“Shock to the System” (Shock to Cristina and Owen’s Storyline?)

 

Cristina and Owen in "Shock to the System." And oh what a joyful shock it was to see them have a great storyline again. (Property of Team JayZee)

 

What a great episode.  Without trying to jinx it, it really seems like this season is starting off on the right foot and heading in a great direction for our couple.  (Next episode will be the true test of the season, as that was when things started going downhill a bit last season.)  There was so much good stuff in this episode: funny, sweet, heartbreaking – it had it all.  This was the jumpstart that Cristina and Owen’s relationship – and the show – needed.  And boy were we spoiled with Cristina and Owen awesomeness.  Let’s get this post started and jump right into the goodies.  And needless to say, this is going to be a super long one.  (Yay!)

“They say that lightning never strikes twice, but that’s a myth.”  And it really is.  Who would’ve thought that Cristina would ever walk down that aisle again?  Without needing to be kicked down it, no less – as Meredith was prepared to do the last time around.  Say it with me: Cristina and Owen are married.  And as we fade into the scene of them waking up in their hotel room bed, with proof of their nuptials from the night before, the fact that they really are married just gets driven all the way home.

Cristina’s wedding dress and Owen’s white button-down shirt lay at the foot of the bed.  Champagne sits in an ice bucket to the side of the bed.  Owen strokes Cristina’s hair as he watches her slowly wake up.  I love the look on Cristina’s face when she responds to Owen’s “morning” with one of her own.  Her brows furrow in slight confusion as the fact that she’s married hasn’t quite caught up to her semi-awake brain yet.  And Owen’s just lying there, waiting for the inevitable moment of realization that, yes, they are really married.

As she looks up to the ceiling and the fact that they are not in their bed at home starts entering her consciousness, Cristina instantly wakes up.  No, last night was not some dream.  Yes, that is her engagement ring and wedding band on her finger.  Yes, she is officially a married woman.  Yes, Owen is officially her husband.  It’s hilarious.

It cracks me up that Owen immediately sits up after Cristina, prepared with a speech that he’s probably been formulating the moment he woke up.  Quite a Boy Scout, right?  Always be prepared.  Multigrain snack bar?  Check.  Pep talk?  Check.  Plan for the day?  Check.  He knows Cristina well enough to expect her to freak out over this major life event.  Though, for Cristina’s sake, he’s downplaying it.  “Just…just stay calm.  You need to take some deep breaths.  We’re…we’re just married.  And we’re just going to get up and go to work, like always…  Let’s just get up, get naked, get in the shower, have a little morning soapy sex, and I’m going to wash your hair.  I’ve always wanted to wash your hair.”  And then he nods encouragingly.

See the wagging finger? It means I've got a plan. (Property of Team JayZee)

First of all?  Morning soapy sex?  Uh, yes, please.  Granted, we have to leave it up to our imagination (I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a real “creative” one – comes with the territory), but it’s hot nonetheless.  (And if you feel like using someone else’s imagination, you can always go read angelamermaid’s fanfiction.  She loves her some shower sex.)  Second of all, the washing of Cristina’s hair.  The way he says it just reminds me of “Beat Your Heart Out” when he told her that he liked the back of her neck.  It’s like he has this secret miles-long list of things he wants to do with Cristina, ways she turns him on, and qualities he loves in her.  Quite endearing.  You have to wonder why he didn’t wash her hair before.  Guess now that they’re married, they get to do all sorts of things together they never did before.  Domesticated life – oh how adorable you are.  It reminds me of this romance novel I was reading, and how the male protagonist mused about how being married meant he could pat his wife’s butt.  In this case, Owen gets to wash his wife’s hair.  These small intimacies that don’t seem like much but certainly speak volumes about a relationship.  Though I do love grander romantic gestures, I quite cherish the subtle behaviors of daily life.  And I look forward to more domestic interactions between them.

Morning soapy sex? Yes, please! (Property of Team JayZee)

There are some who call Owen’s preparation evidence of him knowingly having manipulated her into marrying him.  Well, we know this not to be true.  He simply knows Cristina.  She doesn’t make great leaps in relationships easily, though she’s getting better at it.  Marriage is a huge leap from where we were at the end of season six.  It’s why none of us were expecting it so soon.  But Cristina later tells Meredith that she entered this marriage thinking it would fix her.  (And in the season premiere, she told Meredith that she’d be better in a few days – as in, after she was married.)  I’m sure it’s not her only reason that she agreed to marry Owen (e.g. he’s the love of her life), but it does suggest that she wanted this marriage, too.  It was her choice.  She may not have made it while completely ready, but I don’t think anyone is ever completely ready for married life.  There are always some adjustments that need to be made, and Cristina has more than most given her situation.  Owen didn’t force her into anything.  He left it up to her, telling her that he would never leave her – if she would have him stay.  Like I said, no kicking down the aisle necessary.

In the next scene, Cristina tells Meredith, “Owen washed my hair” as she looks down at her ring (prompting Meredith to take a closer look), “and he told me to eat this grainy nut bar.  And he booked me into surgery this morning.  He is in charge of me.  I’m a bride, and I’m going with it.”  Instantly, we know something is wrong (not that we didn’t know from before when she panicked on Owen being late).  When has Cristina ever willingly let someone else be in charge of her and her decisions?  We don’t want her to be so submissive, but for now, this is how she can cope with what’s going on in her life.  She lost a piece of herself to Gary Clark, and she cannot trust herself to make good decisions.  Because “simple” people don’t continue operating with a gun pressed to their head.  It’s not the logical decision, and Cristina is known for her rationality.  But in that moment, in the OR, she made a choice based solely out of love and forsake the rational part of her brain that told her to survive.

