Oh, Evil Spawn, what have you done to us? On January 10, actor Justin Chambers, original Grey’s Anatomy cast member and portrayer of tough guy with a heart of gold pediatrician-turned-chief of Pac-North Dr. Alex Karev, announced he’d be leaving Grey’s Anatomy in the middle of season 16. And our hearts broke. And then when we learned that Chambers’s last episode had actually already aired on November 14, our brains broke. How in the world could Grey’s Anatomy write off such a beloved character with zero fanfare? With zero closure? THIS IS MEREDITH GREY’S PERSON, YOU MONSTERS.
Since the show’s midseason return in late January, Grey’s has been slowly offering up information about Karev’s off-screen whereabouts. He was in Iowa “helping his mom” but still very much weighing in on hiring decisions at Pac-North and apparently sending hilarious texts to Richard Webber. Then we learned that his wife, Jo, to whom we thought he was very happily and healthily married, was worried because he told her he “was going through something” and stopped answering her calls. In last week’s episode, she revealed that Alex’s mother told her he hasn’t been in Iowa at all, and Jo had a full on breakdown, sure that he’d left her. But the bigger concern: He even stopped answering Meredith. The dragging out of Alex Karev’s fate has been pretty unbearable, especially because there are only a few options for how this could play out, given that we’ve watched this character go from true trash human to a lovable but sometimes cranky Most Decent Man.
And then finally, tonight, Grey’s stopped playing around and told us where Alex Karev really was. And guys, um, Alex is with Izzie Stevens. AND THEY HAVE KIDS.
In “Leave a Light On,” the four most important people in Alex’s life — okay, well, I guess in his life in Seattle — get letters from him, with a return address in Kansas. (Mer’s only says “Evil Spawn” be still my heart.) Over the course of the hour, Meredith, Jo, Bailey, and Webber each read Alex’s letter and we learn that when he was contacting people to speak on Meredith’s behalf during the trial over losing her medical license, he contacted Izzie. They spoke as if no time had passed. And then she told him that she had 5-year-old twins, a boy and girl, and they were his. Eli and Alexis. She used the embryos they made when she was getting chemo — embryos Alex had previously signed away any rights to.
So, Alex went to meet his kids and because he barely had parents growing up, he knew he could never leave them. He loves Jo and he loves Meredith, but that farm in Kansas with his two kids and with goddamn Izzie Stevens — that’s home.
The episode ends with a montage of all the biggest Alex and Izzie moments throughout their time on Grey’s Anatomy — nope, sorry to report that there is no last-minute appearance by Chambers or Katherine Heigl — because believe it or not, friends, it turns out that Alex Karev and Izzie Stevens are endgame.