Tonight’s Grey’s Anatomy preview has fans in a frenzy. The clip shows Dr. Bailey ambling up to a hospital desk and calmingly explaining to the nurse, “My name is Miranda Bailey. I am Chief of Surgery and I believe that I am having a heart attack.” We then see Bailey in a hospital bed, adamantly telling the doctors around her, “I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let a blocked artery take me down.” Within seconds, though, Bailey loses her breath and goes into what appears to be cardiac arrest as doctors rush to pull an oxygen mask over her head.
The title of the episode is “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” and has fans terrified that they’re going to lose one of Grey Sloan’s most beloved doctors. It’s true that the writers of Grey’s Anatomy aren’t hesitant to kill off everyone’s favorite characters. But Wilson is one of just a few original cast members, including Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, and James Pickens Jr., and her death would mean devastation for Grey’s Anatomy fans (as already seen on Twitter). What’s also troubling is that Dr. Bailey’s husband is slated to leave the show next season to star in Grey’s upcoming spinoff series, Station 19.
So how do we know if Bailey will die or not? Does the actress want to leave the show for new projects?
For starters, let’s look into which actors have renewed their contracts for the next season of the show. In January, Deadline announced that series star Ellen Pompeo had signed a two-year deal with ABC studios, suggesting she’ll be back for seasons 15 and 16. (Pompeo is also a co-executive producer on the upcoming Grey’s Anatomy spinoff). Unfortunately, we don’t know much about Chandra Wilson’s fate (or any other actors, for that matter). No word has been publicly released on who will be joining Pompeo for season 15.
Bustle aptly points out that a press release for upcoming episodes reveals that ABC has decided to air Grey’s episodes out of order. (For clarification: tonight’s episode is airing as the 11th of the season, but is labeled as the twelfth. And the episode that will air next week is labeled #1411, so was initially set to air tonight.) Bustle writes, “Regardless of the reason the episodes are airing are out of order, the mere fact that they are should put to rest any fears that Bailey is dying. The sudden death of an original character would be an event that would have huge ramifications on the show for many, many weeks.” The theory is certainly logical. If Bailey did die, it seems obvious that next week’s episode would deal directly with her death. How, then, would the network air an episode that was initially intended to air tonight?
Still, we can’t forget that Shonda Rhimes is the queen of deceptive and shocking plot twists, and no one ever truly knows what she’s going to do when it comes to her TV shows. She certainly doesn’t mind leaving audiences in tears (it’s happened a number of times), so at this point, Dr. Bailey’s life appears to be in Shonda Rhimes hands, and what she thinks is best for Grey’s Anatomy and its future.