Three of Grey's Anatomy's beloved original characters were fired at the end of Season 15, and one of them might not even practice medicine ever again. The Season 16 premiere picked up with the aftermath of the fog storm and Alex (Justin Chambers), Richard (James Pickens Jr.) and Meredith being let go from Grey Sloan for their involvement in the insurance fraud scandal. Each of them struggled with their next chapter, but one of them may lose everything after a last-minute twist.
Spoilers ahead for Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Premiere: "Nothing Left to Cling To"
The premiere episode followed the direct aftermath of the doctors getting fired, along with Jackson's disappearance into the fog — which was explained by him being busy helping some injured climbers to safety — and Jo (Camilla Luddington) beginning her psychiatric treatment.
The episode then spanned a month in the characters' lives, including the consequences of Meredith admitting to being the sole participant in the insurance fraud scheme that left DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) in jail. She is told by a lawyer she can go home and she just has to be extra apologetic when she goes before a judge.
After spending time in the psychiatric wing of the hospital, Alex takes Jo to an in-patient facility. She apologizes for being "damaged" and gives Alex an out if he wants to walk away, which he seems to consider at first.
A week goes by and finds Meredith in court, with DeLuca sitting in the gallery. She stands by her actions with the insurance fraud but says she is sorry about how she handled the issue. The judge seemed angry at her not being extremely apologetic, but her lawyer begs him not to send Meredith to jail since she has three kids. Meanwhile, Richard starts a job as a doctor who does home visits as an app service. It does not go well when a young patient throws up on his lap.
Another week goes by and shows Alex and Jo in therapy learning how to talk about their emotions and what they went through. Richard is then seen at a job interview for the lowest-ranking hospital in Seattle — Pac North. They seem confused about a man of his age starting a new job after so many years at Grey Sloan.
Later, Richard convinces Alex to get his work back on track and apply to the job himself, and hire Richard once he gets it. He also tells him to clean himself up and be there for Jo when she gets back. It is also revealed that Richard's and Catherine's marriage is in trouble after she stood by while Bailey (Chandra Wilson) fired him. Catherine changes the dynamics in the hospital by hiring Koracik (Greg Germann) to act as a middle man between her and Bailey.
Meredith is ordered to do community service and has a hilarious confrontation with one of the moms from Zola's school. She seems to be coming out of the difficult situation without a hitch.
Near the end of the episode it is confirmed that Alex and Richard will be working together in the other hospital, as Alex picks up Jo and proposes to her again promising to be by her side no matter what.
The episode ends with Meredith and DeLuca bonding in her bedroom when she gets an email. She reveals she heard from the medical board and they are launching an inquiry into what happened. The investigation could end with Meredith losing her license and never working as a doctor again.