Ahh…Valentine’s Day. The day of romance and flowers and chocolates. But that’s for the normal folks – the ones not in Seattle Grace. For our doctors, we’ve got carnage and misplaced body parts…and bikini wax.
So, it wasn’t the type of Valentine’s Day episode that we may have wished for our couple. No prolonged romantic evening, no elaborate date, no sweet gestures of commitment. But that wasn’t really what this episode was about. And in a way, we should take it as a good sign that our couple wasn’t one of the primary focuses in this episode. The theme of this episode was about adapting and changing. Lexie needed to learn to love herself and have a voice. Mark needed to adapt to the fact that he wasn’t going to get his dream family with a daughter and granddaughter. Teddy needed to adapt to the present and learn to move forward. Meredith needed to learn about what a marriage really is. But for our couple, they have already learned their lesson and subsequently changed in last week’s episode, during “State of Love and Trust.” Cristina opened up about herself to let Owen in, and Owen learned who the “real” Cristina was – and loves her all the more because of it.
Cristina and Owen are in a good place now. They are stronger than ever. And Cristina loves Owen so much that she is willing to go on a double date with Meredith and Derek. The fact that the “twisted sisters” agreed to the double date shows how far they’ve come since the beginning of the series in respect to being in romantic relationships. Both of them have a fear that being with these men and being in love with them will somehow make them lose a part of themselves. Although Cristina and Owen dealt with this issue in the previous episode, Meredith and Derek hadn’t – thus why we see Meredith being the one on the married woman’s case and not Cristina. Meredith needs to hear the message that the woman’s story line represents, not Cristina.
I find it adorable that the men are trying to get their respective partners to be typically romantic. The men’s definition of romance is more classic and traditional: they do flowers, candy, dinner by candlelight, and so on. The women? They “don’t do Valentine’s Day.” They do surgery. They want blood and gore. They want to follow ambulances back to the hospital instead of going to some fancy restaurant for a double date.
I love the verbal trade-off that takes place in the car as they drive to the fancy restaurant. “There’s more to life than hospitals,” Owen says. To which Cristina replies, “No, there isn’t.” It shows that these two are at different stages in their lives and careers. This is the same message that Owen and Dr. Campbell try to show Cristina in “An Honest Mistake.” It’s the same message Owen tries to give Cristina when he tells her, “People do matter. I matter. We…we matter” in “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked.” I guess it bears constant repeating for Cristina to finally realize it. I’m sure she does understand on some level, but it should come to no one’s surprise that when faced with a choice between a double date and surgery, she’s going to pick surgery. Her first instinct will almost always be surgery. But now, I honestly believe that she’ll make the right choice when it really counts. This was obviously not one of those moments that really counted. (Who wants to share a dinner with a boring, married couple anyways, right? Although, this would have been a great chance for Owen and Meredith to interact outside of the hospital. We haven’t seen these two do much of bonding – in the sense that Derek and Cristina have, reluctantly – since Cristina and Owen have become an established couple in the hospital.)
To the twisted sisters’ good fortune, a flurry of ambulances saves the day, and off they go to Seattle Grace to take care of the incoming trauma. Now, at this point, Cristina disappears to parts unknown – only to pop up for a brief moment later to eat some chocolate. This is a pretty new situation where Owen gets more screen time than Cristina does. But once again, it makes sense in the scheme of things – Cristina isn’t in need of character development at the moment. She made major progress in the episode before, and she deserves a break.
Meanwhile, Owen is returning to his McBadass roots by barking orders at the various staff members in the hospital. Ah, it’s nice to see Owen in doctor mode. Not that I’m saying I don’t like seeing him as a boyfriend, but sometimes it’s good to have a reminder of why Chief Webber wanted him for Seattle Grace in the first place and offered him a job on the spot. Owen has an awkward run-in with Teddy, which catalyzes her later verbal diarrhea about puppies, cottages, woodland creatures, and bikini wax. She can’t stand this awkwardness anymore. When Teddy first came to Seattle Grace, she had a vision of what things would be like: she and Owen would be together after all these years of longing, she would have a great job, and things could move forward as they should’ve had there not been a Beth. However, she didn’t count on one Cristina Yang. And that threw a whole monkey wrench into the situation. Because Owen has moved forward – but with Cristina, not Teddy. And this is not some rebound relationship nor a relationship that Teddy can wait out (as she did with Owen and Beth’s). And what’s more, the competition is also her student, which really impairs her ability to perform her job well as a teacher. How can she teach someone when they’re a constant reminder of her rejection? And to make matters worse, Cristina is Teddy’s ideal resident – she’s shown this to be true time and again.
