'Grey's Anatomy' Boss Reveals Why Meredith's Sendoff Was So Low-Key

'Grey's said goodbye to Ellen Pompeo's titular character after 19 seasons.

When Grey's Anatomy bid Meredith farewell during Season 19, Episode 17, "I'll Follow the Sun," her goodbye was a bit more low-key than others, but there's a good reason. Despite Ellen Pompeo being the star on the ABC medical drama, her exit upset some fans, mostly because of how it was handled. There weren't any big montages, not too many callbacks, or many emotional moments as Meredith prepared to move across the country. However, while speaking to TVLine, showrunner Krista Vernoff had a pretty reasonable explanation, and it makes sense.

"It wasn't a farewell episode, it was a leaving-Seattle episode because we knew we were going to see Meredith again this season and more next season as well," Vernoff explained. "So it was a different kind of farewell than some that we've done where it's like, 'That's the last you're ever going to see that person.' We didn't want to do that. We wanted a sweet 'See you later' kind of thing for Ellen. And then, we've still got her voiceover anchoring the show, which I think has a much bigger impact than anyone is fully aware of. Maybe for that reason, I have felt that the show's been pretty steady."

So if anyone is still upset about not getting a proper farewell to Meredith, this is the reason why. Ellen Pompeo has still been providing the voiceover following her exit, and she's set to appear in the Season 19 finale, so it really isn't a true farewell since we're still going to see her. With Grey's Anatomy being renewed for Season 20, it also sounds like she will be coming back every once in a while then. If they had a big and proper farewell like they've done with characters in the past, and even with Maggie recently, then we wouldn't be getting Meredith anymore, so really, everybody wins.

Since Meredith has been in Boston, it's going to be fascinating to hear what she's been up to and, hopefully, how Jackson and April are doing as well. The show really hasn't been the same without her, so it's nice to know that they are still planning on bringing her back every once in a while next season, though likely depending on Ellen Pompeo's schedule and the storyline.

Meanwhile, in Meredith's absence, Grey's Anatomy has brought back Kate Walsh's Addison Montgomery on a number of occasions, most recently for an intense two-parter revolving around abortion care. Thankfully it was nothing Addison and the team at Grey Sloan couldn't handle, even though it was scary at times, and Addison was on her way to save more lives and help more women in need. She seems to be comfortable coming back to Seattle every once in a while, so hopefully, it won't be long until we get another Addison and Meredith scene.