Five for five, baby. Yep, we have had five Cristina/Owen kisses in a row. Season six is eons away in my memory (excepting the few awesome moments we had between them, of course – you know which ones I mean). Now, I wasn’t expecting anything on the Cristina and Owen front, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t desperately hoping for one. And boy did we get a great one! But (a lot) more on that later. First, let’s talk about Cristina.Cristina is still drifting. And to make matters worse, the Chief has put the fourth-year residents in charge. (I can’t follow their timeline anymore, so I’ll take Webber’s word for it.) I like how before they even hear the Chief’s announcements, Meredith rubs Cristina’s back reassuringly as they sit on the bench. It’s nice to see Cristina having this great support system. Everyone is really rooting for her. Well, almost everyone. (Yes, I’m still bitter about Arizona.) It’s nice seeing how much people care about her. She really isn’t the easiest to love, and she’s definitely not Miss Personality; yet, she has a band of people who are there for her – top of the list being her husband and her best friend. If you think about it, she hasn’t known Meredith or Owen for all that long, and I know that it’s a byproduct of this being a television show, but Cristina’s deepest relationships are relatively new. She’s known Meredith for about five to six years and Owen for about two. Most people in this situation would probably be supported by their parents (which isn’t an option for Cristina) or a close friend whom they’ve known for almost their entire lives. This isn’t the case for Cristina. Why? Well, like I said, this is a television show; and due to the setup, they can’t afford her to have friends outside of the hospital. But also, I think that Cristina really came into her own when she became a surgeon. And before that, she really didn’t have time to make friends because she was so focused on obtaining her goals. It goes to show just how much of her identity and self is invested in being a surgeon. No wonder she’s so lost without it.
While everyone else is excited about getting the navy blue scrubs of an attending, Cristina can only stare at it with apprehension and doubt. Is she deserving of this? Does she still want this? She doesn’t know. And that’s what she continues to say throughout the episode. “I don’t know.” Even Roy, the lung patient, picks up on her silence, calling her “sourpuss.” (Roy is officially my favorite patient.) I know most of us still don’t consider Teddy to be one of our favorite characters (yes, understatement of the year), but she’s right. “I’m not asking you to be in an OR. I’m asking you to say something to participate.” Cristina has gotten worse – to the point where she can’t even consult on a case. And if anyone’s going to give her tough love, it’s going to be Teddy, her mentor. (Because let’s face it, wasn’t that one of the main reasons Teddy was brought on board in the first place? I’m ignoring the other one, obviously.) Owen can’t do tough love, and nor would I want him to. No, he has his own role to play – as we see later – and it doesn’t involve pushing her medically.
Meredith also isn’t in the position to practice tough love. She and Cristina are too close, and Meredith is more likely to hold Cristina’s hand than telling her to practice medicine. In the skills lab, she tells Cristina that all she needs to do is just put one foot in front of the other and make it through the day. That’s it. Baby steps. Cristina’s not buying it and knows that Meredith is downplaying it for her benefit. And though Meredith is trying to be comforting, her words do not really have an effect on Cristina as we still see her hanging back while being with Roy later. (I have to mention how hilarious it is when Cristina pumps the hand sanitizer and waves her hands around as Lexie comes in. That subtle bit of comedy was pure genius, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that came from Sandra Oh.) “Stop bragging,” she tells Lexie who shows off just how busy (yet organized) she is. It’s bittersweet because this should be Cristina’s day to shine. It should be Cristina bragging about how awesome she is or what surgery she just rocked. She did an aortic repair on her best friend’s husband with a gun pointed to her head. There is no doubt that she is in a class of her own. This day should have been a day of Cristina outshining her peers. Instead, she’s wandering around the hospital and avoiding the OR, unable to give any answers. It just isn’t fair.
“I don’t have a sourpuss. This is just my face.” Oh, these are some great lines. And it’s all thanks to Roy. It is clear that Roy is being set up to be a major parallel for Cristina. In this scene of them drawing Roy’s blood (and Cristina labeling the tubes), Roy tells them, “I bet your dads are really proud.” April agrees, launching into a mini-spiel about how she grew up on a farm, so her father is ecstatic that his daughter became a doctor. But when Roy asks Cristina, she doesn’t answer. And for good reason. Cristina’s father never lived long enough to know that Cristina became a doctor. Not her biological one, that is. And she only became a surgeon because of what had happened to him – as she had once told Owen back in “Rise Up.” And later, he even likens her to his own (estranged) daughter. But we’ll get to that later.
