Ellen Pompeo Left Grey's Anatomy, Now What?
What is Grey's Anatomy without Meredith Grey?
Since 2005, Ellen Pompeo has been dawning hospital scrubs as our favorite dark and twisty surgeon on Grey's Anatomy. Despite an ever-changing cast, viewers could tune in every week confident that Meredith Grey will relate surgery to her everyday issues. However, after years of questioning whether Ellen Pompeo would leave the show, she finally did. Grey's creator, Shonda Rhimes, has always been transparent about the show ending whenever Pompeo left, so everyone was surprised to discover that the show would go on with her.
Hardcore fans have become accustomed to the carousel of characters entering and departing from the show, and its almost become a signature of the show to do grand goodbyes. George O'Malley, Christina Yang, Lexie Grey, Mark Sloan, Derek Shepard, Callie Torres, April Kepner, Arizona Robbins, Alex Karev, and Jackson Avery received the royal Grey's treatment when they departed from the show. Fans eagerly awaited Meredith Grey's grand departure episode, but it never came.
Meredith quit her job as chief of surgery to move to Boston, where she intends to cure Alzheimer's and send her daughter Zola to a special school for advanced students. Her epic sendoff was a champagne toast with a bat mitzvah cake and the reminder that she would be back.
Even the recurring character Addison Montgomery, acknowledged Meredith's almost mascot status for the hospital, so her exit didn't adequately fulfill her role in the show. Her departure felt like the writers coddling the fans, so they forget to mourn Meredith and tune in to the next episode. The numerous discussions and rants last season when Meredith almost moved to Minnesota made it clear that her exit was incoming. Still, the tease failed when she ultimately decided to stay at Grey Sloan Memorial. As fans, we had dealt with her potential departure plenty of times' this time, we were coddled every step of the way and were somehow still surprised when it finally happened.
So what does Grey's Anatomy look like without Meredith Grey?
Similar to the series premiere, it focuses on a new class of interns, including Derek and Amelia's nephew, who moved into Meredith's house. Watching them paint and redecorate the house felt representative of the show's reinvention. Each of their personalities resembles that of an original cast member. The new Alex Karev is Dr. Benson Kwan, played by Harry Shum, Jr. The new Christina Yang is the competitive and self-assured Dr. Mika Yasuda, played by Midori Francis. Like Meredith Grey, Dr. Simone Griffith, played by Alexis Floyd, is dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer's. Dr. Lucas Adams, played by Niko Terho, is sweet like George. Jules Millin, played by Adelaide Kane, comes from a fractured childhood like Izzy.
The essence of Grey's Anatomy still lives beyond Meredith's leaving. The elevator remains the secret cave that harbors everyone's romantic feelings. Ceiling-breaking storylines, such as performing an abortion in real time, keep audiences wondering what political topic will get a medical spin next. Dr. Miranda Bailey and Dr. Richard Webber are still trotting the halls sharing their infinite wisdom.
Meredith Grey's departure from the show may seem jarring for fans who fell in love with the original cast but have since drifted to other medical shows, but not for the loyal fans. The hardcore fans who witnessed every spectacular storyline from a plane crash, a gun-toting widow, Grey a bomb in a chest cavity, and every tear-jerking character exit has been hardened and mentally prepared for every unexpected twist Grey's Anatomy has to throw at them. Grey's Anatomy has gone through many eras during its eighteen years on television, and the one without Meredith Grey is just the next one.