Exclusive

Grey's Boss Previews Alt-Reality Ep, Second Half of Season: 'Everything Blows Up to Holy Hell'

Grey’s Anatomy returns tonight after a nearly two-month hibernation with the conclusion of a wrenching (and literally killer) two-part episode. And while the extended absence rankled many a fan, it did not irk series creator Shonda Rhimes.

“We campaigned for it,” she tells TVLine. “Usually what happens is we air on Thanksgiving and people don’t watch because they’re eating turkey and falling asleep. Then there’s a weird break and we air one more episode in December — and then we go on another break until January. It’s so much better when [the original episodes all] run in a row.”

Grey’s Anatomy Plots Another Crossover Episode 

And what a run it will be. In the following Q&A, Rhimes previews tonight’s dramatic climax (R.I.P. Henry) and teases the second half of Season 8, including an explosive Owen/Cristina story, the completion of Der and Mer’s dream house, and the one episode that’s so big it’s set in another freakin’ reality!

TVLINE | Why’d you go and kill Scott Foley?!
We’re so in love with Scott Foley. And we would’ve kept him if we could. But [Henry's death] is a really good storyline to tell for Teddy.

TVLINE | It’s a really dark storyline for Teddy. How is she going to bounce back from this? Is this going to ruin her on another relationship forever?
She’s not in a place where she’s even thinking about anyone else or whether or not she’s going to love again. We’re not at that phase yet. She’s [going to be] getting over the very shocking death of her husband and she’ll cope with it the best she can. And she’s going to have a lot of blame to place on some people.

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TVLINE | Speaking of which, what is this going to do to Cristina?
[Henry's death] is a catalyst for Cristina and Owen to [face] what is the real problem in their relationship, which is Cristina had this abortion that Owen’s not comfortable with. The unresolved tension about the abortion really explodes in these upcoming episodes. Everything just blows up to holy hell.

TVLINE | Meredith also was left in a precarious situation. She’s also still reeling from the loss of Zola, who isn’t really out of the picture, right?
Zola gets resolved this evening. You’ll know what’s going to happen with that tonight.

TVLINE | When will Derek and Meredith’s dream house be completed?
At the end of the season the house will be done.

TVLINE | What’s in store for them prior to that?
You’re seeing tremendous growth in them as a couple. And we’re watching Meredith figure out what she wants to do now that she’s stepping back from neurosurgery for the good of their relationship. We’re going to see what that means for her. And we’re going to watch Derek really fight to be the [best] doctor that he can and put his all into what’s going on with him and Meredith.

TVLINE | There’s also the big alternate reality episode. How did that come about?
One of our writers, Stacy McKee, pitched it. And I said the only way it could work is if Meredith’s mother never had Alzheimer’s and Richard had picked Ellis to stay with versus staying with Adele. To me, the most interesting way of viewing an alternate universe is, “What if Meredith had never been dark and twisty? What if she’s a bright shiny girl?” Well, for starters, she never would’ve been in a bar to meet Derek. And from that, the entire world changes. Would Meredith and Cristina have ever been friends if Meredith was a bright and shiny person?

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TVLINE | Do Callie and Arizona figure into the episode at all?
They do. And that is the best part. If Meredith is bright and shiny, Arizona remains unchanged, but a lot about Callie’s universe is very different. If Meredith was never dark and twisty, she never would’ve slept with George, who never would’ve fallen down the stairs and dislocated his shoulder, and he never would’ve met Callie.

TVLINE | Sounds like a lot of work went into breaking this episode.
We had the best time figuring out what pieces of the world no longer exist because Meredith is a cheerful person.

TVLINE | We know that Derek and Addison never would’ve divorced. Safe to say they’re the most miserable married couple on the planet as a result?
Yeah, I don’t think that’s a match made in heaven at all. I think that was not a couple that was destined to stay together and be happy.

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70 Comments
  1. Bailey says:

    Wow, talk about spoilers (in a good way)! This is the interview we’ve been waiting for. Thanks!

  2. Clau says:

    this alternate universe episode would be even better if they could bring back George, a not so boring Izzy and some other people from the past…..