Meanwhile, Owen is presented with an opportunity to win one million dollars for his department. Let me just say that I never thought he’d win. At least not all of it. In these situations, Owen is never really the one who gets recognition. And since I knew ahead of time (per the spoilers) that Derek would possibly be pursing Alzheimer’s research because of Meredith, I thought the winner would be Derek. And we all know the Chief has a soft spot when it comes to Meredith and Ellis Grey. But Owen makes a compelling and personal case:
Charles Percy had a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Miranda Bailey did everything she was trained to do. She gave him fluids, controlled the bleeding, applied pressure. Then she tried to get him to an OR, but she couldn’t. So he died… And she’ll remember him dying in her arms the rest of her life. And I’ll remember… And you’ll remember that we could’ve saved him. We failed her. And we failed Charles Percy, one of our own doctors. I can’t face that… I can’t face that ever again. Can you?
The hospital staff members were unprepared for the shooting. Understandably, the chances of a gunman wandering around the hospital shooting people are close to nil; but Owen points out that ninety percent of the hospital staff (i.e. everyone but his trauma department) are not trained in disaster procedures. (And with their bad luck of bombs, floods, stuck elevators, and so on, they really need to be.) And because of that, they possibly lost three lives that could have been saved. One of them being Charles Percy. Now, I know that most people didn’t care all that much about him, but his death was heartbreaking nonetheless. Note how when Owen realized that there was a shooter in the hospital, he got his patient out of the hospital successfully. This is a man who constructed an OR table out of an exploded Humvee and trached a guy with a pen. Total Boy Scout. ([Spoiler] And I can’t wait to see him whip the residents into shape in episode seven.)
I think the reason why Owen wins the grant over Derek is because it pertains to the hospital staff. (He wins over everyone else because they flamed out during their presentations. Callie succeeded in psyching them out, then psyching herself out.) And if they’re more prepared, they can save more lives – sooner than later. It is going to be a while before any promising results will come out of Alzheimer’s research. And the Chief makes a great point: one million dollars is peanuts when it comes to a clinical and surgical trial. (Trust me, clinical trials cost a ridiculous amount of money to get off the ground, let alone maintain.) And who knows if Derek – even if he is McDreamy – will be able to find a cure. Look at the search for the cure for AIDS and cancer. They’ve been going on for decades, and we still haven’t gotten there yet. We still don’t have all the answers yet. Plus, some technology still has to be developed before any breakthroughs can occur. Rationally speaking, Owen’s proposal makes more sense to implement. And on the plus side, for us, we will be able to see Owen more in badass doctor mode, which is always a treat. (Note: I do think it’s funny how the only two people Callie didn’t even think of messing with were Owen and Derek.)
On a more personal level, Owen’s wife is currently in a very vulnerable position in the hospital. And it’s a subtle message that they can’t let down one of their own – Cristina – again, albeit in a different way. Don’t send her to research or administration. Help her regain her footing. They owe her that much. Also, as one of my fellow Cristina and Owen fans pointed out, it seems like Owen is referencing his own experience with Dan, and how he will always remember Dan dying in his arms. He knows what it must be like for Bailey. Both of them are living with this guilt over the slightest possibility that they could have done more. And as Owen said in his speech, Bailey could have done more – had she been properly trained. But she wasn’t. And now, that weight is on all their shoulders because it could have been prevented.
Cristina experiences something similar to a “freezing moment” that Owen had when he was triggered. Though, I’m not sure that she’s flashing back to anything. It actually seems more like she’s tuning April out. As I have said before on this blog, I’m not entirely convinced that Cristina meets the full criteria of PTSD. She has exhibited some of the symptoms, but she no longer has some of the more classic ones (startle reflex, heightened arousal, flashbacks). And her sleep is not restless but dependent on whether or not Meredith or Owen is nearby. But anyway, Cristina’s “freezing moment” is another sign that things are getting worse. And I really think that the “walking on eggshells” approach is not cutting it. Cristina does need a nudge in the right direction, and that’s what she gets in this episode. So far, the attendings are trying to do a little bit of both. Last episode, Bailey left the decision up to Cristina. This episode, Teddy does as well – but she also lays down the law. “We’re at a crossroads…” And thankfully, Cristina inches down the right path.
