Ever since Justin Chamber’s sudden exit from the series, Grey’s Anatomy has had to try and cover up Alex Karev’s absence, and it’s making a mess of the show.
For the most part, Grey’s Anatomy season 16 was going along smoothly the first half of the season. There were several compelling storylines with Meredith Grey dealing with her medical license on the verge of being revoked, and a few of the doctors going to work at Pac North. In a lot of ways, they were able to reinvent the show and change things up, which made it feel fresh and new.
That also came to a halt when the show returned from its mid-season break. The news of Justin Chamber’s sudden exit from the long-running series came to light, which left many, including myself, wondering how the show would deal with the situation. After all, Alex Karev is a central part of Grey’s Anatomy, and as the chief of Pac North, he played a major role in one of the more interesting storylines of the season.
For a bit, Grey’s Anatomy brushed the Karev question under the rug. With the characters continuing to explain that he was away visiting his mother. That was an odd choice, but not the worst they could do. It feels like there’s a big elephant in the room as they keep dragging this on. The situation just got worse on Grey’s Anatomy season 16, episode 13, “Save The Last Dance For Me.”
In the previous episode, fans had seen as Weber and Catherine announced their separation to Maggie and Jackson. The dinner they put together resulted in a big blow out between the two despite their children’s best efforts. Catherine was so upset that he threatened to buy Pac North. Despite Weber telling her, it wouldn’t work, it was revealed in Grey’s Anatomy season 16, episode 13, “Save The Last Dance For Me” that she did just that.
Instead of keeping the hospital running though, she decided to absorb the staff into Grey Sloan Memorial, which left all the doctors having to vie for their jobs with Koracick. This included Weber, Hunt, and Maggie, while Alex is only mentioned by Weber, who says that he texted him and only got a response in emojis.
This move basically undoes everything about the Pac North storyline that made Grey’s Anatomy interesting again. They might as well have hit a big reset button and pretended that nothing ever happened. Not only does this make the entire storyline feel like a waste of time, but it also feels like the sloppiest resolution to dealing with Alex Karev being written off the show.
I was holding out hope that they would just make Weber or Hunt take over his role and continue on with Pac North being a competitor for Grey Sloan Memorial. Instead, it seems the writers decided to just wipe the whole slate clean. All that I can see is a bunch of wasted storylines they’ve thrown away because they weren’t sure what to do. As a fan, that’s quite aggravating. If you’re going to start something, at least see it all the way through instead of just tossing it right out the window.
This is sort of beside the fact, but I’m definitely not a fan of the way they’re painting Catherine as a woman scorned going overboard. Did they really have to make her look that way just to take care of a storyline they didn’t want to finish properly?
What’s most ridiculous about this is that it’s obvious they’re doing it because of Justin Chamber’s exit. And yet, the show is still not really dealing with his exit yet. As I mentioned before, they’ve mostly just been mentioning his character through texts with others in the show. For the first time in Grey’s Anatomy season 16, episode 13, “Save The Last Dance For Me,” Jo admitted to Amelia that she was worried about Alex because he’s not returning her calls. Hinting that Alex is going through something but not actually saying what.
This makes the changes they’re making to the show all the more frustrating. I realize that the writers have no choice but to try and deal with the sticky situation, but I can think of much better ways to do this. If you’re going to push out the inevitable, why rush to cover up the storylines he was involved with? It doesn’t really make sense, and it’s making the show look like a hot mess.
What could have been one of their best seasons yet turned into an awful one in just a matter of a few episodes, and it’s really heartbreaking as a long time fan. And these are just examples of the storylines that have become messy involving Alex, I haven’t even touched many of the others that seem all over the place at the moment. It’s like the writers decided to start over in the second half of the season and not in a good way.
I will say though, I do appreciate them not just killing off Alex. At least it doesn’t look like that’s what they’re going to do. Still, they could do a lot better.