'Grey's Anatomy' Spoilers — Shonda Rhimes Promises 'Extraordinary' Winter Premiere, Romance For Meredith And Nathan?

As usual, Grey's Anatomy left fans with a lot of questions following its mid-season finale. With the show currently in the midst of its winter hiatus, Shonda Rhimes recently promised fans that the opening episode of the second half of Season 12 would offer some interesting developments on the Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) front. Does this mean that a romance is in the works for Meredith?

"It's been really fun getting to explore Meredith and where she's going and who she's becoming," Rhimes explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

The mid-season finale featured a number of intense developments that included several relationships reaching a breaking point. In fact, not only did Owen (Kevin McKidd) get into a physical altercation with Riggs (Martin Henderson), but Meredith and Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) managed to get in an epic argument that dug up their tragic past.

Will Meredith and Amelia be able to put their differences aside on 'Grey's Anatomy'? [Image via NBC]
Will Meredith and Amelia be able to put their differences aside on 'Grey's Anatomy'? [Image via NBC]With the mid-season finale being fairly dark in tone, the first episode after the winter break is expected to be lighter in nature. Apparently, the cast and crew of the show have taken the shift in tone in stride and had a lot of fun while filming the next episode of Grey's Anatomy, titled "The Sound of Silence." That being said, Rhimes added that fans can still expect a powerful installment when the hit medical drama returns to television.

"We've been having a blast [on set]," Rhimes explained in the interview. "The first episode that comes back is extraordinary and very, very powerful."

Meanwhile, based on Rhimes' comments, it would appear as though Meredith will continue to be the focus of this season. With Patrick Dempsey's Dr. Derek Shepherd now out of the picture, following his death at the end of last season, is it possible that Meredith finds romance with newcomer Nathan Riggs?

In an interview with TV Line, Henderson recently opened up about his character and the possibility of a relationship with Meredith. Although Henderson admitted that he was in no way a replacement for Dempsey on the show, he did leave the door open for his character to fall in love with Meredith.

"Obviously it's a possibility," he told the outlet. "It's just as viable that I end up with anyone on the show. At the end of the day, my job is to serve the audience, and I do that by serving Shonda. If [a Nathan-Meredith romance] happens, I know there would be some strong feelings, positive and negative."

The idea of a budding romance between the characters first surfaced when Meredith and Nathan shared an elevator ride together. Although the spark between the characters was subtle, it definitely seemed as though the show was hinting a future relationship for Meredith and Nathan.

Will April and Jackson get back together in the 'Grey's Anatomy' winter premiere? [Image via ABC]
Will April and Jackson get back together in the 'Grey's Anatomy' winter premiere? [Image via ABC]"It's interesting. I didn't know how Ellen was going to play the [elevator] scene until we did the coverage, and I was like, 'Wow — is she flirting with me? Or is she just screwing with me?'" Henderson revealed in the interview. "And that's the kind of stuff that Shonda really likes to write to. And if she feels there's something to be mined there she will. And if there's not then she won't."

Given Rhimes' ability to surprise fans, it is not clear what will become of Nathan and Meredith, and whether or not they will become an item on the show. If they do end up having some kind of a romance, then it would definitely be interesting to see how Owen reacts to the situation, especially considering his complicated past with Nathan.

The next episode of Grey's Anatomy, titled "The Sound of Silence," is set to air February 11 on ABC.

Tell us! What do you predict will happen between Meredith and Nathan when Grey's Anatomy returns? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image via ABC]