Ding dong. Is the wicked (and frustrating) “love” triangle dead? This episode really seemed to suggest that the tension between Teddy, Owen, and Cristina is finally over. Teddy has “[unrung] the bell” – so to speak. (And so we hope.)
As others have said, this episode was a transition of a sort: going from Teddy’s declaration that any more pining on her part was done. She was going to be Owen’s friend, and she was going to be Cristina’s mentor. The lines were drawn. Of course, as we see throughout the episode, Teddy has now become Cristina’s friend as well. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Wicked Witch of the East (aka the “love triangle”) is dead. The Lollipop Guild and League can come out to play. Here’s hoping the Wicked Witch of the West doesn’t turn up to wreak havoc – in whatever form that metaphor manifest itself into. But have no fear, Dorothy’s got a bucket of water handy. And by Dorothy, I mean us fans – because I just know that if writers go down a similar path again, there will be an onslaught of angry comments from the Cristina and Owen fans. (Can you tell I’m a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz?)
In the first scene with our beloved couple, Cristina and Owen are walking to work together. Even though it’s been established that Owen spends most – if not all – his nights at Cristina’s, it’s still lovely to get these reminders that these two are shacking up. Though, not officially, according to Shonda’s comment on their living arrangement in one of the podcasts earlier this year. However, it seems pretty clear to me that Owen has essentially moved in. (I’ll show why later.) I’m sure that if we took a look in Cristina’s bedroom and bathroom, we’d find his clothing and toiletries mixed in with hers. Call me a dork, but I get absolutely giddy just thinking about that.
As Cristina goes on about some procedure that she and Teddy performed together (something to do with the heart – that’s all I can tell you), you see that Owen’s amusement is bittersweet. And what’s even more significant is that even though Cristina’s obviously on a surgery high, she is in tune enough with Owen’s feelings that she can tell that something’s wrong. This shows much growth in Cristina’s emotional intelligence. As she said in “Holidaze,” she’s “insensitive” sometimes – but she’s “not oblivious.” And ever since Owen came onto the show, we’ve seen more and more of this side of Cristina – the sympathetic, caring, and emotive Cristina. (And once again, to hell with all those who claim that Cristina is a “robot.” Or at least to some unpleasant place where the fact that Cristina does have feelings is drummed into their brains.)
On Owen’s end, I love the fact that even though he gets a page (from Nosedive – or Dr. Percy, if you want to be formal – as we later find out), he doesn’t show any signs of rushing. Granted, he’s right next to the ambulance bay, so there’s really no need to rush. But his attention immediately returns back to his girlfriend instead of heading inside. I think he enjoys having a bit of a stroll with his girlfriend. It goes back to Cristina and Owen’s history and what they’ve been through. Because of all that, Owen seems to appreciate the smallest things with Cristina. And if I can backtrack a bit, it also speaks again to why Owen has made the choices he has: choosing to stay with Cristina even when presented with the chance to be with Teddy and refusing to be tossed aside even when Cristina has “traded” him off. The time Owen spent without Cristina and the thought of a life without her made such an impact on him that he continues to keep the promise he made to her in “Now or Never”: to be a better man for her and with her – the latter being the key part.
And as Owen continues to try to be the better man for and with Cristina, Cristina shows that she’s a better woman – or at least, more understanding and tolerant woman – than most by telling Owen that he doesn’t need to stop being friends with Teddy for her benefit. And I appreciate how Cristina points out that she never asked Owen to make a choice – she really didn’t. It was Owen being overprotective of his relationship with Cristina that caused him to feel the need to sever his platonic ties with Teddy. (Like I said earlier, he really doesn’t want to mess things up with Cristina. And sometimes, that causes him to go overboard.) Also, it didn’t help that Teddy’s behavior was putting pressure on Cristina and Owen to essentially make a choice. But now that she’s promised to stop doing that, we are led to believe that these three can all be hunky dory. Let’s hope that this sticks.