Look at the size of this thing! (Property of Team JayZee)

“I’m a bride.”  She’s Owen’s bride.  And though I loved hearing a reference to Cristina and Owen’s marital status, I also saw this as a sign of Cristina being lost about who she is without surgery.  She can’t be a surgeon if she can’t be in an OR and cut.  She has lost the thirst to cut.  Bill Harper, the writer of this episode, writes in the blog: “But after being so badly hurt in what is arguably her favorite place in the world – the [OR –] Cristina barely knows herself now, that’s the reason she would be content to let Owen take the driver’s seat.  She can trust him, he’s the only thing she can count on right now.”  This is a huge contrast from her last wedding day, where she demanded to make some incision because she felt like she was losing herself to Burke.  Because she no longer felt like Dr. Cristina Yang but the future Mrs. Preston Burke.  Her identity was being overshadowed.  With Owen, I don’t foresee the same issue because she’s not his competition.  They aren’t in the same specialty, and he isn’t her mentor.  And I really believe their marriage will be one of equals.  But still, she seems too complacent in allowing Owen to be in charge of her.  (Nor do I think Owen wants to be “in charge” of her.  He obviously wants Cristina to find herself and be able to make her own choices.  History has shown just how much he values her freewill.)  Something is obviously wrong, and we see this come into fruition later in the episode.

Cristina asking Meredith for marriage advice is rather mind-blowing if we take a step back and realize that she’s asking advice on a relationship that has had so many ups and downs, it could make for a wild rollercoaster ride.  Yet, the Meredith and Derek relationship really has become stable after all these years, and that’s a good sign for where Cristina and Owen are headed.  Both had their own rocky starts, but both are heading towards “better parts.”  Another warning sign?  “After you scribbled on the Post-It, did you feel different?” she asks, implying that she doesn’t.  Cristina really believed that getting married would cure her in some way, which is irrational but understandable.  By taking a huge step forward in her relationship, she thought it would apply toward her own progress in the aftermath of the shooting.  Unfortunately for her, things don’t work that way.

Owen has good intentions.  But as we know, having good intentions doesn’t always work out in the way one would hope.  As he and Teddy try to convince the Chief to let Cristina scrub in, you see how Owen sincerely believes that getting her into the OR is the way to help ease her back into surgery.  And having Teddy there advocating for Cristina (with the best intentions as well, for once) just adds to the reality that the triangle is dead, Owen and Teddy are strictly platonic, and Teddy’s major role in Cristina’s life will be strictly mentoring.  And that’s just the way we like it.

Segue into the most hilariously awkward scene I’ve ever seen Cristina and Owen involved in.  Maybe ever.  Yes, let’s talk about your ex-fiancé in front of your new husband.  Linda Cottler, the patient, remembers Cristina back when she was about to get married to Burke.  And cue the circle of confusion.  “You were getting married, weren’t you?”  Teddy, thinking (for some odd reason) that they’re talking about Owen, says, “Got married.  I mean, last night actually.”  Obviously, if the last time they were here was when Burke was here, Owen hadn’t even come to Seattle Grace yet.  Absolutely adore the look on Owen’s face.  All smiles.  Yep, he’s one happily married man.  “To Dr. Burke?” Mr. Cottler asks.  And the smile on Owen’s face goes bye-bye.  Uh…no.  Not to Dr. Burke.

Yes, we are married. Happy face. (Property of Team JayZee)

Wait, what? Not so happy face. (Property of Team JayZee)

Uh, I don't want to hear this. WTF part deux face. (Property of Team JayZee)

Now, Teddy is confused.  “Last time we were here, he said you two were getting married,” the patient explains.  Cue to Owen’s face again.  Now it’s “WTF” face part deux.  I imagine he’s thinking something along the lines of, Are we seriously going to bring up Cristina’s ex-fiancé on the day after our wedding?  Are we really going to talk about how my wife nearly married another man? “Oh yes…” Cristina says.  And there’s this long pause as Teddy turns to look at her.  It’s almost as if she just acknowledged that she got married to Burke, which is obviously not the case.  She catches herself.  “No…  No, that didn’t happen,” she says, laughing awkwardly.

Then, the patient makes it worse by saying how Burke “went on and on” about her.  Yes, that’s exactly what her husband wants to hear, how another man loved his wife.  And watch how Cristina’s eyes drift in Owen’s direction.  (Don’t worry, Owen, Cristina is married to you.  And Burke is long gone.)  I love how Owen answers the husband after he asks, “But you did get married?”  As Owen steps back to stand by his wife, he responds, “We did.  Last night.  Yes, we did.”  Just to emphasize his point: Cristina and Owen, not Cristina and Burke.  See?  Look at us, the happy couple with our polite and awkward smiles over this whole mess of a situation.

I think this is the first time we’ve seen Cristina and Owen swept up in a humorous romantic entanglement.  (Like George and Izzie in the cafeteria scene of “Beat Your Heart Out” when their past relationship was alluded to in front of Alex over a discussion of different sex positions.)  Beth’s reappearance barely made a dent, and it led to the poignant “see me” scene.  Don’t get me started on the crap that came with Teddy.  And Cristina’s exes aren’t exactly in the position to show up.  (Read my lips: Burke is never coming back.  And I doubt Colin Marlow is either.  Though, I would pay good money to see Marlow try to grab Cristina’s butt in front of her husband.  I’ve got a feeling Owen wouldn’t be so calm about it.  He is a redhead after all.)

The scene is just a comedic gem.  With Jackson staring at Cristina and Owen with this stupid grin on his face, reveling in their awkwardness; Teddy not knowing what to say; the patient and her husband digging themselves deeper and deeper into a hole; and Cristina and Owen unable to look at each other directly, only with sidelong glances.  And out they go to their escape.  But seriously, this scene was a hoot.  I hope we get more like these.  What I really appreciate is that we can still have humorous scenes amidst the drama.  Even though Cristina is in her dark place, she can still be part of lighter moments.  That was what was missing last season – this balance of light and dark within an episode.  So things started feeling heavy, and we definitely felt its burden.  This scene reminded me of old-school Grey’s Anatomy.  We’re going back to the basics, baby, and I’m loving it.

