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Grey's Anatomy Season Finale Spoilers: A Very Dark, Complex ... Thing!

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Get ready for another gut-wrenching Grey's Anatomy season finale May 17.

That's surely no surprise to longtime fans, but the stakes are higher than ever next month. In the case of the final Season 8 chapter, it could be the final one altogether for one or more Seattle Grace staffers.

What does creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes say lies in store?

"There is a very complex thing that occurs for many of our characters that places a lot of them in a position to discover what they're made of. I don't know that you could guess it," she cryptically tells TV Guide.

Yes ... she said a thing.

Yang Pic

When asked whether this incident - a forest fire, reportedly, is at the center of the episode, "Flight" - is similar to the ferry boat crash or the rampaging shooter of seasons past, she replied, "Yes. A yes to both!"

In a year where the contract negotiations of the original cast members are unresolved, Rhimes has been challenged to create the perfect scenario should one or more of the core characters not return for Season 9.

"People will take jobs at different hospitals," Rhimes says. "The plan is, at the end of the season, our doctors will do what residents all over the country do, which is to accept jobs at different hospitals."

Could some stick around Seattle Grace? "Not at the end of the season," Rhimes teases, with the qualifier that one of many options is that some will return in the ninth season, for reasons currently unknown.

As for whether someone doesn't have that option - in other words, they die - Shonda isn't going there this year ... maybe. "I don't want to answer this question," she said bluntly of the season finale.

"It's very dark and twisty. We're taking our characters on a journey they've never been on before."

UPDATE, 4/25: She has now confirmed that there is at least one major death in the season finale.

UPDATE, 5/2: We still don't know who dies, but we do know a handful of doctors who are safe.

Mer With Der

"To me, it's a very shocking thing that I chose to do and I was really stressed-out about doing it, and it took me a long time, so I kept taking the finale apart and putting it back together."

"It's also a very emotional episode. I always feel like when an episode really scares me, when I spend a lot of time with my head in my hands wondering how the fans are going to take it ... I kind of know that it's good."

In that sense, this finale will be the opposite of the Season 7 finale.

"I feel like last year's finale was very quiet for a reason," Rhimes says.

"Our characters had been through so much and [came] to a place where really their decisions were about their growth as people - Meredith and her baby and Cristina and her pregnancy."

"This season, I feel like the theme of the episode is graduation, and there is a huge sense of nostalgia in this episode in terms of what you're looking at. This could very well be the last time these doctors are working together."

"This could very well be the last day for some of these doctors here."

"There are some really beautiful moments. There's a great moment for Bailey that is light, wonderful, beautiful, romantic and amazing that I'm very excited about. But there are some very, very dark things happening."

Bailey's New Haircut

Some of that darkness will surely come Owen and Cristina.

"I really do believe and love them together as a couple," she says. "When I say, 'Oh, I want them to stay together,' people think that means that they're going to hold hands and skip happily off into the sunset."

"We all know that's never going to happen or else we wouldn't have a television show. I do ultimately think that they belong together, but that road could be very long, or it could be short."

As for potential Season 9 arcs? Your guess is as good as hers.

"I haven't gotten into next season yet," she continues.

"I can't even think past how we're ending this season. So many other things are happening that I'm not sure that you're going to spend time worrying about whether or not Cristina and Owen are going to be together."

Gulp.

"In the episode before the finale, you will feel like you know what's going to happen to them, but their journey [continues]. There are some things that will feel like there's some closure and many things that won't."

What do you think of Shonda's typically open-ended statements? Will the Grey's Anatomy season finale mean the end of the show as we know it? Share your predictions and viewpoints in the comments below.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Why was mark and AZ on the plane? And April she didn't pass. They all on the same plane going different places AND traveling in scrubs?

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I think its Arizona. Karev will replace her. Hmm.... or April haha I am conflicted !!

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As I read through everyones posts reguarding who will die in the next two episodes I cant help but think how Shonda is a genious! dont get me wrong i just finished watching my recorded episode of last nights greys anatomy and was in shock and really angry with Shonda for ending the episode like this but everyone who is a die hard never miss an episode watch re-runs religously Greys Anatomy addict like myself are failing to realize THIS IS WHY WE BECAME GREYS ANATOMY ADDICTS IN THE FIRST PLACE!! LOL But... needless to say I honestly dont think it will be anyone we're all expecting! I hate to think this but my first thought wasnt Derrik or Meredith but who other than Morgan... i know shes not a "main" character but i think she wont be able to cope with the death of her baby boy Thomas which drives her to suicide. Karev being under SO much stress and seeming wreckless (i.e. being late to boards due to Thomas's death) Izzy leaving and never coming back, medical bills from Izzy's cancer treatment and finally Disappointing Arizona... when Der/Mer's house Burns down I think somehow Karev will be there and get killed in the fire! My second guess would be baby Zola! How do you think Meredith will take Zola dying in the fire and then find out she's pregnant?! This would make Christina stay her and Owen to become closer Lexi and Mark ultimately getting back together and eventually having a baby... just a few thoughts from another addicted Grey's Anatomy finaddick! I'm going to try and pretend I didn't watch last nights episode so I can make it through the week until Thursday night!! :o)

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It's either, Lexi, Mark, Arizona or April. I hope not Lexi or Mark

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OH LORD! I think it's going to be Derrek! He was ejected from the plane as it was going down. There's no way that he would be able to survivie. He will come back in flashbacks and dreams. SHONDA!! You have done it with this one. But apart of me says it might be Callie because Arizona said to her "promise me you will never leave me". Good way to end it, huh? I can't sleep another night without knowing.

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I choose to live in denial for the week, just because someone dies does not mean they can't be brought back to life;)

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Ok, well, now we all know the original 6 have renewed contracts so that pretty much rules out: Mer, Der, Cristina, Richard, Alex and Bailey. Let's think who was on the plane at the end of the last episode in addition to these "safe" characters: Lexi, Mark, Arizona, and I believe Teddy. Not sure if Callie is on the plane. It looks like Hunt, Kepner, and Jackson are back at the hospital. So it has to be Lexi, Mark or Arizona. I'm guessing Arizona but its more of a blind guess than a hunch.

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i heard sumwhere last year that patrick D didnt want to sign another year after this season....im sure its derrek...bc if all these guys r moving away we will not.b watching new interns.all over.again..we fell in love with these guys...ER didnt make it after a a whole new cast!!! anyway after tonites plane crash i definately.see mcdreamy dying,mere prego,christina stayn to b with mere and the.rest i dnt.care so much... to much cryn for.me.tonite...american idol then greys....im goin to bed.

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Merideth and Derick has to live especially if shes pregnant.And not Yang and Owen they need to get back together and she needs to get pregnant

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I think its going to be Callie who dies, this will cause a custody free for all between Arizona and Mark & either Julia or Lexie. Otherwise its a tossup between Mark or Lexie, if it one of them , i suspect it will be in each others arms after having just decided to be together, a plane part will interrupt preceedings and put an end to such happy notions.

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