A “Time Warp” Without Dan Vasser? What?

If you don’t get the reference in the title, let me clarify: Dan Vasser was the time-traveling character that Kevin McKidd – whom we know and love as Owen Hunt on Grey’s Anatomy – played in Journeyman.  And if it weren’t for the writers’ strike that caused his show to get canceled, we would have never had Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt.  In fact, Cristina’s love interest would have been played by Joshua Jackson of The Mighty Ducks and Dawson’s Creek fame.  Just a little fun tidbit about Owen Hunt and Kevin McKidd to get things started since we did not see him in this episode.  (And thus, the reason why I don’t have the usual episode collage at the top.)

So, what is there to discuss when we’re missing half of our couple?  Well, our couple, that’s what.  How?  Just read on and see…

Other than the parallels drawn between Cristina and Owen’s relationship to Cristina’s former relationship with Burke, the other major relationship that our couple has been compared to is Ellis Grey and Richard Webber.  And in this episode, we got a real glimpse into their relationship back in the day (an era that included some questionable hairstyles).

Cristina Yang is not Ellis Grey.  Though she aspires to obtain a similar career (two Harper Avery Awards is nothing to scoff at), Cristina is very different than the Ellis Grey of the past.  The version we’re more familiar with, as played by Kate Burton, was significantly more likeable in the end (in other words, the lucid version).  And I think that came from the fact that the older Ellis Grey learned to regret the decisions she made in parenting and her personal life.  She told Cristina that she could have tried harder to balance both her career and her family.  But the version we saw in this episode, as played by Sarah Paulson (whom I adore), was, quite frankly, a bit of a bitch.  And given the time that she was living in and the major obstacles she was facing, I don’t blame her.  Anything less and Ellis Grey may not have become the brilliant surgeon that she became.  Still, it doesn’t really excuse the way she treated the people that loved and cared about her – namely Meredith.

I’m all about the kids, having worked with children and adolescents since I was old enough to take care of them.  So, seeing Ellis Grey disregard her own child like that was tough to watch.  Especially a little girl who is so obviously in want of her mother (and so freaking adorable).  At least Richard has the decency to look back and feel bad for little Meredith.  Ellis doesn’t even do that much.  She’s all gung-ho about the surgery that she doesn’t even have the slightest bit of hesitation in leaving her child.  And when she physically removes Meredith from her leg as though her daughter is a nuisance, it only made me feel worse for little Meredith.  No wonder Meredith grew up with all these major issues.

But back to Cristina.  Like Ellis, she’s very focused on her career and surgeries.  But – and it’s a huge “but” – she’s not as cold as people label her to be.  The Cristina we’ve been seeing has been more sensitive and caring.  Look at the way she handled the situations with Izzie and Owen.  As Sandra Oh said, we got to see the softer side of Cristina.  And she has been doing what Ellis Grey didn’t – balancing both love and career.

In the Zoanne Clack’s writer’s blog for this episode, she mentions that Shonda wanted it to be shown that the main reason that Richard and Ellis were drawn together was because they were both outcasts.  They were in the same boat – being an African American and female, respectively, in a predominately Caucasian male profession.  Who else would better understand where they were coming from?  Thatcher and Adele weren’t in the medical field.  They couldn’t understand the struggle and the pressure that both of them faced in the workplace.  It’s no wonder that these two forged a bond together.

As for Cristina and Owen, they also understand each other in ways that others can’t.  And in their own way, they’re both “outcasts.”  Neither of them fit within the typical Grey’s Anatomy mold when it comes to behavior and relationships.  While the other characters have complicated romantic entanglements with anyone and everyone else on the show, Cristina and Owen have remained solely with each other – even with Teddy’s arrival.  They both keep their private lives private (i.e. avoid being the hospital gossip) and “mate for life.”