We see the Cottlers again, but this time, it’s only Teddy and Cristina.  They’re hesitant about the surgery, and there are all sorts of subtext within the scene.  “I’m sorry,” the husband says.  “Why is this better than what Dr. Burke did? …  Because what you and Dr. Burke; it’s kept her with me so far.  If this was your husband, would you let Dr. Altman tear apart his heart?”  It is rather intriguing that they brought up Burke in this episode – the one right after Cristina and Owen get married.  It bodes well for us, honestly.  Let’s take apart Mr. Cottler’s lines.

“Why is this better than Dr. Burke did?”  How is this radical and new approach better than the conservative and old one?  How is Owen and Cristina’s relationship “better than” Burke and Cristina’s?  Obviously, I prefer the former.  But it’s an unfair comparison.  We often compare Owen and Burke to each other: their characterization, their relationship with Cristina, and their relationship among the group of doctors.  Owen and Burke are too different in characterization to deem one objectively “better” than the other.  (Once again, I clearly am more of an Owen fan than a Burke fan.)  In regards to their relationship with Cristina?  Well, they’ve both had their ups and downs with her, but Owen automatically wins this round for sticking with her – even when she bruises his ego or runs off scared.  As for relationship with the other characters?  Well, Owen is starting to win that round, it seems, with the way things are going: Derek and Owen being referred to as “brothers” and Meredith’s stamp of approval.  I see these four as family, and I think Derek regards Owen as a brother-in-law.

Burke and Cristina’s relationship was “conservative” in the sense that it followed Cristina’s pattern of partners.  Until Owen, she chose men who were in the power of furthering her career.  I don’t mean to say that she was using them, but she continually picked mentors.  That stopped at Owen.  When they first met, he was just a hot army surgeon badass who swept her off her feet and kissed her.  Owen teaches Cristina at times, but he’s not her mentor.  And that’s new for her.  Not to mention, she fell in love with a man who was clearly broken, entering into the relationship knowing that this was not going to be a casual fling.  She jumped in heart first.  With Burke, it was jumping in bed first.  And we can infer that this was the case for her previous relationships as she didn’t truly start investing in her relationships emotionally until Burke.

Another interesting line is how what Burke and Cristina did kept Linda alive “so far.”  As though it was a stepping stone to Cristina and Owen getting married and spending the rest of their lives together.  Obviously, Shonda could not have predicted Isaiah Washington’s actions, leading to Burke’s departure.  But it worked out that way, with Cristina starting to learn what it is to be in a serious, monogamous relationship with Burke, and then continuing her progress with Owen.  Teddy describes Burke’s surgical procedure as “correct.”  And in the same line of reasoning, so was Cristina and Burke’s relationship – for where Cristina was at.  I still believe that Cristina and Owen’s relationship could not have made it to where it was today if it weren’t for Cristina having first doing the growing-up she did with Burke.  Though she still has the sporadic urge to run away when things get tough, she has demonstrated maturity by staying with Owen through his PTSD and returning to him after running to Meredith’s.  (It also helps that Owen simply won’t let her toss him aside.  He promised that he would never leave her alone, and he’s going to keep that promise.)  Owen is what is “correct” for her now – and in the future.  He’s like Linda’s last surgery.

Would Burke and Cristina have gotten to this point?  I don’t know.  They had their own issues that needed to be resolved, and it’s difficult to project where they would’ve headed because a lot of season three was setting up for Burke’s departure.  In “State of Love and Trust,” she tells Owen that she would’ve married Burke.  I believe it.  She loved Burke.  But – and it’s a big “but” – she loves Owen more than she loved Burke.  Also, Cristina and Owen were thrown together by fate and bonded together in trauma – as Bill Harper says in the writers’ blog.  So, they’ve got that added layer.  It reminds me of the answer Kevin McKidd constantly gave to explain Owen’s relationship with Teddy, how people who go through war together bond in a way that cannot be understood by anyone else.  Well, Cristina and Owen had and have their own share of trauma, and because of it, they understand each other on a level that no one else can.  And it’s why these two remain together even when it seems like they should’ve broken up – as in, any other couple would have broken up faced with the same situation.  (Plus, even when they’re “broken up,” they aren’t really broken up.  Owen does therapy to be a better man for Cristina.  Cristina is still concerned with how Owen’s doing and whether he told his mother that he’s back home.  Owen rushes back into the hospital to get Cristina out, despite there being a shooter on the loose.  Cristina continues to think of Owen as “her guy.”)

And finally, the patient’s husband asks if Cristina would go through with this surgery if it were Owen in Linda’s shoes.  Would she take this leap of faith if it were Owen?  The answer is yes.  Because she did.  She got married.  And like the surgery, it’s permanent.  No need to come back and get a tune-up every few years or so.  “This is what you want,” Cristina tells them.  But she’s almost telling herself the same.  This “aggressive” approach in getting married so soon after the shooting to help fix what is broken inside of her.  She was wrong in thinking that it would cure her; but she was right in intuitively knowing that being with Owen would put her on the path toward getting better.  Just as Owen couldn’t have made it without Cristina’s support, Cristina can’t make it without his.

The look on Owen's face right before he kisses her. Swoon-worthy, right? (Property of Team JayZee)

Luckily for Cristina, Owen is in one hundred percent support mode.  (This is a favorable change from last season, where Owen spent the first part of the season not understanding what Cristina was going through with the merger.)  Seeing that Cristina still has hesitation and a dazed air about her, he tries giving her words of encouragement.  “It’s just getting back on the horse; that’s all it is.”  He’s trying to make it seem easy breezy to alleviate her anxiety.  Speaking of horses, he reminds me of a trainer trying to calm a jittery horse.  Soft tones, no sudden movements, and soothing words.  Cristina wants to believe him – she really does.  And maybe, if she keeps telling herself that Owen is right, that she’s ready, then maybe she will be.

Um, how sweet was that kiss?  I swear I could hear “awws” and “squees” from all over the world on that one.  Tender and loving.  Le sigh.  Have you noticed that they often kiss in twos?  The cocktail party kiss was a duo.  The first bridge kiss was a duo.  (Though subtly so.)  I love it.  Also, if you watch closely (as I do), Cristina keeps her head there as if she’s waiting for that second kiss.  She only pulls back afterwards.  Cute, huh?  I can watch this on loop all day.  I don’t know why, but it just screams “married kiss” to me.

