Grey's Anatomy Boss Justifies Killer Season Premiere: 'Mark and Lexie Get to Be Together'

Grey’s Anatomy boss Shonda Rhimes exhausted all other possibilities before deciding to pull the plug on her beloved Mark Sloane in Thursday’s premiere.

“I had many options for ways Mark could leave the show,” the show’s creator wrote in an extended missive on her WhoSay page. “But any option that didn’t include him dying required him to a) grieve for Lexie indefinitely and b) willingly walk away from his daughter. We fought about this incessantly in the Writers Room. I didn’t want Mark to die but, as the writers rightfully argued back, Mark couldn’t abandon Sofia and he certainly couldn’t abandon Callie once Arizona’s leg was amputated.”

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Rhimes added that she briefly considered sending Mark to Los Angeles to reconnect with ex Addison. “I loved that idea,” she said. “But it still required Mark to abandon his child and abandon Arizona. And it meant that I’d have to scrap all the plans I had for Addison this season – and her plans are wonderful. Also, that would somehow suggest that everything he said to Lexie when she was dying was easily forgotten. So…I fought it and I debated it and tossed and turned about it but in the end, I had to do what was right for the integrity of the character. Mark would never abandon willingly Sofia and he would never willingly abandon Callie. So Mark dies. And he and Lexie get to be together in a way. Their love remains true.”

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Speaking of Lexie, Rhimes confessed that her death in last May’s finale “haunts” her to this day. “I adored that character and I couldn’t imagine the show without her,” she admitted. “It was important to me that her exit would have maximum impact. The plane was going to crash no matter what. I honestly wasn’t sure, because of contract negotiations, who was going to die in that crash. In my early finale plans, once I knew Chyler [Leigh] was leaving the show, Lexie wasn’t originally even on the plane. She was going to die back at the hospital by doing something as simple as slipping and hitting her head. She would have been dying over at Seattle Grace while other people were dying in the woods. Which wasn’t my favorite plan. She would have died without Mark at her side. Without the chance to say goodbye to him. Without the chance to hear that he loved her. I wanted them together when she left us.”

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Rhimes ended her essay by promising fans of all three of her shows — Private Practice and Scandal included — to expect “a lot of surprises” this season. “We have some weddings and some babies and some romance — both GA and PP,” she announced. “We have some very hot scenes of forbidden love (Scandal all the way). And we have a lot of incredibly strong smart women doing what needs to be done to make their lives work.”

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149 Comments
  1. kate says:

    Although both deaths were well-written, I do think Rhimes is overusing the “death of a major character thing”. I get that she adores “Buffy”, and Joss Whedon was one of the first to really have someone essential die, but George was quite enough. My major problem is that “Grey’s” started out as a show with real characters and real problems. I’ve been rewatching Season One over the summer, and Mer’s subtle trauma and following depression was something a “normal” audience could identify with. Every season now has had at least one main plotline that is completley over the top and soapy during which characters behave in a most unlikely way (Burke’s hand, Gizzie, cancer ghost, Callie and the baby thing, Callie and the music thing), and it’s disturbing an otherwise daring show (shoot out, abortion, war trauma) which addresses topical questions not shown like this on TV before (incl. PP’s Charlotte being raped, which was incredible). That’s why I would have preferred if she had Mark and Lexie move away together – in a globalized world, where people often need to move over continents for their jobs, this would have been a credible and topical storyline, which would have shown a dilemma that many people have to face today. (And Christina in Mayo doesn’t count, she’ll be back soon).

    • Anthony says:

      Overusing?

      The show has only been on for 9 seasons and she’s killed 3 major characters off, if that?

    • N says:

      I love Joss Whedon and his work but in no way was he “one of the first to really have someone essential die.” And the person that Shonda Rimes and the writers had Mark grow to be would not have left his daughter or Callie.

  2. kem says:

    I know people are upset. They said there were very legititmate reasons his contract was renewed. Eric Dane was beautiful when he started this show and has now withered to a shell of that. Hopefully he uses this opportunity to get some help.

  3. Indhira says:

    it is complicated.. chyler was leaving so Shonda wanted her to leave an impact becuz such important character cant just leave like that.. but the bad part about it is that once Lexie is dead… what about Mark? this ALL has to do with lexie’s death.. if she dies then mark leave sofia, callie and arizona after the crash it doesnt really make sense and IF lexie and him got together and went away that wouldnt work either cuz he still has sofia and callie /.. i think it was heartbreaking but necessary ..it was a smart move.. how mad would people still be if Lexie or mark just left like Izzie Stevens? well at least izzie didnt have a child
    /// I know A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE MAD becuase their OTPs died but it’s not SHonda’s fault.. she’s just following common sense

  4. J.Reaves says:

    I love Grey’s always have, always will but i think season 9 should be the last season. Every great story has to end somewhere and i dont see Grey’s being great after this season. Hurts to say

  5. nelly says:

    Hope the calli /Arizona drama ends well. I really liked them.

