Oh. My. God. Before I jump into this episode review, can I just say that this episode blew my mind? Not only were the Cristina and Owen scenes epic, but the whole two hours had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I think I’m still having heart palpitations over this episode, and it’s been a couple days.
I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with the reviews. It was a combination of real life getting in the way and not much (positive) Cristina and Owen scenes for me to make into a full blog post. But I will start with the season finale and work my way back because this season finale is totally worth a blog post. An epically long blog post because I’m going to end with my wish list for season seven, and I’m a greedy little coconut who wants a lot for our favorite couple. Also, I’m going to take a look back on this season as a whole and try to see if I can reason out why certain choices were made (like that cursed triangle).
Note: Okay, so I got to writing the episode analysis, and it’s already getting way too long. I’m going to put my season seven wishlist and overall look on the season as a whole in a separate blog post as to not overwhelm the system – and all you readers.
Let’s start off with a bang. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Cristina broke up with Owen in this episode. And you know, I can’t really blame her. In fact, in these past couple episodes, I’d began to almost hope that Cristina would break things off with Owen because it seemed like the kick in the butt that Owen needed to get his act together. If you recall, it was Cristina breaking things off with Owen last season that finally got Owen to seek help for his PTSD. And even if there had not been a shooter loose in the hospital, there is no doubt in my mind that Owen would have eventually gotten his act together and realized that there has never been a choice between Cristina and Teddy because it’s always been Cristina.
In the beginning of this episode, Owen didn’t deserve to keep Cristina. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Owen. You all know that. But by refusing to choose between Cristina and Teddy, he is making Cristina cry into her cereal. It is not a good day when Cristina Yang is crying into her cereal. That first scene of Cristina and Callie sitting there sniffling away as they eat their breakfast was admittedly funny but also sad. We can safely assume that Cristina and Owen haven’t talked, and Owen’s been sleeping at his place. The Breakfast Club is no more.
If there is anyone among the Seattle Grace staff that deserves some happiness in love, it’s Cristina (and Alex, poor guy, but this blog is unfortunately not about Alex). She got left at the altar, leaving her with shattered pieces of her identity that didn’t start to be put back together till the beginning of season five. So, yes, I was upset with Owen for making Cristina have doubts and making her cry into her cereal.
Cristina has come a long way from the person she was in the series premiere. As Shonda comments in the podcast, this was the woman who was labeled as a “robot” and asked Chief Webber, in the prom episode, how to remain cold and uninvolved. I think it’s safe to say that Cristina Yang can definitely no longer be called these things. Insensitive at times? Sure. But never cold, never a robot. Even in the first hour, we see how involved she is. Though she puts up a good front to Meredith when asked about the “Teddy and Owen” situation, we can tell that she’s not “over it” as she says. She’s hurting, she’s suffering, but she doesn’t want to detract from Meredith’s good news – and it is good news.
The first scene with Meredith and Cristina shows just how far both these twisted sisters have come. “Are we happy about this… or exercising our legal right to choose?” Before, I don’t think there would have been a question. They were both adamant about not wanting children, not wanting to get married. But they changed, they found love. Meredith actually wants a baby, and Cristina is genuinely happy for her. (“I hope it has his hair.” Hilarious.) She’s not pretending for Meredith’s sake, she’s ecstatic that her friend is going to be a mother. “This is very adult,” Cristina tells her. Yes, they are both very adult. And they’re even hugging it out. Yes, these two self-professed non-huggers hugged it out willingly. But it doesn’t mean that they’re any less hardcore than they were before. (As they later prove in the second hour.) They’ve become softer, more open, and that, to me, suggests maturity. They have learned that life is not all one’s career but also about the relationships and people around him. Like Cristina said in the previous episode, “I need there to be a ‘me and Owen.’” That’s not a sign of weakness but a sign of self-awareness that they didn’t have before. Both Meredith and Cristina learn a lot about themselves in this episode. Meredith tells April about how it took her a long time to realize that she wanted Derek, that she loved him, wanted to marry him and have his children. And along a similar path, Cristina has come to realize that she loves Owen and wants to have a future with him – though at this juncture, we have not had that future defined. (Though, at this point in the episode, it is Owen who has to come to realization that his choice is Cristina – something I found unnecessary, but I’ll speak more of this later.)
Based off the conversation that Teddy and Owen have in their first scene together, Owen has yet to talk to Cristina since the last episode. I’m guessing she’s been avoiding him (she did go to Meredith’s house after all) and that Owen has been giving her space. So, it goes to reason that when Cristina and Owen share their first scene together, she’s not all that happy with him, snapping at him when he gently chastises her about wanting in on the surgery. Did you see the look on Owen’s face when Cristina snaps back with, “I’m talking to Dr. Altman”? Yeah, Owen’s in the doghouse and everyone sees it. I have to admit, I let out a chuckle and a bit of a “go girl!” Sorry, Owen, but despite your good intentions, you have been messing up this season when it comes to Cristina.
Something to note: before Cristina comes into the exam room, Owen and Teddy are disagreeing with the fact that Owen let the victim’s wife take time to say goodbye. (Also, I’m so betting that Pete, the victim, was Gary Clark’s first shooting victim.) Owen says, “There was time. It might be the last time she sees the man she loves. There was time.” Total foreshadowing. And then cue Cristina’s entrance.
