“We matter.” Yes, they do. To us, the community of Cristina/Owen fans who’ve really gotten to know each other through our shared adoration of them. And to the show. Thus far, they are among the most relevant — not to mention, exceptional — couples produced by this show. How many other couples take on a socially relevant issue such as PTSD and win prestigious non-entertainment-related awards for it? So, Owen is right. They matter.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself and jumping to the good bits (okay, super awesome bits). Let’s start from the very beginning. (Who else is humming the beginning lines of “Do Re Me” from The Sound of Music after reading that sentence? Just me?)
The first scene we get is of Teddy and Cristina after the whole “then take him” business went down last episode. Cristina chooses a good word to describe her response from that night: “thoughtless.” It really was thoughtless on Cristina’s part in the sense that she wasn’t really thinking. Which is why we see her struggle with this issue throughout the whole episode — her big dilemma that parallels the opera singer and his boyfriend’s story line. She’s just now thinking about it — and talking about it to everyone but Owen. And another important thing is that she didn’t really mean it. It’s ridiculous for her to just offer up Owen as some sort of item for trade. (Although, as I’ve said before, if she did, I call dibs.) And although she keeps using this line of reasoning, of talking about giving Owen away, she still doesn’t really mean it. Because although she may think she’s really giving the situation some thought, she’s not. Not until the end. But more on that later.
Our first glimpse of Owen is him being all McBadass — even amidst the singing. I do miss him being a badass trauma surgeon. But I’d trade seeing him being a brilliant doctor for screen time with Cristina being a brilliant boyfriend (which he did in this episode — insanely brilliant boyfriend). Actually, I’d just like more screen time for Owen, period.
The scene between Meredith and Cristina is hilarious and definitely reaffirms my stance that Meredith and Cristina are the second most awesome relationship on the show. Derek and Owen coming in close for third place, as we’ll see later. Meredith has grown up so much, and she’s really become the go-to person for advice these days. I love how Cristina sums up the situation to Meredith — totally reminiscent of the “old” Cristina. Ah, the wit. So glad to see it back and on air.
Love Meredith’s reaction to the fact that Teddy loves Owen. Guess Cristina didn’t tell her until that moment. And again, Meredith’s look of shock when Cristina admits that she told Teddy that she could have Owen. Hilarious. Would be more hilarious if it weren’t for the fact that Cristina is talking about trading love for mentorship. But still funny.
This whole love and emotions and so on is still new for Cristina. Yes, I know, she had a relationship with Burke, but Cristina and Owen are beyond that in the sense that they went through the “war” of PTSD together and made it out intact. As KMK has spoken ad nauseum in respect to Teddy about how war buddies get this bond that can be compared to people who climb Mount Everest together, Cristina and Owen themselves overcame a pretty significant hurdle themselves. And on top of that bond, they are also in love. Doubly linked.
So yes, a bond of this fortitude is new to Cristina, and she doesn’t always know what to do with it. With each relationship, Cristina gets closer to learning how to behave in a grown-up romantic relationship. Burke took her to one point, and Owen is taking her much further, which is why she doesn’t truly understand how ridiculous it is for her to think that she can simply just brush Owen aside. The entire time she has this discussion with the other residents, she doesn’t ever really contemplate just what that really entails. All she sees is that she gets Teddy and surgeries. What she doesn’t see is what she would be losing.
It’s not even terrible that Cristina would even contemplate choosing career over love. She hasn’t had the best luck with love recently. And the damage of Burke having left her must have done a number on her. She is not used to guys sticking. She really isn’t. In fact, I don’t think we would ever expect any man on this show to stick. People tend to run the other way when their egos are bruised. I mean, in respect to Cristina, even she has been on the receiving end of a silent treatment when Burke’s ego was bruised. So, once again, Cristina is not really used to a healthy, grown-up, committed relationship. And so far, career has been the one thing that kept her going when relationships didn’t.
Back to Meredith. It’s interesting that she compares it to telling someone their ugly baby is ugly. In other words, you should tell a white lie or else it will make you seem like a jerk. But here’s my issue with this. Why is there a stigma attached to women who choose careers over love in the first place? Why shouldn’t Cristina be able to talk about it? I’m not saying that I would agree with her decision (because I feel like one should be able to have both), but it’s a bit of a double standard. Just saying.
Meredith also implies that she’s the only one who gets Cristina, but we find out later that this isn’t true. Owen gets her, too. And he understands Cristina’s relationship with Meredith. “The twisted sisters,” he calls them. And how true it is. At least they’re not “dark and twisty” anymore. Just “twisty.” An improvement.
