Cross Your Fingers That Jackson On 'Grey's Anatomy' Is Alive

by Esme Mazzeo

Jackson (Jesse Williams) and Maggie (Kelly McCreary) went on a camping trip on the Grey's Anatomy Season 15 finale and in addition to fighting like, well, siblings, and getting pretty bruised up, they encountered a fog storm. He got out of the car to try and figure out what was going on and the final seconds of the episode had Maggie frantically searching for him. So, where is Jackson on Grey's Anatomy?

I can't answer that beyond saying he's probably not dead. Deadline reported in June that the actor — who was the only cast member without a deal beyond the Season 15 finale — signed a two-year contract to stay on the popular medical drama. The deal is reportedly contingent on Williams' availability, however. He makes his Broadway debut in the Second Stage Theater revival of Richard Greenberg's play Take Me Out in April 2019. Williams will portray Darren Lemming, a baseball player and gay black man who opens up about his sexuality, thus revealing longstanding prejudices within the institution of one of America's favorite pastimes.

As for the fate of one of America's favorite doctors, he's somehow made it out of a bus before it exploded while saving a child in a storm, figured out how to get up every day after the death of his son, lived through divorcing April Kepner (Sarah Drew) who many fans argue is the love of his life, had a child with her post-divorce, and watched her get re-married. Oh, plus he saved another ex-girlfriend's life during a fire — to name the events I can remember. So, I think Jackson Avery will survive some fog.

Then again — maybe I'm wrong. According to the Grey's Anatomy Season 16 trailer above, Maggie and rescue workers seem to have found his body and they get him to the hospital alive. His life might be hanging by a thread because Owen (Kevin McKidd) says at one point, "It is not the time to give up on him."

Williams doesn't seem ready to give up on the show, despite his new pursuits. He spoke to The Today Show in April 2018 about the role the medical drama has played in championing diversity in Hollywood since its debut. "It's been a number one show forever with a black chief and and an Asian surgeon and a lesbian doctor and all these [representations]," he said. "So, it's been ahead of the curve without ever talking about it."

The changing landscape of the industry has made talking about it necessary now. "Now we're actually addressing things by name and more topically and it's a new added twist that people have responded really well to," Williams continued in the same interview. The actor and activist has been a champion for people of color from the start of his career. He's done everything from visiting Ferguson, Missouri to join protests for black rights to creating a gif keyboard app that features more diverse images. As long as Grey's Anatomy continues to be a platform for change and growth, I think Williams will continue to be a part of the team in some capacity.

Even if Jackson is dead, Grey's Anatomy has proven in the past it's not above bringing beloved characters back to haunt people's dreams.

Grey's Anatomy Season 16 premieres Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.