And then, Owen, Teddy, and Jackson run off with the patient with Cristina looking on. And Owen looks back with this sad look in his eyes. Things are not going well for our couple. Especially since the next time they’re in the same room together, she continues to give him the cold shoulder. When Cristina comes into the OR to update Teddy on one of her post-op patients, I love that Owen turns around at the sound of Cristina’s voice. As much as Cristina’s having a hard time, so is Owen. Regardless of how badly I think Owen is messing up with this whole Teddy business (a plot device I totally lay at the blame of the writers’ feet), one thing has always been true: Owen would never want to hurt Cristina intentionally. This is why he wanted to get rid of Teddy so that he didn’t have to deal with the possibility of him having feelings for Teddy (I refuse to call it “love”). And it’s why Owen tries to make it up to Cristina by giving her the opportunity to scrub in. He knows Cristina. The way to Cristina’s heart is with a scalpel. But she refuses, and now Owen knows just how upset Cristina is with him. Cristina Yang denied the chance to scrub in on a surgery. If we weren’t sure of it before, we are sure of it now: Owen is totally on Cristina’s shit list. And Owen knows it, so he chases after her.
“Cristina.” I love the way Owen says it, and the way that Kevin McKidd can put so many emotions behind it. He loves her, even if he stupidly doesn’t answer her question, he loves her. However, in order to make Owen’s choice all the more dramatic, Shonda chooses to not have Owen say anything. (But more on what I believe the purpose of this triangle was later.) Cristina is right. She gave Owen an out (in “Holidaze”), but he continued to pursue her. “I’m with you because I want to. I’m with you because I love you.” Well, that’s still true, except of late, Owen has been confused as to whether he also wants Teddy. (That cursed triangle.) And that is not fair to Cristina. Like I said, Cristina deserves some happiness in love, and she deserves a man who knows for certain who he wants – and it better be Cristina. She deserves to be secure in knowing that the person she is in love with loves her just as much. And Owen, in this scene, is not giving her that security, leading Cristina to throw in the towel and break up with him. “I’m done. We’re done.” She decides for him, making a choice that Owen didn’t see coming judging from the shock on his face when she says it. She takes herself out of the running, giving him an out once again. But as we all know, Cristina and Owen are not done. They can never really be done. Why? Because they’re soul mates, as Kevin McKidd says so often in his interviews – and I adamantly agree with him. (Plus, if the actor who plays Owen thinks it’s so, he’s going to play it as such.)
First of all, it’s ridiculous that Owen doesn’t answer. There’s no real excuse for it except for the fact that Shonda wanted to keep the suspense till later when Owen dramatically chooses Cristina. (Once again, he chose Cristina a long time ago.) It reminds me a bit of that candy bar commercial (Twix, I believe) with the “Need a moment?” campaign. Just say something. Don’t pause for so long, especially when question being asked is as important as the one Cristina asked. This is not a “Do you think I’m fat?” type of question. This is “Do you love her or do you love me?” Say something. Anything. (Though, preferably something to the effect of “Yes, I do love you.”) This is one time where Owen desperately needed to use his words instead of his tortured looks. I mean, they’re hot and all, but seriously. Wolf puppy eyes won’t cut it. You need to say the words. I think any woman in Cristina’s shoes would have dumped Owen at this point. So, lesson of the day: when a woman asks if you love her, say yes – especially if it’s true. Don’t just stand there like a mute idiot because you are confused about your feelings for another woman. Get the important information out first: yes, I do love you. It’s not that hard.
I think that this is the moment of immense frustration for most Cristina and Owen fans – excepting the triangle in general. It goes back to the idea that Owen’s character has been taking a hit in order to make Teddy more likeable. It’s unfortunate that the writers had to take it down this path, but it happened. We have to deal with it. And in this moment, Owen took a major hit when he didn’t respond. There is no satisfying excuse I can give to explain it away. All I can say is that a mistake was made, but mistakes are how you learn. Let’s hope Shonda and the writers have learned from this season’s mistakes. Because let’s not forget, they did pretty stellar work with Cristina and Owen last season, so we know they’re very much capable of doing it.
(Note: When Cristina first starts talking, Owen does begin to say something but stops. I have no idea what he was saying – another time when enunciation would be nice. At first, I thought he said, “Did I say…” And that have very well been his line, but I wouldn’t know how to complete it. Oh, the mystery.)
Meanwhile, Cristina gets into the elevator with the gunman. I’m a total spoiler whore, so I knew that she wouldn’t be shot (since the press release talked about Cristina coming into her own as a surgeon in the second hour, and you can’t very well do that if you’re injured or dead). But I was holding my breath. You can see how sad Cristina is as she’s reflecting on the end of her relationship with Owen. And thankfully, Cristina is helpful – not making the mistake that Reed did – by giving Gary Clark specific directions as to how to get to the Chief’s office. “Have a nice day,” he says when he leaves. “You, too,” Cristina responds, none the wiser. Well, he’s not going to be so nice later on when he’s pointing a gun to her head and yelling at her to stop fixing Derek. But even if none of us had read the spoilers about Cristina in the second hour, it would have been utterly cruel of Shonda to have made the last time Cristina and Owen saw each other alive be their break up. Can you just imagine Owen’s guilt and devastation if Cristina had not made it out of that elevator unscathed? Especially since he’d been the one to advocate for loved ones getting a chance to say goodbye. Well, you can bet that their break up is not Owen’s ideal way of saying goodbye to someone he loves. Or Cristina’s. And thankfully, that wasn’t the last time Owen and Cristina saw each other.
The next time we see Owen is when Derek comes in to tell Jackson that there’s a shooter in the hospital and to keep Owen and Teddy in the dark till the patient is stable. When Jackson gets back to the patient and his hands are shaking, Owen remarks, “Shaky hands, Dr. Avery? Won’t make it as a surgeon if you can’t keep your hands steady.” I think this is the foreshadowing for when Jackson does “keep his hands steady” – pulling the leads to trick Clark into thinking Derek is dead. Calmest guy in the room, he was. And Jackson saved Owen’s life by “keeping his hands steady” (more on that later).
