'Grey's Anatomy' Season 9 premiere recap: Reactions and significance

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The creators of "Grey's Anatomy" did a spectacular job of tossing a curveball at fans by zooming into the future for the Season 9 premiere. Fans expected to see a continuation of the airplane crash story from the Season 8 finale. Instead, the creators veered from tradition and left everyone with as many new questions as answers.

Traditional seasonal transition

The goal of a season finale is to offer a cliffhanger that will cause viewers to want to come back the next season to see what happens. The season premiere of a show will traditionally finish the cliffhanger and offer new situations to entice fans to stick around for more episodes while setting the overall tone for the upcoming year. It's the best time to start to point out why the upcoming season is different from the past. The second episode of the season is the opportunity for viewers to see how the characters are carrying on with their lives as they deal with the impacts seen in the previous finale and premiere.

"Grey's Anatomy" Season 9 premiere

The creators of the show tricked fans by switching the traditional season premiere with an episode that would have been expected as the second slot of the new TV year. Instead of seeing Meredith and Cristina being pulled from the wreckage, the paranoia of flying -- which was keeping them from seeing each other in person -- was explored. Fans were expecting to see Derek, Arizona, and Eric pulled into surgery, but instead saw Eric die and revealed how Derek and Arizona were dealing with their injuries. This switch may have infuriated some fans, but it was an act of genius.

Unanswered questions

By transitioning to weeks or months in the future of the characters, the creators of "Grey's Anatomy" left a handful of unanswered questions to be dealt with in the second episode of the season. Fans want to know how the survivors of the crash were saved and if Owen made any steps to rectify his strained relationship with Cristina. How did the characters survive out there in the woods with their injuries and lack of resources? How did Eric's condition degenerate to the point of having to be placed on life support?

Significance

One of the greatest challenges facing creators of a show is insuring the second episode of a season will hold the higher numbers of the season premiere. By forcing fans to come back next week to have their questions answered, the creators are able to start out the season with two crucial watershed episodes in a row. The creators of "Grey's Anatomy" set the stage for one of the best seasons yet, and the buzz online about the trick play will entice wayward fans to check out a series where the writers are flexing their muscle again.

More from this contributor:

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