Grey’s Anatomy left so much up in the air at the end of Season 18, including what the future holds for the residents.
The staff attempted to make the changes the medical accreditation board requested to keep Grey Sloan’s residency program going, but they ultimately failed and the program was shut down in the finale. Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) was told that she had to “rebuild” and “recalibrate” it from scratch, spurring the Chief of Surgery to quit and leave the keys to her office in the hands of Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). It’s not a great plan, as Meredith had been planning to leave for Minnesota — and Pompeo will only appear in eight episodes of Season 19.
The residents, including Jaicy Elliot’s Dr. Taryn Helm, were last seen packing their lockers. Here, Elliot shares her thoughts on the finale and what could be next for her character.
The Season 18 finale was wild!
Jaicy Elliot: Oh my gosh, yes!
What was your reaction to the residency program being shut down?
We were all a little nervous. None of us really knew what was gonna happen with it. It’s such an iconic show. It’s such an iconic program in the show, for it to be shut down, it’s kind of a shocking revelation for everyone and it’s left everybody out on sort of a cliffhanger, not knowing what happens [next]. I think this new season is gonna be very exciting because it’s exploring what can be the future. It’s been a long summer of just waiting to hear what happens next. [Laughs]
Just seeing the residents packing their lockers…
Oh my God, yeah. It was a very nostalgic episode because it was exciting for us to be done with the season and it’s a sense of “job well done.” However, it felt like we were packing our real stuff, we were packing our trailers. It was kind of mixed emotions there.
And especially because it’s been such an intense couple of seasons, COVID and then what what’s going on with the residency program. So besides the obvious where is everyone going to be and what does the future hold, what were a couple questions you had about Taryn’s future after the Season 18 finale?
First of all, this whole effort that she’s put into her job and her relationship, was it all for nothing? Obviously because what happens if the residency program shuts down, but also it’s been such a rough — it’s funny because talk about art imitating life. It’s been such a rough few years for the interns and the doctors on the show and in life for everyone else. I can’t even imagine being a real doctor during this pandemic time and now even today, everything that’s going on. But what happens when the one thing that you’ve invested all of your energy in when the rest of the world’s kind of falling apart goes away? I’m curious to see what kind of identity Taryn ends up having if she’s not a doctor. Who is she? Where does she go from there? For me, it’s exciting. For Taryn, it’s anxiety filled, I’m sure. It’s having to redefine yourself and rebuild somewhat of an identity. It’s gonna be interesting to see.
She’s also rebuilding her identity without Meredith around full time and then other doctors are leaving. So much of what she knew and who she worked with and who mentored her are gone.
Right. Everything that she’s built in the last four seasons is gonna be put to the test and it’s taken away quite literally. So we’ve known her as a doctor this whole time and as a resident at Grey Sloan. And so what happens when that is no longer existing? Is she even part of the hospital? I don’t know. It’s gonna be definitely a different experience.
She hasn’t had time to even think about her personal life. None of the doctors have. Is she ready to think about that with where she is at the end of Season 18?
Honestly, I don’t think she’s had much of a personal life. That’s what happened for most doctors during the pandemic — and for most everyone really — but doctors even more so because it was such an isolating time for everyone. I don’t even think she has a personal life right now. Her whole personal life is her friends and all of these friends directly come from the program itself. It’s a big, sad loss.
What are your hopes of Taryn going forward?
It’s what we’ve been saying. I really hope that she finds sort of a community and she finds herself and figures out what it is she wants. What happens if Meredith goes away? She’s very much still in love with Meredith, even though she passes the baton on to Scott Speedman’s character [Dr. Nick Marsh]. She still was defined by that relationship in her mind and in her heart. So, a lot of shifts, and I just hope that she finds happiness and success in her career. It’d be nice for her to be a little more defined for herself.
Grey’s Anatomy, Season 19 Premiere, Thursday, October 6, 9/8c, ABC