In the next scene, Cristina is sitting on a gurney munching away and looking at charts as Meredith walks in. They crack jokes about the lockdown (and actually nail it right on the head with the “axe murderer” comment), obviously oblivious to the severity of the situation. In the podcast, Shonda and Betsy talk about how Meredith and Cristina remain blissfully unaware the longest out of all the main characters (well, except Teddy, Bailey, Callie, Arizona, and Owen – but they’re not exactly blissful). Meredith and Cristina’s scenes represent the “old” Grey’s Anatomy, with the talk about their relationships: break ups and not wanting to share good news because their man is “in a mood.” That happens almost on a day-to-day basis on this show. And another signature of Grey’s are the quips like “bitch baby tears” or “you found out in the ladies’ room, squatting over a stick.” Then, Meredith changes her mind and wants to tell Derek right now about her pregnancy, and Cristina wants to tag along. And Meredith lets her because she sees that Cristina needs something to cheer her up from the fact that she just broke up with Owen. Meredith understands that Cristina isn’t ready to talk about it yet, so for now, it’s Derek’s “bitch baby tears.” Whatever works for them, I guess.
Cristina still isn’t ready to talk about Owen yet. The pain of the recent break-up is still too fresh, so Meredith tries to cheer her up with the fact that Cristina is about to be a godmother. I know that some people didn’t like the idea of Meredith having a room in the dream house especially for Cristina, but I think it was meant to represent the fact that Cristina would always be a part of Meredith’s life. And in the same way, Cristina will share in this aspect of Meredith’s life – a godmother to Meredith’s role as a mother. Although she’s kidding when she says, “I have to admit. I kinda hope you and Derek die – just a little bit. So I can raise this kid with decent priorities,” the sentiment is still there that Cristina would raise Meredith and Derek’s child if anything happened to them. I believe that an earlier, less developed version of Cristina would have balked at this idea. Cristina Yang with a child? The idea was once preposterous. But now? Not so much. Cristina was great with the daughter from “How Insensitive,” and we can assume that Owen wants kids. I don’t think the idea of children for Cristina and Owen is off the table, especially with this episode being a game-changer for all our characters. And Shonda did say in her interview with Ausiello of EW that Meredith really wants a baby now that she has lost one.
Meredith and Cristina finally realize what is going on as Derek hides them in a supply closet to keep them safe from the shooter. And yet, they still don’t understand the gravity of the situation. Cristina talks about wanting out of the closet because Meredith is about to puke. That’s more of a concern to her at this point rather than someone running around with a gun. Sure, there’s a shooter, but they don’t realize that they are the targets – the surgeons. Or even more, that Derek is the target – until Cristina recognizes the man with the gun as the man she’d met earlier in the elevator. Meredith vomits, and then they’re out of the closet looking to warn Derek. (I’m guessing it is Meredith’s idea and Cristina refusing to let her go alone.) They helplessly watch from across the hospital as they witness Clark point a gun at Derek on the catwalk. And when Derek gets shot (because April stupidly runs out at that moment), Cristina drags Meredith back because the last thing she wants is drawing attention to them and having Meredith get shot in the process.
And in between Derek putting Meredith and Cristina into a supply closet and Derek getting shot, Owen and Teddy are finally clued into the fact that there’s a shooter on the loose by Jackson. Owen wants to take the patient by himself, but Teddy insists on going with him because she’s a cardiothoracic surgeon and he doesn’t “get a vote this time.” Although, from a writer’s standpoint, I should point out that this was a way to get these two full-fledged surgeons out of the hospital, leaving Cristina the only logical choice to perform Derek’s surgery in the second hour.
Shonda often says that the greatest love story of this show is Meredith and Cristina’s friendship. And that was proven true in this season finale. In the first half, we see it in light of normal times – the understanding and camaraderie: Meredith telling Cristina first that she’s pregnant, Cristina telling Meredith that she just broke up with Owen, and both of them talking about raising Meredith’s child. But it is in the second half of the season finale where we see just how deep this friendship goes. And just how deep the connection is between the couple with the greatest romantic love story, in my opinion – Cristina and Owen. (I mean, that’s why we fell in love with them in the first place, right?)
For me, the second hour is about redemption and heroism. Specifically for the Cristina and Owen fans, the characters that have been in need of redemption are Owen, Teddy, and Meredith – all to different degrees. Owen, for being wishy-washy about his feelings for Cristina and Teddy; Teddy, for her role in the cursed triangle; and Meredith, for planting seeds of doubt in Cristina’s head about Owen. (Personally, I didn’t have too much a problem with Meredith’s behavior recently, but I know that she hasn’t won any favors with some of you in the past few episodes.) And by creating this situation, Shonda gave these three characters the chance to redeem themselves. Whether she was successful for all three is to be determined (I don’t know if Teddy can ever be redeemed for some fans), but I think there is no doubt that Owen and Meredith’s actions in the second hour put them back in the good graces of almost all the Cristina and Owen fans (and maybe even some non-Cristina and Owen fans, Owen especially).
So hour two begins with Derek being shot and April running free. (I know this is bad of me, but I seriously was hoping she’d get shot – or at least slapped in the face – because of her bad timing.) Cristina tries to keep Meredith from going to her husband, but Cristina should know better than to try and keep a woman from the man she loves. (Just as Nurse Tyler couldn’t keep Pete’s wife out in the first hour.) If the roles had been switched, where Owen was the one bleeding on the catwalk and Meredith trying to keep Cristina in, the results would have been the same. As much as there is a “Meredith and Derek,” there is a “Cristina and Owen.” There is no question about it, especially after this episode.
