So, after having read tons of posts on the various message boards, I would like to point out some things I missed previously.
First, I’d like to address Krista Vernoff’s comments in the writers’ blog about Owen’s situation with Cristina and Teddy: “He clearly loves them both. Which is…impossible. And devastating” (www.greyswriters.com). How I see it is that Owen may love Teddy as a friend, but he is in love with Cristina. He made that abundantly clear when he stopped Teddy’s advances and told her point-blank, “I’m in love with Cristina.” Ouch. But also the truth. And I think Krista also has the same distinction of “love” versus “in love.” During Teddy’s speech to Owen, she tells him, “I love you. I’m in love with you.” Considering the fact that Krista wrote those lines, I think it’s safe to assume that she also knows the difference between “love” — as in a love for a family member or friend — and “in love.” And by telling Teddy that he was in love with Cristina, he effectively burned his bridges with her — which is why it is “devastating.” And “impossible.” It’s impossible for Owen to be in a relationship with Cristina and be friends with Teddy. The only real relationship that Owen and Teddy can have after this moment — at least temporarily while Teddy works to move on — is a cordial, professional one. Nothing more. A friendship between them would be completely awkward now, given all that has been revealed and all that has happened. Owen cannot give Teddy what she wants. What romantic feelings he had for her in the past are just that — in the past. Sorry, Teddy, but this is one relationship that you probably shouldn’t try to wait out. Cristina is no Beth. Owen’s staying for a long, long time. Forty plus years long.
paulmichaeljensen of the Yang-Hunt Thread made a great point about how Owen wouldn’t have stayed with Cristina had he not thought that he could give her his “whole heart” — in other words, no lingering romantic entanglements with Teddy. I still believe he’s a honorable man — one who would know better than to stay in a relationship that his heart just wasn’t into. I mean, that’s why he broke off his engagement with Beth, right? He knew it wasn’t fair for her to continue the ruse of their engagement. He wasn’t the man she knew from before, and he couldn’t let her be saddled up with a man who was no longer in love with her. But, he is still in love with Cristina. That much is clear. Even as she tries to let him off the hook so that he can be with Teddy, he refuses — both times. He clings to her because he doesn’t want to lose her. And he gets this look on his face, after she asks him if he’s sure, where he realizes just how much Cristina loves him — she loves him enough to let him go so that he can be happy. Meredith’s voice-over speaks of the gift of giving — and that’s what Cristina tries to do. She’s generously trying to give Owen a free pass, where he can be with Teddy and she would understand. There’s no anger, no judgment — she would sacrifice her own happiness for his. It reminds me a bit of that classic tale about a couple who sacrifice something they love so that they can give their partner a meaningful gift: the girl sells her hair to buy her boyfriend a chain for his father’s watch while the boy sells his father’s watch to buy her an expensive comb for her hair. (Granted, the weak point of this story is that hair can grow back, but you get the idea.) What Cristina does in this last scene reverberates a similar theme of generosity. And I, for one, was pleasantly surprised to see how much she has grown as a woman and a doctor this episode.
We also shouldn’t disregard Owen’s “gift” either from the last episode (“A New History”). Even with the new information about his past with Teddy, I still believe that his gift of a cardio mentor for Cristina was probably the best gift she’d ever gotten. Aside from the complications that Teddy brings to Cristina’s personal life, Teddy truly is the perfect present for the “scalpel-hungry animal” that Cristina had become. Finally, Cristina gets a mentor who truly teaches her and appreciates Cristina’s brilliance as a blossoming cardio goddess. Owen gave Cristina back one of her loves — her love for cardio surgery. He does understand her, and he does see her need to be taught. So, I think it’s unfair to lessen the gesture he made with recruiting Teddy. It was a great gift. Unfortunately, the gift had unseen strings attached to it.
And as we cannot disregard just how good of a present Teddy truly is now that we know more of the past, we also cannot disregard Owen’s words to Cristina about how Teddy and him were “friends.” He’s not lying. Neither of them acted on their feelings, and both of them remained within the boundaries of friendship while they were in Iraq together. And I don’t blame Owen for not talking of his feelings for Teddy before because they were not relevant anymore. He’d moved on. He’d met Cristina, swept her off her feet, pulled an icicle out of her chest, and mended her broken heart. And most importantly, he fell in love with her. Unless there are current feelings, I don’t see any point in dredging up the past. And on Owen’s part, there aren’t any residual romantic feelings. Sure, he still cares for Teddy. But how could he not? They were in Iraq together — strong bonds are forged between members of the military. It’s hard not to when you survive a war together. A literal one at that.
But Owen and Cristina also survived a war together. They survived his PTSD and all the inner demons that came with it. Yet, due to Cristina’s own personal insecurities, she doesn’t realize that the patients’ love story is hers and Owen’s. She thinks Nathan’s comments about “surviv[ing] a war together” was referring to the literal war that Owen and Teddy survived. Little does she know that the real counterparts are her and Owen. The similarities are too many to ignore. Both couples fell in love within a brief period of time. Both survived a “war” and “came out on the other side” intact and stronger than ever as a pair. Both men “proposed” to their women (even KMK thought Owen’s “I want to be around in 40 years” speech was a proposal). And as many posters, including mayjr and ohcyfan, pointed out, both women were “heartless” (Burke effectively broke Cristina’s) and received new ones. In fact, not only did Owen mend Cristina’s, but he also gave her his. “My problems become your problems,” he said in the season 6 premiere. Well, along the same lines, his heart became hers — which is why when Cristina is hurt, he hurts as well. If you break Cristina’s heart, you’re going to be breaking Owen’s, too.