Grey’s Anatomy has gone back to the beginning with Season 19, and in an effort to recapture the magic of the series that introduced us to the in-over-their-heads interns, a new group of five has emerged. Jules Millin, Benson Kwan, Mika Yasuda, Simone Griffith and Lucas Adams — who was shockingly revealed to be the nephew of one Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd — have joined the ranks of Grey Sloan, and after their first episode, I’ve got some thoughts about this new class of cast members.
“Everything Has Changed” did some pretty heavy lifting, providing updates on veteran characters including Meredith, Owen, Miranda, Jo, Link and more, all while attempting to show how each new intern will contribute to the ensemble individually. I’d say it was successful overall, and the coming weeks will only continue to delve deeper, but here is how I’m feeling about Season 19’s rookie class so far:
Simone Griffith — played by Alexis Floyd, who is already a Shondaland player after appearing in Netflix’s Inventing Anna — did a lot in her first appearance. We got an emotional moment between her and Richard (James Pickens Jr.) in which she revealed that her mother died in childbirth at the hospital, thus contributing to the panic attack that made her late for her first day.
Aside from her heartbreaking story, Simone seemed to do a lot of running through the hospital. Will this become a trend? Regardless, it allowed for some comedic moments, particularly when she was wheeling an elderly doctor to a patient, yelling warnings at anyone who risked being bowled over. I liked Alexis Floyd in Inventing Anna, and I’m excited to see more of Simone.
McDreamy’s legacy at Grey Sloan will live on, as Lucas Adams (played by Niko Terho) was, according to Caterina Scorsone’s Amelia, “Derek’s favorite nephew.” Luke, aka “Skywalker,” reminded me of Alex Karev with his cockiness, but was more George O’Malley with his first-day bad luck.
Upon learning about his family’s connections to the hospital, I almost wanted to say nepotism was at play for him still having a job after informing the wrong woman that her son died. However, Amelia voiced her skepticism about his chances of making it through the program, and if she were one to play favorites, I don’t think Luke would win that label. I’m a sucker for a twist, so I’m giving Skywalker the benefit of the doubt.
Benson ‘Blue’ Kwan
Benson Kwan (played by Harry Shum Jr.) is a bit of a wild card for me. He’s definitely competitive, as he told the group at the beginning of the day that he was sizing them up and liking his odds. His nickname, “Blue,” is an apparent reference to blue ribbons, because he always wins. Blue said he made up the story about his brother dying and donating his organs in order to comfort a grieving mother and save more lives. Was it really a lie? Every one of these five misfits is being given a second chance for something, be it family tragedy, bad grades, etc. What is Blue doing here? I’m keeping my eye on this one.
We didn’t learn a whole lot about Jules Millin (Adelaide Kane) either, except for the fact that she slept with Link (Chris Carmack) shortly before her first day. While there are clear comparisons to be made between between this and the series premiere with Meredith and Derek, I almost feel like this storyline existed solely as comedic fodder for Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington), whose joyful cackles at each step of Link’s suffering made up for all of the awkwardness Season 18 put the BFFs through. Jules did make one thing clear — she was not in a relationship with Link, and she was not about to sign his HR paper stating otherwise.
Mika Yasuda (Midori Francis) put her foot in her mouth more than once early in the premiere episode — once when she informed everyone that Jules had slept with an attending, and again when she joked that it was “organ-palooza” in reference to a busful of brain-dead passengers. That “dark sense of humor” did not impress Amelia, but Mika got back in her good graces through the compassion she showed for her patient. I hope her “speak first, think second” philosophy is around to stay, as well as her macabre sense of humor, because Grey’s Anatomy could do with a good dose of dark and twisty.
All in all, I think Grey’s Anatomy’s new beginning is off to a promising start, with some unique personalities amongst the rookies. I look forward to seeing what shenanigans they get into and how their pasts play into their reasons for joining Grey Sloan. Grey’s Anatomy airs at 9 p.m. ET Thursdays on ABC. You can rewatch the first 18 seasons with a Netflix subscription, and take a peek at our 2022 TV schedule to see what other premieres are coming soon.
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Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.