Brace yourself, Grey's Anatomy fans: It's time to say goodbye to another fan-favorite character. In the May 6 episode, "Look Up Child," it was revealed that Jackson Avery was about to leave Grey Sloan Memorial and the show for good. Saying goodbye to a beloved doctor on the show is never easy, so why not start preparing now with these emotional theories about Jackson Avery's Grey's Anatomy exit?
Warning: Spoilers for Grey's Anatomy Season 17, Episode 14 follow. In the most recent Grey's episode, Jackson made a huge decision: He committed to taking over his family's foundation in order to advocate for racial equality in medicine, meaning it was time for him to hang up his surgical scrubs and prepare for a new life in Boston. And that's not all! Jackson convinced his newly single ex-wife — and soulmate, thank you very much — April Kepner (Sarah Drew) to join him there so they could continue co-parenting their young daughter Harriet together.
Hopefully Jackson and Japril will get the happy ending they deserve, but that doesn't mean Jackson's exit won't still be super emotional for fans. He's been around since Season 6 and was the last remaining surgeon from Meredith Grey's resident program besides the protagonist herself. So, how will Jackson's time on Grey's Anatomy come to an end? Here are three theories:
1. Japril is endgame
Even though they've had their fair share of rocky moments, there's no denying Jackson and April are one of the most beloved Grey's pairings out there. And a newly single April agreeing to move to Boston with Jackson and Harriet seems like pretty good evidence that she and Jackson are giving things another shot. Iconic Grey's couples like MerDer and Slexie have gotten some closure in Season 17, so why shouldn't Japril?
2. Japril doesn't work out
Even though April has agreed to join Jackson in Boston and she's now single, it's not a given that they will ride off into the sunset together. Maybe a long-term romantic relationship between them just isn't in the cards anymore. But they've been healthily co-parenting Harriet for years now, so even if Japril isn't ultimately endgame, they're in each other's lives for the long haul.
3. Jackson dies
OK, hopefully this one is way less likely, but this is Grey's Anatomy we're talking about here. You know, the show that killed Andrew DeLuca right as he was getting a handle on his mental health. It's not unheard of for a fan-favorite character to be shockingly killed off right when they were planning to leave Grey Sloan Memorial, anyway — remember George O'Malley's bus accident?
No matter what ends up happening, fans can officially bid farewell to Jackson when Grey's Anatomy returns on Thursday, May 20, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.