We passed the three-episode test, ladies and gentlemen! Already, this season is kicking last season’s butt in a major way. And it’s all because … Cristina and Owen are married! There are some serious perks to having our favorite couple being married. I love it.
Even though we didn’t get too much screen time with Cristina and Owen, I don’t think anyone really noticed. Because the two scenes they did have together? They were perfection. And the sense of Cristina and Owen wanting to be with each other was very much present in scenes that they weren’t in together. It’s like season five … only better. We do not have to be satisfied only with stolen glances and loaded exchanges – though those were fantastic. They’re married! They can touch each other all they want. So awesome, right?
In this chapter of their lives, it’s no longer about sexual tension – a major drawing factor in season five; now, it’s about love and tenderness, especially with what Cristina is going through. Also, you can’t really have sexual tension at this point. That would imply some impediment coming between them fulfilling their desires for each other, and there’s really nothing stopping them from ripping each other’s clothes off if the mood should strike them. Sexual chemistry and passion? They’re still there. (Remember “State of Love and Trust”?) But in season seven, I’m absolutely adoring the emphasis on the nurturing and the caring. And there was plenty of that in this episode.
I think Derek has resigned himself to the fact that some mornings, he’s going to wake up and find Cristina in his and Meredith’s bed – even though Cristina is married now. (Love the look on Derek’s face as he realizes that Cristina is in their bed. No, this show hasn’t turned into “Big Love.”) It’s as Bailey once said, Meredith and Cristina come as a set. You marry one; you essentially just married the other. (Something Owen has yet to experience that firsthand. He did get a glimpse of it this episode though.) This first scene is an example of what I mentioned before: how even though Owen and Cristina are not both present in the scene physically, you know that Cristina really wants Owen to be with her. Except Owen can’t because he’s got a surgery.
Before, I don’t think Cristina would have hesitated in climbing in bed with Meredith with Derek there. She certainly didn’t in season five (“These Ties That Bind”), when Sadie showed up a few moments later (and subsequently kicking both Derek and Cristina out of bed). But now, she and Meredith are both married women. They no longer only have each other to count on for comfort. We didn’t see any of this type of behavior in season six since Cristina had Owen. Married Cristina recognizes that it’s weird for her to climb into bed with a married Meredith and Derek. But her fear of being alone trumps all this, and Meredith recognizes that Cristina needs someone right now. And so begins Meredith’s role as a human pillow wall. (Also had to laugh that the moment Derek realizes that Cristina is there, he turns back around. There has to be a blooper in there somewhere. Given that Patrick is such a prankster, he just had to have taken advantage of this setup. I can think of five off the top of my head.)
Poor Cristina. She really can’t stand being alone. And I’m really glad that the writers made it clear that the only reason she was over at Meredith’s late at night was because Owen was busy with surgery. It implies that the first person she turns to for comfort is now Owen, and Meredith is her second. As it should be, quite honestly. He’s her husband. Just as Meredith relies mostly on Derek and comes to Cristina only when Derek is unable to provide the comfort that she needs. (For example, in “Staircase to Heaven,” Derek drove Meredith to see Cristina because Meredith couldn’t stop crying after seeing the execution of the death row patient.)
In the attendings’ meeting (that was sneaked previously), I know that some people wished that Owen could have advocated more for Cristina. Well, first of all, this episode was really about Derek helping Cristina. Second, Owen doesn’t know the best thing to do because he already tried to help her once, and that didn’t end up so well. Owen’s not in the position to help her professionally. Emotionally? Yes. Personally? Definitely. We see that he does both in this episode. But he can’t do what Derek can; he can’t do “tough love.” Not on his wife. He can’t slam his hand on the desk and tell her that she’s “flaming out.” He can’t force her into an OR when he knows it makes her break out in a cold sweat. Nor would we want him to. In the last episode, he didn’t realize how bad things were for her because she hid it so well and made it seem like she could handle it. Now, he knows the extent of her fear, so there’s no way he’s going to add on to it. Even if she really needs that push. Derek is uniquely qualified to help Cristina out because he is living proof that she is a great surgeon.
“If she goes, I go.” You have to love Derek for that. Not only is Cristina family now (more on that later), but she saved his life. (Also, I don’t think it needs to be said that Owen would follow Cristina wherever she ended up after his previous declaration that he wouldn’t go anywhere without her. I also think that he wouldn’t stay anywhere without her. If Cristina wanted to move back to California, Owen would go with her. It’s as simple as that.) It’s a surprising ultimatum from Derek, if we remember that Derek and Cristina have not always had a friendly relationship. Cristina didn’t like him for a period of time when he and Meredith were still having a rollercoaster of a relationship. A lot has changed.