The second glimpse of Cristina is when she walks in on Alex and Meredith watching Mrs. Banks and Emile. As they munch on chocolates, Cristina is exposed to the patients’ story lines that somewhat reflect her own situation. However, she’s not part of the surgery – she’s only an outsider looking in. I want to point out that when Cristina and Alex question why Meredith married Derek in the first place, Meredith denies it as being “the Chief’s arm candy” and also as a way to get in on all the cool surgeries. She loves Derek – that’s why she married him. And along the same line of reasoning, that would be why Cristina would marry Owen – if they ever get married. She wouldn’t do it to get surgeries (because let’s face it, she’ll take cardio over trauma any day), and it’s not like associating with Owen will advance her career or prestige in any way (not in the same that her marriage to Burke would have). Cristina is with Owen because she loves him – it’s as simple as that.
Insert a brief bromance moment between Owen and Mark in the background talking about something or another. I don’t know why, but that just makes me giddy with fangirl happiness. Owen has friends. It’s a far cry from how disconnected he was in most of season five. In fact, his only real connection was to Cristina. So, it brings me joy to see Owen having male friends. A guy needs other guys. Cristina can’t take the place of male camaraderie. And as Cristina needs her “person,” so does Owen. It really demonstrates how far he’s come. He’s more willing to socialize and forge these relationships – something he was afraid of doing so before because he knew the intense pain of losing friends. He’s not afraid anymore. He has realized that age old adage that it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all – but in respect to all relationships, not just romantic. I guess his sessions with Dr. Wyatt have paid off.
Of course, the person he remains most connected with continues to be Cristina. And honestly, I believe the opposite is true as well. That’s why I think both Cristina and Meredith have grown. Before, their primary relationship was their friendship to each other. But now that they have these stable romantic relationships, they have opened up to and confided in their respective partners about topics they haven’t shared with each other. I’m not saying that the twisted sisters’ bond has lessened in any way, but they have definitely made room in their hearts and souls to let in their respective men. Just last episode, Cristina let down her walls and bared her soul to Owen about Burke. What more can you ask of her? Nothing. In fact, that was way more than I expected out of her.
I am not going to rehash the full speech that Teddy gives to Owen while they’re in the scrub room because, in all honesty, I’m trying to get it out of my head. I’m sorry, but I don’t think a woman should ever really discuss bikini waxes with their guy friends, especially guys who don’t really want anything to do with them at the moment. That’s just…let’s pretend we went deaf at that point in the dialogue. But the gist of the speech was this: Teddy misses her best friend. She has come to a new place thinking she’ll have one person to count on – one person to tell her how her day went, to unwind with, to confide in. But due to her own honest admission of her feelings, she “rang the bell” and, in effect, became her own barrier. Now, Owen can’t even talk to her because he feels like he’s “cheating on Cristina” when he does. Teddy was the one who created a situation where both Cristina and Owen felt like that they had to choose one or the other. And unfortunately for Teddy, neither of them ultimately chose her.
When we first saw in the sneak peek that Owen said, “When I talk to you, I feel like I’m cheating on [Cristina]. So I’m sorry,” many people didn’t like that he called it “cheating.” Personally, I think it speaks volumes at to how much Owen cares about Cristina. I don’t think for one second that it suggests that he has romantic feelings for Teddy. He’s made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t. In my opinion, he is so sensitive about his relationship with Cristina and protective over her feelings that he considers talking to someone who has feelings for him a sort of betrayal. It’s not putting into question the validity of his love for Cristina. No, it’s demonstrating how highly he values not creating a situation where he may unintentionally hurt her again. Remember in “Holidaze” how angry he got when he realized that he had hurt her during that scene in the ER when Cristina catches him looking at Teddy instead of her. He got so angry that he finally said – or rather, yelled – all that he had been holding in since Teddy confessed her feelings for him. Why? Because he didn’t want there to be any doubts about his love for Cristina any longer – on Teddy’s part and on Cristina’s part. And now that he finally “knows” Cristina, there’s no way he is going to betray her trust by doing something that could potentially bring up those doubts again. So, he gives up his friendship with Teddy because he thinks it may cause Cristina to doubt him. (Although, Cristina doesn’t seem to share that opinion since from what I’ve seen, she doesn’t mind if Teddy and Owen are friends. While most women would, Cristina is not most women. She can compartmentalize extremely well and is not easily jealous.)
The most heartbreaking moment of this was hearing Owen admit that he missed his best friend, too. Sure, Derek and Mark are his pals, but they didn’t go through a war with him. They weren’t there in the desert with him, helping him patch up wounded soldiers while trying to avoid getting killed themselves. Now, I’m not sure how much I buy into them being best friends, since I always got the impression that they haven’t talked for a while. And I don’t understand why a person wouldn’t tell their best friend that they’ve broken up with their fiancée and found a new relationship, especially one that carries so much meaning. Of course, Owen didn’t even tell his own mother that he was back for a period of time, but you’d think that your best friend would be near the top of the list of people to tell the truth to. Wasn’t that part of Owen’s homework from Dr. Wyatt? One would think so.
