Grey's Anatomy Boss Opens Up About Finale's Two Big Exits: 'It Made Me Sick, It Made Me Sad'

Grey's Anatomy Season 8 FinaleYou. Were. Warned.

Early Thursday, Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes issued the following alert to fans via Twitter: “Do not expect to be comforted or happy at end of the GA finale. I wrote it and even I found the ending to be very unsettling.”

She wasn’t kidding.

Although we’ve known for weeks that a Seattle Grace vet would meet an untimely end in this week’s plane crash-themed season climax, the death still packed a wallop — mostly because it came so early in the hour (defying finale convention). And, more importantly, because the character’s last name is in the title of the freakin’ show!

Yep, Rhimes went and killed Lexie!

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Truth is, Little Grey, played for five seasons by Chyler Leigh, didn’t stand a chance. Trapped beneath the wrecked fuselage, she was barely able to say a final goodbye to despondent ex Mark before she slipped away in the episode’s first 20 minutes. The death triggered a meltdown in sister Meredith (Ellen Pompeo really brought it, huh?) while Mark (an equally impressive Eric Dane) completely shut down. We would later discover that McSteamy was battling more than just a broken heart — he suffered something called a “cardiac tamponade,” as Cristina quickly diagnosed. She and Mer then performed some eww-inducing emergency surgery and saved his life. (Arizona and Derek also sustained serious injuries but, thankfully, survived.)

Meanwhile, back at Seattle Grace, Teddy nixed that Metcom offer and decided to remain at the hospital because she wanted to stay close to her dead husband’s ghost. And out of loyalty to Owen, who then turned around and fired her as a way to force her to take the job. (So long, Kim Raver!) Her exit would seem to pave the way for Cristina to become Seattle Grace’s new Cardio God.

UPDATE: After the West Coast airing, here is what Rhimes shared on Twitter about writing out Leigh and Raver:

Callie said it best tonight: Life changes in an instant. Turns on a dime.

This finale was incredibly hard to write. I did not enjoy it. It made me sick and it made me sad. We end the season not knowing ANYTHING about the future. Except for two things. We know we are definitely saying goodbye to two of my favorite people: Chyler Leigh (Lexie) and Kim Raver (Teddy).

I know this season’s finale had some surprises for viewers and the exit of Kim Raver was one of the big ones. But Kim’s series option was up and she was ready to give Teddy Altman a much-needed vacation. It’s been a pleasure working with someone as talented and funny and kind as Kim; everyone is going to miss her terribly. I like to imagine that Teddy is still out there in the Grey’s Anatomy universe, running Army Medical Command and building a new life.

I love Chyler and I love the character of Lexie Grey. She was an important member of my Grey’s family. This was not an easy decision. But it was a decision that Chyler and I came to together. We had a lot of thoughtful discussion about it and ultimately we both decided this was the right time for her character’s journey to end. As far as I’m concerned Chyler will always remain a part of the Shondaland family and I can’t wait to work with her again in the future.

I’d write more but I’m honestly too sad. I don’t like life changing in an instant and turning on a dime.

Elsewhere in the finale:

* Jackson decided to take the Tulane job, leaving best friend and lover April to mourn what could’ve been. (Sorry, no way Jesse Williams is leaving.)

* Bailey and Ben officially got engaged in one of the episode’s rare happy moments.

* Alex revealed in a voicemail to Arizona that he was accepting the position at Johns Hopkins. (Sorry, no way Justin Chambers is leaving.)

Reaction? Were you blindsided by the big death? When Lexie took her last breath, did you immediately flash back to this TVLine story from last fall and wonder if there was a connection? Which performance were you most impressed by? How long do you think Mer, Der, Cristina, Arizona and Mark will remain stranded in the middle of nowhere? Hit the comments!


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1155 Comments
  1. Jaymi says:

    I have never been more heartbroken by a season finale! The last time I cried this hard over a TV show was when Dan killed Keith on OTH!

  2. Nani says:

    I just can believe. Love Lexie ! I really sad. Why her? Why ?

  3. Ted says:

    all signs pointed towards arizona — so i’m really happy it wasn’t her. Lexie was super annoying, i’m surprised that they would kill Meredith’s sister given she didn’t know if some of the other actors were gonna return.

