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Remember when Derek (Patrick Dempsey) was killed off Grey’s Anatomy and we wondered what the entire point of the show could even be without him? That seems like a really, really long time ago now, doesn’t it?

Maybe that’s because the show has done such a great job of honouring the character, while making this new iteration of the show lots of fun (with all the proper hints of the dark-and-twisty drama we know and love). Need more proof? Here are 23 reasons we’re kind of digging this Grey’s 2.0.

1. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) wearing Derek’s scrub cap

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No one called attention to it, it was just a thing that happened and we love it. Sail on.

2. The sisters

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There is no one more mismatched than Amelia (Caterina Scorsone), Maggie (Kelly McCreary) and Meredith. And that’s exactly why we love this Three’s Company pairing so darned much.

3. Merenity Now

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Mer’s newfound calm has got to be one of our favourite things. We mean, who else could handle mentoring the person who killed her husband? We certainly can’t think of anyone.

4. Chief Bailey

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Even if Bailey (Chandra Wilson) is hiring people without the department head’s consent, she’s proving to be a rock star chief. One who doesn’t take any crap from anyone, circa the Nazi Bailey days.

5. All of the department heads are female

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If that isn’t gal power at it’s finest we don’t know what is. We doubly love that the show alludes to this whenever possible. #RoleModels

6. These new Canadian additions

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We don’t know what’s in the water at Grey Sloan Memorial, but we love that Ontario natives Max Topplin and Joe Dinicol are two of the latest bumbling interns to roam the halls.

7. The morning carpool

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We don’t know who decided it would be a good idea to showcase saving the environment, but it’s led to some of our most favourite moments so far this season. UTIs, anyone?

8. Richard (James Pickens Jr.) the wingman

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Okay, so sad, single Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) hasn’t been our favourite this season, but since it led to a great night out with Webber the trivia buff, we’re behind it now. Besides, clearly Arizona is ready to move on, and we’re down with that.

9. Alex (Justin Chambers) and Meredith’s new BFF status

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Given that these are the only original two interns left on the series, it’s just plain old awesome that they’re besties. There’s something super touching about Alex trying to be the new Cristina (Sandra Oh), even though he’ll never actually replace her.

10. The acoustics

Anyone else noticed that many popular songs are getting the acoustic treatment on the series this year? No complaints; we’re really into it. And that includes this cover of “Wrecking Ball.”

11. The cases still rock

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Between the man who had a skull transplant and the little boy with the tumor hands, Grey’s is showcasing some of its best stuff yet.

12. Bailey and Ben (Jason George)

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How cute have they been this season? First he was helping her transition into her new role, then she wanted to get some sexy times in. The only problem? One Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), a.k.a. their new roommate…

13. Dark and twisty Owen (Kevin McKidd)

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Remember when Owen was all PTSD and Cristina had to help him through? Now that she’s been gone for a while, it seems to be kicking back in. Of course it doesn’t help that Dr. Nathan Riggs (Martin Henderson) is back from those days to haunt him.

14. Dr. Nathan Riggs

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Even though “we hate him,” we really kind of don’t. He is some new eye candy to the already incredibly good-looking cast, after all.

15. Jo (Camilla Luddington) versus Stephanie (Jerrika Hinton)

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We obviously don’t want these two to fight for long, since they should be BFFs and all. But it is kind of fun to watch this type of professional jealousy that Mer and Cristina used to have.

16. The hot intern

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We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti), who we’re also fine referring to as Baby Karev.

17. April 2.0

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Ever since April came back from war, she’s been a brand new person. We love her newfound confidence and independence, even if we do wish she’d let up on Jackson a little bit (but c’mon, are they really over?).

18. Not so much kid time

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While we completely recognize that Mer is an amazing mother, it’s also nice to know that most of the action is taking place back at the hospital this year. While we don’t mind seeing the kiddies every once in a while, they still remind us of McDreamy and all that could have been.

19. This is a lighter show, plain and simple

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For the first time since the early seasons, we’re not worried that a freak storm or hospital shooter or a plane crash is going to ruin the lives of our favourite TV doctors. That said, it’s still Grey’s Anatomy with lots of steamy sex, complex cases and hiccups to contend with on a weekly basis. The big difference? Now we’re watching with a smile on our faces, as opposed to with a pillow covering our eyes.

It’s a nice little breather indeed.

Grey’s Anatomy’s winter finale airs Thursday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. ET.