Should I Start Watching Grey's Anatomy Again?

I haven't seen a full episode of Grey's Anatomy since the end of Season 3, back when Izzy and Dr. Burke were still on the show and George was still alive and Lexie and Arizona were still figments of Shonda Rhimes' imagination. The medical cases of the week involved drilling holes in people's heads in the car storage areas of crashed ferryboats while Uncle Hank looked on, removing stakes from couples heartbreakingly impaled on them, and blowing up Coach Taylor after the Super Bowl.

But lately I've been intrigued by the show's weekly promos—like, that lady doctor's husband died and no one even told her about it for two days! Call me Katherine Heigl, but all of a sudden I feel like I'm missing the party. Has Grey's been experiencing some sort of Renaissance without my knowing?

Curious, I tuned in last night for "If/Then,", the show's buzzy alternate reality episode that tackled the questions of "What if Ellis Grey had never had Alzheimer's," "What if Addison and Derek were still together," "What if a different new resident had banged a different attending in the pilot," and so on. It kind of felt like realized fanfic, but also it was kind of awesome? While I fully expected to be completely lost, it was the perfect episode for a prodigal viewer to come home to, mostly because it essentially just rewrote everything that set the show's major storylines in motion; it almost didn't matter that I hadn't seen any of that crazy bus accident or crazed shooter stuff that went down in Seasons 5 and 6.

The action took place in a Private Practice-free universe where McDreamy was McDreary because he'd miserably stayed with Addison; she was pregnant with his baby (or so we thought). Ellis Grey was as lucid as ever, and she and Richard (I guess I shouldn't call him the Chief) were happily married. Thatcher and Adele had seemingly never existed. (Update #1: Thanks to some of our intrepid commenters, I now understand that Ellis and Richard had divorced Thatcher and Adele, respectively, so Thatcher was still Meredith's father but she was raised as Richard's, with the last name of Webber.) Meredith had grown up happy, and was newly engaged to a disturbingly positive and bubbly Karev ("You were a jerk until you met me," Meredith gloated). Callie was straight, married to Owen, and had three kids. Yang was a "person"-less outcast, her cold, overachieving exterior having never been breached. And Bailey, for her part, was a mumbling doormat with braids. Braids!

The medical cases themselves played second fiddle as the episode set about showing us how things could have been different. Seattle Grace was ruled with an iron fist by a domineering, cocksure Ellis Webber (never mind that such a development would call the series' title into question, or that Ellen Pompeo definitely doesn't look biracial Update #2: See Update #1, and apparently I missed the fact that Ellis kept the name Grey?). Richard, Ellis's supportive, caring husband and the dependable father we know Meredith to have never had, took on the responsibility of comforting and reassuring everyone Ellis bulldozed in her never-ending quest for success. The rest of the characters' interpersonal relationships all shifted accordingly, with an optimistic Karev befriending Bailey and encouraging her to stand up for herself, Meredith and Yang constantly butting heads, and Derek and Addison fighting at every opportunity—even in the operating room.

But the real fun came at the end of the episode, as a series of events and reveals allowed the relationships and characters we know today (or at least that I knew at the end of Season 3) to begin taking shape. Karev was discovered to be cheating on Meredith, effectively ending their hours-old engagement. Addison was discovered to be cheating on Derek, and the baby was the other guy's. (Hi, McSteamy! I was wondering if you were gonna show up!) Callie and Arizona, after disagreeing over the treatment of a young boy, succeeded in saving him and started to warm up to one another—and we saw a hint of a spark. Meredith and Yang, after disagreeing first over a surgery they were sharing and then over how to save a drug addict, succeeded in saving both patients and started to warm up to one another—and we saw a hint of a soon-to-be friendship. Bailey, well, Bailey got fired essentially for cowering in front of Ellis, but it forced her to start growing a pair. And Meredith and Derek, both newly heartbroken, found themselves sitting together in the bar that started it all.

All told, "If/Then" wasn't the most brilliantly crafted episode of television I've ever seen, nor was it the best episode of Grey's I've ever seen. But it was fun installment of a series that I can only assume has been getting a little long in the tooth. And while I'm certain I'll still be pretty lost if I tune in again next week, I'm now a bit more likely to do so. The question I leave to you is, should I?

Notes & Questions:

- What did you think of the alternate reality? Did you see anything in "If/Then" that you wished were actually true?

- What's going on with Owen? He hadn't been introduced yet when I quit watching the show, but did the implication of his service in Iraq have a connection to his "current" situation? And should I have recognized the junkie with the photographic memory? Is she on the show now? Which Seattle Grace doctor is/was her half-sister?