In the scene where they’re in the skills lab eating lunch, Jackson brings up a really good point. Why does Cristina have to choose? Because Shonda says so, yes. But realistically, there shouldn’t have to be a choice. You can have both. Even Ellis Grey said the same. If you want both, you can have both — as long as you put in the effort. In Cristina’s defense, she’s not really able to have both mentor and boyfriend at the same time because said mentor has the hots for said boyfriend, which makes it complicated. And it isn’t fair for Teddy to put her in that position. What happened to professionalism? Yes, we’re human. But why is Teddy acting in this manner now — with Cristina — when she didn’t even make so much as a move when Owen was with Beth? And she didn’t even like Beth. I feel bad for Teddy, I really do. But seriously, this isn’t doing her character any favors by putting Cristina in this position.
And it’s not surprising that Cristina’s fellow residents would mostly choose surgery over love. They’re residents and still learning — of course, they’re all thirsting for surgeries still. They aren’t in the same position as the attendings where they can basically pick and choose what surgeries they get. They’re fighting for the chance to even scrub in. So, of course, in this time of their lives, they would pick surgery. It’s a no-brainer. They’re not thinking about the future or the long run. They’re thinking about now.
Izzie, having lost her job and had all this time to think, she has thought about the future. Which is why she advocates choosing love over one’s job. Because having lost her job, the thing she misses more is Alex. Sure, she misses cutting, but she misses Alex more, which is why she came back. Cristina hasn’t really thought about what it would be like to miss Owen. As I said, she’s still thinking surgeries, surgeries, surgeries.
And look how well it turned out for those who chose career when they were faced with this choice of career over love. Izzie put all her focus on the fact that she lost her career over her marriage that she ended up ruining her relationship with Alex. Meredith and Derek both chose their careers over their marriage in a sense, and they end up being at odds with each other at the end of the episode. I would add Bailey to this list, but Tuck was not very sympathetic even when Bailey was not at home because she was busy saving lives — plus, Bailey at least tried to salvage her marriage. But I think even she would admit that she could have tried harder — that there were times where she could have passed a surgery to someone else but she chose to stay at work later just to do it.
Brief interlude in the discussion of Cristina’s major story arc to talk about Owen and Derek. I am totally digging this bromance. I’m glad that Derek feels like he can talk to Owen and share his thoughts with him. I am also digging the fact that Owen is having a secret stash of sterile equipment even though it’s not really following the rules — and you know how much Owen loves to follow the rules. In this case, he showcases the idea that patients — thus, people — trump all else, even regulation. He’s always been that guy. Even though it took him a bit to get there with Cristina during her scalpel-hungry phase, he eventually got it. Once again, loving this bromance. And I want to see more of it.
Anyways, Cristina continues to get this “choose your gift” message throughout the episode. The only time she gets the opposing side is from Izzie, but Izzie herself chose career first — and then later regretted it. But the opera singer’s speech about being stuck having to always make himself be smaller should he lose his voice was a huge neon sign to Cristina saying, “Pick career and Teddy.”
And then you have Teddy saving the patient’s lungs so that he can continue singing, and the message is complete: pick your gift. That’s all Cristina’s hearing. Which is why she tells Teddy that she picks her over Owen.
But Cristina doesn’t really pick Teddy over Owen. She is still the worried girlfriend when he comes home after that random meeting at Joe’s with Teddy where Teddy drunkenly tells him about Cristina’s decision. Poor baby. He looks so hurt at the bar and then later at the apartment. Not to mention, I’m assuming that the webisode takes place during this time, and Owen is on stage singing the blues because he’s been told that his ladylove has tossed him aside for a cardio goddess mentor. (At least he was gentlemanly enough to send Teddy home in a cab.) And boy, can he sing. Hubba hubba.
Back to earth…. The last scene is so captivating. This is the scene I’ve been waiting for since the hiatus. Last week’s episode was a tad underwhelming in the Cristina/Owen department. But this pivotal scene sure made up for it.
Kevin McKidd and Sandra Oh show some serious acting chops and prove just why they continue to get all these intense and emotionally riveting scenes. Because they can handle it like no others can. Owen’s eyes portray so much emotion: sadness, hurt, love. But no anger. And that’s so important. This is not about a bruised ego and wanting to lash out. No, this is about a man who desperately wants the woman he loves to realize how valuable their relationship is.
“People do matter…. We matter.” He speaks the truth. The truth that Cristina hadn’t been hearing prior to this. She never saw it from this side. And it was very important that she had no interaction with Owen prior to this. Because by not having discussed this whole situation with Owen, she was able to solely focus on the surgery side of the argument. The reality of losing her relationship with Owen never really hit her until this scene, when Owen tells her, “So, you don’t get to toss me aside. I won’t let you.” A sucker punch to the heart like no other. Had I not been privy to this information via spoilers, I would have been shocked about Owen’s decision to stay. Even when I read this in the spoilers, I was shocked. Grey’s Anatomy characters, especially the men, are not known for this type of behavior. This marks the second time Owen’s defied the Grey’s Anatomy curse. He didn’t cheat when he got the chance, and he didn’t hightail it and run when he got his feelings hurt. He is sticking with Cristina — something that completely opens her eyes to the ramifications of what choosing Teddy over Owen would mean. How could she even think of giving this up? Giving up a man who really makes her feel, who really makes her happy — and will continue to do so even when surgery doesn’t and/or can’t.
