Over the decade that Grey's Anatomy has been on TV, it's always had a way of taking viewers on an emotional roller coaster. For the most part, this meant never a dull moment, which is good — until something like "How to Save a Life" comes along.
This episode is especially memorable, because McDreamy dies. For real. It's not a dream sequence, although thousands of fans wish it was. After Derek Shepherd succumbs to injuries he sustained in a car crash (on the way to the hospital AFTER saving lives in another car crash!), his character officially says goodbye to the show he's been part of since 2005.
Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Patrick Dempsey said the events leading to his character's departure from the Shonda Rhimes hit "unfolded in a very organic way." It also happened very quickly. There wasn't a lot of discussion about offing McDreamy. There was an agreement that it was the right time, and so it happened.
But while having his character die may have felt like a natural progression for Dempsey, fans of the show didn't share the sentiment. After the heartbreaking episode aired, viewers took to Twitter to express their pain.
— Greys Anatomy (@ltsGreysAnatomy) April 24, 2015
somebody page Cardio, my heart is broken #GreysAnatomy
"Then again, none of us here at Grey's Anatomy imagined any of the many journeys this show has taken us on," she added.
Following the heartwrenching episode, Rhimes said she and Meredith are entering uncharted territory as the new chapter in the character's life begins.
Ellen Pompeo, who plays Meredith Grey, has not commented on Dempsey's departure, but other cast members have spoken out about their co-star. Chandra Wilson, who plays Miranda Bailey, said Derek Shepherd will forever be a part of television history. The "Mer-Der" relationship is a major story point that audiences will to continue to care about deeply.
Derek and Meredith may no longer be together but Dempsey only has fond words for his TV wife, Pompeo. In fact, the only time he showed emotion while talking about leaving Grey's Anatomy was when he remarked upon their "beautiful chemistry," calling it magic.
After Grey's Anatomy, Dempsey said he would focus on car-racing and being with his children.