Nearly two decades in, Grey’s Anatomy still knows how to bring the feels — and season 18 is no different.
The ABC medical drama returned for its record-breaking 18th season in September 2021. As fans were quick to point out similarities between the pilot, which aired in 2005, and the season 18 premiere, Ellen Pompeo confirmed that the season was filled with special treats for longtime fans. The first nod she confirmed was Meredith wearing the same white button-down shirt.
“It is the same shirt. … I think [ABC studios] held onto that shirt,” the actress said on Jimmy Kimmel Live! after the premiere. “It was my idea to pay homage to many things and many different seasons and give the audience things to watch out for and to plant Easter eggs. … I even look for them because it was just my idea. I didn’t necessarily say, ‘Let’s do this.’ I wasn’t specific about it. When the shirt showed up on my wardrobe rack, I said, ‘Is this the same shirt?’ I remembered the shirt.”
Jimmy Kimmel subsequently pressed Pompeo to find out if the throwbacks were a sign the long-running show was coming to an end, and she played coy (as usual).
While season 17 featured many familiar faces from the grave — including Patrick Dempsey’s Derek, Eric Dane’s Sloan, Chyler Leigh’s Lexie and T.R. Knight’s George — season 18 included more returning stars. In addition to Kate Burton (Ellis Grey) returning for more flashbacks, Kate Walsh is reprising her role as Addison Montgomery.
“I could cry talking about it. It was very meaningful. … You’re going to see some stuff transpire between Meredith and Addison professionally and personally,” Walsh told Extra ahead of her October 14, 2021, episode debut. “I think it’s going to be really satisfying for the fans and I think it’s going to be very unexpected and surprising.”
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Grey’s Anatomy airs on ABC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET. Scroll through for a list of Easter eggs from season 18: