Season seven is here! And the blog is back up and running. Hopefully, people still care enough to read this…
No, you’re not dreaming. Cristina and Owen really got married (and legally – sorry, Meredith/Derek fans, couldn’t resist). They got engaged, they planned the wedding, and they walked down the aisle. Three out of three – one more than Burke and Cristina (and the most important one, really).
When I first heard about this, my jaw obviously hit the floor – followed quickly by the rest of me. Could it be? Could something this good really happen for us? There had to be a twist, right? But there was no twist. (At least, not really.) Cristina and Owen really got married. Maybe it’s not at the most opportune of times (which I’ll go into later), but they went through with it. Owen and Cristina are officially husband and wife. And you can bet that there were a gazillion squees around the world at that bit of news.
Shonda called the Cristina and Owen wedding an “award” for fan loyalty – all fans – but we know that it’s mostly us, the Cristina and Owen fans. We were put through hell the season before, what with the disjointed and frustrating storylines that came in the shape of the merger and Teddy. (And this grievance is compounded upon with the fact that we were supposed to have a Cristina and Owen baby storyline – which I totally called, by the way – instead. Damn Shonda and whatever vision she got that caused her to change her mind. But I think, in the end, we will appreciate the fact that marriage came first because it sets up any potential baby storyline that may be in the works to be less angst-ridden and more joyful.) And yet, we held on. Because we love this couple – and sometimes, we all love the show.
Anyway, back to the episode. And as usual, in the order that they appeared onscreen (not chronologically).“Every cell in the human body regenerates, on average, every seven years. Like snakes, in our own way, we shed our skin. Biologically, we’re brand new people…we’re all changed completely. Forever.” The theme of this episode is about change, reiterating the idea that the season six finale wiped the slate clean. The show can shed the past season that caused us seemingly endless frustration and forge ahead with a fresh start, rebuilding itself – and, specifically, Cristina and Owen’s relationship – with the foundation of why we fell in love in the first place.
We start off with Cristina planning her wedding, a wedding with “no white, no veil, no rice,” and no Mama Rubenstein. I must admit that I am a tad disappointed that we didn’t get a reappearance of Helen, but it works without her. The goal of this first episode was less about the wedding and more about documenting where everyone was emotionally post-shooting. Having the frivolity of Helen added in would have been fun, but there was no room for it. (I mean, Owen’s mother didn’t get any lines this time.) Realistically, of course, I think the actress is doing some other project, but by not having her here makes that gap between the Burke/Cristina wedding and the Owen/Cristina wedding all the greater, giving Cristina wedding that is her own. As we know, there have been quite a few parallels between Burke and Cristina’s relationship with Owen and Cristina’s. And for the most part, the latter has improved on the former. (The coffee scenes were pretty even. Though, Owen trying to give Cristina coffee in that deleted scene where he’s still apologizing for giving up his OR to Derek in “Give Peace a Chance” was pretty adorable.) Anyway, I’m still holding out hope that one day, Owen will meet his mother-in-law, and we’ll see Mrs. Hunt have more than one line (technically, one word).
We all know that Cristina’s wedding planning is her coping mechanism. It’s how she’s avoiding a confrontation with her feelings over what happened to her during the shooting. Just as she tried to use sex to distract her when she was trying to accept George’s death, she is using bridal magazines to distract her from accepting the terrible thing that happened to her. Cristina is not the bridezilla type. She’s not the type to care for what flowers go into her bouquet or which shoes would perfectly match her wedding dress. But for the sake of her sanity, she is trying to be. Because if she fakes it long enough, maybe it will be true. And we see that later in her scene with Dr. Andrew Perkins.
But even though we know that her intense interest in wedding planning is not on the level, I can’t help but appreciate that she’s still making sure that it represents who she is. This is the ceremony that fits Cristina and Owen: not the traditional pomp and circumstance that better suit the Izzie and Burke types and not the “quick and dirty” courthouse ceremony that Meredith and Derek almost had. It’s like Goldilocks and the porridge. This one was just right. And it goes to show that Cristina is not like those girls in the bridal magazines, even if she wants to be. But isn’t that why we love her? Isn’t that why Owen loves her? He was engaged to one of the girls in those bridal magazines. Beth most assuredly would have gone for the church wedding, the white dress, and so on. He dodged that bullet. (I know, bad pun.)
In lieu of a Cristina and Owen scene in the first half of the episode, we hear the other doctors mention the fact that they’re getting married. Cristina and Owen’s wedding is on everyone’s mind. And in some small way, it gives the sense that life goes on to all who were affected by the shooting. In Lexie’s session with Dr. Perkins, she talks about how she read that for some people, “trauma was the best thing that could’ve happened to them,” and she calls Cristina and Owen’s upcoming nuptials a “silver lining.” A “silver lining.” Now, I know that some would’ve preferred more Cristina and Owen screen time instead of just hearing about others talk about it, but once again, the goal of the premiere was not to necessarily showcase their wedding but to let the viewers know how these surgeons were handling life in the aftermath. Back to Lexie’s quote. Whether the trauma of the shooting was the “best thing that could’ve happened” to Cristina and Owen is debatable, but it was definitely a driving force for them getting married so soon. But the marriage – that I believe will definitely be among the best things that could’ve happened to them (and us). In my opinion, it was the trauma of Owen getting into a car accident followed by his trauma from Iraq that really could qualify as the “best” things – in the sense that the former brought him to Cristina and the latter caused him and Cristina to bond on a deep level achieved through surviving a “war” together. (In this case, the “war” being Owen’s PTSD.) And now, I think it will be Cristina’s trauma that cements them even more as a couple, with Owen being the one to help save Cristina from her downward spiral.
Derek reiterates the same idea as Lexie when he tells Owen that “getting shot turns out to not be the worst thing after all.” He’s referring to the fact that he mustered up the courage to step down as Chief, but it can also apply to Owen. Owen got shot. And it clarified something (that honestly didn’t need to be clarified): Owen is in love with Cristina – and only her. While the shooting may not have been the worst thing for Derek because it inspired him to do the things he would’ve talked himself out of before, it inspired Owen to propose to Cristina pretty soon after they got back together (after the shortest breakup ever). Carpe diem. Do what you want now because you may not get the chance to do it later. And Owen really wants to be married to Cristina.
Owen also wants Derek to be his best man (but to a lesser degree, obviously). I’m all for more Owen and Derek bromance for the same reason that Owen asks him to be his best man. “I know we’re not that close, but you being married to the other twisted sister…I just thought that it kinda made us like brothers or something like that.” (How cute is that?) I hope that this is foreshadowing. Burke and Derek never really had much of a friendship, which should’ve already been a bad omen because Meredith and Cristina are soul sisters. So the fact that Derek and Owen are seemingly getting closer can only be a good thing. And if we take Kevin McKidd’s word for it, Derek and Owen are going to forge quite a bond this season with Owen coming to Derek for marital advice. (This reminds me of that deleted scene from “Invasion” where Owen comes to Derek in a bit of a panic over what he should do about Cristina because he doesn’t get her, but he wants to because he’s in love with her. It’s a shame that scene was cut.) I’m looking forward to this foursome of Cristina, Owen, Derek, and Meredith becoming a tight-knit group. They really are the core couples of this show.
Derek makes a point to ask Owen if he has any regrets over proposing to Cristina, and I really like Owen’s reaction. There’s not a hint of defensiveness in his mannerism. In fact, he smiles. I think he’s ecstatic that he’s getting married to Cristina. And at the mere mention of it, he can’t help but smile. This is not a man who’s going to get cold feet. I daresay he’s anxiously waiting for his wedding day, for the day that he and Cristina are forever bound to each other in matrimony. And he doesn’t even want or need a bachelor party. (In its truest form, a bachelor or bachelorette party is a celebration where one says goodbye to the last days of being single.) Owen is not lamenting the loss of his bachelorhood because he’s too busy counting the days till he gets to be Cristina’s husband.
