Grey’s Anatomy Season 9: Which Doc’s Departure Would Make You Stop Watching?
Grey’s Anatomy Season 9 has thrown us for a loop. After losing two fan favorite doctors, Mark Sloan and Lexie Grey, and plenty of “save the hospital” drama, the core four (Meredith Grey, Derek Shepherd, Cristina Yang, and Arizona Robbins) bought the place and renamed it Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. And now that things are stable, it looks like one of Grey’s integral players could be departing: Dr. Miranda Bailey, the surgeon formerly known as “The Nazi.”
At the end of Season 9, Episode 20: “She’s Killing Me,” we discovered that Bailey may-or-may-not be responsible for spreading a deadly post-op infection, which has killed one and has affected two more patients (and counting). Though there was no promo at the end of the ep to clue us into her fate, all signs point to her at least being suspended, if not fired.
In addition to being shocked that it wasn’t intern Leah’s fault, we are shocked that creator Shonda Rhimes would head this direction. Sure, we’ve seen plenty of departures throughout the years that shocked and upset us — cough, George O’Malley, cough — but losing Bailey? Owen said it best: she’s the heart of the hospital, and subsequently, the show. So that got us thinking: Would we still watch if any of the main cast members departed? We had this anxiety when everyone hadn’t resigned contracts last year, and then again after the plane crash, but we were finally feeling like our favorites could be happy and healthy, especially given Meredith relatively smooth pregnancy.
However, if Meredith, Derek, or Cristina were to leave, we’re not sure the show could go on. Yes, Meredith has been particularly whiny this season, but she’s a hormonal pregnant woman, so give her a break. Can you imagine Grey’s Anatomy without its titular character? Would you still watch if McDreamy went to sleep for good? When it comes to MerDer, we can’t help but think of One Tree Hill. (Bear with us — we promise this information is relevant.)
On the hit WB-turned-CW teen soap opera, two of the main characters, Lucas Scott and Peyton Sawyer, literally drove off into the sunset at the end of the sixth season with their daughter, Sawyer Brooke Scott, after Lucas’s portrayer, Chad Michael Murray, opted not to renew his contract. Showrunners didn’t want to bring his onscreen wife, Hilarie Burton, back without him, so they were sadly written off for good. Fans were enraged (and frankly, we still are) that their six-seasons-in-the-making storyline was wrapped up so quickly, and if Meredith and Derek departed in a similar matter (or even died), before the series ended, it would feel like an unsatisfying cop-out. Frankly, there just can’t be a Grey’s Anatomy without Meredith Grey. Who would do the voiceovers?
With that said, if the storyline was done right, maybe we could understand Derek dying before Meredith. Maybe. But can you imagine how intensely dark-and-twisty she would become, especially if she had two children to look after? When Mer was talking to Cristina about what would happen to Zola and “fetus” if both she and Derek died, we got nervous. Even if only Derek died, that family would collapse, and there could be no recovering for Meredith. Even her “person,” Cristina might not be able to save her from that dark hole. And don’t get us started on if Cristina died — our world would crumble, the cardiac wing (and likely the entire hospital) would fall, and Meredith’s emotions would probably make the entire city of Seattle implode.
That brings us back to the current Bailey problem on Season 9. If Bailey is fired, she could still be featured on the show, either trying to fight for her old job or finding another, but it wouldn’t be the same. She’s already changed so much through the seasons, becoming a softer and less intimidating doc, yet we would take this “new” version of her over none at all. And as for her mentor, (Chief, because we’ll always think of him that way) Richard Webber, we wouldn’t mind him retiring per say — he has been spending a lot of time playing weird pranks with Karev — but we can’t imagine the show without him. Maybe we could do without Karev, but honestly, we’d rather have more time with the main cast than random, mostly boring stories about the interns. Stop trying to make the interns happen, Grey’s Anatomy — it just isn’t working.
Lastly, we want to note that when we were worried about Callie and Arizona’s relationship, we couldn’t imagine the show without them, but these days, if they wanted to go off to a third world country and save lives, we wouldn’t completely object. Hey, spin-offs are a trend — maybe they should get one...
On that note, we’re going to wrap this up and turn it over to y’all. We clearly have a lot of feelings about keeping the core cast around, but what do you think? Whose departure would cause you to stop watching the show for good? Tell us below, and feel free to share your detailed reasoning — we’re right there with you.
Alyse Whitney is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @AlyseWhitney.