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Ellen Pompeo Had Some Choice Words For Grey's Anatomy's Bomb Episode

The primetime medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" has become a pop culture institution. According to People Magazine, it now holds the record for longest running primetime medical drama in America (beating out the beloved and long-running "ER") and eighth longest-running scripted primetime series of all time. As the show enters its 19th season, fans have been wondering about the show's future following leading lady Ellen Pompeo's remarks that the show may need to come to an end soon. This speculation has further grown with the announcement that Pompeo will only appear in eight episodes of the show's 19th season.

This is hardly surprising, though, as 18 years playing the titular lead character of a show would be taxing on any actor. In one telling interview, Pompeo and some of the other people who worked on the show recalled one of the most exhausting moments in the series — a scene from the show's earliest episodes where Pompeo did something she wasn't very happy with.

That explosive ending

The two-part episode "The End of the World" and "As We Know It" were the 16th and 17th episodes of Season 2, and they aired as one, two-hour-long episode after the Super Bowl in 2006. The episode pulled out all the stops to take advantage of the biggest lead-in audience of the year, starting the show off with a dream sequence where George imagined himself having a steamy shower with Christina, Meredith, and Izzy, and ending with future "Friday Night Lights" star Kyle Chandler being heartbreakingly blown to smithereens. In the episode, a patient comes to the hospital with what turns out to be a bomb in his stomach, putting all the doctors in grave danger as they race to save his life. Add in a guest appearance by the lovable star Christina Ricci, the episode had all the makings of a blockbuster episode in a blockbuster timeslot.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Pompeo, series creator Shonda Rhimes, and episode director Peter Horton looked back on this famous episode and the stunt that injured Pompeo's stunt double. The scene was the one at the very end where Chandler's character explodes and Meredith is thrown to the ground from the force of the explosion. "The stunt double was fairly young," Horton recalled. "She wasn't quite prepared for when she got yanked, having landed on her back and getting her head snapped back [...] As stunt people do, she immediately sat up and said, 'I'm fine.' But clearly, she had whacked her head hard, so she had to go through concussion protocol. We'd only had one take of this thing, and I needed to have a couple of things adjusted from that one take, so I had Ellen do it."

Ellen Pompeo regrets doing the stunt

Pompeo was not happy about having to do the stunt, and it's something she has continued talking about to this day. In a Twitter thread following a 2021 re-airing of the episode, Pompeo talked about how she did the stunt when she didn't want to, knowing full well that they were probably going to use the take with the stunt double because she was a "people pleaser." As Pompeo said, "The lesson here ladies is this ... don't do things that make you uncomfortable because you're afraid people will see you as difficult. Trust me they are going to see you as difficult no matter what you do!" (via Twitter).

On the other hand, Horton, in the Entertainment Weekly interview, disputed Pompeo's claim that her take wasn't used. While Horton affirmed that they did use the take of the stung performer hitting her head, as Pompeo had assumed would be the case, he also said that it's not as clear-cut as Pompeo will often argue. In Horton's words, "We left that in. It had been very effective. But we used part of Ellen's take, which is the part she never remembers. We never would have put her in jeopardy. We pulled her much slower than we pulled the stunt double."