Case in point, during the (“necessary”) Teddy and Owen scene, did you see how Owen’s face lit up when he talked about how he’s getting married? Yeah, that man is excited. This scene has “the triangle is over, pretend it never happened, and Owen and Teddy are just friends” written all over it. We’ve got Teddy and Owen standing really close to each other. What once before would’ve been used as a way to convey Owen’s confused feelings over Teddy is now a straightforward scene of two colleagues discussing their lives. Owen is genuinely happy that Teddy has found someone else, and Teddy is finally letting go of Owen. He doesn’t believe her at first when she says that she’s happy for him, but I think Teddy’s genuine. At least, Owen buys it because he then says, “Thank you” and back to the clamping and medical stuff that we don’t care about. (Do you hear it? Yes, that’s the unringing of the stupid triangle bell.) I wouldn’t say that Teddy and Owen are friends again, but the boundaries are clearer. He knows what and who he wants, and this time, nothing is going to distract him. (I know that some of you don’t trust in this turn of events, but remember, this is the season of “rebirth” and “healing.” Let us be healed of our paranoia and post-traumatic stress caused by the cursed triangle.)
The next scene is with Cristina and all the remaining residents. How I have missed these types of scenes. And to my surprise, Jackson and April fit in quite nicely. There’s not much to be said on the Cristina and Owen front, other than there not being a chicken dance or Congo line happening at the wedding reception (or else, the perpetrator shall face the wrath of one Cristina Yang). Speaking of Jackson, there is no chance in hell that there is going to be something romantic happening between Cristina and Jackson. Just as there is no chance in hell that anything romantic will happen between Teddy and Owen. Even if there was the tiniest of possibilities before, it got nipped in the bud the moment Owen proposed to Cristina and she accepted. Cristina and Owen mate for life. Adultery just isn’t in their nature. (And not to mention, Cristina has – excepting that drunken kiss – consistently treated Jackson as some pesky younger brother. Let’s not stray into the incestuous, please.)
I love the dynamic between all the characters here. They’ve banded together against the evil cafeteria goers who’ve relegated to them needing to pack lunches and hide out in the basement. And I love the snippets of Meredith and Cristina friendship we see throughout. Meredith flipping through the pages of the bridal magazine that Cristina’s holding (especially since we know that Meredith could also care less about wedding planning), Meredith looking at Cristina when she says that they should’ve died, and the joking banter over why she and Cristina haven’t been cleared yet.
Meredith and Cristina – the longest lasting love story on this show. It’s heartbreaking to see the scene where Meredith is more concerned about Derek finding out about the miscarriage than with the upcoming painful procedure. She’s internalizing everything in fear of making things worse for Derek, just as Cristina had shoved aside a lot of her own issues in fear of making things worse for Owen. Though dark and twisty, these two women have the capacity to love deeply. And my hope is that we will see more of how their husbands love them just as much as Meredith and Cristina face their own challenges this season. Anyway, I love how Cristina is at Meredith’s side, wanting to be there for her. It reminds me of Meredith trying to comfort Cristina after her ectopic pregnancy. And it’s because of this friendship that I can forgive Meredith for later airing her concerns over the timing of Cristina and Owen’s wedding.
(Quick note about the Teddy and Arizona scene. Nice try, writers, in attempting to excuse why you went down the “love triangle” route last season. I think I would have been just fine if no one had “popped the bubble.” Or at least popped the bubble a long ways back, like in “Holidaze” when Owen told her point-blank that he was in love with Cristina. Our “bubble” was not pink or pretty. It was made out of Kevlar, only to be penetrated by the bazooka of a man shooting up the hospital.)
And now the scene with Meredith and Cristina in the hallway. (Anyone else notice the look of “WTF” on Owen’s face as Meredith shoves Cristina into the hallway, causing Cristina to run into Owen on the way out? And the subsequent utterance of “sorry, sorry” from Cristina? Hilarious. Smart man to leave them the well alone. No one wants to be caught between the twisted sisters when they’re arguing, if they know what’s good for them.) While everyone else is attentively watching the ground-breaking surgery, Cristina is busy flipping through her bridal magazine. This is not the Cristina Yang we’re used to seeing. The Cristina Yang that we know from before would be itching to be in that OR, as Meredith is. She’d be pissed that she hasn’t been cleared for surgery yet. But she’s not, which is an instant red flag that something is wrong. And Meredith picks up on it, thus the dragging of Cristina to yell at her.
