The April Kepner We Know Today is Like a Brand New Person, & We Need to Talk About It

A lot of characters have come and gone throughout the last 13 and a half seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Some I was more than happy to see go, while others I still miss to this day. While a few have made reappearances, most of them didn’t stick around the second time. I couldn’t be happier about the show’s choice for the one that has, but she’s not the same doctor she was in the beginning.

We’ve come a long way from the April Kepner we used to love to hate, the goody two shoes intern who drove everyone nuts, who cried when her little red book was swiped by Lexie Grey, and who failed to gain the respect of her fellow residents when she was declared Chief Resident at the end of the show’s seventh season.

Today, despite all of the hiccups in both her personal and professional lives, April is a fully-fledged kickass trauma surgeon. She’s seen her best friend die, failed her boards, she’s lost her job at the hospital and been rehired (twice!). She lost her first-born and got divorced, and she’s been through two wartime tours. She is so much stronger now than she was back then. 

April still has her moments today where we see reflections of her old self, such as when she betrayed Meredith and Richard by stepping into the role of Interim Head of General Surgery, turning on a dime when it meant she’d get to jump ahead, but even in those moments she advocated for herself in ways that she never would have before all that she’s been through.

She’s gone from crawling up Derek Shepherd’s ass, from being embarrassed about her lack of sexual history yet defensive of her relationship with God to running her own surgical competition, sleeping with an intern and questioning the existence of God.

I fully came to appreciate the new April in the episode “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," when, exhausted, she arrived to find a hoard of eager doctors awaiting the rules of the new surgical innovation contest. They were indignant at the mention of the required written proposal and questioned April about the judgements, leading her into a heated moment defending her strategies.

On one hand, these reactions seem a bit extreme, even annoying in their own right. On the other, in this, the age of the woman, these are the reactions that we need to be encouraging — no more "just" doing anything, no more sacrificing your own opportunities in the name of someone else, no more standing for being called a bitch for speaking up. April grew up, from that spineless baby surgeon to a self-assured boss babe, and she is flourishing.

Does that make you uncomfortable? Then it's time for you to grow up, too.