But let’s just take this friendship at face value and forget the fact that the writers hadn’t created the character of Teddy until later, thus the mismatch of timelines and back stories. Owen misses his friend, and only his friend. He’s made that much clear over and over again – even though it seems Teddy is hard of hearing. Selective hearing. It seems she is practicing it, too. (Bikini wax? No idea what you’re talking about. I didn’t hear that.) He tells it to her straight. They can’t be friends because she told him that she loved him. It puts him in such an awkward position because although he doesn’t want to hurt Teddy, he loves Cristina way too much to ever let her go. Teddy didn’t count on that when she declared her feelings. She was counting on Owen still having some residual feelings for her. (Oh, and by the way, Owen never said that he “loved” her, too. All he admitted to was having “feelings.”) She was wrong. And once again, Owen chooses Cristina. (Teddy just keeps on torturing herself by putting herself in this position.)
Owen saves a man’s life by attaching the man’s arm to his leg in an effort to keep the appendage viable. How very Dr. Frankenstein of him. Though, eventually, the arm will go back where it belongs. I hope. Anyways, there was no direct parallel between Owen and his patient. As I said before, I think it was intentional that neither Cristina nor Owen was on a case that carried parallels to their own lives. The only similarities would be with Emile and Mr. and Mrs. Bob Banks. Notice how Teddy is really the only one who is loosely tied to that story line. She is the one that needs to move forward. She is the Emile in this “love triangle,” pining for Owen for all those years (and didn’t say anything until recently). Although, she gets the chance to move forward (while Emile, sadly, doesn’t make it). And to the relief of all of us Cristina and Owen fans, she seems to have started to let go.
Like Emile, Teddy doesn’t see the truth of Cristina and Owen’s relationship. She doesn’t see the deep connection that runs between the two. While Emile misinterpreted the Banks’ interactions as a deteriorating marriage, Teddy misinterpreted Cristina and Owen’s relationship as some sort of rebound fling or one-sided love (with Owen loving Cristina but not the other way around, thus why she didn’t think that Cristina really deserved Owen). It’s interesting because we get another subtle allusion to Cristina and Owen being married or engaged. Mrs. Banks tells Meredith that marriage is making choice everyday – and that choice is one’s spouse. That’s what Owen is doing – he’s choosing Cristina every single time. Although, Cristina and Owen aren’t really like Mr. and Mrs. Banks when you look closely. Notice how we never get Mrs. Banks name. We know her husband is Bob, but we don’t know her first name. She’s simply “Mrs. Banks” the entire time. I don’t see Cristina ever accepting being “Mrs. Hunt” if Owen and she got married (as Meredith adamantly refused to be called “Mrs. Shephard”). No matter how much she loves Owen, she will never sacrifice her identity or independence – as Cristina said during the Burke talk. Nor would Owen want her to.
In the last scene, I first need to take a moment to say one thing. Awww. How cute are these two? It’s so nice to see them walking home together, arms around each other. And the kiss on the forehead that Owen gives Cristina as they head home is adorable. We rarely get these cute moments, thanks to Sandra Oh and Kevin McKidd’s amazing ability to carry off intense and dramatic scenes. I love the content smiles on their faces as they go off to do something – perhaps something romantic for Valentine’s Day (though, I’m guessing it’s not some romantic dinner since they’re both in their street clothes). But food, most definitely – as Cristina herself admitted to being starving earlier. And I don’t think the chocolates cut it.
And in this scene, we see Owen choosing Cristina again. Both times that Cristina makes a move to leave, Owen’s hand comes up to keep her from leaving. (The second time is harder to see, but you can see a glimpse of Owen’s hand past Teddy’s shoulder via that camera angle.) He’s picking Cristina. He’s sticking with her. If Teddy wants to speak to him alone, then too bad. Either she was going to have to say it in front of Cristina (which Teddy does) or he is leaving with Cristina to enjoy the rest of Valentine’s Day. It’s not like he needs Cristina there for moral support. It’s more like he doesn’t want Cristina to leave on Teddy’s account. If anyone’s going to be doing the leaving, it is going to be Teddy.
But Teddy willingly talks with both of them present because her message is for both of them. She wants this awkwardness between the three of them to be over. She wants this “love triangle” to be over, and I’m inclined to believe her. It would be foolish of the writers to have her make such a public declaration of change to both of them just to go back on her word. Especially now that Teddy’s character is going to be sticking around, you can’t have her constantly being the thorn to Cristina and Owen’s side. She needs to branch out from that in order to be a legitimate, regular character – just as Addison branched into her own separate story lines (and romances outside of Derek) upon being upgraded to one of the main characters.