And speaking of Owen, he’s walking the patient with Teddy down the halls to the ICU. Both of them are still not completely aware of just how serious the situation is. And Teddy, for some reason, thinks it’s the perfect time to tell Owen to choose. Which is odd, since in “Sympathy for the Parents,” Teddy had advised Cristina that one shouldn’t tell Owen what to do because he won’t respond well to that. And of course, Owen doesn’t respond well to having to choose and decides that he chooses “no one.” Obviously, that’s not his real choice, he’s just irritated at Teddy. But I do find it interesting that when Cristina essentially asks Owen to choose outside of the OR, he is tortured, conflicted, and sad. When Teddy asks him, he gets snippy and takes himself out of the equation. Granted, once could say that we got different results because of the timing. But I also think that he doesn’t get irritated at Cristina because he knows that his indecision is hurting her, but he can’t give her a honest answer in that moment. When Cristina asked, his best answer was still, “I don’t know” in regards to his feelings about Teddy – and he knew that this was not enough for Cristina. Also, it also doesn’t help that when Teddy is telling him to choose, picking Cristina is not much of a choice because she had just told him that they were done. The woman he knows he loves just ended things with him. And now, the woman he is confused about is telling him that she thinks he loves him. No wonder Owen says he picks no one. Owen has shown how much he dislikes messy relationships like these in other people, it only goes to reason that he hates being a part of one.
Owen stops talking mid-sentence when they come upon their first gunshot victim – a hospital staff member. It’s no longer safe to stay in the hospital with their patient who’s in need of immediate attention. It wouldn’t bode well for their hypothermic patient if both of his doctors are shot. So, outside to safety is the only option. And lucky for them, the gunman is elsewhere (heading towards Lexie).
As Meredith is yelling at her husband to stay awake, telling him, “I can’t live without you. If you die, I die,” Cristina is freaking out. This is someone she knows lying on the ground in a puddle of his own blood. But she can’t freak out because Meredith is freaking out. Someone needs to take charge, and that someone is Cristina. So, she goes off to find a wheelchair to move Derek to the OR, finding (the somewhat annoying) April while she’s at it.
I really liked the scene between Cristina, Jackson, and April. Well, at least the Jackson and Cristina part of that scene. I really think that Jackson and Cristina are going to be friends next season. I mean, this is definitely a bonding experience, don’t you think? And he keeps a cool head during the whole situation. He looks only at Cristina as he reveals that there is no one on this floor that is qualified to do this surgery – except for Cristina. And her qualifications are questionable. As she says later, she’s very good – for a resident. Cristina, who has always flaunted her surgical skills, knows that they are limited. And the stakes are so high with this surgery. It’s her best friend’s husband. It’s McDreamy.
Now, I know that Jackson and Cristina’s interactions in this episode definitely riled up some Jackson and Cristina shippers, what with his concern for her when he saw the blood and the utmost faith he has in her skills. However, I don’t think Jackson and Cristina as a couple have a chance. Just as Teddy never really had a chance. Okay, she had a tiny, subatomic size sliver of a chance with the way Owen was being written in the last five episodes or so. But what little chance that was does not compare to how little chance Jackson has. Why? Because Jackson has no real claim on Cristina. Teddy and Owen shared a past, and he had feelings for her. Cristina has never had feelings for Jackson, and she has consistently treated him as either a means to get to Harper Avery, an annoying fan boy who had a silly little (professional) crush on her, or her main competition for surgeries. Not exactly much romance going on between these two, except that one drunken kiss. And Cristina shut him down over and over again after that. Sorry, Jackson – and subsequently, the Jackson and Cristina shippers, you are only going to get your heart broken. But honestly, if Jackson does still have feelings for Cristina, it’s admiration for her skill. Who wouldn’t admire her skills or be turned on by them? I’m turned on by them, and I’m totally straight. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a girl crush on Cristina. She’s awesome.
And if that isn’t enough to dissuade people from investing too much hope into some Jackson and Cristina romance, there is the fact that Cristina makes it very clear who her “guy” is – it’s Owen. And the woman that Owen loves is Cristina – he loves her so much that he comes back into the hospital, knowing that there is still a gunman on the loose. More than that, he comes into the OR knowing that said gunman is inside. But I will expand on that after I emphasize just how deep of a connection that Meredith and Cristina share, as demonstrated in the next scene.
“I will do my very best work,” Cristina promises. This is such an emotional surgery for Cristina – not because she loves Derek (let’s face it, Derek and Cristina aren’t exactly close) but because she knows how much Meredith loves Derek. And Cristina loves Meredith. A lot. In fact, the biggest loves in Cristina’s life are Meredith, Owen, and surgery. When Cristina holds Meredith’s face in her hands, you can see just how much these two love each other. Shonda lived up to her word: the season finale goes back to the biggest love story of this show – Meredith and Cristina. Their love for each other is so obvious and palpable that April can’t look, and I can’t blame her. We are witnessing a very raw and emotional moment from two women who don’t often display this side of their character to others. It’s almost like we’re intruding on a very private moment.
For a long time, it’s been just Cristina and Meredith. Sure, they had other relationships, but you always got the sense that those relationships came second to their friendship. However, this began to shift around season five: Meredith reached a point in her life where she wanted to marry Derek, and Cristina stayed with Owen and helped him through his PTSD. And season six has shown this shift, where there was no longer just a Meredith and Cristina, but there was also a Meredith and Derek plus Cristina and Owen. And the reason behind this shift is because these two dark and twisty sisters learned that it’s okay to love and be loved without having it detract from who they are. It really attests to how much they’ve grown since season one.
