s Anatomy would have a lighter tone than the 11th? But would she make good on her promise? That was the question as we went into the Kevin McKidd-directed premiere. And the answer? Read on, and then we’ll discuss.

FULL HOUSE | As “Sledgehammer” began, Mer voiceover’d that, just when things start to feel familiar, you realize that “everything has changed” — and that fast, we found out how right she was. At least as far as her home life went. Amelia was taking the titular tool to the wall of the house they now shared with Maggie. (Apparently, tequila had okayed the demolition job, not Mer. Been there!)

WELL, BULLY FOR YOU | The episode’s main medical plot involved two teenage lesbians rushed to the ER after being hit by a train. Aliyah and I “just wanted to be together, dead or alive,” Jessica revealed to Callie. Unsatisfied by that explanation – “alive” being the better option and all – Callie pressed for more information, and the girl admitted that her parents were sending her to a conversion camp. (Once we met them, hardly a shock.) Callie tried to hold her tongue around them but found that she just couldn’t. Those camps “are tantamount to child abuse,” she asserted. When that did no good, Callie called Child Protective Services, prompting Jessica’s mother to go on such a tear that Maggie – once a victim of bullying herself – lost it and slugged her. Later, the girls’ fathers bonded, and Jessica’s dad found the balls to stand up to his wife.

PUT UP YOUR DOCS | Meanwhile, the race for the chief of surgery position heated up, with Bailey inviting herself along on the tour of Grey Sloan that Catherine’s candidate, Tracy McConnell (Joey Lauren Adams), had arranged for Richard to give her. (Even though, as he pointed out, Bailey already knew where everything was.) Catherine argued that Richard and the hospital “need someone who will surprise us.” And boom! Tracy did just that, chiming in while Mer, Owen and Amelia operated on Aliyah to make a suggestion that saved her life — and inadvertently took the wind out of Bailey’s sails in the process. However, after a pep talk from Ben, she remembered that she was a force to be reckoned with, and made a presentation to the board — in the OR, no less! — that won over even Catherine. Hail to the chief!

HOME IS WHERE THE HEARTACHE IS | Considering the ultimatum that Jackson gave April before she shipped out, he wasn’t exactly hanging “Welcome Home” signs in anticipation of her return. But that didn’t stop everyone else from asking about the return party he wasn’t throwing her. Finally, as the hour drew to a close, April discovered Jackson crashing in an on-call room and told him she really wanted them to talk, stat. Clearly, she hadn’t given up on their marriage, right?

ON HER TAB | In other developments, Arizona found herself in need of a roommate. How about Stephanie? “Me live with you?” Edwards laughed. “God, no.” She didn’t even think that April would be interested. But why? Under duress, Stephanie confessed that Arizona was such a legend to the interns and residents that there were a million crazy stories going around about her. Finally, Andrew — ostracized by his fellow interns since his “memorable” start at Grey Sloan — asked if he could move in.

IN CLOSING | At the end of the episode, Alex opened up to Jo about his past as a bullied fat kid, Owen planted a kiss on Amelia, and Maggie interrupted said kiss to force Amelia and Mer to work through their s— (which seemed pretty easy, all things considered).

OK, opinion time! Jessica and Aliyah’s story notwithstanding, did Shonda lighten up enough for you? Grade the episode below and then hit the comments!