Ugh, agree with everything you said, Deanie.
I've been wondering what BTS drama may have put Alex and Jo in the background THIS much, and even with all the possible reasons you all have suggested, NOTHING excuses completely ignoring Alex and Jo like they have been this season. I think Patrick may have requested more time off than originally planned and they continued with Alex being Mer's person longer than they intended. I say this because when Maggie babysat Mer's kids and Mer called her that night, it really seemed like Maggie would become Mer's new person. And while they've become friends, Alex is still her go to guy...so I think something there may have changed.
Either way, whatever it is, if Shonda WANTED to tell a Jolex storyline, I'm confident she and the writing team could have figured timing and everything out to make it work. Maybe not a huge arc, but they definitely could have figured out SOMETHING (maybe something on the same level as the love contract story, which only required a few minutes of screen time per episode for 4-ish episodes). But not even that...it's very odd. Jolex went from having great screen time in 10A, no story line in 10B but still several cute scenes in, a messy, horribly written story line of some sort in 11A, to absolutely nothing in 11B.
I know Justin is perhaps the most chill guy in Hollywood and never seems to have problems with anyone, but I do wonder if something happened between him and Shonda BTS? I know this sounds very conspiracy theorist of me, but Justin used to be on Twitter a lot, and he tweeted about his faith/religion a lot. One day, all of that ended almost instantly and he only came on to "live tweet" every Thursday at 8 pm (but, I really don't think it was actually him live tweeting...didn't he say years ago that he doesn't really watch the show anymore? And now he sits down every Thursday to watch a show that he's not even in?). I'm just wondering if something happened behind the scenes to do with how he was using his Twitter account.
Again, I know that's far-fetched, I just think it's interesting..