Entertainment

Grey's Anatomy fans stunned over pivotal episode

Grey's Anatomy fans were shocked when the popular ABC medical drama killed off a key character in Thursday night's episode. WARNING: This story contains spoilers.

WARNING: This story contains spoilers

Grey's Anatomy actor Patrick Dempsey covers his face after a relay in his Porsche 911 N°77 during the 90th 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in 2013. Fans were feeling much the same way after watching Thursday's episode of ABC's long-running drama. (Jean-Francois Monier/ AFP/Getty Images)

If you haven't seen Thursday's Grey's Anatomy and plan to — spoiler alert!

Out of nowhere, the episode walloped viewers with the shocking exit of — wait for it — Derek (McDreamy) Shepherd, the reigning heartthrob and a charter member of the long-running ABC medical drama.

Played by Patrick Dempsey, making a surprise departure from the series, Shepherd died from injuries suffered when he was blindsided by a truck.

Actor Patrick Dempsey made a surprise departure from the series when his character was killed suddenly in a traffic accident. (Markus Schreiber/Associated Press)
This was after he had stopped while on the road to administer aid to four people injured in a gruesome two-car crash. He had stabilized them all by the time medics arrived and whisked them away to a small, local hospital.

Moments later, Shepherd's own car was struck, and — irony of ironies — he was dispatched to that same hospital.

There, viewers were privy to Shepherd's thoughts as, gravely injured but unable to speak, this veteran neurosurgeon realized his treatment was being botched and that he was doomed. His undiagnosed head trauma left him comatose. Summoned to the hospital, Meredith Grey, his loving doctor-wife, made the awful decision to turn off the machines in a tear-jerking deathbed scene.

Dr. Grey lashed out at one of the attending physicians who tried to apologize for failing to save her husband.

"Yes, you did fail. You weren't good enough," Grey snapped. "Learn from this. Better yourself. And you will be better for next time."

The episode, written by series creator Shonda Rhimes, leaves Grey, played by series star Ellen Pompeo, facing life as a single mother of two as Grey's Anatomy heads toward its 12th season next fall.

McDreamy fans outraged

But some fans were so outraged by the shocker that they might not stick around to watch the upcoming season.

"Shonda you created a death sentence for your own show," wrote one fan on ABC's official Grey's Anatomy Facebook page. "Without knowing it, you let your ego get the best of you and you just destroyed the best show you have on TV."

Grey's Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes issued a statement after Thursday's shocking episode. (Charley Gallay/Getty Images for GLAAD)
"Years and years we've given to watching this story unfold and you just rip it out from under us? No way! This was horrible," wrote another long-time fan.

While some viewers swore off Grey's Anatomy, others expressed disappointment over how writers killed off the McDreamy character.

"It was poorly done," said one fan. "No effort for a decent episode what so ever."

"There was a quick scene where Meredith was throwing up," pointed out another. "Watch her end up pregnant right when they kill off Derek. Shonda Rimes, you're horrible."

Rhimes reaches out

Rhimes reached out to fans who were heartbroken by the plot twist. 

"Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character — for Meredith, for me and for the fans," Rhimes said in a statement published by the Hollywood Reporter. "I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our McDreamy."

She also appeared to assuage fans' fears by suggesting that Meredith was was going to be OK.

"The possibilities for what may come are endless," Rhimes wrote. "As Ellis Grey would say: The carousel never stops turning."

ABC posted a video on the the page, titled "In loving memory of Derek Shepherd," but the posting served to anger viewers who hadn't seen Thursday's episode yet.

Grey's Anatomy 11th-season finale airs May 14.

With files from CBC News

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