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Since Derek’s death — and the year-plus that has passed in the two episodes since leading man Patrick Dempsey‘s shocking exit — diehard fans of the ABC medical drama have become increasingly vocal and wondering if two of the show’s remaining original characters should wind up together. Except there’s just one problem: Alex’s longtime girlfriend, Jo (Camilla Luddington).
“It’s Shondaland, anything can happen!” co-star Luddington tells The Hollywood Reporter of the idea of pairing Meredith and Alex together. “But what’s really nice about Alex and Meredith is we’re seeing a very platonic relationship … it doesn’t have to be sexual and they can love each other in a way that’s really deep.”
For Luddington, a romantic pairing between Alex and Meredith would mean a major shake-up for Jo, who has been patiently standing by her boyfriend’s side as Meredith turned to him for support in the wake of Cristina’s departure.
“Oh my God! Now I’m thinking about the alternate universe episode where they were together,” Luddington says with a laugh. “Alex was super preppy and they didn’t work out. I think Meredith and Alex function perfectly as they are — but of course I’m biased! I’d like to think that Jo is the right girl for him. I don’t think either Alex or Meredith need a boyfriend or girlfriend or husband and wife; they need each other as they are. Apart for who’s right for Alex, I think the relationship between Meredith and Alex is perfect as is.”
While Meredith turning to Alex for support at all hours before Derek’s death took some getting used to for Jo, things escalated during the penultimate episode of season 11 when Alex started shutting his girlfriend out of what should be decisions couples make together. Among them: agreeing to have Meredith and her three children move into your home. Granted, Meredith is the one who sold her mother’s home to Alex after Derek completed their McDream House, but Alex invited Jo to live there with him — and never bothered to run the idea of Arizona moving in after her split with Callie by his partner.
“Jo is understanding of people needing family and a home. She just feels like Alex goes ahead and says yes to things — and Jo just wants to be a part of saying yes, too,” Luddington says. “In any relationship, that kind of communication is important; that’s the common issue between them. It’s Alex’s job to also help make her make feel comfortable with things that have happened this season — like Meredith hopping into bed with them. He should have taken care of something like that early on before Jo had to bring it up again that it was an issue.”
While Jo completely understands and accepts Meredith’s need to get out of the McDream House, what she’s not OK with is being taken for granted.
“This is the icing on the cake for her,” Luddington says. “He didn’t ask about Arizona moving in. It’s not that I think Jo would say no, she just wants to be part of the conversation. So for him to not even give her the chance to say yes or no and discuss it is difficult. I’m not sure that’s a healthy element to a relationship — to not be able to have a conversation like that. And it’s hurtful.”
Making matters worse, Alex dismissed Jo’s idea that they take an April-like adventure together. Alex winds up lashing out at Jo and telling her that she should just go — without him — if that’s what she wants to do.
“He’s been very short with her through the last episode and she’s really confused as to where it’s coming from,” Luddington says. “[Meredith moving in] is only going to add to that confusion. It’s going to start major friction between them. Jo wanting to go off and do what April did, it’s not that she didn’t want to include Alex — she wanted him to come with her.” One theory is that Alex has finally realized he has a family and a home of his own — and has created a life, complete with a home and family — for himself in Seattle.
“I think it’s coming from a place of everything seeming very uprooted for Alex over the last year,” Luddington explains. “He wants things just to settle. There’s comfort in things settling, and it’s intimidating to up and leave. But Jo is someone who hasn’t really had a home for a long time, and even though she’s made this home with Alex, he thinks she’s someone who wants adventure and is OK to pick up and leave for a year and come back. That’s not intimidating to her, but it is to Alex. The conversation should have gone like, “I don’t know if I want to do that,” as opposed to Alex giving Jo this whole speech and telling her that if she wants to go, then to just go. She’s taken aback by it.”
While Luddington remained tight-lipped about what was in store for everyone in Thursday’s season finale, she has high hopes for the future of Meredith and Alex.
“I hope they keep that friendship because that’s an important relationship to see that it doesn’t always cross the line — that friendships can be solid and so meaningful. There’s love there, and it doesn’t have to be about them hopping into bed together.”
The Grey’s Anatomy season finale airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on ABC. Stay tuned to The Live Feed after the episode for more coverage.
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