Do you know who you are?
Do you know what's happened to you?
Do you want to live this way?
Although the launching point for this intense examination was a critically injured patient and the decisions he and his wife would make regarding his care, Cristina Yang extrapolated those questions into her own personal struggle which lead to a gripping hour of imagined, if extreme, paths for her long term relationship with Owen Hunt.
Her emotionally fraught pursuit of her own, and potentially Owen's, answers to those questions derived from a heavily weighted medical flip of the coin. Would this patient decide to remove himself from the supportive care keeping him alive or would he choose to live life as a quadriplegic after a pivotal car accident severed his spinal cord. As Cristina watched two versions of the answer to this question unfold, she applied it to the struggle she was experiencing between listening to her heart which loves Owen Hunt and her mind which has pondered whether they can build a life together given his want for family alongside the careers they both enjoy.
That the majority of the action in this episode occurred in Cristina's own emotional imaginings made it difficult to know what pieces of this puzzle, if any, we were to apply to the realtime actions of these characters as they interact going forward. In the meantime, we saw Cristina struggle with her own and Owen's potential disappointment if they strayed from what she imagined would be lives lived true to their own selves.
In the first version of this story we heard the patient's wife, who was herself a nurse, ask direct questions such as whether her husband would ever breathe on his own again. Upon hearing Cristina's negative response, she said they should wake him because she believed he would prefer to die rather than live his life in this state. The gravity of the situation put Cristina in mind of Owen who she could see through the window of the treatment room, as her patient's wife described her enduring bond with and knowledge of her husband.
After the patient stated his wish to be removed from the ventilator, Cristina exited the room shaken and went to Owen to express her own need to stop wasting time and her wish for them to just be together. Having shown Owen her heart, what followed was a trippy version of Cristina and Owen's life together, one in which they, in short order, were remarried with a new house, a dog - the hilariously named Mrs. Rodriguez - and soon thereafter a young son and another child on the way. Owen delighted in his home and his family even as he bridled at wanting to also step into professional choices open to him. We also saw Cristina's edges fray a bit in this version of the story as she chose to turn over her clinical trial to her resident in order to spend more time with her family and found herself grieving those professional choices as she later presented the Harper Avery award to her resident for the work she herself had pioneered.
In the second version of this story we heard the patient choose to cling to life, deciding to adapt to new circumstances, which put us on course for another imagined version of Cristina and Owen's lives as well. Having saved a patient's life and witnessed his own commitment to that life, Cristina went to Owen with a flirty proposition to help her celebrate this surgical win which he readily accepted. As the two of them embarked on an impetuous journey together, one seemingly based on looser expectations of their shared life, we saw Cristina step more deeply into her professional priorities as well as maintaining a relationship with Owen. Meanwhile, Owen alternately accepted this version of their relationship, expressing delight at again being with her while at other times, we saw him feel stifled by the amount of time she spent in the lab when he would have liked to have been stepping more deeply into a life with her. Over time Owen grew despondent at her inability to be as fully in the relationship with him as he wanted her to be and Cristina seemed to believe herself to have turned into a barrier to him having the complete life she believed he wanted, a situation which left them both sad and frustrated.
By the end of the episode we saw a third iteration of the patient's choice, whether to live or die, which again brought to the forefront those questions about what kind of life you want to live. As the patient again asked to be removed from life support, we saw Cristina again intend to go to Owen except this time she was distracted from her course by Jackson Avery and Meredith Grey and by the time she'd turned back to where she'd last seen Owen, the elevator doors had already closed behind him. Unfortunately we don't hear what words she would have chosen with which to approach Owen this time, yet the heightened emotion on her face showed us she had a lot on her mind and in her heart.