Speaking of change, Cristina doesn’t even care that she could possibly be kicked out of the surgical program while Meredith is anxiously watching. The shooting really did a number on her, and I think Meredith really does fear that Cristina will never be the same again (just as April said in the bar scene at the end). I don’t think she will be the same, but isn’t that the point? Aren’t we supposed to change as we grow up and pass milestones? Cristina is married. That alone is a huge change. There was a time where neither she nor Meredith ever thought they’d want to be married, let alone actually go through with it. We want Cristina to change, but we don’t want her traumatized. And in (the first half of) this season, I think we will be seeing a lot of changes to Cristina’s characterization while still maintaining all the great qualities that first drew us to her as she heals.
As the attendings file out and Derek tells Cristina that she’s on his service, there’s a moment where Cristina looks back at Owen before Derek guides her away. Owen has this look of concern on his face as he watches Cristina leave with Meredith and Derek, and it looks like he’s about to say something or follow them except Bailey and Callie choose that moment to walk out the door, preventing him. It’s only a second, but I love that it’s there. It’s proof that Owen cares very much what is happening to his wife, even if we didn’t hear him speak up during the meeting. (Though, we do see him gesturing and saying something through the window when we switch to Meredith and Cristina’s perspective. I’m assuming he’s advocating for his wife.)
Sidebar: I am not liking Arizona in this episode. She is blowing past Teddy’s feelings and then has the gall to ask Teddy to tell Owen to “get off his ass and get his traumatized wife out of [their] apartment.” I was shocked to hear that. That is so insensitive. Though, I shouldn’t be so surprised since she called Owen “grumpy” when he was triggered. Oh, and another thing, how is it her and Callie’s apartment? Let’s get the facts straight. Izzie found the apartment and showed it to Cristina. Cristina then asked Callie to move into the apartment with her. If anyone has a claim on it, it’s Cristina. Not to mention that Cristina and Owen are married, and Owen started dating Cristina before Callie and Arizona got together. (Though, I totally vote yes to Cristina and Owen getting their own place. Quite excited about it. But I don’t appreciate Arizona laying claim to something that isn’t hers.) Lastly, how is it overcrowded now that Arizona is moving in? Even Arizona said that she essentially already lived there. All of a sudden, it’s too crowded? Whatever. Arizona is bugging me, and I used to like her.
“Meredith is a much better doctor than me.” The old Cristina would have never said that. She’s too competitive to say so. In the scene with Amelia, we see more of Cristina trying to avoid surgery and behaving abnormally. Some have called this “out of character.” It is, I agree. But that’s the point. She is so traumatized that she is, I dare say, afraid of surgery. She doesn’t have the desire to cut, which largely contrasts her one-time catchphrase, “Mama needs to cut.” Though, we catch a glimpse of the “before” Cristina here when she quips, “Another [neurosurgeon]? You Shepherds grow them like weeds.” It’s nice to see she hasn’t completely lost herself. That’s what I love about what they’re doing this season. Even with all the darker storylines, there are still moments of lightheartedness. (The big one being at the very end.)
“I have a lot of sisters. If I bought them all coffee, we wouldn’t have anything.” I think Derek is including Cristina in this. As he says later, he considers her family now. It’s quite interesting with his actual sister being there, as Derek continues to side with Cristina and defending her to his blood relative. Right now, Cristina is the “sister” in need of his help. He even kicks his own wife off his service for Cristina. Seriously, I love that they’re making Derek and Cristina closer. Because not only does it enforce the idea of Cristina, Owen, Derek, and Meredith being a family, but it also provides some great scenes between Sandra Oh and Patrick Dempsey, who have great chemistry together.
Later, he tells Amelia, “Don’t criticize my surgeons,” when she gets upset that he’s letting Cristina scrub in. Cristina is breaking my heart. For the one who used to always have the answers to any medical question, she now says, “I don’t know.” Quite disheartening for Derek to hear. And then later, when she’s in the OR and can’t do a procedure, forcing Amelia to take over, she ends up cowering in a corner until Derek lets her go. I forgive Amelia for calling Cristina a “dud” since she doesn’t know what happened (and I loved Derek putting her in her place and defending Cristina); but I can’t forgive Arizona for being so crass. Because Arizona knows better. Or at least, she should.
