Meredith is an only child again. We first met Meredith in Season 1 at a point in her life when she was under a lot of pressure as the daughter of legendary Ellis Grey. She had a heritage to live up to, even after her mom passed away. With the introduction to her half-sister Lexie in Season 3, we like to think that some of that pressure faded away. Plus, Meredith found a surprising source of love and support: her own family.
With Lexie gone, Meredith’s only family are Derek (Patrick Dempsey) and Zola. In Grey’sSeason 8, Episode 23: "Migration," Mer told Derek that the only thing keeping her in Seattle was her sister, and the possibility that her person, Cristina (Sandra Oh), would work at Stanford. Now that Cristina has the option to be Chief of Cardio at Seattle Grace-Mercy West (with Teddy Altman [Kim Raver] gone), and Derek will most likely have to postpone, if decline, his Harvard offer due to his damaged hand, Meredith has many more reasons to stay put in Seattle. How long will her immediate grief last, and will we see a return of the super-ambitious Mer we remember from early seasons?
Mark’s soulmate is gone forever. Thankfully, we never heard Julia’s name once on the finale. Instead, Mark held Lexie’s hand in her final moments and painted a picture of their future together as husband and wife with two kids of their own. To quote Hemingway, isn’t it pretty to think so? Sure, but should Mark survive his major chest injury, which we believe he will, it seems doubtful that he’ll move right in with Julia and start making babies. Most likely he’ll stay single for a long, long time. Will we never again hear his much-needed comic relief in upcoming seasons? Will he even have a good reason to stay in Seattle anymore?
SG-MW’s Neuro department is kind of busted. Derek’s hand is crushed, and Lexie, his most promising resident, won’t be there to take over. Who else do we even know in Neuro aside from the nameless, semi-faceless surgeons who assist on Derek and Lexie’s surgeries from time to time? Owen’s (Kevin McKidd) already dealing with gaping losses in his other departments, but Derek’s presence in Neuro was one of SG-MW’s most prestigious claims to fame. As was having two Grey legacies.
Don’t forget Jackson’s pending grief. Lexie may not have loved him back the way he wanted her to, but Jackson’s (Jesse Williams) heart was still, in many ways, in Lexie’s hands. We saw midway through Season 8, most notably on the Valentine’s Day episode (Season 8, Episode 14: "All You Need Is Love"), that Jackson still wasn’t over Lex. We haven’t even seen his reaction to her death yet. Will it break him? Will he be able to leave for Tulane after all? And his BFF Mark will likely need his bromantic support as well.
There are a few other minor ways in which Lexie’s absence will make Grey’s Anatomy a different show — one of the most exciting ‘ships, Slexie, is a thing of the past; Zola has lost her aunt — but which changes do you see being the most significant? Tell us in the comments.
Miss Grey’s? Us too. Luckily the show will return to Thursdays at 9 p.m. with all-new episodes in the fall onABC.
Molly Friedman is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter@MollyFriedman.