Grey's Anatomy isn't getting the season 16 finale producers had initially planned -- but don't worry, they're still going to bring the drama.
After being one of the first shows to shut down production amid the coronavirus pandemic, ET learned last week that the long-running medical drama will be ending its season four episodes early. The Grey's season finale is now scheduled for Thursday, April 9, with episode 21, titled “Put on a Happy Face," being the season's last.
The show is not planning to resume production to complete filming on the four additional season 16 episodes. As previously announced, Grey’s has already been renewed for season 17. The change, however, does not affect the Station 19 and How to Get Away With Murder May 14 finale airdates.
ET's Katie Krause spoke with Grey's star Kim Raver last week, shortly after the news was announced, where she teased what's to come in the new finale episode, and where the season leaves her character, cardiothoracic surgeon Teddy Altman, who just welcomed her first child amid a love triangle with Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) and Tom Koracick (Greg Germann).
"I think the most important thing is we want to make sure we are flattening the curve and making sure everyone is safe, so we have to end with this episode, because it's the one that we finished with," Raver explained of why the production shutdown was so important to slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. "But the writers are so good that [episode 21] is gonna totally work as a finale, and it's quintessential Grey's. You will be laughing and crying simultaneously."
"You will definitely get some answers and you will definitely get some new questions," she added. "It's kind of going to work out perfect. I mean, I'm sad that we only have two more shows... but it just means we will have more next season."
While production and planning for the show's 17th season remains up in the air, Raver says she and the Grey's cast trust executive producer Krista Vernoff and the writing staff to rework the scrapped final episodes -- and possibly use footage that was already shot -- to pick up where they left off when production resumes.
"Maybe they will rework the scenes that they have and include that... I think we have some amazing stuff in the can," she noted. "I think they will use some of those great scenes that we shot, but I also equally think that maybe they're thinking this is an opportunity to see how things played out and where they want to raise higher stakes and what they want to include. It's an opportunity to kind of rework the canvas."
Raver admitted that the scrapped final episodes included some "very clarifying moments" in Teddy's journey, and she speculated that fans might have to "revisit" those details in season 17.
"I don't think it's gonna wrap up neatly," she teased. "There are some crazy things coming up in the next two episodes. Krista and I are talking about it, that we do walk Teddy into and understand why she's doing what she's doing, and then also, through the messiness, get her to that better place. I think what's really cool also is that we're not just gonna wrap it up in a neat little bow, because that's not life. I think it's gonna take some messiness before she gets some clarity."
The actress said last week's revelation, that Teddy was romantically involved with her best friend, Allison -- who was in a relationship with another woman before dying on 9/11 -- came as "such a surprise" but also made "total sense" to her. The reveal as to the significance of Teddy's daughter's namesake also plays into the hot water that the surgeon finds herself in now, Raver said, as she works through her own trauma and her love triangle with Owen and Tom.
"I do think that you are able to love two people in very different ways, right?" she explained. "And I think that's what Teddy is struggling with. And I think it also really comes down to Teddy's lack of self-love. The whole time on Grey's she's really been... with unavailable people, and I think that's something she really needs to examine."
"I know the fans are super upset with Teddy right now, and I totally get it," she added, referencing her character's infidelity. "I think those poor choices, I hope, will lead Teddy to really finding love. I think the affair, with Teddy... I think it's because she's afraid. I think that she does love two people, but I think it's also because she's afraid.... Her love is pure for both of those people, and she does love both of those people. It's the way she's going about it that's really messed up."
While she couldn't give too much away about how the love triangle plays out, Raver said the final two episode of the series are "juicy" for her character.
"I literally, I went under the table at the table read," she recalled. "Like, whats happening?... Let me just say it's messy. It's really messy. It's very good, in a very Grey's Anatomy way."
When it comes to her personal preference as to who Teddy should end up with, the actress remained diplomatic. "I think they are both great matches in different ways. I think Owen and Teddy have a history that is so deep that I'm very attached to. They literally went to war together, so that's really huge for me. But then I think Teddy has an understanding of Tom, and his deep pain of having lost his son. There's a really beautiful episode coming up that's really informative to understand who Tom is underneath that kind of veneer on the outside, which I think Teddy sees. I think it's gonna come down to can Teddy figure out that she's worthy of being loved, and who's that best match?"
As for the rest of the Grey Sloan team, Raver also teased that she's "pretty sure" fans will get some answers in the final episodes as to what happened to Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.), who seemed to suffer some kind of medical crisis while at a conference in last week's episode, and what's to come for Meredith's (Ellen Pompeo) relationships with Cormac Hayes, aka "McWidow" (Richard Flood) and Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti).
"I think there's another love triangle!" she teased with a laugh. "I think it's very Grey's Anatomy. We gotta keep it complicated and juicy, maybe that's the theme of season 16."
From the fictional doctors on TV to the real-life ones on the front lines fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Raver also shared a message of hope and unity, urging fans to follow the advice of medical personnel and give back where they can to help those affected by the virus.
"It's so crazy to think of what is happening, but also great that we have these stories to share and to tell, because we're all at home and we're all trying to get through this together," she said. "I remember, during 9/11 I was doing Third Watch, and it's very difficult to go, 'The world is upside down, and as an actor, what is my part aside from volunteering?' I think a part of me is happy that I can share stories, so we can get through this together."
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. PT/ET on ABC.