The realm of Shondaland and TGIT is expansive. There’s been the wild successes (hello, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder) and the lovable misses (R.I.P., Still Star-Crossed, which was actually really fun!), but no series has spawned a vast world quite like Shonda Rhimes’ first-born TV show, Grey’s Anatomy. The initial spin-off from the saga of Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) was Private Practice, and now there’s Station 19, currently in its just-started season season.
With Grey’s and Station 19 living in the exact same universe, it’s inevitable these two ABC series will bleed into each other at times — just look up at Thursday, October 11’s major crossover event. For Grey’s, the first hour is “Momma Knows Best;” for Station 19 it’s, “Under The Surface.”
Since even loyal TGIT viewers might not know everything about fledgling Station 19, it’s time we figure out how exactly how the firefighting series connects to its beloved lead-in. And, with most things Shondaland, it all comes down to the relationships.
Yes, both Grey’s and Station 19 take place in the Emerald City of Seattle, Washington. After all, it would be impossible for the Station 19 firehouse denizens to constantly rush their charges to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital if both series’ home bases weren’t extremely close to each other.
Yet, the connection between these two entities goes deeper than that. This spring, we entered Station 19 through the eyes of former Grey’s Anatomy mainstay Ben Warren (Jason George). Ben was a doctor at Grey Sloan for about seven years before he decided he wanted to have a more direct, action-packed role in saving lives. That desire led Ben to firefighting and joining Station 19 as the middle-aged new guy. From there, Ben’s exploration of his new fire station home allowed viewers to meet all the major players of Station 19, from leading lady Andy Herrera (Jaina Lee Ortiz) to sexy police officer Ryan Tanner (Alberto Frezza) and the rest of the on-the-ground emergency crew populating the series.
But, Ben’s long-standing relationship with Grey’s didn’t end the moment he left Meredith and the gang. The former doctor is still married to Grey’s Anatomy scene stealer Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) so his presence continues to act as a connective tissue between the two shows, even when crossover events aren’t raging. In fact, Ben popped up during the third episode of Grey’s Anatomy season 15 just to kiss his wife and talk about their very different schedules. It was a smart reminder of the round-the-clock urgent chaos of Station 19 amid the sexy vibes of Grey’s Anatomy.
While Ben’s existence in both of these TGIT worlds is the most obvious Grey’s-Station 19 connection, there is also a tear-jerker moment we should all also remember. A major plot point in the first season of Station 19 is the reveal Andy’s father and fire captain Pruitt (Miguel Sandoval) had been hiding a dire cancer diagnosis and therefore must immediately step down from his position (leaving Andy and love interest Jack to compete for the job). Although all of that drama sticks in the mind since its aftermath plays out over 10 episodes, it’s easy to forget how integral none other than Meredith Grey was in helping Andy cope with her father’s initial hospitalization.
In one of the most moving moments of Station’s premiere, “Stuck,” Meredith brings a distraught Andy into a supply closet at Grey Sloan. Though Andy had to be strong for her co-workers and father in the midst of Pruitt’s hospitalization, it’s obvious the firefighter needs a few seconds to melt down and process her feelings. Meredith, facing the door out of both respect and actual protection against anyone entering the room, gives Andy that chance. Then, after a few moments, Meredith pushes Andy to collect herself and get back out there kicking butt. “That’s enough,” the doctor declares. “Put your game face on. We’ve got your dad. Now you go be brave for them.” Meredith’s pep talk works.
With fall 2018’s crossover event on the horizon, it appears there might be even more ways for the Grey’s and Station 19 crews to fraternize. Following the abrupt, jarring exit of Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) early in Grey’s Anatomy’s newest season, it appears a Station 19 firefighter might just be the man ready to fix Maggie Pierce’s (Kelly McCreary) broken heart. In a sneak peak for the crossover, breakout Station character Dean Miller (Okieriete Onaodowan) approaches Maggie to ask her out on a date. Although the freshly single doctor laughs uncomfortably at the proposition, it’s unlikely Maggie’s uncontrollable giggling is mean. Rather, considering the fact Jackson fled Seattle mere days earlier, it seems Maggie is surprised by such an unexpected, earnest romantic gesture during such a weird time in her life.
It’s not too early trying to make #Piller a thing, is it? Sorry, not sorry, Jackson.
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