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Did Arizona Robbins’ Return to Grey’s Anatomy Hit Us In the Feels the Way We’d Hoped?

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If there is one thing inevitable about getting attached to a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy, you’re toying with fire.


Numerous beloved cast members have come and gone from the hit hospital drama since it first aired in 2005.


One of those characters is Dr. Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw), which fans saw the return of in Grey’s Anatomy Season 20 Episode 4. 


Dr. Robbins has undoubtedly had one of the most exciting story arcs in the show.


She played a pivotal and inspirational character during the roughly nine years she was an attending surgeon and chief of pediatric surgery.


After six years of not being on the show, she returned for Grey’s Anatomy Season 20 Episode 4 to perform a revolutionary fetal brain surgery.


Astonishing, to say the least, but did her return hit us in the feels the way we had hoped?


When Did Arizona Robbins First Appear in Grey’s Anatomy?


Robbins first rolled in on her wheelies in Grey’s Anatomy Season 5 Episode 11 as the new chief of pediatric surgery and an attending surgeon at what was then Seattle Grace Hospital.


Her bubbly and quirky personality caught other doctors off guard and led them not to take her all that seriously.


However, that changed pretty quickly once they realized she was not playing around as a doctor, and her quirks were made to make her kid patients more comfortable.


Robbins and Dr. Callie Torres soon hit it off, sparking a relationship full of emotional ups and downs.


Their relationship was instrumental initially because members of the LGBTQ community were sorely underrepresented in TV then.


One of Robbins’ most touching moments was when she confronted Torres’ dad about his disapproval of his daughter’s sexuality.


Arizona Robbins’ Grey’s Anatomy History


Throughout the series, Robbins has had glorious moments and bumps in the road.


In Grey’s Anatomy Season 7, Robbins goes on a brief stint to Africa after getting an esteemed grant to work there for three years.


Torres was supposed to go with her, but after an argument, Robbins left without her, only to return early and find out Torres was now pregnant with Mark Sloan’s baby.


Reluctant at the beginning of their relationship to have a baby, Robbins accepts the situation and becomes a co-parent, accepting Sofia Robbin Sloan Torres as her own.


The two eventually are married by Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) after a proposal that was followed by a car crash that left Torres in critical condition, forcing Sofia to be prematurely born.


The following season, Robbins’ is in the infamous plane crash, which led to one of her legs being amputated.


After the hospital is sued for negligence, it is left bankrupt.


To prevent it from closing, the doctors who received the money from the suit and Torres bought the hospital with the help of the Harper-Avery Foundation.


It is then renamed to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in honor of Mark Sloan and Lexi Grey, who died in the crash, and each doctor is given a spot on the new board of directors.


The ripples from the crash do not end there, though.


Robbins is somewhat resentful towards Torres because Torres, being the orthopedic surgeon, was the one who decided to amputate her leg.


Robbins also understandably has difficulty adjusting to missing a leg and becomes self-conscious, but the two sort out their issues.


When plastic surgeon Dr. Lauren Boswell comes to the hospital to perform a facial reconstruction on a baby, she and Robbins hit it off.


Robbins ends up cheating on Torres with Boswell, resulting in Torres kicking Robbins out of their house and causing the unfortunate downfall of their relationship.


After a couple of failed attempts at couples therapy, a miscarriage, Robbins’ career change to fetal surgery in Grey’s Anatomy Season 11, and a 30-day break, they end up getting divorced.


Robbins’ Departure From Grey’s Anatomy


After the two get divorced, Torres eventually ends up moving to New York when her new girlfriend, Penny, is accepted for a grant.


What a blast from the past. It was actually easy to forget about Penny and all the drama that circulated her. It was a true Shonda Rhimes Grey’s Anatomy twist. 


Anyway, Sofia is obviously upset about having to split her time between her two mothers.


Robbins ultimately decides to leave Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital during Grey’s Anatomy Season 14 and move to New York so they can reunite with Torres.


Robbins’ Return to Grey’s Anatomy


Fast forward almost exactly six years, and fans are graced with Dr. Arizona Robbins’ presence.


Her return is to save the life of a baby that is still in utero in Grey’s Anatomy Season 20 Episode 4.


One of Dr. Bailey’s patients is a lady named Vida Madera, who is 30 weeks pregnant with a baby that has a rare blood vessel abnormality in its brain.


Babies born with this abnormality usually die or end up with severe brain injury, but Robbins’ clinical trial is there to save the day, and Vida is first in line.


It was honestly nice to see Robbins come so far, as her departure was at the beginning of her career change to fetal surgery.


It came as no surprise to see her thriving in the field and performing groundbreaking surgery, which she had first learned from mentor Dr. Nicole Herman.


Now, Robbins has always been a controversial character on the show. Some loved her, some hated her.


She wasn’t a perfect character, even managing to irk a little.


That did eventually change, though, and she really grew on fans. To our surprise, we were even sad when she left.


Although maybe we were just sad to see yet another OG Grey’s doctor depart.


Unfortunately, her return was a little anti-climactic.


Sure, the surgery was enthralling, and hearing her passionate discussion on it while advertising the Robbins-Herman Center for Women’s Health was touching.


Despite Dr. Herman’s (Geena Davis) stand-offish attitude at the character’s introduction, we wanted to see more of her.


So, yes, that was all fine and dandy, and we are always down with a Grey’s alum doctor making a return, even if for just one episode.


Didn’t it give you chills to see her again? Still, it was nothing as exciting as it would have been seeing Addison Montgomery, even though she’s had numerous cameos.


Robbins’ return was not as emotional as expected, and the fact that we got NOTHING about Callie or Sofia or her life in New York only added to the disappointment.


Plus, she low-key kind of dogged Bailey the whole time and covered it with that Arizona Robbins cheer that made viewers question her likeability at the beginning and added to the judgemental, narcissistic behaviors fans point out.


So, really, we would probably have liked to see many other doctors return before Arizona Robbins.


Callie Torres was one of the best the show saw, so Robbins’ longtime counterpart is at the top of that list.


After the And Just Like That… crowd crowed so loudly about Sara Ramirez’s character turn on that show, we’d like to see Ramirez return as Callie to put that undesirable character to rest.


Alex Karev, Cristina Yang, Jackson Avery, and Izzie Stevens are also at the top of our hope-to-return list, but we aren’t even sure how far along Stevens’ medical career went, which probably doesn’t shock most.


But, I would even go so far as to say Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington), Erica Hahn, April Kepner, Dr. Hayes, or even another Addison Montgomery return would have been more emotional for me.


That is not to say it didn’t hit home for a lot of viewers; surely, it did for some.


There are plenty of Arizona Robbins fans out there.


What did you think?


Comment below whether Robbins’ return hit you in the feels the way you’d hoped!

Eve Pierpont is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow her on X.



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