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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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I think it will be April who dies. I think the pressure of sleeping with Jackson and feeling like she betrayed Jesus is too much. Then she fails the boards which puts her over the top. I think April will end up comitting Suicide in the final episode.

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I'm starting to get a lil annoyed with Shonda also, this show is like an emotional roller coaster for me. I'll soon stop watching it. I can't take the pressure, the heartaches, too emotional.

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It cannot b mer or derrick....as the show revolves around them.....Somehow I feel it's owen. Lord poor christina

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Honestly....I think it's Mark....It has to be Mark or adele.

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Shonda says a beloved character is going to die so it could be Webber. She also implies great things and dark things happening to Bailey so we cant single her out. That would suck, she puts everyone in their place. Its not going to be Karev, he's going through too much stress; if Karev ever dies I think they'd have him go out noble. Its not gonna be Merideth or Derek... she says certain characters cant die, there would be no more show! Then she hints that we wont be worrying about Christina and Owen staying together because perhaps possibly one is going to die? I'm nervous... But if god forbid Christina dies...And Mer is Preggo with a girl she is for sure naming her Christina!!!!! I dunnnooooo????? Just saying...

Coldcontagious

Ok so I was really convinced that the death would be Richard or Derek. I still really think its Richard. But now instead of Derek as my shocking choice I think it will be Meredith instead. I read on here someone say to watch the shooting episode. Its too ironic that Meredith would tell Christina that if she and Derek died, then Christina would be godmother to Zola. It would make sense, that would be the only way I think Christina and Owen would be able to come together after the abortion, cheating etc. That's the only way I think they could work. Christina would have to be godmother to Zola as Meredith's wish, of course that would make Owen happy to see Christina as somewhat of a mother type role. Derek would live but be so distraught he would leave Seattle Grace, and not have too much face time on Greys(gives him time to race in real life). Meredith would continue to narrate the show from Heaven maybe? Or Christina would take over as narrator, or maybe even Lexie as young Grey. A little far fetched I know but it make sense.

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I don't think any of us have the right to be angry at Shonda for killing off a character when the actor has made it clear they do not want to continue with the show or ever return. A death will bring creative storylines for other characters. Shonda has no control over who signs a new contract and who doesn't and if it is Derek that dies, then that's the only SL fans will accept. No-one will swallow a Mer/Der break up. Shonda said that Calzona and Mer/Der are MFEO and only death could separate these couples.

Coldcontagious

Ok so I think if she was going with really shocking, and the fact that the writers were in tears, it would be Derek. She kills Derek off in a plane crash or something, Meredith realizes she is pregnant, kinda like in the shooting episode where Derek lives but she miscarried her baby.Well now its the other way around. This would cause her to leave Seattle Grace. However Shonda would be really really taking a chance with killing off Derek. I think the fans would be outraged and she would lose alot of viewers. So I think it will be Richard Webber. The title kinda gives the clue "Flight". Ironically flight meaning the original interns grow their wings to fly away from the nest of Seattle Grace no longer needing the help from their mentors, but ironically it also means they will lose their most valued mentor, Richard Webber, in a plane crash. That is still a huge blow and sad, but its also a safer option for Shonda and makes more sense. But who knows! It could be someone I never thought. But please not McDreamy!!

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...how they did that on their show. Keep a few main characters & the rest "leave or die or something". I mean 7yrs is a long time. Yes the episode is called "flight", but why didn't anybody simply put 2 & 2 together & think of it as maybe "flight" meaning this is where all of our beloved doctors spread their wings & fly away from Seattle Grace finally...? I highly doubt a huge catastrophe will happen-again. Although, based on the show it may happen. Also, "Dark & twisty" may have jus been something used to throw us off...aka meaning the 2 Mer/Cristina are finally split up. Thats the most likey option. As far as who didn't pass-I bet it's Karev based on what I've seen, but I'm not entirely sure because honestly I don't watch anymore. Hardly watch Private Practice much these days either. Sighs, but I suppose now I'll be watching just to see "now what will happen." But, if any or all the main characters leave then I will be 100% jumping ship with everybody else just like on a lot of "other" shows on right now.

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Seriously,I really haven't watched the show much after Addison,Burk,George, Izzy&Denny left/died.It's soap opera-ish.I love watching the older shows from during the daytime.At least then I rememeber why this used to be 1 of my top never,ever miss every single TH.I loved following the Der/Mer stuff from the 1st show when they were in the bar & then "oh no, you work here too thing" That's what made the show so great.Anyways,as far as what happens-any # of things could.The most likely,Adele is who leaves along w/maybe Derek.I read he wasn't staying unless they sorted out his contract.Makes sense-everybody loves Mcsteamy.It is called "Grey's Anatomy" though.It revolves around Mer & her mother being a known surgeon. I can't imagine the show w/-out her on it. Cristina most definately goes elsewhere or dies. She's always wanted "more surgeries or a surgery god".We haven't seen that since Burk really. They may do something like a Saved By the Bell The next class kind of thing & how they did that on their show.Keep a few main characters & the rest"leave or die or something".I mean 7yrs is a long time. Yes the episode is called "flight", but why didn't anybody simply put 2 & 2 together & think of it as maybe "flight" meaning this is where all of our beloved doctors spread their wings & fly away from Seattle Grace finally...? I highly doubt a huge catastrophe will happen-again. Although, based on the show it may happen. Also, "Dark & twisty" may have just been something used to throw us off...aka meaning Mer/Cristina are finally split up. Thats the most likey option. As far as who didn't pass-I bet it's Karev based on what I've seen,but I'm not entirely sure because honestly I don't watch anymore.Hardly watch Private Practice much these days either.Sighs,but I suppose now I'll be watching just to see "now what will happen." But,if any or all the main characters leave then I will be w/everybody else just like on"other" shows on right now.

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