Grey's Anatomy cast at 2016 people's choice Awards
Actress Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey) poses backstage with her award for Favorite Dramatic TV Actress with the cast of "Grey's Anatomy" during the People's Choice Awards 2016. Reuters/Danny Moloshok

"Grey's Anatomy" Season 12, Episode 8 aired Feb, 11, Thursday, on ABC. This week's new episode is the first after a long winter hiatus. Creator Shonda Rhimes and the writers deliver another shocker, but Ellen Pompeo's Meredith Grey comes out of it alive, stronger and better. Penny Blake (Samantha Sloyan) ultimately saves Meredith's life, perhaps more than once in "Sound of Silence."

Spoiler alert: This recap of highlights contains "Grey's Anatomy" Season 12 spoilers. Read on at your own risk if you have not watched the latest episode, which was directed by (the) Denzel Washington. The A-list actor's directing gig was announced a couple of months ago.

A trauma patient attacks Meredith, leaving her seriously injured. Meredith is unable to hear and speak for most of "Grey's Anatomy" Season 12, Episode 8. The patient has no recall of why and how he attacked his doctor. Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.), Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) and Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) -- together with the rest of the Grey Sloan Memorial board, department heads and Chief of Surgery Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) -- all help out to make sure Meredith is throughly fixed. Webber takes it to another level by talking to Meredith about forgiveness. Karev proves himself worthy to be Mer's "person," providing Mer with at least the same support that Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) would have given her through another emotional ordeal.

In a compelling Greys 12x08 confrontation, Penny finds herself yelling at Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) after the latter implied she had no idea what she was doing and she could mess up Meredith's jaw. The male brain, according to Mer's voice-over in the beginning of the episode, is unable to process the female voice unless the woman speaks up. Mer expresses her gratitude for Penny, who cut the wires locking her jaw after when she had a severe panic attack.

Meanwhile, Jackson himself is unable to speak up and make his wife understand what he went through when she left him for a job. Greys 12x08 marks a step forward in the Avery-Kepner split, and it seems the writers will see this through. April Kepner (Sarah Drew) receives the paperwork for their divorce and explodes in anger. Meredith hears them yelling soon after her ears started working again, thanks to Jackson's quick decisions when they realised Mer couldn't hear.

Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) is sober -- again. She gives Meredith her 30-day sobriety chip. Mer says she is not ready to forgive. When Amelia tries to get the chip back, Mer gestures she would keep it. It's enough between the two Shepherds.

In "Grey's Anatomy" Season 12, Episode 7 ("Things We Lost In The Fire"), Amelia is seen drinking again, with no other than her (sort of) boyfriend's nemesis. Viewers knew she was on the verge of backsliding to alcoholism. The assault on Meredith in Greys 12x08 takes her over the edge. Perhaps the impact would not have been as strong, if she had not acted petty and shallow when Mer called for a consult prior to the attack. Had Amelia been professional, she -- not Penny -- would have saved Meredith's life.

Capping the episode is the love story between Alex Karev and Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington). The two have been in a bad place since Jo couldn't fit herself in the circle that Karev shares with his close friends, particularly Meredith. But there's a scene in Greys 12x08 where Mer shows more clearly than ever the love that Jo has for her beau. Mer tells Karev he should not let fear get in the way; he should be with Jo. Will the two reconcile for good?

"Fill the damn silence," Meredith says in the closing moments of "Grey's Anatomy" Season 12, Episode 8. This fantastic episode was written by Stacy McKee and directed by Denzel Washington.

Bonus "Grey's Anatomy" Season 12 spoilers: The next episode is called, "All I Want Is You." Karev, Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) and Maggie are the central doctors in the medical case of the week. On personal issues, Grey 12x09 brings back the feud between Nathan Riggs (Martin Henderson) and Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) to the fore. The sex-romance also continues between Maggie and Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) next week.