  6. Judy G says:

    I LOVE GREY’S ANATOMY! It is the only show I watch regularly. I think Shondra Rhimes does terrific at writing it! Let’s recap the acting crew everyone is up in arms about. Addison came to Seattle to find her husband that left her because she was a slut that slept with his best friend, got pregnant, had an abortion then wanted Derek back. Mark came to Seattle to find his best friend and make piece. I tried watching PP but I find it hard to watch a show focused on a slut. I grew to like Mark but only when he was with Lexie so I think the fact that they both died after declaring their love is perfect. There has been a lot of sleeping around on this show but typically not with married people ~ that being said I’m not real pleased with Mrs Webber having an affair even if she is not lucid nor with her husband for sleeping with someone else. As for Cristina & Owen – yes it is bad that he had an affair – this followed her acting like she wasn’t married during her little barmaid era and she would have been with that whole group of guys had her friends not called Owen to come & get her. Even after seeing that he loved her – even after she killed his child he loved her – even after she ignored him and treated him like dirt he loved her. Sometimes, there is love after an affair & when it comes to these two, her actions were as bad as his and lasted a whole lot longer so they are pretty much equal. I agree with the people that feel she should come back & put her marriage back together. Marriage is a committment and if she can fight for everything else she should stand up and fight for that as well. Of course, this is all my opinion and I would like to end that with THANK YOU SHONDRA RHIMES for this show! Regardless of what others “would have done” I’m glad for the work you do.

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  8. Andrea Wellman says:

    I say congratulations to the writers of Greys (and PP)! Anything that stirs up this much debate a full season later means you are doing something right. Do I love everything that happens? Of course not. I feel committed to these characters, that’s what good writing does. It makes us feel emotionally invested. When George died, you’d have thought I had lost a family member.

    With Greys I have felt like I have grown up with these characters. I started watching in my college apartment drinking wine with my girlfriends every Thursday night, religiously. Greys was our escape through finals, breakups, homesickness, etc. I remember running to the TV when the theme song would start, women crowded all over my couch, a box of Franzia on the floor.

    A few years later we watched together via speakerphone. Now it gets mentioned on a rare coffee opportunity. But I still feel a huge connection to the show and the memories it evokes. My point? If it does that for me, what do you think it does for the writers? For Shonda? This is her baby!

    I don’t have to like what happens all the time. Its a TV show. I don’t like real life either. And I hardly think its lazy. For an hour the show can pull you out of your reality and transport you into the world of SGMW.

    So for those of you so worked up about the deaths, relax. Turn off the TV. They are not really dead. Breathe.

    Or, better yet, just hop on netflicks. Your old friends are all still there, alive and well…Just waiting to be watched…

  9. Taylor Ashley says:

    *I realize this is a year late*
    I was fine with Lexie dying. I honestly was not a huge fan. HOWEVER, love Mark. I agree, they could’ve had him exit. Yes, there would’ve been pressure to have him come back, but you can always ignore that, just as you ignore requests for Izzie. Mark could’ve gone and gotten help for becoming severely depressed after losing Lexie or…here’s a thought…end Grey’s. Honestly, at this point, what is there left to do? Perhaps it should’ve ended in S8. Don’t have the crash be the finale. Have it be maybe the episode or two before the series finale. Have the finale be the wrap up to all the relationships and characters, leaving Mark not with anyone, being around for Sofia, but he didn’t get his happy ending. The show is just ridiculous now. All of the characters are changing, the new ones make no sense. It would’ve been best to end it in S8.

  10. singlemommy3 says:

    Chyler leigh choice to leave the show so she could spend more time with her family. If you look it up at the begining of the season there’s less lexie became she asked for an extended leave to do this. Her kids (I think 2 maybe only her son) has a disability and I think that’s also a reason she left.

  11. Guest says:

    I just finished season five and decided to google what happens to Mark and Lexie. I was just looking for a simple answer like they got married or they broke up. NOT THIS! Even reading this article was a HUGE mistake and I don’t think I will be finishing the seasons of Grey’s, I don’t think I could handle anymore emotionally distressing episodes!

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