And now, onto one of the moments that I’d hope for since the moment I knew that there was going to be a gunman in the hospital and saw that Owen was isolated from Cristina: Owen’s realization that Cristina wasn’t out safely and his decision to go back in despite the danger. I love how the moment the police officer tells Owen that they have neither caught the shooter nor gotten the doctors out, Owen starts looking frantically back at the hospital because he knows Cristina is inside – with the shooter still on the loose. This is the moment that Owen makes his choice. Prior to the airing of the episode, Kevin McKidd spoke about how Owen would make snap decisions in the heat of the moment during the crisis. And when he is told that Cristina is not safe, he immediately knows that he is going back in. I know that Teddy tells him to go and that it’s okay to choose, but her comments are redundant. Owen has already decided to go and has already chosen Cristina. But Teddy needs to say it because she’s finally accepted it. Let me be clear, Teddy is not choosing for Owen. She simply says, “Go. It’s okay to choose.” She already sees that he’s chosen Cristina. This whole time, Owen was struggling with having to pick one over the other. It could be for a lot of reasons: he doesn’t want to hurt either one because he cares about both; he can’t quite let go of his past and/or who he was before he was changed by Dan’s death and the RPG ambush; or he wants the best of both worlds and not lose either relationship. But regardless of his reasons, the most important part is that Owen picks Cristina – as he always has. Honestly, it’s never been a question as to whom Owen loves. However, the writers apparently thought it’d make it more dramatic if it seemed like Owen wasn’t sure until this very moment when he picked Cristina and went back into the hospital to rescue the woman he loves. But as I said, I’ll talk more about this triangle– and my theories on why it was drawn out for so long – later. And Teddy wins a couple brownie points for blocking the police officer from stopping Owen. (Seriously, I have to question the caliber of these cops. You’ve got two other officers right at the wall, and they don’t even attempt to stop Owen either.)
At this point, there is an unspoken question of whether or not Owen would have gone back for Teddy had it been Cristina who got out safely and Teddy who was stuck inside because of the lockdown. On the one hand, Owen cares about Teddy and he’s got this savior complex thing going on. On the other hand, he was okay with leaving her in the OR before (but of course, this was before he realized how bad things were). I think Owen’s biggest concern is that he has no real idea where Cristina is. Owen was pretty damn lucky that he didn’t get run into Gary Clark in his search for Cristina. (Then again, we know that Owen always has an uncanny ability to find Cristina – remember when he found her in the cardio wing in “All by Myself”?) Or if Cristina is okay. If he had left Teddy in the OR, she wouldn’t have been alone, so I think he would not have been as concerned in leaving her to be safely escorted out by the SWAT team. But if we go by the grand “revelation” that Shonda wanted to demonstrate with Owen’s rush back inside to save Cristina, then Owen would not have done the same for Teddy because the whole point of it was to demonstrate that Owen was choosing Cristina. However, I’m thankful that things didn’t happen that way (with Teddy inside and Cristina out safe) because Owen ends up in a lose-lose situation with fans: going in to save Teddy would make him look like he’s picking Teddy, and not going in to save Teddy would make him look like a jerk who didn’t care about his friend. See? Lose-lose. Instead, what we got was full of win. Thank goodness.
What Owen does is so insanely heroic that it really makes it hard for people to criticize his character because of it. (I know there are some still out there, but it’s died down since.) Because how do you criticize a man for knowingly going back to a danger zone in order to make sure the love of his life is okay? McKidd was right. Owen can still be redeemed – for Cristina and for the viewers. His behavior is not the norm. But we already knew that Owen is not your typical male character. He joined the military because he wanted to save the lives of men who were serving their country. You don’t become an army surgeon if you aren’t prepared to be under fire. It takes a certain type of person – fictional or real – to run towards the danger instead of away. It’s against our basic instinct of survival. Yet, Owen is one of those people who will go towards a gunman – because he knows Cristina is inside.
Just to drive this point home, let’s compare Owen’s situation to someone else who is in a similar predicament, someone else who has the love of his life stuck inside: Bill (Ryan Devlin), Mary’s (Mandy Moore) husband. Now, it’s undeniable that Bill loves Mary. However, we don’t see Bill trying to run past the guards to go get his wife. I’m not saying that he loves his wife any less, but he’s built like most people are. We don’t go running towards danger. Granted, Owen is more equipped to do something as risky as going back into the hospital. Not to mention, Owen has a lot more to prove. It goes back to what he said to Teddy when Pete’s (their patient) wife came in, “This could be the last time she sees the man she loves.” Well, the last time he saw Cristina, she broke up with him and he didn’t tell her that he loved her. And there is no way that Owen can let that be their last moment together.
“I just wanted it to be easy – not the hardest repair in the history of the freakin’ world.” Cristina finds out that this already difficult situation is about to get harder. Not only is she not exactly the most qualified of people to perform this surgery (that’s what attendings are for), there are some seriously high stakes that go along with this one. Add in a gunman on the loose somewhere whose target is the man on the table, and you’ve got yourself a very sticky situation. I don’t know how Cristina has the strength to handle all that pressure, but she can. Why? Because she’s a hardcore badass mofo who cares. This second hour, as Shonda puts it, is Cristina’s “graduation” – her shining moment. She comes into her own as a surgeon and as a woman, truly earning the label of “cardio goddess” as well as demonstrating just how much of a robot she isn’t. And we see this human side of her later, when Owen finally finds his ladylove – with a gun pointed at her head.
Let’s talk about Kevin McKidd’s acting. He’s amazing. And I find it really unfortunate that some people don’t see how amazing he is. His face can convey a myriad of emotions – though I will admit that it’s sometimes hard to read – which is a must for a character of fewer words and more action. When Owen enters the scrub room, you can immediately tell that something is wrong. But it’s very subtle, a balance of serene calm – as to not upset Meredith and April – and fearful concern. You can actually see Owen’s realization of what’s going on settle into his face and body. His movements become slow, like the way one would move when trying to get closer to an easily startled animal, as he carefully grabs a surgical mask and walks towards the automatic sliding doors. And the only telltale sign of something being off that Meredith picks up on is the fact that Owen isn’t scrubbing in. To which Owen provides a reasonable explanation that seems to placate Meredith for the time being. And for a minute, we don’t know why he is so afraid.
