Grey’s Anatomy might be heading towards a tragic end for Meredith Grey that links to her family history, according to a theory. Medical drama is one of the most popular genres on TV, and one of the most successful shows from that branch is Grey’s Anatomy. Created by Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy premiered on ABC in 2005 and began as a mid-season replacement, but it was so well received it has lived on for over 18 seasons, all of them full of drama, heartbreak, and sometimes disappointment. But will Grey’s go all the way? Does
Meredith Grey die, or could her eventual fate be even more upsetting?
Grey’s Anatomy follows the basic premise of medical dramas and centers on the lives of surgical interns, residents, and attendings as they balance their professional and personal lives, which more often than not overlap. The series is led by Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), who viewers have seen go from being an intern to becoming Head of General Surgery and now Director of the Residency Program at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Over the course of 18 seasons, the audience has followed Meredith through some truly tragic moments in her personal life, and the show might continue on that line when it’s time to wrap her arc up.
There’s a lot of moving parts when it comes to the question, “does Meredith Grey die?” Speculation has been rife for years over how Grey’s Anatomy will end, with many theorizing that Meredith will die – but another theory suggests a different tragic ending that directly links to her family history. Meredith is the daughter of Ellis Grey (Kate Burton), a world-famous surgeon with whom she had a complicated relationship. Ellis suffered from Alzheimer’s and passed away as a result, and in Grey’s Anatomy season 9, Meredith tested positive for several genetic markers for Alzheimer’s – and as this disease develops slowly and early in life, when it’s diagnosed, it’s too late to treat it, a theory (via EW) suggests Grey’s Anatomy will end with the revelation that Meredith is living with Alzheimer’s.
Meredith Might Not Escape Her Family Medical History
Alzheimer’s has been present in Grey’s Anatomy since the pilot episode, where it was revealed that Meredith’s voiceover narration was her talking to Ellis at the assisted living facility she lived in, and Ellis wasn’t the only character who suffered from the disease, as Richard’s wife, Adele, also went through it. The theory suggests Alzheimer’s as the end of Meredith’s arc and the show in general as a way through which the writers could explain why the hospital and the people working in it seem to have very bad luck, with most of these being either events made up by Meredith’s mind or being a combination of fiction and reality. Since the theory was published, Meredith has gone through a lot more, such as being close to dying (again) after contracting COVID, and having the series end with her dealing with Alzheimer’s would be incredibly heartbreaking, but also very on-brand with the series’ type of drama. But does Meredith die in the theorized ending? Maybe not, but showing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis would provide a trademark Grey’s gut-punch regardless.
The Alzheimer’s theory would bring Meredith’s tragic arc to a heartbreaking (if depressing) end, with her voiceover narrations revealed as her telling her kids about her life at the hospital or them reading her journals. On the other hand, Meredith has gone through a lot in over 15 seasons – shootings, plane crashes, drowning, heartbreaking losses, and more – so it wouldn’t feel fair for her arc to end on a tragic note, especially since Meredith doesn’t seem to fear death the way she does Alzheimer’s. Despite feeling like the Grey’s mainstay deserves a happy ending, many fans won’t let the crew behind Grey’s Anatomy forget about those genetic markers and other hints. Shonda Rhimes and Grey’s Anatomy love to hit the audience with tragedy, and while Meredith being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s would be fitting in terms of the tone of the show and the clues it has planted for years, it would also be emotionally overbearing, even when it comes to Meredith’s arc.
Meredith Has Survived Outrageous Situations, Making This Ending Even More Tragic
Meredith Grey has survived throughout the course of Grey’s Anatomy, despite it seeming like the showrunners are trying to kill her off at every turn. Her latest brush with death came when she was battling COVID-19, and the show followed her various hallucinations throughout the season. She has been in a plane crash, assisted in her own surgery, and almost drowned. Her death-defying moments started in season 2 when she put her hand on a live bomb that was situated in a patient’s body. Grey was again held at gunpoint in Grey’s Anatomy season 6 and even told her assailant to shoot her.
She’s been able to outthink and outrun all of her near-death experiences so far, but it would serve as a real blow in any closing chapter for Meredith to have her family’s clinical history – one of the very few threats that puncture her fearlessness – be what catches up to her. Audiences have seen her survive extreme situations countless times throughout the series and are rooting for Meredith wholesale, but it wouldn’t be against type for the Grey’s Anatomy team to play with viewers’ emotions, especially when it comes to a fan favorite.