Husband and wife kiss. Aww. (Property of Team JayZee)

So many times, Cristina and Owen’s kisses get bashed as “face-eating.”  (I call it “passion,” but to each their own.  Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.)  There is no way this could be mistaken for that.  The tone of this kiss is intimacy: husband and wife having a moment to themselves.  Or, more specifically, husband trying to take wife’s fears away.  And the look on his face right before he leans over to kiss her.  Words can’t begin to capture the emotions written on his face.  Let’s just call it “love et al.”  It’s scenes like this one that we didn’t get to see as much last season.  It reminds me of the on-call room scene at the end of “Beat Your Heart Out” when Owen falls asleep on Cristina, except the roles are reversed.  (But I think we’re going to get one that is much more reminiscent of that in the next episode, judging from the promos.)

At the end of this scene, Owen says, trying to elicit a smile out of her, “This is one hell of a honeymoon, right?”  And she does smile, but it doesn’t ring true.  She’s still terrified of the OR.  Owen knows this, but he hopes that by going through a surgery and having nothing bad happen, she will begin to feel safe there again.  (Unluckily for him, Jackson knocks over a tray.)  Exposure therapy: facing your fear in a controlled environment.  I honestly think it could’ve worked had it gone off without a hitch (stupid Jackson, watch where you’re going) because Cristina was hanging in there.  But by having something “bad” happen, it just added to her pre-existing association of negative events occurring in the OR.

You’d have to imagine that Owen would prefer to go on an actual honeymoon with Cristina rather than go to work.  To whisk her away from the hospital so she doesn’t have to think about the shooting.  But he believes that going back to work is what is going to help her, so he finagles his way into assigning her to this surgery.  (And oddly enough, doing a cardio surgery when he’s a trauma guy.  Obviously, there was no way Owen was not going to be in on Cristina’s first surgery back.  He’s keeping an eye on her.  It comes with the territory being, you know, her husband.  And Jackson and Teddy being there was necessary as well with Teddy being her mentor – and the actual cardio person – and Jackson being part of her traumatic event.)  Also, this is Grey’s Anatomy, where almost every scene takes place in the hospital or their homes.  The last time someone went on a honeymoon, it was Meredith and Cristina.  This show doesn’t really do faraway trips.  I think the furthest was Los Angeles for the introduction of Private Practice.

We get another glimpse of the “before” Cristina whilst solving the Wheel of Fortune riddle.  Cristina is one smart cookie, solving “Scarlet Pimpernel” with only a C and M revealed.  (Yep, she’s a brain and beauty.  Just as Owen is both brain and brawn.)  But interestingly, she’s actually asking Meredith about her personal life.  There was a time (e.g. season five premiere where she gets stabbed by an icicle while trying to avoid listening to Meredith talk about Derek) when Cristina couldn’t tolerate talking about Derek.  Now, she’s actually instigating conversation about him.  (And demonstrating her dry wit at the same time.  “Right.  Just got out of the joint.  Let him ease back into society.”  Plus, we can’t forget this one-liner: “Fifty says she’s back in the coo-coo nest by lunch.”)

Apparently, multigrain granola bars make you super smart. (Property of Team JayZee)

Jackson asks her if she’s nervous, trying to gauge her mood while they sit around the television.  He tries again in the scrub room, telling her that it brings him comfort to know that they’re going to be in there together.  And Cristina proves how good she is at hiding her feelings when Jackson deems that she’s back.  We know better.  Trouble is brewing just under the surface.

Teddy also welcomes her back as Cristina takes out the heart.  I love how Cristina looks to Owen after Teddy asks her to remove it, and he gives her a nod of encouragement.  As I said before, she couldn’t be in here without Owen.  I foresee her really leaning on Owen throughout her ordeal, and Owen more than willing to provide her with the help she needs.  As will some of the other doctors.  She’s got a lot of people in her corner.  Jackson and Teddy show their support in this episode.  Meredith, of course.  (And in the promo for the next episode, we see Derek fighting for Cristina as well.)  It’s fantastic.  Go Team Cristina!

In the next scene, Cristina has been doing fine for almost three hours (Owen calls out two hours and forty-two minutes).  But then, Jackson knocks over a tray, and Cristina falls to the ground unseen.  Great decision to make this occur off-camera so that it’s understandable how no one notices until Teddy calls for her and there’s no response.

Someone give this woman an Emmy, please. (Property of Team JayZee)

I love how the moment Owen realizes something is wrong, he starts calling for her.  “Cristina?”  I know this is dorky, but I still love it when Owen calls her “Cristina” instead of “Yang” or “Dr. Yang.”  I think it’s because it took him thirteen episodes to say it.  Before, in professional settings, he would call her “Dr. Yang.”  (Derek also calls Meredith “Dr. Grey” sometimes.)  But this isn’t a time for professionalism.  His wife is on the floor, and he can’t get to her because his hands are stuck in a woman’s chest cavity.

I may be overanalyzing here (wouldn’t be surprised if I were), but the writers made some interesting choices for this scene.  First, it’s a time-sensitive surgery, and they’re already running behind.  Some people, upon only seeing the promo, had thought it frustrating that Owen wasn’t going to Cristina.  Well, this explains why.  He can’t – not unless he wants to risk killing the patient.  And how do you think that would make Cristina feel?  That she inadvertently caused the death of a patient because of her trauma?  (Did you see how she immediately asked about the patient in the locker room scene later in the episode?)  If this surgery didn’t have so much of a time constraint and the patient would be fine without him, you know he would have immediately gone to Cristina’s side.  There’s no question about it.  But, this scene wasn’t written that way.

Second, they have Jackson assisting Owen instead of Cristina.  This allows for Cristina to fall unnoticed and places Jackson in a position to cause the accident.  The reason why Cristina falls to the floor is because there’s a loud noise (that reminds her of Owen getting shot) which she can’t account for.  If she had knocked over the tray herself, it’s doubtful that she would have had the same response because she would know and see what happened.  But in the way that things played out, she doesn’t know or see what happens; she just hears a sudden clang and drops to the floor in fear.

