Grey’s Anatomy is feared for killing off its characters, but in that case, fans might have preferred him to die rather than see him go the way he did.
The release of Justin Chambers from Grey’s Anatomy united most fans in the opinion that it was a terrible way to end a character arc that spanned 16 seasons, to the extent that some fans even suggested it was better for Alex Karev to be kill. Chambers’ Karev was one of the few characters who had been around for Grey’s Anatomy pilot episode, starring Meredith Gray (Ellen Pompeo), Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.). Karev was the only one besides Meredith remaining in Seattle among the original group of residents that fans affectionately call MAGIC, with each letter representing the first letter of the character’s name. Although Cristina (Sandra Oh) was Meredith’s “person” throughout the series, as Alex and Meredith were the last two still in Gray Sloan Memorial Hospital, they became the “person” one of the other, getting closer and closer over the years.
Alex Karev had been a controversial figure at the start of Grey’s Anatomy, sometimes downright hated by his colleagues for his arrogance and tendency to take credit for other residents’ surgeries or medical successes. Over the seasons, however, he’s matured a lot, even becoming acting chief of surgery at Gray Sloan Memorial Hospital. His personal life has also gone smoothly, after some rough patches when his wife Jo (Camilla Luddington) developed depression. Considering his character development has been drastic and steady over 16 seasons, fans were understandably angry when Chambers’ exit from the show happened so abruptly, especially since, despite leaving Alex Karev alive, it also destroyed any possible improvements gained over the years.
In his now 18 year run, Grey’s Anatomy became famous for not being shy about letting characters go in the most excruciating way. Meredith herself lost her sister Lexie (Chyler Leigh) and her husband Derek (Patrick Dempsey) in accidents that caused their deaths to let the cast leave the show. It was one of the reasons why some fans were scared that Alex was dead, but when his final episode of the series finally arrived, they were even more disappointed, leading some fans to even want that. Alex be killed rather than leave this way. .
Karev’s move to Kansas to be with Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) and their children shocked fans, as it was unexpected and especially cruel to certain characters. Indeed, the exits of the actors had often shocked the viewers, but more often for their sadness, not because they did not make sense. Alex was happily married to Jo, even happier after she started taking care of her mental health. Alex’s friendship with Meredith was also in the right place, especially after he helped her retain her medical license during her medical board hearing. It wouldn’t have made sense for him to abruptly leave to take care of his mother and stop talking to anyone in Seattle.
Alex’s move to Kansas out of the blue not only made no sense story-wise, but he was also extremely insensitive to Jo. In his letter to her and Meredith, he said he loved both Jo and Izzie, but fans commented that if that was really true, he never did what he did to anyone. one who had lived as long as Jo. His sudden departure left her so upset that even Grey’s Anatomy season 18, Jo still hasn’t fully recovered from her sudden abandonment.
Karev’s move to Kansas and Chambers’ farewell to the show in Season 16 Episode 16 also felt incredibly distant, as viewers couldn’t see the current Alex in an actual scene from Grey’s Anatomy but only hear his words through the letters he left for those dear to him. His end was both disrespectful to the character he became and deeply disturbing to those he loved. No wonder fans would have preferred Alex to be killed – they wanted him alive, but even death would have been more honorable than what the writers imagined and implemented in Grey’s Anatomy season 16.
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