Grey's Anatomy ends its season 14 midseason finale with a maddening twist. As Jo's texting Alex not to give their patient heparin, she bumps into her abusive ex-husband, Paul (played by Glee star Matthew Morrison). He's a well-respected general surgeon who's charmingly cordial on the surface. Bringing with him his fiancée, Jenny, he's there to sign divorce papers with Jo, who's completely and utterly terrified. But Meredith, Alex, and Arizona have her back as the former couple proceed with the paperwork. Things seem relatively OK so far.
By the end of the powerful episode, "1-800-799-7233," Meredith walks into the hospital with a smile that quickly vanishes when she sees Paul bloodied and mangled. The staff reports him as a victim of a hit-and-run. We feel a sense of poetic justice working against Paul. At the same time, his accident likely spells out trouble for whoever's responsible for the crime. So who hit Paul? Putting on my detective hat, I've come up with a few theories.
1. Jo or Alex
Things don't look good for Jo and Alex. They're watching Paul from a close distance when he's getting treated for his injuries. They have the strongest motives for hurting Paul. In the promo for the next episode, we see Jenny talking with the police. Later, she tells Alex and Jo not to worry, that she didn't tell them they did it. We also see Jo telling Mer that she and Alex didn't hit Paul.
Jo has faced serious abuse from Paul, carrying emotional and physical scars so bad that she changes her name and moves out of state. He now knows where she works as well as her personal cell phone number. Rendering him weaker or even dead may give her peace of mind. On the other hand, Alex has expressed a desire to beat Paul to a pulp, even going as far as tracking him at a medical conference. I suspect that Alex is more likely than Jo to act upon his feelings in this situation, but it would be heartbreaking to see him go to jail again. If they're involved in the hit-and-run against Paul, they're likely doing it as a united front. Either one person's covering for the other or they did it together deliberately.
Crazier things have happened on Grey's Anatomy without ruining surgical careers - like Meredith switching the medicine for an Alzheimer's drug trial and Alex beating DeLuca to a pulp. Then again, this is Grey's Anatomy, not How to Get Away With Murder. It seems too off-tone for such a warmhearted show for its core characters to act on malice. I don't believe that Jo or Alex would do such a thing. It would really suck if there was another trial.
Also, if Jo or Alex was responsible, why would they return to the hospital to watch Paul get treated? Perhaps it was a moment of compassion if they did commit the crime. But this would make it way too easy for them to get caught. The car would hypothetically undergo at least some damage, leaving them with incriminating evidence. There's a good chance that they were simply bystanders during the accident and brought him to receive medical attention.
We don't see Paul's fiancée at the end of this episode, leaving us questioning her whereabouts. Paul finds out that Jo has slipped his fiancée her cell phone number. Jenny ends up leaving with Paul, but she still seems horrified and on edge about Jo's story.
It's not completely implausible that Jenny runs over Paul. There's something off, maybe even manipulative, about how Jenny tells Alex and Jo that she didn't tell the police that they did it. We don't know if she's undergone abuse or if she's keeping secrets for Paul. If she has experienced trauma from Paul herself, receiving a tip about his past behavior from Jo could give her a reason to hurt him. Or she simply believes Jo.
Alternatively, the whole ordeal could be an accident. Perhaps the engaged couple got into an argument or simply weren't paying attention. Jenny could have inadvertently stepped on the gas in the heat of the moment and Paul could have been standing in her way.
Although it's a bit of a stretch, some fans speculate that it was Paul himself who orchestrated the hit-and-run, either deliberately putting himself in harm's way or hatching up a nefarious plan with his fiancée to incriminate Jo or Alex. From what we know about his personality, he's definitely twisted and manipulative enough to consider it.
4. A Complete Stranger
It would certainly be easier for all parties if the hit-and-run was by a complete stranger. When people get run over on Grey's Anatomy, it always seems to be an accident (re: George O'Malley and Derek Shepherd). If the hit-and-run occurs because of the carelessness of a total stranger and Paul dies or becomes permanently injured, Jo and Alex would have some emotional processing to do. But it wouldn't be nearly as bad if someone on the inside of Grey Sloan did it. It would be merciful of the showrunners not to put fans through another emotionally draining legal case.
Props to the showrunners for planting an insatiable whodunit cliffhanger. Until the next episode, we'll just have to wait and see what happens. In the meanwhile, there's always the new lighthearted web series about the interns to help us forget our Grey's Anatomy troubles.