– In the alternate reality, to "izzy" something meant "to go crazy." Har.

– If you've been watching Grey's Anatomy since the beginning, where would you say it is now: high point or low point?

– Did the makeup team plump up Meredith's face for this episode? She didn't look as gaunt as I remember her.

– Whose alternative look/hairstyle was your favorite?

Comments (112)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
You seriously should haa, all the seasons are soo good I wasn't a fan of eight or nine but ten is really good and season 6 has such a good ending and four omg is so sad and so is five - you have to watch it!
Reply
Flag
you missed a lot ! I think you should start over
Reply
Flag
Izzy should've gotten fired for cutting the LVAD wire. Maybe then I'd still be watching. I quit when everyone refused to sell her out and everyone didn't get fired/sued. Cause they all would've, every single one of them. You don't just sweep malpractice like that under the rug because you can't blame one person specifically. You blame everyone in the room and everyone loses their licenses. I really just couldn't suspend my disbelief any further at the point.
Reply
Flag
Izzy was an annoying brat. I liked her but she was insane. She did too many stupid things. I can't believe she left Alex.
Reply
Flag
you should watch it - don't let one error stop you, it's soo good <3
Reply
Flag
I loved it! I wish the Chief was Mer's dad. I loved when they brought in the guy who was shot and killed in the hospital shooting episode!
Reply
Flag
Hey Jen,



It's kind of nice to see what could happen when a 'fan' stops for five seasons and then re-starts!



Alternative-junky is Lexie Grace, she's a Harvard graduate. [who knew that Harvard pooped-out more than just back-stabbing, money-grabbing bankers!]



It was very, very OK to watch a "What if?" show. I would not be displeased at all if the "Glee-Episode" did not happen at all! -YES there was a disgraceful Glee Episode where Callie and others got/had to sing and be cheesy with all the trimmings-

I also liked that Adele was out of the picture, I never like these kind of whiny-demanding characters.



I actually love this show specially the drama-comedy mix...
1
Reply
Flag
I decided that I did not want to watch an episode of "What could have been?". I will read the reviews and the show synopsis but will save my 42 minutes for something that matters more. Might even re-watch Fringe. That's a good use of 42 minutes.
Reply
Flag
i stop watching after izzy dissapear.but i intend to go back and catch up the episodes i missed.where is izzy in that alternative episode?
Reply
Flag
She wasn't in this episode. They said Meredith told on her when she cut Denny's L-vat wire, so she didn't get to stay and get a second chance. Also, George wasn't there either, since he failed his exam and no one encouraged him to stay, he was never heard from again.
Reply
Flag
Jen, like you, I quit watching Grey's before the Izzie tumor, before the major crazy things happened, and because of your article, I tuned into the episode. And my vote? No, I won't be checking back into Seattle Grace. Just because this epeisode was newer and refreshing, doesn't mean the ridiculous drama won't be there at the next one.
Reply
Flag
i love this show, it`s awsome :) i love all the crazy stuff shonda thinks up :)
Reply
Flag
bring on the boos...but this article really is an "alternate reality for me"...typically the articles titilate me to read but then proceed to irritate me. Then I go the COMMENTS section and find some interesting reactions to the article, etc.



In this article, I totally bought into the article and was going to try to watch it again....Nice job Jen Trolio! :)



(I think I stopped after Season 4 but I can't say for sure...when did that one chick move to "private practice"...I think I watched it for one more season after that.)



But once I started reading the "comments" detailing everything that Jen missed, I completely lost interest again. The show is just too complicated to get back into. I will watch the alternate reality episode, but that's it.
Reply
Flag
Staff
I'll take it! Really interesting comment; glad you liked the story. I truly did have a good time watching the episode but I think in the end I'm on your side. Loved the show for what it was in the first few seasons, enjoyed the alternate reality episode, not sure I'll actually start watching again.
Reply
Flag
-i loved the episode becuz it showed that no matter wat , everyone will end up where he is supposed to be.

-i didnt like the alternate reality ,,, if this was grey's anatomy .. i wouldnt have watched it

Owen was traumatized when he got back , and only Cristina was able to help him

-the girl with photographic memory is Lexie.an intern and Meridith's half-sister, on the original show. Lexie loves McSteamy. Jackson loves lexie. Quite complicated lol

- i've been watching it since the beginning , i would say its in a mid-point .. started to go down a bit after season 7

-Meridith's face plumped up. For Sure !