Take Owen, for example.  In the past few episodes, he has twice deviated from the typical pattern of behavior that the Grey’s Anatomy characters have been known to take.  First, he didn’t cheat when he had the chance.  He could have easily cheated on Cristina with Teddy – or broken up with Cristina to be with Teddy – but he didn’t.  Why?  Because he’s “in love with Cristina” – it is as simple as that.  Second, he didn’t go off in a huff when Cristina “gave him up” to Teddy.  He stuck by her and told her that he wasn’t going to let her throw him aside.  That was a huge surprise – even knowing that Owen’s an honorable man, it was still a shocker.  I don’t think we’ve ever seen any of the other male characters show such maturity when their egos had been bruised like that.  Look at Mark – he’s refusing to talk to Lexie because she slept with Alex even though he slept with Addison (multiple times).  I’m not saying that either of their behavior should be excused, but he isn’t even willing to work on it.  And don’t get me started on early Meredith and Derek.  There is a reason they broke up and made up six times.  Just saying.

And as for Cristina, she’s been unlike the others since the beginning – what with her committed relationship with Burke and her unwavering loyalty to her friends.  Cristina and Owen are very much alike in these core traits, and I think that’s why they’re so great together.  Of course, they’ve got their healthy share of differences (thus, the various arguments and disagreements these two have gotten into), but these differences ultimately make them into a stronger couple because they both have things to teach the other.  As we’ve seen, both Cristina and Owen have done some learning and growing since the moment they got together.  And for the better, in my honest opinion.

So, why do Cristina and Owen work when Ellis and Richard didn’t?  Well, to start off, Cristina is healthy for Owen.  She was the one that forced Owen to really take a look at his situation and realize that he needed to get help.  And since going to therapy for his PTSD, he’s become the “better man” that he promised he’d be.  So now, he’s healthy for Cristina, too, by being the supportive and solid boyfriend she’s always needed.  Cristina can count on him – and that’s a new feeling for Cristina, this ability to count on a man.  Meanwhile, we found out in this episode that Ellis was the one that got Richard started on his drinking.  Not only that, but she kept pushing him to leave Adele and continue their affair.  Not exactly the type of encouragement one would consider “healthy.”  I’m not saying that their relationship didn’t have any merits – after all, the Chief credited Ellis for helping make him into a better doctor – but on a personal level, the relationship with rather detrimental.  It eroded away at their respective marriages and Ellis’ role as a mother.

At the end of Richard’s lecture, he recites the Physician’s Oath.  It reflects the principle that Owen constantly upholds: respecting one’s patients.  If you notice, Cristina knows this oath by heart.  As Richard says the words, Cristina is mouthing along with him.  You can see how the words reverberate within her and how seriously she takes this vow to heal others.  Though she doesn’t always have the best bedside manner, Cristina is an amazing doctor.  And even when it seems like she’s only about the surgeries, she honestly wants what is best for her patients.  We saw this in “An Honest Mistake” when she brought to attention the mistake that Dr. Campbell (Faye Dunaway) made while operating on Mr. Terzian.  She tells Owen, “That patient deserves to know who his doctor is, no matter whose feelings it happens to hurt.”  Cristina is usually very respectful to authority figures and prestigious surgeons, so it is rather significant that she would behave so rudely towards or think so little of Dr. Campbell because of her mishandling of Mr. Terzian’s surgery.

Anyways, I think it’s safe to say that Cristina and Owen will not share the same fate as Ellis and Richard.  For one thing, they’re not married to other people, and they are truly in love with each other.  Cristina is succeeding in what Ellis Grey couldn’t – being both a brilliant surgeon and a loving partner.  And I’m sure that if she and Owen had kids, she wouldn’t neglect them in the manner that Ellis did to Meredith.  Sure, Cristina is a tad ill-at-ease with the little ones (remember Mr. Bear?); but as with everything else that comes her way, Cristina could excel at motherhood if she put her mind to it.  Now, let’s take a step back and relish in the thought of Cristina and Owen tackling parenthood…  That would definitely be a sight to see.  (And here’s hoping we get to see that sometime down the road.  If not, there’s always our imagination… and the world of fanfiction.)