April asks Cristina, “Don’t you care at all? Come on, you gotta care.” The thing is, Cristina does care. It’s just that her fear is so immense that it overshadows whatever motivations she may have to care. But she does care. Later, we see her at a computer, most likely researching on options for Roy. As she tells Owen in an irritated tone, “I know what’s being asked of me, and I’m doing it.” She seems to be frustrated with herself that she can’t do more. That’s good because it means she wants to do more. And one of these days, because she cares so much, she will shove aside her fear of the OR and step back into her role as a surgeon. That day will come. I promise. Though I know it is getting frustrating how long Cristina’s funk is lasting, I appreciate that it affords Owen many opportunities to be her supportive husband. I love it.
Speaking of which, our only Cristina and Owen scene. Short but oh so awesome despite of its length. I won’t lie, the moment that I saw Cristina in the forefront and Owen in the back, I jumped with joy. Though I wasn’t counting on it, I was certainly hoping for a moment between these two, especially with Cristina not doing so well. I love how he stops the moment she catches his eye, how he instantly smiles and walks over to her. (And possibly checks out her butt in the process. Go rewatch and see if you can spy the brief look downward that Owen gives before he reaches Cristina.) “I like the dark blue scrubs on you. You look good.” She really does, don’t you think? The navy blue scrubs really suit her. (Side note: Why don’t they wear their customary long-sleeved shirts under the dark blue scrubs? Attendings don’t get cold? Just kidding.) And Owen is loving him some Cristina in dark blue. (Granted, I think he’d love her in anything. Remember, he still loved her after she wore diapers. Enough said.)
Cristina shies away from his touch on her arm, and Owen backs off. He really is reading her a lot better this season. Huge improvement from last season. And honestly, this should have been the way he was written last season as well. It’s not like being married suddenly teaches you how to be supportive. No, that’s who Owen is – and always should have been. (Okay, I’ll stop griping out it now. Let’s not dwell in the past.) And what’s more, he doesn’t take her irritation personally. He understands. As he told her in “Shock to the System,” she can take out her frustrations on him all she wants, but he won’t go anywhere. He’s keeping his word. And instead of taking offense, he says, “Okay, I got an idea. And I, I think it’s going to help. You and me, we’re going to go outside…into the alley behind the hospital. And you’re just—you’re just going to kick my ass. You’re going to knock the living crap out of me.” And Cristina laughs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Owen made Cristina laugh. If that doesn’t prove how much they belong together, then I don’t know what does. Even when she’s in her darkest mood, Owen can cheer her up. For a second there, as he was telling her his “idea,” I was totally buying his sincerity – as Cristina was – and was confused. How could an alley be romantic? Is Owen going to suggest some public sex? Because that’s rather bold of him. But no, Owen was simply giving Cristina an outrageous suggestion, hoping that it would shake her from her bad mood – even for a brief moment. And it works. (Could you imagine tiny Cristina kicking Owen’s ass? Sure, she’s pretty strong for one so small. But seriously, Owen’s a big, burly man. I don’t think he’d budge much.)
“There you are. I knew you were in there somewhere… End of this day, good or bad, we’re gonna go home together.” Okay, this moment right here definitely elicited a collective “aww” from anyone with a romantic or sweet bone in their body – Cristina and Owen shipper or not. I love how he touches his forehead to her ear right after he says, “There you are.” I have not seen that gesture on this show before (or any show for that matter), and it is so freaking cute. It reminds me a bit of how animals show affection, how they nuzzle you or place their heads under your hand when they sense that you’re down. Sigh, so sweet. I could watch it on loop all day. (And yes, I’ve spent a good chunk of my day doing so.)
Cristina’s smile falls a bit after Owen says, “I knew you were in there somewhere,” but you can see it reappear again after he reminds her that they’re going to go home together at the end of the day. And it’s that thought that brings her a little bit of happiness. (Though, I’m guessing they’re staying in a hotel or something because that firehouse is so not habitable, and I’m sure Arizona has kicked them out.) Together. That’s what the theme is for Cristina and Owen this season – being together. Taking on things as a united front instead operating on different wavelengths. This marriage has been the best thing for their relationship. Just as marriage was the best thing for Meredith and Derek’s relationship. It allowed them to grow up and have a stable relationship – not that there won’t be ups and downs, obviously, since this is Grey’s Anatomy. But now, the question is no longer whether they will be together but what their life together will look like.