-i liked callie's look.

hated everyone else's .
Reply
Flag
I loved this episode! I appriciated how it was totally for the fans and not just a drop in and watch episode. And I agree it has been getting better recently after being in a bit of a rut. But to be fair, you can't put all the blame Shonda Rhimes though, after carrying on such an extensive series for so long it was bound to happen. At least there appears to be some new fire in there now :)
Reply
Flag
I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned it yet, but there was a scene in this episode where Cali mentions that Owen is getting some comfort from a guy named Teddy over the computer. Teddy not only isn't a guy but she is also the one person that was very in love with Owen before he was with Yang, and also for a while during their relationship as well. I believe this may have been a sign that he was maybe having an affair or something with her. Since Cali didn't support him with his condition, it would only make sense. ( If cheating did make sense.)
Reply
Flag
Bring on more red lipstick. Callie has gorgeous lips and Addison.



The Junkie was Lexie. And Meredith is Lexie's half-sister, Thatcher Grey is their father.



You are doing yourself an injustice by not watching all the season's of Grey's Anatomy, some are farfetched like Season 5 but as a whole it was a great Season Izzie gets very sick with cancer and almost dies and Alex and Izzie get married and we get to see Derek and Meredith commit to each other on a post-it which is still in their bedroom.



I wouldn't mind watching more of these types of episodes it breaks up all that seriousness which is Grey's.
Reply
Flag
Also Owen is now Yang's husband!
Reply
Flag
- owen suffers from post-traumatic stress.

the junkie is on the show, yes. her name is lexie grey, and she's merediths half sister. its cute cause her and mcsteamy have/had a complicated thing, so when he came in as her savior, carrying her in his arms that was so adorable.



-i really like the new season, it may not be the best but it certainly is good.

-i think mer is just more plump now! :)
Reply
Flag
she is more plump due to her pregnancy throughout season 5. Since then, her face is not the same!
Reply
Flag
That makes so much sense, I thought Ellen looked different, yes pregnancy would change your face especially childbirth.
Reply
Flag
Grey's Anatomy is absolutely my favourite show on tv! Each season is better than the last! And i actually never thoght id say this, but i like the new characters better than the old ones, as much as i loved George and Izzy, Arizona and Lexie are my favourite characters on the show!
Reply
Flag
couldn't agree more with Arizona and Lexie. Little Grey almost steal the show from most of them when she first came in. And Arizona have gotta be the coolest lady on this show. I just love how she handle things with optimism. And Teddy started to grow on me as well. Though I love George and Izzie, their characters just expired, (George even more in season 3). Who I miss is Addison, (yeah I know she's still in the Shonda world, and I did started watching Private Practice because of her (and Taye Diggs, - dig him) but it's different seein' her in the Blue and white world of Seattle Grace...
Reply
Flag
thinking,,,,, thinking,,,,,,thinking....ahhhhhh,,, no, i will not whatch anymore ;)
Reply
Flag
George and Izzy were my favourite char in the soap.. after both of them leave the show i quit too. Now i watch sporadically an episode...
Reply
Flag
Thinking of starting up this show again too!
Reply
Flag
perfect episode

loved all the little refs meant for die hard fans :)

lase merder scene- was the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reply
Flag
Did someone see one of The Watchers and what the code meant? Oh wait, sorry. Wrong show.
Reply
Flag
You should never have stopped ! LOL
Reply
Flag
You really should watch at least seasons 4 and 5. Although season 3 was amazing and spectacular with all the Denny-Izzie thing going on, seasons 4 and 5 are equally brilliant!! In my opinion those 3 seasons were the best of Greys Anatomy so you should go and watch season 4 and 5 instead of start watching season 8. And just stop at season 5 and you'll be alright.
Reply
Flag
A small correction: Denny-Izzie thing was on season 2! To many seasons to keep up with. Sorry :)
Reply
Flag
the junkie with the photographic memory was lexie grey...meredeth greys half sister. when owen came back from iraq he had a lot of issues and even attacked cristina one night. but cristina helped him through it all....thats the difference cristina helped and supported him torres didn't.
Reply
Flag
I only started watching the show at the end of season 2. However, I believe the show has much more potential for the upcoming seasons. If I were you, I'd start watching the show again. It might take some getting used to with the new characters and all, but believe when I say it is worth it.
Reply
Flag
The show was good but I hope this isn't going to be a new trend. Musical shows are good but musical episodes of dramas and other type shows mostly suck (I liked Buffy's). I really don't want to start seeing alternate reality episodes like Lex Luthor becoming Superman, Grimm working with the Winchesters or, God forbid, Booth marrying Cam. Keep the shows as they are and instead of dreaming up new variations of them work on writing better episodes.
Reply
Flag
watch. this season is good, meredith is FAR from the main character anymore, which is nice. and they have some great characters, in fact the surgeon's husband that died was one of them, and made her a better one (she kinda sucked before, she was a military doc with Owen and was all desperate for him!) Owen is great, he had ptsd and almost strangled xtina, but got better. recently she got pregnant and had an abortion and he's still angry about it (but was cool enough to hold her hand through it!). Lexy and mcsteamy keep missing each other, but will most likely end up back together!

