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What's Grey's Anatomy Like Without Derek? Pretty Great, Actually

Read our recap of the Season 12 premiere

Liz Raftery

We already know that "Everything Has Changed" on Season 12 of Grey's Anatomy, and for Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), that means readjusting to life with roommates - you know, the kind who finish the last of the coffee creamer and bang holes in your wall without permission (though, to be fair, a tequila-swilling Meredith did apparently offer encouragement to "take the bitch down").

We're talking, of course about Meredith's sister-in-law Amelia (Caterina Scorsone), who is also having issues adjusting to life in the Grey household - and their third roommate, Maggie (Kelly McCreary), who gets thrust into the role of mediator right off the bat. This is going to be a fun dynamic.

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Over at Grey Sloan, we see Bailey (Chandra Wilson) rocking a business suit and meeting her competition for the chief of surgery position, Dr. Tracy McConnell, who's Catherine's (Debbie Allen) first choice for the job. Side note: Whose idea was it to cast Joey Lauren Adams as a world-class heart surgeon? Does anyone else find this idea laughable? Apparently not Webber (James Pickens Jr.), who looks like a cartoon character whose tongue flops out and turns into a staircase when he's around her. Barf. Team Bailey.

Later in the episode, Dr. McConnell obviously just happens to be in the observation deck with Webber and Bailey right at the moment that Meredith and Owen's (Kevin McKidd) patient crashes, and ends up narrating them through a life-saving scramble as Webber drools more. Luckily, just when she's about to abandon all hope, Bailey gets a pep talk from Ben (new series regular Jason Winston George), and makes her own case for the job while performing a surgery. The summary? Dr. McConnell is new and shiny, but may see Grey Sloan as a stepping stone. For Bailey, the hospital is her home and her challenge. "This job belongs to me," she says. Yep, Team Bailey.

In the midst of all of this, everyone is prepping for a big party to celebrate April's (Sarah Drew) return from her overseas tour - except for Jackson (Jesse Williams), who apparently knows something that the rest of the doctors don't. This can't be good.

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And then we have our case of the week: A teenage lesbian suicide pact between two girls who are trying to keep their relationship a secret. This leads to a heart-to-heart between one of them and Callie (Sara Ramirez), who uses the opportunity to discuss her own sexuality and remind all the Calzona fans that Callie will likely go back to dating men this season. (Hey, Wednesday was Bisexuality Visibility Day after all.)

Speaking of, Callie and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) have sold their house, and now Arizona's looking for a roommate - and, she's getting so desperate that she even invites Stephanie (Jerrika Hinton) to take the spare room. ("God, no," is Stephanie's perfect response.) She later finds a solution in Hot Intern No. 1 - it's still TBD whether I'm going to learn these guys' names - who isn't quite fitting in with the rest of his first-years.

Back in the waiting room, we discover that Teen Lesbian 1's mom is a homophobic, racist caricature who wants to send her to some sort of gay conversion camp, while her dad is Eric Lange from The Bridge. Callie heroically stands up to the mother and calls Child Services. We also learn that Callie's been battling bullies her whole life - as has Maggie, who used to get called "Maggot" at school (sadface), and evidently is still nursing some very raw wounds from it. This all comes to a head when Maggie ends up slugging the mother in the face outside the nurses' station.

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With Bigoted Mom hauled away by DCFS, the teenage lovers' dads bond in the hallway and realize how happy their daughters are together. And when his wife returns, Eric Lange lays into her (within earshot of his daughter, yay!), saying he couldn't care less if his daughter's gay, as long as she's alive.

Then April returns - but it's without much fanfare. After an awkward conversation, she and Jackson spend her first night back apart, with April sleeping at their house so she can shower and Jackson crashing at the hospital.

That same night, Amelia's getting back from what looks like a date (!!) with Owen, but their makeout session on the porch gets cut short by Maggie, who drags Amelia into the house so that she and Meredith can resolve their issues. Bye bye, wall!

Then Meredith teaches a bunch of new interns how to dissect cadavers and the credits roll.

Other key moments in the episode:

-Stephanie's summary of Arizona is amazing: "You may be immortal ... Then you took Herman's job, and her eyesight ... You speak really fast ... You have a weird name." I also love that the rumor among the interns is that Arizona actually has two legs and is just faking being an amputee.

-Love Ben's sweet Lion King reference with Bailey at the end of the episode. ("Everything the light touches ... )

-Lotta interesting cover songs in this episode - I liked "Fancy" and wasn't so much a fan of "Wrecking Ball." Will this be a theme throughout the whole season?

-I have to say, I didn't really miss Derek's (Patrick Dempsey) presence, at least in this episode. <Braces for thrown objects from McDreamy fans>

What did you think, Grey's fans? Is the show the same for you without Derek? Is there hope for Jackson and April? Are you looking forward to seeing how Bailey rules the roost as chief of surgery? Sound off in the comments!

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.

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