TV & Movies

Meredith’s Last Grey’s Anatomy Episode Is Not What Fans Think

“It’s a little bit of a trick they’re playing on people.”

Ellen Pompeo is leaving 'Grey's Anatomy,' and the Feb. 23 "Farewell to Seattle" has been promoted as...

Proving that the carousel really never stops turning, Ellen Pompeo is leaving Grey’s Anatomy — and her exit is imminent. If you’ve been following the actor for a while now, you know this isn’t surprising. Not only has Pompeo frequently joked (or not joked) about leaving the show over the years, but Deadline reported in August that she’d “reduce [her] onscreen presence” during Season 19. Then, the actual events of the season made it clear: Meredith and her children will be moving to Boston so that Zola can attend a better school and her mom can get closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

But exactly when is Meredith’s last Grey’s Anatomy episode? It’s a simple question with more than one answer. The Feb. 23 midseason premiere is the most obvious one, of course. It’s titled “I’ll Follow the Sun,” an apparent reference to Cristina Yang’s parting words to Meredith back in Season 10. In the show’s promotional material, ABC describes it as Meredith’s “farewell to Seattle,” and confirms it’s her last day at the hospital.

So it feels safe to say the Feb. 23 episode of Grey’s Anatomy marks the end of a chapter for Meredith — but doesn’t close the book on her journey. On Feb. 15, Pompeo clarified to Entertainment Tonight that not everything is as it seems. “For the record, it’s not really my final,” she said. “It’s a little bit of a trick they’re playing on people.” With descriptions for the next few episodes not mentioning Meredith, Pompeo confirmed to the outlet, “It is my final episode for a while.”

This tracks with Deadline’s earlier reporting, where the outlet said Pompeo would appear in eight episodes from Season 19. If you’re doing the math at home, Feb. 23’s episode is No. 7 — which means there’s one more to go, likely at the end of the season. “I’ll be back at Grey’s for the finale, and we’ll see if we can keep it going,” Pompeo told Deadline in September, adding that she’ll “never truly be gone as long as that show’s on the air.”

So if you’re wondering when Meredith’s last episode ever will be, that probably won’t arrive until Grey’s Anatomy actually ends its run. “I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons!” Pompeo wrote in a November Instagram post. “Through it all….none of it …would have been possible without the best fans in the world. You all are RIDERS and you all have made the ride so fun and ICONIC!! I love you madly and appreciate you right back.”