This breakdown needed to happen.  It sets Cristina (and Owen) up for their overarching storyline for the season in regards to getting her better, and it creates a situation for all of Cristina’s insecurities and doubts to come to the surface in regards to the marriage.  From the day we found out that Cristina and Owen were going to get married in the first episode, the biggest question on everyone’s mind was whether they were going to make it into something they’d regret.  And this episode deals with this question in a major way.  But I’ll talk more of that later when we get to the locker room scene and the final scene.

Sandra Oh is getting some amazing material in this scene.  And she’s knocking it out of the ballpark.  She sells this scene like no other.  You can feel her fear as she flashes back to Clark shooting Owen.  Although it’s heartbreaking, it’s also sweet in a way.  Her fear of the OR stems in the fact that this is where she almost lost Owen.  And she almost lost Meredith as well.  It explains why she has this intense fear of being alone.  The two people who matter to her the most nearly died.  And who would she have had if they were both gone?  No one really.  At least not anyone who could remotely compare to Owen and Meredith.  They are her family.

Owen realizes that things are worse than he thought. (Property of Team JayZee)

Owen tries to help Cristina from afar, but it doesn’t work.  She’s triggered, and she needs more than words.  You can tell the second Owen realizes that things are worse than he thought.  (It’s after he tells Cristina to go and get the tissue, but she doesn’t move.)  Cristina had everyone fooled with her brave front.  She even had Meredith fooled.  I say this because Meredith would not have allowed Cristina into the OR if she thought this would happen.  Meredith is very protective of Cristina (just as Owen is).  And I dislike the fact that people pile all the blame on Owen for not noticing.  Meredith didn’t notice either.  She took Cristina’s word for it.  They all did.  She’s very good at pretending to be okay.

The scene between Meredith and Cristina is devastatingly good.  It reminds me of Izzie on the bathroom floor after Denny died, and everyone took turns lying down next to her.  Except Owen can’t lie down next to her because he’s saving a woman’s life.  But Meredith can, and she lies there next to her “person.”  Meredith and Cristina – my second favorite ship.  After a while, Cristina is finally ready to leave, and they walk out with Meredith holding Cristina’s hand in assurance that she’s really here.  (Anyone else notice the little snafu as Cristina’s hand gets caught in the folds of Meredith’s surgical gown for a second?)  So that Cristina can feel something.

Can you feel this? (Property of Team JayZee)

Poor Mr. Cottle.  He confuses Cristina’s tearful apology as being news that his wife didn’t make it, but thankfully, Meredith is there to set the record straight.  What he feels in that brief moment is what Cristina had shoved aside in order to successfully operate on Derek.  She has not come to grips with that grief – the aftermath of almost losing Meredith and Owen.  And until she does, she will be wracked with self-doubt and fear of abandonment.

Let’s sidestep to Mark and Lexie for a moment.  Their arc for this episode mirrors Cristina and Owen’s.  Some would use Callie’s argument to suggest that it was the wrong time for Owen to propose, since Cristina is at her worst right now and she’s not herself.  But Mark gives the rebuttal and voices the exact sentiment that Owen represents: “I know who she is.  And if she’s going through her worse right now, I want to go through it with her.  She makes me happier than… anything I’ve ever known.  And if I can have a part in making her happy again, that’s all I want to do.  That’s all I want to do for the rest of my life.”  Callie is sold, and so should we all.  Owen wasn’t trying to manipulate Cristina by taking advantage of her at her weakest moment.  Just as Mark isn’t trying to take advantage of Lexie by wanting to propose right now.  All Owen wants to do is stand by Cristina’s side and hold her hand throughout all this, just as she did for him.  To help her find herself again and spend the rest of his life making her happy.  Cristina and Owen are living what Mark wants for him and Lexie.  It bodes well for us – not so much for Mark and Lexie (as she shoots him down before he can tell her).

Then Owen comes to check on his wife.  He’s got worry and guilt written all over his face.  (Quick note: Cristina puts on her wedding ring, which made my day, but I know that this was so that she could take it off later and put it Owen’s hand.  I got a kick out of seeing their matching wedding bands throughout the episode, but I’m not expecting Cristina to wear hers after this.  I think it’d be nice if she did, but she wasn’t the ring-wearing type before so I’m not holding my breath.)  He tries to defend his decision to have her scrub in by saying how they couldn’t have saw that accident coming, as if to say, “My intention wasn’t to make things worse.”

Owen comes to apologize. (Property of Team JayZee)

Cristina’s “I can’t… I can’t do it” reminds me of “Elevator Love Letter” when she told him that she couldn’t handle it after all.  And lo and behold, we get the same result: they “break up.”  Don’t hit me just yet, I’m going to tell you why it’s a good thing I’m labeling this as a “break up.”  The anti-Cristina and Owen viewers out there, upon hearing the news of their marriage, have insisted that Cristina and Owen are going to break up (and commit adultery – which I can’t see happening, especially with Jackson and Teddy, the common choices).  I saw it in posts under every media article relating to the Cristina and Owen’s nuptials.  Well, to them I say, here you go.  Here’s their “break up.”  (And Cristina and Owen never “break up” more than once a season.  So, glad we got that out of the way.)  In a moment of self-doubt, Cristina hands back her wedding ring (guess she’s keeping her engagement ring).  Bill Harper explains: “But when [Owen’s] plan goes so horribly wrong in the OR – when lightning strikes the same place twice – [Cristina] can no longer trust any of his decisions, or her own…She mistrusts the very impulse to marry him.   Her first, unavoidable instinct is to reverse everything she’s done.”

She’s reacting out of fear and anger.  And Owen’s anger in this scene is directed at himself, for putting her in this situation.  “You’ve never not been ready.”  It’s true.  Cristina is always prepared when it comes to surgery.  She memorizes the patient’s file; she’s practiced the procedure; and she knows what she is doing.  We have seen this time and time again throughout the show.  No wonder everyone thought she could be ready when the time came for it.  But this is no longer the case.

