Jackson Avery was nowhere to be seen during Thursday's all-new episode of Grey's Anatomy, and fans were not O.K. when they found out why.
Despite having said "I love you" to Maggie (Kelly McCreary) at the end of the season 15 premiere, Maggie was shocked when Owen (Kevin McKidd) told her Jackson had emailed the staff letting them know he was taking a "leave of absence," but failed to tell her first.
Jackson ghosted Maggie ? #GreysAnatomy— Chyna White (@MsCampbeII) October 5, 2018
"Maggie bout to get scooped up while Jackson running around soul searching like a drama king," one Twitter user wrote.
"So did Jesse Williams book a movie or something to explain this weird random Jackson exit," another user wondered.
As the episode carried on, Maggie saw herself getting more and more upset, lashing out at Owen and Amelia. She later tells Meredith that Jackson — who had been struggling with a crisis of faith after April almost died, then left the hospital and got married; and later him almost dying — had left her a voicemail telling her he needed to "take a step back from his whole life and try to see a bigger picture."
The voicemail left her feeling "humiliated," Maggie admits, but Meredith tells her that she should be feeling "enraged.
Fans of the series were themselves enraged by Jackson's actions, wondering on Twitter how he could just walk out on his relationship so soon after saying "I love you."
Why did Jackson leave??? Those green eyes need to be on the show! #greysanatomy— Hallie? (@BlushingICEE) October 5, 2018
"Wait. Is this the end of Jackson Avery? I'm confused," one user wrote.
"Um... Jackson better not be gone for good cause... no," another user commented.
Later, Amelia talks to Maggie about Jackson leaving and Maggie admits that she is hurt by what happened.
"Is there something wrong with me? I almost died too but I'm feeling grateful," she says. She also adds that in the voicemail Jackson told her he couldn't bring himself to tell her he was leaving to her face, because he would never be able to do it.
The episode ends as Maggie starts to craft a text message responding to his voicemail, but she deletes it before she sends anything.
Poor Maggie. I am still rooting for Jackson and Maggie. #GreysAnatomy— Crystal (@CrystalTweets19) October 5, 2018
Jackson: "You keep showing me how capable you are of just walking away!"
Also Jackson: NEXT TIME ON "GONE WITHOUT A TRACE" #GreysAnatomy— Psych Y. R. Mind (@ABC123TLC) October 5, 2018
Jackson's absence from Grey's Anatomy is likely temporary, as his journey of faith has been teased before as a big storyline for season 15, though we'll have to wait and see how Maggie welcomes him back when chooses to return.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.