TV & Movies

Meredith’s Farewell After The Grey's Anatomy Fall Finale Is Feeling More Permanent

Dr. Grey’s final shift is officially on the schedule.

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Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) watching her house burn down in the 'Grey's Anatomy' Season 19 fall fin...
ABC/Liliane Lathan

Spoilers ahead for the Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 fall finale. Burn it to the ground. After nearly two decades of memories — and a revolving door of residents — Meredith’s house caught fire during a lightning storm in the Season 19 fall finale, marking the end of an era. Though there’s still hope that the iconic home isn’t a total loss, things certainly weren’t looking good. Of course, Dr. Grey isn’t one to just go down in flames though, so ABC didn’t waste time previewing her having already risen from the ashes for a farewell episode when Grey’s returns on February 23, 2023.

In the promo for “I’ll Follow the Sun,” which is written by showrunner Krista Vernoff, Meredith arrives at Grey Sloan for her “big last day” before moving to Boston so Zola can attend a school for the gifted. (Oh, and she’s going to try to cure Alzheimer's disease while they’re there, too, nbd.) The famed surgeon has an aversion to fanfare, so it’s no surprise that she also calls a goodbye toast “very thoughtful... and ridiculous,” elsewhere in the sneak peek. Meanwhile, in a slightly more dramatic moment, she grossly understates that a house fire while planning a cross-country move had “been a lot.”

Though everything seemed to have an air of finality, not to worry: In addition to continuing to provide narration, Meredith will be back in the flesh later this season. However, it’ll be way later in the season — the season finale, to be exact. Before Season 19 premiered, Ellen Pompeo, who both plays Meredith and serves as an executive producer, announced that she would appear in only eight episodes so she can star in an untitled Hulu limited series. And if you’ve been keeping count, the upcoming Feb. 23 episode will be her seventh of the season.

“I’ll be back at Grey’s for the finale, and we’ll see if we can keep it going,” the actor told Deadline in September, insisting that the series “will be just fine” without her. “I’m going to always be a part of that show — I’m an exec producer on that show, I’ve spent two decades of my career on that show, it’s my heart and soul, and I’ll never truly be gone as long as that show’s on the air.”

Still, after destroying her home, the Grey’s writers don’t seem too intent on making any potential return from Boston too seamless, should things not work out on the East Coast. It doesn’t seem she will be making the trip alone though. Despite her on-and-off boyfriend, Nick, being upset she didn’t consult him about leaving Seattle, Deadline noted that actor Scott Speedman is not a series regular this year, all but guaranteeing the Grey’s winter premiere could serve as his farewell, too.

Despite all that was lost in the fire, the show did at least give Meredith one parting gift: Maggie saved her and Derek’s iconic wedding Post-it. It was a small consolation prize for fans too, though maybe not enough to soften the blow of Meredith’s forthcoming absence.

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