It continues to feel like the end of an era.
Before Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 14 even ended, we found out that Jesse Williams is exiting the series after 12 seasons, and the hour built up to Jackson making a huge life decision.
It also reunited Jackson with April, with Sarah Drew guest-starring to the utter delight of Japril fans everywhere.
Jackson did head to Montana as many of us predicted, and he had some questions to ask the father he barely knew. It was those scenes with Eric Roberts where Jesse Williams shined best. Their chemistry is wonderful.
Williams gave an emotionally wrought performance as Jackson eased into a bitter confrontation and bearing of his soul, acknowledging the many flaws he exhibits and unpacking how his father’s abandonment has affected his life and relationships.
He dug deep, and from the tremble in his voice from barely contained emotion to the nervous and agitated fidgeting, Williams sold every second of his anguish as he worked through some life decisions in front of his father.
It was the type of conversation he needed to have with the man, and there were a few moments where you wanted to reach through the screen and provide him some semblance of comfort.
The hour used Jackson’s time spent with Robert in Montana to address some of the pitfalls of his relationships over the years.
Jackson acknowledged where his shortcomings were with a marriage where he admitted he stayed too long because of this fear of being like his father if he left it too soon.
Robert: That’s why you’re here.
Robert: Because. You’re ready to leave it all behind.
He addressed that he escapes into nature and runs away from his problems and relationships, and we saw that with Maggie.
He asked the question he needed to, pondering why Robert left him. And you could feel Jackson’s conflict, hurt, and pain. You picked up on his vulnerability and how he would’ve preferred convincing himself that he didn’t need Robert or answers in his life, but he is screwed up from his father’s actions, and there’s no getting around any of it.
He went to Robert for clarity and enlightenment, and I believe he walked away with a sense of understanding and maybe some peace.
Robert’s a wealthy man who never lived up to the Avery name in the traditional sense, but there was something amusing about him teaching Jackson how to slice deli meat.
I used to say I’m over it, but I need to know why you left? Because I realize it’s really messed me up. It’s made it hard for me to maintain relationships and stuff.
He mentioned that he thought Jackson maybe knew from a summer job or something, but Jackson was a privileged kid who didn’t have to slum in menial summer jobs.
Jackson jumped right into doing it, though, and it speaks to his journey and this new quest he’s on to help disenfranchised communities. He recognizes the ways where he’s privileged, and he wants to put all of that to use.
Instead of running away from the Avery name and the Foundation, he’s heading to it, trying to run it.
Jackson does sound like his father, according to Catherine. But he’s willing to take his power and money to do good and make things better rather than disappearing into the middle of nowhere, talking about all of the problems in the world, but never offering up any solutions.
Jackson spent most of the series rejecting and resenting the Foundation and his family name, and now he’s willing to make it matter.
The best part about this development is that unlike some of the other storylines Grey’s Anatomy has tossed our way, this one doesn’t feel as if it came completly out of nowhere.
Jackson’s disillusionment with the state of the world and how they practice healthcare at the hospital has grown over time. He’s barely had much to do or storylines to play around with the past couple of seasons.
He’s a man who found a sense of purpose and wants to fulfill it, and that works for him. It’s certainly a better setup for an exit than previous characters.
Where the story lost something, ironically, was with April.
In what universe does an ex show up unannounced and states that he wants you, your husband, and your family to move across the country for his job?
I get that Jackson was passionate about his newfound purpose, and leaving Harriet behind was out of the question, but it was a bold as hell assumption to make. It was ludicrous, given everything that transpired between Matthew, April, and Jackson.
Why should they drop everything and move across the country for Jackson at a moment’s notice?
It was also ridiculous that April spent the entire night with Jackson and didn’t tell him the truth about her split from Matthew until the morning. It was no reason for that besides drawing out the surprise of it and teasing a Japril future again.
They spent the night tending to an adorable but sick Harriet, and they revisited some aspects of their relationship. He told her about Robert, and it was fitting considering she was the one who accompanied him when he saw Robert the first time.
April brought up the fact that it seemed as if Jackson was running again, and he was making an impulsive decision. She also expressed a bit of annoyance at his gall, expecting her to pack things up and leave on his account.
It was bizarre when part of his pitch included reminding her that he always supported her and never stood in the way of her desires. I mean, he did interrupt her wedding once, so that’s not true.
Jackson came to April from a place of maturity, growth, and clarity about where he is in life and how he got to this point.
It’s something she couldn’t deny, and she saw and felt the passion in him.
It wasn’t any doubt that April would’ve found a way to relocate at Jackson’s request whether she was with Matthew or not. They can’t quit each other, and she cares about him enough to prioritize that.
She also would’ve wanted Harried to be near her father. Honestly, if she and Matthew didn’t split up prior to this request, Jackson’s abrupt plea would’ve killed their marriage.
April and Matthew’s split-up was predictable and disappointing. They wrote it off as him never getting over his first wife’s death and April leaving him at the altar.
Fingers crossed for new horizons.
They addressed all of this and made a thing of Matthew and April working things out and gravitating back to each other. It feels silly to undo it and walk it back for the sake of fan service for a popular ‘ship.
The show essentially used the Matthew angle to write out Sarah Drew, and now that Jesse Williams is leaving, they’re undoing everything they did for his exit.
It’s also similar to Arizona and Callie.
But for those Japril fans out there, with April separated and agreeing to move across the country for Jackson, despite what they said, there’s an open-ended chance that they could reunite romantically.
It’s the closest to a Japril happy ending that the series could pull off. But for many of you, it’s all you needed, yes?
Over to you, Grey’s Fanatics. Are you surprised by Jesse Williams’ exit? What are your thoughts on Jackson taking over the Foundation? Hit the comments below. Were you thrilled about the Japril reunion?
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.