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Spoilers ahead for the March 19 episode of Grey's Anatomy on ABC, called "Give a Little Bit."
Grey's Anatomy's doctors and nurses were going all-out in "Give a Little Bit" to try and perform 25 pro bono surgeries in one shift, and schedule craziness combined with an overload of patients resulted in some serious tension. Unfortunately, it was all brought to a temporary halt when DeLuca had the mental break he's been building to throughout Season 16, and the end of the episode left me wondering: did Grey's Anatomy give DeLuca the story Alex Karev deserved?
Alex and DeLuca are of course not interchangeable, with different personalities and different dispositions that make DeLuca's mental break come as less of a surprise than it would have been for Alex. I'm not saying Alex deserved this precise storyline, but rather something equally compelling and nuanced.
I'll admit Justin Chambers' decision to depart the show may have been so abrupt that Grey's Anatomy writers didn't have time to actually give Alex an exit story beyond something retroactive. I know there are variables here and Alex's exit may have been the best that it could possibly be given the circumstances. Still, I watch DeLuca break down, and I wish Alex had something like this as a final arc.
For me, at least now when the loss is still so near, Grey's Anatomy more or less ruined Alex and his evolution as a character over a decade and a half by writing him off via a happily-ever-after with Izzie and the kids he hadn't known about. I honestly would have preferred death, or at least a tragic end to what Alex got. (#JusticeForJo!) As one of the few remaining original series stars in the first half of Season 16, Alex deserved a departure that was built gradually and then paid off in a way that was consistent with his character. For better or worse, that's what DeLuca is getting.
"Give a Little Bit" ended with DeLuca, who had been suspended from the hospital after causing a scene, speeding at 100+ MPH down a dark stretch of road on his motorcycle. On the upside, he was wearing his helmet! On the downside, his expression did not look like one fitting the man who went to jail for Meredith or did any of DeLuca's other noble deeds.
Am I happy that DeLuca is going down a dark path, to the devastation of his sister and concern of Meredith? I'm not sure yet. Am I intrigued? 100%, and I wish that Alex had gotten an equally intriguing storyline. Even if Grey's Anatomy couldn't build a gradual goodbye for Alex on screen due to Justin Chambers' early departure, the show could have given him a tragic or serious storyline through the use of off-screen phone calls, body doubles, and even letters/emails/phone calls. Alex's farewell episode (such as it was) did it, after all!
Basically, there were ways to give Alex Karev a storyline equally intriguing as what DeLuca is getting, even if Alex's was bound to end in his departure from Grey Sloan due to Justin Chambers, and DeLuca's arc presumably won't end in irreversible tragedy, since Giacomo Gianniotti seemingly isn't going anywhere. If Grey's Anatomy could retroactively craft Alex being ready to build a life with Izzie as the mother of his children, then Grey's Anatomy could have retroactively given him a DeLuca-esque storyline!
Alas, Alex leaving his wife, job, and friends to go join Izzie after secretly visiting and then living with her is how Grey's Anatomy said goodbye to him, so I'll never get that compelling storyline. Hopefully DeLuca's arc moving forward will deliver the kind of drama fans deserve that doesn't involve a love pentagram!
Catch new episodes of Grey's Anatomy on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC for now, following new episodes of Station 19. Crossovers between the two shows will almost certainly continue, as the March 19 episode of Grey's both revealed how a Station 19 character died and continued one character's storyline.