Ellen Pompeo on Why Alex's 'Grey's Anatomy' Ending Was 'the Best Send Off'

Ellen Pompeo Grey's Anatomy Alex Farewell
ABC/Richard Cartwright

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 16, Episode 16 of Grey's Anatomy, "Leave a Light On."]

If you were a fan of how Grey's Anatomy said goodbye to Justin Chambers' Alex Karev in Thursday's episode, Ellen Pompeo agrees with you.

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As with the best plot twists, Alex's decision feels both surprising and inevitable, and for this fan, the show stuck an impressive landing.

The actress posted a lengthy message on Instagram alongside clips of her and Chambers' characters over the years. "Thanks to our national treasure @therealdebbieallen and the writers for giving Alex Karev the best send off," she wrote. "Thanks to @shondarhimes for creating the most amazing character. For me personally for Karev to go back to the beginning.... was the best possible storyline. It pays homage to those incredible first years and the incredible cast ...that created a foundation so strong that the show is still standing."

In "Leave a Light On," Meredith, Jo (Camilla Luddington), Bailey (Chandra Wilson), and Richard (James Pickens Jr.) learned through letters from Alex that he was living on a farm in Kansas with Izzie (Katherine Heigl) and their twins.

 

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Hi here I go again ... Thank YOU! You are truly the best most passionate most loyal fans anyone could ever ask for. Because of you we got to make great tv... because of you we got to make television history! I say often life is hard and thank God it is because like I tell my kids... it shows us what we are made ...of how strong we really are and let’s face it... without the lows there would be no dancing it out or celebrating this incredible experience we call life. Thanks to our national treasure @therealdebbieallen and the writers for giving Alex Karev the best send off. Thanks to @shondarhimes for creating the most amazing character. For me personally for Karev to go back to the beginning.... was the best possible storyline. It pays homage to those incredible first years and the incredible cast ...that created a foundation so strong that the show is still standing. So let’s not be sad. As our fearless leader DA always says let’s PULL UP and celebrate the actors the writers and the fantastic crew who make this show come to life every week. No matter what the challenge or how tired we all are in the end... you keep us going.....That is worth dancing it out over! So much love and gratitude to you all. Xo E

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"You could show up at my door and get me to walk away from all this," he wrote to Meredith. "But I hope you don't. Mer, you are my best friend, and I will miss the hell out of you, but I'm finally exactly where I should be."

Pompeo also thanked "the best most passionate most loyal fans anyone could ever ask for" in her post. "Because of you we got to make great tv," she wrote. "Because of you we got to make television history! I say often life is hard and thank God it is because like I tell my kids... it shows us what we are made ...of how strong we really are and let's face it... without the lows there would be no dancing it out or celebrating this incredible experience we call life."

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'We will miss him terribly,' showrunner Krista Vernoff says.

"Let's not be sad. As our fearless leader DA always says let's PULL UP and celebrate the actors the writers and the fantastic crew who make this show come to life every week," she concluded. "No matter what the challenge or how tired we all are in the end... you keep us going.....That is worth dancing it out over! So much love and gratitude to you all."

Pompeo and Chambers were among the last of the original cast members still around at the beginning of Season 16. Pompeo's Grey's contract goes through Season 17.

Grey's Anatomy, Thursdays, 9/8c, ABC