  4. Meg says:

    Just…wow. Amazing finale, but I wish it was 2 hours instead of 1. Does Owen figure it out? Do they get help? Will Derek be able to operate again (his hand was jacked up)? Is Arizona really ok? She was coughing up blood and kept coughing.

    Is it fall yet?

  5. T- says:

    This episode was the suck. However, Private Practice season finale was even more miserable. Way to go Shonda. *sniffles*

  6. Rachel says:

    The only death fans would’ve been ok with was April. Chryler is such a great actress. I haven’t watched Greys in 2 yrs but was curious about the death. Won’t be watching anymore.

  7. salim says:

    colour me unimpressed, any ways am going to bed now its 3am here in london and i have skool tomorw, wasnt worth the wait main.

  8. nemmah says:

    I’m very very upset right now. They ALWAYS make Grey’s two hour finales, and this time they dont?? And leave us right in the middle of the woods! I was kinda disappointed in the writing and pacing of it all, too. AND THEY EFFIN KILLED LEXI

  9. Haydee says:

    Yup. NO more reason to watch this show anymore, I was sure Mark&Lexie were going to be endgame, the only reason I tuned in. I AM DONE.

  10. caddyshack says:

    Wow, eventhough I guessed it was Lexie, reading it here made my heart stopped for a second.

    Hope to see Chyler Leigh on the telly real soon.

  11. Bailey says:

    I am going to be completely honest. I hate to cry. It makes me feel weak and stupid. But tonight’s episode had me in hysterics by the time Lexie was first seen. Lexie has always been my favorite character. She was such a genuinely good person, so smart and pretty and naive and awkwardly amazing. And then Shonda killed her.

    She also almost killed Mark and Arizona.

    I hope Shonda understands that she owes me for the bill I’m going to have from grief counseling, and that I think she’s brilliant and I love her but I can’t let myself like her as of right now.

  12. RLH says:

    Did Derek say Rose at the end???? Or am I imagining that??? Oh this was too much for me to handle in one night…September is a long ways off…

    • Heather says:

      I thought he said Rose too!!! I noticed that… interesting

    • RUCookie says:

      I heard it too

      • Idgie says:

        I replayed the end after I read this comment. He absolutely did say Rose. I really do not think he is really cheating. I think since Patrick was not signed when the finale was filmed and it was still possible he would re-up his contract, they did not want to kill him off. This way he could live and come back for a couple of episodes and then leave with some ridiculous storyline that he was in love with Rose all this time (Hence the muttered clue) . OH MY GOD. He says Rose’s name after earlier in the episode he immediately wakes up the second he hears Meredith’s voice and then when he sees her “he says he thought he was just dreaming that he heard her”. I think Sandra was in a tough predicament. That being said…truly such a depressing finale.

        • Jennifer says:

          He says “boats”. He has a thing for ferry boats, remember?

        • Laws says:

          I thought he said “Boats” as in Ferry Boats, but I was only half watching because Lexie was already dead :(

          • RLH says:

            Oh I really hope he said Boats. Maybe the sobbing noises I was making made it difficult to hear. I will watch that part again later today. Boats would make me feel a little better! No need to pull that Rose nonsense up again! :)

    • Sarah says:

      He said BOATS

    • CeCe says:

      I replayed it five times and swear I hear “Rose”—shock!!! And disappointment. Why would he say “boats”? If anything I’d expect him to say his daughter’s name or perhaps “house” because of the new place he built. No I’m pretty sure he said “Rose”. Yikes.

      Oh and so sad to lose Lexie :(

  13. Becca says:

    Yeah that basically sucked. Seriously, I’ve never given up on a t.v. show in my life but I’m totally done with Grey’s.

  14. Larissa says:

    SHONDA BETTER LOCK HER DOORS AND WINDOWS.

  15. Sarah says:

    This finale was a FARCE. Unlike the shooting which was powerful and brilliantly executed, this was just forty odd minutes of needless heartbreak and chaos. I love Grey’s Anatomy but I won’t be watching next year.

  16. Maranda says:

    I am so upset I wanted Mark and Lexie to have another chance! As much as I like Kepner I thought it would be her! WOW! shocked it was Lexie!!

  17. Angela says:

    Now Yang can replace Teddy and Alex can be Peds when they kill Arizona and Meredith can take over for Derek when he loses his arm and he can be bitter. Back to where MerDer always are.

