It may be the year of Meredith, but she isn’t the only Grey Sloan doc with a tough season ahead of them on Grey’s Anatomy.
For several seasons now, Callie and Arizona’s relationship has been on a rough roller coaster—and we’re not just talking about the latter’s infidelity. The couple separated in season 7 when Arizona left for Africa, during which time Callie got knocked up by Sloan. Then, of course, there was Callie’s car accident, and Arizona losing her leg as a result of the plane crash, culminating in the formerly bubbly peds doc cheating on her wife. They did eventually get back together, move into a new home and decide to have a child via surrogacy, but those are just another series of Band-Aids that the duo have been placing on their damaged relationship. Can they really survive? Or will this new journey finally be the breaking point?
“I’ll be honest with you and say that there is literally a 50/50 chance that they’ll be together or apart, and I have not figured it out yet,” executive producer Shonda Rhimes tells EW. “That is the other big storyline of the season for us. We really spent a lot of time in the writers’ room mapping it out and talking about it. There are two parallel relationships: Meredith and Derek’s relationship and Callie and Arizona’s relationship. Meredith’s journey and Callie’s journey are two big journeys that we really want to look at this season as we’re telling these stories.” (For what it’s worth, Rhimes is confident that Meredith and Derek’s storyline won’t end in divorce.)
Though many fans may jump to the heartbreaking conclusion that Callie and Arizona are on their way to divorce, Rhimes stresses that she wants to explore all aspects of a more mature relationship. “Arizona has, up until she cheated, steadfastly been this very good man in the storm. Has being a good man in the storm meant that she had jumped into something that she wasn’t ready for? And has Callie’s desire to not be alone meant that she’s stuck in something that she maybe shouldn’t have stuck to? Isn’t that just what a marriage is? You just stick whether you want to or not.”
“Are there mutual losses they’ve both suffered?” Rhimes continues. “And are the tragedies that they’ve both lived through, is that just reason enough anyway? Is it enough? I don’t know. It wasn’t enough for Owen and Cristina. Maybe it’s enough for them, maybe it’s not. We’re interested in exploring that. We’ve really mapped out what we think is going to be a really nice journey for them.”
Bottom line, Rhimes says, “I really want to see Arizona beaming again and I really want to see Callie happy again.” Here’s hoping they can find that place together.
Grey’s Anatomy returns Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.