There are many questions Lexie's (Chyler Leigh) death on Grey's Anatomy Season 8, Episode 24, "Flight" raises, but one of the most intriguing is how — and if — it will affect Meredith's (Ellen Pompeo) relationship with her estranged father, Thatcher Grey (Jeff Perry).

Although Meredith and Thatcher have mended their relationship to some extent over the years, they are not exactly what you'd call close. However, Thatcher and Lexie (Chyler Leigh) had a much better — if still troubled — relationship, and we imagine he'll be devastated by the news of her death. But how will it play out? We have a couple of theories about potential scenarios.

He doesn't come back at all: We find this the least likely possibility. Yes, Jeff Perry is busy as the intriguing Cyrus Beene on Scandal, but since Shonda Rhimes is the showrunner of both shows, we're sure she can find a way to make the schedule work if she wants Jeff back on Grey's. It would be weird for Meredith not to see her dad at all, at least at the funeral. However, it's possible the writers won't want to deal with the Thatcher-Meredith issue right away, in which case they may excuse Thatcher's absence by explaining that he is too distraught to deal with seeing Mer.

He comes back for a guest spot, and it brings them closer together … or tears them apart: We wouldn't be surprised to see Thatcher come back for a single episode (or two-parter) that focuses on the Meredith-Thatcher relationship. The question is, will they find common ground in their grief over Lexie, or will her death open up a new chasm between them? Thatcher has a tendency to blame other people for bad things that happen — could he end up hating Mer for not magically saving Lexie's life? We could see it going either way.

He comes back for a longer arc, and might even be why Mer stays in Seattle. The writers need to find some way to keep Meredith from moving to Boston, and having her stick around to emotionally support her father could work. Thatcher has a history with alcoholism — maybe she'll be worried that he'll slip, and will decide to stay and help him because he's family, and Lexie would have wanted her to. Alternatively, maybe they will bond over Lexie's death, and Mer will decide to stay to try to foster their new relationship. This arc could play out over several episodes — again, since Shonda is in charge of Scandal as well as Grey's, we're sure she could make the scheduling work.

What do you think will happen with Thatcher and Meredith? Let us know in the comments below.

Miss Grey’s? Us too. Luckily the show will return to Thursdays at 9 p.m. with all-new episodes in the fall on ABC.

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