  18. Noel says:

    I am done with Grey’s. I loved Mark and Lexie. I am done!!

  19. allison says:

    I am not sure what to even say about this episode except it was so hard to watch (not as bad as when they killed George but close). I have a feeling either Mark or Arizona, maybe both (couldn’t do that to Callie) will not make it out alive. Arizona has not told anyone she was spitting up blood after all.

  20. Terry says:

    Congrats to Sondra she did more damages to one of the greatest shows of all-time and has pretty much destroyed it in three weeks.

  21. Jessi B. says:

    I have been watching since episode one and I have loved this show with all its twists and turns.

    I am officially done.

    Lexie has, for awhile, been the most likable character on the show and Mark/Lexie were the only interesting relationship anymore. I’m glad Meredith/Derek and Arizone/Callie have settled into comfortable relationships, but I really, really wanted more pay out with Mark and Lexie after years of watching their relationship build up.

    I’m sad, but I’m also just done. Won’t be watching anymore. It’s been a great run, Grey’s, but this death shouldn’t have happened.

  22. Emily says:

    Time to give up on this show once and for all. Absolute crap except for the Bailey parts. Killing Lexie??!! Seems like for nothing but shock value and ratings. Why not kill a character with less potentially interesting storylines?? Cheap emotional manipulation.

  23. S says:

    Jumped the Shark. I am done.

  24. Srsly WHY HER? WHY KILLING ANYONE? And that was so fast! Lexie had a lot to say! She did almost the same she did with George, killing them sfotly during the season. Awful. :( Bring her spirit back next season LOL or give Mark a brain tumor so we can see her again in his hallucinations. ;______;

    • Priya says:

      I AGREE!! She completely ruined her character this season. I’ve been watching since almost the beginning but if I had just started watching this season I probably would’ve thought Lexie wasn’t important and wouldn’t care for her all b/c her screen time was reduced to basically nothing. And her and mark while they did get to say their “i love yous” to e/o before she died, THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. it was such a short little talk b/t them. I think killing off Lexie was a crappy crappy thing to do. While killing George was super sad, I feel as though his character didn’t have any unresolved issues with people. personally i just wasn’t as invested in his character. definitely still a death that could’ve been avoided i think Like Lexie and mark were pretty unresolved. And now if Lexie is really gone (I’m still holding out some hope this is all a trick), but if she is really gone I honestly love Mark but if he dies too I won’t be too much more disappointed. I mean if he lives does he stay with Julia? While im sure he liked her, i don’t think he actually loved her. he won’t look good with anyone else so i feel like his character will slowly drift away. Lexie made him a better person. Rumors are Chyler wanted off the show. I understand that if this is true some things were out of Shonda’s control, BUT what was in her control is how she was written off. Death isn’t the only way for crying out loud!

      I really think it could’ve been an even better and more exciting finale without killing anyone. Like a few things in there were pretty touching. For example. Mark and Arizonas talk. What Arizona said to mark was really touching. She obviously really cares and she is a great person. I think after if Lexie is really gonna stay dead, shonda cannot afford to kill off Arizona for sure. I know it seems like she’ll die b/c Callie is back home all happy and whatever but then shell probably lose many calzona shippers…and we all know she cannot afford that b/c she’s definitely lost some Slexie fans. So i think hardcore Calzona fans are safe!

  25. Heather says:

    I am still trying to recover from the shock! Shonda did it again! Brilliant episode! I was also shocked that Lexie died so early in the Episode. I got really nervous when Sloane started saying goodbye to Arizona. If he had of died too I would have not been able to take it. Loved the episode (at least now that it is over :)) I am ready for September already!

  26. Andrea says:

    I don’t even watch this regularly but I loved Lexie. :(

  27. Lindsey says:

    should have been arizona… lexi had way more story to tell… so disappointed and really the only number they called was the chief to say plane didnt arrive? Like there are no other ways to get him (like pager or hospital operator)… What about the airport not receiving the flight?? and they are in the woods and cant maintain a fire?? with 5 matches… kinda expected more… wont lie…

    • tripoli says:

      If everything fell into place there would be no dram, no real story. Just the crash and a quick recovery mission.. It’s TV. Everything is amped up and unrealistic to make for interesting story telling. Although, this episode was not that. Big fail.

  28. Catherine says:

    I’m still in shock.

