Can any couple ever truly be happy on "Grey's Anatomy"? Looks like Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) are finally at a place where their relationship is healthy and -- dare we say it? -- functional. But that could all change.
HuffPost TV visited the "Grey's Anatomy" set in Los Angeles to catch up with Pompeo and Dempsey, and they opened up about how Cristina's (Sandra Oh) return, Derek's hand issues and surgical hiatus, and how the plane crash is still affecting things at Seattle Grace and at the Shepherd house.
They also talked about Zola and their sweet little family, with Dempsey admitting that he'd like to see the family grow soon as well. Keep reading for more!
It's so nice seeing Derek in dad mode, but when will his hand issues get resolved? We know his sister Lizzie (Neve Campbell) is coming to try to save the day ... but it can't be easy for him to see his wife in surgery when he can't work.
Dempsey: "I'm assuming we'll have him back in the O.R. soon, but he needs to have some conflict. It can't be just breaking up with Meredith anymore. [Laughs.]"
Pompeo: "There's a little bit of tension, which I think is an interesting thing for them to have to work through. How do you deal with that? But I think it's been cute to see Patrick with Zola, too."
Zola is such a nice element in their relationship, but now with Mark (Eric Dane) gone and Cristina still in a weird place emotionally, Derek and Meredith need each other even more.
Dempsey: "Right. Well and they seem healthy for the first time. There's one healthy relationship that is happening here, and a good partnership. I'm very happy about it."
And there has been tension, but also quite a bit of romance for them lately.
Dempsey: "There are other great surprises this year between Derek and Meredith that people will be very happy about. Very good, positive surprises, soon to be aired."
We like happy surprises. We need them. Obviously this season so far has been a lot about dealing with the death and destruction that the plane crash left. Will we get more levity and some closure on that soon?
Pompeo: "The writers have the challenge of doing a big finale every year, and they do a great job of it, and then they have to put the pieces back together the next season. The first half of the season is always dealing with the aftermath of whatever the finale was. We're on Episode 9 now and we've been putting back all of the pieces and sort of healing and mending. I guess toward the middle of the season we'll have to make a shift -- we'll be finished with the aftermath of the crash, and then we'll have to get into some sort of neutral period before we have another grisly finale. I don't know what could happen next year!"
Besides Zola, what is occupying Derek while he can't be performing surgeries?
Dempsey: "His focus is on who's liable for the plane crash. That's his only focus. He's not operating, so that's what his whole focus is about -- continuing on with the court case."
Is he going to start a conspiracy wall in his house, tying together all the possible scenarios with red string?
Dempsey: "Oh my god ... [laughs] don't give the writers any ideas!"
The crash wiped out quite a few people. Do you feel like it helped put things into perspective for Meredith at work? The new interns did give her a scary nickname ...
Pompeo: "Well, I have come back from death, so ... [laughs] this is like the twelfth time! I've been blue at the bottom of Puget Sound, and ... was I attacked by a bear? No. But I was almost shot and killed, I escaped a bomb. I've been through a lot. Meredith is tough, for sure."
We're getting to know the new interns at the hospital more and more each week. Is it fun bringing in new blood since you've all been doing this for so many years?
Dempsey: "Yeah, I think we're always trying to see who the new group is coming in so that the show can run for 22 years. So we'll see what happens. It's amazing that people are still really fanatical about it. I was on a plane yesterday, and people were like, 'Are you going to operate again?' 'What's going on with Meredith?' It's great. People are passionate about it, and it's pretty remarkable, I think, that they've continued to be for so long. We're very fortunate."
There's pretty much a wedding every year on this show, and this year it's Bailey's turn! Do you think this could be her happily ever after?
Dempsey: "Yeah ... I don't think there's any happily ever afters in this group. They're all too dysfunctional. They need like group therapy! [Laughs.]"
Even Meredith and Derek? You don't think they're capable of happily ever after?
Dempsey: "I think Meredith's relationship with Cristina is a little unhealthy. That's something I'm not sure is healthy ... I think they need a little break there. It's like they're almost married. Shepherd ends up with Hunt I think. [Laughs.] That's what's gonna happen."
Meredith and Cristina still really need each other -- they're one of the show's best couples, but they should both be in these other healthy couplings as well. It's so dysfunctional.
Pompeo: "It is. We really took a break from that recently because Cristina was gone. The truth is, a lot happened between Cristina and Meredith and the relationship can't be the same anymore. I think that Cristina's gotta work on her relationship with Owen, and she's gotta find her way back to him and deal with that. But we've got to keep moving forward."
Is there anyone from "Grey's" past, living or dead, that you'd like to see come back?
Dempsey: "It's really hard. It's always hard losing characters that we've grown to love, and certainly from that initial first group, it's unfortunate to see people go on, but I don't think Shonda [Rhimes] will bring anybody back. I don't think Izzie's character (Katherine Heigl) was ever really resolved, and I think there's a moment there that should be resolved -- I think that would be nice for the fans. I'm not sure that would happen, but that would be some nice closure I think."
Any other dream guest stars?
Dempsey: "It'd be fun to have mom come back (Tyne Daly) -- that'd be really nice -- and to have all the family together. I would like the whole family to come together and have it revolve around Derek and Meredith's home life and an event that happens. What could that be? Hmmm ... "
Check back next week for more from my chats with Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey, as well as scoop from guest star Neve Campbell.
"Grey's Anatomy" airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.
Check out ABC's official description for this week's episode:
"I Was Made for Lovin' You" - Cristina and Owen continue to figure out their relationship amidst the pending lawsuit; and Bailey argues with Ben over plans for their upcoming nuptials. Meanwhile, Callie recruits Jackson to help find a solution to Derek's hand, but he is preoccupied by a shocking situation with April.