Has the final nail been hammered into the Jolex coffin on Grey's Anatomy?
In last week's Season 13 premiere, Alex (Justin Chambers) and Jo (Camilla Luddington) had a brutal conversation in the halls of Grey Sloan, during which Alex essentially told Jo that she's incapable of loving someone due to her upbringing — this after he beat up the man he (incorrectly) believed Jo was sleeping with. So, suffice to say, their relationship is at a minimum on hold, at least for the time being.
This week, we'll continue to see Alex grappling with the fact that his career hangs in the balance. But where does Jo go from here?
TVGuide.com chatted with Luddington about how Jo continues to deal with the aftermath of Alex's actions, whether there's any hope for them to get back together and when, if ever, we'll find out Jo's backstory.
Now that Webber's (James Pickens Jr.) convinced Jo to stay at Grey Sloan, what can we expect from her this week?
Luddington: In [this] week's episode, Jo is kind of dealing with coming out of the aftermath of all of the drama that happened with the fight in the hospital. ... Everyone is talking about it and talking about her and DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti), and it's a big topic of conversation, and she feels very isolated. I think she's just looking for anyone to lean on, and she doesn't really have anyone. ... Also, people are choosing sides, and you see that happen. So, I think it's kind of a polarizing time within Grey Sloan.
It looks like Alex is going to go to court on Thursday's episode. Does Jo play any role in supporting him through this ordeal?
Luddington: Yes, you see Alex have to go to court, and obviously the outcome of that will possibly change his career. ... Jo does go. She wants to be present for many different reasons that you find out in this episode, [but] she really feels very torn. ... In the last episode, she does go and try and talk to Alex, but he shut her down in a way that was so brutal to her that I think that she's even more heartbroken than she was in the finale of last year.
That conversation between them was pretty hard to watch.
Luddington: It was hard for us to do! It was hard for us to film.
What was Jo feeling in that moment? She seems to just freeze up rather than clarifying things with Alex.
Luddington: I think in that moment she wanted to really clear up what had happened that night, and then maybe get to [telling him about her past] at some point. But I think his reaction to all of this doesn't bode well for her telling him the truth. They know each other so well that he knows exactly how to drive the knife in, and that is the one thing that would be the most hurtful to her, is to make out that her past means that she is not capable of love or commitment. It's hard because I don't even know if Alex really believed that. I think that he was, in that moment, just himself so hurt, confused, angry, that he's going to the lowest low he can think of. But now I think it's shut her down. I'm not sure what it will take for her to open up and ever tell him now.
I think there are two reasons she wanted to go to the hospital in the last episode. ... She tried initially, obviously, to [explain things to] Alex and it didn't work. But I also think she came to the hospital to make sure that DeLuca wasn't the one that delivered any news about her past, and if it ever came out it was going to be on her terms with her telling her boyfriend.
What's your take on why Jo didn't tell Alex the truth about her past in the first place?
Luddington: This storyline's been really interesting to me, because I haven't seen my Twitter erupt in such a way in the four and a bit years I've been on the show than with this particular storyline. Because some people are blaming Jo and some people are blaming Alex, and wondering why she didn't tell him. I think ... she didn't tell him because she thought that he might have a knee-jerk reaction, and that it might make her situation with her past worse, and therefore dangerous for both of them. You guys have been able to see that he didn't just sock DeLuca a couple times. DeLuca almost lost his sight. It was so brutal.
Will we, the audience, learn about Jo's backstory, even if Alex doesn't?
Luddington: We're still so early into filming episodes. It feels like we haven't even really dived in yet to this season and we're really dealing with the initial aftermath of the fight. I hope that once we get into the season we do learn more about that. I think that, when the writers do open Pandora's box in that way, things just happen to spill out. So my hope is that yes, but I can't confirm anything.
Now that she's seen such violent behavior from Alex, would Jo even want to get back together with him?
Luddington: This is why this is so complicated, and when I said earlier that I think she's really torn, she's torn about so many elements over this. And one of them is definitely that she has been a victim of physical abuse, and she saw a side of him when he reacted so badly that he assaulted someone, basically. ... So I think that's very confusing to her, and I think that she's going to spend a lot of this season unraveling how she feels about him now, how he feels about her, how she feels about different people, how she feels about the fight, if she feels like she can trust people. It's not even any more that she can't tell Alex about the past. Now the fight has just added this completely crazy other layer to it, where it does remind her of things that have happened to her in the past. And she cannot separate it.
We see that Jo also has a conversation with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) in Thursday's episode. What can you tell us about that?
Luddington: I think she's known for a really long time that relationship [between Meredith and Alex] is extremely close. [Laughs] I mean, they've had problems in the past with maybe boundaries being pushed a little bit. So, I don't think that she's surprised that Meredith would be on Alex's side. I think that she expects it. I think the trouble for her is that Alex is a loved attending, and she is a new resident, and it's been hard for her to make relationships really other than Stephanie (Jerrika Hinton). When people are taking sides, and there's rumors, of course, going around the hospital, it's hard for her to feel like really anyone's taking her side. And of course, there's speculation. So, I think that she thinks that Meredith will side with Alex, but she also feels like maybe everyone will. Which is difficult for her.
When you say she has no one on her side, what about Stephanie?
Luddington: I think Stephanie will always be there for her, and I think Jo has a bad habit of feeling like she wants to try and cope with it on her own. And even if there are moments where Stephanie is there for her, I think that at the end of the day, the people that she's trying to impress in order to get ahead in the hospital, those are the people that she's hoping to forge relationships with too, and then something like this, where it's their fellow attending, that makes it hard for her.
What kind of rumors are going around among the other doctors?
Luddington: Was there cheating going on? Were Alex and Jo really broken up? All those kinds of things.
Do we see her try to clear any of those things up?
Luddington: I think you just see her sort of slowly kind of backed into a corner, as opposed to really trying to explain to what would be 100 people what happened. ... I think it's difficult for her to feel like someone has made that assumption about her. But I think she also understands that that maybe is what it looked like. But at the end of the day, also what's tricky, again, is that, would it have even been considered cheating? Because he had broken up with her. This is what people are arguing over. There are so many elements to this. it's not black and white. It's very gray.
Does Jo feel any sense of guilt or responsibility about dragging DeLuca into this?
Luddington: She does know that she's not responsible, but I think that she sees herself in him in that moment. She has been physically broken, basically, before, and so I think that she feels terrible that he was part of Alex and [her] breakup. So, I don't think she feels responsible necessarily for Alex initiating a fight like that, but I think she feels some sort of guilt for bringing [DeLuca] home. You see elements of that in the next few episodes too.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.