def watch!
Reply
Flag
I haven't stopped watching this show as I believe it's managed to maintain it's level of quality throughout it's run. That's pretty impressive and rare for any TV series. Having said that, the show's most soapish-elements have consistently irritated me, but I've always endured them to focus on the other, better elements. I think it's a show where there's enough in there for people of different tastes to get something out of it. I have been impressed that the show has maintained quality in the post George-Izzy era. If anything the show has become less annoying without them. The same goes for the maturation of Meredith and McDreamy's relationship.



I wouldn't say the show has had any kind of renaissance lately, it's just status quo for me. So I couldn't guarantee that anyone rejoining the show would be bowled over. The alternate reality episode was OK and had a few good moments, but wasn't among the series' best. Having everyone dramatically change trajectories at the end of the episode towards the 'normal reality' seemed a little neat and manipulative.
Reply
Flag
There was a scene when they first started dating where Yang woke up to being violently choked by Owen. He was having a PTSD flashback. He got help.



I'd say the show is just above average, but still very watchable.



The junkie was Meredith's half sister from her real dad.



They were trying to make her look younger.



I like "Mandy", but Bailey was always my fave character.



Reply
Flag
I liked it, I haven't watched regularly for the last 2 seasons but I still manage to keep up with most of the story lines. This was a fun episode, and like some people have already said, I particularly liked the fact that their "true" selves started to emerge towards the end of the episode.

I really hope that having someone who doesn't follow a series regularly write episode reviews doesn't become the norm at TV.com
Reply
Flag
Loved this episode! I liked how all their true persona's started coming out toward the ending. I think the Kepner/Karev affair was foreshadowing where their true attractions lie. Loved how McSteamy was the one who picked Lexie up from the road. Loved that Addison's baby wasn't Derek's (she kept it in this reality). I thought the Elis/Bailey and Ellis/Webber relationships show that Ellis snubbed everyone around her into submission, and kept them from reaching their potentials, just like Meredith said. I thought the Christina/Meredith parts were great.
Reply
Flag
I think it's maintained a pretty high standards. Some weeks are a bit rubbish but there's the occasional moment where it socks you right in the stomach. It remains one of the best shows on tv which, after 8 years, is no mean feat.



That said, wasn't keen on this week's offering. I wish they wouldn't try and be "different". They should stick to what they do best which is shameless manipulation of the heart strings. and always use a track by Snow Patrol.
Reply
Flag
HI JEN... just so you know, GREY is not the maiden name of ellis.. is actually the lastname of tatcher.. because the young coke addict is the half sister of meredith. and she is a Grey too...
Reply
Flag
Staff
haha I can't win. Oh well.
Reply
Flag
I have not seen this episode yet but have seen all S8 before. Same as you, I have watched S1-3 (or 4) and stopped watching. only started half-way S7 and have to say I was very impressed. Most shows I have seen after 5-6 season became boring but this one... still very fresh. They have brought new characters, few left, stories developed etc. I think this show is still as interesting as it was before and I am still watching every episode.
Reply
Flag
I'm a viewer since the 1st season, and this episode was a filler episode, mostly because it was bad written i think. The alternate relationships did nothing for me.
Reply
Flag
Turned the episode off, not what I want from the show.
Reply
Flag
Hated.... Seriously????? Bahhhh
Reply
Flag
Fantastic episode. GA has never been better than it is at the moment, this whole season is perfection.
Reply
Flag
i really dunno why they allow someone who doesnt follow the show to write a review.. everyone who watches it know who the junkie is
Reply
Flag
I think the show still has a season to go. I still like their medical drama. I stopped watching after season 4 also but then two years ago or so, I saw the last two episodes of season 6, it got me thinking what the heck happened here. How come there's a gunner on the loose killing McDreamy. I also wondered what happened to Callie. When I left her in season 4 she was so much into men haha.. I got so curious and went back to season 5. Season 5, I think is a good season to start again. The new doctors are introduced here. Like Owen and Arizona.

