In 2020, Grey’s fans were speechless when long-running series regular, Justin Chambers, announced his departure from the medical drama. Over a year later, Ellen Pompeo has sent viewers into overdrive after sharing an Instagram story with Chambers and fellow alum, Eric Dane (who reprised his role as the deceased Mark Sloan in season 17).
Already, there is speculation on the return of Chambers’ fan-favourite PEDs surgeon, Alex Karev. Hypothetically, yes – seeing as he was not killed off – Karev could come back. Alex darted away without a word of warning, eventually explaining his absence (and filing for divorce) to his wife, Jo (Camilla Luddington), via letter. It was a lacklustre conclusion for a beloved character when it was revealed he had reunited with his ex-wife, Izzie (Katherine Heigl), and their two children – who he had no idea about – but would his comeback be beneficial to the show at all? Take a look at why Grey’s is better off without Dr. Karev:
1. Jo Has Moved On
Alex’s first point of contact would obviously be Jo. There was once a brief window where Alex could have salvaged their relationship for closure but now, any sign of him would lapse all the progress she has made in her attempts to move forward. Jo has no room for Alex in her storyline anymore now that she has reached tranquility with her adoptive daughter, Luna, found solace and comfort in a friendship with Jackson (Jesse Williams), and has switched specialties in her career. Alex would only serve as an interference towards Jo’s newfound happiness; it would be an unnecessary, regressive addition to her arc.
Besides, with Alex now comes Izzie and it’s difficult to imagine that he’d leave her at home whilst he made amends with their old friends – everyone’s still bound to have some questions, right? Is anyone really interested in a potential love triangle between Alex, Izzie and Jo that could rear its head?
2. He is No Longer Tied to Meredith
Another segue for his return could be linked to Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and this was even teased earlier this season – Alex was still Meredith’s power of attorney – but the idea was quickly revoked. For the last several seasons, Alex has been Meredith’s person after Cristina (Sandra Oh) made the move to Switzerland but now that Alex is also out of the picture, Cristina has reinstated her place as Meredith’s best friend through texts and off-screen phone calls.
Meredith has barely spared a second thought on the PEDs doctor since he left. Though there is no bad blood between them and they apparently departed on good terms, Alex is simply not a significant part of her life anymore.
3. Hayes Took His Place on the PEDs Floor
Prior to leaving, Alex was promoted to chief at Pacific North so his job at Grey Sloan was technically up for grabs anyway. However, it would be fairly uninteresting if he came back and was segregated from the rest of the doctors. Hayes took up the PEDs mantle shortly after Karev left. Granted, he hasn’t made the same impact on the characters and viewers that Alex had, but he holds the potential and shares common traits with many of his peers.
Not only is there no place for Alex in the lives of his former colleagues, the doors to the hospital have closed behind him. Sure, there is a possibility he’d get his job back, but the last time the department had two key doctors running it was back in season 10 ahead of Karev’s mentor, Arizona (Jessica Capshaw), switching to specialise in fetal surgery.
It’s probably to safe to say at this point in time, the moment for Alex Karev’s return is well and truly gone. Fans have learned that nothing should be ruled out, yet in this case, it would prove to be nothing more than a hinderance to the story.