Everything You Need to Remember About Last Season of Grey's Anatomy
By Lauren Hoffman / Aug 26, 2016
Season 13 premieres September 22. Here's where things left off.
Fall's right around that corner, and forget about pumpkin spice or the first day of school — what's really worth waiting for is the premiere of Grey's Anatomy's thirteenth season (yep, thirteenth), which will air September 22 on ABC. It's understandable if some of the key details of season 12 have slipped your mind, especially since the final few episodes of the season were jam-packed with plot twists, flash forwards, and last-second cliffhangers. Here's everything you need to remember before Grey's comes back.
Most of season 12 focused on Meredith's efforts to find her footing in the wake of Derek's death (I'm not over it and I never will be, but Mer seems to be doing okay); throughout the process, we got to see way more of who she is as a surgeon, a boss, a sister, and a mom — including her fascinatingly turbulent relationship with Amelia. And we got to see her struggle with her post-Derek identity, especially in the wake of a savage attack from a patient. But by the end of season 12, she was in a pretty good place, and had even begun to strike up a relationship with Riggs that stretched into something-beyond-hooking-up-in-parking-lots territory. That's great, except …
… Maggie likes Riggs, too, and is under the impression that he shares her feelings. It was a tough season for Maggie, after her relationship with DeLucca (who I guess I'll stop referring to as Douchebeard this season) deteriorated. On top of that heartbreak, she had to spend a lot of time running interference between Amelia and Meredith during their spells of sibling rivalry. Better watch out, though, Maggie — when Meredith's in a love triangle, she always wins.
One of the most surprising things Webber did last season was not die (that was my prediction), although there was some questionable business in the second-to-last episode of the season that raised concerns about his health — some of Webber's scenes moved oddly, but it's unclear whether that was meant to be an arty effect or expression of cognitive distress. As far as we know, though, he's healthy, happy, and still married to Catherine Avery. Plus, now he's a step-grandpa to Jackson and April's baby
Jo spent most of season 12 waffling about Alex's marriage proposal before finally turning him down for a mysterious reason. Turns out Jo's still married to a man who abused her, and she's too afraid of what he'd do to her if she tracked him down to try to get a divorce. I spent most of the episode in which Jo revealed this yelling at her to, "TELL ALEX," but she didn't. Instead, she got drunk and went home with DeLuca, who was trying to (platonically) put Jo to bed. But then Alex came home, misread the situation and …
… Started beating the crap out of DeLuca. This is one of season 12's scariest cliffhangers, since we know Alex is capable of doing some serious damage with his fists, and he was going in hard on DeLuca when last we saw him. It seems impolite to say that this is the only thing I can really remember happening to DeLuca all season, aside from his relationship with Maggie, so instead I'll say maybe 13 will be his lucky season.
It was a bummer for Alex's last scene in the season to involve him brutalizing DeLucca so intensely; after all, throughout most of season 12, we saw a kinder, gentler Alex, who pretty flawlessly took on the role of Meredith's Person, continued to demonstrate his aptitude for working with tiny humans, and built a surprisingly functional (at least by Karev standards) relationship with Jo. He even talked out some of his Izzie issues!
Oh, did you somehow manage to forget that Callie is GONE FOREVER? Arizona relented and told her to take Sofia to New York, and that they'd figure out a split custody arrangement. Sure, that leads the door open for Sara Ramirez to return, but let's not hold our collective breath for that. And Samantha Sloyan, who played Penny, is confirmed to not be returning as well, so I think we're meant to assume that they're happily reconciled and living the good life in New York City.
Owen and Amelia
Amelia spent most of season 12 grieving Derek, fighting with Meredith, and going back and forth about her relationship with Owen approximately 6.7 million times. And so it was a surprise that by the end of the season, Amelia was marrying Owen with Meredith as her maid of honor, with only one runaway bride-style outburst in the process.
And in other surprising news: Owen spent most of the season in a feud with Riggs over who should bear the most blame over the death of Owen's sister in that helicopter crash. (That's a fun sentence.) But in the season finale, he casually invited Riggs to attend the wedding, and to stick around for the reception, too. I think we can expect much of season 13 to revolve around these newlyweds … especially if Caterina Scorsone's real-life pregnancy means Amelia will be pregnant, too!
he once-and-for-all deterioration of Callie and Arizona's relationship was a major theme of season 12, as Callie's desire to seek sole custody of Sofia in order to move to New York led to Arizona taking her to court to settle the matter. While she initially won full custody (thanks to a speech you should probably go back and watch right now), she saw how sad Callie was, decided it was best for Sofia to have two moms, and relented. I guess this means I have to finally admit that Calzona is dead? Long live Calzona. With that drama set aside, here's hoping we'll see Arizona take on even more crazy, groundbreaking fetal surgeries.
April and Jackson
The first half of Grey's 12th season took a deep dive into the ugly demise of Jackson and April's marriage — there was even an entire episode devoted to how they got from the day of their first kiss to the morning they signed their divorce papers. But April's surprise pregnancy forced her and Jackson to find civility for each other, and ultimately, after a very rough start, April involved Jackson in the process. They even had a polite, compassionate conversation about how to share custody. But after April delivered a healthy baby (via c-section on Meredith's kitchen table, which is still one of the least traumatic births in Grey's history), she and Jackson looked at one another in that soppy sort of way that suggests there's hope for them yet.
When we last saw Stephanie, she was grieving the loss of Kyle, a guitar-playing patient (and her first love interest since she dated Jackson all those years ago). On top of that loss, her mentorship with Amelia is strained, both because of the boundaries Amelia set around her involvement in Kyle's care, and because Amelia started working one-on-one with Penny after she showed promise as a neurosurgeon. We'll see whether they can reassemble the neuro God squad in season 13.
Ben and Bailey
It has to be said: Bailey spent most of season 12 being an absolutely kickass Chief of Surgery. But on to more unpleasant things! After Ben performed an unauthorized c-section in a hospital hallway with no attending present, his career took a major hit. He was suspended from the residency program for months. The suspension strained his relationship with Bailey, who was trying to walk the wife/Chief line, and things got even worse when Ben circumvented her authority to get back in the OR by taking on his old role as an anesthesiologist. But when Ben did a c-section at Meredith's house to deliver April's baby, he showed the caution and care absent from his bad choice from earlier in the season. It looks like the two of them are okay again. (But this is Grey's, and they're currently the most stable long-term couple, so that might not last long.)
Good old Riggs! He spent most of season 12 as a plot device — someone for Owen to fight with, someone for surgeons to gang up on and then grudgingly accept. But he and Owen are friends now! And will probably do more crazy tandem surgeries! And he's got a thing for Meredith! Ten bucks says they get nice and comfortable with each other just in time for his ex-girlfriend (allegedly dead in a helicopter crash in the Middle East) to somehow turn up. Hey, it's Grey's.
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