By Cristina giving Owen the go-ahead, it really shows that Cristina understands the importance of having that close friend. She can’t be that person for Teddy. She’s Meredith’s “person.” And on some level, Owen is Teddy’s “person” – or was. (SPOILER ALERT! And in “Suicide is Painless” – episode 18 – we are apparently going to see a bit of what their relationship was like while they were in Iraq together.) I know that idea may annoy some of you, but I truly think it’s true. Now, whether Teddy is – or ever was – Owen’s “person,” that remains to be seen. If we compare what we know about Teddy and Owen’s friendship in the past to Meredith and Cristina’s, the two cannot compare. As we have seen with the twisted sisters, they tell each other as it is – no sugarcoating, no BS. But neither Teddy nor Owen told each other how they truly felt about each other, and Teddy never told Owen about what she truly thought about Beth – until the bar scene in “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked.” And given the events that have happened between Teddy, Owen, and Cristina, I’m not sure if Owen can be Teddy’s “person” again. As for Owen, the only person we have seen him confide with on a personal level has been Cristina (and Dr. Wyatt, but she doesn’t count). Although he’s friends with Derek and Mark, he always has a screen of privacy in place. (Meanwhile, Mark gabs enough for both him and Owen combined. So, I guess there’s a balance.) If I had to pick, I would say that Cristina is the closest to being Owen’s “person,” with Derek in second place. But it’s hard to delineate between “person” and “soul mate” in the case of Cristina and Owen. Can one be both a “person” and a “soul mate”? Someone check the “person” rulebook. Regardless, by Owen’s own admission, Cristina is the only person who “sees” him since he was honorably discharged. And it’s thanks to Cristina, really, that there is so much of the “before” Owen that Teddy can recognize.
When Owen says, “Thank you,” I think it’s not really him thanking her for letting him be friends with Teddy. It’s not like Cristina can dictate who Owen hangs out with – he’s his own person, and he can make his own decisions. (And Owen decided to distance himself with Teddy.) Instead, I think he’s simply thanking her for being who she is – the person who understands him in a way that no one else can. And oh how sweet his “thank you” is. That kiss is just all kinds of cute. (Now, if someone still calls this face-eating, I will give them a serious talking-to.)
Aww. Right? Sometimes, it’s those little pecks that warm your heart. And in this case, sweetness if preferable to heat or passion. As many of you know, I’m a huge advocate for more domestic and longtime couple-like moments between Owen and Cristina. In other words, I’m all for these two acting like an old married couple. I think it’s adorable when they have those moments where you can sense the comfort and love with each other. Of course, the honeymoon and newlywed stage of a relationship (not necessarily marriage) is awesome and desirable in its own right. But whenever we get those sweet, gentler moments like these – simple touches or gestures of affection – I can’t help but sigh with pleasure. (And also point out that our couple was the only one who kissed in this episode.)
And I get a kick out of the fact that Owen lingers a little longer even though he’s the one that Nosedive is looking for. Cristina pulls back first, but you can still see Owen ready and willing to kiss his ladylove some more (and who can blame him for wanting to?). Yep, Cristina’s a bit of a distraction. (Damn Nosedive and motorcycling daredevil for interrupting.) Not only that, but Owen’s loosened up a lot in regards to keeping his personal and professional life separate. The first time Owen ever really made an overt gesture of affection towards Cristina publicly was in “Now or Never” when he gave her a peck on the bridge. And since then – and the establishment of them as a “real” couple in “Goodbye” – we have seen the two of them be more and more open to public displays of affection. Love it. Also find it absolutely hilarious because this is really the first time they’re interrupted by someone – and you can see Nosedive’s discomfort in seeing his attending kissing his peer as he stammers out that they have a trauma coming.
In the next scene, after the paramedic slips and knocks the gurney over, we see that Owen is wisely avoiding having to make an executive decision as to whether or not Cristina gets a case. He lets Nosedive and Cristina decide, and Cristina reluctantly concedes. Now that Teddy is here, she no longer is a “scalpel-hungry animal.” Thank goodness. Because when she was, it was tough to watch her fighting for surgeries she didn’t even care about. Now she can afford to give up a trauma case because she’s “friends” with Teddy, and she can ask for a cardio case.
So, I know that seeing Owen take care of a patient in his street clothes was tainted – for some – due to Teddy’s longing looks. But try your best to ignore that because it deserves to be fully appreciated. Why do we get so excited over it? Probably because we see these characters in scrubs for so much of the time that it’s always a thrill when they’re not wearing lab coats or blue scrubs. (And it’s just hot.) Unfortunately, it’s quickly covered up with a trauma gown, but we get back to the T-shirt a few minutes later.
On a side note, I’m glad that Arizona is taking Teddy under her wing as a new friend. As the bubbly blonde says, Teddy needs “friends that aren’t Owen.” From a purely selfish standpoint, Teddy interacting with other characters and forging new friendships will keep her away from Owen and move on. And that seriously needs to happen. Stat.
Another thing that needs to happen is for Cristina to have more fun and comedic scenes like the ones she has in this episode. From her first meeting with Harper Avery – unbeknownst to her, thus the lack of brown-nosing – to her final meeting with Harper Avery – and the snap of a picture with her phone. This side of Cristina has been few and far between during this season. And yes, Sandra Oh is partly to blame because she’s so good at those dramatic and intense scenes. But she’s also brilliant in these humorous and silly scenes.
Poor Cristina. She’s meeting one of her heroes (“god”) for the first time, and not only has she misdiagnosed him, she badmouthed his grandson right in front of him. And once she realizes who he is, she can’t even say her name. Poor Cristina.
You just know that had Cristina realized that Jackson was Harper Avery’s grandson earlier on, she would not have been so mean to him. And she definitely would not have told him that it was “never gonna happen” after they kissed. I’m not saying that she would have done more, but she would have at least strung Jackson along for the chance of getting to sit at the Avery dinner table. And she would have at least let him down a lot gentler. Remember, this is the woman that was “whoring herself out for surgeries” – even so far as to hit up (and hit on) Dr. Nelson (Shadow Shephard).
And now we come to one my favorite scenes in this episode: Meredith and Cristina showing just why they’re each others’ “persons.” They definitely have some ESP thing going on (how hilarious were those hand gestures?), with the soon-to-be classic lines: “[Alex is] like Meredith three years ago” and “Your heart’s, like, in your vagina.” I also like that as Cristina laughs at the fact that Derek caught Lexie in Alex’s bed naked, she loops her arm through Meredith’s for a moment. On the one hand, this seems more like a Sandra Oh move – whom we know to be animated and affectionate in the few interviews we’ve seen of her – but on the other hand, it could show that these two women have departed from their previously dark and twisty selves. Granted, they’re still twisty (just listen to the way Meredith comforts Cristina: she tells her that Harper Avery could die that day – not exactly the normal way people would comfort a friend in this situation); but since they’ve settled into a their respective, committed relationships, they’ve gotten less dark. Or at the least, found men that understood them so that it seems like they’re less dark.
That little gesture reminds me of “Now or Never” when Meredith tells Cristina that she loves her and Cristina hugs Meredith. Some would call that “out of character,” but I call it growth. They don’t hug, but they hug each other. I’m not saying that they’re suddenly going to be as bouncy or affectionate as Izzie and Arizona would, but they’re not so anti-touching anymore. I like that. (I also like Cristina’s hair in this scene. Sorry, random.)
What I find funny is that even though she reveres Jackson’s grandfather, she still has no respect for Jackson. She calls him an “entitled brat,” which is not exactly fair since he never publicized the relationship to gain any favoritism since coming to Seattle Grace. In fact, he’s vehemently kept the family ties hidden. It’s ironic that Cristina’s best friend is an “entitled brat” – by her definition – but Meredith is a brilliant surgeon in her own right. Something that Jackson can’t say. Thus far, the only real bit of brilliance in regards to surgical prowess was in “Give Peace a Chance” when he came the closest to hitting Washington’s nose with the pen. Not exactly what one would expect from the Avery clan, which is full of doctors, as Jackson revealed in “Valentine’s Day Massacre.” (But hey, at least he’s pretty.)
Another part of that scene that I enjoyed was how the two people that Meredith cares most about in the world brush her off by calling her “Ellis Grey’s daughter.” We know it’s not in malice, but it’s very true. Meredith has an instant advantage by being Ellis Grey’s daughter while people like Derek and Cristina only had the work they put in. Of course, being legacy goes both ways since it puts more pressure on Meredith to be held in constant comparison with her mother (and for Jackson as well, but with his grandfather). But as Jackson mentions later, the name helps.
