Warning: This post contains spoilers about the “Grey’s Anatomy” season finale.
Dr. Stephanie Edwards has checked out of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
At the end of last week’s episode, viewers were left wondering what the character’s fate would be after she and a young girl were left trapped in the same room as a massive explosion.
Stephanie, who is played by actress Jerrika Hinton, and the young girl survived. They suffered burns, smoke inhalation and various other wounds from which they were told they’d recover. (The deranged patient who Stephanie lit on fire, inadvertently causing the explosion, did not survive — as one might imagine.)
But Stephanie was not eager to get back into the operating room.
The harrowing experience — coupled with her history as a sick child — made her realized she didn’t want to spend any more time in hospitals. She told mentor Dr. Webber (James Pickens Jr.) that she needed to get outside the sterile walls and live.
Thus, Stephanie walked away with the rarest of “Grey’s Anatomy” endings: something not completely horrific or tragic or heartbreaking.
Hinton took to Instagram to mark the moment.
“I am eternally thankful for five seasons of #GreysAnatomy and a graceful departure that underscores the courage it takes to choose yourself,” Hinton wrote. “That Stephanie literally walks through fire to reach freedom — her freedom — inspires me.”
Hinton had been rumored to be leaving the long-running ABC drama, but her departure was not confirmed until Thursday night.
In another post, Hinton spoke more directly to the fans “who look like me,” saying, “I hear you when you say I represent you.”
“It has been the greatest honor to show us *us*,” she wrote. “Eking out this kind of #representation on a weekly basis within a medium that continues to correlate value with proximity to whiteness is a feat. That I got to deliver a relatable, recognizable and unvarnished #StephanieEdwards who looks and feels like women I know — who are people rather than ideas — has been worth more than you know.”
She added: “Thank the tv gods for #TGIT.”
Hinton’s departure was blessed by creator Shonda Rhimes, who wrote in a statement posted to Twitter that Hinton left to “try something new creatively.”
“Jerrika has shared so much of herself with Stephanie and I am incredibly proud of the journey we’ve taken together,” she wrote.
“Grey’s Anatomy” returns for Season 14 in the fall, with a new firefighter-themed spinoff set to debut in mid-season.