  29. karla says:

    OMG!!!!!!!!!! Are you f*ucking kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lexie is deaddddddddddd, oh dear God, I wanted Mak and her back together so bad and now its all gone *cries more* I didnt see that coming, I really thought she was safe because she was litthe Grey. Stupid Shonda.

  30. Em says:

    i am very disappointed with this finale. there was so much hype surrounding the episode but – sure lexie dying was incredibly sad and i wish she wasn’t the one killed off – i found the episode lacking. i even said at the end “wait, that’s it?” it felt like it kind of just ended. not as dramatic as i had thought it was going to be…

  31. Carolyn says:

    Finale was an epic fail, I give up!!!!! Writing/creative thought process was apparently aiming at losing their audience, idiots..leigh is such an amazing actress

  32. Jo says:

    I can’t believe Shonda actually killed off Lexie. BOLD BOLD move. Heartbreaking scene though, and I think Chyler Leigh and Eric Dane did the best acting they’ve ever done. But it was a really high price to pay.

  33. Danielle says:

    Worst finale of the entire Grey’s series. Bottom line.

    I had the death narrowed down to Arizona, Callie (they set it up with the “don’t ever leave me” scene), April (by suicide, which I hoped for), and Lexi, because her death would cause the biggest outcry and drama next season. She didn’t really get any scenes this year anyway, so I guess they may as well have cut her. BAD call in my opinion. 80% of the Grey’s audience hates April, so I wish she would friggin leave already. Teddy is 10 times the character that she is.

    This felt more like a regular episode, and did not pack the punch that you expect from a Greys finale.

    • Elena says:

      I could NOT AGREE MORE!!! This episode should have been 2 hours long and the horrible storyline was enough to make loyal GA audiences drop the show. Kill Lexie? After all Shonda’s teasing that there was happiness in store for her? Lexi, with her photographic memory? She got NOTHING this season, and Shonda did not even try to redeem herself for it. “Disappointing” doesnt even cover it.

  34. nikki says:

    I’ve watched greys since the beginning and have trhought about walking away so many times this past year. The season finale was no different. It was predictable in so many ways. Typical greys episode, though I give props to yang and meredith’s acting. Shonda rhimes gave interview after interview that led me to believe this was going to be a much bigger moment for the grey’ family and even creatively. Lexies death was predictable and lacking. I’m disappointed. So many more creative shows out there.

  35. Sarah says:

    That episode was awful!

  36. Robin says:

    That was by far one of the worst finales I’ve ever seen. Well acted but unbelievable, ridiculous, and just plain stupid.

  37. In mourning says:

    I refuse to believe Lexie is dead!

  38. Kelly says:

    Lexie is/was my favorite. That last scene with Mark had me sobbing. I actually want Mark to die just so they’d end up together.My favorite part/one thing I find interesting was his relationship with Lexie before SR had to break them up. We had heaven scenes before. If the actress wanted to leave, they still didn’t have to kill Lexie. They’ve survived bombs,shooters, Izzie survived cancer that spread everywhere. Callie and her baby survived. Why couldn’t Lexie just move away and still end up with Mark, like Ben and Bailey did. Boo to Grey’s. I’m done with this show.

  39. peter says:

    nobody else is going to die right? ausiello!!!!

  40. Laura M says:

    I really thought there would be a twist and someone still in Seattle would die, just because we would expect the death to be a part of the crash. The way they seemed to be setting up last week, I thought April might even commit suicide. I guess I should have known better. It won’t be the same without Lexipedia.

  41. Katie says:

    Teddy did not WANT to stay close to her dead husband’s ghost – she wanted to GET THE HELL OUT of there, but out of loyalty to Owen’s soon to be similar situation (losing the love of his life) she was willing to sacrifice and stay – Lets please listen to Kim Raver when she talks even if Teddy is obnoxious at times…

  42. Dusty says:

    This was the first full episode of Greys I have watched in 2 seasons. I should have continued to stay away, and I won’t be making the same mistake next season. Done.

  43. Kerry says:

    People, give Shonda a little credit please. It’s very possible the actress playing Lexie wanted off the show. Sometimes writers kill off characters because they don’t have much choice.

    • jessica says:

      If Chyler wanted off the show then Shonda could have just had her transfer or something. The people don’t have to be killed off to leave a show.