And then, to top it all off, the scene ends with Owen giving her a peck on the cheek. Doesn’t that just yell “husband and wife” to you? It does to me. Tender and sweet, it’s a little pick-me-up to get her through the day. I can just imagine him giving her a peck on the cheek in the morning before they go their separate ways. Those little moments that we were clamoring for last season and rarely got. This season? We are just being bombarded with them. Seriously, we are spoiled with Cristina and Owen riches this season. Thank you, writers.
It does not go unnoticed that right after this scene with Owen, Cristina is able to participate. She finally says something, figuring out that Teddy doesn’t think that Roy is a good candidate and informing April of this. Poor Roy, they are going to send him home to die – except Cristina isn’t going to let that happen. Because Roy wins Cristina over – just as he won me over.
“Are you one of those, uh…you know…what do they call them? Someone’s really smart, like a genius, but they’re a little different? Like they don’t know how to talk to people?” Oh, Roy. He’s asking her if she’s Dixon 2.0. Hilarious. And he laughs as she gives him another sourpuss look. “You’re a tough nut to crack. I like that about you. My daughter’s the same way.” Ding ding ding! We’ve got an anvil. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also the added fact that he and his ex-wife went through a messy divorce where his daughter ended up siding with her mother. In Cristina’s case, her parents got a divorce, and she stayed with her father – until he passed away. But as we know, she and her mother aren’t exactly close. It has been years since they’ve interacted on this show, implied or otherwise. She wasn’t even at Cristina’s wedding (though I suspect that may have something to do with the actress’ scheduling conflict). Regardless, Cristina didn’t even mention her mother’s reaction to her getting married, suggesting to me that Helen Rubenstein either doesn’t know about it or she didn’t want to come. (I think the former.)
Cristina doesn’t really have a parental figure in her life, which is why I had hoped that Owen’s mother could fill that void, given how close she is to them. (For now, that will just have to play out in my imagination.) And in a way, Roy is playing this father figure to Cristina. He’s certainly impressed by Cristina being a doctor. And he’s definitely taken by her – even when she’s in a sour mood. More importantly, Cristina starts liking Roy back and caring about him. Which is what prompts her to speak up and advocate for him to be on the transplant list during the panel meeting. (That and the fact that she overhears Teddy tell Bailey that she’s “useless.”) Because Roy wants to live, and Cristina wants him to live. “If we give him the lungs, it won’t be a waste because he will live. I know it.” Cristina proves, in this moment, that she was paying attention and that she does know. She has an opinion. As Teddy says to her afterward, she was a doctor today. Cristina just took a baby step on the path toward healing. (And it seems that she’s at least somewhat helping out with the incoming trauma in the next episode.)
Cristina’s last scene is with Roy. And what do you know? She’s got a faint smile on her face. Yep, Roy charmed her. “I can’t call you sourpuss anymore!” I love how Roy sticks out his arm with gusto when Cristina tells him that she needs to draw blood. He knows that she fought for him to be on the list. She is taking the place of his estranged daughter that won’t come to see him even though he’s sick. ([Spoiler] Though, she will be showing up in episode seven. I totally can’t wait for that episode, to see how this thing with Roy turns out. He better not die. Cristina just said that she knows he will live. Don’t make a liar of her, writers.)
And that’s all for this episode, folks. I will be probably be skipping next week’s episode since it seems to be a stand-alone and experimental episode that won’t be focusing too much on developing Cristina and Owen’s relationship in any way. Plus, I’ll also be out of town most of next week, so I won’t have time to write. And episode seven seems like it’s going to end up being a long blog post, so it evens out. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Now, for some questions for those of you who muster up the energy to read these: Did you find it weird that none of the attendings (that are the main characters) came up and congratulated Owen? (Guess Owen is the only one who knows something about humility.) What do you think it’s going to take for Cristina to get better? Who would win in a fight: Cristina or Owen? Why does no one wear long sleeve shirts under the navy blue scrubs? And how much do you love Roy? Let me know below! And Happy Halloween! (Just in case I don’t post next week.)