Grey’s Anatomy returns from hiatus tonight and presumably we’ll get the answers to the cliffhangers from “Run, Baby, Run”, the winter finale. Will Bailey and Ben get married? Will Adele live or die? Will Callie and Arizona get their groove back? Will Derek’s surgery be a success, thereby allowing him to be a surgeon again?
The questions that interest me the most, however, all involve Cristina and Owen. Are Cristina and Owen getting back together? Are they getting divorced? Might those two questions not necessarily be mutually exclusive? And, most importantly, do Cristina and Owen even belong together as a couple?
A Fairy-Tale Beginning
Once upon a time one fateful, icy night Cristina Yang met Owen Hunt. She was a badass cardio-goddess in the making and he was a badass Army trauma surgeon who trached a guy with a pen (hot!). She stitched up his leg. He took out her icicle. Their chemistry was palpable and instantaneous, but after an impulsive kiss, Owen went back to Iraq to finish his tour. When he returned a few months later, he was a changed man. He was the sole survivor of an ambush that killed his entire unit. After his honorable discharge he became the Head of Trauma at Seattle Grace Hospital where he immediately became entangled with the fiery Cristina.
Then a miracle happened. These two wounded people saw each other, healed each other, trusted each other and loved each other. Cristina (who had suffered losses of her own in the death of her father and her break up with Burke) opened herself up to Owen, revealing a compassion and vulnerability than we had only glimpsed in earlier seasons. Owen slowly came back to life as Cristina reached out to him and then offered a lifeline of his own, supporting Cristina as she dealt with a difficult setback at work and a personal estrangement from Meredith. By season’s end, Owen had gotten professional help for his war-induced PTSD and, after declaring their love for each other, Cristina and Owen decided to give their relationship a go.
Of course, Grey’s Anatomy being a television drama, their happiness was short-lived. Over the next three and a half seasons Cristina and Owen faced enough tumult for three and a half lifetimes: the “triangle” with Teddy, Cristina’s professional ambitions, Owen’s PTSD flare-up, the aftermath of the hospital shooting, Cristina’s accidental pregnancy and subsequent abortion, Owen becoming Chief of Surgery, marital estrangement and failed therapy, Owen’s one-night stand, the aftermath of the plane crash, Cristina’s move to Minnesota (where she found both a mentor and a “sex friend”) and, finally, her return to Seattle.
In all of this a common theme emerges. There is one major problem from which all of their other problems stem: Cristina and Owen are poor communicators. They failed to ask important questions and address fundamental issues before pursuing a life together. Then they tried to gloss over it all and pretend things never happened. It was inevitable that their marriage would eventually implode from the cumulative weight of their decisions. In my view both Cristina and Owen are at fault. Both have shortcomings. Both have made mistakes. Both are to blame. To hold one more responsible than the other is unfair and shortsighted. Both are guilty of communicating very, very badly and so they find themselves at a crossroads.
The Bottom Line
This brings us back to the question: Do Cristina and Owen belong together? My answer (with a caveat) is a resounding: YES! Cristina and Owen have loved each other from the moment they met each other and they continue to love each other, even when they have hurt each other…despite the fact that they have hurt each other. They also “get” each other in a profound way. Even when they don’t understand the other’s decisions or motivations, they “see” each other in a way no one else does. Plus, they are miserable without each other. They’ve tried being apart to no avail. Life without the other isn’t really living, so they inevitably find their way back to each other. For this to be a healthy thing, however, an important change must be made and a crucial issue must be resolved.
If Cristina and Owen are to reconcile (and I believe they will, regardless of whether or not they divorce), they must learn to communicate openly, honestly, and truthfully. They also must resolve the biggest of all of their issues which is whether or not to have children. There are two likely scenarios. One is that Owen will decide that he wants his relationship with Cristina badly enough to give up his dreams of being a father. The other is that Cristina will change her mind and agree to have a child.
By the way, should Cristina change her mind and be open to the idea of having children, it doesn’t mean that she is suddenly “out of character”. I am mightily irritated by and weary of viewers who seem to want Cristina to be the same person she was in season one. Other characters have grown and changed. Cristina has, too. Examine closely the person she is upon returning from Minnesota and it’s pretty clear that she has changed in many ways. So if she changes her mind on children (and that’s a big “if” because she may still prefer to remain childless) it would simply reflect that she is in a different place in her life at this point, not that her character has been irrevocably ruined. Some women do change their minds. Others do not. Both are legitimate points of view. Bottom Line: Cristina and Owen need to make a choice, together, taking the other person’s desires into consideration. Either outcome is acceptable, in my view, provided both are at peace with the decision.
We saw clearly in the alternative episode “If/Then” that Cristina and Owen are adrift and broken if they are not together. Having kids didn’t make Owen happy because he was unhappily married to Callie, yet drawn to Cristina. Likewise, Cristina’s budding career felt empty when she was alone and longing for Owen. My take-away from that episode is that soul mates find each other in any universe. Provided they can change their way of communicating and come to consensus over having kids, not only should Cristina and Owen be together, they are meant to be together.
List: “If/Then” makes one of the best 50 TV episodes of 2012
The new episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “Things We Said Today”, airs tonight on ABC.
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(Image courtesy of ABC)