“Because while it’s good to plan for the worst, you can’t really know how you’ll handle it until you’re smack dab in the middle of it, under the wave, trying not to drown,” said Dr. Meredith Gray as she gazed upon the ocean water.
Starting its 17th season with a two-episode premiere, “Grey’s Anatomy” tackled the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically highlighting not only the heightened issues of quarantining and having to stay away from family, friends and other loved ones, but also the everyday lives of medical professionals.
As usual Grey, played by Ellen Pompeo, was at the heart of treating infected patients. As she lost another patient, her patience was clearly being tested, if not lost, with each one.
Interestingly enough, life does go on during pandemics and everyone has to figure out how to exist while also remaining careful. Doctors were staying in hotels and away from their families in attempts to not transfer the disease if they had contracted it, resulting in many days away from their loved ones.
Tackling the coronavirus isn’t enough for this show, of course. It must take on the tricky love triangles, heart aches, pain, death, racism and the whole mask vs. no mask debacle because what would the show be if it didn’t?
I am the ultimate “Grey’s Anatomy” fan, having watched the series since the very first season in 2005, so I can say with complete certainty that this show keeps getting better and better.
While some fans have fallen off throughout the years because their favorite characters have died or left the show, I’ve remained a constant viewer, setting aside my Thursday night to watch with no interruptions and last Thursday night was no different.
Having followed the cast’s journey with filming this season on social media, I already knew that the COVID-19 pandemic was something that would be included in the show. While I was excited to see how they would portray this, I wasn’t exactly ready for how I’d feel reliving March and April of this year, let alone depicted through the eyes of those on the front line.
It wasn’t only watching a show that I’ve loved for so long; it truly was reliving those moments. Having had an uncle succumb to this disease, seeing the patients alone, dying quickly with no one by their side, made me weep because it’s a feeling that I know personally.
What I appreciated the most about this premiere is that it got it right. I’m not saying that other shows didn’t, but for me, they had a goal to keep it real and it was accomplished.
“Grey’s Anatomy” has always been a show that gives a realistic characterization of the human condition, and now, we take a look at it while adding a major component of human decency.
In America, human life was politicized, making the wearing of masks a question in the minds of some instead of the requirement that it is.
Growing up in the medical industry, I’ve grown to trust science and the people that have made it their life’s work. Given that, I knew that there was nothing political about this disease. It has no agenda. Its one goal is the same goal of all diseases: to do its job and move on to the next victim.
In the premiere, there were two fathers that had conflicting views on whether masks were actually a form of protection and if they should be worn or not. As parents, they should have known that, misguided or not, kids follow the example that you set.
When the parents came to inevitable blows over their conflicts of interest, subsequently injuring Dr. Miranda Bailey, played by Chandra Wilson, the scene spoke volumes to me.
It was as if it held a mirror up to America and said, “this is what you look like.” What the show has shown us is how much we’ve lost and how much there is to still recover.
In an unexpected fashion, “Grey’s Anatomy” also delivered something, or someone, that we’ve been waiting to see for quite some time — McDreamy.
At the conclusion of the premiere, Grey is found lying on the pavement unconscious, clearly implying her contraction of the disease. It’s while she is in her unconscious state that she sees her late husband Dr. Derek Shepherd, played by Patrick Dempsey.
Bring on the tears, heart palpitations and butterflies. This was a gift, and I am so thankful for it.
While seeing Grey back in the love game is great, this glimpse of Derek brought all fans back to a time when #mereder was couple goals. Actually, they very much still are because everyone deserves that kind of love. Everyone deserves their person.
As both a journalism and performance student, I can say that as this show progresses, I’m continuously in awe of the talented artists that collaborate to do this work. With that, there is one goal, one fire that continues to burn with each passing season. One day, I plan to secure my own role amongst Seattle’s finest and maybe that day, a fellow Tiger will be writing about me.
Talk about a manifestation, but I digress. This was more than a five-star premiere. It was all of the stars, and I’m eager to see not only what the remainder of this season holds, but what life lessons it will be teaching us along the way.