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7 responses to “A “Time Warp” Without Dan Vasser? What?

  1. Shlii – loved this! I had been thinking too about the parallels between Cristina and Ellis, and about their respective relationships. I think one of the goals that Shonda & Co have for Cristina (and for Meredith as well perhaps, but particularly for Cristina) is that becoming an “Ellis” is not the inevitable fate of an ambitious talented woman. We saw that, as you point out, in Ellis’ comment to Cristina about how Ellis’ failure to have both love and a career was attributable to Ellis’ failure to try hard enough. If I’m remembering correctly, there was also a conversation between Sadie and Mer about Cristina being reminiscent of Mer’s mother (Sadie said “I thought we hated your mother.”) So I think Cristina’s full story arc is to show that Ellis is not the only model for a woman who is gifted and wants to be successful in a male-dominated profession.

    You’ve made some excellent points about the differences between the Ellis/Richard relationship and the Cristina/Owen relationship. I think another way to look at this is to look at the effect of the breakup between Ellis and Richard. For better or worse, Richard was the great love of Ellis’ life. Whether she was the great love of his life is a little less clear – – he was never willing to leave Adele, perhaps because of his feelings for Adele, perhaps because of his understanding on some level that although Ellis loved him she wasn’t “good” for him. If Richard and Ellis had stayed together, if she were more truly loving to him instead of just being in love with him, if he was a stronger person and able to encourage her to be her own best self and be a better mother to Meredith, her story would have had a different outcome (and, I suppose, there would have been no Grey’s Anatomy!).

    My point here, and it ties directly into what you said, is that Cristina is the love of Owen’s life, and he is a strong person who will help her find the best in herself. And Owen is the love of Cristina’s life, and she has already shown that she can support and love him in ways that Ellis could never have done for Richard. So Cristina/Owen will be the anti-Ellis/Richard; they will be Shonda & Co’s way of showing us that a brilliant woman can have a successful career and a loving relationship if she is willing to try hard enough AND if she finds the right partner. And Cristina has found the right partner in Owen!

    • I love this, HopeW. I really do hope that Cristina is shown to represent a woman who can have both a successful relationship and brilliant career.

      As for Richard being Ellis’ great love, I think that’s mostly true. Although, I do have a vague memory of when Ellis was in the hospital where she wanted George — whom she mistook for Thatcher — to stay beside her in her bed. So, although Richard was her “great love,” as you put it, I do honestly believe that Ellis loved Thatcher to some degree — even though he couldn’t understand her in the way that Richard could. And how could he? Thatcher wasn’t a surgeon, and he wasn’t in the battle trenches (aka the surgical program during that time) with her.

      The difference with Cristina and Owen is that even though Cristina wasn’t there with him in the war — as Teddy was — she doesn’t understand him. She was there for him when he was battling his PTSD — which is a type of war itself. I mean, this is why Cristina was telling Owen during “Holidaze” that she would understand if Owen wanted to be with Teddy because they went through a war together. She understands the bonds that can be forged in situations like that. However, Owen recognized the war that Cristina and him went through. Remember how Owen was telling Cristina that she was the only person who could “see” him and not make him feel like a ghost? I believe it still applies — even with Teddy here. I don’t thinks he’s cognizant of the fact that he has PTSD due to the war. I’m not even sure if she knows that he was honorably discharged because of the RPG ambush. (Sorry, thinking … or rather, writing … out loud here.)

      Back to your reply, I’m 100% with you that they have found the right partners in each other. That couldn’t be said for Richard and Ellis. Perhaps if they had met before they had gotten married to other people, things could have turned out better. And in that way, it’s more like Teddy and Owen — they missed their chance. I’m part of the group that thinks that if things had turned out differently and Owen hadn’t met Cristina, then Teddy and Owen could have very well have been a possibility. But from the moment he set eyes on Cristina, he was a goner. If the fact that he chose to come to Seattle Grace didn’t prove it, I don’t know what would.

