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On April 15, the emotional new episode of Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 had everyone wondering about Jackson Avery’s (Jesse Williams) whereabouts. The plastic surgeon was inspired to make a real difference. Then in a sudden turn of events, he left on an 11-hour car trip. So where is Jackson going in Grey’s Anatomy Season 17? The fan theories will make you watch the episode again for clues.

What happened to Jackson Avery in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17 Episode 12?

Jesse Williams as Jackson Avery looking off to the distance in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17 Episode 12, “Sign O’ the Times.”
Jesse Williams as Jackson Avery in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17 | Christopher Willard via Getty Images

At the start of Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 12, titled “Sign O’ the Times,” Jackson saw protesters standing together following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Then when the surgeon walked into Grey Sloan Memorial alongside his mother, Catherine Fox (Debbie Allen), Jackson brought up Alma Ortiz’s (Lisa Vidal) proposal for testing low-income patients. But Catherine noted that revenues needed to improve, and she needed some time to figure it out.

Meanwhile, a woman named Nell (Phylicia Rashad) came to the hospital, accompanied by Richard. The two individuals were protesting, and Nell was shot by a tear gas canister. Luckily, the guest character came out the other end in one piece. Nell also inspired Jackson, Richard, and Cormac Hayes (Richard Flood) by her past scars and activism. 

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Later, Jackson asked Catherine why they didn’t have any scars. He questioned why his mother told him to fix things from the inside when nothing appeared to be getting better. Catherine reminded Jackson that she has a decades’ worth of scars, and she chooses one battle at a time. But Jackson didn’t want to “play a role in a system that’s just broken.” 

In response, Catherine told Jackson he sounded like his father, Robert Avery (Eric Roberts). Then Jackson replied, “Oh, that’d be the worst thing in the world?”

The moment Jackson uttered the words to Catherine, Grey’s Anatomy fans knew the conversation was over. But even so, Jackson still wanted to act. In the end, the character got into his car and typed a mysterious address into his GPS. Now, Jackson is driving away from Seattle, 11 hours away from his destination. 

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fans wonder where Jackson Avery is going in the next season 17 episode

When Jackson left Seattle in Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 12, many fans started theorizing where the character is headed next. Following the new episode, a few viewers questioned whether the plastic surgeon was driving to Minneapolis. However, it seems unlikely because the drive is about 24-hours long. 

Meanwhile, many Grey’s Anatomy fans speculated that Jackson will reunite with another returning character. A few individuals hoped the character was on his way to see his ex-wife, April Kepner (Sarah Drew). 

“I bet when he drives so far away he ends up seeing April in a protest somewhere,” a fan wrote on YouTube

Of course, some Grey’s Anatomy fans remembered that April still lives in Seattle. So it wouldn’t take 11 hours to get to her. But Jackson’s dad, Robert, lives in Bozeman, Montana, which is about 11 hours away from Seattle. 

“I´m thinking Jackson might be visting his father, since he went on an 11 hour drive,” a fan wrote on YouTube.

Jackson Avery’s ex-wife, April Kepner, will return in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17


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Now, Grey’s Anatomy fans will just have to watch Jackson’s story unfold in season 17. But whether the character reunites with his father, ex-wife, or just takes another trip to the woods, Drew already confirmed April’s return in the all-new episode on May 6.

“We have a date! April is back on @GreysABC Thursday, May 6 at 9|8c on ABC,” Drew wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, some Grey’s Anatomy fans theorized how season 17 is already setting up Jackson and April’s reunion in the future episode. A fan wrote on YouTube:

I think they will reintroduce April by bringing Jackson to a similar place April came to when she finally realized her calling/purpose. So I think that may be what they do with him. He’s seeking to do more good. To use his influence and invoke real change. April found that in Iraq and then in the homeless community. Maybe Jackson will reach out to her for that kind of guidance and support.

Whatever happens as Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 continues, it seems Jackson is actively looking for new ways to spark change. So stay tuned.