When a show runs as long as Grey’s Anatomy has, fans have to prepare themselves for change. After all, the show is in its 13th season and only four of the original characters are left. Because two of these characters are Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Alex Karev (Justin Chambers), the bond between these two is stronger than ever. And what happens when the friendship turns into something romantic? It seems like we might find out soon.
After mourning the death of Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) in season 11, fans were unsure of how Meredith Grey could ever move on. Throughout season 12, it became clear that she had no interest in being in another relationship. Now, her love life is surprisingly complicated since Dr. Nathan Riggs (Martin Henderson) came into the picture. She turned Riggs down out of respect for her sister Maggie’s (Kelly McCreary) feelings for him, and now it seems as though Karev is Meredith’s priority.
Karev has had his fair share of setbacks this season, since he is now working at the Denny Duquette clinic and is facing assault charges after brutally beating up DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) in last season’s finale. His relationship with Jo (Camilla Luddington) is definitely over, and all he asks for now is Waffle Sundays with Meredith and her family. Meredith is clearly worried about him and is playing the caretaker in this phase of their relationship, just like he was for her last season when she was attacked by a patient.
From this description, one would think that the two are simply being there for each other as friends. Nevertheless, it still seems like show-runner Shonda Rhimes and the writers are hinting that the two are headed towards something more than friendship. For instance, most of the episodes this season have either begun or ended with the two alone together, supporting each other. Sometimes, this support takes place in front of a fire, sometimes on opposite sides of Meredith’s bed. While nothing actually romantic has happened in these moments yet, they are slowly making some fans more comfortable with the possibility of Meredith and Karev as a couple.
Obviously, not everyone is comfortable with this pairing, because Meredith and Karev have always been family to one another. Some people love the idea of these two being together, and some people hate it. It doesn’t look like the two are going to rush into a relationship anytime soon, but a slow build-up is what is necessary for this romantic pairing to succeed on the show. In order for fans to get used to the romantic idea of two people who have been nothing more than friends for over a decade, they need to slowly be introduced to the concept. It’s very possible that the writers are using each of the Meredith/Karev moments in season 13 to do just that. Their scene together at the end of last week’s episode did not have too much romantic potential, seeing as Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) is now back in the house after telling Owen (Kevin McKidd) she didn’t want to have children. Another roommate in the mix might put a hold on a potential relationship, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.
In a September interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rhimes was asked about the possibility of Meredith and Karev’s relationship becoming romantic.
“I’ve learned to never say never at this point,” Rhimes said.
All in all, the question of friendship turning into romance has been a staple of television history. If Friends could strike gold with Monica and Chandler, it’s possible that Grey’s could be just as successful with Meredith and Karev. For now, fans will just have to stay tuned.