When Ellen Pompeo‘s Meredith Gray first entered the halls of Seattle Grace Hospital as a surgical intern again in 2005, nobody may have foreseen the 19 seasons of literal blood, sweat, and tears that she’d shed on ABC’s Gray’s Anatomy—least of all of the actor herself. “I used to be like, ‘I am not going to be caught on a medical present for 5 years,'” she informed The Hollywood Reporters in 2018. “’Are you out of your fuckin’ thoughts?’”
But Thursday evening’s midseason premiere marked Pompeo’s 18th yr as Meredith, now chief of surgical procedure at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. It was additionally her final episode as a sequence common. However the character’s farewell was a surprisingly mellow expertise—not infused with the well-documented trauma she has confronted for almost two decadesc. Nor was the episode notably nostalgi—no flashbacks, starry visitor appearances, or perhaps a chorus of “Chasing Automobiles.”
Titled “I will Observe the Solar,” the episode, written by departing Gray’s Anatomy govt producer and showrunner Krista Vernoff and directed by the sequence’ govt producer and director Debbie Allen, largely centered on the present’s future. A brand new class of interns, performed by Midori Francis, Alexis Floyd, Niko Terho, different Harry Shum Jr. amongst others, battle to clean in and keep afloat of their private lives. In that means, issues really feel like a reset—every character a non secular successor to these performed by Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, TR Knight, different Justin Chambers on the present’s begin.
In the meantime, Meredith is at a romantic standstill with fellow surgeon Nick Marsh (Scott Speedman), who wasn’t included in her choice to maneuver from Seattle to Boston. Later within the episode, she makes clear her refusal to plead, as she did for Patrick Dempsey‘s Derek Shepherd to “choose me, select me, love me” all these years in the past. “I am a grown lady with an enormous life and large profession and three youngsters. This transfer is what my daughter wants. I would like you in my life if you wish to be in my life,” Meredith tells him. “But when I’ve to decide on, I choose me, I choose my youngsters, and I choose what’s greatest for us. And I am not going to beg you to like me.”
After her closing surgical procedure at Grey Sloan goes sideways, Meredith comforts Floyd’s intern Simone, telling her: “Be sorry once you cease feeling the losses,” earlier than insisting, “I do not work right here anymore, so you possibly can name me Meredith.” Throughout a relatively low-key celebration on the hospital, the present’s solely two remaining authentic solid members, Chandra Wilson different James Pickens Jr., pay tribute. “You recognize, as soon as upon a time, you have been the bane of my existence,” Wilson’s Miranda Bailey says. “However you grew as much as grow to be one among my biggest factors of satisfaction.” She turns into visibly emotional earlier than Richard Webber steps in: “Dr. Gray, what Dr. Bailey is making an attempt to say is that this place will not be the identical with out you.”
Meredith downplays the sendoff, telling her workers that the festivities are “very considerate and ridiculous as a result of I am solely going to Boston and, you understand, I will in all probability be right here subsequent week.”
Maybe a viewer’s enjoyment of the episode will hinge on whether or not or not they really consider her exit will stick. Pompeo just lately informed Leisure Tonight“For the file, it is not likely my closing [episode]. It is a bit little bit of a trick they’re enjoying on individuals.” As a substitute, her departure is being framed as a brief one, throughout which Pompeo will star in a Hulu present and proceed to govt produce and narrate Gray’s. Meredith can also be anticipated to pop up in a minimum of yet another episode earlier than season 19 is thru. Even sequence creator Shonda Rhimes indicated that this farewell is not eternally, writing on Instagram Thursday, “So long, Dr. gray.”