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Grey’s Anatomy never fails to leave us on the edge of our seat with its dramatics. Here are our choices for the best premiere episode

Season 20 of Grey’s Anatomy, TV’s longest-running primetime medical drama, is quickly approaching. If past premiere episodes are anything to go by, season 20’s first installment “We’ve Only Just Begun” is going to feature an abundance of drama to set up the rest of the season.

The series first premiered back in 2005 and follows the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial, who are constantly faced with life-or death decisions. Over the years, we’ve seen fan favorite characters come and go, new ones join the ensemble, and many devastating character deaths. So picking the 10 most dramatic season premieres was not only a difficult task, but a real emotional rollercoaster.

10. Time Has Come Today

Season 3 Episode 1

Denny’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) death leaves Izzie ( Katherine Heigl) all “dark and twisty” and her friends at a loss of what to do to help her. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) reveals to Cristina (Sandra Oh) that she and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) slept together at the prom, despite being in relationships with different people. At the hospital, there’s been an outbreak of the plague, which leads to Derek and George (T.R. Knight) being put in quarantine together. Throughout the episode, many of our characters also find themselves thinking about the past. Plus, before the episode comes to an end, we get a big love confession!

9. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

Season 2 Episode 1 

After Addison’s (Kate Walsh) big entrance in the season 1 finale, we pick up with Meredith at Joe’s (Steven W. Bailey) Bar and after Cristina and George arrive, they play a game of “Whose Life Sucks the Most.” Despite Derek’s suspicions, his wife claims to only be there for work and while he wants to explain the situation to Meredith, she wants nothing to do with him, even after Addison requests to work with her specifically. Cristina’s pregnant but when Meredith asks for details, all she says is that surgery is her life and refuses to share the guy’s name. Richard ( James Pickens Jr.) recruits George to find out everything going on in the hospital, leading to him realizing something is going on between Cristina and Burke (Isaiah Washington). Later on, Burke ends it. Lastly, after Addison defends Meredith to a patient, informing the soon to be mother that she was actually the cheater in the relationship, Meredith finally allows Derek the chance to explain.

8. Free Falling

Season 8 Episode 1

Meredith and Derek are living separately after she messed up his Alzheimer’s clinical trial with Cristina additionally staying with Meredith and Zola after a fight with Owen (Kevin McKidd). Richard then breaks the news that the board has decided to fire Meredith due to her actions. Naturally, everyone blames Alex (Justin Chambers). April (Sarah Drew) is the new chief resident but is struggling to get people to listen to her. Cristina reiterates to Meredith she doesn’t want a kid or to be a mother, expressing her desire for her husband to understand. When Janet, the social worker, finds out that Meredith and Derek aren’t living together, Meredith fears losing Zola and simply reacts: picking Zola up from daycare and running away. Meanwhile, the hospital deals with injuries from a massive sinkhole.

7. Nothing Left to Cling To

Season 16 Episode 1

This season premiere is filled with one week time jumps after picking up right after the previous finale, which makes for some dramatic storylines. Ready to get the help she needs after her depressive episode, Jo (Camilla Luddington) checks into a treatment center. Before going in, she gives Alex an out, reminding him that they’re not legally married since their license was never filed and promising she’d understand. Of course, the Alex Karev we know and love wouldn’t do that, so he proposes to her again as soon as he picks her up, expressing to her that he doesn’t want an out and wants to be her husband. She says yes.

Alex also becomes chief of surgery at Pac-North and hires Richard. Meanwhile, Jackson (Jesse Williams) and Maggie’s (Kelly McCreary) relationship has fallen apart and they break up. Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) explains to Link (Chris Carmack) that she wants to take things slow between them, but by the end of the episode, there’s one problem: she’s pregnant. Additionally, Meredith admits the truth about what happened and that she is responsible for the insurance fraud, clearing Andrew’s (Giacomo Gianniotti) name after he took the fall for her. She doesn’t go to jail but is instead given community service and the medical board is pursuing action against her medical license.

