‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 19 Premiere Shepherds in New Interns (RECAP)

Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1 Amelia Interns
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains major spoilers for the Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 premiere, “Everything Has Changed.”]

For only the second time in its entire history, Grey’s Anatomy started a season with a class of interns as series-regular characters. And seeing those interns hanging in the Grey Sloan tunnels — lounging on discarded gurneys, snacking on junk food, and trash-talking with each other — gave us a glimpse of the M.A.G.I.C. of the ABC show’s original intern class. “Everything Has Changed” in October 6’s Season 19 premiere, as the Taylor Swift-inspired episode title attests, and we’d venture to say it has changed for the better.

The episode picks up six months after the Season 18 finale — and just one day after the tornado from Station 19’s premiere. As maintenance crews clean up fallen branches and other debris around the hospital, the new interns rush to get ready for their first day at the hospital. And one of those interns, Jules Millin (Adelaide Kane), has pulled a Grey — realizing, after bumping into Link (Chris Carmack) at the hospital, that she has “accidentally slept with an attending already.”

Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1 Millin Yasuda

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Link spends the episode trying to get his H.R. paperwork in order about the relationship, only for Millin to tell him that they have no relationship and never will, so all of his franticness was for naught. On the plus side, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) tells Link that she’s in “no position” to judge him for sleeping with a coworker. “I do recommend you stay away from elevators for the foreseeable future,” she says.

Meredith, now the interim-maybe-permanent chief of surgery, brings the new interns into the OR and gives a speech unlike the ones we’ve seen Richard (James Pickens Jr.) give interns so many times before. “We didn’t pick you for your grades; we picked you for your fight,” she tells the new recruits. That’s because these interns are “bottom of the barrel,” as Bailey (Chandra Wilson) observes as she pops in for a glimpse at the reopened residency program. But when Maggie (Kelly McCreary) asks if she’s back, Bailey holds up her freshly-manicured nails and says, “Does it look like I’m back?”

Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1 Yasuda Meredith

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Bailey tells Richard he opened the residency program six months before he should have and, worse yet, he got “rejects” for the intern class. But Richard contends that his “carefully cultivated group” has stories, heart, and empathy.

But their argument is interrupted by Levi (Jake Borelli), who’s begging to be chief resident in the surgical program. He managed to stay at Grey Sloan by joining the OB/GYN residency and promising Jo (Camilla Luddington) that he wouldn’t jump ship once the surgical program reopened. But he hates OB/GYN… and he hates that he now knows that vaginas can stretch to be twice their original size and can dead-lift 30 pounds. So yeah, now he’s gunning for the chief resident post. “I’ll be the vagina of the program, if you’ll let me,” he tells Richard.

Luckily for Levi, Mer likes the idea of Levi as chief resident. Unluckily for Levi, Jo is now not speaking to him.

(Oh, and speaking of Jo, she ordered black scrubs for the OB/GYN team, since women’s bodies are now a battleground in America and pink is a “peacetime” color.)

As a result of the tornado, Amelia now has 14 braindead patients who were plucked from a wrecked bus, and she has the interns identify which of those patients are viable organ donors. Mika Yasuda (Midori Francis), one of the new interns, offends Amelia with a joke about “organ-palooza,” but it’s also Yasuda who gets the mother of one of the not-braindead patients to hold out hope. And it’s Yasuda who gets to tell the mother the good news when the teenage girl wakes up.

Other interns don’t have such uplifting first days on the job. Lucas Adams (Niko Terho), for example, tells the wrong mother that her son, Liam, is braindead. And Liam’s actual mother is pissed about the incompetence on display. She’s so pissed, in fact, that she demands to have her family doctor verify her son being braindead. That wouldn’t be a problem ordinarily, but Mer is waiting for Liam’s organs for a triple-organ transplant for a grandmother named Sarah. And if Liam codes, then that means Sarah’s one-in-a-million organ match is a no-go. Undone by his mistake, Adams descends into a “shame spiral”… and vomits into a trash can.

Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1 Adams

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Benson Kwan (Harry Shum Jr.), another intern, sympathizes with Liam’s mother, telling her how much it helped him through his grief over losing his brother when he thought about all the organ donees his brother’s death would save. Moved by his speech, Liam’s mother gives the green light for the organ donation… and it’s only then that Kwan confides in his fellow intern Simone Griffith (Alexis Floyd) that he never had a brother.

Dozens of transplant surgeons line up at Grey Sloan to retrieve the other bus victims’ organs, and yes, Nick (Scott Speedman) is one of those surgeons. Mer approaches him — very tentatively, since they haven’t spoken since she told him to go back to Minnesota — and asks if he would do Sarah’s triple-organ transplant, since she can’t disappear into an OR for 25 hours on the first day of the residency program.

Nick agrees, and later, he and Meredith finally catch up. Mer says she called out after Nick after sending him away that one night six months ago, and Nick says he heard her, but he wanted her to do more. So no, they’re not exactly back on romantic terms yet. But he also doesn’t say no when she offers him the residency director program, calling him the “best teacher” that she knows. (Um, what are Bailey and Richard? Chopped liver?)

And in other job-related news, Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Teddy (Kim Raver) return, after going on the lam in the Season 18 finale when Owen’s mercy-killings were exposed. Teddy tells Mer that their $1,700-per-hour attorney got all charges against Owen dropped, and that Owen had his medical license suspended and has to be supervised for six months. Even so, Owen seems to be in good spirits, which is more than we can say about Teddy.

In twists at the end of the episode, we learn how two of the interns have Grey Sloan in their blood. The first comes during Sarah’s transplant surgery, when Adams observes that it’s “a beautiful day to save lives.” Watching from the gallery, Amelia remarks to Mer how Adams always idolized Derek. Turns out, Adams is one of Amelia and Derek’s nephews — and as much as Amelia loves him, she’s not sure he’ll cut it in the surgical program. But Mer has faith in him, especially because she knows how another black sheep in the Shepherd family turned out. “Is that why he drives me crazy?” Amelia asks Mer. “He’s me.”

Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 1 Griffith Richard

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Later, outside the hospital, Richard finds Griffith composing herself after getting overwhelmed in Sarah’s recovery room. And that’s when she reveals that her mother died during childbirth at Grey Sloan. “I haven’t been here since the birth of me killed my mother somewhere in one of these rooms,” she tells Richard. She says she always imagined the walls being beige, and it was disappointing and disorienting to see the walls are blue. But Richard points out her premonition was right; they only painted the walls blue a few years ago. Hey, here’s to new beginnings!

Grey’s Anatomy, Thursdays, 9/8c, ABC