Back Cristina goes to her “motorcycle daredevil guy” and to save the day – or at least, give Nosedive a helping hand. Though it’s a small scene, it’s still nice that Cristina gets recognition for her skills. And later, we hear Cristina (and Owen) giving out orders as she’s getting spurted with blood. (And look! Owen’s wearing just a T-shirt again! Too bad it’s got blood on it now.) Love that he calls her “Cristina.” Goodbye to the days of her simply being “Dr. Yang.” It’s been a subtle shift from the earlier days in season 5 when he would only address her as “Yang” or “Dr. Yang” – even though he clearly had feelings for her – to calling her “Cristina” in the workplace more and more frequently.
With motorcycle daredevil guy taken care of (i.e. no longer of interest to Cristina), she moves onto Teddy’s potential ex vivo lung case. This scene with Teddy and Cristina is the first glimpse into the supposed “friendship” that these two have made within the time that elapsed since “Valentine’s Day Massacre.” It’s their first scene since, and the writers appear to really be pushing this idea. Notice how Cristina is not really acting subservient towards Teddy. She’s asking to be a part of Teddy’s service without qualms – even making a crack at the motorcycle accident victim in the midst of it – and even admits to needing something to cheer her up since her humiliation with Harper Avery.
I do think the background music during this scene is a bit off. It’s very dramatic and tension-ridden, while the scene itself suggests the opposite. Lexie is insisting she doesn’t have feelings for Alex, Cristina is telling her that she doesn’t care, and Teddy is being amused by Cristina’s desire to impress Harper Avery to get an award. (I have to interject here that in Teddy’s defense, she’s giving the spiel about how such a surgery has never been done before as a way to inform the viewers. I don’t know about you, but if they just said ex vivo lung transplant, I would not be able to grasp exactly what that entailed. And plus, there was a shout out to Canada! I’m sure that made Sandra happy.)
And lo and behold, Cristina gets the chance to do a hardcore surgery while Harper Avery is in the hospital when Percy (now “Bigfoot”) shows up to the gallery and tells her that he’s an organ donor. I was a bit surprised to see Cristina page Lexie, given that she used to boss Lexie around when she was Cristina’s intern. But I feel that since the diaper incident, these two have struck up a sort of bond. Plus, they both share the role of “sister” (one by blood and one in spirit) to Meredith, so it’s not too much of a stretch that these two have some sort of friendly relationship. In addition, Lexie is Lexapedia after all – if anyone was to know something about doing such a procedure, it would be her.
For those of us who are spoiler whores (myself included), we saw this clip of Teddy and Owen prior to the episode. And I know that a few of the fans were worried as to something still lingering between the two of them. I highly disagree. Owen is trying to be friends with Teddy again, but he makes it very clear that it’s strictly platonic. As he invites Teddy over for dinner sometime, he makes it a point to mention Cristina. And we, as the viewers, are meant to infer that he’s inviting Teddy over to his and Cristina’s place for dinner. As in, the three of them – as friends.
It’s this action that makes me think that Owen has essentially moved in and legitimately considers Cristina’s place home. You don’t invite someone else over to your girlfriend’s place if it’s not your place as well. Otherwise, it’s a bit presumptive to think that it’s okay. (Of course, we know that Cristina would have no problems with it, but still, there are serious implications that Owen has moved in.) I’m not sure if it’s “official” yet, but we know that Owen has a key (otherwise, how can he get inside and wait for her) and that he stays over (almost) every night. Whether or not we’ll get some sort of statement to the effect that he’s officially moved in (as we had with Burke and Cristina when he “keyed” her and asked her to give up her own apartment), that’s to be seen. Although I would love to see such a scene where it’s known that Owen has given up his own apartment, I don’t think it’s necessarily at this point. It’s been made pretty clear that Owen’s “home” is at Cristina’s.
The first Teddy and Owen scene is all sorts of awkward. The look Owen has reminds me a bit of when Cristina and Owen are standing at the nurses’ station in awkward silence in “Sympathy for the Devil” and Cristina asks him what his best surgery was. Neither of them know what to say to each other in both cases, and in this scene, Owen is saved from having to maintain a conversation by a pager. (Probably one of the only times I’m glad a pager went off during one of Cristina and/or Owen’s scenes. Usually, their pagers are interrupting something much hotter – and that is unacceptable. Let them have their fun – and wumpity wump.)
