“Grey’s Anatomy” kicked off Season 11 on Thursday with a fast-pace episode that began to address all the loose ends from the Season 10 finale. The void left by the departure of Christina Yang was obvious according to the Hollywood Reporter on Sept. 25. Meredith was somewhat adrift and April was worried about Owen “dying inside.”
The show opened with Meredith’s usual monologue but this time it was done a s flashback to her childhood. A 5-year-old Meredith rode the carousel and then lost sight of her mother. Frightened, she waited a long time for her to reappear and when her mother reappeared, she was crying. There was a trip to the hospital, her mother behind an ER curtain partition, blood and the sound of a baby crying. Then, her mother packed their things and they moved across country, leaving behind her favorite doll. The scene will be more significant as the season unfolds.
In the present, Meredith lets herself into her old house. She throws Wilson out of bed so she can climb in and talk to Alex, the way she used to do with Cristina. She tells him that she told Derek she and the kids weren’t going to D.C. with him. Alex isn’t thrilled with the situation but he steps up.
Richard Webber goes to his first AA meeting in sometime. He is talking about how he just learned he has a daughter he never knew existed. As he is talking about how this feels, he spots Amelia Shepherd in the crowd. They make eye contact and Amelia leaves. Back at the hospital, Webber confronts Amelia about her ability to keep quiet. She assures him his secret is safe and offers to be someone he can talk to. He dismisses her completely.
April is worried that Owen will crack now that Cristina is really gone. She sets up the other male doctors to make sure Owen isn’t left alone, starting with Jackson. Jackson awkwardly asks him if he wants to get a beer. Later, in the OR, Webber remarks how steady Owen’s hands are and invites him over to play Jenga. Derek even asks him if he wants to go somewhere and watch a game. Owen gets Derek to tell him what’s going on and then makes him promise not to ask him out on any more dates.
Meredith, Maggie and Owen are on the hospital roof to receive a patient coming in by chopper. The wind is fierce and their gurney is swept of the roof. It plummets to the parking lot below, piercing a van and pinning its teenage occupants, who were having sex, inside.
Maggie realizes that Meredith is her half-sister but remains quiet for the time being. Meredith takes charge of the patient, a man who was lost in the wilderness for an extended time. Though Maggie insists on getting an echo, Meredith overrides her and takes the patient to the OR.
When the patient crashes during surgery, they send for Maggie who takes over to treat his heart condition. The two women squabble until Owen shuts them down. Later, they find a room and have it out. Each blames the other for being disrespectful. Maggie said she was worried about getting Meredith to like her but now. Meredith says there is no way she could ever like her. Looks like these two are not going to close anytime soon.
Jackson and the board learn of the conflict over who will fill Cristina’s seat on the board. Cristina gave Alex her shares and her seat. Webber and others endorse Bailey as a replacement. The bylaws say the board has to vote on any replacements. Jackson suggests they let the two candidates duke it out.
Derek talks to Amelia about his impending departure. He wants to know that taking this opportunity doesn’t make him a bad person. After having to tell a young child that his father dies in surgery, Derek is impacted by what the child says. “Dead means he’s gone and isn’t coming back,” the boy says. “I miss him already.”
Meredith informs the chopper patient that it hasn’t been only 3 or 4 days since he was separated from his wife and daughter. Based on his level of dehydration and malnutrition, it’s been a month or more. He realizes that his family has probably been dead for weeks and he gives up the fight. When he tells Meredith where they had been hiking, she realizes he found more than 100 miles from where they started and that rescue workers are searching in the wrong area. She alerts the authorities.
After the argument with Meredith, Maggie loses her money in a vending machine and that’s the last straw. Webber walks up as she is assaulting the machine. She tells him she knows Meredith is her sister. She wanted to make Meredith like and hoped to tell her today who she was. Now, she hates her. Webber looks distraught. It is apparent he wants to tell Maggie who he is but he too stays quiet.
Throughout the episode, Callie and Arizona discuss the possibility of surrogacy. Arizona is for it but Callie has reservations. After treating the kids who were injured in the gurney-van accident and realizing that no matter how safe you try to keep your kids, things just happen, Callie decides surrogacy might be okay after all. But Arizona has been approached by a new doctor (Gina Davis) to take a fellowship. As Callie is telling her she want to proceed with the surrogate, Arizona is saying she wants to go back to school. The couple is at yet another crossroads.
The hiker patient wants to die and is telling Owen it’s all over for him. Just then his wife and daughter walk in. They were rescued the day after they were lost. They had given him for dead.
Jackson returns the engagement ring Webber gave to Jackson’s mother. He apologizes and says it would have been great to have him in the family.
Meredith and Alex head to Joe’s Bar where Alex tries to be Mer’s “person.” She’s worried her marriage won’t survive a separation. Derek walks in, sits down and tells her he called Washington and turned down the job. He’s going to stay in Seattle with her and the kids. She’s stunned. “I chose. I chose you and the kids,” he tells her.
Meredith goes to the bar to get a drink. Standing next to her is Maggie. They both order tequila.
“Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Keep checking back for more recaps, previews spoilers and more