If you’ve kept loyal to Grey’s Anatomy for the past eight seasons (that’s 172 episodes of dedicated viewing) then you’ll be eagerly awaiting the start of series nine tonight at 10pm on Sky Living. Devoted fans of the show will have spent the previous series finale with their jaw permanently hovering on the floor, aghast at the devastation and destruction taking place before their eyes. But that was a good few months ago – and our memories are hazy – so here’s a brief reminder of what went down and where we stand ahead of this evening's dramatic return…
The plane crash: the end of series eight’s penultimate episode saw a bulk of the Grey’s Anatomy cast board a plane to Idaho to assist on a surgery. It looked ominous, and sure enough, our worst fears were realised when the final scene pictured Meredith lying on the ground surrounded by the plane’s debris. The dramatic season finale that followed plotted the team's fight for survival as central cast members Meredith Grey, Derek Shepherd, Cristina Yang, Arizona Robbins, Mark Sloan and Lexie Grey battled the wilderness and their life-threatening injuries….
The demise of Lexie Grey: As Meredith’s half-sister, Lexie first graced our screens at the end of series three – a flair for neuro-surgery, a love affair with plastic surgeon Mark Sloan (aka McSteamy) and a doomed relationship with fellow resident Jackson Avery soon followed. But last episode saw poor Lexie literally pinned between a rock and a hard place as she languished beneath a piece of jagged debris. It didn't look good, and Lexie knew the end was nigh. Love of her life Mark whispered a few sweet nothings in her ear and before we knew it Little Grey was no more – showrunner Shonda Rhimes had pulled off yet another shock Grey's Anatomy death.
Will Mark survive? Meanwhile Sloan himself isn’t in great shape. When he finally releases poor Lexie’s hand, he turns to his grief and regret for a future that's not meant to be. But his woes soon become the least of his worries when his ticker packs in and Cristina and Meredith have to fight to save his life. The series ends with McSteamy looking too smashed up for our liking – will the female viewing population breathe a collective sigh of relief as he pulls through to fight another day? Or will another name be etched onto the lengthy Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital staff casualty list?
Derek’s mangled hand: When you’re a brain surgeon extraordinaire, you’re hands are a precious commodity. We're talking insurance bills reaching the dizzy heights of J-Lo’s famous backside or David Beckham’s golden right foot. So you can imagine the concern when neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd finds his right arm caught beneath a sheet of twisted metal – scenes of him pulling himself free are not for the faint-hearted, especially when wife Meredith attempts to repair his mangled flesh. What will right-handed miracle maker Derek do if his instrument of healing is permanently damaged? Does a career in hair-modelling beckon?
Will Cristina seek pastures new? Series eight saw Dr Yang and her hubby Owen Hunt toil through a string of marital woes – eventually leading to their split and her endeavours to land a top medical job in a competing hospital. But then she wound up stranded in the wilderness seemingly unhurt and custodian of her critically-injured colleagues. Will her life-changing experience lead her back into the arms of her estranged husband? Or will she escape the clutches of disaster-prone Seattle Grace once and for all?
Where will April go? Towards the end of series eight, our team of surgical residents trooped to San Francisco to take their medical board assessments, but one applicant didn’t get the results she’d hoped for. Enthusiastic April Kepner’s late night rendez-vouz with colleague Jackson Avery didn't just put paid to her virginity, as her examination failure left her facing a life of unemployment when even Seattle Grace closed their doors to her. Is this the end of poor April’s surgical career – an unceremonious dumping from her former employer?
For the answers to all these questions and more, don't miss the premiere of Grey's Anatomy series nine - tonight at 10:00pm on Sky Living