The first true Cristina and Owen scene is so sweet. It’s like the complete opposite of that “Elevator Love Letter” after they make love for the first time, and Cristina tells him that she’s afraid to fall asleep. Now? “I can’t sleep when you’re not there.” Le sigh. I love how Cristina is sitting there waiting for him and how Owen comes in asking, “You paged me? Is everything okay?” See? She may be out of sight, but she’s definitely not out of mind.
I laughed at Cristina’s comparison of Derek to the KGB. Her wit is still there, thankfully. I laughed even more that the moment Owen gets there, she climbs into bed. Hey, I’d have the same instinct, too. See Owen? Climb into bed so that he follows suit. And he does, settling down beside Cristina. So cute.
“Would you love me if I wasn’t a surgeon?” We knew Owen’s answer to this the moment she asked this, but the way he phrased it was just perfect. In the deleted scene for season six, Cristina was grappling with the choice between surgery and love. And she asked Owen what he would pick – her or surgery – and he’d said that he would give up surgery for her. Romantic, right? And I completely believe him. Just as I believe him here when he says, “I would love you if you were a plumber… But would you love you if you weren’t a surgeon?” He makes it clear that the question isn’t about him loving her, but her loving herself. He’s made it clear that he would love her no matter what, and that is one thing that Cristina can always count on. I like that he doesn’t just answer, “Yes,” without hesitation. That would almost seem like he’s just saying it to make her feel better. He pauses, trying to find the right words, and gives the perfect response to her question.
Another interesting point that Owen’s answer brings up is the fact that Owen didn’t fall in love with Cristina because she was a surgeon. She caught his eye long before he knew of her talent in the OR. Just as Cristina didn’t fall for Owen for his surgical prowess either. Sure, he’d trached a guy with a pen, but that wasn’t what really piqued her romantic interest. That started when he stapled his own leg shut – not so much a demonstration of surgical skills but badassness. As I’ve said many a times before, Cristina and Owen’s origins as a couple differ greatly from her and Burke’s. She first met Burke at the hospital party welcoming the interns where he blew her off for his date when she tried introducing herself. She saw Burke first as a surgeon, as he did her. Cristina and Owen fell for each other – not their skills or careers. Sure, maybe Cristina wouldn’t have been as interested in Owen if he wasn’t a surgeon, but that’s probably because he wouldn’t have ended up being in a position to stitch her up if he hadn’t – or pull out her icicle.
Owen knows that his love isn’t enough. Cristina needs to find and love herself as well. Just as Cristina’s love wasn’t enough for Owen when he was going through his struggles with PTSD; he had to learn to forgive himself and find himself again before he could begin to heal and come to terms with his “after” and be completely happy. How could he have been happy with Cristina when he felt guilty for dragging her into his life and all his problems? It wasn’t until he’d made peace with himself that he could finally, truly be with her without holding back.
Cristina thinks that maybe she could be happy being a plumber – yet another sign that she has changed. The Cristina from before would never considering something but surgery. Never. She once told Owen that he’d need to pry the scalpel from her cold dead hands (“An Honest Mistake”). And now she possibly would be willing to give it up voluntarily? Cristina has really lost her way career-wise, and it is causing the people who care about her to worry, namely Owen, Meredith, and Derek (whom I dub “Team Cristina”).
The thing I appreciate about Cristina and Owen’s relationship is that it is not so tied into their occupation. With Burke and Cristina, there was that very important question raised by Mama Burke as to whether or not Cristina loved the man or the prestige. Honestly, I think she loved both. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it did cause Burke to have some doubts. Owen is saved from having the same doubts because he knows Cristina doesn’t love him for the prestige. He doesn’t really have any, in the same sense that Burke did. In that, people don’t come from all over to be operated by the one and only Dr. Owen Hunt. That’s not exactly the way things operate for trauma surgery, since trauma patients come in on the fly. Yes, he’s made a name of himself in his field and can boost the hospital’s trauma level. And he’s Harvard/Northwestern educated. But Cristina fell for Owen long before she knew all this. Not to mention, he’s the first man she’s fallen for (that we know of) who wasn’t a mentor to her in some way.
Back to the scene, I love how Owen is lying there next to her, with his left hand on her leg. I love how their heads are resting next to each other, and how when he turns toward her, he places his hand on her wrist. How after Owen says that he’ll be there, Cristina covers his hand with hers and lays her head on their joined hands. And I love how he kisses her forehead as she curls into him. It’s such a sweet scene. By golly, we are getting a lot of sweet scenes so far this season, and it stems from Owen being totally supportive of his wife.