      • Kelly says:

        She was more merciful to Katherine Heigl’s Izzie. They could of had Lexie move to out of town, maybe to help her other sister and had Mark/Lexie do the Ben/Bailey thing.

        • Tanz says:

          But people would still have been upset that she’s not on the show anymore, and there would have been the same “I’m done I’m done’ cries, cause she would have been gone all the same. At least this way there is some drama they can work with next season. Think about hit, when is the last time they killed of a major character on Grey’s? Not since George.

          • Priya says:

            I don’t think this is completely true. While some fans may have still been super upset, I for one would’ve liked her just leaving SG better. I understand that Chyler may have wanted to leave but i DON’T understand the need to kill her. Sure, for an eppy or two it may give something to talk about. But it leaves the fans (the people who kept her show going) feeling cheated. And if she had just left SG there’s always that chance Leigh could show up once in a while as a guest star…which would be a breath of fresh air b/c shes such a great actress!!

            So i definitely think her death is uncalled for and it’s going to cost her a lot of viewers. Not only b/c Slexie was awesome b/c lexie just seemed to go downhill this season. And she didn’t really get to die happy..no significant other. basically only her job and sister (whom she didn’t actually get to say bye too–this also was stupid!)

        • Elena says:

          Exactly. why not just have Mark choose Julia and Lexi leave town because of it? Shonda teased earlier in the season that Lexi and Mark would find happiness together. Looks like that may only happen if he dies as well. And the Ben/Baily thing? WHO CARES? I rolled my eyes the entire time they were on screen. WORST FINALE EVER!

  44. Ashley says:

    Shonda broke my heart the second she killed Lexie Grey, arguably the most endearing and enjoyable character on the show. It is such a fricking shame.

    • Kelly says:

      she was so endearing and so good at comedy,drama and romance. don’t care if the actress wanted to leave, lexie shouldn’t have been killed off.

  45. jessica says:

    Why does Shonda hate Meredith so much. She was finally at a good place. She has her daughter, a loving husband, a dream job, and a great relationship with Lexie. Now she is probably going to have PTSD, and won’t want to leave Seattle, or Derek’s Harvard thing will get pulled forcing them to stay. I think they should have killed off some random. I don’t know why Shonda has to kill everyone. Also, is it just me, or did Mark look just like Dr. Percy when he was laying in Arizona’s lap, I had flashbacks to Percy laying in Bailey’s lap.

    • Kelly says:

      It’s horrible to say but when he was laying in her lap, I really wanted him to die. Don’t want to watch Mark without Lexie.

  46. KatR says:

    I stopped watching the show a few years ago, but switched over when I saw Twitter blow up. Great reminder why I stopped. Hey, everyone remember the early fun years of Greys Anatomy before Shonda Rhimes became obsessed with over the top violence and unnecessary character death?

  47. brooke says:

    i sincerely hope lexie is found alive on the opener and arizona dies

  48. Mel says:

    I’m sorry. This was painful. Mark and Lexie deserved their “happy ever after” and Lexie has been the heart of the show for the past 2 years. Killing her might be the end of my love affair with the show. This is the worst decision.

  49. maria says:

    If u look at previous blogs n comments she asked to have time off this season to be with her family. So yes it does suck they killed her off because I loved her as lexi too, but if she needs to be with her family this wad their way of.doing it and making a story out of it.

    • Priya says:

      This may be true but why not give her some better storylines all seasons. Seems like even not as loved/newer characters got great ones, just not lexie. Idk if Shonda had something against Chyler or what but no matter what I think the fans of Lexie and/or M/L deserved more. Yes, we got a love confession from her and the 1 min thing right before she died, but none of it makes up for her death. She was such a lovable character and chyler’s departure, if that’s what she wanted, could’ve been handled better. I think Shonda just enjoys having overly dramatic stuff thinking it’ll bring in a bunch of viewers, but i think today’s finale may have lost her some :/

  50. A says:

    This was nothing like any other Grey’s finale. Agreed worst Hands down. I can’t believe Lexie didn’t get a better ending. It was a horrible send off for a wonderful character and great actress. And Mark… words explain how i feel about this show right NOW!!!

    • Jenn says:

      I’ve been watching this show since the pilot and I’ve never missed an episode. Not anymore. Lexi’s death was stupid and pointless. I’ve never deserted a show I truly liked – until now.