Full disclosure. My Cristina and Owen-lovin’ heart is still reeling from the body blow of that final scene, but more on that later. In the meantime, let’s reflect on how “One Step Too Far” illustrated the paths we take with widely varying results. Sometimes we get a pleasant surprise and other times things go horribly, sickening wrong.
Stupid, Arrogant Mistake
Oh, Derek, you couldn’t leave well enough alone, could you? You and Meredith have been in a good place. You’ve got Zola, your marriage is back on-track, and Meredith is thriving in general surgery. Then you put her back on your service against her wishes and, worse, blamed her when things went freakishly, terribly wrong with a surgery. Not fair. True, she and Lexie shouldn’t have gone ahead with the tumor removal without your (or the patient’s) consent. But this is why you and Meredith can’t work together. Mistakes are going to happen and you can’t hold them against her when they do.
My Wife Has Alzheimer’s
Speaking of mistakes, Richard had the wisdom to avoid one by not even putting himself in the position to mess up in a major way. Having spent the day enjoying the company and flirtations of Jackson’s mother, Catherine Avery, he accepted her invitation to escort her to a gala dinner. After a heart-to-heart with Bailey, however, he smartly realized that that was a bad idea. The temptation was too great for something inappropriate to happen between them. I give the man credit for removing himself from the situation and heading back to Adele.
I’m Not That Hungry
Jackson, Jackson, Jackson. After spending the whole day misinterpreting the actions of a visiting colleague (he thought his mother wanted to set them up but the young woman turned out to be a spy) Jackson not only stood up to his mother but got the spy to stand up to her, too. And then they had some fun in the on-call room. Not hungry, indeed.
She’s a Smitten Kitten
Morgan, Morgan, Morgan. You’ve developed a crush on Karev who is not only your supervisor but your ailing baby’s doctor. Not good. Sure the interplay between the two of you was fun to watch, but there’s no way this is going to end well. You’re is vulnerable and wounded because your baby daddy bailed and your baby is mega-ill and you’re a surgical intern. Alex is vulnerable and wounded because he came from the Family From Hell and Izzie broke his heart and Rebecca was totally messed up and Lucy stole his job. He does not need another bad relationship. In his defense he totally didn’t realize he was in one, but Callie showed him the error of his ways. Now what? Awkward.
I Love You So Much That It Hurts
Finally, we circle back around to Cristina and Owen. Things have been all kinds of bad for these two ever since she aborted their child in the season premiere. Ironically, Owen went with her to the appointment, trying to support the decision. But here’s the kicker: in his heart he hasn’t been able to get beyond it or move past it. I suspect he went along with it because he figured he’d already lost his baby and he didn’t want to lose Cristina, too, but life is vicious sometimes.
Even since the abortion their marriage has been in crisis. They tried ignoring the situation and pretending it didn’t happen. Then Henry died on Cristina’s table. Then Owen decided to move out but didn’t. Then they tried therapy. Each step has taken them further and further down an unthinkable road, culminating with Cristina’s fears that Owen was cheating on her with Nurse Emily. Turns out he wasn’t but in the final moments of the episode, he confessed that he did cheat. What?
Setting aside for the moment that I find that revelation to be completely out of character, I am intrigued to get more information on what this “cheating” actually was. It is certainly possible that Owen slept with another woman. It is also possible that things didn’t go that far and that the betrayal was more emotional than physical in nature. Some may say I’m splitting hairs, but I do think the details matter. A long-term affair is different than a one-night stand which is different than a kiss which is different than non-physical, emotional cheating. I suspect the particulars may matter a great deal when Cristina is deciding what she can forgive and if there is truly a road back for this couple.
It’s also important not to demonize Owen, not matter what the cheating turns out to be, because people make mistakes. Cristina has made mistakes as well. Neither party is completely innocent nor completely guilty. Instead, they did what we all do. They started down a road and took a step and then another and then another. Before long they looked around to their horror, asked how they could possibly have gotten there and wondered if there was a way back. I hope there is.
The next all-next episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” airs on Thursday, April 5th on ABC.
Best Quotes from the Episode