‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Fans Are Still Arguing Over Alex Karev’s Send-Off Episode — ‘It Was Disrespectful to His Character’

Longtime Grey’s Anatomy fans were heartbroken when the news broke that Justin Chambers was not returning to the show mid-season 16. Viewers had so many questions about how the writers would finish his character — Alex Karev’s — story. However, when his farewell finally aired, fans had mixed feelings. The debate continues over whether or not “it was disrespectful to his character.”

Justin Chambers as Alex Karev on 'Grey's Anatomy'
Justin Chambers as Alex Karev on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Kelsey McNeal via Getty Images

Fans are torn over whether they wanted closure for Izzie Stevens on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) left Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital in the sixth season of Grey’s Anatomy. She makes a judgment error that threatens the life of a patient and is fired from the hospital. Izzie believes that Alex was responsible for her losing her job, although he wasn’t. 

She does try to make amends with Alex, but Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) tells her that he is moving on. Izzie leaves Seattle for a fresh start, and we do not get closure on her storyline until 10 years later, in season 16. 

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It turns out that she lives on a farm with her twins — Eli and Alexis — who she had with the embryos she and Karev created years ago. For many people, this was a controversial ending. Some wanted to see him end up with Izzie, but others are distraught about his current wife, Jo Wilson’s (Camilla Luddington) fate. 

“I WANTED TO KNOW what happened to Izzie,” one fan wrote on Reddit. “She was an original that we didn’t know anything about for 10 years. Maybe some didn’t care because, at this point, many original fans have stopped watching the show a long time ago. Especially after almost all originals were out, but that scene featured in Alex’s departure episode gave me hope for a reunion someday.”

Fans continue to argue over Alex’s ending on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

“Alex’s ending was garbage and deserved the backlash, but almost all original viewers were happy he ended with Izzie,” another fan added. “That part wasn’t the problem. The problem was how they brought about his ending. Making him into a liar, cheater, etc., was disrespectful to his character.”

Other fans believe that the way he left Jo destroyed how far he had come as a character. When Grey’s Anatomy began, he was not kind to women. However, by season 16, he developed into a man who respected and cherished his wife deeply. Critics believe that the way he left Jo to be with Izzie was entirely out of character.

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“Alex’s send-off episode was trash,” another viewer wrote. “The worst part are the scenes at the farmhouse with the kids and actors who are painfully not Izzie and Alex.”

Throughout the farewell, Meredith, Jo, and Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) read letters from Alex that explained his departure. Fans do not think it was enough, and may even dislike the scenes with his children.

A few fans are happy with the way that Alex Karev departed the show

“It’s a mixed bag,” one Redditor wrote. “I’m glad he’s willing to take responsibility to take care of children, but his treatment of Jo sucks. The perfect way would’ve been Alex and Jo take care of Alex’s children together with Izzie.”

Fans have come up with many different alternate endings for Chambers’ character. Some viewers even suggested it would have been better to have him die than abandon his wife.

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Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 will return to ABC sometime in the fall of 2020, about a month and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic on-screen. Things will move on without Alex Karev, whether fans like his ending or not.

“We might have some flashbacks,” Giacomo Gianniotti told Entertainment Tonight. “We might have some things where we’re referencing last season, just to have context leading up. But we are going to have a little leap when we start this season in terms of time. We’re not picking up right where we left off.”