‘Grey’s Anatomy’: How Will Penny’s Arrival Shake Meredith — and Callie?

The last episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” saw the arrival of Callie’s (Sara Ramirez) new girlfriend, a doctor by the name of Penny. Turns out, Penny is the doctor who let Derek (Patrick Dempsey) die during Season 11.

Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) was completely distraught in the recent episode, in which Callie brought Penny to a dinner party at Mer’s home, not knowing her eerily close ties to her tight-knit group of friends. Derek’s sister Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) was equally enraged by Penny’s arrival, and meanwhile, Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) was drunk over the fact that Callie, her ex, brought along her new partner. To make matters more complicated, Penny announced to the group that she’ll be accepting a job at the hosptial.

When Penny left Meredith’s home, Dr. Grey told her that she’ll see her at work. Now that the day has come for Penny to join the MDs, Samantha Sloyan, who plays the new character, tells Variety what to expect.

Why does Penny agree to stay?
As Meredith told her at Dillard [after Derek’s death], Penny doesn’t get to quit. She has to work harder, be better. That drives Penny. Grey Sloan Memorial is the best teaching hospital. So Grey Sloan Memorial is where she has to be.

How much more of Penny will we see?
It depends on if she can survive her first day and prove that she deserves to stay there.

What can we expect when Penny gets to the hospital?
It’s one thing for Penny to try and live by Meredith’s advice. It is another to try and do so in the same hospital. Penny better be at the top of her game.

What’s in store for Meredith and Penny? Any chance they can grow into a civil relationship? 
Penny is a constant reminder of Meredith’s loss. And Meredith of Penny’s failure. Those aren’t things you can easily “get over.” I think they have a long way to go.

With Penny in the picture, how much more talk (or flashbacks) of Derek will there be?
The death of Derek deeply effected Meredith, Amelia — really everyone, Penny included. They have been working through their loss and trying to heal. Penny coming back into the picture has definitely opened old wounds.

Now that everyone knows who Penny is, can she and Callie continue on with their relationship?
The last we saw Callie and Penny they were leaving the party separately. Penny still cares for Callie, but she can’t assume Callie will feel the same after what happened.

Is Callie upset with Penny for withholding this info from her?
As Penny tells Callie after the party, that night at Dillard was the worst of her life. She cares deeply about Callie and would have shared it with her at some point. But it can be hard to let people see the parts of ourselves we are ashamed of. When it’s Meredith who opens the door at the dinner party, and Penny finds out not only that Callie knew Derek but how important he was to her, I think Penny wishes she had, had the courage to tell her sooner.

Who will be Penny’s allies? On the other hand, who will shut her out? 
During the clean-up from the party, we heard April talk about how as a doctor, a mistake can mean someone’s life. I think on some level everyone understands that about Penny’s situation. This understanding may help some people to be forgiving. As for Meredith and Amelia, the hurt is deeper. I don’t know if they will ever be able to look and Penny and not feel the loss of Derek.

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