    • Julia says:

      Maybe if Mer was never dark & twisty and George never fell down the stairs, Izzy didn’t get into Med School and she stayed a lingerie model until she keeled over from cancer (because she wouldn’t have gotten diagnosed if she didn’t live with doctors). And then Denny would have just been a patient, and we could have entirely avoided that horrible, horrible story arc.

  3. CD says:

    Finally an episode NOT all about Callie and Arizona

    • Um... says:

      They have been on the backburner this season, anyway. An episode hasn’t been ‘all about Callie and Arizona’ since their wedding.

      Looking forward to the rest of the season, shame T.R. Knight and Heigl won’t be coming back for the alternate episode.

    • Zoe says:

      Um, where have you been? They’ve barely had any time together in this season. Frankly I’m glad to hear they’re going to figure into the AU (though I’m sure all the homophobes will freak out) because it doesn’t look like CalZona’s going to get any attention in Season 8 otherwise.

  4. Demi S. says:

    woohooooooo cant wait for tonight and the alternate universe episode
    totally Meredith driven . can not wait . ellen pompeo is amazing she rocks. this episode will be amazing in the coming episodes.

    More Meredith drama, i want even more Meredith drama and more Meredith screen time

  5. Amanda says:

    Of course Shonda caves and makes sure Mer/Der fans/Meredith gets everything they want. Everyone else has to struggle but MerDer fans get it all.

    • wow.. says:

      How very mature of you.

    • amberjj says:

      @Amanda, your funny. Meredith and Derek have endured secret wives, near death experiences, scrub nurses, shootings, a miscarriage, the loss of zola, and many makeups and breakups. But yeah, they never have to suffer.

      • @amberjj says:

        Amanda wasn’t saying that Meredith and Derek never suffer, she was saying that FANS of Mer/Der never suffer because Shonda makes sure that they get placated. And, for better or worse, Meredith always gets resolution.

    • ldcan says:

      The show is called “Grey’s Anatomy”

  6. Gladys says:

    I can’t believe I’m agrreing with some of Ms Rhimes statement…but yeah, I am. Addek was miserable in this as in the AU. lol Anyway, the AU now makess senses…certainly, Ellis without Alzheimer but in a probably loving relationship with Richard would’ve really changed Meredith’s growing up so now I’m pretty curious as to how this will all unfold and what will we learn in it…

  7. Amy says:

    Thank you for another great interview! Looking forward to the Zola SL being resolved with hopes they (meaning Meredith and Derek) finally get to adopt her. The SL has been going on since last season, it’s time for their family to move forward now. Can’t wait for Grey’s tonight.

  8. Ron says:

    Pretty predictable all around. Looking very much forward to Sandra Oh’s performance though. Cristina will be the only thing that will make this mess with Teddy worth watching. The AU episode could have been a good idea, but if it’s just another way of shoving things that have already been established as “The Rules of Shondaland” back in the early days of the show down our throat, I’m afraid I’m not interested in it. Don’t need to watch her screw the same characters again she already tortured back in 2005.

  9. madhatter360 says:

    I wonder what Mer’s relationship with Lexie is like in this universe. Did Meredith still donate part of her liver to her Dad? Also, did Alex and Izzy still get married in this universe? Because Meredith and Derek gave them their wedding, but i they were never together how could that have happened?

    • Kendall says:

      Maybe Lexie doesn’t even exist. If Richard and Ellis stayed together, maybe that throws off the timing of Thatcher and Ellis’s break-up and he never ends up with Susan.

      It’s also possible that Teddy and Mark wouldn’t be in Seattle.

  10. Nina says:

    Not one word about Alex? :( What’s happening with him?

  11. Lara says:

    I think Shonda is hoping a dead husband will make Teddy more likeable. Yeah, I don’t think so. Now she’ll just be sucking up even more time that should be devoted to the originals. Poor Alex, is he ever going to get a SL?

  12. Dessy says:

    Am I the only person that seems to believe this show has simply become really crappy??

  13. Poor Alex says:

    Once again Alex is forgotten. Glad Cristina will have something to do. Don’t care about Meredith and Derek because they are dull.

