'Grey's Anatomy': Original Star Makes Surprising Return in Season 17 Premiere
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In the final seconds of the highly-anticipated episode, which also sees Meredith, Bailey and the rest of the doctors dealing with COVID-19 pandemic, Meredith surprisingly reunites with one beloved character.

AceShowbiz - Fans of "Grey's Anatomy" were in for a huge surprise as the two-hour season 17 premiere arrived on Thursday, November 12. [SPOILER ALERT] In the final seconds of the highly-anticipated episode, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) reunited with one beloved character who was none other than Patrick Dempsey's Derek Shepherd, much to fans' delight.

The reunion happened in a dream sequence after Meredith was found unconscious in the parking lot of Grey Sloan Memorial hospital by McWidow (Richard Flood) after grueling COVID-19 shifts. In her dream, she was strolling on a sunny California-esque beach while donning a white shirt. Meredith then noticed a figure waving at her from afar and it didn't take long for her to realize who the person was.

"Oh my god!" she said while McDreamy, her late husband and soulmate, approached her. McDreamy, who died a tragic death back in season 11, appeared while wearing a baby blue shirt. Fortunately for fans, that wouldn't be the last time for them to see McDreamy since Dempsey is set to reprise his role as Derek in next week's episode, which was directed by Kevin McKidd.

Of the reunion, showrunner Krista Vernoff told Entertainment Tonight, "The most important task we had this season was to honor the reality of this global pandemic and the impact it's having -- particularly on healthcare workers. Along with that we had to come up with creative ways to allow our show to still be fun and romantic and provide some escapism. Enter Patrick Dempsey."

She went on to say, "The beach motif -- which will continue beyond the premiere -- provided a way for us to live outside the pandemic even for a little while here and there. And Derek's return provided pure joy for us, for Meredith, and for the fans."

"Season 17 has been a Herculean effort by our cast, our crew, our writers, and our partners at Disney and ABC -- and we are proud of it," she added. "But our effort is nothing compared to the work of our Frontline healthcare workers to whom this season is dedicated. We hope our show inspires you to wear your masks to protect them and each other. As Derek Shepherd would say, 'It's a beautiful day to save lives.' "

"Grey's Anatomy" airs Thursdays at 9 P.M. ET/PT on ABC.

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