I think it speaks a lot to Owen’s character that he remains calm. It really demonstrates his background in high-stress situations. Guns and mutilated bodies are not new to him – we know that. But, not to undervalue his relationships with his war buddies, none of that compares to this moment. Seeing the woman you love thisclose to death? Definitely a legitimate excuse to freak out. But Owen doesn’t – for Meredith and April’s sakes. If this doesn’t win brownie points in Meredith’s eyes later, I don’t see what will. (Not to mention the fact that later, he takes a bullet that was meant for her.) Even though Meredith is nowhere close to being his favorite person, he still has the decency to offer her comfort – he even flashes a smile of reassurance. I’m not saying that it takes an extraordinary person to offer such kindness – I think most people would do the same in that situation – but this guy gets some serious props for keeping the fear out of his face. It’s only when he pauses in the doorway, right before he enters the OR, that he finally lets his real emotions show. I guess it comes with the territory with being a trauma surgeon – it won’t do you any good if you’re panicking in front of your patient. Still, it’s pretty damn admirable.
The reveal of Clark standing there next to Cristina with the gun pointed at her head was well-directed, in my opinion. Very dramatic. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gasped at the sight. And then, when Clark swings the gun around to aim it at Owen, it’s like we – the audience – are the ones that are in the line of fire. Freaky – but in a good, “we are part of the drama” kind of way. Kicks the heart rate up a bit, doesn’t it? “Tell me what the problem is,” Owen says. Uh, the problem is that your girlfriend – okay, technically ex-girlfriend at the moment – is operating on a guy that Clark really wants to see suffer and die. Oh, and she refuses to stop in spite of having a gun aimed at her head.
I love the moment when Cristina hears Owen’s voice and she looks up. “Owen?” It’s like she can’t believe he’s there. She knows that he had left, and I don’t blame her for not trusting her ears. Intense situations can cause your mind to play tricks on you. But Owen proves that he is indeed there by saying, “I’m here.” (I admit, I swooned a little.) And upon realizing that she wasn’t having auditory hallucinations, Cristina cries, “Owen” again in a tone that conveyed the extent of her fear and helplessness. In one word, Sandra Oh – who undeniably deserves an Emmy for performance in this episode – captures everything: Cristina’s need and love for Owen, her fear over performing this complicated surgery and having Clark pointing a gun at her, her helplessness over her situation… the list goes on. So freakin’ good.
When Clark moves the gun back towards Cristina’s head, Owen immediately calls attention back to himself. “Talk to me.” More like, point the gun at me. I know that some people thought Owen should have gone Rambo on Clark’s ass, but I don’t think that is the best idea. Here, we’ve got an unstable man who is a little trigger happy. Startling him with sudden movements (as we see later) only gets someone shot. And with the gun still pointing at Cristina’s head, you can’t guarantee that the bullet won’t hit Cristina. So, Owen choosing to remain where he stands per Clark’s demands is a good move. Hostage negotiations 101: don’t spook the shooter.
When Clark orders Cristina to stop fixing Derek again, eliciting a tearful scream out of Cristina that just about broke my heart, and Cristina refuses once again, Cristina “graduates” (once again, Shonda’s word) and comes into her own as a human being who loves. Because it is love that keeps Cristina operating on Derek, not the surgery itself. I don’t think anyone can say otherwise. (You can’t become a brilliant surgeon if you’re dead. Sorry.) Specifically, Cristina’s love for Meredith. Owen’s none too happy when he hears her refuse. “Cristina,” he warns. It harkens back to earlier in the first hour when she came in and realized she didn’t get to scrub in on the surgery, but this “Cristina” carries something other than chastisement. He’s scared out of his mind for her safety. (Though when he realizes that Cristina has to keep going, he understands that it’s something she has to do – even though he would rather she didn’t have that sense of loyalty at that particular moment.) If Owen had his way, he would say to hell with Derek – Cristina is his main priority. That doesn’t make Owen a bad guy. He can lose Derek, he can’t lose Cristina. It’s the same mentality of what Meredith was yelling at a bleeding Derek: “I can’t live without you. If you die, I die.” We see this for Cristina and Owen as well – in both directions – even if the words themselves are not spoken out loud.
And that’s one of the biggest parts of the Cristina and Owen relationship that I both love and hate (okay, “hate” is a strong word that I don’t ever want to use in respect to Cristina and Owen – let’s use “am often frustrated with”). They show so much without words, and sometimes words are not even necessary. Like with the shower scene from last season when Cristina wordlessly got into the shower stall with Owen – clothes and all (except she at least removed her heels – smart) – and caressed Owen’s face. She didn’t need to say a word to convey her sympathy and understanding – or the fact that she was falling for this man, inner demons and all. Other times, it would be really nice if they said the words that we want to hear. (Like earlier, with the whole silence thing from Owen when Cristina asked him who he loved.) We are lucky and spoiled in a way that our couple has said, “I love you” several times. It took Meredith and Derek quite a while before they ever uttered those words to each other. But more often than not, our favorite pair tends to use actions instead of words – and it has a lot to do with the fact that neither character is much of a talker, especially Owen. But for me at least, I think it really attests to Sandra Oh and Kevin McKidd’s acting capability that we are still so drawn into this relationship and their chemistry even when they are not saying the words. (And let’s face it, sometimes actions really do say more than words – like the numerous times Owen just grabs Cristina and kisses her… or when he goes back into the hospital to make sure she’s safe.)
