'Grey's Anatomy' Fans Celebrate (and Worry About) [Spoiler's] Return

Grey's Anatomy brought back a classic patient during Thursday's all-new episode.

The long-running ABC medical drama saw the return of Olive Warner (Mary Kay Place), Richard Webber's (James Pickens Jr.) AA sponsor, after she collapsed during a meeting. Station 19 firefighter Ben Warren (Jason George) explained to Richard that they revived her after she collapsed, but before they saw she was wearing a "Do Not Resuscitate" bracelet, as her liver failure has gotten worse.

At first, Richard is angry that his old friend didn't come to him as her condition worsened, but Olive said she couldn't come to him with her problems as that's not how their relationship works.

"I can't sponsor you through my death," Olive says to Richard.

Grey's Anatomy fans were scared to see Olive again, with the series' tendency to kill characters who come back after a long absence.

Olive was first a patient during the season two episode "Superstition," where Richard performs an experimental procedure on her failing liver and saves her life.

Later in the episode, Richard turns to Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Maggie (Kelly McCreary) to try and come up with a plan to save Olive, despite her unwillingness to stay alive. She threatens Richard to out him as an alcoholic if he brings in any doctors to try and save her, but he trusts his "daughters" will handle it anyways.

As Meredith examines Olive, she tells her she has to help Richard get another sponsor after she dies, as she is ready to move on and die, but needs to know that Richard won't relapse after she's gone.

Richard shares with Bailey (Chandra Wilson) his concern about keeping his sobriety after Olive's death. After Richard accepts his old friend's fate, he, Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Olive have one last AA meeting in her office.

The episode also served to reveal Richard's alcoholic struggles, which reared their head later in season 6 when Richard relapses and is forced out of his job as Chief of Surgery until season 7.


Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.