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Ah, Grey’s Anatomy. I complain about it on a regular basis. It hasn’t been the show I fell in love with back during the first two seasons and yet, I still watch. Why? Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment or maybe there’s just something nice about the familiar corridors, elevators and exam rooms at Seattle Grace. Regardless of the reason, I still consider myself a fan and even after I fell behind last season, I managed to get myself caught up on the last few episodes of this highly addictive medical drama via Hulu.com so that I’d be prepared to dive into season six when it started up. With that, know that this brief review of the first episode of the sixth season of Grey’s contains some spoilers so if you don’t want to know anything about the season premiere (specifically the status of George and Izzie, both of which were at death’s elevator door when the fifth season concluded), stop reading now.

Season six starts up by revealing to us what those of us who were following the news about Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight’s status on the series already knew. At the end of the fifth season, we learned that the John Doe who was hit and dragged by a bus was in fact, George and when Izzie crossed over into the post-mortem limbo-land version of Seattle Grace, she saw George all dressed up for the Army waiting for her outside the elevator. So who’s dead and who’s alive? You sure you want to know? (Seriously, if you don’t know already and you don’t want to know, now’s the time to stop reading).

George is braindead. Izzie’s alive and conscious but has no idea what happened to George. As far as she knows, he’s still set on leaving for the Army and that added to her cancer drama has given her good reason to want her friend at her side. Alex doesn’t want to tell her that George is mostly-dead, lest she have another seizure or whatever it was that nearly killed her. Meanwhile, George’s mother shows up and she puts Callie in charge of deciding what to do with her son’s organs before they pull the plug.

The season opener follows the staff at Seattle Grace as they come to terms with what happened to George. The other story arcs pick up as well, including Meredith and Derek’s post-it wedding, Cristina and Owen’s relationship struggles and Bailey’s pediatric fellowship. There’s also a new story arc involving Weber and his status as Chief, which appears to be in jeopardy. While the premise of the season premiere is a bit on the dark side given the loss of one of Seattle Grace’s own, there are moments to smile at, including one particular scene which manages to sum up the ridiculousness of everything that’s been going on in the series, despite how sad it all is. I have to give it up to the writers there as it appears that they’re actually laughing at themselves during this brief moment of levity amidst the grief.

I don’t think based on the first episode that we can say that Grey’s is headed in a new direction, nor do I think the writers are making much of an effort to bring the series back to the greatness that was its earlier seasons. That said, this is Grey’s Anatomy and with that comes the usual drama, sex, love and whacky medical mysteries thrown in the mix to keep things moving. If that’s what you’re looking for, I think you’ll enjoy the season premiere just fine.

I didn’t get to see the second episode that will air immediately following tomorrow night’s premiere, however from the description, it’ll take place after “time has passed,” which (I hope) means we won’t have to spend the entire first half of the season dealing with a full-on grief-fest. That’s a good thing, as it probably means things will be getting back to normal at Seattle Grace, (minus one resident). And by normal, I mean watching doctors chat about their love lives while performing surgery or standing around hospital rooms while sick patients offer their own opinions.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 6 premieres THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

CLICK HERE for video clips from the season premiere.