When Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes decides to amp up the drama, she really knows how to bring the pain. This week’s season finale lived up to the hype: death, departures and “Oh no she didn’t!” When the final credits rolled, more than half of the regular characters on the show were planning on leaving Seattle Grace/Mercy West, but will they all leave? Let’s take a look character by character – and actor by actor – and try to figure out where the story might be headed.
Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh)
Where we left her: She pretty much had a plane fall on her and died on screen – and I promise there was no tears at my house, no sir, not a single one I promise.
Chances for return: This one should be pretty obvious.
Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey)
Where we left them: Broken and bruised, but still alive – though Derek’s injury to his left arm/hand should have repercussions on his surgical career. Before the crash, the couple was planning on leaving Seattle for Boston.
Chances for return: It would hard to let the namesake of the show leave, especially after killing the only other character who could validate the name. Plus, both Dempsey and Pompeo recently signed on for two more seasons.
Alex Karev (Justin Chambers)
Where we left him: In Arizona’s doghouse, headed to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, but fortuitously avoided the flight to Idaho because of said doghouse.
Chances for return: The voicemail he left his mentor actually cued the audience into a thought process that – gasp! – made sense, and would make for a believable out for the character. But, alas, he too has signed to return for the next two seasons.
Mark Sloan (Eric Dane)
Where we left him: Devastated by the loss of the woman he loved, and also rocking a hellacious chest wound that required MacGyver-esque surgery to releave the pressure on his heart. His conversation with Arizona was enough to let the audience know he might be losing the will to fight to survive.
Chances for return: Mark was actually my early prediction on who wouldn’t survive this episode, but his departure now would rob the audience of seeing the story of how he lives with his loss.
Teddy Altman (Kim Raver)
Where we left her: Considering all the hype surrounding the big death in the finale, Altman’s job offer to run Army Medical Command — and subsequently being fired by Owen — came out of left field.
Chances for return: Rhimes confirmed in an interview with TV Guide’s Natalie Abrams that Raver is leaving the show. According to the showrunner, it was a mutual decision.
Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh)
Where we left her: Also crashed in the middle of nowhere, with no help in sight. When rescued, she’s planning on ditching Seattle – and husband Owen – for a position at the Mayo Clinic.
Chances for return: No one is allowed to be kicked when they’re down as much as Meredith, so Owen won’t have to lose both Teddy and Cristina. She was also one of the original cast members who recently re-upped – a list completed by James Pickens, whose departure I’ve been predicting incorrectly for several seasons.
Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw)
Where we left her: I’m no doctor – nor do I play one on TV – but I’ve had enough first aid to know that an open femur fracture is pretty much the most life-threatening orthopedic injury there is (the femur is the biggest bone in the body, and a broken one can allow significant blood loss if not resolved quickly). Plus, there was the one hint of more serious internal bleeding that she didn’t share with anyone – which was a very interesting juxtaposition considering her brother’s friend is still at Seattle Grace/Mercy West dying because he didn’t get his cancer treated.
Chances for return: If it weren’t for Rhimes’ interview confirming only Leigh and Raver’s departure, I wouldn’t be rating her chances very high. Now, however, I think she’s in for a season premiere recovery even more miraculous than her girlfriend’s comeback from the car accident last season.
Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams)
Where we left him: Unsure of what the changes in his relationship with April Kepner might mean, and with a job offer at Tulane on the table.
Chances for return: Good to great. Williams adds an interesting dynamic to the show, and Avery needs to be around to make his mother’s relationship with Webber all that more awkward.
April Kepner (Sarah Drew)
Where we left her: Her failing score on the boards caused all of her job offers to be rescinded, including the one from Seattle Grace/Mercy West.
Chances for return: It wasn’t that long ago that I lamented the fact that April survived the shooting rampage while Reed Adamson did not. I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but since then April has somehow become one of my favorite characters. I’m not sure how the career logistics will work, but she will find some way to stick around, much to the dismay of fellow clacker Meredith O’Brien.
Ben Warren (Jason George)
Where we left him: Arguing with Miranda Bailey on who had proposed last and working out the details of how a long distance relationship with work considering his surgical internship in Los Angeles.
Chances for return: George has a regular role on ABC’s Mistresses, which was picked up for mid-season. Will this allow for enough time to make a mostly off-screen relationship work? As only a recurring character, he’s left the show before – for the criminally underrated Off the Map – and make it work.
I’ve loved Lexie and it crushed me (the irony!) that she died. Like you, April has grown on me even though her sudden christianity felt really, really forced and out of the nowhere.
Lexie dying opens the door for April to be re-hired another year, so she’ll obviously stay.
Karev will have guilty conscience because Arizona was in the plane because of him and will probably stay to help out at peds while she recovers (if she recovers, like you said, we might be in for more deaths)
Meredith, Christina and Derek I’m not sure how they gonna make them stay. But if they make another season with a surly Derek this time mourning his broken hand… good god, please save us–he’ll probably still find a way to blame Mer for it.
Mark… I think like with Arizona, they weren’t sure whats gonna happen with them over the summer so again it’s probably gonna hand on whenever the actors decide to stay or not. I hope he returns because I like the actor.
Damn you Shondra, that’s all I have to say.
It’s a fracture at the neck of the femur that can be life-threatening, because the blood vessels there can bleed a lot – old people can die from these “hip fractures”. The blood that Arizona coughed up could have been from any number of things – potentially serious but not necessarily acutely life-threatening. Obviously any open fracture is a bad fracture, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if she survived.
That said, this is Grey’s Anatomy – I wouldn’t be surprised if Lexie survived!
Keep in mind though, dzmax … They’ve been stranded for at least 6 hours.
This is true, but if she were bleeding at the fracture site, she would be looking more like Mark after six hours, and she’d be in a hell of a lot of pain. I don’t think Arizona’s chances are that bad at the moment. Only a few months to wait to find out which of us is right! :P
I think we will see Arizona very near death or dead and revived like Callie. The purpose of Arizona is to cause growth in the character of Callie. This season we saw Callie start to understand Arizona had a life without her and also understand what Arizona puts up with having Mark in their daily life. Callie is starting to become a complete person thru these experiences. The near loss of her wife will only add to that growth. We’ve seen Callie grieve the loss of a spouse. Now we will see her return the support her wife gave her. Calzona will be busy next season.
Not only is Arizona the best thing to look at on the show, but she is the best looking lezbian character ever on TV. The show will truly suffer if she is killed off or leaves.