Why is it that fictional characters can have such an influence on us? Despite the real-world knowledge that Sandra Oh has chosen to leave Grey’s Anatomy to pursue other projects, my heart wants what it wants and what it wants is more Cristina Yang. Alas, that is not to be, and knowing that my favorite cardio-thorasic surgeon is about to check out of Seattle for good fills me with an irrational, yet palpable sadness. I need to get a grip and quickly, because “Change of Heart” has set things in motion. And things in motion tend to stay in motion. We are careening towards the finish line.

Dr. Nobody Sucks A Lot

If there is an upside to Cristina losing the Harper Avery Award, it is this: at long last, the Twisted Sisters are okay again. For real. Meredith is incensed that Cristina lost and lashes out at every available target, from sympathetic husband, Derek, to villain-by-marriage-and-association, April. It was kind of great to witness Mer truly in her BFF’s corner for the first time in forever. Everything seems right with the world. Plus Meredith has a point. No matter how many times Cristina says, “That’s how it goes!” or “It was an honor just to be nominated…,” something seems off. There seemed to be “no comparison” between Cristina’s research and that of the other nominees. So what gives? More on that later.

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What Did You Do?

Technically, that question was asked by Arizona Robbins as she voiced her suspicions to her protegee, Alex Karev. But I’m going to hijack the question and hurl it straight towards Miranda Bailey. That’s right, I’m talkin’ to you. Tell me you are NOT going to use those signed consent forms and inject the Bubble Boy with your deactivated HIV genome thing-a-ma-bobby against the wishes of his parents. [crickets]

Money Over Substance

Dr. Butt Hole has made Alex Karev an offer to join his lucrative private practice. After going back and forth the entire episode, a conflicted Karev gives the Board his notice. Robbins is sad to see him go but happy for him at the same time (as am I). Karev deserves to have something good happen to him for once. Big money, flexible schedule, the chance to expand his charitable work AND he’ll still have hospital privileges. Sounds great. So why am I waiting for the other shoe to drop? Habit, I guess.

The Children Broke Your Sister

After a rough go of it last episode, MerDer caught a break this week when Derek’s younger sister, Amelia (aka Amy) returned unexpectedly. We learned she has gotten engaged to James (whom I think was a fellow character on GA spinoff, Private Practice) and wants to try the Shepherds’ life on for size. Poor Amelia was overwhelmed after a day with Zola and Baby Bailey (duh…you don’t leave a rookie with two young kids for a zillion hours).Meanwhile, the McDreamys performed a surgery together and had “dessert” in an on-call room. Ah, just like the good old days.

Some Fights You Just Can’t Get Past

April and Jackson continue their fight about children, religion, science, etc. and add a hearty helping of awkwardness and longing to boot. Owen tries to reassure his protegee, April, that she and Jackson will get through this. All couples have fights they can’t get past (e.g. his and Cristina’s disagreement over kids) but Owen has faith that April and Jackson will move past this and live to fight another day. But then fate intervenes. The hypothetical children about whom Japril is arguing? No longer imaginary. That’s right. April is pregnant!

She Had The Votes

Finally, we circle back to Cristina. Turns out she really was robbed. Richard went to Boston for a romantic weekend with Catherine Avery. Their conversation took a professional (and confrontational) turn, however, when Webber questioned how Yang could have possibly lost the Harper Avery Award as she was by far the most qualified candidate. Then the bomb dropped. Catherine informed Richard that neither Cristina nor any other Grey Sloan Memorial Doctor would ever win the award. The Avery Foundation owns that hospital. It would be a conflict of interest. Richard was appalled. Cristina did the best work and had the votes to win but “lost” because of politics. In essence, the Foundation used her and Richard did not like it one bit, so much so that instead of proposing to Catherine (!), he broke up with her.

Back in Seattle, Richard went straight to Owen to tell him what happened and Owen told Cristina. Cristina was still smarting from the loss and, more importantly, grappling deeply with the latest development in the Heart Family case (one sister lived, the other died) in which she had to make an impossible call. The Harper Avery news on top of that seemed to be the catalyst that made Cristina have her own change of heart. 

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The handwriting is on the wall. Cristina is going to leave Seattle, not because she is still the surgery-hungry animal she once was. No, the irony is that Cristina Yang is now a doctor who truly, deeply cares for her patients as people. But the harsh reality is that she has hit a perhaps-insurmountable obstacle in Seattle: her career will be limited. And that’s the one thing she can not abide. She needs to be someplace where she can fulfill her almost-limitless potential. 

So now only a few questions remain. How will Cristina leave? What will Meredith and Owen have to say about it? And what role, if any, does Preston Burke have in the final outcome?

The next all-new episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” airs next Thursday, May 1 on ABC.

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(image courtesy of ABC)

Janalen Samson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV