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A new season of Grey’s Anatomy hit the air Thursday night, and while the series typically heightens the drama, it could not have been more realistic. 

As expected, the premiere covered COVID-19, while simultaneously filling in the blanks on what happened to all of the characters between last season’s finale and this season’s premiere. 

There was also a wild nod to the past with the return of Patrick Dempsey as Derek "McDreamy Shepherd."

McDreamy and Meredith Reunite on Grey's Anatomy

Yes, you read that right. Meredith Grey’s dead husband returned in the premiere, but was everything as it seemed? 

Not exactly. 

The episode picked up a month into the pandemic, and Meredith was hurting. Uncertainty was roaming the walls of Grey Sloan Memorial as patient after patient lost their lives to the virus. 

Meredith was struggling because of how quickly the patients were flatlining, and because she was still worried about DeLuca after his breakdown. 

So, how the heck did we go from COVID-19 to Derek Shepherd popping back up?

Unfortunately, it was all a dream, but did it hint that Meredith still has strong feelings for her deceased ex-husband. 

The bigger surprise was that the series managed to get Dempsey back for the special scene, especially during the pandemic. 

It’s rare that TV shows actually get to deliver on surprises before they play out on-screen because big plot twists tend to get leaked months in advance. 

Meredith finished an extensive shift at the hospital and collapsed in the parking lot. 

Just as everyone rushed to her side, we took a trip to dreamland with her. She was on a beach, and someone was shouting at her from a distance. 

From behind, the shadowy figure looked like DeLuca, which would have made sense given that they have recently been in a relationship. 

Instead, McDreamy appeared, and Meredith was stunned. 

It was a big turn of events, but what the heck is wrong with Meredith? Could she be in danger? 

We’ll need to tune in next Thursday to find out. 

Elsewhere on this explosive premiere:

– Teddy learned the hard way that her relationship with Owen was, well, over. Is anyone actually surprised? She proved that she was a serial cheater by refusing to own up to her tryst with Koracick. 

– Richard returned to the hospital, and tried to avoid his ex-wife at every turn, so you can imagine his surprise when she promoted him. 

– That promotion meant that Koracick got demoted, and he was as mad about it as you would expect. 

– Jo set up a hookup with Jackson, but she burst out crying because she’s still not over Alex. It was a stretch to put them together, so at least we got confirmation they are not in love. 

– Maggie is totally in love with Winston, aka the dude we only got to see in one episode, but they’re actually kind of cute. 

DeLuca in Danger - Grey's Anatomy

– The truth about the sex trafficking came to light, confirming what we all expected: DeLuca was right! 

Okay, what did you think of those big reveals? Are you looking forward to spending more time with Derek? 

Hit the comments. 

Catch Grey’s Anatomy Thursdays at 9/8c.

Watch Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 1 Online
Watch Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 1 Online