  14. SloanGreyFan says:

    Naturally, nothing on Mark and/or Lexie. ::sigh::

  15. lulabellle says:

    …And Alex is officially getting the George treatment this year. He’d better watch out for buses in May. Really wish Chambers would move on to something better than the crap they are giving him. Any word on the contract negotiations?

  16. Aussie says:

    Awesome thanks Matt for getting some fantastic spoilers to keep the buzz going.

  17. gabby says:

    I like the whole alternate universe idea but I wish George and Izzy would come back for it :(

  18. NCSouthernBelle says:

    I’ve been so excited about this episode since the first spoiler came out. Isn’t it supposed to air sometime around Valentine’s Day? It sounds great!!!

  19. Adam Wright says:

    How can Grey’s Anatomy do a “What If” episode without George, Izzie, or Dr. Burke? Seems like huge holes to fill.

  20. Effy says:

    How shocking mark and lexie aren’t even mentioned. talk about a fan base getting ignored. This is utter BS.

  21. Slexie4life says:

    @SloanGreyFan – I agree, We are the only fanbase that constantly gets ignored not just on the show but with, Shonda and spoilers. I guess our fanbase just isn’t as important as the others. After four years of getting crap after crap on us, we still get nothing. I’m not even shock ed anymore.

  22. ROwan says:

    This season has been very uneven and in November I was beginning to think I was done with it, but then Henry died and the accident and now I’ve been sucked in again. Shonda please continue to do more seasons ONLY if you can get the quality consistently back up. Better to go out on a high note than as a guest who’s stayed WAY to long after the party’s over.

  23. Guy says:

    I can’t wait to see tonights episode and also i can’t wait for that alternate episode. This season is going from strength to strength and well imo Ellen doesn’t get the credit she deserves because the Emmy and Globe nominators shun the show. Sorry but its true. There was remarkable performances from all cast the past 12 months and yet they were shunned. The whole process is a joke.

    • aussie says:

      they get shunned cos they want the new show’s to think they have a chance of survival, so let’s throw them a nomination and give em a peep up. Blah so true Grey’s and especially EP doesn’t get the recognition she very well deserves.

    • Ldowns says:

      I agree, they have had some truly amazing performances so far this season and last season. Its a shame :-(

  24. kat says:

    Seriously, that headline edit gave me a headache. Taking that line from such a small part of the interview and stretching it to the whole show and lede is super crappy writing and editing. Like tabloid-level. You are better than that. Usually.

  25. Tracey says:

    I think the alternate episode sounds great and am excited to see it. Slexie4life, I’m sorry to say that perhaps the MerDer fans are right and that Shonda does hate all fans except them. Lately it seems that there’s not much storyline for others.

  26. Danny says:

    No one watches this crap show anymore except the old people who leave their channel on after the news. Please kill it already it’s so lame!

    • Really? says:

      And yet here you are taking the time to not only read this interview, but to respond to it. Pot meet Kettle.

    • aussie says:

      Definately pot calling the kettle black here, yet you still read the article and replied mmmmm you probably still watch it every week just to “see what’s happening” and don’t want to admit to your guilty pleasure each week.

  27. Ella says:

    I actually LOVED Derek and Addison together. Meredith/Derek suck.

    • ...... says:

      That makes one of you. Shonda Rhimes created Addison/Derek and even SHE thinks they were unhappy and not meant to be together. You know you’re following the wrong coupld when the GA creator thinks they were unhappy and doomed.

    • Cara says:

      That makes 2 of us! I hate Meredith. I think she’s a whiney annoyance! I love Addison. I followed her to Private Practice! haha

  28. Molly says:

    it makes me angry how shonda makes addison and derek out to be the worst matched couple ever when they were happily married for 20 years! and despite the tension between them because of the affairs the time they spent together as a married couple in season 2 showed real glimmers of a fabulous relationship!

