Sarah Drew Reacts to Her 'Special' 'Grey's Anatomy' Return and That Japril Reunion (Exclusive)

After 3 seasons away, April and Jesse Williams' Jackson reunited onscreen.

Season 17 of Grey's Anatomy has already seen the likes of Patrick Dempsey, T. R. Knight, Eric Dane and Chyler Leigh reprise their roles on ABC's long-running medical soap, each making an appearance in Meredith's (Ellen Pompeo) beachy purgatory. Thursday's episode saw the return of another beloved character, albeit for a real-world reunion.

Sarah Drew's April Kepner, who was written out of the series after season 14, reappeared for a Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams)-centric storyline, as he turned up on his ex-wife's doorstep in the May 6 episode, "Look Up Child."

"It was so beautiful. It was honestly like the most delightful homecoming ever," Drew told ET's Nischelle Turner of returning to the Grey's set. "And then just working with Jesse, because he's so easy. It's so easy to work with him. We have such a great relationship and partnership."

While co-hosting Thursday's Entertainment Tonight, Drew explained why now felt like the right time to come back. "When the writers called me to pitch the idea -- and I had already seen that Derek had come back -- I asked, 'Is this the last season?'" she shares. "And they were like, 'We don't know. But we're going to give it all we got!' So, I was like, this seems like a pretty special season to come back."

Sadly, April won't be sticking around for the remainder of the season. "It's just this one episode," Drew confirms. (Which makes sense, considering the actress is currently starring on another series, Freeform's Cruel Summer.)

Ahead of the episode airing, Drew reminded viewers that as "juicy" as the onscreen reunion would be for Japril fans, the characters had continued their relationship offscreen. "I think it's important to realize that nothing changed in their interaction of co-parenting this child," she told ET of the couple's daughter, Harriet. "They've seen one another. They've been co-parenting this whole time. I don't know exactly what the custody is between the two of them, but he has Harriet sometimes. She has Harriet sometimes. There's a handoff that's happening all the time continuously throughout the pandemic."

In the episode, Jackson visits April and the two become stuck together when the power goes out due to a storm. After he tells her his plans to start a foundation, Jackson asks April to move to Boston with him, assuring her that the foundation would also employ her and husband, Matthew (Justin Bruening).

"What I've never done is stand in the way of the happiness you chose for yourself. I had your back. I know this is a surprise and I'm just asking you to do this for me," he tells her.

"I want you to be happy, Jackson. You deserve it. But running the foundation, I'm sorry, you're not that guy. I don't think you ever will be," she replies. "Jackson, you are a brilliant surgeon... Why would you want to give all of that up?"

"It's not about what I want, it's about what I need to do."

The next day, April drops a couple bombshells on him. First, she tells Jackson that she and Harriet will move to Boston. She also reveals that she and Matthew split. "It looks like I'm moving to Boston," she says. "Fingers crossed for new horizons."

Naturally, Japril fans had a lot to say about the big reveal on social media:

As the East coast episode aired, ET confirmed that Williams is officially leaving Grey's this season. His last episode, titled "Tradition," will air May 20.

"I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda, the network, studio, fellow cast mates, our incredible crew, Krista, Ellen and Debbie. As an actor, director and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds," Williams said in a statement. "The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I’ll carry always. I am immensely proud of our work, our impact and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies and dear friends."

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.


Latest News