“We are not better.” Meredith is right. They aren’t. Meredith hasn’t had the chance to mourn the loss of her and Derek’s unborn child yet. Cristina hasn’t fully processed the trauma she went through. And they won’t get better in a couple of days. (But, with the help of their husbands and each other, they will get better.) Now, I know that many are annoyed at Meredith and her line of questioning. I find it necessary. These are good questions. Why is she getting married so soon? What’s the rush? Is she sure? And just Meredith is forcing Cristina to come face-to-face with her issues, Cristina does the same to Meredith. Why hasn’t she told Derek about the miscarriage? Who’s really the one who’s not ready?
They are the best ones to ask each other these types of question. They understand each other the best because they are “the twisted sisters.” Meredith can understand Cristina in a way that Owen can’t in the same way that Cristina can understand Meredith in a way that Derek can’t. (It doesn’t mean that Owen loves Cristina less; it just means that he’s wired differently.) And this scene between Meredith and Cristina is a setup for what’s to come in upcoming episodes for these two, no doubt about it. And soon, they will have to deal with their respective problems head-on.
But for now, Cristina is avoiding therapy sessions with Dr. Perkins and refusing to talk about how she’s feeling. The scene between Cristina and the trauma counselor is so sad. There’s a lot of sadness in this episode, but it’s the good drama kind – and oh, how I’ve missed it. Instead of answering Perkin’s question about how it makes her feel when she thinks about entering an OR, she talks about the women in the bridal magazines. “They just want to find the guy and get married, you know? And live… I think you’re either born simple, or you’re born … me. I want to be the person who gets happy over finding the perfect dress. I want to be simple. ‘Cause no one hold a gun to the head of a simple girl.” Poor Cristina. My heart breaks every time I watch this scene (and the one that follows – the proposal).
Her choice of words in this monologue is quite interesting. Actually, I find the fact that she has post-traumatic stress (I am refusing to call it PTSD because I think the writers are misusing the word) interesting. Those simple girls want to “live,” implying that she didn’t. And in a way, that’s true. You don’t keep on operating on your best friend’s husband with a gun pointed to your head if your main goal is to live. Cristina is more complicated than that. I’m not saying that she wanted to die – she obviously didn’t – but to her, saving Derek’s life was more important. Because in that moment, the merits of saving the man Meredith loved outweighed the risk of being killed.
Cristina blames herself for being in that position, for being the type of person that someone would point a gun at. Obviously, it is not the most logical belief, but that’s the point. Inappropriate blame or guilt – a common occurrence in sufferers of PTSD. But that doesn’t get you the diagnosis of the disorder. Without getting into too much psychobabble, let’s just say that Cristina doesn’t fully meet full DSM-IV criteria based on number of symptoms and possibly duration. At least, we haven’t seen her experience enough symptoms for her to receive the diagnosis of PTSD. And Lexie Grey, though having a severe reaction, can’t have PTSD if all she needed was sleep.) However, I will say that she exhibits some of the classic symptoms (many of which we’ve seen in Owen): exaggerated startle response, avoidance of talking about the event, and possible flashbacks of the event. (And as we see in the promo for next week’s episode, she will have a panic attack in the OR – not “[experiencing] PTSD” as the press release says because one has a disorder and experiences an episode. Okay, I’m done complaining about semantics.)
The proposal. Another “sad” scene. Cristina is so afraid when Owen tries to come inside the apartment (late as usual, just kidding), impeded by the chain on the door. She is legitimately terrified. Judging from the heels on the floor and her being in a skirt, I think we can say that they were supposed to go out for dinner. Possibly, a dinner where Owen was going to propose because he’s carrying the engagement ring on him. The way he quickly takes off his jacket and the hint of a smile on his face as he walks in the door suggests to me that he’s excited about something. And then he notices how Cristina rushes to the couch and cocoons herself in the blanket and realizes that something is wrong.
“Cristina, what is this?” It seems like this is the first clue for Owen that Cristina is not okay. This is not her normal reaction to him being late. Usually, she’s frustrated at him. She’s never scared that he isn’t coming back. “I don’t want to be alone,” Cristina says. And Owen moves closer, one of his hands on her blanket-covered leg or ankle. Then, he gives her the words that she needs to hear and the symbol of security that she needs to cling onto. “You don’t ever have to be alone again. I’m not going anywhere, Cristina. I won’t ever leave again. You hear me? I’m not going anywhere, Cristina. If you’ll let me stay.” Cut to the ring that comes out of nowhere. (And what a gorgeous ring.)