    • May says:

      Actuallm, Addison/Derek were together 11 years NOT 20 and after Addison slept with, got pregnant and had an ongoing affair with Derek’s childhood best friend Mark, he never forgave her, never again told her he loved her, put his ring back on all the way through season two. He openly told Addison he was in love with another woman (Meredith), found ways to be with her constantly behind Addison’s back, only had god sex with Addison when he was fantasizing about Meredith, then finally chased after Meredith at a prom because he was so in love with her, and felt he might lose her. Addison/Derek were painful to watch in S2 and if you read any of Shonda Rhimes comments in the writers blog-Grey Matter, she repeatedly said Addek was a couple that no mater what the history, was over before we even meet them on GA. It was a relief to watch Addison move on because it was painful to watch a strong character like that “try” to get a man who clearly didn’t love or trust her a long time prior (very desperate), and to see Derek make a choice to stay with a woman he no longer loved based on his now ex-wifes choice to not love him enough to even tell him the whole truth about Mark or the pregnancy with Mark because she KNEW he would not have stayed with her. Neither Der or Addie really loved each other anymore and even Patrick Dempsey said he didn’t like the Addek SL and thought it went on way too long. I could never root for a couple on TV where both the GA creator Shonda Rhimes and Patrick Dempsey were not wanting the (Addek) SL to continue. Sorry, but it’s the truth.

  29. Alicia L. says:

    I’m really excited for the AU episode because hello, Ellis is back and I think it’s really cool to show what would have happened. The thing I would love how this comes about in the context of the actual show.

    I still think Lexie will exist, but I actually think Mer is either going to be hateful of her or even more sisterly to her.

    Callie is going to be completely different because the whole George thing and him dying kind of helps to define her character and I just have a feeling if things are changed, she is either going to be in a long distance relationship with Erica or married to Mark.

    I have a feeling Bailey is going to be any different!

    Alex probably won’t be to the same extent of hating the world because he and Izzie probably would have never gotten married or been together.

    I think it would actually be cool if it changed Owen and Christina’s relationship and Owen was with Teddy just for the hell of it because it is just one episode.

    I have a feeling Christina is going to be even colder in the AU episode than she was at the start of the show because she was never friends with Mer.

    I have a feeling the AU episode isn’t going to change anything with the Mercy West characters other than Avery and Lexie might still be together.

    • josephine says:

      Actually there is a chance they might also change things with the Mercy West, like maybe Avery will bewith Mer instead of Lexie, that could actually very well happen. After all she would not be with Derek, and would be a more happy and out going person, they would have the whole perents who a famus surguns in common still. Really that is a line I would find funny if they did.
      Callie married to Mark would be funny, if they did. Really this could be rather interesting:-)

  30. Cyndi says:

    I love the idea of a little shake up! As great a show I believe Grey’s is~I have to admit I’m excited for a little change up! Yay!

  31. Ammie says:

    It is quite possible to have an AU episode without George (sigh), Izzie, and/or Burke as it may take place in 2011, and not 2005, as most seem to think. Derek and Addy are still unhappily married, Lexie and Meredith probably grew up with some sister r/ship, merger may or may not have happened (depending on Richard’s) drinking, Callie and Arizona still are married, Meredith and Alex would make a nice couple (even though I love their completely platonic friendship) and Mark would still be in Seattle after his best friends moved there from New York. Cristina will still be Cristina and with Owen, though I have no idea why. Since Meredith isn’t dark and twisty, the other half of the twisted siblings will likely be Alex. Bailey will be Bailey as Meredith’s past does not affect her. Though maybe she’s working on the trial with Ellis (and not Meredith). And because it seems like what’s meant to be will find its way, Derek still falls for Meredith, just not having a physical affair (maybe an emotional one) while mentoring her in neuro.
    All the above is how I’d like the episode to turn out after watching the show religiously for 7 years (and also watching over and over in syndication).

  32. BELINDA IRIZARRY says:

    it was excellent i enjoy form the beginning to he end congrats!!!you did a great job…

  33. Nina says:

    Cant wait till Owen explodes and tells her what she really did to him! I mean I am sick of the fact that it is always about Cristina. Cristina this Cristina that! And so many people talking bad about Owen who made the greatest sacrifice of all for her! If she is so keen on having her career she should divorce him! He was good enough to be at her side when she had her trauma. Owen is a good and decent guy who did not deserve to lose his child. It absolutely ok not to want children. Its a womans choice. But we are talking about the fact that she became pregnant TWICE!! is she irresponsible or just stupid to prevent it? I mean: She is a doctor and intelligent? She was my favourite character but they ruined her. They let her seem selfish and heartless. If you dont want babies and you once god rid of one without abortion, watch out! So you dont get into the situation and have to abort your husband baby. This really sucked. The entire storyline sucked. They messed her up to a robot, a selfish robot who just wants a career. And we all know she is so much more.

