Thursday night’s season nine premiere of the ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, “Going, Going, Gone,” was certainly a doozy. Catching up with the Seattle Grace docs 30 days after their tragic plane crash in the season eight finale, we learn the accident has resulted in some series-altering changes — the most prominent being the death of Dr. Mark Sloan, a.k.a. McSteamy (Eric Dane), who is in a coma and attached to a ventilator when the episode begins. His will states to take him off life support if he is still in a coma after 30 days, and the episode is centered around the moments leading up to when the plug is pulled.

On the surgical floor, Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) has earned the nickname "Medusa" for her cold relationship with the new interns, effectively taking the tough-love reigns from "The Nazi" Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson). Meanwhile, Dr. Shepherd, a.k.a. McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey), struggles to perform surgery after suffering his brutal hand injury in the plane crash, and it remains to be seen what will happen to his surgical career. Additionally, the new pediatric attending physician Mel Barnett (Philip Casnoff) alters Dr. Karev’s (Justin Chambers) orphan program, which prevents Karev from walking out, and Dr. Yang’s (Sandra Oh) aggressive personality doesn’t seem to fit with the Minnesota-nice demeanor of her new coworkers, signaling a return to Seattle soon. Finally, in perhaps the most bizarre subplot, Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) is not dead, as we are first lead to believe, but stuck in a bed with an amputated leg, at the hands of Callie (Sara Ramirez). The following episodes will hopefully reveal more of what happened in that horrific plane crash.

The biggest news of the episode remains the departure of Dane’s McSteamy, who was a casualty of budget constraints, according to E!. Although a tragic moment for his character, Dane, 39, was gracious about his time on the show.

“I am extremely grateful to everyone at Grey’s, ABC and Shondaland for the experience and memories I have had over the course of this run,” Dane told TV Line in July, after it was announced his character would be killed off. “It has been wonderful to work alongside and learn from a creative force such as Shonda Rhimes.”

Tune in to Grey's Anatomy next Thursday at 9 p.m. est. on ABC to follow our favorite beautiful and traumatized medical staff. —Hal Sundt

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