“I don’t feel anything.  I can’t be in there.  And if I can’t be in there, I don’t know where I’m supposed to be.”  Poor Cristina, she’s lost again.  It’s back to season four.  “You’re supposed to be here.  You’re my wife.  You can just be here.”  Not exactly what Cristina needs to hear right now, but I did swoon a bit at him calling her his wife.  I get what he’s trying to say though.  It harkens back to “An Honest Mistake” when Dr. Campbell asked Cristina what she would have if she didn’t have surgery.  Cristina would have Owen.  That’s what Owen is referring to.  She may not be able to count on surgery right now, but she can still count on him.  I think Owen’s “here” is not necessarily just the hospital but “here” in general.  She can just be who she is – even in her broken state – and he’d still love her.  (And that’s the answer I’m expecting in next week’s episode to Cristina’s question, “Would you love me if I wasn’t a surgeon?”)  He’s her husband, and he promised to love her for the rest of his life.  She doesn’t need to do anything for it.

Owen's not giving up on their marriage. (Property of Team JayZee)

But Cristina, who wanted to believe that getting married would be an instant cure-all, is angry that she still can’t go into an OR without being frightened.  So she says that she’s sorry and leaves Owen – sans wedding band.  I love that image of Owen closing his fist over the ring, and we see his matching one.  He isn’t going to let her go that easily.  They made vows, and he’s going to stick with them.  He didn’t enter this marriage or put on that wedding band lightly.  He knew he was in for darker times; he just didn’t realize how dark till now.  But it’s not going to scare him off because he loves her.

As the camera pans down on Meredith and Cristina, Meredith says in her voiceover, “But sometimes, the odds are in your favor” right before Cristina goes into how fifty percent of marriages end in divorce.  For me, it suggests that the odds are in Meredith and Cristina’s favor.  They will not be the fifty percent that end in divorce.  “I thought it would fix me.”  “That’s not why he married you.”  “Well, he didn’t marry me, he married a corpse.  I’m dead inside.”  (Nice to see that wit come back yet again.)  She’s obviously not dead inside.  In fact, she feels too much, which is a symptom of post-traumatic stress.  She couldn’t even move in the OR because she was so afraid.

If that wasn’t enough comfort to ease our worries, Meredith tells her friend, “You got married, Cristina, for better or for worse.  This is the ‘worse’ part.  The thing is, there will be ‘better’ parts.  You should go back.”  See?  There will be better times ahead.  We just need to get through the darker times.  But hey, I can be patient.  It helps that we are getting some great scenes out of it – both comedic and dramatic.

I really love this version of Meredith, the pro-Owen one.  The one who Cristina can turn to for legitimate relationship advice.  Once again, borrowing from the writers’ blog: “…many great partnerships are strengthened by adversity.  And it’s why Mer tells Cristina, basically, that whatever mistakes she’s made, being with Owen is not one of them.  And that she should stick.   I’m really glad she does.”  I’m glad, too, that Meredith encourages Cristina to go back to Owen (which I think would’ve happened anyway, especially after Owen’s speech) and that Cristina goes home with Owen in the end.

Wow, you really are good at these speeches, Owen. (Property of Team JayZee)

Cue Owen’s entrance.  He doesn’t even wait for a response to his knocking before barging right in.  It looks like he’s headed upstairs, thinking that Cristina is in Meredith’s bed (which is understandable since those two have spent a lot of time in Meredith’s bed); but he stops short as he spies Cristina and Meredith in the living room.  His hair and his jacket are wet from the pouring rain.  But it doesn’t faze him in the least because he’s a man on a mission called “Get Wife Back.”

Owen’s speech is made of awesome.  It’s so awesome that I just have to transcribe it here:

You don’t feel nothing.  All right?  You didn’t feel nothing today.  You felt scared, you felt terrified, and you felt angry.  You were angry at me…  And after what you’ve been through, you’re allowed.  All right?  That’s what you should be feeling.  I know because when I was there, I felt all those things and I… I took it all out on you.  And you were patient, and you were kind, and you stayed through it all…because you loved me.  You love me.  So, uh…  You can be scared with me or you can be pissed with me or at me.  I don’t care because I’m going to stay through it all.  I’m not going anywhere, Cristina.  I’m not going anywhere…without you.

Seriously, if Meredith – or anyone, for that matter – wasn’t convinced as to how much Owen loves Cristina, he just proved it.  I think this is the first time Meredith has heard one of Owen’s speeches, given that he usually reserves them for when Cristina and he are alone.  But he is so focused on getting Cristina back that he doesn’t even care that he’s exposing himself to Meredith in the process.  His primary concern is Cristina and letting her know that he meant it when he said he wasn’t ever going to leave her.  Let’s face it, Owen is a man of few words.  But when he uses his words, he sure knows how to use them.

Owen coming to get his wife and proving that he really isn't going anywhere without her. (Property of Team JayZee)

It’s this speech that tells us that Cristina and Owen are going to make it.  It’s Cristina coming over to him and saying, “Let’s go home” that seals it.  A mixture of fear and relief flashes across his face as Cristina heads outside: fear of almost losing her and relief in her coming back to him.  (I don’t know how she got to Meredith’s house, since Owen and Cristina went to work together.  Maybe it took Owen so long to get there because Cristina stole his ride.  She was dry and he was wet after all.  It’s quite a mystery!)

Couldn't resist putting in this hilarious facial expression. (Property of Team JayZee)

Okay, this next part with Meredith and Owen is hilarious.  “I had already fixed her before you came, but that was a nice speech.”  Indeed, Meredith did help “fix” Cristina, but it wouldn’t have worked if there was no solid foundation for Cristina and Owen’s relationship.  And the credit for that goes to Owen, for coming after Cristina.  I love the funny bit of confused movement as Owen leaves Meredith’s house.  He gets turned around, opting to do a full circle instead of just closing the door behind him.  Meredith’s (sudden) acceptance of him is a shocker to him, given that they were at odds for the latter part of season six.  But she’s smiling at him and complimenting him, it’s got him off-kilter.  I see the beginning of a truce – perhaps even a friendship – between these two, what with their shared goal of helping Cristina find herself.  And I hope we get to see more friendly exchanges between them.  It’s got me so excited for this season.  Heck, everything in the first two episodes (and the spoilers for the next few) has me ridiculously optimistic about this season.  I can’t help myself.

