It’s been a rough week for Shondaland fans. On Thursday, Gladiators said goodbye to Olivia Pope with the Scandal series finale, and on Friday, social media turned out to be a Grey’s Anatomy tear-fest. This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill weekly sobbing the show merits; rather, it was a very specific sadness — the final day of filming for Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw, whose roles as fan favorites April Kepner and Arizona Robbins have officially run their course. The actors, their peers and fans alike flooded the internet with emotional tributes to the special characters these phenomenal talents brought to life.
It’s only natural for everyone to need a minute to adjust to the idea of going forward on Grey’s without April and Arizona (or Aprizona, as fans affectionately refer to the onscreen BFFs). Capshaw first started roaming the hospital halls as Arizona, then a surgical fellow, way back in Season 5. Drew joined the following year, when Seattle Grace and Mercy West merged. Fans have loved these characters for a decade. Respects must be paid.
Ellen Pompeo got the ball rolling with heartfelt Instagram posts highlighting the beauty both actors brought to the show.
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THANK YOU to this lady….@thesarahdrew you served up the sugar and spice for 9 years and it's been a blast. Your passion and talent for storytelling has touched so many people provoked thought and Greys is a better show because of it and you. ❤️💔💋🔥🔥🔥⭐️⭐️⭐️#japrilfansdontplay
“THANK YOU to this lady….@thesarahdrew you served up the sugar and spice for 9 years and it’s been a blast. Your passion and talent for storytelling has touched so many people provoked thought and Greys is a better show because of it and you,” Pompeo wrote to Drew.
To Capshaw, Pompeo pointed out the cultural significance of her character.
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Boom… @thank you @jessicacapshaw for bringing it the way you have brought it for 10 amazing years… what a blessing you are and what a contribution you made to television history. Lit that screen up with your glow on the LGBT community… making a difference and making it all look so easy… ⭐️⭐️⭐️💥💥❤️💔⭐️GOAT #representationmatters #loveyou
“Boom…@thank you @jessicacapshaw for bringing it the way you have brought it for 10 amazing years,” Pompeo said. “What a blessing you are and what a contribution you made to television history. Lit that screen up with your glow on the LGBT community… making a difference and making it all look so easy.”
Brace yourselves — there’s more.
Rhimes devoted an Instagram post to Capshaw and Drew as well, calling them “beautifully talented women” who each deserve a whole day “to tell you stories about their talent and to tell what I know about what their roles have meant.” Magic. That’s what Rhimes called them, and who can argue?
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Today, in the midst of scheduled mania of #scandal series finale, two beautifully talented women filmed their last scenes at #greysanatomy. Having these things happen at the same time is almost impossible to process. I need to devote a whole day just to celebrate Jessica and just to celebrate Sarah. To tell you stories about their talent and to tell what I know about what their roles have meant. A social media post won't cut it and I will not minimize their magic by pretending it will. I have more to say. I will do so. For now I will just say how lucky we were to witness their talents and the magic they brought to their characters. @jessicacapshaw @thesarahdrew
One message in particular, though, may push fans over the edge. Jesse Williams — who shared countless poignant onscreen moments with Drew as half of the beloved “Japril” — posted a selfie with her, captioned with one simple, heartbreaking word: “Chapters.”
Or perhaps it will be the short video Drew posted to her own Instagram account that will send fans into an emotional tailspin. In the post, the actress revealed the touching gift given to her (and Capshaw, too) by the crew: a keepsake box filled with memorabilia from Drew’s time as Dr. April Kepner, along with letters from colleagues.
Capshaw shared her own version of goodbye on Twitter, saying, “That’s a series wrap for Arizona Robbins… wow, wow, wow.”
That’s a series wrap for Arizona Robbins…wow, wow, wow.
— Jessica Capshaw (@JessicaCapshaw) April 20, 2018
Whew, we’re already emotionally drained and the finale hasn’t even happened yet. We won’t dwell too much on just how gutting that episode will be, other than to say it’s probably a good idea to go into the evening well hydrated.
Now that we’ve gotten that (horrible, awful, no-good, bawl-inducing) news out of the way, it’s worthwhile to point out that it’s not all sad news coming out of the Grey’s camp. For starters, it won’t be long before Drew brings her undeniable presence to the screen again. She already has two roles in various stages of production — the war drama Indivisible and the TV movie Cagney and Lacey.
As for Grey’s, the show may be losing two fan favorites but will be bringing back another, if only for one episode. According to E! News, Geena Davis is set to reprise her role as Dr. Nicole Herman on Season 14’s penultimate episode. Per the logline, she’s bringing an “exciting opportunity” for Arizona.
It’s not a sure thing, but that certainly makes it sound like at least one of our girls may be making it out of Grey Sloan alive. Hey, you’ve gotta take little victories where you can get them, right?