Grey's Anatomy Is Embracing Long-Distance Romance in Season 17

Kelly McCreary and new series regular Anthony Hill tease new romance and pandemic storylines in season 17 of Grey's Anatomy

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it's that Zoom is a seriously valuable tool. 

Amid the show's attempts to realistically deal with COVID-19 in a hospital setting, Grey's Anatomy is also getting realistic with one of its newest romances and proving that you don't even have to move to Seattle to be a main character. 

Anthony Hill appeared in one episode of season 16 as Winston, a former student of Maggie's (Kelly McCreary) when she was working in Boston. They both had crushes on each other back then and now they've rekindled those feelings to the point where Hill was promoted to series regular in season 17, but it sounds like he's not making the move to Grey Sloan Memorial just yet. 

"Things are ramping up from episode one where we kind of catch up with Maggie and Winston in the middle of COVID, in the middle of this pandemic. So, with that comes a long distance relationship," Hill told E! News. "There's a lot of FaceTime dates and a lot of Zooming and just trying to get to know each other and grow in progress virtually…I like that we kind of get to be that couple that shines the light on that aspect of this whole ordeal that we're going through in the world." 

It's about time for Maggie to find some good romance, even if it has to be virtual. She and Jackson (Jesse Williams) went through an ugly breakup over the past couple of seasons, but now we're at the point where even Ellen Pompeo tweeted that Maggie and Winston are her new favorite couple. 

"I think it's gonna be really fun for the audience to watch as this relationship unfolds," McCreary said. "Like Anthony said, this time is so challenging for singles—and not just for singles who are trying to date but, like, I know a lot of people who were just starting to connect with somebody and it's been very hard to be disconnected. So in that context for them to have found each other and find it and find that even just digitally connecting, you know, by screens is such a healing balm for each of them wherever they are…I love that that's how they're sort of developing it." 

However it's developing, it's better than anything Maggie has had in a while. 

"I think the change will be good for me," McCreary said. "You know, the other way wasn't working before so anything would be better, honestly." 

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McCreary promised that just because the show is jumping head-on into the pandemic (starting with the early days of it), that doesn't mean we should fear any less relationship drama than we've become accustomed to. 

"Grey's has always been good at really toeing that fine line between the very serious and the very funny and the, you know, sexy but also the very restrained," she said. "Our show is such a like tonal melange. That hasn't stopped. We are dealing with COVID, but, you know, Maggie's gonna be quirky and neurotic whether it's COVID or not and Amelia and link are going to be sexy and adorable, no matter what, you know, so of course that's all still there because these characters are still the characters." 

The pandemic has affected and changed everyone in a way, but "life actually isn't just about the pandemic," and that comes through on screen. 

As for how tonight's two-hour crossover premiere event will play out, McCreary said it will start in the early days of the pandemic and go back to revisit the cliffhangers and leftover stories from last season. In case you've forgotten what those were, allow us to catch you up real quick: 

DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) was in the midst of a breakdown after losing sleep over trying to figure out what was wrong with Richard (James Pickens Jr.). He told Meredith (Pompeo) he needed help, and she turned down a dinner with Hayes (Richard Flood) to help her ex. Richard ended up being fine after DeLuca realized his cobalt hip replacement was poisoning him, but he dashed Catherine's (Debbie Allen) hopes of reconciling. 

Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Link (Chris Carmack) had just had a baby, and in Worst Love Triangle Ever land, Owen (Kevin McKidd) found out Teddy was cheating on him with Tom (Greg Germann) via a really, really awkward voicemail. 

Happy TGIT to us all! Scroll down to keep up with all the romances on both Grey's and Station 19

Status: Split

Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) aren't together right now, but Mer was last seen telling Andrew she still loved him as she helped him through a mental health breakdown, even if he currently doesn't love her. We refuse to give up hope for these two. 

Status: Married

Ben (Jason George) might be on a different show, the spinoff Station 19, but not only are these two still happily together, and even weathered a devastating miscarriage together before adopting a teenage patient. 

Status: Divorced

All we have to say is "Welp." 

Alex (Justin Chambers) and Jo (Camilla Luddington) were happily married for a time and even made it through Jo's breakdown over learning she was the product of rape, despite Jo giving Alex an easy out. Instead of taking it then, he decided to suddenly leave and went back to Izzie (Katherine Heigl) after learning she had two of his kids thanks to the eggs they had fertilized back when she had cancer. So now Jo is single and hopefully ready to find someone even better to spend her life with.

Status: Together

Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Link (Chris Carmack) hooked up at a conference once and now they've got a baby together! There was a rough patch for a second there while Amelia figured out who the father actually was, but now they seem more solid than ever. 

Status: Engaged…for now.

What do we even say about these two? Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Teddy (Kim Raver) were happy and they had a baby together and they were definitely going to get married, but then Teddy got all in her head about Amelia thinking her baby could be Owen's (a storyline we have yet to forgive the Grey's writers for) and cheated on Owen with Tom Koracick (Greg Germann). Owen now knows about the cheating thanks to a very NSFW voicemail and we're honestly getting very tired. 

Status: Separated

Richard (James Pickens Jr.) and Catherine (Debbie Allen)'s marriage fell fully apart last season. She was by his side when he got sick and he even hallucinated the two of them rekindling things, but then rejected her when the hallucinations wore off. Things are not looking great for this pair. 

Status: Together

Nico (Alex Landi) and Schmitt (Jake Borelli) have had their ups and downs, but they're still holding strong. They even made it through a long-distance relationship for a bit! 

Status: Sleeping together

We thought Teddy and Tom were over, but nope! They've continued to sleep together, and Tom's in love with her and wants her to fully choose him, while she's about to get married to Owen. A true mess that just keeps getting messier. 

Status: Dating

Maggie (Kelly McCreary) reunited with her old colleague Dr. Winston (Anthony Hill) at a medical conference last season, and the two really, really hit it off, spending a magical couple of days together before having to part due to a medical emergency. But now Hill is joining Grey's full time, and finally Maggie might be getting the relationship she has always deserved. Pompeo might have confirmed this when she tweeted about the couple, "You have no idea how adorable they are." 

Status: Married

Andy (Jaina Lee Ortiz) and Robert (Boris Kodjoe) quickly and suddenly got married in season three before Andy's dad died, but they weren't prepared for what comes next. Robert is thinking his wife will be there to support him through surgery recovery and his painkiller addiction, while she just learned (Spoiler Alert!) that her mom is secretly still alive. 

Status: Together

Carina (Stefania Spampinato) was ready to say goodbye to Maya (Danielle Savre), but in the season three finale of Station 19, Maya professed her love. Now, Carina's moving to Station 19 full-time! 

Status: Split

Jackson (Jesse Williams) moved on fairly quickly from Maggie (Kelly McCreary) with Vic (Barrett Doss), but that relationship now appears to be over too. Vic sorta kinda moved into Jackson's apartment without really telling him, and it turns out he didn't like that, even though she was basically homeless at the time. 

Status: Split

Travis (Jay Hayden) actually took a step in the most mature direction by breaking things off with Emmett (Lachlan Buchanan), since Emmett is newly out and Travis also just doesn't love him. Hopefully Travis is on the path to happiness and a real relationship! 

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC. 

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