It's the question on every Grey's Anatomy fan's lips: how will April leave the show? Sure, we're wondering about Arizona as well, but the former happens to be in a much more sensitive position. Over the course of the 14th season, we've witnessed April's downward spiral into depression, despair, and resignation. With her inevitable departure on the horizon and hints about her death tucked away in recent dialogue, we're starting to worry that April's exit from the show will not be a happy one. What's more, the progression of her character throughout season 14 has us worried there may be only one solution: that the haunted surgeon may decide to take her own life.
Don't get me wrong, it would be devastating to see April Kepner leave the show in this way. But the more you think about it, the more you'll realise that a lot of evidence aligns with this conclusion. And like it or not, April's struggles could actually serve a meaningful purpose. Let's assess the situation.
1. She's Endured Unthinkable Heartbreak
Yes, this includes romantic heartbreaks, of course. Watching April's marriage dissolve into ruin is more than enough to make anyone feel heartbroken and discouraged. But April has endured so much more than just a failed marriage. Her first child died in her arms, which almost surely left deep emotional wounds. She's lost a lot of patients, with very crucial (and personal) cases resulting in death. With so much hurt in her heart, it's not hard to see how the pain could reach an unbearable point.
2. She's Entrenched in a Depressive Episode
And let me be clear: April's pain does seem to be unbearable for her. She's in a full depressive spiral, and she isn't exactly coping in the best ways. She's binge drinking to the point where it's interfering with her ability to perform the basic duties of her job. She's engaging in a lot of casual sex, and it's beginning to affect her responsibilities as a mother. These kinds of behaviors are incredibly destructive and not sustainable. Eventually, she'll hit rock bottom, which is exactly the kind of dark space that can foster suicidal thoughts.
3. She's Lost Her Faith in God
We've been able to sense April's crisis of faith over the course of the season, but she lays it out plain and simple after her hook-up with Dr. Koracick. It's not even that April is suddenly unsure about the divine power of the universe. When Koracick asks if she thinks God is dead, she says, "I just hate Him so much, I wish He was." It's kind of the worst space to be in, right? April isn't suddenly an atheist. Atheism almost has a sort of positivity to it; if you take the idea of "fate" away from a higher power, you become the agent of your own destiny. But April still believes in God, and she also seems to believe that God has abandoned her or wants to see her suffer. It's the most pessimistic view she can possibly take.
4. She's Shutting Out Her Loved Ones
We all saw what happens as Jackson tries to show up for April in a meaningful way. Jackson can see her suffering and struggling, but when he tries to comfort her as a friend, she tries to kiss him. It's a pretty cut-and-dried example of her erratic behavior; she can't even put her utter despair into words, and falls back on her current coping mechanism: sex. But once Jackson shuts down her advances, she completely locks him out. April is withdrawing from everyone, including those who love her (and want to help her) most. But this kind of isolation is the worst place to be when you're crying for help.
5. She Could Bring Awareness to a Crucial Issue
One notable thing about season 14 is the way it's tackled issues head on. We've seen episodes that focus on police brutality, and its adverse and disproportionate effect on the black community. We've seen Jo's horrifying struggles with domestic abuse, and how she ultimately gets her power back from her abuser. We've even seen Alex's experience as the child of a woman with mental illness. Suicide and depression are issues that are a major public conversation right now. Shows like 13 Reasons Why are handling these heavy themes in honest and open ways, and Grey's has the opportunity to join in and bring even more awareness to something that's critically important.
At the end of the day, Grey's has never shied away from these dire issues. We've seen mass shooters, unthinkable tragedies, intense personal traumas, terminal illnesses, and so many other important facets of humanity on the show. A focus on suicide aligns with the values the show has had for 14 seasons.
6. This Is Something Grey's Has Barely Touched On
Not to make this whole thing about "creative story lines" and the show's history, but it's true that Grey's Anatomy hasn't really touched on suicide in a major way. We've seen glimmers: season six features an episode that involves assisted suicide, Meredith remembers how her mother attempted suicide in front of her, two patients leap in front of a train together at the beginning of season 12 . . . the list goes on. But we've never truly witnessed the manifestation of suicidal thoughts in a long-form way. With April, we can see how intense and debilitating depression can lead to unhealthy behavior and dangerous coping mechanisms. We're witnessing how self-isolation and other life traumas can make a person feel like there's no way out.
Suicide has floated around in the Grey's Anatomy universe, but it's never been a meaningful conversation at the crux of a main character's story. This is an important moment to encourage people to identify their own deep issues and seek help. This could show viewers that someone who doesn't seem to be doing that badly can, in reality, be suffering greatly.