What's Alex going to do?
That's the question Grey's Anatomy fans will be pondering for the next two months, with the winter finale ending on a cliffhanger about whether Alex (Justin Chambers) is going to take a plea deal and essentially resign himself to a two-year prison sentence, or whether he's going to trial.
Though we don't actually see whether Alex surrenders, he makes it all the way to the district attorney's office after realizing the emotional toll a trial would take on Jo (Camilla Luddington), or whatever her real name is.
Yep, that's right, Jo's cat is out of the bag. After she gets subpoenaed and realizes she's going to have to testify at Alex's trial, Jo starts to panic about having to tell the truth, under oath, about her marriage, real name, the whole shebang. And even more than that, she's worried that once all that information is in the public record, her abusive husband will be able to track her down.
So she spills the beans, all of them, to Alex in an elevator - that she can't marry him because she's already married, to a man who once nearly beat her to death, and she can't file for divorce because she doesn't want her husband to know where she is.
Alex, by the way, fully believes he's going to lose the case and regrets not taking the district attorney's plea deal to begin with. Though Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) tries to keep him in good spirits, he's all doom and gloom and even makes sure to apologize to Jo for calling her trash, in case they don't see each other again.
But back to Jo's confession. Alex is in disbelief that she didn't tell him sooner, and she explains that she was worried that Alex would react by doing something hotheaded and stupid - like tracking down her husband and, I don't know, beating him senseless and getting arrested (or worse). Wonder where she got that idea? Jo tells Alex that, if she's called to testify, she's probably going to go on the lam again, but that he shouldn't take it personally.
When Alex, distraught, takes that information to Meredith to ask her advice, Meredith (in typical Meredith fashion) tells Alex that he needs to look out for himself, and if he takes the plea deal he's throwing his entire life and career away. Alex, in turn, accuses Meredith of only wanting him to stick around for her own benefit, which is pretty unfair but also probably true. Over Meredith's protests, he decides to take the plea deal and tells Meredith to kiss the kids goodbye for him before heading up to Bailey's (Chandra Wilson) to make sure all his benefits paperwork is in order.
Meanwhile, while the hospital is in chaos thanks to a building collapse, it starts to dawn on Webber (James Pickens Jr.) that he's being placed in a subordinate role, while Eliza Minnick (Marika Dominczyk) is taking over. Maggie (Kelly McCreary), upon realizing this as well, rallies the other doctors in support of Webber, who confronts Bailey and says he's viewing this shift as a firing. Looks like Bailey is going to have a fight on her hands in the back half of the season.
Speaking of Minnick, in between bossing Webber around she also confirms what every sentient viewer suspected after last week's episode: that she's a lesbian. Or rather, that she "likes girls." (Ugh, why do so many characters on this show talk like 9-year-olds??) And she's got her eye on Arizona (Jessica Capshaw). After some flirty banter, Arizona agrees to go out for a drink with her, but reneges once the Webber v. Minnick battle lines are drawn.
At the end of the episode, DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniott) tracks Jo down to reassure her about the trial, and she tells him she told Alex everything and that she feels like things are going to be OK. Pretty sure that look on DeLuca's face is one of aching disappointment as he foresees the very real possibility that Jo and Alex will get back together.
Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Riggs (Martin Henderson), after spending much of the episode bonding over the issue of infidelity, walk out together and Riggs asks Owen if he wants to get a beer. Owen politely turns down the offer, saying he wants to get home to Amelia (Caterina Scorsone), but asks for a raincheck, and it looks like these two are on the road to rebuilding their onetime friendship. Minutes later, Owen probably regrets that decision, since when he gets home, all he finds is a note from Amelia saying she's left and asking him not to come after her. (Read our interview with McKidd about that reveal here.)
Alex arrives at the district attorney's office ready for his appointment, but gets a voicemail from Meredith while he's sitting in the waiting room. She tells him that, out of their original Seattle Grace class, they're the only two left - and she doesn't want to be the last one standing.
So, again: What's Alex going to do?
Grey's Anatomy returns with new episodes in January.