Grey's Anatomy shone a spotlight on Alex Karev and Richard Webber's new place of work, and it is the polar opposite of Grey Sloan Memorial. Stemming from the fan-favorite doctors being fired in the Season 15 finale, Alex (Justin Chambers) and Richard (James Pickens Jr.) agreed last week to work together at Pacific Northwest, the worst hospital in Seattle, in an attempt to turn it around. Thursday's all-new episode revealed the task will not be easy, as the doctors also struggle with moving on from the past.
Spoilers ahead for Grey's Anatomy Season 16, Episode 2: "Back in the Saddle"
The episode followed as Alex and Richard settled on their first day at Pac North, a hospital known for its terrible treatment of patients and lack of resources. Richard quickly struggles with the new gig, noticing the lack of equipment, the fact he doesn't have an office and other setbacks that make it clear they are not at Grey Sloan anymore.
When Richard comes to Alex with his complaints, the new chief of the struggling hospital reveals Pac North is No.1 in mortality rate, physician burnout, patient dissatisfaction and malpractice claims. The place is an all-around mess, but they signed up to breathe new life into it and Richard has to help him do it.
Many fans continued to lament the beloved doctors being away from their friends and former coworkers, and immediately resented the introduction of the new hospital on social media.
I wish Webber and Karev got their jobs back. I miss them at GSM. 😩 #GreysAnatomy— Doriah (@doriahthomas) October 4, 2019
So I'm going to need them to wrap this all up and get all original Grey Sloane Memorial employees back up under one roof....Maggie can resign. #GreysAnatomy— Mr. Gorporani (@Mr_3LastNames) October 4, 2019
Conditions at the hospital are so bad, the episode established, that as Alex spoke to Jo (Camilla Luddington) on the phone one of the patients had to let him know a man had possibly died while waiting for help in the E.R. waiting room.
Alex and Richard spring into action and take the man to surgery, where Richard shares how much he is struggling with his job change after seeing how bad the place actually is. He admits he was late to work because he accidentally drove to Grey Sloan as he had done for his entire career. He reveals he was happy with the idea of spending his whole professional life at the hospital and dying in one of the ORs eventually, and now it will never happen.
Alex is ready for this challenge. Get it!! #GreysAnatomy— 🌒Kat🌘 (@CheshireKat_92) October 4, 2019
this hospital is a mess #GreysAnatomy— Carlos Sanchez (@fatazqueen) October 4, 2019
Grey-Sloan is doing fine. Let’s shape up Pacific. #GreysAnatomy— 🌒Kat🌘 (@CheshireKat_92) October 4, 2019
No Webber, its lake of motivation, because you do not belong in this hell hole #GreysAnatomy— Nicky A (@AJRazim) October 4, 2019
After saving the man's life, Alex has a heart-to-heart with Richard and says he is also disappointed to be gone from Grey Sloan. All they can do about it, however, is try their hardest at their new job and prove Bailey (Chandra Wilson) wrong. The pair agree to work together and make the best out of their situation.
Webber and Alex for change #GreysAnatomy— Vitra Ramotar-John (@vitjohn32) October 4, 2019
Help me prove Bailey wrong. #GreysAnatomy— SydVaughnFan2🎈🌹 (@Sydvaughnfan2) October 4, 2019
Alex's character development is the strongest of the show. no one can tell me otherwise. #GreysAnatomy— 𝓉𝒶𝓎𝓃𝒾𝒸𝒽𝒶𝓁𝓁 (@tnicchall) October 4, 2019
Back at Grey Sloan, Jo struggled with an offer from Alex to move to Pac North as a general surgery attending, and used the offer to get a similar offer from Bailey. In the end she chose to stay at Grey Sloan, though Alex seemed proud of her for her confidence so soon after her time in a treatment center.
What do you think about the show's new Pac North storyline? Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.