Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Read at your own risk!
Just as quickly as Grey’s Anatomy introduced Jo’s estranged and abusive husband, the long-running ABC medical drama also dispatched of him in, let’s say, karmic fashion.
During Thursday’s episode, it was revealed that neither Jo (Camilla Luddington) and Alex (Justin Chambers), nor Paul’s (Matthew Morrison) current fiancée Jenny (Bethany Joy Lenz) were involved in Paul’s hit-and-run accident. It was a freak accident caused by a drunk driver.
And though Paul appeared to be on the mend, Jo and Jenny weren’t going to let him get away with his abusive and manipulative tendencies any longer. After Jenny told Paul she was going to the police, Paul lunged to attack with abandon, forgetting he was plugged into machines that pulled him back, causing him to hit his head on both his hospital bed and then the ground. Suffering a second concussion after his accident, Paul was rendered brain dead, with Jo left to decide whether to pull him off life support since she’s still legally married to him. Ultimately, she decides to donate his organs to help save others, retribution for her years of suffering. Will Jo now finally get closure? EW turned to Luddington to find out.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How surprised were you that this story line would wrap up so quickly?
CAMILLA LUDDINGTON: I was really surprised it would wrap up quickly, but at the same time, I felt like he gaslights her so much in the first episode, selfishly for the character, I didn’t want her to spend four or five episodes in that place with him. He doesn’t seem very redeemable and he doesn’t seem sorry. Understanding more of who this character was who I was dealing with, I was wondering how it could end anyway with him, so after reading it, I was like, “Okay, I understand why they wrapped it up in that way.”
Was there a moment after you read the first episode when you wondered whether Jo and/or Alex were to blame?
Yeah, absolutely! When it was first told to me, even the concept of what was going to happen, that was my first question if they did do something, just because I didn’t know what kind of situation she was in at the end of the episode. They both leave and he’s threatened her, so I thought maybe he’s attacked her in some way, something has happened and she is technically responsible for it, but it was in self-defense because he did something. My confusion was more of what happened when they left the hospital? I don’t think they would intentionally go out and find him, but I did wonder if he had found them again. I think it couldn’t have been the fiancée, because then she would’ve had to go to jail and it would’ve been a sad ending for her.
Do you think Paul’s death has given Jo a sense of closure?
Yes, I think it has. I think there’s a combination of a few things that will help her move on: She kept this such a secret to herself, so being able to say the words and tell her story out loud to somebody else was cathartic, and now finding someone she can be with that she really wholeheartedly trusts in Alex is also a way to help her move on, and of course, there’s no way that Paul can threaten her anymore. All these things are going to drive her to finally move on.
Do you think Jo and Jenny will be tied together for life in a certain way?
Yes, I do. In fact, Bethany Joy and I, we loved working together and so we were even secretly hoping that, at some point, their paths would cross again. I do think they have to have bonded over it. It’s such an extreme circumstance to live through and an extreme moment that happens within the hospital, particularly the very end scene with them both together, I think they’ll always feel a connection in some way.
Jo’s reaction to learning she’s in charge of Paul’s end of life care was a roller coaster!
It was so funny, I remember reading it in a script and it was the most bizarre reaction to him. I was like, “Wait a second! She’s laughing over this?!” And then I thought about it more and I think that, in that moment, she’s so overwhelmed by so many things. The fact that she actually is the one that finally gets to be in control of something that has to do with him and about his life or death, that moment is so overwhelming that laughing and then crying is realistic. It’s so interesting because I’ve never played a reaction like that, and I think it was written in such an interesting way. I guess it felt right in the end that she reacts in such a bizarre way.
What’s next for Alex and Jo’s relationship after this?
I’ve always rooted for them to get married. I do think it clears a path for them to move forward. Finally [Paul] isn’t something that’s clouding that decision anymore. I know Alex has proposed 1,000 times, so hopefully he gives it one more go. But yeah, I think it does clear the way for all of that. I hope it clears the way for marriage and maybe babies at some point. I think they’re definitely headed in the right direction now and there’s nothing stopping them.
Have you heard rumblings about whether there might be another engagement or even wedding bells by season’s end?
That’s something they’re very tight-lipped about, actually. Justin and I, I think they’re just annoyed with us really, because we’ve been bugging them for years, so I think they’ll keep that a surprise for us. We’re always like, “When are we getting married? When are we getting married?” so I think that, very cheekily, they’ll probably keep that to themselves until we actually read it. But Justin and I are always rooting for that. I’m sure we’re driving them crazy because we’ve been asking for four years now.
Is there a part of you that hopes Jo proposes this time around?
That would be so sweet if she did. Either one of them I think would be very, very romantic. I just want them to get hitched, so however that comes about, I will be happy.
What’s next for Jo this season? It seems like the show is building up to this competition among the doctors for the new award, so what will we see for her in that regard?
Yes, I can tease that she is actually going to work with Meredith on something, I feel like, for the first time ever, because I really can’t think of any time that they’ve really worked close together for so long. You will see this Meredith-Jo relationship really developing this season, which is so exciting for me, because they were at odds with each other at many points. I was also rooting for those two to become friends, also because she means so much to Alex, too, so it’s nice to have them get along, and have their own separate relationship other than through Alex. So you see Meredith and Jo working closely together and really bonding over their medical competition. Of course, just selfishly, I love working with Ellen [Pompeo], it’s always really fun when we work together, so we’ve been enjoying the fact that so many scenes have been written of Jo and Meredith together. We definitely see a lot more of that this season.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.