To say that Grey's Anatomy fans are angry about the recently announced departure of Sarah Drew would be an understatement. People are pissed, and how exactly Drew's character April Kepner is written out of the show will either throw fuel on the fire, or grant fans closure. While we don't know for sure what will happen, there are some pretty big clues that Grey's Anatomy is going to kill April. I know, I know. We revolt at dawn.
First of all, the situation in which April's character exists on the show doesn't offer an easy out. Unlike Arizona, who's played by Jessica Capshaw, whose contract also was not renewed, April is pretty attached to the main action. Arizona has an ex-wife and a daughter, but Callie has already exited the show as she left to live in New York, and Sophia is rarely seen onscreen especially as the two share custody. That means Arizona could easily head to New York, as well, in order to more easily co-parent with Callie — it would make perfect sense as her out.
April, on the other hand, is not going to up and leave Harriet, and there is absolutely no way that she could take off with her like Callie did with Sophia. Catherine Avery was ready to pounce when April was pregnant and she thought that Jackson might not be getting the proper legal rights to the child — if April tried to peace out with Harriet, Catherine would all but send a team of assassins after her.
Of course, April could leave the hospital and still theoretically share custody with Jackson, just off-camera. Audiences would have to do a lot of filling in the blanks, but we already tend to do that in other areas of the show, like Cristina and Meredith's friendship that allegedly still is going strong even though we don't see it onscreen after Sandra Oh's departure. Writers could even set April up to go back to the military, granting her a heroic send-off and creating a good reason for Harriet to remain solely with Jackson. That still seems unlikely, though — asking viewers to use their imaginations in terms of a friendship like Meredith and Cristina's is one thing, but doing the same with an epic romance that would likely alter the way Jackson pursues future relationships and raise his daughter is a monster of its own. So many loose ends would be left, and situations would need to be regularly explained away.
And so we're left with one other option — removing her from the equation once and for all. The show seems to already be inching toward April's death in ways that might have otherwise been overlooked had this news not broken before a new episode. On the March 8 episode, April was shown partying and drinking — like, the "bringing her own bottle of liquor to a game night gathering" kind of drinking. This could hint at a future of alcohol abuse and perhaps a drunk or reckless driving incident. The unrelenting push toward this unpopular Jackson and Maggie romance also could lend itself to an April death — Maggie would comfort Jackson through his trauma and step into help raise Harriet as writers desperately try and bill their relationship as anything other than unnecessary.
This theory seems to be the one that fans are latching onto. "Sadly I think April will die," wrote one Reddit user, amysteriousme. "I just can't see her leaving Harriet and I can't see Jackson allowing her to take Harriet away." Many others echoed those sentiments. "I would be shocked if they did anything besides offing her — whether it's by suicide, drunk driving — some sort of messed up death that results from her 'partying,'" wrote ktebmf.
Though an April death seems likely, it's extremely disappointing — and could be borderline lazy — if the writers choose to go this route. April has been through some serious struggles, but hasn't ever entertained the idea of suicide as far as viewers have seen, so casually throwing that possibility into the mix as such a casual afterthought would be downright insulting. April has also always been responsible at her core, meaning that a downward spiral into partying for no particular reason would also seem like a poorly explained and out of character shift. Backlash was swift when Drew's departure was announced, and there truly doesn't seem to be a good way to remove April from Grey's. Showrunners have backed themselves into a corner, and now there's nothing to do but watch as they try to write themselves out of it.