  2. I don’t think we know enough about Teddy yet to form any conclusions about whether she and Owen “missed their chance” even though I know that’s what one of the writers (was it Krista Vernoff?) said. The whole plot device of them “loving” each other but saying nothing for years really doesn’t work for me, because it is so inconsistent with both characters. We know Owen is passionate and impulsive, as well as honorable. If he “loved” Teddy, his honor would have required him to break it off with Beth first, but he then would have let Teddy know how he felt. And we’re supposed to believe (or so the writers are telling us) that Teddy is the most honest character they’ve ever written and the most open about her feelings. So she lied to her “best friend” by omission, at least, for all those years, while doing things like having conversations with his then-fiancee about the babies the then-fiancee wanted to have? Does that seem “open” and “honest” to you?

    IMO, the only dramatically believable explanation is that they didn’t really love each other, but that each was the fantasy that the other used to get through their tough days in Iraq. We all think Beth was kind of a jerk, but I do believe Owen loved her for a time. He just outgrew her; he became a more complex person because of the experiences he had and she couldn’t keep up with him.

    To get back to the Ellis/Richard and Cristina/Owen parallels, what I was trying to say is that Ellis may have had the potential to be a more complete and loving person. But Richard was not able to help her achieve that and, when he left her, she became embittered (to the extent of an ineffectual suicide attempt) and ultimately withdrew from all emotion connections and threw herself into her work. If Owen and Cristina were to break up, Cristina would (I think) be in danger of the same fate – I think she was tettering on the edge of that when Burke left her. Burke, like Richard with Ellis, didn’t know how to help Cristina find her better self. Owen listens to her; Burke just wanted to get her to do what he wanted but didn’t have the emotional depth himself to ask her to go deeper. When Cristina said “I gave up my apartment 20 minutes ago” Burke just said “Okay, then” instead of “But why did you feel you needed to keep it? What are you afraid of?” Completely different from Owen.

    Cristina has some “Ellis” in her – – Mer sees it and the writers want us to see it too. But unlike Ellis Cristina has fallen in love, this time, with a man who can help her find her balance. I hope, I believe, that the writers want to show us that balance is difficult but possible for a woman like Cristina (or Ellis). So they will keep her with Owen, and let us see the two of them “work hard” to have love and surgery at same time. I least that’s what I am hoping for – – I don’t think Shonda wants an unhappy ending for Cristina, or to reinforce stereotypes about professional women having to sacrifice love for work. JMHO.

    • Sorry it took me so long to reply. Uh, let’s see…

      In my mind, Teddy and Owen could’ve had a successful romantic relationship. Definitely not one that could even come close to the connection that Cristina and Owen share — but successful nonetheless. And if Shonda and others think of these two in that manner, then I think we may have to consider it as a possible back story. I mean, they are the ones who are creating these characters after all. So, sometimes, we have to take their word for it. But I’m completely with you in regards to Teddy and Owen not having “loved” each other in the same way that Cristina and Owen love each other. Completely with you. What I’m saying is that we can’t just completely disregard the feelings that they had shared in the past. Just as we don’t disregard Cristina and Burke’s relationship. In the same line of reasoning, the love Cristina felt for Burke is nothing like the love she feels for Owen. She said so in “State of Love and Trust”: “I love you… I love you more than I loved Burke, I love you…” So, even though it could have very well been that Owen “loved” (in Teddy’s eyes, at least) Teddy in the past.

      Remember back around the time when Teddy arrived and Kevin McKidd gave this interview where he said that he believed that Owen didn’t know about the extent of Burke and Cristina’s relationship? How he thought that Owen only really knew the bare minimum. Well, that turned out to be legitimate as we saw how surprised he was when Mark spilled the beans about the fact that Cristina nearly married Burke. And I think this is a similar case. We can’t reject this theory of Owen and Teddy having “missed their chance” — as proposed by these writers — out of hand. They did miss their chance. And honestly, I think it was for the better. Because Owen found Cristina, and hopefully, Teddy will find someone who is more right for her. She shouldn’t keep pining after someone who obviously loves another significantly more.

