It was a season of lows for the Grey Sloan doctor, who learned that she was a product of rape and revealed that she had an abortion while married to her physically and emotionally abusive ex. Jo's spiral toward rock bottom put a strain on her marriage to Alex (Justin Chambers) and culminated with her seeking out professional help in the finale. While this season did test their relationship in ways that it hadn't been tested before, actress Camilla Luddington says their issues had more to do with Jo's deep-seated trauma and that the tension was not a reflection on the strength of their marriage.
"It was interesting to see other people on Twitter educate people and say, 'Listen, when you have depression, and this is the story we're telling, it's not about whether she loved him or not. It's just that she cannot communicate how she's feeling. She is in too deep in her own trauma and depression, and she can't get herself out of it,'" Luddington told TV Guide during ATX's annual television festival.
"The story that she had to tell Alex about her past was just so painful that she couldn't express it," the actress explained. "I love that we see Alex at the end realize that he is not the solution for her. She has to go and get professional help, and [we see] her realize that herself. She could not pull herself out, Alex couldn't do it, and it's not a reflection of their relationship, whether it was good or bad. The end of the season, that's where we left them, and I think that they're a great couple. I don't think it's a reflection on how strong their relationship is or not, it's just a story of depression and trauma."
As Jo continues to receive the helps she needs in order to deal with these ongoing issues, co-executive producer Elisabeth Finch teased a difficult but necessary road to recovery for Jo next season. "She has not had an easy life and having this experience really fundamentally changed her," Finch said. "So giving the space on our screen to actually show her desperate for help and needing it, and other people seeing it before she did, and then actually having her ask for help and get the help that she needs is something we don't really get to talk a lot about on television. ... We just started our writers' room this week, but I'm really excited about honoring that and showing what it is for somebody to really go through trauma and come out the other side and have their full happy lives."
Grey's Anatomy returns this fall on ABC.