Jesse Williams, who has played Dr. Jackson Avery on the ABC medical drama since Season 6, is leaving in the May 20 episode. In the latest episode, Jackson decided that he is going to take over his family’s foundation — and run it from Boston. But because he doesn’t want to leave his daughter and miss out on her life (as his dad did), he needed his ex, April (Sarah Drew, who returned for a guest spot), to agree to move, too. She did — and in the process, revealed that she didn’t need to talk to Matthew (Justin Bruening) because they’d split a while ago.
That came after Jackson and April remarked on their terrible timing, so it certainly sounds like a reunion may be in their future, once they’re in Boston. After all, April’s willing to move across the country; it can’t just be about keeping her child’s father in her life.
With that in mind, we can’t help but think about Alex’s (Justin Chambers) off-screen exit last season. Through letters he wrote to his wife Jo (Camilla Luddington), Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), Bailey (Chandra Wilson), and Richard (James Pickens Jr.), he revealed he reconnected with his ex, Izzie (Katherine Heigl), found out they had twins, and got back together with her.
And yes, these reunions are great for fans who wanted to see them, but are they working in the context of the show? Alex’s certainly didn’t (though it was probably one of the easiest routes with it having to happen without him on-screen). There was zero reason for him to leave Jo at that point for Izzie. Their marriage had been (or at least seemed) like a happy one. (Let’s not even touch on the matter of the twins Izzie had without telling him.)
For Jackson, it’s a bit of a different story. He hasn’t been (seriously) involved with anyone (though his and Jo’s casual relationship has been fun). He isn’t leaving behind everything he knows without a word and mailing a few people letters. (The promo for his last episode, below, shows him saying his goodbyes.) A likely reunion with April is a by-product of the move. And to be honest, it seems a bit fitting, given their history with and without Matthew. (Jackson and April did elope when she should have been marrying Matthew, the first time.)
It’s not the same for April — she did deserve a better send-off — but at least this one isn’t as much a headscratcher as Alex’s with Izzie. Jackson and April have been in each other’s lives regularly, co-parenting. A reunion was probably inevitable. At the very least, we can understand why they’ve remained close and why, even if they don’t get back together, April would move to Boston for him.
But what do you think about Grey’s staging reunions of former couples as part of exit storylines? Vote in the poll below.
Grey’s Anatomy, Thursdays, 9/8c, ABC