Grey's Anatomy is on the way back to ABC for Season 17 after a long hiatus of waiting for answers about what comes next following the abrupt end to Season 16. The new season will launch as part of a three-hour TV crossover event, starting with Station 19's Season 4 premiere before moving into the first two episodes of Grey's Anatomy Season 17. Now, based on episode description information and a new crossover trailer, the question arises: will Grey's cliffhangers actually be resolved early on premiere night thanks to Station 19?
Station 19 had some major storylines from the third season resolved on Grey's Anatomy, so big reveals happening on the sister show aren't unprecedented, and a lot depends on the timelines of the two premieres. To break it down, let's first look at the episode description for the Season 4 premiere of Station 19, called "Nothing Seems The Same" and airing November 12:
When the COVID-19 pandemic hits Seattle, the Station 19 crew leans on each other for support. Andy tries to make sense of her mother’s return, while Sullivan settles into a new routine. And it’s all-hands-on-deck when a group of teenagers unintentionally starts a wild fire.
If you ask me, that description sounds an awful lot like "Nothing Seems The Same" doesn't go through too much of a time jump between the end of the third season and beginning of the fourth. "When the COVID-19 pandemic hits" could mean that viewers will see the very early days of the pandemic through the eyes of the first responders, and the mention of Andy making sense of her mom's return and Sullivan's new routine strikes me as things that would happen within days and weeks at most following the end of the Season 3 finale.
"Nothing Seems The Same" might jump farther ahead in time, but I'm guessing at least part of it will be close to the end of the previous season, especially when that description is compared to the description for the first hour of Grey's Anatomy Season 17 in the crossover. Called "All Tomorrow's Parties," the Season 17 premiere of Grey's Anatomy will see this go down:
In the midst of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grey Sloan Memorial and its surgeons’ lives have been turned upside down. The season 17 premiere picks up one month into the pandemic, and it’s all-hands-on-deck as Meredith, Bailey and the rest of the Grey Sloan doctors find themselves on the frontlines of a new era. Meanwhile, an unintentionally started fire has first responders from Station 19 bringing patients into the hospital for treatment.
Call me a nit-picker, but "in the midst of the early days" sounds later than "when the COVID-19 pandemic hits," and the "All Tomorrow's Parties" description goes on to confirm that Grey's will pick up for the first time since ending early in April a month into the pandemic. It's also worth noting that while the Grey's Anatomy premiere description mentions Station 19, the Station 19 description doesn't mention Grey's, which may mean that the catastrophic event that brings them together doesn't happen until late.
Does this point toward Station 19 starting on a very short time jump before getting a month into the pandemic, at which point it will share the timeline with Grey's for the big fire crisis? And couldn't Station 19 potentially starting earlier mean some glimpses at Grey Sloan earlier than one month into the pandemic? Sullivan for one was still in the hospital at the end of Station 19 Season 3, and Stefania Spampinato is making the move from Grey's Anatomy to series regular status on Station 19. There are ties that could take us back to Grey Sloan for some Grey's cliffhanger answers before the Grey's premiere
There is also a new crossover trailer to take into account that indicates Grey's Anatomy cliffhangers are going to be addressed in the three-parter, and the footage is intense enough that I'm not sure the emotions would still be burning as hot a month into the pandemic. Take a look:
The footage shows Sullivan in a yellow jumpsuit, marking a change from Season 3, but also Andy in what looks like the immediate aftermath of the Station 19 finale. To contrast, the trailer shows a clip of Owen telling Teddy that "now is the time" if there's something she needs to tell him. If he's referring to Teddy cheating on him (on what was supposed to be their wedding day!) then I have a hard time believing they didn't have a conversation about it sooner rather than later.
Also, the promise that last season's biggest cliffhangers will be answered would ideally mean to me that we get to see some resolutions in real time before the time jump of a month. None of this is to say that the timing means major Grey's Anatomy answers will come when Station 19 kicks off premiere night, and I've been critical of key moments of these shows happening on the other in the past, but I'd rather see the more immediate aftermath of Grey's cliffhangers on Station 19 than not see them at all. So, whether or not this reasoning is confirmed on November 12, I know what I'd like to happen!
For what it's worth, here is what ABC has revealed about the second episode of Grey's Anatomy (and third our of the Station 19/Grey's Anatomy crossover event), called "The Center Won't Hold":
Bailey finds herself in the middle of an argument with patients’ families as they await news about their children who were injured in a fire. Winston surprises Maggie, and Amelia and Link try to have some fun as new parents. Teddy learns her colleagues know more than she may like about her relationship woes with Owen, and Richard and Koracick go at it.
At this point, I'm wondering if Andy and Sullivan's relationship on Station 19 will go as well as showrunner Krista Vernoff suggested, or will just seem like the pinnacle of functionality compared to the mess of Owen/Teddy/Tom over on Grey's Anatomy. At least the love pentagram of Link/Amelia/Owen/Teddy/Tom is over thanks to Amelia confirming that Link is the father of her child, and they have a shot at a happily-ever-after without melodrama... for now, at least. This is still Grey's Anatomy we're talking about!
See the two shows return with the Station 19 Season 4 premiere on Thursday, November 12 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Grey's Anatomy will pick things up at 9 p.m. ET with the Season 17 premiere, and then hopefully finish the night strong with the second episode of Season 17 at 10 p.m. ET. For some viewing options set elsewhere than the Station 19/Grey's Anatomy version of Seattle, check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule!