First of all, don't freak out just yet — Grey's Anatomy isn't closing its hospital doors any time soon. The long-running medical drama is officially returning for Season 15 this fall, but that doesn't mean the series' loyal viewers aren't speculating about its future. While a part of me thinks my grandchildren will be watching new Grey's someday — it's been on since before the iPhone existed! — it will eventually have to come to an end. And fans are already wondering about how it will wrap up: Will Meredith get Alzheimers in Grey's Anatomy? The show's foreshadowing is leading them to consider Meredith's fate.
In a reddit thread that poses the question, "How do you want to see Grey's Anatomy End? Theories?," a number of users chimed in on how they felt the series' voiceovers — aka Meredith's narration — could continue to play into what's to come, and how the show might conclude.
"The Zola theory about how she has been the one retelling Meredith's stories because of her alzheimers would be pretty solid, but I am not sure if I would like that as much. What do you want to see?" reddit's atkins97 asked.
Zola Gray Shepherd is Meredith's oldest daughter with her late husband, Dr. Derek Shepherd. Could she be telling Meredith's life story in the end?
Reddit user karamarie92 added played off the theory, pointing to the idea that Meredith was the one recounting her life story through her commentary all along, in an effort to recall it: "Since Meredith is the narrator for most episodes it would be interesting to have an early Alzheimer's Meredith telling the story of her life to her kids to try to get her to remember."
The possibility of Meredith getting Alzheimer's comes from the fact that her mother, renowned surgeon Dr. Ellis Grey, was diagnosed with the disease. You may recall that the pilot revealed Ellis' condition — Meredith was seen narrating her story to her mom at a nursing home. Back in Season 9, Meredith was tested for Alzheimer's genetic markers and the results ended up being positive for more than one.
"Even if you get the disease, it's decades away," Derek told her.
"It might not be," Meredith responded.
Entertainment Weekly noted that Meredith's memories might not be reliable or entirely real, a la Season 13's "If/Then" episode which offered up alternate outcomes for the characters. Is that narrative giving audiences the truth?
A Grey's Anatomy series finale isn't in sight, although Ellen Pompeo recently admitted the show is planning for it.
“Yes, we’re starting to think about how you would end a show this iconic,” the Grey's star revealed to ET in May. “How do you end it? But we’re not there yet. We’re going to focus on season 15. We just take it one season at a time.”
Not. There. Yet. And why would ABC be? The Shonda Rhimes creation is still going strong. Pompeo remarked to Variety on its longevity last year:
I don’t know how long the show will go on. I know the network and the studio like to say they see no end in sight, but I think the audience will tell us when the show is no-longer a fan favorite. I think it’s quite arrogant to assume the show can go on forever — I don’t like that approach. Right now, we’re very lucky to have the fans still hanging on, and I think the fans will let us know when it’s time to stop the show.
Meredith Grey and her colleagues (and basically anyone she's ever come in contact with) have been through so much. Would it be crazy to ask for a happy ending when the show finally has to say goodbye? Eh... probably.
Grey's Anatomy Season 15 premieres Thursday, Sept. 27 on ABC.