"Let's go home." Cristina stops running away. (Property of Team JayZee)

“If you are in just the right place at just the right time, you can take a hell of a hit and still have a shot of surviving.”  In the season six finale, Cristina was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up having a gun pointed to her head as she operated on her best friend’s husband.  And this set off a chain of events that were out of her control: Owen getting shot, Jackson faking Derek’s death, and Meredith’s miscarriage.  But now?  Now, she’s in the right place – with Owen – at just the right time.  She definitely took a huge hit, but she definitely has a chance of making it.  Under different circumstances, getting married so soon after calling it quits would be bad timing.  But the circumstances surrounding Cristina and Owen’s marriage will hopefully prove that it happened at just the right time for Cristina to get better.

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19 responses to ““Shock to the System” (Shock to Cristina and Owen’s Storyline?)

  1. Woo, shout-out!

    I missed all of those Burke layers in the scene with the Cottlers and Teddy and Cristina. Interesting! I can only pray that the rest of this season matches the high standard set in this episode.

    Does Team JayZee have a website for those great caps?

    • Team JayZee is just athebeach and me. These are her screencaps. We are dorks who decided to name ourselves that because we are the only ones who like Jo and Zane of Eureka. Get it? J and Z? Haha, I know. So clever.

      ETA: Wrote the above comment while working, so I had to keep it brief. Now, I shall expand…

      Yes, a shout-out! It’s like they are catering to your fantasy. Awesome, right? And athebeach doesn’t release her screencaps online. Sorry. 😦

      Is far_to_nowhere no longer screencapping?

  2. Loved every word of it (all 11 pages LOL)! I am also very optimistic about this season, I have my fingers crossed.

  3. Wonderful analysis, shli. Thank you! So many great observations. One that jumped out at me was how the Mark/Lexie story line is, at this point at least, a “mirror” of Cristina and Owen’s. ITA that Mark’s speech, although presented as an expression of his motivations in wanting to propose to Lexie, is the perfect explanation of Owen’s reasons for proposing to Cristina when and how he did. The two story lines mirrored each other in another way, as well. Mark spent the whole episode trying to help Lexie by sheltering her, by keeping her out of surgery, by treating her (however well-meaning his motives) like a child. Owen tried to help Cristina by getting her back into surgery, by encouraging her to reclaim her place as a surgeon and as an adult. Both efforts failed, of course, but IMO Owen’s approach showed both his respect for his wife, as a person and as a professional, and his understanding that being a surgeon is a critical component of who she is. Mark’s attempts to protect Lexie by holding her back were no more successful, and showed that he although he may love Lexie, he doesn’t respect her in the same way, or view her as his equal. So while both men had similar goals, Owen’s way of dealing with the situation bodes better for the long-term health of his relationship with his woman, however badly things may have gone on this particular day.

    A couple of other thoughts. When Mer and Cristina were lying on the floor, Cristina’s comment is “I thought it would fix me” describing her reasons for getting married. But Mer’s response isn’t about Cristina’s reasons for the marriage; she refers to Owen’s motivations. “That’s not why he married you.” I found that interesting – – she knows Owen is in it for the long term, that he wasn’t expecting and didn’t need any quick fixes. And I liked Mer’s comment to Owen – “I already fixed her before you came but that was a nice speech.” It was her way of saying to Owen, in twisted-sister-speak, that she had wanted Cristina to go back, that she knew being married to Owen was the right thing for Cristina. I love your description of Owen’s reaction to Mer’s comment – – it did throw him off-kilter, but now he knows that he and Meredith are, finally, really on the same team. And Mer must be feeling pretty good about it too. She told Cristina to go back before Owen’s “nice speech” but hearing that must have made her feel even better about what she had done. If she had any lingering doubts whatsoever about Owen being “perfect” (or at least perfect for Cristina), they should be gone by now!

    I want to keep my expectations in check, because this IS Shondaland after all! But I too am having a very good feeling about this season!

    • Thanks, hope_w! And what a great point. Mark was trying to hold Lexie back while Owen was trying to give Cristina an encouraging nudge. Hopefully, Owen (and the rest of Team Cristina) will find a happy balance of both so that Cristina can start finding herself again as a surgeon.

      I’m really looking forward to Meredith and Owen actually being on the same side. And I think it’s because she now has an idea how Cristina felt when Owen was going through the worst of his PTSD. Now, she sees why Cristina stuck by Owen. Because she is sticking by Cristina as she suffers her own version of “war wounds.” Except in this case, the battlefield was Seattle Grace and the enemy was Gary Clark.

      It’s refreshing to see Meredith recognize the connection between Cristina and Owen and respect it. She didn’t trust Owen before, but she’s certainly trusting him now. If she didn’t, she would never had advised Cristina to go back to him. And Owen can begin to trust Meredith to not try and come between him and Cristina as she did last season. I absolutely adore the direction these characters seem to be heading. Sign me up for the Fab Four fan club of Cristina/Owen/Meredith/Derek bonding. They are the core couples after all – romantic and platonic. I totally see Derek and Owen as brothers-in-law, and I hope they develop that more. I mean, even though they love their wives, you just know that often times they can be quite exasperating. It’s got makings for some great comedy.

      Yes, this is Shondaland. But it seems like Shondaland got a makeover and is not geared towards a more mature age group. With rides that give you a rush and a thrill instead of the kind that doesn’t live up to its name. Let’s hope that our collective good feeling lasts throughout this season. Like I said, next episode will be the test.

  4. Thank goodness for another amazing epi and actually this was better than last week because it had more C/O! Loved your post and pics especially Owen’s expressions and the kiss scene. Can’t wait for your blog after hopefully another wonderful C/O epi! Thanks for doing these!

