ABC/Nicole Wilder
Natalie Abrams
January 26, 2017 AT 09:00 PM EST

After her trip to the pokey, Arizona will return to a Grey Sloan in turmoil as new doctor, and potential love interest, Eliza Minnick faces a rough first day at the hospital.

Eliza (Marika Dominczyk) was brought in to essentially replace Richard (James Pickens Jr.) as the head of the intern program, which did not sit well with many of the doctors, who seemed poised to strike over her arrival. That makes things especially difficult for Arizona (Jessica Capshaw), who is in the really early stages of a flirtation with the new doc. Where will Arizona land in all of this? Capshaw weighs in:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tease for Eliza and Arizona’s budding relationship?
JESSICA CAPSHAW: There’s something that I really, really love about a quasi or demi-forbidden relationship, and we have the makings of that. Arizona is in a tricky position, because here comes the first woman in a while that makes her feel a certain way, feel flirted with and excited and feel flirty back, but also sort of pisses her off. All that stuff is made of a great TV or movie relationship, where you see them bickering but in a way that’s flirty and sexy as opposed to aggressive or mean. She has that, but at the same time, she feels a bit fettered by the fact that Richard is her wingman; that’s her friend. I think she knows that Eliza hasn’t come in to get rid of Richard, but she’s obviously upsetting the apple cart by illuminating the ways that Richard might be coming up short as the interns’ teacher. It’s conflicting for her to feel the way she does about Eliza and be excited about it. It’s not like she loves her, so she’d give up everything for her; it’s just the promise of something and the beginning of something. It’s hard for her to figure out whether or not she should allow herself to have this minute of flirty fun or if she should just completely say, “No, I’m sorry. You’re here to displace my friend, and I can’t have anything to do with you.”

Where does Arizona fall when everyone’s trying to make Eliza’s first official day at the hospital a living hell?
In the beginning, she falls with the, “Get out of my way!” Eliza tries to get into her OR, and she’s like, “Not at all, not a chance, not even close, you’re not going to be a part of this.” In the beginning, she certainly tries — I don’t know how wholeheartedly she tries — to get her to back off. She tries to stay true and loyal to Richard and to make Eliza feel as unwelcome as possible.

With the hospital divided, are we looking at a potential strike?
I don’t think we’re looking at a strike — well, maybe a strike on certain friendships, but not a full-blown hospital strike. Once it’s revealed where people lie in all of it, there’s definitely some relationships that hang in the balance. It’s the question we all ask ourselves in our own personal lives: If you have to ask if someone is for you or against you, it’s usually not for you. You have to pick which side of the line to be on sometimes. It’s less gray here, pun intended, because you’re either for Eliza coming in and displacing Richard, or you’re for Richard staying and Eliza going. That’s the problem, and obviously, it complicates a lot of relationships.

How do you think this relationship will be different from her one from Callie (Sara Ramirez)? How do you think Arizona is different going into it?
I thought about that a lot. I think the thing that’s really interesting and different, and creates a different starting point for Eliza and Arizona, is that when Callie and Arizona met, Callie wasn’t even actually completely knowing that she was interested in being in a relationship like that. I don’t think she was fully formed yet. There were those early scenes where Callie goes to ask Arizona out again, and Arizona is like, “No, you know what, I’m so sorry, you’re new to all of this. You’re feeling like this is exciting, and yay, but I want to be with someone who’s really ready for this.” That would be what Eliza is. I think there’s no question about Eliza’s sexuality. Eliza is a fully formed, ready-to-go woman who has a career, a life, an understanding of who she is, so she decides she wants to go after Arizona, and it’s very clear; there’s no wishy-washiness. It’s very self-actualized. I think there’s something kind of different and exciting about that, because they’re starting from a point that there’s no deficit, there’s no wishy-washiness. “You, I like you.” There’s something kind of freeing about that and exciting in a way that is fresh and new for Arizona, or Arizona on the show.

We got a bit of info on Arizona’s daughter being on the other side of the country, but will we hear a little more about what’s going on with Callie and Sofia in upcoming episodes?
You know what, I have no idea. I could sneak into the writers’ bungalow and install a listening device, and maybe I’d know more. Where I think that I’ve landed — and I don’t know if this would be backed up, but it probably would by Shonda [Rhimes] and the writers — I know that I chose to stay in the place that feels the yummiest and the most comfortable, which is thinking and imagining that there is this whole life happening in New York that includes Callie, Penny, and Sofia, and that it is robust, lovely, and supportive. So everything that Arizona is doing doesn’t feel compromised or conflicting because it’s all just love, love, love, and support. They’re just separated by geography now, not by a choice to not be together.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Stay tuned for more scoop from Capshaw in Friday’s Spoiler Room.

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