      And though I don’t hate Teddy as many do, I also don’t exactly like her either. I definitely don’t agree with the writers’ opinions that she’s “open” and “honest.” If they mean that in the way that she told Owen the truth about her feelings, then okay, I guess that’s “open” and “honest.” She got her message across loud and clear. Definitely don’t think it was the right move to make. And it definitely doesn’t do the character any favors in regards to getting most viewers to like her.

      In regards to Owen’s being honorable and how he would’ve broken things off with Beth to be with Teddy, well I think the counter argument for that would be that maybe he thought he was doing the honorable thing by staying with Beth. As you said, he loved her at some point (enough to want to marry her), and she was obviously someone who needed taking care of. Perhaps he thought his feelings for Teddy would fade because they were circumstantial (i.e. that the feelings were borne out of going through the war together). We don’t know really. Just as we don’t know how Owen ever acted when he was in love prior to Cristina. If you think about it, the only person we’ve seen Owen be in love with is Cristina. And just as Cristina doesn’t behave in the same manner with Owen as she did with Burke, we can’t really assume that Owen would have behaved in the same manner with Teddy or Beth in the way that he behaves with Cristina. People grow and mature — just as you said. And because of that, the way you “love” someone grows and matures. Do you kind of see what I’m trying to say?

      And as for your comments about Cristina and Ellis, I am also in total agreement. I think Cristina is “Ellis” rebooted — the lucid Kate Burton version that recognized that she could have had both family and career had she put in the effort. Cristina, I honestly believe, is putting in the effort and will continue to do so. That’s been a recurring theme or message for Cristina throughout these past two seasons with Dr. Campbell, Owen’s “we matter” speech and so on. And I also believe that Shonda truly isn’t going down the path of having these professional women having to choose between love or family and career. I have more faith in her than that. Because let’s face it, in comparison to the way the other couples have been treated, Cristina and Owen having avoided the majority of the typical Grey’s Anatomy shenanigans of infidelity and immaturity.

      (Loving this discussion by the way.)

  3. Hey Sherrie,
    If there was something that you had to do, it was this: to talk about Cristina and Owen in an episode where there wasn’t any Cristina and Owen. YAY!
    I believe that Cristina resembles with Ellis in some of the aspects, but Cristina is a better version of Ellis, trying not to make the same mistakes that Ellis did. But the most important thing is that Cristina has the right man beside her, one important thing that Ellis did not have. She was a strong woman, especially for times, and I think that not even Richard was strong enough for her. At least she had the courage to end a marriage which was no longer working. She risked a lot for Richard. And he did not have that courage. He stayed with Adele, partly for quilt, I believe, and partly because he really loved Adele. He loved Ellis more because they could understand each other very well and they could connet very well on some levels. The one thing I can blame Ellis for, is that she forgot how to be a mother for Meredith. She burried herself in work and she almost forgot that she had a child to raise.
    And Cristina is a better version of Ellis, because she wouldn’t assume the responsability of raising a child without doing it in the right way. If she is ever to become a mother, I am sure she would be a good one, because Cristina always tries to do things in the best way possible. Because that is who she is.
    I was thinking these days why do these 2 actors (Sandra Oh and Kevin McKidd) work so well on the screen. And I think that one of the reasons is that they are equallly talented. The 2 of them are way above the rest of the cast, in my opinion. Isaiah Washington was good, but not as good as Sandra Oh, and I believe that could be seen in their scenes together. And Kevin McKidd is the only actor from the cast who can “compete” with Sandra. That’s why they are so mgical together. At least this is one of the reasons. And I think this is way they get the best material. Because they are that good.
    Wohoooo I put all my thought on paper… oh, sorry more to say on a laptop screen, ok , I’m done.
    Great thoughts as always. And of course you are a better writer than I am. Btw I love your fanfiction.
    Loooking forward to your next review.

