Grey's Anatomy Producers Talk Meredith Cliffhanger, End of Series

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Meredith Grey is fighting for her life.

Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 6 picked up with our titular surgeon in a better state than she's been in recent episodes.

Unfortunately, all of that came crashing down when she collapsed and, against her wishes, was put on a ventilator.

A Reunion on Grey's - Grey's Anatomy

It was a wild conclusion for the 2020 run of episodes, but it also raises a lot of questions about whether Ellen Pompeo's alter ego will survive and if the series will continue beyond its current one.

Executive producers Andy Reaser and Meg Marinis spoke with Entertainment Tonight and opened up about some of the biggest developments.

Beach Choices- Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 6

Maranis admitted the writers have been "on fire" when it comes to pitching stories for the current season, which is taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"And because of what's going on the world, we all feel this passion to tell stories that resonate with people and what they're going through in the world right now, due to the circumstances, due to COVID, due to racial injustice, due to the isolation that we're all feeling on a daily basis," she said.

With the finale wrapping with Meredith returning to the beach, the place she met deceased characters such as George and Derek, fans are worried about what this could mean for her future.

When asked how bad things are for Mer, Reaser said that they wanted to be as accurate as possible about portraying Meredith on a 'COVID high,' after she tried to help the patient and collapsed.

Falling in the Sand - Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 3

"We wanted to be as realistic as we possibly could about our portrayal of the virus and the dangers that it poses, and the COVID high or happy hypoxia is something that we've heard about again and again and again and again where you're like, "Oh, we're all better," and then the person, just on a dime, completely crashes," he said.

"It's not something that we take lightly and we don't want to feel like Meredith is being let off the hook too easily. The virus keeps everyone guessing and it's relentless, so it's going to take relentlessness to fight it," he told the outlet.

Marinis said that they "read about doctors, even being hospitalized, were still trying to help patients as best as they could, even when they were patients themselves because you have this calling and you can't stop it."

Richard POA  - Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 3

While the duo would not confirm Meredith's fate, Marinis said the disease is "so unpredictable."

"And Meredith Grey is as a young, healthy person, healthy doctor. The fact that it's gotten this far, it's super scary for all of us, as fans and also people living with this. There's an urgency because it's COVID," she added.

With Ellen Pompeo's contract up this season, and the addition of the beach scenes, the pair were asked about whether this is the end of the series, or if we're approaching it, and it sounds like there is still some life left in it yet.

"As for nearing the end, I feel like starting the last few seasons, there are always theories. But I feel like we are succeeding still in incredible fashion, and we're so grateful for that," Marinis shared, adding that the episodes have all been written as a last episode until they get back to work in case they are shut down again.

Between the Masks - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 2

"So we're throwing everything that we can, story-wise. Not every episode ends with a cliffhanger necessarily, but every episode has such an emotional punch to it, for at least a few of our characters, that if it had to be the last episode for a second, it could be," she said. 

"The first six are definitely an example of that. But we're lucky in that we've still been able to continue to shoot, so we will have more episodes. But as for the end, who knows when Grey's Anatomy will end."

Reaser said:

Not to get too hung up on words, but there's a difference between an ending and the ending. Elements of this season definitely involve an ending.

Still Finding Reasons - tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 1

What do you think of the way the episode concluded?

Are you ready to say goodbye to the show, or not?

Hit the comments.

Grey's Anatomy is set to return March 4.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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