Spoilers ahead for Grey's Anatomy Season 16. Those hoping to solve the mystery of Alex Karev's fate on Grey's Anatomy just got some brand-new clues — though the case is far from cracked. Similar to how Cristina's presence has been made known throughout Season 16, Karev's text to Webber on Grey's Anatomy's Thursday, Feb. 6 episode, "The Last Supper," provided some much-needed evidence that he's at least still alive. Whether or not that holds true, of course, remains anyone's guess, as fans have but only this text exchange to soften the wounds inflicted by Karev's abrupt departure. (Side note: Neither Meredith nor Bailey appeared in this episode, making Webber the only OG Grey's cast member to get any screen time.)
Karev's first dispatch from Iowa (if that's where he really is, anyway) didn't arrive until more than 45 minutes into the third episode that's aired since actor Justin Chambers announced his Grey's exit on Jan. 10. During what will arguably go down as one of the most cringeworthy Grey's family dinner parties of all time, Catherine had accused Webber of texting his "Pac North heifer" girlfriend at the dinner table. The shade. As Webber explained to everyone, however, he'd actually been "talking to Karev" about making Maggie an offer to run Pac North's cardio department. And it turned out Karev had approved the offer.
Soon thereafter, a seething Catherine revealed the real reason for their assumed "anniversary dinner" had been to break the news of her and Webber's split to Jackson and Maggie. The announcement finally put the contentious (yet wildly entertaining) dinner out of its misery, and once outside with Webber, "free agent" Maggie expressed curiosity over Karev's Pac North offer. It turns out the price was right, because upon seeing the number on Webber's phone, she asked, "Alex thinks I'm worth this much?" and immediately accepted the job. Karev's still generously spreading love from...wherever he may be.
With Maggie already planning to "start Monday," it seems yet another main character will be making the jump from Grey Sloan to Pac North. Worth noting: Maggie's taking the job supports one hopeful fan theory that Karev could be part of a possible ABC Pac North spinoff series. Hey, it's entirely possible that Chambers may have left Grey's — but not Shondaland as a whole.
Oh, but not so fast. Webber later made the tragic mistake of challenging Catherine, who said she'd hoped Maggie had turned down his "absurd" offer to work at his "glorified clinic." After she further called Webber an embarrassment who'd flushed his career "down the toilet," he fired back that Maggie was going to put Pac North "on the map." (Another spinoff clue, maybe?) Webber then set Catherine up for a checkmate, however, when he asserted that he would do whatever he wants and hire whomever he wants, and there's "not anything in this world" she could do to stop him.
If you think those sound like some famous words, you're probably right. Without flinching, Catherine picked up the phone and asked the man on the other end to "put out some feelers about buying Pac North." She mocked her apparently now-estranged husband, teasing it "could be a good investment," before threatening that maybe she'll just "shut it down" instead. (Homage must also be paid to Debbie Allen's mic drop parting line: "And, Richard, I'm not sorry about a damn thing.")
So is that how it will end for Alex? Webber angered his bazillionaire wife, so now she's going to buy and close his place of employment in retaliation? Will the consecutive loss of two jobs in Seattle cause Karev to permanently retreat to Iowa? If he's collateral damage from this marital fallout, suffice it to say Grey's fans will be far less than pleased.
On the other hand, that scenario would leave the door open for him to return down the line. If alternate fan theories pan out — and Karev's first proof-of-life text turns out to have been one of his last — Iowa may not sound so bad after all. Pick your poison.