    • Hi Trinity! Haha, yes, it was definitely tough to do so, but I did make a promise to someone that I would write a review about Cristina and Owen. And I aim to keep my promises.

      I totally believe that Cristina is a better version of Ellis. She still has time to become the brilliant surgeon that Ellis was, and she’s already surpassed Ellis in respect to being a loving partner. As we saw, Ellis had a deleterious effect on both Thatcher and Richard. It couldn’t have been easy for Thatcher to essentially raise a child on his own while knowing that his wife is cheating on him with another man. And Ellis essentially was the catalyst for Richard’s eventual alcoholism.

      And I also totally believe that Cristina would excel as a mother if/when she becomes one. You’re right. Cristina works and works till she becomes the best — at anything. She’s competitive that way. Beyond that, she’s also been shown to be one of the most caring people. Which is a far cry from being a “robot” — I detest it when people simply relegate her to being some emotionless drone. Seriously, it’s a ridiculous thought considering all that we’ve seen from Cristina. I will admit that she doesn’t always respond to situations or events with a readily sensitive attitude, but that does not mean that she doesn’t have compassion or empathy. She has an abundance of both. And both are needed for being a good mother.

      Kevin McKidd and Sandra Oh do work so well together. Seeing them interact on screen through these characters was what drew me back to the show. I had been idly following since the beginning, but the true obsession and interest began when these two were paired up. It’s amazing. Both are amazing and critically acclaimed actors in their own right — and together, it’s just mind-blowing to watch. “Magical” is definitely the right word.

      Congratulations! I’m proud of you. Paper, laptop screen — same difference. 🙂 You got it down!

      And I wouldn’t say I’m the better writer. I just write more. Lol.

      Thanks again for commenting. I really appreciate you taking the time to do so after each of these reviews. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      (And I’m glad you like my fanfiction, too!)

      Here’s hoping, I have some good Cristina and Owen material to work with next episode. A little birdie (called promotional material) is telling me that the chances are looking good.

      Till next time,
      Sherrie

  4. I think If Owen felt anything for the predator Teddy, I think he would have left beth because he would not want her to feel second best as she was to the war. When he was thinking about rejoining the war in Iraq, Cristina shut him down which he decided not to because of Cristina. I don’t think he felt that strongly about the predator Teddy to turn himself inside out to be with her.

    As for Cristina the reboot of “Ells”, Cristina has the anti Burke relationship in which she knows who she is in the relationship. Burke wanted a doll in which he can shape anyway he want. I don’t think Burke respected Cristina as the surgeon as the way she should have been. He in the weird way was threaten by Cristina and decided to pick on her on very little things. About the Sex thing in the on-call room, he thought she should have served him even when she was tired. Sleeping on him was about his manhood more than about her needs to to sleep. Owen sees the bigger picture and Burke saw the small picture and saw Cristina as what she can do for him and that’s how Ellis saw Richard too. Burke saw Cristina as a “robot” that he can play with whereas Owen sees a woman he can love with his whole heart. I think Richard as an excuse for ELLIS not to live and I think the predactor Teddy is using Owen not to live her life and that why the viewer like me think she was better off “loving” him in silence. She would still have her fantasy and be there for him. Owen is all about Cristina and if the predactor Teddy thinks otherwise than Shonda needs to shift to LA SINCE every moves he makes when she is concerned is about his love for Cristina.

    As for Richard, I think his “mistress” needs Derek right now. Even if he was restored as the chief right now, the board would have stripped him of any power so why would he wants it anyway? Baby steps for Richard at this point really benefit him right so he needs to realize where he is make the best of it. Derek will fight for him to be chief again but until then he needs to rebuilt what he has left.

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