A quick comparison of Teddy and Addison – as Teddy’s been nicknamed “Addison 2.0” by a few. The problem with this character is that we, the fans, don’t feel like she’s entitled to Owen in any way. Many people could sympathize with Addison because she and Derek were married – and were happily so for a long time, until they started to drift apart (and thus leading to Addison sleeping with Mark, Derek’s best friend). With Teddy, she’s never had any romantic claim to Owen. In fact, she was pining for Owen while he was engaged to Beth. And what’s more, she goes after Owen even though she knows that he’s in a committed relationship. So, she’s not really earning any brownie points from the fans – especially not the diehard Cristina and Owen fans.
The Teddy character was really initially brought in to shed some light on Owen’s past, give Cristina the cardio mentor she always wanted, and to stir up some trouble for Cristina and Owen. The last part is not the most popular of tasks, but someone had to do it – and look at the fantastic scenes we got between Cristina and Owen because of it. Although it was annoying or torturous at times, Cristina and Owen came out as a stronger couple in the end. And now that we know that Teddy is going to be sticking around, I’m interested in seeing more emphasis on the first two parts of why Teddy was initially brought in. I’m not saying that there won’t be more times where Cristina and Owen’s relationship are tested – this is Grey’s Anatomy after all – but I hope that we won’t get any more of this nature, with some woman from the past trying to finagle her way in. It’s as Kevin McKidd said in a recent interview, Owen’s certain of his love for Cristina, but there are still going to be times when that relationship is tested.
Back to the scene. I found it hilarious that when Teddy says, “I said that I love you” to Owen, we see both Owen and Cristina’s looks of discomfort. Owen gets this really uncomfortable look in his eye before giving a sidelong glance at Cristina, who in turn, catches Owen’s look then averts her eyes down to the floor (probably wishing she was in the car). And as Teddy goes on – once again mentioning waxing (seriously, stop talking about it), the two of them get more and more uncomfortable. But finally, we get to the point. Teddy wants to make amends. She wants to be friends with Owen again, and she wants to be Cristina’s teacher again. The rest of it, she can deal with – and I hope she does. I hope she can move on because it’s not fun for the viewers to see her constantly making these futile attempts to win Owen.
I loved how Cristina readily accepts the olive branch that Teddy extends in the form of a valve replacement. (I also loved how Meredith showed what a great friend she is by suggesting Cristina in the first place.) She doesn’t need to worry about upsetting Owen by scrubbing in on Teddy’s surgery – they’re past that. And Owen readily accepts that Cristina would rather perform a surgery than do something for Valentine’s Day. All he says is, “I’ll see you at home.” And all Cristina does is run her hand lovingly down his jacket. (I love these little couple moments.) See? Growth and acceptance. There was no need for them to change or adapt in this episode because they had already done so. And this scene was proof of that.
When Owen tells Teddy that she can’t “unring the bell,” I don’t think he’s implying anything about still having romantic feelings for Teddy. Instead, I think he’s saying that it’s not going to be easy to erase everything that’s happened between the three of them. Teddy’s confession about her feelings to Owen started a ripple effect and caused both Owen and Cristina to get hurt on occasion. That’s not something easily forgotten. It helps that Cristina and Owen reached a better place in their relationship because of it, but the pain and hurt still happened. But now that Teddy has committed to changing her tune (excuse the pun), there is a chance that things can be forgiven. And I’m sure that Owen wants to forgive her because, as he said, he misses his friend. But forgiveness is not the same as trust, and it’s going to be a while before Owen can trust Teddy again to have his best interests at heart – and his best interests include Cristina.
Side note: it seems that a scene or two is missing from this episode. Usually, we get a repetitive theme that goes on throughout an episode, and it seems like this metaphor of ringing a bell is one. However, the first and last time we hear of it is in the last scene with Teddy, Owen, and Cristina. Also, it seems a bit out of the blue that Teddy has this revelation. She didn’t have a moment of epiphany with a patient, as is usual in the Grey’s Anatomy formula for character growth. It almost came out of nowhere. So, I honestly think we may be missing some scenes. Perhaps they will appear on the DVD for us to get a fuller picture of what happened. If not, I guess Teddy had her “Aha!” moment off screen.
I sincerely hope that things will improve from here on out. It’s been six episodes of watching Teddy causing tension amongst the three of them, and I’m optimistic that things have really changed. If not for Cristina and Owen’s sakes, but for Teddy’s as well. There are some single men on this show that are in need of some loving, and she’s just the one to provide it. And plus, as Kevin McKidd said in his interview with PopEater, “Cristina and Owen deserve to be happy,” don’t you think?