Summary Grey's Anatomy has a history of character exits, and one recent exit, Alex Karev's, received heavy criticism for being abrupt and inconsistent with his character development. Lexie Grey's original death idea involved her slipping and hitting her head at the hospital, but the creator, Shonda Rhimes, ultimately chose to have her die in the plane crash so that she could have closure with her love interest, Mark. In Grey's Anatomy season 17, Lexie makes a cameo in Meredith's coma dream, providing audiences with a more satisfying and pleasant end for the character.
By this point, the medical drama genre had been defined by Shonda Rhimes' Grey's Anatomy, and over the course of nearly 20 seasons, the series has seen countless joys, tragedies, and most importantly, character exits. Grey's Anatomy is a drama following a group of surgical interns at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital as they perfect their practice and inevitably fall into messy interpersonal relationships. The series is best known for its ensemble cast, intense storylines, and long-running romantic relationships.
It's no surprise that many Grey's Anatomy characters have been killed off or left the show over the years, and not all in great ways. One recent character exit that received heavy criticism was Alex Karev. Karev was part of Grey's Anatomy's original cast in 2005 and had grown into a respectable and lovable character, however, the series wrote him out abruptly by resurfacing one of his past relationships. Audiences were stunned to find Karev leaving his wife and his job for a past flame, and one who had treated him badly. However, despite the flack Karev's exit got, another Grey's Anatomy character almost received a much worse fate.
A major character death that occurred during Grey's Anatomy season 8 that could have been much worse was Lexie Grey's. In an interview with TVLine following the character death of fan-favorite Mark Sloane, Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes revealed that she originally had a different idea for the death of his love interest, Lexie. She noted that, originally, she never had Lexie involved in season 8's plane crash, and instead had the idea of Lexie slipping and hitting her head back in Seattle. In this way, her death would be paralleling the ones happening in the woods during the crash.
In the end, and as Grey's Anatomy fans know, Rhimes ultimately scrapped the idea of Lexie's anticlimactic death by falling. Although Rhimes liked the idea, she didn't want Lexie to die without being able to say goodbye to Mark, and without hearing that he loved her. Therefore, the actual storyline that Rhimes went with involved Lexie dying in Grey's Anatomy season 8's plane crash. Although audiences hated to see Lexie exit the series, the plane crash was clearly a much better choice than what Rhimes originally had in mind, which is in line with Alex Karev's nonsensical exit.
With hindsight, it's clear that Lexie's Grey's Anatomy death could have been much worse, however, that doesn't negate the fact that her death was an upsetting one for viewers. Luckily though, Lexie's death isn't the last peek of her that audiences get. In Grey's Anatomy season 17, Meredith falls into a coma after contracting COVID-19, and while unconscious, she dreams of her deceased loved ones including Lexie, Derek, Mark, and George. In these scenes, Lexie is alive and far from the gorey scenes of season 8, giving her character a much more satisfying end. Therefore, Lexie got the pleasant conclusion that Grey's Anatomy season 8 could never provide.