SPOILER ALERT – Do not read ahead if you don’t want to know what happened in the season 17 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy!
Did anyone see that coming?!
Season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy kicked off on Thursday night (November 12) with a twist that fans did not see coming.
Going into the premiere, it was already announced that the new season would be covering the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, with the Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and the rest of the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital dealing with the outbreak.
The episode followed Meredith struggling to cope with the rising number of COVID-19 deaths, while the staff had to battle the disease without enough PPE, similar to what frontline workers had to deal with in real life.
At the end of the episode, Meredith collapsed in the parking lot – seemingly sick with COVID. She then started dreaming and reunited with someone from her past at the beach…
Click inside to find out which beloved character made a shocking return…
It was Derek Shepherd!
Fans were SHOCKED to find out that Grey’s had very sneakily brought back Patrick Dempsey for Meredith’s dream sequence.
As fans will recall, Derek was killed off of Grey’s in season 11 back in 2015.
“There have been studies [about COVID] about how intense our dream life has been. In the pandemic, people are having really intense dreams because of the lockdown,” Krista shared. “We’re not getting enough stimulation, and so, it’s happening in our dreams. So, it started as that. It started as, how do we give people some escape. I had this imagining of a beach motif throughout the season, and I called Ellen, and I said, what if we bring back, I don’t know, some dead character that you could dream of on the beach, that would be so fun for the fans.”
It was Ellen‘s idea to bring back Derek, and since she and Patrick live close to each other in Malibu, they were able to meet up and talk about it.
“Patrick and I both have homes in Malibu, and we went for a hike one day. I had known that Krista wanted to do a beach thing, and I was at the beach. Patrick and I weren’t hiking on the beach, but we were hiking in Malibu, which, you can see the beach,” Ellen shared.
“And the idea just struck me so I just said to him, would you ever consider coming and being a part of the storytelling this season?” She continued. “There’s just so much darkness, and we knew that coming together would be a little ray of light. And so, I think we had the same idea, at the core, to want to help people and bring a smile to people’s faces. So, he loved the idea, and we were just so excited, and we had a ball filming it.”
As of right now it’s unclear if Derek will be back for more this season, but Patrick did say he’s game to return for more.
“Yeah, it was fun, because I really love the message of what the dynamic is in this story. With everything that we’re dealing with right now, and certainly we have been distracted with the election,” Patrick shared. “But we’re going to get back into the reality of COVID and being in a pandemic, and all the lives that have been lost. Where are these souls going? And I think that’s what attracted me to this storyline, I think it can be really helpful and healing to so many people.”
Check out photos from Ellen and Patrick filming the scenes posted by Krista below!