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Grey’s Anatomy Pays Homage to Derek Shepherd With a Intern

Grey’s Anatomy‘s Season 19 premiere marks a rebirth for the medical drama with a new class of residents. One is Lucas Adams, who ignores rules, plays to succeed and worships Derek Shepherd — his uncle. The episode delivers the jaw-dropping reveal with nostalgic nods and a touching twist that Meredith brings Lucas into the new residency program because he reminds her of Amelia, not Derek. Lucas’ connections to Grey’s Anatomy‘s past, present and future bode well for the show’s current season and general longevity.

“Everything Has Changed” has touchstones to Grey’s Anatomy‘s origin that long-time fans will instantly notice, including the Meredith and Derek parallels with Jules and Link. Others are deeper cuts, like how the last names of the new surgical interns create a different spelling of “MAGIC” that originally comes from Meredith, Alex, George, Izzie, and Cristina. Regardless of superficial similarities to the originals, Simone, Jules, Blue, Mika and Lucas’ unique characterizations and personal ties to Grey Sloan Memorial’s history revitalize the show.

Who is Lucas Adams on Grey’s Anatomy?

Upon Niko Terho’s addition to the cast, Deadline described Lucas Adams as “the charming black sheep of his family,” which now draws distinct parallels to Amelia, who is known as the same in the Shepherd clan. Though the only brother in a family of four sisters, Derek never truly struggled to stand out in the professional field. Meredith echoes those sentiments when telling Amelia why she chose Lucas, “No, not Derek. He [Lucas] is a mess. He does need to do things his own way. But he also has a stroke of the family genius. And he’s a bit of a black sheep. You don’t see it, do you?” Lucas is more like Amelia than either of them realizes.

Lucas gaining a better understanding of his similarities to Amelia may require stepping back from his admiration of Derek. Amelia says, “Derek was a god to him. And Lucas was Derek’s favorite nephew.” Lucas’ excitement to follow in Derek’s footsteps is palpable when he quotes Derek’s infamous words, “It’s a beautiful day to save lives.” The nostalgia from that line alone works wonders in Lucas’ favor. His character description also states that he is “determined to prove himself as a surgeon, just like many in his family that have come before him, but he will have to stop relying on his people skills and put in the work.”

While Amelia’s people skills haven’t always been her strongest suit, she knows all too well about the former — proving herself as a surgeon. Derek believed in her, but Amelia still had to work to get out of Derek’s shadow because they were both neurosurgeons. Lucas is at the beginning of his career, a phase Grey’s Anatomy never followed with Derek or Amelia, so he has the chance to make a name for himself at Grey Sloan Memorial and within the Shepherd family. Plus, there’s time to reveal whether he is Kathleen, Nancy or Liz’s son.

How Does Lucas Affect Grey’s Anatomy’s Future?

Lucas Adams is in a unique position in that he somehow exists in Grey’s Anatomy‘s past, present and future. The five new characters are ushering in a new era for the show that some deem is on its last legs. They could eventually reveal closer ties to Grey Sloan Memorial, like Simone’s mother passing away at the hospital. But, for now, Lucas is explicitly and intricately woven into the history of this long-running medical drama. He adds another chapter to the generational story of the Shepherd family at Grey Sloan Memorial. As Meredith Grey appears less on Grey’s Anatomy, the compelling narrative thread that Lucas pulls is necessary.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 will test its fans to see if they want to watch a version of this show that doesn’t include Meredith Grey as much — if at all. “Everything Has Changed” confidently showcases how tuned in this show is with why it has been on for so many years — the characters. The callbacks, like Mika saying “organpalooza” à la Cristina Yang or the interns in the tunnel, are touchstones to moments fans love from characters they love more.

The season premiere uses nostalgia to its advantage, especially with Lucas’ close ties to beloved characters, and lets the new residents begin to come into their own. The medical drama captures fans’ attention with references but maintains it with the connections fans are already building with the new characters. Consequently, Season 19 doesn’t actually seem to be the beginning of the end for Grey’s Anatomy.


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