Cristina grabs that ring like a drowning person grabs a lifesaver. She takes it from between Owen’s fingers and slips it onto her ring finger, uttering, “Thank you, thank you.” It’s an odd choice of words, isn’t it? She thanks him for proposing. Granted, he didn’t really say, “Will you marry me?” His proposal is in the fashion of their usual flow of dialogue. Owen making a promise or declaration, leaving it up to Cristina to decide if she wants it. The question is almost always implied. “I want to be around forty years from now.” (Can we still be together in forty years?) “All you have to do is meet me halfway. All you have to do is say yes.” (Can we get back together?) I love that about him, how he doesn’t want to pressure her into anything she doesn’t want to.
In this case, she clearly wants to marry him. Because Owen is showing her that he really does want to always be there for her. That he will make sure that she is never alone again. I love the way he strokes her hair and apologizes for being late (in coming home and possibly taking so long to get over his “confused” feelings about Teddy). And then she embraces him, and the camera switches to Owen, where we see this look of happy relief on his face that she said yes. Then he buries his face in her hair. Le sigh. What a lovely scene.
But not as lovely as the wedding sequence, beginning with Owen coming inside Meredith’s house (looking mighty fine in his suit) with a smile on his face because it’s his wedding day. How adorable is it that he glances up the staircase toward the bedroom where Cristina is? Love it. Also love that Meredith is being fully supportive of the marriage now, being quite kind to Owen and asking him how he is. I like the exchange between them as they remedy the missing Derek situation and the recovery of the ring. Owen has a minor freak-out over it, but it quickly passes when Meredith hands over the ring box. And back to his Zen and excited mode (if that’s even possible). I love how Meredith repeats Owen’s “okay.” And the look on Owen’s face as he says, “Yeah” in response to Meredith’s query as to whether he’s still good. You know he’s thinking about how in a few minutes, he and Cristina will be married. He’s got quite the dreamy look on his face. “She is going to come down those stairs, right?” And Meredith smiles reassuringly. (Another friendship I’m hoping for is Meredith and Owen. Or at least some sort of relationship that resembles what Cristina and Derek has.)
Cristina’s outfit is just gorgeous. Red is a great color on her. And that backwards necklace? Awesome. The dress is beautiful in its simplicity. (And hey, it’s a boon for Owen. Easy access for the wedding night.) I love how we are introduced to Cristina in her wedding dress by seeing her standing on Meredith and Derek’s bed looking at their Post-It vows. In all honesty, I thought the Post-It ceremony was quite sweet. And they’re just as valid as any vows. Of course, I’m completely grateful that Cristina and Owen are getting more of a real ceremony, but I consider Meredith and Derek married. And though Cristina has the impulse to make fun of it, she doesn’t – because she cares about Meredith. So, Meredith returns the favor and tells her that Owen is perfect – perfect for her. I think she even believes it – or at least willing to try and believe it.
Unlike at her previous wedding, Cristina is completely calm. She “knows” that she’s beautiful (that was funny), and she asks Meredith how Owen is in a manner that doesn’t convey any doubt that he’s downstairs waiting. Owen made that promise to her, and she feels secure in the knowledge that he will keep his word. She trusts him and knows that she can depend on him. And I truly believe that Owen will prove to be her rock throughout her healing process. He may not understand the full extent to how traumatized she was, but it doesn’t matter. In sickness and in health, he’s going to stay by her side. This marks a huge contrast to last season, where Owen spent a good chunk of the early episodes not being able to be there for her in the way she needed. I think this season is meant to remedy that, which is the likely reason that the writers placed Cristina in such a vulnerable position – to give Owen the chance to redeem himself for past mistakes.
Isn’t it just so sweet how Owen and Cristina can’t take their eyes off each other as she walks down the stairs? And how they walk down the aisle together instead of him waiting for her to come to him? That’s a huge symbol of what’s up ahead, in my opinion, and quite representative of their relationship. While Burke and Cristina’s relationship often consisted of Burke waiting for Cristina to come to his level, Cristina and Owen’s relationship has centered more on them taking things on together and meeting each other halfway. Hand in hand in the age-old show of union.
