Eric McCandless/ABC
Sandra Gonzalez
May 03, 2012 AT 04:13 PM EDT

Count Jesse Williams among those who were shocked after Jackson ended up in bed with virginal April (Sarah Drew) in last week’s Grey’s Anatomy. But now that the deed is done, a large question looms over the two friends: What next?

“They know each other very, very well and they rely on each other so much,” he says. “What it represented to me was the potential to really play itself out over a long period of time. We can take this a lot of different directions.”

And indeed it’s true. With the residents in the thick of taking their board exams and their futures uncertain, what plays out over the last three episodes of the season could dictate just how the two proceed from here. The problem? Just how involved should they be in each other’s decisions — if at all. “It’s easier to make a decision with a partner when it’s been a long-standing relationship,” he says. “It would be clearer if we had been dating for eight months. But right before [anything official], it’s odd how much their commitment is supposed to be to each other, and I don’t think they know.”

Nor will their issues get sorted out in tonight’s episode, which finds the post-boards residents in panic mode. Though, he says, the audience will get a chance to see “exactly why they make a great couple and exactly why they wouldn’t.” For his part, though, Williams thinks “they can make an exceptional couple” — if they’re willing to put it all on the line. “It could destroy, not only romantic potential, but it could destroy the only lasting friendship they have on camera,” he says. “[But] it’s an option because they care about each other.”

The same can be said for the other pair of longtime friends who also had their first hookup last week — Jackson’s mom (Debbie Allen) and Chief Webber (James Pickens, Jr.). But their mutual care resulted in some all-around awkwardness after Jackson stumbled upon the pair the morning after. That, too, he says, will take some time to sort through. “[The chief] is the guy who’s an adult mentor figure to him. It’s disappointing. It’s hurtful. It’s personal. It’s personally offensive. But I know that it’s not like his mom’s an angel,” he says with a laugh. “I’m sure he’s going to heap a lot of his blame on his mom. His mom is rarely a victim. She’s usually in the driver’s seat, and Jackson’s a logical man. There’s plenty [of blame] to go around.”

Also plentiful? The drama in the show’s upcoming season finale, which finds the characters in a dire situation that is a first of its kind for the show. (Yes, that’s about as detailed as we can get — for now.) But regardless of their predicament, Williams promises more than one big surprise — not the least of which will be the much-touted character death. “We come to solutions, but also we deal with the fact that it’s real life and there are not always clean, tidy end games,” he says. “I really wish that we were able to do a double episode at the end of this season, because I just really want to watch it all at once. The weeks are going to get longer for the fans in between each one of these episodes because there’s so much hanging in the balance.”

(April Daley contributed to this report.)

Watch a clip from tonight’s episode:


‘Grey Anatomy’s Sarah Drew weighs in on April and Jackson’s smooch and a big reveal

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ recap: Exam Anxiety

Patrick Dempsey rescues teen from fiery car crash, joins celebrity superhero (Mc)Dream Team

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