It reminds me of the patient storyline from “Valentine’s Day Massacre” where the waiter misinterprets the married couple’s silence as contentious when in reality, they didn’t need to talk because they were content being in each others’ company. It’s poetic, isn’t it? Where it’s enough just to be in your loved one’s presence – no need to be doing something or having a conversation – and be happy. Just being with each other. That’s so sweet. Can’t you just imagine something like that for Cristina and Owen down the road? Or even now? Like in the season six premiere where Cristina and Owen were just lying there, silently looking into each others’ eyes. So very romantic – and very telling about what type of relationship they have: a strong and deep connection that doesn’t require words.
But boy, when we get the words, we get some pretty amazing words, don’t we? “That is the woman that I love. If you shoot her, if you touch her, I will kill you.” I think those were some pretty good words, don’t you think? Owen loves Cristina, he picks Cristina. He’s always been picking Cristina, even if the last few episodes have made it seem like he wasn’t sure. It’s so obvious to us, so why did Shonda make it seem like such a big deal? To add to the drama, of course. Though we may not have thought it necessary, by making it seem like there was a question, Shonda essentially made the action of Owen going back into the hospital and choosing Cristina carry more weight. Because, like the voiceover says, the human life is about making decisions. And both Owen and Cristina made significant choices in this episode: they chose each other, and they chose love.
When one faces an unstable gunman, yelling at him and threatening to kill him is probably not the best way to keep from getting shot. Yet, seeing Clark pressing the gun to Cristina’s neck enrages Owen to the point where he just doesn’t care. No one threatens, harms, or scares the woman he loves like that and gets away with it. Not even when Owen is unarmed and staring down the barrel of a gun filled with bullets meant for surgeons. And for a man who is usually very calm under pressure and not prone to irrationality, it means a lot that Owen loses his cool and gives into anger. But he’s so angry because he’s so scared for Cristina’s life. But he backs down when Clark threatens to shoot Owen, then Cristina, and then Derek. When Clark asks Owen if he wants him to do so, Owen gives the slightest shake of his head. (Also, Cristina and Owen give each other the slightest glance during all this.) I don’t think that Owen necessarily backs down because Owen doesn’t want to die – I mean, I know he doesn’t want to die. But in my mind, he backs down because of two things: a) shooting Owen first and then Cristina means that Owen wouldn’t be able to prevent Cristina from being shot and that would destroy Owen; and b) he doesn’t want Clark to shoot Cristina, period.
Luckily, Cristina does not get shot because Meredith enters the OR and provides a very compelling reason as to why Clark should shoot her. (Guess it was pre-planned that the doctors who worked on Allison Clark were all closely related to Meredith.) Now, I know some people were saying how they wished it was Owen who said, “Shoot me.” Well, he essentially did when he came into the room and said, “Talk to me.” His intention is not to strike up a conversation with Clark but to draw Clark’s attention to him. Because when you’re talking to someone, you are usually looking at them. And if Clark isn’t looking at or focusing on Cristina, then she’s less likely to get hurt.
Anyway, Cristina is none too happy that her best friend is thisclose to getting shot, and her head follows Clark’s hand when it moves towards Meredith. And she’s whispering, “Meredith” as she talks. Then, she looks at Owen, and she’s basically begging him to save her friend. And he gives her the tiniest nod and sets his shoulder in preparation of some serious saving. Cristina distracts Clark by telling him that Meredith is pregnant, providing Owen the opportunity to make his move while Clark is no longer paying attention in that direction. Unfortunately, Clark moves faster than Owen (proving that though he is a hero, he’s not a bulletproof superhero) and Owen gets shot, devastating poor Cristina who thinks he is dead. Her cries of “No! No!” were heart-breaking. She can’t move. Her hands are in Derek’s chest, and if she moves, she may kill Derek as well. Cristina is helpless to do anything to save the man she loves except to freak out (understandably).
Meanwhile, Jackson gets a stroke of genius and pulls the leads as Clark moves closer to Owen as though to shoot him again. Jackson sees this, which is why he tells Cristina, “Raise your hands. Trust me. Raise your hands. He’s going to shoot again! Raise your hands!” That second to last part is the thing that catches Cristina’s attention and cuts through her panic. He could shoot again, eliminating any chance of Owen’s survival. It is one thing to get hit by a wildly aimed bullet in the heat of the moment at a moving target, but it’s a whole other ballgame when you’re standing a foot away and aiming at a motionless body. The probability of staying alive goes from fair to nearly impossible. So, Cristina stops and (seemingly) gives Clark exactly what he wants – she stops fixing Derek. Sure, she’s taking a gamble with Derek’s life because something could go wrong. But we’re talking about the man she loves here, she’s going to take the risk – and no one could ever blame her for it. Thankfully, Clark doesn’t think to actually check to make sure Derek is dead and leaves without shooting anyone else, allowing the doctors to quickly go back to work on saving Derek’s life.
The fact that Cristina continues to work on Derek even though Owen is just lying there shows just strong Cristina is – and how strong the bond between Meredith and Cristina is. She’s still going to save Meredith’s guy even though it’s possible that her guy is dead. It is not because Cristina is cold – far from it. She is obviously very much in love with Owen and concerned about his life. But it wouldn’t do if both she and Meredith lost the ones they loved – not if Cristina has anything to say about it. However, notice that Cristina can’t really focus on operating on Derek until she knows how Owen is doing. While Meredith wants to figure out what has just happened, Cristina demands that Meredith go check on Owen. “Mer, is Owen dead?” She’s not sure if she wants to know the answer in fear that she won’t like the answer. But an unwanted answer is better than nothing, so when Meredith is still in a daze and doesn’t respond, Cristina asks again – more forcefully this time, “Dr. Grey! Is Owen dead?” And Meredith (while still sobbing, mind you) crawls over to Owen and determines that Owen Hunt is still alive – albeit unconscious.
