Well, folks, we’re about to witness a new era of Grey’s Anatomy. During the season 19 spring premiere, fans saw Ellen Pompeo leave the ABC series after portraying Meredith Grey since the pilot. No one can deny that the central character tugged on heartstrings through moments of love, death and perseverance. She also left viewers screaming and wondering what will happen to the long-running show.
Despite Meredith unexpectedly taking off her scrubs at Grey Sloan, the end of last week’s episode may have dropped a major clue for fans. During the final moments, the former chief of surgery flies to Boston to take on a research position and make a better life for her three kids. But as the flight starts taking off, she has a difficult conversation with Nick Marsh (Scott Speedman), who tried convincing her to stay together amid a long-distance romance. Instead, she leaves him with a string attached, saying that she can’t hear him amid takeoff.
Given the strained way the duo ended the episode, we’re wondering …
Did Grey’s Anatomy set up an opportunity for Meredith to return?
Based on a few clues, the show definitely did … but it may not be in the way fans expect.
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When Station 19 star (and former Grey’s cast member) Jason George faced questions about Ellen’s potential comeback on Grey’s Anatomy, he had some thoughts about how Meredith could be re-introduced to longtime fans. He also shared a big clue about Ellen’s involvement even after her character left.
“We’re in season 19, so if you’ve done anything in your life for 10 years, let alone 19 years, it’s going to be emotional when you stop doing it. When you’re not there every day,” he told Entertainment Tonight in February. “We’ll still hear Meredith’s voice in every episode in the voiceovers and I believe she’s going to come back sometimes. You won’t know when, so you always gotta watch and find out if she makes a surprise appearance.”
But Jason wasn’t the only person who had ideas about the staple character showing up in future episodes. Ellen herself also confirmed that Meredith’s last day in Grey Sloan will not be the final time she appears. What’s more, she referred to her exit as more of a “see you later” than a proper goodbye.
“For the record, it’s not really my final,” she clarified to Entertainment Tonight while at New York Fashion Week. “It’s a little bit of a trick they’re playing on people … It is my final episode for a while.”
As for what will cause Meredith to head back to Seattle, we’ll have to keep on watching week by week. But Deadline did report in August 2022 that Ellen will be in eight episodes throughout season 19. Given how she’s been in seven so far, it’s only a matter of time before we welcome Meredith back with open arms.
As the entertainment and news editorial assistant for Good Housekeeping, Adrianna (she/her) writes about everything TV, movies, music and pop culture. She graduated from Yeshiva University with a B.A. in journalism and a minor in business management. She covers shows like The Rookie, 9-1-1 and Grey’s Anatomy, though when she’s not watching the latest show on Netflix, she’s taking martial arts or drinking way too much coffee.