I'm still watching it... and it's still entertaining.
Reply
Flag
I stopped watching at the exact same time as you did and reading this review was fun, but I still don't feel like tuning in again..
Reply
Flag
Tbh, u should have never stopped watching Grey's anatomy, so yes, u should start watching it again
Reply
Flag
I loved the show in the beginning, then got really tired of it with all the George-Izzie stuff and Izzie seeing a dead guy (they really dragged that on for way too long) but I still kept watching and to my own surprise really got into it again after that whole crappy part. I found myself looking forward to the show again, the whole shooting episode was epic. The musical, have to agree, not one of the best musical eps I've seen in shows but I compliment them for trying something different, just as they did with this alternate reality episode which did work really well imo.

So for me the show went from really great to getting a bit boring and completely losing me for a bit, to working itself up again and is now a very enjoyable drama. I actually haven't missed George or Izzie at all. Where in House I am so completely bored of the same thing every week, Grey's anatomy has a lot more to offer. I don't think I want them to go on for multiple seasons though cause there has to be an end to everything.
Reply
Flag
Grey's had a lull during season 4 and season 6, and although it will never be as fantastic as season 2 and 5 were. It isn't stale and has a few more season in it.
Reply
Flag
The first few seasons of this show were decent, but otherwise it hasn't been great. Admittedly I watch it (usually while texting on my phone or playing some networking games), but I sometimes ask why. The most frustrating thing about this show, though, is that it seems to air one episode then go off the air for a couple of weeks... air one or two then go off for a month... then air one then off for two, etc. And lo-and-behold after yet ANOTHER hiatus they come back with an episode that isn't really much besides a glorified, metaphorical clip-show.
Reply
Flag
I agree the breaks are annoying but you can't really blame the show for that, a lot of other shows have the same problem.
Reply
Flag
the only way this episode would have been actually worth watching is if we had seen George (and Izzie maybe) again! Other than that I agree that it was mostly filler courtesy of Meridiths twisted and dreary dream world.
Reply
Flag
"Thatcher and Adele had seemingly never existed"

"never mind that such a development would call the series' title into question, or that Ellen Pompeo definitely doesn't look biracial"



Seriously? It's so obvious: Thatcher is Meredith's father, but Richard left Adele and married Ellis instead of staying with his wife. Meredith saw Richard as her real father because she was still very young when he married her mother.

Thatcher obviously went on to have his new family, thus the appearance of Lexi. Her mom still died of the hiccups and her dad killed himself, like she told Jackson.
Reply
Flag
Staff
Haha, I added some updates to the story now that you and several other commenters have set me straight. It wasn't as obvious to me! Probably because of that pesky little fact that I haven't watched Grey's for four and a half seasons... whoops.



I remember the introduction of Lexie being promoted as a big thing after I stopped tuning in, but I obviously don't know much about her.



Anyway, back to my overall question: Knowing where I stand, would you recommend I start watching the show again?
Reply
Flag
I recommend that you start watching it again but you should probably watch the seasons you missed, too
Reply
Flag
hated this episode... complete filler, does nothing for the actual show since this was all just a dream for Meredith. hated it. that horrible musical episode did more for the overall storyline than this did.
Reply
Flag
also the answer to "Should I Start Watching Grey's Anatomy Again?" is no
Reply
Flag
firstly, its quite clear that you havent watched since the end of season 3 as you would know that since there there has been an episode entitled 'time warp' it which it was actual history of characters and bailey was an intern who was afraid to speak up with BRAIDS until she had a similar moment with her resident and it forced her to grow a pair!



also if you watched properly you would know that they still called her ellis GREY meaning richard in this reality, would have left adele for ellis, and brought up meredith as his own, also considering the fact that the druge addict who was lexie came in and confirmed she had a half sister in the hospital...



but to answer your questions, all in all i loved the alternate reality because i really appreciated the characters and their realationships all the more so! I loved that addison was back and ellis!



Owen and Christina bonded over trying to save him from ptsd and while it was happening it was really intense and brought them together as christina never stopped helping him,

and as i have already said lexie was the drug addict!



I have never missed an episode and i think that this season has been a high point for greys it is really come back into its own and ellen pompeo in real life has had a baby since Seaosn 3 and isnt as gaunt as she was



my fav alternate hairstyle was christinas it made her look so punk rock
More+
Reply
Flag
Load More Comments

Like TV.com on Facebook