If Owen had not made it, I don’t know how Cristina could have gone on operating on Derek, though I suspect she could because like I said, it just wouldn’t do if both of them lost the men they loved. But thankfully, we won’t ever find out what Cristina would do because Owen has a non-fatal though-and-through. I love this line: “I can’t talk right now. I’m trying to save your guy, so please go and try to save mine.” (And according to the podcast, it’s Shonda’s favorite line, too.) I have to admit that I laughed at the sight of these two petite women forcibly keeping Owen down. One would think there is nothing that stands in the way of Owen and his ladylove – bullet wound and all – but apparently, April and Meredith trump a bullet wound in the deterrent section. It reminds me of when Owen was walking towards Cristina in “Elevator Love Letter” in the hospital, after the choking incident, and Callie and Meredith stood in front of him. Now, there is no doubt that Owen could have gotten past them if he’d wanted to, but he didn’t because he’s not the type to shove past a woman. Or in this case, fight off two women who are trying to treat his injury in order to go back to Cristina, whom he nearly lost.
Owen keeps on repeating, “I’m fine!” And Meredith agrees, but she isn’t going to let him go back in there with a hole in his shoulder. First of all, this will provide Meredith with a distraction so she’s not just sitting outside the OR worrying about Derek. Second of all, and probably more importantly, Cristina told her to take care of her guy. Meredith loves Cristina just as much, so she’s going to make sure that Owen survives his gunshot wound (though, Meredith’s surgery is insanely easier than Cristina’s). And then this really devastating and poignant moment happens when Meredith starts having a miscarriage. Owen realizes that something is wrong and stops fighting. Needless to say, I think Meredith and Owen are going to get along a lot better from now on, and neither is on each others’ shit list any longer.
Meredith really impressed me in this scene. She’s losing her baby – this baby that she had come to want so much – but she doesn’t let it keep her from saving Cristina’s guy. Both Cristina and Meredith sacrificed a bit of themselves for each other in this second hour. Shonda was right: the season finale is about Cristina and Meredith. And I really hope that things work out for Meredith next season, and she can have the children with Derek that she has come to want. McBabies! (And who knows? Maybe that could inspire an uninterrupted discussion for Cristina and Owen about babies – or at least, what their future holds.)
I would have loved to see the scene of Owen coming back into the OR (shirtless – had to point that out), but I’m guessing it got cut or was skipped over to go straight to Cristina finishing up on Derek and then Derek going into V. fib. Although, in my head, I imagine loving and relieved looks exchanged – maybe even Cristina telling Owen he needs to sit his butt down because she doesn’t want him to get hurt more. But alas, this snippet will have to remain purely conjecture unless it shows up in the extended version that Shonda promised would be on the DVD. Although, there probably is at least a scene of the SWAT team arriving in the OR that will appear on the extended cut, based off the promotional pictures that were released after the episode aired.
Cristina saves Derek (yay for Cristina!), which we knew was going to happen all along (yay for McDreamy!), and everyone is relieved. And then we get our version of a “reunion” when Cristina turns to Owen and they share a look. For those of you who didn’t read Ausiello’s interview with Shonda post-season finale, she talks about how she fought to put in a Cristina and Owen scene where Owen holds Cristina after Derek is saved but her medical advisers told her that she couldn’t because it would make Cristina unsterile (and thus unable to continue operating on Derek). So, coconuts, you can blame the medical advisers for us getting “the look” and not “the hug.” (I personally blame Bokey. Just kidding. She’s awesome. Did you see her little heroic gesture of handing the clamp to Jackson when Clark’s back was turned? Yep, that’s our Bokey!) But honestly, I love that the last shot of Cristina in that OR is looking at the two people she loves most in the world – first Owen, then Meredith – and breathing a sigh of relief that both of them are safe and (mostly) sound.
So, we didn’t get the kind of reunion that Callie and Arizona got, but I have to say that I still like our couple’s story arc better in this season finale. Cristina and Owen’s love story was epic. I know many fans often complain that Shonda doesn’t seem to love Cristina and Owen, but I think this episode showed just how much she does love Cristina and Owen. Out of all the couples, Shonda gave this key moment of a couple facing off a gunman to Cristina and Owen. It’s not like moments like these happen all the time on this show. They don’t. And probably won’t again. So, we are damned lucky to have been the fans that got this penultimate life and death situation for our couple to experience.
And in my (biased) opinion, the OR scene was as powerful as it was because of Sandra Oh and Kevin McKidd. They can bear this weight. They can demonstrate the agony of a man helpless to save the woman he loves. They can portray the dual emotions of determination and fear of a woman who refuses to stop saving her friend’s husband even in the face of death. It was real. It was palpable. So, yes, Callie and Arizona may have reunited onscreen, but I don’t think it was as powerful and emotion-ridden as Cristina and Owen’s “reunion.” We got such a highlighted moment in this episode. A lot of the drama and epic love story was saved for us, amidst the violence and the bloodshed. We got the heroism, the courage, the loyalty, and the love all wrapped into one. That, to me, is epic.
To end, I will leave you with words of cautiously optimistic hope. In the podcast, Shonda talks about her decision to have such an explosive season finale featuring a gunman on the loose. And she said that it was a way to wipe the slate clean. Specifically, for Cristina and Owen, it allowed for a situation where “the angst [could] go away” because it’s life and death and the stakes are so high. I sincerely hope that the angst remains “away” in the next season. I think our couple deserve some lighthearted and happy moments, don’t you? There’s this one line that Shonda says that I really liked. She says, “Cristina goes to the base of the thing she knows how to do, which is to save a heart.” To me, it speaks of not only her cardio skills but of who Cristina is – this woman with a whole lot of heart, even if she doesn’t always wear it on her sleeve. But when Cristina loves, oh how she loves. Shonda was right: look how much Cristina has grown. Isn’t it just, well, love-ly?