Grey's Anatomy Season 8 ended on a literal cliffhanger, with a ton of the cast lost in the forest after a devastating plane crash. But there's another layer of uncertainty over that, because even if they all survive, most of the characters ended the season planning to move on to other hospitals. However, we suspect that most of the characters will decide to stay at Seattle Grace-Mercy West after all. We certainly hope so! But why would they stay? As Cristina (Sandra Oh) said in Season 8, Episode 24, "Flight," Seattle hasn't exactly treated our fave docs well.

We'll be speculating about how Shonda and co. might maneuver the cast to stay in place during Season 9. To start, let's think about what factors might keep Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) in Seattle.

Lexie's death: On one han
d, Lexie's (Chyler Leigh) death means there's one less person tying MerDer to Seattle, and it might make Derek want to be around his Boston based family even more. On the other hand, we could see Meredith wanting to cling to her normalcy and her mentors in Seattle in the wake of this tragedy.

Derek's hand: There's also the fact that Derek has totally mangled his hand. Maybe he stays because Seattle Grace-Mercy West has the best doctors to help him. Or maybe Harvard rescinds their offer because he can't operate anymore. Or maybe he generally decides that moving across the country is not the right thing to do in the middle of that kind of crisis.

Mark's breakdown: If Mark survives the crash, we have a feeling he's going to be in a very bad place next season. Between his physical injuries and his emotional pain, he's going to need his best bro. Maybe Derek decides to stay for him.

Bailey's wedding: On a cheerier note, maybe Meredith will want to stick around long enough to see Bailey (Chanda Wilson) get married. And, of course, during that time she'll realize home is where the heart is, and her heart is at Seattle Grace-Mercy West.

Maybe they do go... We could see Shonda and co. shaking things up for an episode or two in the beginning of the season. Maybe they do make they move, only to discover that the big change, on top of all the other emotional turmoil happening, is just too much to handle. Or heck, maybe they make the move, are fine emotionally, but discover their Boston jobs aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Why do you think MerDer will stay in Seattle? Let us know 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 on ABC.

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