Quick shout-out to how much I love group resident scenes. Love how, as they glance through the window at Lexie taking care of the “tree man” (I totally looked this up by the way, and there’s a real person in Indonesia who had this), Meredith has her hands on Alex’s arm. Very cute. And later, when they’re talking about their first time, how Cristina jumps and playfully hits Alex’s arm as she tells him to “deflower” April. So hilarious! (Did you catch that Cristina’s first time was with her chemistry TA? See, another mentor. Also find it interesting that she went for a guy with brains and not necessarily brawn. And how she found the guy hot because of how “smart” he was, not the way he looked. Well, with Owen, she has both!)
Oh, Owen. He’s just realizing that Meredith and Cristina have quite a strangely close relationship. And the only person he can turn to is Derek – someone who can completely understand what he’s going through. Derek’s been living with this “E.T.” bond for several years now, so he knows the lay of the land. I got a kick out of Owen coming to Derek for advice. He’s lucky to have someone who’s already traveled down this path and can offer him guidance. Derek didn’t have that luxury. And judging from Owen’s facial expressions, Derek’s analogy worked.
“My wife is sleeping in your bed.” Be careful where you say that because, taken out of context, that can sound downright wrong. What makes it funnier is that Owen states it so matter-of-factly and that Derek clarifies (unnecessarily) that she’s sleeping with Meredith and that he’s on the opposite side of the bed. Like Owen was really concerned that Cristina was sleeping with Derek. As if. (That’s just wrong on so many levels.) Meredith and Cristina really do have a “weird and disturbing bond.” I don’t know of any other husband who would be okay (and I’m using the word loosely here, since I know Derek’s not exactly okay with it) with his wife’s friend sharing a bed. I don’t think Owen would be okay if Meredith slept in his and Cristina’s bed. And if he’s lucky, he won’t ever. But I have to admit, I would pay good money to see how Owen reacts to that.
When Owen asks if Derek is okay with Meredith and Cristina’s relationship, Derek avoids answering directly because he’s not – but he can’t do anything about it. So, he fishes and builds his dream house. He’s accepted this as his life, and Owen needs to do the same or else he’s going to go bonkers trying to understand. I hope we see more of Derek and Owen together, especially with Owen coming to Derek for advice on being married to a twisted sister. One of my favorite deleted scenes from last season was Owen coming to Derek for advice on Cristina, saying how he knew her but didn’t get her. Such comedy can be found in these two men trying to figure out their wives. And camaraderie. “I’m looking out for her,” Derek says in reference to Cristina. And Owen is much appreciative of it. I foresee a lot more brotherly bonding. I mean, Derek not only defended Cristina in the attendings meeting, but now he’s keeping an eye on her when Owen can’t. Instant brownie points.
“Personally, we wouldn’t have picked each other… But now we’re family, so that means I worry about you.” The Derek and Cristina scene in the conference room is really touching. And it’s true, they really are family – due to a twist of fate that brought Meredith and Cristina together, then adding on Derek and Owen as their spouses. They definitely would never have picked each other. They are completely different, but over time, they have grown to care about each other. Make no mistake, Cristina cares about Derek, too. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t have been so insistent on continuing to operate on Derek while having a gun pointed to her head. And how could she not care about someone who is trying so hard to help her get better? Who later takes her through the last surgery she performed so that she could remember everything? So that she no longer had to grapple with the bits and pieces of memory and could start forming the complete picture of what she did. What Cristina did was brilliant surgery. What Cristina did was beyond the skill level of all her peers. What Cristina did will not be the end of Cristina’s promising career – not on Team Cristina’s watch. I love that Cristina is in the limelight because it provides for great storylines – relevant, worthy storylines that make up for the weaker ones of last season (i.e. the merger and Teddy).
The last scene with Cristina and Owen. Um, how hilarious were Owen and Cristina’s facial expressions? But before I get into that, let’s discuss the fact that Owen looks fantastic in that light blue tee-shirt. He needs to wear more of those. Okay, seriously now, Owen comes home, and Cristina is genuinely happy to see him, which is a stark contrast to the last episode where she ran away (temporarily). Now, she needs him, and she pats the couch in a gesture to have him sit next to her. Anyone else get the sense that Owen switched shifts so that he didn’t have to be on call that night? I say this because Cristina acts surprised to see Owen come home and that he’s not on call. She was not expecting it. Isn’t that sweet? He knows that Cristina can’t sleep when he’s not there, so he makes sure that he can be home. (I don’t know how he can keep that up, but it’s nice that he did so that night.)
