Grey's Anatomy finally returns and will answer what happened to the Stranded Six Five doctors (RIP Lexie) who crash-landed in the woods. Did Mark and Arizona, who looked worse for wear, survive? Did all of the docs stay at Seattle Grace? And can we please get a little happiness this season? Get caught up with where we left off with the docs and get the scoop on what's next from executive producer Shonda Rhimes and the cast of the ABC medical drama.
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Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo)
Where Were We? Meredith was one of the Stranded Six, who crash-landed in the forest. Before they left, she had accepted a job offer at Brigham Women's Hospital in Boston. She was unfortunately searching for Derek when her sister Lexie met her maker in the crash.
What's Next? Following the loss of her sister, Meredith will take on a surprising new role as, essentially, the new Nazi — complete with a fancy nickname! "She's definitely angry at the beginning of the season," Pompeo says. "She's angry about all the stuff that happened, so she's teaching her interns and she's really mean to them. It's an homage to the first Dr. Grey, Meredith's mother, who is the first bitch surgeon, so I get to channel Kate Burton and be mean." She'll also be struggling with keeping the team of Seattle Grace docs intact. "She wants everyone else to stay together and is trying to rally for everyone to stick around," she adds. Look for Mer to stay in touch with twisted sister Cristina in very interesting ways.
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Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey)
Where Were We? Derek was particularly excited about the prospect of Meredith taking a job in Boston since he could work at Harvard. However, during the plane crash, he was sucked out of the side of the plane, with his hand severely mangled in the process.
What's Next? Derek will have to deal with the possibility that his hand will never fully recover. "We're going to watch what happens to a doctor who can temporarily no longer perform surgery," Shonda Rhimes says. When Burke injured his hand, it was very much about keeping it a secret. It's not about that. This is really, very clearly who you blame when your hand is injured like this. And what do you do and how do you overcome this? Derek is being pretty heroic about it, which is interesting." The good news is that Mer and Der are stronger than ever. "They're OK because they survived the plane crash, so they're happy to be alive," Ellen Pompeo says. "She'll do what you have to do as a partner; you have to support your partner."
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Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh)
Where Were We? Despite attending counseling, Cristina’s marriage to Owen is irrevocably damaged after he cheats on her, leaving her heartbroken. After some struggles, Yang reconciles with Owen, but reveals that she accepted the position at Mayo. Shortly thereafter, she's one of the docs who crash-landed in the forest.
What's Next? Unfortunately, Cristina won't be around long. Following the crash, McKidd describes Cristina as a "deranged, wild animal." "I think the crash has made her want to try and create a new person, a new life and a new world for herself," he says. CO fans shouldn't worry too much, though. "I think there's hope," McKidd adds. "Even in the first two episodes you see little hints — even though it seems like things are done between them — that things aren't really done."
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Mark Sloan (Eric Dane)
Where Were We? Shortly after Lexie finally admitted she still loved Mark, the pair were in the plane crash, with Mark professing his love for her just before her death. He nearly met his maker in the woods as well, suffering a cardiac tamponade, which Cristina and Meredith were able to treat. Still, he looked like he was on death's door himself when the season ended.
What's Next? Mark was taken off life support in the season premiere and his absence will certainly have an effect on Callie and Derek this season, which will bring the pair closer.
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Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw)
Where Were We? After spending the year shaping Alex into a brilliant doctor, Arizona was disheartened to learn that he was going to leave for John Hopkins. She decided to take his place on the flight to Boise, ending up in the crash with a severely broken leg (the bone was sticking out!) and coughing up blood in the final moments of the finale.
What's Next? Arizona had her leg amputated and blames Callie for it. "We'll see the story of how she comes to terms with that, how long it will be dark, and when it will get light again," Capshaw tells us. Get more scoop here.
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Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd)
Where Were We? Increasingly frustrated with Cristina, Owen had a one-night stand, which irrevocably changes their relationship. Cristina decides to leave Seattle grace to go to Mayo, though the pair reconciles before the plane crash. An extremely busy Owen decided to hold all calls the day of the crash and therefore didn’t realize something was amiss when the docs didn't arrive in Boise on time.
What's Next? Owen will suffer from survivor’s guilt after placing all those talented surgeons on the same plane. "It might be something that could come back to haunt him," McKidd says. As for Cristina, "He's dealing with his own grief with what's happened with her and the fact that their relationship has pretty much ended," he adds, noting that while Cristina is gone, Owen will try to simplify his life by moving into the woods in Derek's trailer. Still, McKidd says there is still hope for CO, even if it takes a while for them to find their way back to each other. "It's going to be Owen striving to win her back... they're definitely the damaged couple, but they seem destined to be together."
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Alex Karev (Justin Chambers)
Where Were We? Though he nearly missed his medical boards, Alex passed with flying colors, causing both Seattle Grace and John Hopkins Hospital to fight over him. Because he chose the latter, Arizona decided to take his spot on the flight to Boise.
What's Next? Alex will also suffer from survivor’s guilt considering Arizona took his place on the plane. "There is some very dark stuff happening for him in terms of that idea," Shonda Rhimes says. "He's trying not to feel guilty and trying not to feel a sense of responsibility, but he does." Alex will find comfort in very interesting places next season.
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Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez)
Where Were We? After spending a season in bliss — which was seriously needed after the previous year's car accident — Callie capped off the year waiting for her wife to return from Boise, unaware that with that fateful plane ride, her world has come crashing down.
