It’s no small feat to run a medical drama for 17 seasons. ABCs Grey’s Anatomy premiered in 2005 and has been running for over 15 years now. But when a show goes on that long, it’s bound to ruffle some feathers. Characters leave, tragedies occur and storylines change.
In Grey’s Universe, this also meant we saw Meredith Gray – the protagonist we have to reckon with – blossom from a broken intern to a strong hospital ward head. We have also seen her survive multiple tragic events, bombing, drowning, hospital shooting, giving birth during a blackout, death of her husband and sister, brutal attack by a patient, among other losses and grief.
The hospital itself has changed names several times. It was initially called Seattle Grace Hospital, then became Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital, and was eventually renamed Gray Sloan Memorial after the whole plane crash debacle.
The fact that the show is returning for another season is a miracle in itself, as the pandemic storyline kept viewers in the loop about the protagonist’s fate. In the real world, that was because the decision to bring it back was up to Ellen Pompeo. Showrunner Krist Vernoff even has two versions of the previous season ready in case she had to wrap it all up.
Now the premiere date for the show’s 18th season has been announced on the official social media accounts: “My heartbeat is rising as #GreysAnatomy returns September 30th at 9|8c on ABC!”
But we strongly feel it’s time to put the show to rest. This is why.
The last season was a throwback & goodbye party
One of the biggest complaints with all long-running television series is that the actors leave – committing to the same character for over 15 years feels overwhelming. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, even if the character arc and growth is huge. Example: Justin Chambers, who played Alex Karev, and who was loved as a co-star on the show. Last season he made an unsatisfactory exit.
So in the last season we saw a lot more exits. Jesse Williams, who played medical royalty Jackson Avery, departed in a heartwarming farewell. Before him, we said goodbye to Giacomo Gianniotti, whose character Andrew DeLuca was heroically killed off the show.
But this season also brought many longtime fan-favorite characters — McDreamy, McSteamy, Lexie Grey, George O’ Malley — through a fictional beach where Meredith considered leaving or staying as she battled Covid in the real world.
What was clear about this beach storyline was that the writers wanted to cheer up their fans and viewers. The pandemic is a sensitive storyline anyway, and it would have been too grim to portray the medical community while we were still in the middle of it. It was a nice touch, but it also felt like the writers were clinging to nostalgia to keep their viewers engaged and surprised.
Meredith has had enough misfortunes for a lifetime
Fans have always complained that Meredith Gray needs a quiet ending and wrap up. It’s because she’s suffered enough losses for a lifetime. She also lost to Deluca this season. She says she is the last one standing. Everyone in her residency class has left or died. Fans find it painful to see her go through more trials and tribulations in life.
It’s good to see her with the kids and that picture feels complete. We enjoyed the spin-offs of the Grey’s Anatomy universe a lot, but the oh-so-frequent crossover episodes with Station 19 get distasteful very quickly. That also feels like the producers are drawing attention to other features.
We’ve been enjoying Meredith’s monologues for 17 seasons, but the next season may just be her last chance to dish out wisdom.
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