When the initial promos for the Grey's Anatomy Season 17 premiere teased a shocking and "jaw-dropping" conclusion, we expected to be somewhat disappointed.
However, the final moments of the opener found Meredith alone in the hospital parking lot, seemingly out cold.
Viewers took a trip to her mind and she was on a beach, only to be reunited with her deceased husband, Derek.
In the aftermath of the episode airing, Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey have both opened up about the reunion.
“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," Pompeo revealed in an interview with Deadline.
"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?”
“I know that Patrick has his foundation in Maine where he helps cancer patients and cancer survivors, and that’s a huge effort of his, and I know that it’s important to him, also, to give people hope, and give people joy, and we wanted to bring something to this moment.”
Pompeo explained that giving fans the reunion during a time of "so much darkness" would provide a "ray of light" for fans, and he was so on board.
“We had a ball filming it,” Pompeo added.
“I think the whole atmosphere has changed, certainly working at the beach, and seeing everybody again was really a very healing process, and really rewarding, and a lot of fun,” Dempsey told Deadline.
“And hopefully, that feeling translates, and the fans enjoy it. I know that they’ve been wanting us to get back together, and I think this will satisfy a lot of people, and surprise a lot of people, hopefully.”
He added that felt "very special" and "comfortable" to film together again.
“It’s like riding a bike. We just have a chemistry and a dynamic that’s always served us well, and I think we have a genuine affection for each other,” Pompeo said.
“It was very healing to come back, and know that we’re doing something good, putting out a positive story, a healing story, going to make people smile.”
The good news for fans is that the reunion will continue into the next episode.
“It’s more than the one scene,” showrunner Krista Vernoff said.
“Patrick and Ellen and I were all there at the beginning of this; I wasn’t there for the pilot, but I was there for the first seven seasons, and that was 17 years ago."
"That was, like, a lifetime ago; my kids weren’t alive. It was so wild to walk out on that beach, and just be together again as these different people that we are now. But I can’t overstate how joyful and healing an experience this was.”
What did you think of the big return?
Hit the comments below.
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.