'Grey's Anatomy' Star Jesse Williams Teases Spring Premiere as 'Pure Madness'

The second half of Grey's Anatomy Season 17 was delayed by a week, but star Jesse Williams [...]

The second half of Grey's Anatomy Season 17 was delayed by a week, but star Jesse Williams promises an exciting return next month. Grey's Anatomy was originally scheduled to return on March 4 but was pushed back a week to Thursday, March 11 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. When the show last aired, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) collapsed after seemingly getting better during her COVID-19 struggle. However, the December episode ended with Meredith's condition looking even worse than before.

"It's pure madness," Williams told Entertainment Tonight about the upcoming mid-season premiere. "I've got to say, we have found a way to have really highly concentrated, dense episodes towards the middle of the season with a lot of this incredible combination of loss and joy and progress in these characters' lives. But when [we] come back, yeah, it's going to be fairly terrifying and exhilarating." Williams stars as Dr. Jackson Avery on the show and has also appeared on Station 19 when the two shows cross over.

Each show has covered the coronavirus pandemic in its own way, with Grey's Anatomy putting it front and center during Meredith's illness. Williams said the show's handling of the pandemic has been "really cathartic" for viewers, as characters go through their own personal journeys this season. "Yes, it has value in imagining elsewhere, but there's also value [in] understanding," Williams explained, before comparing the show to the news. He noted that the series helps give names and faces to the statistics viewers see every day, even though the characters are fictional. "These are actual people that have loved ones that were born that his sister and a mom and a brother and they're struggling with it they're not just a stat or a demographic so that's important," Williams said.

Williams is also a "little nervous" for Meredith. During the mid-season finale, it looked like Meredith was recovering, and she even helped a patient. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a "COVID high" and she collapsed in the patient's room. The coronavirus symptoms came back quickly, and Meredith was put on a ventilator. Williams has a glimmer of hope for Meredith though. "In a lot of ways, we've all got a lot invested in this and she kind of represents both the sheer terror and the very real and reasonable feeling we have of what's kind of been washing over this," Williams told ET. "But also our fight, our 'stick to it[-ness],' our preparedness, and it really does put into perspective, live your life now."

There is also some hope that other beloved Grey's stars from the past will make appearances. In the first part of the season, Patrick Dempsey made a surprise appearance as Dr. Derek Shepherd in Meredith's dreams. T.R. Knight's George also made a cameo. Showrunner Krista Vernoff said Dempsey will be back, but refused to spoil potential appearances from Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and others. The only reason why these actors were credited for Season 17 on IMDb was a glitch, Vernoff explained to Variety.