‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Gives Fans Hope Before Snatching It Away in Last Episode Until March

The Grey's Anatomy season finale left fans with a giant cliffhanger Thursday night. Actress Ellen Pompeo's Meredith Grey is in worse shape than before, and now that her fate hangs in the balance on a ventilator, fans are worried about the future of the show and its titular character. Since the show has included the coronavirus pandemic into this season's storyline, Meredith sadly became the character to feel the disease's effects. While she was recovering from the virus, after the doctor jumped in to save another COVID patient from coding, she took a turn for the worse, which has left her in a state of unconsciousness.

Fortunately, that could mean more surprise cameos from her late husband Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) and George (T.R. Knight) during her dreamscape beach visits. Unfortunately, answers won't be given to Dr. Grey's future until the show resumes with a new season in March.

The show's executive producers Andy Reaser and Meg Marinis spoke with Entertainment Tonight about the jaw-dropping finale and the series's future. "We wanted to be as realistic as we possibly could about our portrayal of the virus and the dangers that it poses, and the COVID high or happy hypoxia is something that we've heard about again and again and again and again where you're like, 'Oh, we're all better,' and then the person, just on a dime, completely crashes," Reaser said of the writer's decision that shocked viewers. "It's not something that we take lightly and we don't want to feel like Meredith is being let off the hook too easily. The virus keeps everyone guessing and it's relentless, so it's going to take relentlessness to fight it."

Without giving too many details of Grey's future on the series, Reaser did say the writers won't count out anymore surprise visits to Meredith's dreamscape beach spot. But the doctor's fate still hangs in the balance as viewers are left without a clear understanding of her mental capabilities, Reaser teases.

"We want to say yes, but we also want to be mindful of the fact we, very intentionally... I don't know if you picked up on this, but this episode ends with the closing voiceover starts, but then it doesn't really stop," he told ET. "Then you just hear the music and you hear the sound of the ventilator and we're not sure, going into this specific moment in the season, how capable Meredith is of imagining herself being on the beach. It will come back in ways that it has not yet, that we haven't seen yet."

As for the series's future, producers are pretty tight-lipped as to when the show will end. Already on its 17th season, the show has seen many changes and its fans have adapted with its main character along the way. Marinis says she has no idea when the show could be over.

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"As for nearing the end, I feel like starting the last few seasons; there are always theories. But I feel like we are succeeding still in incredible fashion, and we're so grateful for that. But I will say, because of the circumstances of this year, we had been writing each episode -- because we have no idea, depending on COVID rates and obviously production is still going on, if one day, they're just going to say we have to stop because of safety," Marinis says.

She continued, "We have been writing each episode like it could possibly be the last episode until we could get back on the air because we just don't know. So we're throwing everything that we can, story-wise. Not every episode ends with a cliffhanger necessarily, but every episode has such an emotional punch to it, for at least a few of our characters, that if it had to be the last episode for a second, it could be. The first six are definitely an example of that. But we're lucky in that we've still been able to continue to shoot, so we will have more episodes. But as for the end, who knows when Grey's Anatomy will end."