    • I did enjoy this episode more because we got to see more of the personal relationship, but they did get engaged and married in the last one. Both are awesome. Let’s just say that. I hope we get more awesome Cristina/Owen episodes as well. It’s nice to want to write these posts again. I was losing my mojo in season six, and it was becoming more of a chore than a lovefest. More love! More love!

  5. I truly enjoy reading your analysis of my favorite couple. I am loving this new season and the superb acting of our couple. It is so nice to be able to laugh, cry, and faint all within one hour. Owen is such a sexy, passionate man. He makes you appreciate love and romance and allows you to not take these things for granted with the people that you love.

    • Thanks, Debbie! I am loving this season as well. And I hope that it continues down this upward path.

      I also completely agree with you about Owen. They are writing him so well as the supportive husband who clearly would do anything for his wife. Le sigh.

  6. Ohh yes! Needless to say you nailed it!! Beautiful!

    The most awkward of the awkward scenes. Poor Owen how he must have felt in that moment when both the patient and her husband went on and on about Burke, especially that he knows what Burke did to Cristina. It’s what pushed him to say out loud that him and Cristina are married. Both being very private persons, I highly doubt that he would have said anything, if Burke was not mentioned. The situation forced him to make that declaration so publicly.
    And I got the impression that the patient judged Cristina a little to quickly just for the fact that she did not marry Burke and became more clear after she found out that Cristina and Owen got married. And it’s odd that neither of them (the patients and husband) apologized for the mess/confusion they created.

    Lucky both KMK and SO are very expressive actors and their mimic says it all.
    The way Cristina kept nodding her head at everything Owen was telling her in that morning scene, so cute!

    Great parallel between Mr. Cottler’s lines and Cristina and Burke/Cristina and Owen’s relationship, didn’t think of it that way.

    I admit I had look up for “Scarlet Pimpernel”, not being an English native speaker, I had no idea what that was.

    As for the “soapy sex” I have a very very active imagination.

    Thank you again for all your great insights, so looking forward to next. Fingers crossed that we get an episode as good as the first were.

    • Thanks, trinity!

      You’re right. Owen is usually a very private person – and a professional one. Which is why I think he’s standing off to a side in the beginning (and not next to Cristina). But I also think that he’s so happily married that he would shout it off the roof tops – that is, if he were the type to display such a public outburst. He’s doing it inside his head (like when he has that goofy smile on his face when he thinks that the Cottlers are talking about him being married to Cristina).

      I thought it odd that they didn’t apologize either. But they don’t even know Owen, and they clearly liked Burke. Plus, it must be embarrassing to say all those things in front of the new husband. Maybe they thought they’d just breeze right past it and pretend it didn’t happen. Lol. But considering how Owen saved the patient’s life, I think he earned some brownie points, don’t you think?

      I didn’t think of the parallel between the two relationships either until I read someone asking what the purpose of bringing up Burke was. And I thought that was a great point. It wasn’t necessary, really. But the writers chose to add that bit in there. Thus, the fine-tooth analyzing and trying to read between the lines.

      Thanks for commenting as usual! I really appreciate you taking the time to do so. I really hope that this season keeps me busy (and inspired) with blog posts, too!

  7. Epic episode analysis. Seriously. It’s so good that I read it twice. Your episode commentary always makes the episode so much more enjoyable the second or *cough* tenth time around watching it. I keep thinking what to add and I can’t come up anything. You’ve literally covered it all.

    The only thing that I thought of after watching the last scene for the gazillion time was that Owen’s speech was pretty much his wedding vows that we never heard in the previous episode. Especially since we didn’t hear them in the actual wedding scene, it’s almost sweeter to hear them put into action and not even a day later in the same room that they got married in. Seriously, the man can make a speech. Even Mer has the “damn” look on her face 🙂 I also liked how Cristina addresses her own wedding vows when she agrees to go back after Mer talks about “for better or worse” and that this is just the “worse” part. Let’s cross our fingers and toes that we’ll see more of the “better” part later in this season. Two good episodes in a row….hopefully they’ll keep on coming 😀

    • Aw, thanks, Kelly! (And I know you only had time to read it twice because you’re sick in bed. But I’ll take it!) And I’m on the fiftieth time rewatching, so I win!

      And you’re so right! These really are his wedding vows. A repeat of his promise to Cristina when he proposed. So sweet. The fact that he’s not only making these promises but actually carrying them out is what is so great. You’re right; hearing these words put into action really make it resonate all the more. Because it’s easy to say the words, but to fulfill them – especially when your wife just handed you her wedding ring a few moments ago – just make them all more poignant and true.

      I think the idea of them bringing in the vows in the last scene prove that this marriage is going to be a strong one. That there will be obstacles and whatnot, but they’ll face it together. They are really in it for better and for worse. Meredith was right: there will be better parts. The magic eight ball says it will be so. 😀

  8. Well said “She was wrong in thinking that it would cure her; but she was right in intuitively knowing that being with Owen would put her on the path toward getting better”

    I’m so happy they got married and still believe Owen love Cristine more than Bruke did

    much enjoy reading your article, do appreciate your effort

    • Thanks, owchforever!

      I too am insanely happy that Cristina and Owen are married. And I also have to agree that Owen loves Cristina for who she is, not who he wants her to be.

      Thanks for leaving a comment!

  9. Owen’s reaction to Cristina’s mini ‘panic’ attack is the reason- I love Owen Hunt. He truly loves Cristina, and he’s, not, afraid to fight for their love. Kevin McKidd is an amazing actor. He really expresses Owen’s emotions well. This reminds me, so much, of his awesome S5 ‘see me’ speech, or, his ‘I am no good for you’ speech. I am loving this season for Owen and Cristina, so far.

    • I agree, Kevin McKidd is an amazing actor. And Owen’s speeches tend to be quite amazing. I figure that if Owen is going to say more than a few words, he’s got something very important to say. I am totally loving Cristina and Owen this season so far. Married Owen and Cristina is awesome sauce.

      Thanks for the review!

  10. Pingback: “Shock to the System” (Shock to Cristina and Owen’s Storyline?)

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