We did not see that coming, but maybe we should have.
After weeks of telling us Alex was visiting his mother in Iowa and then finally revealing that he had never been in Iowa at all, this week's episode provided some serious closure for both Alex and another surprise, long-gone character from Grey's Anatomy past.
Basically, Alex was with Izzie (Katherine Heigl). He found out that after she just sort of left all those years ago, she had been raising his twin son and daughter alone and never told him. She had used the embryos she and Alex had made when she had cancer, and had twins named Eli and Alexis.
He also already (so kindly?) signed divorce papers and left Jo everything he had, including his shares in the hospital, which feels like the absolute least he could possibly do for his wife. HIS WIFE.
We learned all this through various letters that Alex wrote to all the important people in his life: Jo, Meredith, and Bailey.
He had called her when he was calling everyone he knew to help with Meredith's trial back in the fall, in his final episode of the series. Technically, tonight's episode served as his final episode as it included his voice reading the letter in voiceover, but no new footage of Chambers actually appeared.
"It is nearly impossible to say goodbye to Alex Karev," showrunner Krista Vernoff said in a statement. "That is as true for me and for all of the writers at Grey's Anatomy as it is for the fans. We have loved writing Alex. And we have loved watching Justin Chambers' nuanced portrayal of him. For 16 seasons, 16 years, we have grown up alongside Alex Karev. We have been frustrated by his limitations and we have been inspired by his growth and we have come to love him deeply and to think of him as one of our very best friends. We will miss him terribly. And we will always be grateful for his impact, on our show, on our hearts, on our fans, on the world."
Justin Chambers announced his exit in January, and ABC confirmed that his final episode aired in November. Ever since, Alex was alleged to be in Iowa visiting his mother, and then he slowly stopped answering calls and texts from his wife and coworkers, until Jo learned he was never in Iowa at all. And now we know where he actually was, and while this is exactly what we joked about for the past two months, we could have never guessed we'd end up here. And it's going to take some time to process.
Stay tuned for many more thoughts at E! News tomorrow.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.