And on Cristina’s part, she is still acting like the concerned girlfriend, wondering where her boyfriend was. This is not the type of behavior one expects from a woman who has just “traded” her boyfriend off. She’s still acting like she’s very much still in this relationship. And Cristina is also not showing any anger towards Owen for not answering her calls (sorry, Cristina, he was busy making fangirls swoon by singing and playing guitar). No, she was worried about the man she loves. It just goes to show that the idea of what it means to give Owen up hasn’t really settled in yet. She still thinks that it’s a simple manner of keeping a teacher, but it’s not. Nothing else enters her thought process until Owen makes her face it head on and breaks her from her tunnel vision. Because giving up Owen for Teddy would mean that Owen wouldn’t come over every night. That means no phone calls just pages to come to the hospital. It would mean that she wouldn’t have someone who understands her and gets her more than she does herself at times. She hasn’t thought of any of that. But in this scene, she is forced to. And she realizes her mistake.
The tiny shake of her head before she cups Owen’s face and kisses him is an undeniable gesture of regret and apology. She’s apologizing for not realizing how her so-called decision would hurt him, for not knowing what it would mean for her and Owen’s relationship. She regrets saying that she would give Owen up for Teddy, for not seeing that there are plenty of cardio mentors out there but only one Owen. But in her excitement and exhilaration in finally finding a cardio mentor after a long, dry spell, she lost sight of her priorities — which is why it’s a good thing that Owen is her partner. Owen doesn’t lose sight of the priorities. He has consistently taught her that it’s people first: respect the patients, it’s about saving lives, people do matter. The job and the competition of it all comes second.
Seriously, these two can act. From the look on Owen’s face when Cristina opens the door to the tears in Cristina’s eyes when she realizes what losing Owen would mean — all good stuff. Someone remind me again why they didn’t get an Emmy nomination? Because this was amazing. The actors make the connection between these two characters so palpable. Pish posh to those who claim they don’t have any chemistry. I mean, you can see how Owen can capture Cristina’s undivided attention with a look. And so many unspoken words flow between them when their eyes locked. In fact, words often can’t capture what their expressions say.
As I said in the beginning, these two characters have such a strong bond between them, which is why it is so ridiculous that Cristina thinks that it would be a simple matter to sever it. But the point is, that she doesn’t really even think of that part until Owen confronts her. Cristina can read his state of mind from his kiss. It’s like she can sense his desperation when he first walks in and just lays one on her. (That was so hot, by the way. Let’s see more of that — but in a hotter, “I have to have you right now” kind of way.) She stops him to ask him what’s going on. I thought that was an interesting move because it’s like Cristina is choosing communcation over avoidance. Remember, Cristina has never really been the one to talk it out, as we’ve seen over the seasons. So, it’s a pretty significant change when Cristina would rather talk it out than keep on kissing this gorgeous hunk of a man. I guess she learned from her joint therapy session with Dr. Wyatt back in the season 6 premiere — no using physical contact to avoid talking about what is wrong. Go Cristina, she’s growing up.
Now, the kisses. Did not see that coming. And glad for it. I shrieked my head off. A squee that has been two months in the making since the “Holidaze” kiss. It’s so nice when we get surprised in this manner. The first kiss is instigated by Owen, who’s been known to choose physical demonstrations over words — as he did in “Holidaze.” Like he was in “Holidaze,” Owen is so overwhelmed with emotion that the only way he can even think to convey it to Cristina is by kissing her — and Cristina recognizes it, which is why she stops him and makes him talk. The second kiss is instigated by Cristina, and it’s less about desperation and more about reaffirming that she does indeed love him. She came pretty close to losing Owen and her relationship with him, what with all the talk about choosing Teddy over Owen. And if it had been anyone but Owen, she probably would have. Owen essentially saved her from herself by being the man he is — and because he’s just that much in love with Cristina that he is willing to push aside his own hurt to make things work between them.
Definitely a positive sign in my book. I guess Shonda wasn’t kidding when she said that Cristina would be more of a threat to the Cristina/Owen relationship than Teddy would be. And I also believe that Kevin McKidd’s assurances that this “love triangle” story line would make Cristina and Owen stronger is coming into fruition. How could they not be stronger because of this? (Although, I still don’t trust press releases because I did not see any signs of “high tension” among Cristina, Owen, and Teddy. Just as I didn’t see much “avoiding” out of Cristina in “Stairway to Heaven.”) If that weren’t enough of a positive sign for our couple, Shonda did Tweet that there is “so much C/O sex” in the next episode that is airing in two weeks. Guess they’re showing each other just how much they love each other. Wink wink. And on that note…