Let’s talk about what I loved (because obviously, I loved this episode) again. I love how Owen settles on the couch next to Cristina and has his arm around her. I love how Cristina cuddles up next to him and draws the blanket up to her chest. I love how Owen helps pull the blanket over her and rests his hand on her lap (which you can’t really see). I love how this is the same couch that Owen proposed to her on (and that’s the same blanket). She’s no longer startling at the sound of him opening the door, which is a plus. But she’s still not whole and healed yet. “How was your day?” I know it should be boring to witness a husband asking his wife how her day was, but I can watch this over and over again. (And I have, many of which during the writing of this blog post.) Because I eat these domestic moments up.
“I think I could be happy being a plumber.” After Cristina says this (and I don’t think it’s entirely true), Owen looks at her with a worried look. It is worrying because it’s such a non-characteristic response. But as I’ve said in previous posts, I think the point of Cristina’s trauma is that now she is swinging toward the other extreme. Before, she was all gung-ho about surgery and career, and that was it. She chose surgery over Owen in “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” before Owen gave her the “we matter” speech, making her realize what a mistake that was. And now she’s on the opposite side, okay with being a surgeon’s wife (and not a surgeon herself). The season six finale really did allow for her character to be reset and rebuilt. I don’t want her to be on either extreme, honestly. I think Cristina’s identity is very much tied into her being a surgeon, but I do think that throughout this season’s journey, she will realize that there’s more to her than her occupation. So that’s why I’m fine with her saying to Owen that she could be happy as a plumber. Because I know that she will achieve that happy balance of love and career with the help of Owen and the other Team Cristina members.
Owen doesn’t want Cristina to lose her edge either, which is why he’s concerned. He doesn’t think she truly can be happy without surgery, given how important it was to her. That’s his primary goal: making sure Cristina is happy and healthy. At this point in her life, he wants her to have a career that she loves. But in the future, when she retires, he also wants her to be able to transition into that chapter of her life as well. That’s why I like how this storyline is giving Cristina the chance to see what life is like without surgery – and her still being able to be happy. So that one day, when she no longer can be a surgeon and has to retire, she will be okay. And Owen won’t need to pry the scalpel from her hands because she’ll be able to give it up, knowing that she attained her career goals and can be happy in her life with Owen. It’s encouraging.
But Owen and Cristina can’t have a conversation about this because (a very drunk) Callie and Arizona come barging in and begin shedding clothing. Sandra Oh and Kevin McKidd’s acting in this scene is superb and wholly entertaining. Cristina is terrified and shrinks away from the flying clothes. Owen, on the other hand, has a mixture of intrigue, shock, and amusement. Did you catch that smile that appeared on his face when Arizona’s shirt hit him in the face? Yeah, straight guys and their thing for lesbians. They can’t help it. But when Cristina says that they need to get their own place, Owen agrees without hesitation and starts looking through the newspaper with renewed motivation (never once letting go of Cristina, mind you). Yay to Owen and Cristina finding their own place! (And those who read spoilers know that it’s going to be quite awesome.)
If that were Mark, let’s just say he would have less of a problem seeing two lesbians coming into his apartment kissing and taking clothes off. But the only woman Owen wants to see naked is Cristina. And if woman’s clothing is going to hit him in the face, it should only be Cristina’s. (Although, I find it hilarious that he lets the shirt fall in his lap.)
Poor Mark. He is totally in love with Lexie, and she keeps pushing him away. And then, when she comes to patch things up, he’s kissing another woman. The Mark and Lexie fans are not having an easy time of it this season. Though, speaking from experience, having an angst-ridden storyline will make them stronger in the end. (I’m just thankful that Cristina and Owen never slept with anyone else and that their breakups were much more temporary.) Mark and Lexie fans, I feel for you. Hang in there!
Last episode, Mark and Lexie mirrored Cristina and Owen in a way, except with different results. Same goes here. The voiceover and the theme of the HPV (tree man) patient’s storyline is that love is not enough. And it’s true. Cristina and Owen survived as a couple because they knew that love was not enough, that they needed to work hard at fighting for their relationship. Mark and Lexie gave up. (Well, mostly Lexie.) And now, Mark has moved on – with Derek’s sister. (Yeah, I wonder what Derek is going to say to that.)
And that’s it for this episode! Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Did you love seeing the friendships blossoming? Did you watch the Cristina and Owen scenes on loop for hours instead of doing actual work? And are you excited to see Cristina and Owen move into their own place together? Sound off below, readers!