“Grey’s Anatomy” Season 18 is wrapping up next week with a two-hour finale. The show has a track record of some tearjerker finales, so it might be a good idea to have some tissues handy for the next three episodes — especially since they are expected to wrap up a rather emotional plot involving Link (Chris Carmack) and Jo (Camila Luddington).
In last week’s episode, a cancer patient from Link’s past named Simon (Cedric Sanders) returned to Grey Sloan Memorial with his wife Kristen (Bianca Santos), who is now eight months pregnant with their first son. He’s given a terminal diagnosis, and it’s not clear yet if he’ll be able to survive long enough to meet his baby boy.
“It’s not often that ‘Grey’s’ will have a patient do more than an episode,” Santos told TheWrap of the unfolding storyline. “I’m really crediting the writers for taking the time to flesh out their storyline, because I think it’s one that needed that time.”
Her character’s first appearance on the show was already an emotional one, as she sobbed in the waiting room of the hospital when she found out about her husband couldn’t be saved — begging Link and Jo to deliver her baby early so that Simon could meet him.
While Santos couldn’t say much about how the next three episodes were going to pan out for Kristen and Simon, she did chat with TheWrap about taking on a character with such an emotional toll for such a short period of time, and why she felt like her “Grey’s” appearance was a “natural” step for her.
I’m sure you can’t say much, but what can you tell us about where your character arc is going to go leading up to the finale?
The finale is going to be a doozy. The storyline itself is just so both heartwarming and heartbreaking. I’m excited for people to see it because the writers of “Grey’s Anatomy” have just such a great way of weaving what’s happening in their patients’ lives back to the doctors. The way things build, I think people are going to be excited for the finale.
The storyline definitely already seems emotional. I’m sure it’s going to continue to get more intense.
It’s not often that “Grey’s” will have a patient do more than an episode. I think they were really just so careful to give these characters the time to unfold and have the audience get to know them because I think the reality is that for something just so heavy and complex as dealing with life, and death and cancer and their relationship and the history between the two of them, you really get a chance to feel for them and and get a sense of their life. I’m really crediting the writers for taking the time to flesh out their storyline, because I think it’s one that needed that time.
How did you prepare to take on a role with such an emotional toll, especially when she’s already in such a state of grief right from the jump?
You jump in, and the kind of preparation that was done had to be done on the run. There’s different ways that I get into a character. I built a playlist for Kristen that had just heartbreaking music that had to do with motherhood and just connecting with her in that way of carrying this life inside of you, and also the love that she has for Simon. That was helpful. Also getting the opportunity to be there for more than an episode and sink in to her. At a certain point, I didn’t have to think about it anymore. I would show up to set and really not have a plan or a charted course for emotionally where my character was going to be. My makeup artists would say, ‘Hey, are you crying today?’ And I would just answer her like, ‘You know what? I’m not really sure.’ And then I would. Sure enough, the scene would happen and you’re there and the realities of what’s happening with Simon and Kristen are so tangible that inevitably I would be crying like, every time.
I’ve actually been watching you since you were on “The Fosters.” That was also a show that always had heavy storylines, like when your character Lexi had to move back to Honduras so her parents wouldn’t get deported. How did that series shape your career?
It’s definitely felt like a natural growing up. That was my first series that I did. The experience that I learned from being on that set was so invaluable, and I think it definitely set me up for the realities of this industry and how to navigate things that you would learn in an acting class. I know that “The Fosters” had such a place in people’s hearts and it was such a riveting story for that time. Everything’s been a building block and every experience has built off of itself. By the time you get to “Grey’s Anatomy,” and you have to cry in every scene, it just sort of feels right.
The penultimate episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” airs May 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The two-hour finale will air on May 24.