Teddy finds out what Cristina’s been doing behind her back (and using her name to do it), and all hell breaks loose. The mere fact that Teddy and Cristina are arguing shows that they are no longer just teacher and student. We know from past experience that Cristina keeps pretty docile with the teachers she respects. But she’s not backing down from Teddy, and she’s trying to persuade Teddy to do the surgery. If Cristina could, she’d probably try to do it on her own, but even she recognizes that she needs Teddy – and her experience – for this surgery to succeed. It’s why Cristina switches from “we can” to “you can.” Because really, the brunt of the burden is on Teddy. If something goes wrong, it will be Teddy’s fault. It’s just like when Izzie pushed Owen to operate on the patient in “Tainted Obligation.” Even though Izzie was the one who convinced Owen to perform the procedure, it was Owen who took responsibility when the patient died.
Both Teddy and Cristina make legitimate points. One shouldn’t be obsessed with getting awards and prizes (that’s the same lesson that Owen has been trying to teach Cristina since “Rise Up”), but one should also not be afraid to pioneer new techniques that can potentially save future lives. Basically, be ambitious but don’t let it be all about ambition. (Another noteworthy, but more humorous, part of this scene was Lexie calling what Cristina did “green.” Who knew organs count as recyclables?)
I think it was important for the writers to point out that these lungs were going to be rejected by the transplant team and sent to medical waste. So, Cristina was not “stealing” the lungs from another patient. She was preventing it from going to waste. And even though her motives were for ambitious reasons, she is really hoping for the patient to survive. She believes in Teddy’s capabilities, even if Teddy doesn’t. And had the surgery not gone according to plan, it’s not like Cristina could have easily brushed it aside. She does have a pulse. It’s interesting that Cristina has more faith in Teddy than Teddy has in herself. First of all, it’s a far cry from when Cristina wanted Owen to “return her gift” because she didn’t think much of this woman who wasn’t even on Google. Second, it really speaks to how insecure Teddy has been made to feel since coming to Seattle Grace only to find that the man she loved was in love with someone else, and that this dream that she had of the two of them finally getting together was never going to happen. It’s a bit ironic how the person who essentially put her into that position is the one that is being so supportive of her. But that’s Grey’s Anatomy for you – complicated relationships and drama.
In the OR, Teddy starts off still peeved that she’s been forced to do this procedure. But it transitions into Cristina and Teddy working together and bouncing ideas off each other. Cristina is brilliant in her own right, but it’s important to note that Teddy still has the upper hand when it comes to cardio surgery. That’s why Teddy is Cristina’s teacher – and not the other way around. Cristina still has a lot to learn, and Teddy is just the one to teach it to her now that the whole triangle business has hopefully passed. On Teddy’s part, she’s no longer being vindictive and kicking Cristina off her case simply because Cristina’s done something to upset her. Cristina is not only there in the OR with her, but it’s Cristina who Teddy turns to for assistance.
In the second Teddy and Owen scene, the awkwardness has subsided a bit – and the fact that Teddy has begun to move on is a huge part of the reason why. In some off camera scene, Cristina has already given Owen the rundown of what happened and possibly already told that she was going out with the ladies. I like that Teddy counters Owen’s recount of Cristina’s compliment with one of her own: “No, Cristina was amazing.” There’s a pause, and I think that this is the beginning of Kim Raver’s reference of Teddy being “supportive” of Cristina and Owen’s relationship. In my opinion, Teddy has begun to realize that Cristina is not just an amazing surgeon, but she’s an amazing woman as well. And why Owen fell in love with Cristina is becoming clearer and clearer to Teddy, helping in Teddy’s promise to move on. And Teddy does move on. She opts for ladies’ night instead of a beer with Owen. And the look on Owen’s face is not one of longing – as some might claim – but of a sort of wonder. It’s as though he can’t believe that he and Teddy actually have a chance of being friends again since she blurted out her feelings. He can’t quite believe that the storm has blown over and that things are now fine between the three of them. (And on some level, we’re in the same position – except probably with more apprehension. But I say, fear not. I think it’s over.)
