Given what happened in “New History,” I’m more convinced than ever that the title of episode 9 was truly more of a positive sign for Cristina and Owen. At first, I thought that it was in reference to the fact that Teddy’s reveal about her feelings for Owen rewrote all the history they had together — which is a rather foreboding thought because that could have led to Owen being conflicted over his feelings over who he was currently in love with. But lo and behold, Owen made it perfectly clear to Teddy that the past was staying in the past. He had had all these feelings for her while they were in Iraq together — feelings he’d never acted on because Owen is still an honorable guy in my eyes — but no longer. His heart is full, whole and healed — and all because of Cristina.
may of the Yang-Hunt Thread made a wonderful observation. Ever since he came into Cristina’s life, he has been committed to her one hundred percent. And it’s not out of gratitude — as Cristina made sure to point out. Owen doesn’t owe Cristina anything in her mind. That’s what I love about this relationship. Like any relationship in the real world, if you want it to be long-lasting and succeed, you can’t keep a scorecard. The giving should come naturally and out of pure instinct. Owen didn’t find Cristina a cardio mentor to thank her for staying by him during his battle with PTSD. No, he gave her this “gift” for the simple reason that it would make her happy (eventually, after the initial background and skills check).
Along the same lines, it’s not like Cristina stayed with Owen because she was going to use it as a bargaining chip later. No, she stayed because she loves him and is in love with him. (I feel I have to make that distinction these days.) But this is not to downplay just how generous and self-sacrificing Cristina was in being with a man who was ravaged by war. She was Owen’s stalwart protector, effectively creating a haven for Owen that he so desperately needed. Make no mistake, if it hadn’t been for Cristina, I very much doubt that Owen would have been able to heal. She gave him the motivation to seek help and get better. “I want to be a better man for you. I want to be a better man with you.” Those words say it all. No Cristina means no whole and healthy Owen.
As such, Cristina rewrote Owen’s life story. So that forty years from now, if Owen were to look back at his history — his “new history” — it’d be greatly defined by Cristina and his relationship with her. Not PTSD or Teddy or Beth. His “new” life — the point in his “after” when he started to truly be alive again and not just a shell of a man — began with Cristina.
And in return, Owen rewrote Cristina’s story. I don’t think she ever thought she’d be happy again. And she was happy with Burke. She did love him. Which is why she broke down after Burke left her and when he won the Harper Avery award without mentioning her at all. You don’t feel that strongly if you didn’t care for the person. And season 4 Cristina was in a total funk until she “got her groove” back towards the end. But still, her relationship with Owen is totally different than her relationship with Burke. As Mama Burke pointed out, Cristina was still very much surgeon first, woman second while she was with Burke. Burke was both her lover and her mentor — the lines between professional and personal were extremely blurred. Same with Cristina’s relationship with Colin Marlow. However, with Owen, we get a more distinct separation of the two realms (although lately, he’s gradually showing more affection towards her during work hours). And with Owen, it has always felt to be more woman first and surgeon second. Not only that, but they truly had a Victorian romance with the courting and emotional connection that came before any consummation. “I’m not going to date another attending,” Cristina said when Owen first showed up again in Seattle Grace. Owen definitely changed her mind. And by doing so, he allowed her to “breathe” again. See? “New history.”
And borrowing a line from Meredith, I think both of them will be hanging onto this relationship with their “last, dying breath” — or at least the end of the series. What had begun as two separate lives and separate stories has now become one book. And I, for one, can’t wait to see the happy ending.