Grey’s started out with the promise of being twenty and thirtysomethings stuck in a high school mindset and cutting people open. To highlight the exaggerated perception of the world in which high schoolers live everything seemed to matter more. It was all heightened. Meredith and her friends loved harder and felt deeper and had insanely relevant, scary and interesting cases like that of the girl who bit off her rapist’s penis and was wearing the same shoes as Meredith, or the two people who rode the same bus for years and were suddenly forced together by a bar piecing both of them.

It was all so very intense and watchable and hopelessly earnest.

But over time the characters, like good television characters, grew. They changed. Meredith lost her dark edge and became a wise friend, wife and mother. Callie, the hot mess of Seattle Grace, found her identity and a wife and child in the process. Even Cristina, the most callous of characters, learned to love.

The twentysomething crazy kids gave way to thirtysomething adults. The high school soap opera shifted into an adult domestic drama with trappings of the hospital procedural. It was slow, organic and it’s worked. If Meredith and Derek still danced around each other and stared longingly while standing in the elevator would you still be watching? Why do you think Grey’s considers to be one of the most watched dramas on television while the unchanging House is seeing his last season? Grey’s isn’t afraid to take risks–even when those risks are less about bombs in bodies and more about breaking up one of the show’s core couples.

Cristina and Owen are done.

Pro tip: if your wife hates you because you cheated? Maybe don't try to cuddle.

It’s been coming for a while. In this very space I’ve declared them over at least three times. But every time before they’d push through all their problems and find one another again. They’d try to figure out some way back to that dreamy Heathcliff like figure pulling an icicle out of a tragically single heroine yearning for someone to care for. Like in many real marriages it wasn’t deception that did them in. Ennui. Lack of passion. They’re over because Owen was so bitter and angry over his wife’s choice that he sought out the easiest and cruelest way possible to hurt her.

As much as he’s said he loves her can it really be true? He kicked her out last season at the beginning of the abortion storyline. Then reluctantly found his way back to her. Then treated her awfully. Then turned kind. He berated her publicly and then consoled her privately. He’s been a man at war with his feelings, but time and time again he’s found it so easy to turn cruel for the sake of his self. He is still very much that man that man from the fifth season who hid from his mother and his fiancée and choked Cristina instead of seeking out help. He hasn’t changed.

Yet, Cristina. She’s grown leaps and bounds. She’s truly loved and allowed herself to be damaged by that love. She’s learned to separate Meredith from her relationship with men. She’s learned to forgive even the harshest of professional attacks. And then, at the end of the episode, she showed the full depth of her eight seasons of transformation. She reached a point where she might fail professionally and she sought solace and aid from her peers.

This break up needed to happen. It was the only way these two could move forward without a dramatic shift in characterization. Cristina outgrew Owen. Now it’s his turn to grow up. Will they ever get back together? Will one of the most popular couples the show has spend another season staring longingly at each other in elevators and trying to figure out where it all went wrong? I don’t know. That’s the beauty of this break up. It’s so bittersweet and imperfect and tragic and yet so absolutely right. They could find their way back to each other or move onto others (Cristina and Avery post-divorce sex by next season CALLING IT) and it wouldn’t feel out of place.

Or, in a move that is increasingly more likely, one of them–particularly Sandra Oh–could leave the show all together. If the actress was really done with getting sporadic Emmy nods for fantastic work and ready to move onto that Oscar that would be hers with the right role than they have written the character a perfect out. She’s way behind studying for boards, without a husband and her BFF forever could just as easily shift her BFFness to Callie with all but the most loyal of Grey’s fans not batting an eye.

Speaking of that BFF, Callie declared Meredith ready for boards, and after hanging out with MOTHERFLIPPIN’ ODO–

This is Odo. He was on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He was also the crazy chef in The Little Mermaid. Now you have a face to the name internetz.

–she realized she was a bad friend and called Cristina. Also she helped break Lexie and put her back together again before passing on the “Torres Method” to the rest of her little gang.

Alex joined in the breaking with April (remember her?) and Avery flitted in and out of the subplot when he wasn’t busy being Mark’s lackey.

Because Mark declared himself Chief and then actually did a really good job at being Chief. Which means we’ve now had all four male attendings work as chief and all four female attendings to fuck all in regards to being chief. Shonda and company? I’m starting to wonder about you. Get Arizona or Teddy in the chief role stat before it starts looking like women can’t run the hospital unless they’re Bailey in the future or Ellis Grey in an alternate dimension. THAT IS TROUBLING.

But yeah, Mark was a fabulous chief after getting a quick lesson for Webber and even his BFF/frenemy Derek had to agree he was great. Who knew a return of über pompous jerk Mark would be so utterly delightful?

And who knew Teddy making awkward remarks about her dead husband would be so painful to watch? Oh right. EVERYONE. In one of the most true to life scenarios the show has ever come up with Teddy is hanging with Callie and Arizona (and also Bailey after some begging) but everyone would rather avoid her and her sad/bright widowness and have sex elsewhere. Having had a friend who is oblivious to their sudden turn to irritating I may have toasted the show with my glass o’ port and shouted “preach.” Only where I studiously avoided my friend until I forgot why I was mad then jokingly told her about it years later and kind of definitely hurt her feelings Arizona realized how avoiding the irritating friend is pretty awful and forced her wife and Bailey into forgoing sex to hang out and watch Beaches.

In every way possible Arizona is a better person than me.

Though Jessica Capshaw is clearly pregnant and I was a little surprised a turkey baster related plotline has been introduced to explain that big ol’ bump.

I HATE THE WORD "BABY BUMP" BUT DAT A BUMP O' BABY.

Notes

  • Now that we know Arizona was a big ol’ lady lover before settling down the similarities between her and Mark are becoming striking. This week? “Ladies’ night” equaled “lesbian bar” for both of them.
  • “You didn’t even know her name.” OUCH. I’m trying to think of a way to hurt Cristina worse short of murder and coming up short.
  • “Take care of yourself” was a nice callback to “take care now,” only, you know, he just cheated on her and blamed it on her by bringing up the abortion AGAIN.
  • April was back! She’s been off camera for a while now and I was getting worried.
  • I could watch Webber and Odo hang out all day. So could you I bet.
  • Derek and Meredith gossiping was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen kitten videos.
  • Callie and Arizona mocking Bailey’s love life? Fabulous. More back and forth between those two because they’ve got killer comedic chemistry.
  • Next Week: Webber’s wife is dating another dude at the memory care facility! And an abused kidnap victim comes in! Also post breakup awkwardness is sure to abound!
  • drwyatt

    great analysis, but please, no avery and cristina hook-up. let him be april’s first. I think owen should be written to fall apart, perhaps even become suicidal, and which would bring teddy and cristina back around. he is the one that needs to change