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Station 19 EPs Preview Andy’s Big Season 7 Test, a Maya/Carina Reset, Sullivan and Ross’ Obstacle, and Jack’s Future (If He Has One!)

Station 19 EPs Preview Andy’s Big Season 7 Test, a Maya/Carina Reset, Sullivan and Ross’ Obstacle, and Jack’s Future (If He Has One!)
Station 19 EPs Preview Andy’s Big Season 7 Test, a Maya/Carina Reset, Sullivan and Ross’ Obstacle, and Jack’s Future (If He Has One!)

When Station 19’s new showrunners Zoanne Clack and Peter Paige learned that ABC had swung the axe and cancelled the well-loved Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, their first order of business was to absorb the shock. Then they raced to tell the cast and crew. (Read how that went down here.) Then the dynamic duo had to figure out how to squeeze long-term plans into an already-shortened Season 7 (which kicks off Thursday, March 14, at 10/9c).

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“The first part of the season stayed pretty much as we had conceived it pre-‘the news,’” Paige tells TVLine. “And with the back half, we said, ‘Now we’re landing the plane. How do we want to do that?’”

To answer that question, the tag team spoke with their cast and asked what issues they felt had to be resolved for their characters. “Ninety-five percent of [what they suggested] was things we’d already been thinking about,” Paige says, “but there were a few delicious little nuggets in there that we were like, ‘Oh, yeah, I hadn’t thought about that that way!’”

Though it may have taken some squinting, Clack is now able to see a sliver of a silver lining in Station 19’s imminent ending. “Having to compress some of the stories actually made the season more vibrant and more action-packed,” she suggests. “We just get to the point. There’s no lollygagging around. We have 10 episodes, and we have to bring these stories to a satisfying conclusion. So it really upped the stakes for each episode.”

Paige adds that while it sucks that the drama has been banished to the TV-show graveyard, he is grateful that he and Clack will be the ones to take it there. “As hard as it is, as heartbreaking as it is, it’s a gift to get to end a series. As you well know, so many series don’t get to do this anymore. Big shows! It’s like, ‘Oh, the aliens invaded! Are they dead? Who knows?’

“We get to honor this universe and these characters,” he continues, “and see the manifestation of these journeys that they’ve been on.” Keep reading for a hint of what he and Clack have in store.

Andy Takes Charge

Andy Takes Charge
Andy Takes Charge

In Season 6’s finale (recapped here), Andy was finally made Station 19’s permanent captain. “Her journey through the season is what kind of leader is she going to be?” says Clack. “Looking at times gone by, is she going to lead like Maya? Like Sullivan? Is she going to lead like her father? She’s going to be trying on different things to find out what is her” style. Adds Paige: “It’s also important to reference that armchair-quarterbacking is really easy. But when you actually have the ball in your hand, it’s a whole different game. That’s where Andy starts her season.”

Jack… Oh Dear!

Jack… Oh Dear!
Jack… Oh Dear!

Asked to offer words of reassurance to viewers worried about Jack, who suffered another blow to the head in the finale, Paige says, “I personally have felt that an underexplored part of firefighting, as it’s represented in media, is the expiration date on a firefighter’s career. When we talk about, say, dancers, we always talk about how it’s a short career. But for firefighters, it can be a similarly devastating dream to hold. It can be taken away from you quite quickly for a myriad of reasons, one of which is death, one of which is injury. To hold this dream with all the risks that it entails and to have it taken from you is a powerful part of this story that is often overlooked.”

“We visit fire stations every season,” Clack adds. “The fire station we went to this time was being led by the media-relations person for the fire department, who was a firefighter, and this is now his duty in the department. And he was telling us about the physical and psychological toll that firefighting can have, and that sometimes you have to look beyond the immediate and find who you are other than that. We took that to heart and took that message in.”

Maya and Carina’s New Beginning

Maya and Carina’s New Beginning
Maya and Carina’s New Beginning

After Maya and Carina came thisclose to calling it quits in Season 6, “this season is the culmination of everything that they’ve learned,” says Clack. “They went through it, they found themselves again, they found their way back together… so what does that mean? How do they get through it knowing what they know about each other and pushing forward?”

Maybe, considering how badly the marrieds want a bambino, a new addition to their family might make their path clear? Alas, the EPs don’t feel like they have to give everybody a happy ending. “We felt like we needed to give people satisfying endings; I don’t know that I would use the word ‘happy,’” says Paige. Clack concurs. “Satisfying is what we’re going for.”

Decision Time for Ben

Decision Time for Ben
Decision Time for Ben

Especially since adopting ill-fated Dean’s daughter Pru with wife Miranda, Ben has been grappling with how to continue risking his life day in and day out — and potentially robbing that little girl of a second father figure. Is the former Grey’s Anatomy doctor being set up for a return to the hospital? “Let’s just say Ben has a lot of ups and downs through the season,” says Clack. Chuckling, Paige notes that “there’s a dirty pun in there,” but we won’t understand. “You’ll get it,” Clack promises, “when you watch the episodes.”

It’s Make-or-Break for Sullivan and Ross

It’s Make-or-Break for Sullivan and Ross
It’s Make-or-Break for Sullivan and Ross

The star-crossed lovers committed to a future together in Season 6’s finale. But there’s no saying that that future will be easy. “For Natasha,” Clack says, “it’s kind of the push and pull of what getting [a life with Robert] will cost her [careerwise]. So there’s a lot of political antics that she has to play through during the season.” And at the end of the road, perhaps a firehouse wedding? “There are better places to do weddings than firehouses,” Paige laughs. For these two? As if.

Is Eli Travis’ Endgame?

Is Eli Travis’ Endgame?
Is Eli Travis’ Endgame?

After a fork was stuck in Travis’ on-again/off-again romance with former probie Emmett, lightning struck between the widower and his mayoral campaign manager, Eli. With the clock ticking, could he be The One? “We certainly have enjoyed them together,” says Paige. But “what is on the horizon? I will only say this season is about Travis’ next stage in his evolution. There are all sorts of interesting, inciting events along the way.” Ruh-roh.

Drop your hopes for all of Station 19’s characters in a comment below.

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