What's Next? "I'm really worried for them," Sara Ramirez says of Callie and Arizona's relationship following the latter's amputation. However, Callie and Derek will form a new bond over Mark's exit, while Callie will also develop a kinship with Owen considering they will both have had people leave their lives. Callie will also, hopefully, be the one who gets Derek back into the OR after he heals from the plane crash.
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Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson)
Where Were We? Bailey finally reconnected with Ben, though she was hesitant to really commit for fear of getting hurt. Still, after Ben's first botched attempt at proposing, Bailey insists he ask her again, to which he reveals that he had accepted a surgical internship in California.
What's Next? Bailey and Ben will be dealing with a long-distance relationship that makes for, ahem, great fun when they're together. "[With] their commuter-type relationship, Bailey just waits until he shows up so they can spend some quality time," Wilson says. "It certainly will interfere with exactly how professional she's going to be in the hospital, but it's something that she's willing to do." Let's just say, people at the hospital don't call her the Nazi anymore. She'll also be feeling a sense of loss now that her old interns are attendings. "It manifests itself through Tuck because now it's time for him to go to school," Wilson says. "Not only are her hospital babies gone, but now her little baby is grown up and that's certainly a maternal journey."
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Ben Warren (Jason George)
Where Were We? He finally reconnected with Bailey and pushed for more commitment, culminating in a botched proposal. Bailey then insisted he propose again, to which he revealed that he had accepted a surgical internship in California.
What's Next? Just because George is on ABC's new midseason drama Mistresses, that doesn't mean he won't be around. "We're very grateful to Mistresses for the loan," Shonda Rhime says. "They're letting us continue to tell stories about Ben and Bailey. They're having a great deal of fun. A happy Bailey is delightful and very funny." In fact, Rhimes reveals that initially she had planned for the duo to suddenly decide to wed at City Hall. "I cut it from the show because there was something about it that I felt like denied the audience. They're not technically married at this moment, but we'll probably see that happen and really enjoy it."
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Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.)
Where Were We? After taking the fall for Meredith at the beginning of the season, Webber stepped down as Chief, something his wife Adele has been wanting for years. Unfortunately, she was too far gone with her Alzheimer's, forgetting she had a husband and beginning a relationship with another Alzheimer's patient. After some hesitation, Richard started a fling with Catherine Avery, much to Jackson's dismay.
What's Next? The former chief will butt heads with Jackson once again when Catherine returns to Seattle Grace this year. "It's his mother, so I don't have any hard feelings for that, but at the end of the day, she's her own woman," Pickens says. "She's an adult. I'm an adult, and if we want to get together, we'll get together and he just has to deal with it." He'll also continue to feel some guilt towards Adele over his relationship with Catherine. "I think it's tempered somewhat with the fact that it's not the Adele that he had this life with," he adds.
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Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams)
Where Were We? After sleeping with April to disastrous results, Jackson decided to leave his mentor Mark behind and take a position at Tulane Medical Center.
What's Next? Whether Jackson stays at Seattle Grace remains a mystery — for now, but based on Dempsey's Twitter photos, he'll have some serious obstacles to face. "He's got his recent ex-girlfriend Lexie no longer alive, and his mentor looks saved and we've got to deal with him recognizing, for the first time, the value that Mark has in his life," Williams says. Plus: He'll certainly have to deal with the ramifications of sleeping with his best friend, whose love for Jesus certainly put a damper on their one two-night stand. "I think he feels a little blindsided by that, and then blindsided by the fact that his mom is sleeping with Richard," he adds. Oh yeah, there's that, too!
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April Kepner (Sarah Drew)
Where Were We? Riding a high all season after becoming Chief Resident, April hit rock bottom during her medicals boards, not only losing her virginity to her best friend Jackson, but also failing miserably. This resulted in the other hospitals rescinding their job offers and Owen to lay her off.
What's Next? April won't be gone for long! In fact, we'll see her return in the season premiere, according to Shonda Rhimes. "You won't see April Kepner bartending at Joe's bar," she says. "She has a part to play in the world, and there are some surprising moments to show us how that happens. April Kepner goes home. How she comes back is pretty charming and interesting." And when she returns, she'll have to face Jackson!
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Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh)
Where Were We? She spent her final season jealous of Mark's relationship with Julia, leading to her breakup with Jackson. In the plane crash, she was crushed by a section of the plane, leading to her eventual death. Before that, though, Mark revealed that he still loved her, that they would grow old together and she'd be a great surgeon. Alas...
What's Next? Sorry, it wasn't a dream. Lexie Grey really did die. "This was not an easy decision," Shonda Rhimes blogged the night of the finale. "But it was a decision that Chyler and I came to together. We had a lot of thoughtful discussion about it and ultimately we both decided this was the right time for her character's journey to end."
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Teddy Altman (Kim Raver)
Where Were We? After Teddy was offered a job at the Army Medical Command, Owen fired her so she would actually leave the hospital and start to move on.
What's Next? That's it, folks! "It's been a pleasure working with someone as talented and funny and kind as Kim; everyone is going to miss her terribly," Shonda Rhimes blogged following the finale, officially announcing that Raver was not returning. "I like to imagine that Teddy is still out there in the Grey's Anatomy universe, running Army Medical Command and building a new life."