The closing voiceover that speaks of change is such a message to the fans that insist that this is out of character for Cristina. People change. Cristina changed. Through the natural process of growing and through the unnatural process of the traumatic event. You can’t expect someone to remain the same person after going through what Cristina did. “Go with it.” I’m definitely going along with it, especially since Cristina and Owen married. (I can’t say that enough.) “Like at any moment, we can have another chance at life. Like at any moment, we can be born all over again.” Amen to rebooting the Cristina and Owen relationship and going back to the things that made us fall in love with these two in the first place.
“I do.” Sure, they glossed over the vows, but I didn’t mind that. (As some of you know, the 6.5 writers also skipped over the vows. Perhaps the actual show writers did it for the same reason that we did: it’s basically impossible to find the perfect words that can encompass the bond and love that is Cristina and Owen. You will always go back and think that you could’ve written it better.) Just focus on how Owen can’t seem to stop smiling, how much in love they look as they slip on the wedding bands, and how Owen gets this emotional expression on his face right before he kisses Cristina. (And it’s a good kiss. No simple pecking for Owen and Cristina! I mean, he goes for it, but it’s still appropriate for the setting – as in, suitable for mothers of the groom who have no lines.) I love how he gently holds her by the arm and then his other hand slips around his waist. Seriously, I can watch this kiss on loop for days. The “I do” kiss – it’s going to be hard to beat.
I’m not going to lie. When I watched the premiere the first time around, I was quite taken aback by the lack of Cristina and Owen scenes in the first half of the episode. In any scene where they were both there, they were kept apart. During Derek’s speech, they’re standing several feet from each other. And in the gallery, Owen is standing next to the Chief instead of being near Cristina. I don’t know if there’s a missing scene that ended up on the cutting room floor or if it was intentional. I think it may be the latter. I think that if we saw a scene of Cristina and Owen in the present time (not including the wedding), it would open up a can of worms (aka Cristina’s post-traumatic stress issues) that just wouldn’t fit in this one-hour episode. As we know, that arc will essentially start in the next episode, where Cristina finally has a full breakdown. There just wasn’t enough time, and I am actually glad that they waited. Because this is Cristina and Owen’s wedding episode, and I am so happy that they ended it with them kissing as husband and wife. (Now, I just can’t wait for them to refer to each other as husband and wife.)
Husband and wife. It has a nice ring to it. From this moment on, I almost don’t care what drama is thrown at them because they’re facing it together as husband and wife. They have a stupid fight? Well, it’s a stupid married fight. They have angst? Well, it’s married angst. Of course, the timing of this marriage isn’t the best, but that’s the point. There is supposed to be drama; it’s Grey’s Anatomy. And it’s a gift to us that our couple’s drama is stemmed in adjusting to marriage (and all that this entails, including coveted domestic scenes, discussions about the future, etc.) and coming together to get Cristina better. It’s like season five all over again, and you know how much we loved season five. Except the tables have turned: Cristina is the one with the war wound, and Owen is the one will guide her way back to her “before.”
It’s unfortunate that the moment Cristina came into her own as a surgeon was also the same moment that traumatized her. Cristina in her “before” was career-driven to the point where she sometimes sacrificed her personal life. Her life was surgery, which is why she initially chose Teddy over Owen. In the “after”? She’s not the complete opposite; but given her speech about the brides in the magazine, she wants to be the type to choose love over surgery to some degree. This is pure speculation, but I think that by having this desire to be the complete opposite of who she was, she will learn to balance both. Because of the trauma, she is able to experience that domestic side of her that she never would’ve been able to otherwise, to deeply desire things like family, home, and security. I’m sure she wanted it before, but now she needs it. It is the reason why she thanks Owen for proposing to her because marriage represents all three.
I don’t think anyone would like it if Cristina did a complete about-turn on her original characterization. Not even Owen. (He did break things off with Beth, after all, and she was pretty much the complete opposite of Cristina.) He doesn’t want Cristina to lose her passion for surgery, knowing that it is a huge part of her identity – even if she’s wary of it now. So, I look forward to the journey that Cristina and Owen will embark on in respect to married life and Cristina’s healing.
One last time: Cristina and Owen are married!