Although fans didn’t seem thrilled by the ending of Alex Karev’s (Justin Chambers) story line on Grey’s Anatomy, Grey was! Ellen Pompeo took to Instagram on Friday, March 5, hours after the episode aired, in which Alex revealed via letters that he hadn’t been taking care of his mom, but actually had gone to see Izzie (Katherine Heigl) in Kansas.
Izzie, who left the show in season 6, had apparently used the embryos she had frozen with Alex and now is a mom to their 5-year-old twins. So he decided to stay in Kansas with her and become a family, leaving his entire life and wife behind in Seattle.
While fans on social media weren’t thrilled by the exit and felt that Alex wouldn’t just leave Jo (Camilla Luddington) and send her divorce papers in the mail, Pompeo, 50, who is also a producer on the series, approved of the story line.
“Thank YOU! You are truly the best most passionate most loyal fans anyone could ever ask for. Because of you we got to make great tv… because of you we got to make television history! I say often life is hard and thank God it is because like I tell my kids… it shows us what we are made …of how strong we really are and let’s face it… without the lows there would be no dancing it out or celebrating this incredible experience we call life,” the actress wrote on Instagram on Friday, next to a video montage of Alex and Meredith’s best moments.
She continued by thanking the writers for “giving Alex Karev the best send off” and to the series’ creator, Shonda Rhimes, “for creating the most amazing character” in Karev.
“For me personally for Karev to go back to the beginning…. was the best possible storyline,” Pompeo continued. “It pays homage to those incredible first years and the incredible cast …that created a foundation so strong that the show is still standing. So let’s not be sad. As our fearless leader DA always says let’s PULL UP and celebrate the actors the writers and the fantastic crew who make this show come to life every week. No matter what the challenge or how tired we all are in the end… you keep us going…..That is worth dancing it out over! So much love and gratitude to you all. Xo E.”
In January, Chambers, 49, announced he would not be returning to Grey’s after 16 seasons and he filmed his final episode in November 2019. While he did not return for Thursday’s tribute episode, he did lend his voice to the episode.
Following the hour, showrunner Krista Vernoff paid tribute to the character.
“It is nearly impossible to say goodbye to Alex Karev,” the writer, 46, said in a statement to Us Weekly. “That is as true for me and for all of the writers at Grey’s Anatomy as it is for the fans. We have loved writing Alex. And we have loved watching Justin Chambers’ nuanced portrayal of him. For 16 seasons, 16 years, we have grown up alongside Alex Karev. We have been frustrated by his limitations and we have been inspired by his growth and we have come to love him deeply and to think of him as one of our very best friends. We will miss him terribly. And we will always be grateful for his impact, on our show, on our hearts, on our fans, on the world.”
Grey’s Anatomy airs on ABC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.
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