In the voice-over, Meredith talks about how “we never know how our day’s going to end up.” At the beginning of the day, Owen and Teddy weren’t friends. And at the end, they’re on their way to being friends again. Not only that, but Teddy is making new friends and really making a place for herself in Seattle Grace that’s not tied to Owen. It’s as Pete Norwalk says in the writer’s blog (posted below), Teddy came here for Owen but is staying for Cristina and the other people she’s met.
While the women have a girls’ night out, the men play basketball in the Chief’s office. This bromance is awesome. It’s a huge departure from Owen in season 5, who rarely interacted with the other characters outside of Cristina. Like Teddy, he’s found new friends in Seattle Grace. What started out as a place to forget what had happened turned out to be his new home. And instead of closing himself off from the world, he’s gone and fallen in love as well as forged new bonds of camaraderie. One of which is with a man who’s reverted to his manwhore ways (just look at Owen’s face when Mark reveals that he slept with the patient’s daughter). But it’s slim pickings at Seattle Grace when it comes to male friends. And he no longer is hesitant to talk about Teddy in a conversational way because it’s not a “betrayal” to Cristina. She made it clear that she wants him to be friends with Teddy again. There is no doubt, there is no possibility of it being misconstrued as romantic. Things are on the up and up.
For all the main female characters – except Lexie, the day ends with a girls’ night out. (Didn’t expect Bailey there, let alone Cristina or Meredith.) Instead of dancing or any other typically female activities, we get baseball. I love it. Obviously, it was either Meredith or Cristina to suggest it since they were the only ones that had gone there before in “I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watchin’ Me.” Sure, the scene is fun and silly, but it also served to drill into the viewers’ brains that Teddy and Cristina are friends now. Cristina tells Meredith that she’s “in love with Teddy,” but I don’t think it should be cause for any distress on our parts. She goes on to say, “My heart lives in my scalpel.” And that’s no surprise. That’s who Cristina is. That’s basically who all these surgical residents are. It’s just that Cristina is more open about it. It doesn’t mean that she loves Owen any less; it just means she’s very career-oriented. And remember, in the end, she chose Owen over Teddy because she doesn’t really love Teddy. She loves what Teddy represents – a cardio mentor. And she’s been in dire need of one for a long time now. No wonder she’s “in love.” And as Owen made Cristina feel better on the baseball field, Cristina does the same for Teddy in this scene: putting on her helmet, handing her the bat, and sharing the thrill of having bat meet ball. Thank you, writers, we get the message: Teddy and Cristina are friends.
In the writers’ blog, Pete Norwalk wrote:
So. Teddy. Poor girl came to Seattle for one reason. Owen. Even if she didn’t admit this to herself. But then she got here and reality set in. Owen didn’t invite Teddy here because he loved her. He brought her here because he loved Cristina. That’s gotta suck… And slowly, with time and hard work, she’s seeing that there’s more to Seattle than just Owen. There’s a great job. Good people (like new BFF Arizona). And there’s this amazing student – Cristina. What I love about these two is that they’re like an old couple. They fight, make up, fight, make up…and it makes them both better doctors. Cristina’s a maniac when it comes to surgery, stealing lungs and taking crazy risks in order to do something that will go down in the record books. Teddy’s brilliant, but more careful and experienced. Together they’re a force to be reckoned with. In this way, coming to Seattle for Owen and getting Cristina instead is Teddy’s happy accident.
I find that comforting. It really implies that Teddy is moving forward. Although, in the perfect world, this would have happened ages ago, but I’m just thankful that Teddy’s finally coming to grips with reality. (Let’s hope that the next few episodes don’t make me eat my words.)
Last note: There was the interesting theme of “monsters” throughout this episode: Arizona talking about the “green-eyed monster”; Lexie calling Meredith and Cristina “monsters” – though they’re too busy ignoring her to hear it; and Teddy saying that being too obsessed with prizes and awards makes people into “monsters.” I would discuss it here, but it’s not really about Cristina and Owen. And plus, this post is already getting far too long. So, feel free to discuss it below!