As the lead of Shonda Rhimes’ medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) has been through a lot: The death of her mother from Alzheimer’s, being held at gunpoint, miscarriages, getting stranded in the woods for days after a plane crash that killed her sister, watching her husband dying in a car crash, nearly dying from COVID, and more and more tragedies than one can reasonably list.
Now, the character is (hopefully) moving on to greener, less traumatic pastures in the midseason premiere “I’ll Follow the Sun,” which sees her leave hospital/deathtrap Grey Sloan Memorial after 19 seasons. A teaser for the episode, which will premiere on February 23 on ABC, was released Wednesday out of the channel’s Television Critics Association winter press conference.
Written by series showrunner Krista Vernoff and directed by Debbie Allen, “I’ll Follow the Sun” sees Meredith celebrate her last day on staff at Grey Sloan Memorial after deciding to head to Boston for a new job researching a cure for Alzheimer’s. The episode sees Meredith receiving a toast goodbye from her friends and colleagues, who give her a surprise farewell party in the hospital. Of course, this wouldn’t be “Grey’s Anatomy” without some drama, so the episode also sees Meredith’s love interest Nick (Scott Speedman) confront her over the status of their relationship now that she’s leaving.
“This is the place where I learned to be a doctor, this is the place where I found my family, where I fell in love,” Pompeo narrates in the teaser. “Sometimes change is everything.”
Although this is the last episode featuring Pompeo as a main cast member, it’s not her final bow on the long-running series overall, as she’s also expected to return for the Season 19 finale and will continue to serve as the narrator. Pompeo announced her exit from the show that made her famous over the summer when she was cast in a Hulu original series inspired by the case of Natalia Grace, a Ukrainian orphan who was adopted before her parents claimed she was an adult masquerading as a child. With Pompeo’s exit, James Pickens Jr. and Chandra Wilson are the last two actors to remain on the show out of the initial cast of nine.
“Grey’s Anatomy” also stars Kevin McKidd, Caterina Scorsone, Camilla Luddington, Kelly McCreary, Kim Raver, Jake Borelli, Chris Carmack, Anthony Hill, Alexis Floyd, Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Midori Francis, and Niko Terho. Vernoff, Allen, and Pompeo executive produce the series with creator Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Mark Gordon, Meg Marinis, and Zoanne Clack. ABC Signature, a Disney Television Studios subsidiary, produces the series.
Watch the teaser for the “Grey’s Anatomy” midseason premiere below.