This article contains spoilers for the Grey’s Anatomy Season Eight finale.
We were warned: someone would die. Still, at the end of the previous episode, I was a bit skeptical. How many other shows have done plane crashes before? Could Shonda Rhimes and company really pull it off without it being another episode of “Derek almost died” or “Meredith almost died”?
We should have known, though; this is Shonda we’re talking about. The Season Eight finale started off with a shell shocked Christina and a hysterical Meredith, pulled off with finesse by Sandra Oh and Ellen Pompeo. They were both so believable on screen that the panic quickly spread to fans watching. By the time we saw Lexie (Chyler Leigh) pinned under a piece of the plane, we knew Shonda wasn’t messing around. We lost Lexie with not even half of the episode under our belt, and things just got worse from there. Derek (Patrick Dempsey) tore his arm out of another giant piece of metal, Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) began coughing up blood after being pinned for hours, Christina and Meredith had to perform emergency heart surgery on Mark (Eric Dane), Owen (Kevin McKidd) fired Teddie (Kim Raver), and Bailey (Chandra Wilson) cemented her engagement to Ben (Jason George). In just one episode, the entire dynamic of the show changed.
Shonda said so herself that “if things had not turned out the way they had this season, I had a completely different thing planned for [Mark and Lexie].” She admitted that the loss of Lexie even hurt her, and then dropped another bomb. “I hate to say this, but just because you saw people alive at the end of the finale doesn’t mean they’re going to be alive when the season starts up,” she said. This leaves Season Nine open to some interesting changes.
In the previous episode, all of the characters who completed their residencies and passed their boards were slated to go to other hospitals to pursue their fellowships. With Teddie gone, Christina could now begin working toward taking her position. This would enable her and Owen to work on their marriage some more; Shonda has said many times that she has no intentions of breaking them up. If Christina stayed, Meredith would more than likely stay, and with the loss of her sister, she may not be in any hurry to leave their estranged father.
But what about everyone else? Arizona didn’t look too good at the end of the season finale. We last saw Alex (Justin Chambers) leaving her a voicemail telling her that he wanted to leave because he wanted to prove to himself that he could be great without her leadership. It would be a true test of his character if Arizona died and he was left to run pediatrics at Seattle Grace without her.
There has been speculation that Mark may die as well, even though Christina and Meredith stabilized him in their field trauma surgery. It would be more interesting to see how he survives after losing Lexie, and even more so if he and Callie (Sara Ramirez) were left to raise their daughter without a third parental unit. Even so, just because Mark almost died and then decided to live, we could very well lose him, too.
The actors who play Derek, Meredith, Christina, Alex, Bailey, and Richard have all renewed their contracts, so now that we’ve lost Lexie and Teddie, the question hangs: Who’s next? Shonda Rhimes has proved to be unpredictable, and with such a small portion of the cast having re-signed, anything could happen come next fall.
Two things are for sure, though: dark and twisty Meredith is looming, and Seattle Grace Mercy Death isn’t done wreaking havoc on our favorite characters.
What are your predictions for Season Nine?