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Why Mark Sloan’s Sendoff In Grey’s Anatomy Had Such A Big Impact

Eric Dane’s character died at the beginning Grey’s Anatomy season 9 from injuries sustained in the plane crash at the end of season 8, but the Mark Sloan death had a big impact on viewers and those within the Grey’s universe. Mark became a fan-favorite early on in the series when he first appeared in Grey’s Anatomy season 2, episode 18, with one of the most memorable entrances of any character. His death was a huge blow to Grey’s Anatomy, but the way he died and the sendoff he received helped viewers and characters alike deal with the great loss.

Eric Dane’s Mark Sloan was killed off in Grey’s Anatomy season 9, episode 2, over six years after his first episode. In Mark’s time on Grey’s Anatomy, he experienced a great amount of growth and was able to die peacefully. Across its 19 seasons, many characters have left the show or been killed off, but not everyone gets as great of a sendoff as Mark did. Dane made the choice to depart Grey’s Anatomy around the same time as Chyler Leigh’s Lexie had, leading to the heartbreaking plane crash that eventually caused both of their deaths.

Mark Created A Family At Seattle Grace Hospital On Grey’s Anatomy

The Character Also Left A Huge Mark On The Doctors At Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital

When Mark first appeared on Grey’s Anatomy as the man who broke up Addison and Derek’s marriage, it would have been hard to predict that — just a few seasons later — he would have made a family at what was then-named Seattle Grace Hospital. Mark Sloan left such an impact that they changed the name of the hospital the following season to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, as proposed by his mentee Jackson, in honor of Mark and Lexie. Beyond the literal family he’d created through his daughter Sofia with Callie and Arizona, he repaired his friendship with Derek too.

Though Mark’s death on Grey’s Anatomy was somewhat expected from those around him, he had a surge that allowed him to talk to his many loved ones for a final time and leave them with some wisdom. He even gave Jackson one final piece of advice“If you love someone, you tell them. Even if you’re scared that it’s not the right thing… you say it, and you say it loud, and you go from there.” This now-iconic quote in reference to Mark’s relationship with Lexie was a perfect example of how much Mark had grown in Grey’s Anatomy.

Mark Got To Be With Lexie Again On Grey’s Anatomy

Mark Sloan’s Death Was Bittersweet

Mark and Lexie began their on-and-off relationship in Grey’s Anatomy season 5 and were broken up at the time of their deaths, despite their love for each other. However, Mark’s feelings for Lexie remained just as strong right up until he passed away. While Mark was in a coma in Grey’s Anatomy season 9, episode 1, flashback clips showed his impact on many characters and captured Mark’s personality and growth as a tribute to him. In one from Callie and Arizona’s wedding, Mark was asked who he’d be dancing with at his granddaughter’s wedding in 60 years, and he replied “well, that’s easy. Lexie Grey.”

When Lexie died in the Grey’s Anatomy season 8 finale, Mark was by her side, and with his death in season 9, episode 2, he got to be by her side once again. This was further confirmed through Meredith’s vision on the beach in Grey’s Anatomy season 17 when she saw the two of them together and happy again. Saying goodbye to Mark was hard, but portraying the loss in this way provided some comfort to his Grey’s Anatomy sendoff.

Mark’s Death Hit Private Practice As Well

It Appeared In The 100th Episode Of Private Practice

Mark’s sendoff wasn’t limited to just Grey’s Anatomy and was shown on the 100th episode of its spinoff Private Practice too. Mark appeared in only two episodes of Private Practice, but his history with the characters went back years before Grey’s Anatomy even began through his ex-lovers/friends Addison and Amelia and medical school friends Sam and Naomi. Addison was understandably distraught when she learned of Mark’s death, showing how far-reaching his impact was as a character and friend.

It isn’t often that a character’s impact transcends the show they are on, but Mark fit perfectly in the places where Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice crossed over. By waiting until Grey’s Anatomy season 9, episode 2 to have Mark die rather than killing him off in the plane crash episode, time was given to both characters and viewers to accept his impending death and mourn him the way his character deserved. The first two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy season 9 served as tributes to Mark, and Private Practice added to this, making the impact of Mark’s sendoff even greater.

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