6. With You I’m Born Again

Season 7 Episode 1

After the deadly hospital shooting that took place in the season 6 finale, everyone is trying their best to recover and get cleared to go back to surgery. Derek, who is clearly being reckless in both his professional and personal life, quits as Chief of Surgery, Cristina and Owen are getting married, Mark (Eric Dane) had to commit Lexie (Chyler Leigh) to psych for her PTSD, Meredith had a miscarriage, and that’s just scratching the surface.

5. All Tomorrow’s Parties

Season 17 Episode 1

It’s April 2020, everyone is in masks and the necessary gear to handle the COVID pandemic with all hands are on deck. The hospital is fully transformed and we find out all the details on how they’re handling everything through Miranda (Chandra Wilson) showing Richard around along with flashbacks of the missing time. Two big revelations are what’s happened with Andrew’s mental health and that Jo asked Jackson to be her bridge after Alex.

4. Seal Our Fate

Season 10 Episode 1

Besides the birth of Meredith and Derek’s new baby, the storm has left plenty of devastation in its path, specifically for Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) as well as April and Jackson’s relationships and mudslide casualties. The biggest shock to everyone at the hospital is what happened to Richard, who was electrocuted in the basement. Additionally, Heather (Tina Majorino) ends up getting electrocuted after finding him, also bumping her head hard before collapsing. Shane (Gaius Charles) discovers them both and Meredith is left with a big decision regarding Richard’s health.

3. Good Mourning

Season 6 Episode 1

The episode starts out immediately hitting audiences hard, Izzie surviving while George dies on the table after getting hit by a bus, saving someone’s life. Callie confirms his identity by looking at the birthmark on his hand. We see the characters slowly go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. George’s mother ends up leaving the decision of what to do with her son’s organs in Callie’s hands, who ultimately lets Izzie decide. She shares that George would give everything and thanks to Miranda, we find out the patients that the organs are going to.

2. Undo

Season 13 Episode 1

We pick up at Owen and Amelia’s wedding, the two happily dancing the night away. A distraught Jo then calls Meredith about what happened between Andrew and Alex, and she heads to the hospital to speak with the latter. Alex explains that he thought Andrew was going to take advantage of Jo, who was drunk, after coming home to see him on top of her. Eventually, Jo shows up at the hospital to clear up the situation, but Alex, still hurt by the fact that he wanted to marry her, won’t listen. Ben (Jason George), despite his suspicions, doesn’t say anything to anyone except Meredith.

Stephanie (Jerrika Hinton) then fills in the blanks to Meredith, who has to tell Alex the truth of the situation and insists that he can’t run from this. He tries to talk to Andrew, but it goes as horribly as viewers expect and he ends up turning himself in, getting arrested for aggravated assault.

1. Going, Going, Gone

Season 9 Episode 1

The episode follows the intense and emotional season 8 finale that saw Meredith, Cristina, Derek, Mark, Lexie, and Arizona in a plane crash. Everyone is coping differently, either trying to move forward with their life or dealing with loss. Cristina has moved to Rochester, Minnesota and is working at the Mayo Clinic, Derek’s hand goes numb in the middle of surgery, Arizona has lost her leg, and Mark is seen unconscious in a hospital bed, Callie by his side. We soon find out from Derek that it’s been 30 days since the accident, which his directive states is when he wants to be let go if there are no signs of recovery. Additionally, the new class of surgical interns are introduced.

Jackson says his goodbye before 5 o’clock hits, promising that the Plastics Posse will go on because he can take it from here thanks to what Mark taught him. Richard then goes into the room with Callie and Derek, explaining the procedure and Mark’s final wishes before beginning. It is truly heartbreaking to watch and the flashbacks we get from his friendship with Derek, him mentoring Jackson, Callie and Arizona’s wedding, and him with his daughter certainly don’t help.

Grey’s Anatomy premieres Thursday, March 14 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC, and will be available to watch on demand and on Hulu the following day.

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