    • Jer says:

      Really? She’s a selfish robot because she’s self aware enough to realize that she doesn’t want a baby? Or is it because she didn’t give into her husband’s whims about wanting a baby? Cristina has always been very clear on the fact that she was not interested in being a mother. Owen asking her to compromise herself for him in that manner makes him a worthless dirtbag. He knew that she didn’t want it and he insinuated that she needed to ‘grow up’.

      Just because a woman has a uterus does not mean that she has to reproduce. Not for her husband, not for her mother or father, and certainly not because society dictates it so.

      Please come join the rest of us in 2012. It’s so much more liberating here outside of the kitchen.

      • Cara says:

        You’re both right but if she is sure she doesn’t want to have children she should get her tubes tied and fix the issue for good.

        • shilpi says:

          I totally agree..i am not saying that a woman has to give birth for society or husband or anything…but accidents do happen i guess…it was not really bright to have shown Christina in same predicament again in the show…Owen did not want her to have a baby on a ‘Whim’. Why can’t a man’s wish to have a baby be as strong a woman’s and why does wanting to be a father make him a dirtbag.. as his character has been shown..as a friend, guide,chief and teacher..i feel Owen’s character has a great scope of being shown as a good dad…while Christina is the “Fun aunt”.. that’s what according to me makes this couple interesting to watch. Chirstina’s strong character makes her pairing with anyone like Burke or Owen interesting..more than Mer-Der atleast! :P

  34. Cassie says:

    Okay if Addek is miserable I can now watch the AU episode. I’m glad Owen and Cris have a big rift…..it’s due. Henry made Teddy slightly bearable. Derek’s house……we get to see it in the season finale. Rhimes doesn’t say they will move in or live there. Don’t hold your breath folks.The “house” start stared in season four. Unless there is a season nine I’m guessing we never see the inside of it. And if she kills one of them off the other won’t want to live there.

  35. Brianna says:

    I absolutely HATE what she’s doing to Yang and Owen’s relationship on the show . They’re never trully happy :(

  36. olivia says:

    I have to say Dr Bailey is my favourite character but in my opinion she doesn’t get a lot of screen time. It would be interesting to see her character change in some way in the AU but I don’t think she will an she is a brill character any way.

    • Miranda says:

      You never know, Dr. Bailey, who was taught a great deal by Webber, would likely be changed. Maybe Ellis intimidates her; maybe she has a big crush on Webber, maybe she’s still with her husband… Oh, man, do I wish she was, I actually liked that she had a solid relationship away from all this, but because it’s a tv series, they aren’t together anymore.

  37. Jer says:

    OOH! I can’t wait to watch Cristina and Owen go KABLOOIE! Finally. Now can we just have Sandra Oh’s contract not be renewed so she can move onto something bigger than better. I hate seeing her talent wasted on a crap on-screen abusive relationship!

  38. Cara says:

    Can I just say it!?? Ellen Pompeo is too old to be playing 28 again or whatever. She looks old. Her face looks beat up at this point.

  39. shilpi says:

    I wish to see some major work on Owen Christina’s relationship. Alos would like to see Owen doing some really earth-shaking surgery which he has not been shown doing ever…he is always on the sideline it seems..It would also be interesting to see what happens if Burke comes back..even for a cameo…but i guess that will not be happening with the way he was given bow out.I would simply love to see both the mighty surgeons crash in OT with Christina in middle…because the only thing that turns Christina on is talented surgeon doing something amazing in OT!

  40. Zinga says:

    Well I heard that because Mer is happy she never became friends with Christina, she wasn’t there to cut her out of her dress after Burke left her. So Christina is alone and miserable. And if Webber is still messing around with Ellis then Bailey is still a shy little “minno” because she never had Webber as a mentor.

    Also, I heard that Callie is in a miserable relationship with Owen (don’t ask me why). She never had her terrible marriage with George so she was never able to get with Erica in the first place. This leaves her fascinated but unaware of her attraction for Arizona.

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