By Jessica Derschowitz
February 09, 2017 at 09:00 PM EST
ABC
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Spoiler alert: Stop reading now unless you’ve seen Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Alex Karev is officially a free man.

Thursday night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy finally revealed how and why Alex was able to avoid going to jail for assaulting DeLuca. Turns out, DeLuca had the charges against him dropped, allowing Karev to go free and, with Bailey’s blessing, reenter the world of Grey Sloan. That means he can get back to his work helping kids, but it also means he’s now regularly back around DeLuca and Jo, with whom he had wordless, poignant reunion near the end of the episode.

EW caught up with Dr. Karev himself — a.k.a. Grey’s star Justin Chambers — to unpack the fallout from “None of Your Business” and discuss where things go next for Alex and Jo.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you surprised DeLuca dropped the charges?
JUSTIN CHAMBERS: Yeah, completely — and I want to know why! Why’d he do it? But I have a feeling it’s because [Jo’s] such a beautiful young lady, you know, maybe he has feelings for her, maybe there’s a love triangle, I don’t know. But another piece can be, I think, that he doesn’t want troubles at work. He’s a young doctor who has a promising future ahead of him and they’ve all been through enough. Maybe he just wants to concentrate on work.

Do you think Alex realizes DeLuca has feelings for Jo?
Honestly, I don’t know. When I was playing it, it was just me trying to convince this person that I really did wrong, and I’m sorry. But yeah, I think it’s starting to hit him. And I think he figures that out too, a little bit, that he runs after him to say, “What are you doing, man?” after DeLuca drops the charges at the courthouse, and I think that you’ll see that scene when he’s in the hallway after he can’t catch up with him and I think it’s registering with him, like, “Wait, okay, there could be…”

Let’s talk about that moment when Alex goes to the hospital and Bailey gives him his job back but makes him promise he’ll be the “good” Karev and not the bad one. Is that a promise you think he can keep?
I think so. I think he altruistically is answering her. He’s definitely grown up a lot since the beginning of the series, but it’s just part of life — two steps forward, one step back. I think he means it, I think he’s really gonna shape up, and I mean, you know, crap, he could go back to jail! So, I think he’s learned his lesson there, and I think he’s really gonna concentrate on being a good doctor in peds and I think he really respects Bailey and he wants to live up to what he said.

There was that beautiful reunion moment for Alex and Jo at the end of this week’s episode. Where do things go for them from here?
I thought it was very poetic, how they didn’t say anything but they just hugged each other. You can see that they still have feelings and that they love each other very much. But where do we go from here — is there a love triangle, is her husband coming back or does Alex find him, does a meteorite hit the hospital? Anything is possible on this show, so you just have to stay tuned.

Looking over the show’s 13 seasons, put this arc into perspective — what’s it been like taking Alex through this storyline, and where does it rank for you among everything we’ve seen him through?
I think the big one, as far as where his arc will be going, I’d like to see him settle down and really have a happy relationship that’s really stable. Personally, we’ve seen him become a really strong doctor and now he’s in the position where he’s teaching people, whereas he was the one who was always asking and learning. Thirteen seasons, it’s a long haul, and how they were able to keep these characters interesting for that long, I’m so impressed with that. On a show like this, it helps [to be] working with a cast of 12, 13 people, such different characters, different stories, so I think that helps keep the audience wanting to tune in. But I don’t know where it goes from here, but it’s ups and downs, that’s what the show is and that’s how these arcs happen.

RELATED: Hear more of the latest TV news from this week

Meredith has been such a huge support system for Alex through all this. Where do things go for the two of them from here?
Let’s see what happens with this whole situation with Minnick. I don’t know if Alex is going to be there for [Mer] yet but he definitely has been in the past. They’re just like siblings — they’re very close, they care very much for each other, they’ll fight thick and thin for each other. I don’t know, but whatever happens to her, I’m sure that he’ll be there for her.

Is that a relationship that could ever turn romantic? I know some fans who are all for that, and others (myself included) who are totally against it.
Yeah, I think it’s kind of strange too, personally, but love is strange, you know? The people we fall in love with, and how you can be friends with someone a long time and all of a sudden [laughs] you’ve got three kids! So anything is possible. I just like thinking of them as siblings.

They’re each other’s people.
Yeah, exactly! That’s exactly it.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.
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