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It’s fall, which means one of our favourite series of all time is finally back. That’s right, the doctors of Grey-Sloane Memorial are back in action, and when Season 13 of Grey’s Anatomy picks up it promises to be one of the biggest and best yet. Here are nine reasons why.

We’re back to square one

No, we don’t mean in terms of the storylines – we mean in terms of the characters themselves. Now that Grey’s Anatomy is the No. 1 drama in its time-slot again (a super impressive thing after 13 seasons), this season is going to feature a return to the original cast we know and love. That means more Meredith, Alex, Bailey and Webber, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Nothing against the newbies; they’re great and all, but there’s just something comforting about knowing we’re going to check in with some familiar faces again.

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Meredith could be shiny again

We will always (always) miss McDreamy, but Meredith deserves some happiness. We have a feeling that new dreamboat Nathan Riggs could be the man to give her that. Although we hear the couple will keep their relationship on the down-low when we return, it won’t take long for Maggie to find out and the whole thing will blow wide open. And that’s when the real fun will begin.

“What draws Meredith and Nathan together is their shared experience with the loss. Her loss of Derek and Nathan’s loss of Megan, his fiancée. There’s a common bond there,” actor Martin Henderson, who plays Riggs, tells us. “Being able to understand each other can sometimes be a powerful thing that draws people together. Often couples are actually bonded through a shared kind of traumatic experience or just similar hardships in life.”

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Alex is in trouble. A lot of trouble

Meredith may be happy(ish) with a new man, but another important man in her life – Alex – is going through a seriously dark time when the show returns. Karev has kind of been on the sidelines ever since he found his calling in pediatrics, but thanks to that brutal season finale in which Karev went crazy on DeLuca (over a huge misunderstanding with Jo nonetheless), the former bad boy is back. In a really big, scary way.

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Jo’s past finally comes to light

Speaking of Jo, can we talk about that finale bombshell reveal? So as it turns out Jo is technically married, and had an abusive husband. Given everything we already knew about her character that makes sense, but holy heck that also means she’s not going to be very forgiving of Alex’s actions. According to the big boss lady herself, Shonda Rhimes, a lot of the early part of this season is going to focus on domestic abuse. And given the way this show has treated other serious issues in the past, we’re kind of happy to see it covered in a real and relevant way.

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Doctors are all going to take sides

Of course the fact that it’s doctor versus doctor in this crazy new storyline means that all of the other docs are going to have to take sides. And thanks to the Callie-Arizona custody battle last season we all know how awful that is.

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April finally has her baby

On a happier note, we’re pleased as punch that all of that insane drama for Kepner is over. Seriously, the fact the she lost her first baby and then had to have a c-section sans drugs once she finally did get pregnant again was heartbreaking. Like, holy crap that’s a lot of suck. Thank goodness all the crappiness is now over and she can focus on being a mom. And maybe – just maybe – she and Avery can get back together too.

“As long as they’re alive there’s always hope. And now they have every reason to get back together: they have a baby together,” actress Sarah Drew, who plays Kepner tells us. “We saw the way they cared about each other through those crazy traumas and we’ve been watching them kind of soften toward one another so… there’s hope but you never really know. They could wind up just being much better at being peaceful and friendly co-parents. Or it might be better and more exciting for them to dip their toes back into a romantic relationship.”

Yes, that last thing please.

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Amelia and Owen are hitched

Yeah we can’t wait to see what Owen and Amelia look like now that they’re officially and contractually together. It means that Amelia is finally moving out of the sister house, and Meredith and Maggie will be left alone (to deal with all of their boy drama, no doubt). As far as we’re concerned those two deserve some happiness. And hey – if we’re lucky, Caterina Scorsone (the actress who plays Amelia) will have her real life pregnancy written into the show. Hey, Owen has always wanted kids.

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Arizona is moving on

Now that Callie is gone from Grey’s (insert a tear here), it’s really, really time for Arizona to find someone new. Thanks to actress Jessica Capshaw’s own real life pregnancy viewers won’t be seeing her too much at the outset, but once Arizona is back we hear she’s getting a new love interest. And it’s about time already. Happy and bubbly Arizona is always our favourite version of that character.

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Owen’s dead sister may return

Wait, what? Yeah, you read that right. Just because we think Owen’s sister (and Riggs’ fiancée) is dead doesn’t mean she actually is. While nothing has been officially confirmed, the rumour mill has it that Megan could actually be alive and well, and may make some kind of grand return. Now wouldn’t that throw a dramatic twist into the show?

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Seriously, we can’t wait.

Grey’s Anatomy returns Thursday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. on CTV.