‘Grey’s Anatomy’: What Was Supposed to Happen in the Original Season 16 Finale?

Grey’s Anatomy came to an abrupt end last night. Originally, there were supposed to be four more episodes to finish out season 16 but due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the cast and crew were unable to get together to film the remaining scenes that were needed. While last night’s ending was dramatic and served the storylines well enough, it obviously left fans wondering what the show’s actual ending was supposed to be.

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What happened on the finale? (SPOILERS AHEAD)

When the finale started, the doctors were still racing against the clock to figure out what was wrong with Richard Webber. He had been suffering from extreme mood swings, forgetfulness, and hallucinations. Many of the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial believed that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s but Meredith Grey refused to accept that diagnosis. Just when Catherine Avery was about to check Webber out of the hospital to live out his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Grey discovered that Webber’s hands and feet were numb and that he was extremely sensitive to touch, which led them to run more tests.

As Grey and Dr. Miranda Bailey were getting ready to perform a biopsy on Webber, Andrew DeLuca ran in and announced that Webber’s previous hip replacement had been made out of cobalt. Still unable to trust DeLuca’s mental state, Bailey and Grey went to continue with the biopsy. Frustrated with being ignored, DeLuca knocked all of the sterile equipment off of the tray and said that if Webber was having cobalt poisoning, it would explain all of his symptoms. Though the team had tested for metals in Webber’s system, cobalt was not in the test. Eventually, it was determined that the new hip was rotting inside of Weber and it was removed.

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Meanwhile, Amelia Shepherd had gone into labor earlier in the morning. Because her boyfriend Atticus Lincoln had to go remove the hip from Webber’s body, Shepherd had to deliver her baby with Bailey as moral support. In an unusual turn of events for Grey’s, both Shepherd and her baby were healthy after the delivery.

That same day, Teddy Altman decided to have goodbye sex with her boss, Tom Koracick. Unfortunately, she mistakenly sent a voicemail of the act to her fiance Owen Hunt, who she was supposed to marry that night. Hunt did not show up to the wedding.

What was the ending supposed to be like?

Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 both have the same showrunner, Krista Vernoff, and are set in the same world. Their storylines often intertwine.

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“Ironically, when fans watch Episode 15 and 16 of Station 19, they will probably have a feeling of some of what we had planned for [the original Grey’s finale],” Vernoff told TVLine. Because of this, some of the content had to be edited out of Station 19 to preserve some of the storylines that will now be covered in season 17 of Grey’s.

“This is the strangest thing any of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes,” she told the outlet of the COVID-19 pandemic. “And, creatively, it is presenting unique challenges, for sure.”

But last night’s episode was actually a great place for the season to end.

“From the minute we read the script for 21,” Vernoff said, “it — coincidentally — felt like a season finale.”