'Grey's Anatomy' twists revealed

Carina Adly MacKenzie, Zap2It.com

, Last Updated: 2:45 PM ET

We knew that the Season 9 premiere of "Grey's Anatomy" would make us cry. We thought we were prepared. We had tissues. We had wine. We had Mom on speed dial.

We were not prepared. Going into the premiere, we knew two things for sure. Eric Dane would be leaving the show early in the season, and that Arizona's (Jessica Capshaw) storyline was an enormous secret that Shonda Rimes went to great lengths to conceal this summer. (Okay, so we all kind of figured out what was going to happen ages ago. But still.) We didn't know how Dane's exit would go, or whether Capshaw -- who is pregnant in real life -- would remain a series regular.

Of course, there were plenty of ways things could go for Mark Sloane. After the loss of Lexie, he could choose a new life path, and leave Seattle -- though he didn't seem the type to ditch his daughter.

As the episode soldiered on, it became increasingly clear that we'd be saying goodbye not only to Dane, but to Mark. The father, friend, and mentor had asked that his machines be turned off after 30 days without responding, and he spent the episode hooked up to machines in his bed. But we still got to remember our favorite McSteamy in his best, most vibrant moments -- as Derek's best man and best friend, as an indelible part of Callie's family, as a man who loved Lexie Grey and saw a future for them, and, finally, as a father, who was so crazy in love with his daughter it made our ovaries ache.

There were a few moments when we thought there might be a miracle. When he was taken off the machines, it seemed to take Mark forever to die. But there were no more miracles for Mark Sloane -- he died with Derek and Callie by his side. (Don't even get us started on the fact that Meredith bailed on Derek that night. Don't even.) Add him to the list, "Grey's" fans.

We'll see Mark's final lucid moments in next week's flashback to the plane crash, so we were grateful for these little reminders of his vitality and spark before we see him in his darkest hour again. Mark's character was truly paid the respect he deserved, and hopefully Dane felt honored as by the goodbye episode.


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