Grey’s Anatomy’s fall finale airs Thursday night.
The series won’t be returning with new episodes until February 23, which should at least give fans plenty of time to prepare for what they know is coming… but may be hard to accept:
The departure of Ellen Pompeo.
We found out back in August that Pompeo would only return for Season 19 in the beloved role of Meredith for a total of eight episodes.
The actress has been candid over the past few years that she’s pretty much done with acting – and that she really doesn’t know where else the long-running show could go.
Heck, Pompeo once admitted that he wanted Grey’s Anatomy to end.
That day may still be far in the future, but the November 10 episode of the medical drama have done at least explain how and why Meredith’s time in Seattle is coming to an end.
The surgeon sent a short, sweet email to the staff of Gray Sloan Memorial Hospital, officially announcing that he was moving to Boston because he had accepted a position at the Catherine Fox Foundation to research Alzheimer’s disease.
On a professional level, this left Richard wondering how the decision would affect the new class of apprentices.
On a personal level, this left Nick reeling.
“You took a job in Boston without even talking to me, without even thinking about talking to me,” he told his girlfriend on the episode.
“And I understand. I am willing. I understand, your family needs you. But that sucks. It sucks. And I support because there is no other answer.”
Later, Maggie goes to Meredith’s house (formerly her mother’s, of course) to help her pack her things.
But then, after Meredith left for the procedure, lightning struck a tree right near the house.
The mother of three ran home, found her children safe and then handed her a framed Post-It of her original vows with Derek from that day on.
“Winston found this before. It fell when lightning struck. That’s all I managed to pick up,” said Maggie.
Looking ahead, meanwhile, ABC is streaming a trailer for the show’s winter premiere… making it clear that the February 23 episode will focus on Meredith’s stunning departure.
In the promo, the glowing Meredith walks the Gray Sloan aisles on her last day as she prepares to leave Seattle.
“It’s been a lot,” Meredith said, as the tape returned to the raging fire that ripped through the house she once shared with her late husband, Derek. “Fire. Moving.”
Naturally, however, Meredith later got a well-deserved reward for her legacy, though she called the hospital party “ridiculous.”
However, Owen, Teddy, Webber, Maggie, and others want their friends to have a moment to shine.
“For God’s sake Grey, will you let us toast you?” Owen said, offering him a glass of champagne.
As previously stated, Pompeo appeared in eight episodes of the season, and the winter premiere will mark his seventh episode.
This means the actress and executive producer will return to Gray at least one more time before season 19 ends.