It had honestly been a while since we thought about April Kepner and Jackson Avery.
They were once one of the more frustrating and heartbreaking couples at the center of Grey’s Anatomy, but they’ve now moved on. April (Sarah Drew) is fully married to someone else and Jackson (Jesse Williams) has been in and out of several relationships since then, but as soon as it was announced that Drew would be returning to Grey’s for a little Japril reunion, it all came flooding back. How could we have forgotten all that heartbreak? The longing? The devastation? Before we actually see what Drew calls a “beautiful” episode, let’s take a walk back down memory lane to remind ourselves of all the ups and downs this couple put us through.
Jackson and April made their Grey’s Anatomy debuts back in season six, when they were residents at Mercy West Hospital. Seattle Grace (as Grey Sloan Memorial was then known) and Mercy West eventually merged, and Jackson and April became permanent fixtures. (April got fired for a minute, but she soon returned.) They became fast friends, and then more…
Up-ish: April flirted with Alex (Justin Chambers) for a bit, but an awkward almost-sexual encounter went horribly wrong and led to Jackson beating Alex up.
Up: After many episodes of tension, Jackson and April started having sex right before their all-important board exams…
Down: …Which was a whole thing because April had been a virgin and planned to not have sex until marriage. She freaked out, failed the test, and things went south for the not-yet-a couple because of a whole lot of misplaced guilt.
Up, eventually: Jackson planned to accept a position somewhere else, but then a bunch of their colleagues got into a horrible plane crash and changed a few things. April had moved back to her family’s farm to re-virginize herself somehow, but then returned to Grey Sloan and to her relationship with Jackson.
Up: April thought she was pregnant, and Jackson was ready to marry her.
Down: When April didn’t turn out to be pregnant, she was a little too relieved. Jackson was hurt, and they broke up.
Down: They both took interns as dates to Bailey’s wedding, and when Jackson revealed he had started sleeping with his date, April was not happy. She said they couldn’t even be friends anymore.
Down: April met and got engaged to Matthew (Justin Bruening), an EMT. Jackson continued to date Stephanie (Jerrika Hinton), the intern.
Up: At April and Matthew’s wedding, Jackson suddenly decided to stand up and ask April to choose him instead, so they went off and eloped!
Down: They almost immediately began arguing about how to raise their future kids, because April was very religious and Jackson was not.
Up: April got pregnant!
Down: The baby was sick and wouldn’t survive long after birth.
Down: Jackson thought it would be best to end the pregnancy, but April disagreed. She gave birth to their baby Samuel, and he died a few hours later.
Down: The couple could barely stand each other after Samuel died, so April temporarily joined the army as a trauma surgeon, then extended her stay without talking to Jackson about it.
Down: They got divorced, and during the divorce proceedings, April discovered she was pregnant.
Down: April did not tell Jackson about the pregnancy, and he had to find out from Arizona (Jessica Capshaw).
Down: Jackson tried to fight for full custody of the baby, and April took out a restraining order against him.
Up: They decided to co-parent as friends.
After their daughter Harriet was born, Jackson and April went on to date different people. Jackson got together with Maggie (Kelly McCreary) while April reconnected with Matthew. She ended season 14 newly married to her ex-fiancé, and they headed off into the sunset together to help provide medical care to Seattle’s homeless population.
There, don’t we all feel a little sadder now?
For the past three years, Drew says, Jackson and April have been visiting regularly.
“April’s been living in Seattle this whole time,” she said. “They’ve been co-parenting with Harriet, so they probably do a hand-off twice a week. They have a very healthy co-parenting relationship and have for the past three years.”
We’ll find out why this particular visit is so important when Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC.