Grey’s Anatomy Fans Think They Know What Causes Meredith To Leave Seattle, But Let’s Agree One Thing Can’t Happen

Aniela Gumbs as Zola Grey Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: ABC)

Ever since Ellen Pompeo announced ahead of Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 that she was reducing her role on the show, fans have been wondering what will happen that would finally get Meredith out of Seattle. Will she move to Minnesota with Nick Marsh? Will she reunite with Cristina in Switzerland? Will she die? Three episodes into the current season, fans believe they’ve figured out how showrunner Krista Vernoff is laying the groundwork for Meredith’s eventual exit, but with the way things have played out so far, we have to agree that one option is now off the table.

Zola Grey Shepherd (Aniela Gumbs), the eldest child of Meredith and Derek, has factored into the plot of early Season 19 episodes more than normal, and her presence has been a welcome, albeit heartbreaking, one. Zola was shown having a panic attack during a school presentation about her grandmother Ellis Grey, and Meredith’s colleagues soon discovered that Zola has genius-level abilities that have contributed to her anxiety. This is what many Grey’s Anatomy fans think will be the impetus for Meredith’s departure. 

Viewers Think Zola’s Gifts Will Require Meredith And Her Family To Move

With the surgeons presumably learning one of the contributing factors of Zola’s panic attacks, it does make sense that Meredith would take action — even if that means leaving the hospital that bears her family's name. One fan thought they saw the dots start to connect in the October 20 episode, tweeting: 

When Meredith tried to move to Minnesota last season, she was met with resistance from everyone in the hospital. However, if the move were in Zola’s best interest, nobody would be able to complain. Might this also be the reason Meredith travels to Boston for the upcoming episode in which Jesse Williams will direct and guest star? This story seemed to make sense to other fans as well, as one shared: 

Whether or not Zola’s panic attacks inspire Meredith’s moves, the introduction of this storyline has made one thing clear: 

Grey’s Anatomy Cannot Kill Off Meredith

Before the events of the first few episodes of Season 19, I wouldn’t have been terribly surprised to see the main character killed off of the show. Meredith has almost died a number of times over the course of 19 seasons, and Grey’s proved with Patrick Dempsey that it’s not afraid to off its big stars. It’s even been established over the past couple of seasons just how much Maggie and Amelia are already raising their nieces and nephew. But after introducing a plot in which Zola is having panic attacks over the possibility of becoming an orphan, to follow through on that plan would be unforgivable. 

While Grey’s Anatomy has shown a capacity for cruelty to the fandom (we’ll never forgive you for George’s death), I think we definitely have to cross Meredith’s demise off the list of possibilities. Tune in to see what does transpire with Meredith and her family, as Grey’s Anatomy airs at 9 p.m. ET Thursdays on ABC. Also, be sure to take a peek at our 2022 TV schedule to see what shows are premiering soon. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.