Grey’s Anatomy will pay tribute to Alex Karev in a special farewell-themed episode set to air next Thursday, March 5 — and we have a first look at the sure-to-be emotional hour.
Titled “Leave a Light On,” the Elisabeth R. Finch-penned and Debbie Allen-directed installment promises to bring closure to the long-running character’s storyline following last fall’s abrupt departure of original cast member Justin Chambers. It remains unclear how exactly Grey’s will tie up the loose end that is Alex, especially considering Chambers was not actually involved in the production of the episode in question; the actor’s final episode aired back in November. But based on the above teaser, not to mention the cryptic hint dropped by Alex’s wife Jo in this week’s episode, it’s safe to say his ending will be as sad as it is expository.
“He left me,” Jo tearfully deduced in the final moments of Thursday’s ep. “I think he woke up one day and felt the need to escape his life and me.”
In confirming his Grey’s exit last month, Chambers said that he was looking to to “diversify” his “acting roles and career choices,” adding, “As I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time.”
Showrunner Krista Vernoff, meanwhile, described the challenge of figuring out how and when to explain Alex’s abrupt vanishing act as “a very careful threading of a needle, where we are giving a little bit of information and pain to [wife] Jo,” adding, “We’re, episode by episode, illuminating the story of where Alex is. And it takes us quite a few more episodes to get there and to give the audience clarity.”
Watch the promo above and then hit the comments with your thoughts and theories about Alex’s big goodbye.