Spoilers ahead for the March 19 episode of Station 19 and the first two minutes of the March 19 episode of Grey's Anatomy.
Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy have been crossing over more and more in the 2019-2020 TV season, to the point that some Grey's stories were hard to fully appreciate for viewers who aren't in the habit of watching Station 19 the hour before. Most of the smaller crossovers are as simple as characters popping from one show to the other for a conversation, but the March 19 episode of Station 19 killed off a character whose death wasn't actually explained until Grey's Anatomy, and that's messed up in my book. Not a "bear attack" level of messed up, but messed up!
First, if you watched Station 19 on March 19 but didn't stick around for the first couple minutes of Grey's Anatomy, here's what you missed.
The end of Station 19 delivered a gut punch of a twist with the news that Rigo Vasquez died despite the fact that he was supposed to be going home that day. The only explanation was that something went wrong, and the implications for Jack as well as the rest of Station 19 are significant, especially now that Dixon has reason to keep a close eye on the team there. Still, some fans likely would have appreciated some details about Vasquez's death along with those implications without having to watch the next episode of another show.
Bailey explained what happened to Station 19's Vasquez on Grey's Anatomy, when Jackson excitedly told Ben that he had courtside seats to a basketball game. Ben said he couldn't go, and Bailey told Jackson that a firefighter had died:
One of his fellow firefighters did. Threw a PE as we were about to discharge him.
Yes, Vasquez threw a pulmonary embolism right before he was going to be released to go home, marking a tragic end to his complicated storyline on Station 19 Season 3. Given that Vasquez isn't the biggest character on Station 19 despite his impact on Jack in the third season, it's not that egregious that his death was explained on Grey's Anatomy. At least, not as egregious as it would have been if Herrera or Sullivan or Vic suffered a tragedy that was only explained elsewhere than Station 19.
That said, I found myself getting pretty annoyed when Grey's Anatomy dropped the bombshell about Vasquez's death, casually in the middle of Jackson trying to get Ben to come to a basketball game with him.
This is a twist that will have an impact on Station 19 moving forward, judging by the somber cliffhanger and Jack's conversation with Dean that suggests he's not going to just bounce back from the news. Station 19 fans shouldn't have to watch Grey's Anatomy to get answers about a character's death, unless the death was in the first half of a crossover event.
Shared universes can be pretty successful on network TV, as proved by the various NCIS shows on CBS, the Arrow-verse on The CW, and particularly One Chicago over on NBC, since One Chicago is the most comparable to Grey's Anatomy/Station 19. Crossovers between Grey's and Station 19 will undoubtedly continue; I just hope that the big reveals for each show actually go down on that show rather than the other.
Find out what happens next on Station 19 following Vasquez's death with new episodes airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, followed by new episodes of Grey's Anatomy at 9 p.m. ET.