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Grey's Anatomy has killed off plenty of characters over the years, some with shockingly little fanfare and sprung on viewers as big surprises. Well, the long-running medical drama may be killing off another character, if the promo for the next episode is to be believed. Although it doesn't explicitly say that Catherine is going to pass away next week, the footage teased in the promo definitely gives the impression that something bad is going to happen to her. Take a look!

The tragic twist that Catherine has a large tumor growing on her spinal cord came back in the first half of Season 15, and it's been clear all along that her odds of survival aren't the best, even with the best medical minds that Grey Sloan has to offer. The prognosis was bad enough that Catherine didn't even want her son and husband to know something was wrong, and they're both doctors! The promo for next week's episode shows all three looking quite emotional at points.

While Richard and Jackson are skilled doctors in their own right, Catherine in the footage looks to be asking them to be there for her as husband and son, which makes sense. She'll be surrounded by doctors and is brilliant enough as a physician herself to make decisions, so family may be what she needs in her difficult time.

Catherine actually looks to be in reasonably high spirits, all things considered. Is this a sign that she is given real reason to hope in the episode, or perhaps that she's come to terms with her likely death? She does say to Richard that she'll see him when she wakes up. That, paired with the glimpses of her dancing with him in the operating room, makes me seriously think that Grey's Anatomy is ramping up the hope and heart just to take it all away.

It certainly appears that the surgery takes a turn for the worse, and Jackson can be seen sitting on a gurney and crying onto Maggie's shoulder. They don't exactly look like tears of joy or relief to me, and the episode is being touted as "the most powerful" of the season. Should we prepare ourselves for the worst?

Now, as dire as the circumstances look for next week's episode, we shouldn't necessarily despair that Catherine is going to die just yet. Trailers are designed to hook viewers, not necessarily give away everything that happens in a given episode.

The show would hardly try to grab an audience by revealing that Catherine's surgery will go swimmingly and she'll be totally fine; teasing a potential death is a more effective way to attract viewers. Footage can be cut together in misleading ways. It may look, sound, and feel like Catherine's death is imminent, but there's still hope.

Find out what happens to Catherine in the next episode of Grey's Anatomy, airing January 31 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. More complications are in the works beyond Catherine's situation, so there's plenty of reasons to watch. If you're still in the market for some other viewing options, we have you covered with our midseason TV premiere schedule.

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