If you haven't seen Thursday's "Grey's Anatomy" and plan to — SPOILER ALERT!
Out of nowhere, the episode walloped viewers with the shocking exit of — wait for it — Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd, the reigning heart-throb and a charter member of the long-running ABC medical drama.
Making a surprise departure from the series, Shepherd (actor Patrick Dempsey) died from injuries suffered when the car he was driving was blindsided by a truck.
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This was after he had stopped while on the road to administer aid to four people injured in a gruesome two-car crash. He had stabilized them all by the time medics arrived and whisked them away to a small, local hospital.
Moments later, Shepherd's own car was struck, and — irony of ironies — he was dispatched to that same hospital.
There, viewers were privy to Shepherd's thoughts as, gravely injured but unable to speak, this veteran neurosurgeon realized his treatment was being botched and that he was doomed. His undiagnosed head trauma left him comatose. Summoned to the hospital, Meredith Grey, his loving doctor-wife, made the awful decision to turn off the machines in a tear-jerking deathbed scene.
Dr. Grey lashed out at one of the attending physicians who tried to apologize for failing to save her husband.
"Yes, you did fail. You weren't good enough," Grey snapped. "Learn from this. Better yourself. And you will be better for next time."
The episode, written by series creator Shonda Rhimes, leaves Grey, played by series star Ellen Pompeo, facing life as a single mother of two as "Grey's Anatomy" heads toward its 12th season next fall. Its 11th-season finale airs May 14.
Rhimes discussed Mcdreamy's death in a statement to E! News.
"Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character–for Meredith, for me and for the fans," Rhimes said. "I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our 'Mcdreamy.' Patrick Dempsey's performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example–happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true–of what young women should demand from modern love. His loss will be felt by all. Now, Meredith and the entire 'Grey's Anatomy' family are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life. The possibilities for what may come are endless. As Ellis Grey would say: the carousel never stops turning."
Dempsey has also discussed his exit.
"It's been a remarkable ride," Dempsey told TVLine. "The worldwide impact has been extraordinary. It is incredible how devoted and passionate the fans are ,and I will forever be grateful and humbled by the experience."
So why did Derek have to die at all?
"After 11 seasons on 'Grey's Anatomy', Patrick Dempsey is moving on to pursue other interests," ABC says in a statement to E! News. "Dr. Derek Shepherd is an iconic character and we've been proud to be the home of 'McDreamy' and the 'Mer/Der' love story. The devotion of 'Grey's' fans throughout the years has been a testament to the creative mind of Shonda Rhimes and Dempsey's talent. 'McDreamy' will be greatly missed and we wish Patrick the very best in his future endeavors."
Pompeo posted a hilarious Instagram video about the death: