Grey’s Anatomy, I can’t quit you.

Yes, I still watch Grey’s Anatomy. Are you surprised? If so, you’re not alone. (I’m looking at you, Rhyme et Reason Editor-in-Chief!)

Although the number of fans may have dwindled since the soap opera/drama series debuted in 2005, I can’t quit Grey’s. I rarely have a long-term relationship with any TV show, but I have seen every drama-filled episode of Grey’s Anatomy (and The X Files, my first serial TV obsession). I’ve watched the show when it was at it’s best (somewhere around 2007 or 2008) and worst (2010? all the episodes blur together after awhile).

The show still has at its core what has always made it one of the best dramas on TV: a multi-racial, fleshed-out cast of characters, a rock-solid, noncompetitive female friendship between Meredith and Cristina and the ability to write and weave together truths about life and love with sometimes crazy and heartbreaking medical emergencies. (It’s also one of the few TV shows that has portrayed a female character going through with an abortion and not regretting it.) That’s eight seasons of melodramatic love triangles, medical emergencies/mysteries, life crises and sometimes unsettling, nightmarish season finales like last Thursday’s plane crash. I can’t say fans weren’t warned that one of the doctors was going to die. Shonda Rhimes, the show’s creator, tweeted on Thursday:

Do not expect to be comforted or happy at end of the GA finale. I wrote it and even I found the ending to be very unsettling.

So let’s recap one of the most unsettling season finales in Grey’s Anatomy since the hospital shooting at Seattle Grace two years ago: surgeons Meredith Grey, Derek Shepherd, Cristina Yang, Mark Sloan, Arizona Robbins, Lexie Grey boarded a plane bound for Boise, Idaho, but the plane crashed somewhere on a remote and forested mountain. The plane’s wreckage crushed Lexie Grey, who died within the first 20 minutes of the season finale. Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Tanner Stransky recounted the heartbreaking moment when one of Grey’s Anatomy’s best characters, Lexie Grey, struggled to breathe and died:

This being the often-overwrought Grey’s Anatomy, Lexie’s final few minutes were full of the requisite melodrama. After it became clear that Mark wasn’t going to be able to move the debris off Lexie and save her, he sat with her as she passed away, the bottom-half of her body crushed by the plane. “Mark,” she told him, despite his disbelief, “I’m dying.” And she made a final request of Mark, the man she had just professed her love to: “Please, tell Meredith that I love her and that she was a good sister. Please, tell my dad…” But Mark didn’t want to believe what was happening in front of him: “No, you’re not dying. You don’t die today.” But he couldn’t stop the inevitable. “We’re gonna have the best life, you and me. We’re gonna be so happy,” he told her, obviously responding to her confession from last week. “So you can’t die, okay? You can’t die. Because we’re supposed to end up together. We’re meant to be.” And then she passed away, with Mark closing her eyes.

Meanwhile, Meredith Grey was frantically searching for Derek, who was sucked out of the plane, thrown a distance away from the others and pinned down by what looked like a piece of wreckage through his forearm (an unfortunate injury for a neurosurgeon, don’t you think?).

Spoiler alert: They find each other. Fast forward a bit and Mark Sloan is despondent over Lexie’s death; Arizona Robbins stops screaming and focuses on staying alive near the plane’s pilot; and Meredith and Cristina focus on keeping everyone together through the night as the last match they had blows out before they can keep the fire going. Back at Seattle Grace, the other docs don’t have a clue as to what has happened until the the last few minutes of the finale, when Chief Hunt gets a phone call from the docs in Boise asking when his surgeons will arrive. And that’s all we’ll get until September when Season 9 starts. And yes, I’ll still be watching.

Watch the entire Season 8 finale, “Flight,” here

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