In another Kevin McKidd directed episode, we saw more of Owen than we have in weeks. Owen remained decisive about his feelings on the state of his marriage with Amelia, cornering her for a conversation in which his need for answers was obvious, as was her inability to give him any. This Owen has learned to identify his feelings and to verbalize them, as we saw him ask her if she was going to continue running away from home or if she would ever be willing to face him. As Grey's writers do, the medical story of the week was the mirror to their very different approaches to their relationship, as we saw two former surgeons arrive at Grey Sloan Memorial, one of whom had fallen while hiking and turned out to have a risky to repair brain bleed.
Aside from some brilliant stunt casting with the inimitable Hal Holbrook, we saw his wife searching for her own path through her tragic injuries while her husband wanted to have some control over what was happening to them. Naturally enough, Owen alternately consoled the husband while castigating Amelia for taking on a risky surgery without much chance of a positive outcome. Amelia stayed rooted in her work, wanting the space to pursue her patient's requested surgical option. Oh, and then there were the anvils about their patient wanting both more time with her husband and also wanting to use that time to help him figure out how to be alone before she died.
While Owen received sage words of wisdom from Holbrook's character about there being no secret to a long marriage, Amelia remained certain she was doing right by her patient. Her certainty put her in the hall fighting it out with Owen soon after, where we saw her holding no punches. She even brought up Cristina, Owen's first wife, with whom he also struggled to deal with her not wanting the family he craved. This was the one piece of unexpected conversation we saw between these two characters who rushed into their marriage only to be brought up short by their approaches to whether or not to have a family and how to communicate with each other. (Although yay for invoking Cristina, who remains my favorite former character.)
As Owen shared his side of the conversation, we heard his familiar refrain about wanting, what he called, a normal life, while Amelia reminded him that having a child doesn't ensure your life will be what you hope it will be. She reminded him that she was already a mother once and it turned out to be wonderful and heartbreaking, as her son died soon after he was born. Owen remained silent when she asked him if he was ready for that kind of a roll of the dice when it came to the family he envisioned.
And if that wasn't enough, of course their patient survived surgery only to die a short while later, leaving her husband fumbling for how to move forward on his own. Viewers were left wondering where Owen and Amelia might go next as both were visibly shattered by their public argument at the hospital and the fractured marriage at the center of their medical story. A weighted look between them in the ER left us with little guidance except leaving it clear much distance remained between them.
Elsewhere in the hospital: Maggie's mom received bad news from her oncologist; Maggie and her mom remained in conflict, even once Maggie knew about the cancer diagnosis; Richard froze out both Miranda and Arizona; nosy Jo worked on Jackson's service and got opinionated on Maggie's mom keeping secrets from her daughter about her health; sisterly bonding between Meredith, Maggie, and Amelia was filled with subtext about their romantic relationships; Nathan kept joking his way around Meredith's insistence he step up if he wanted to be with her until he finally ponied up with some sappy reasons that won her heart; Ben and Miranda bonded; Stephanie seemed triggered by their patient's death, though her emotional response got Andrew to admit to being, maybe, in love with Jo; and Richard told Arizona he had to work through his feelings before he'd feel confident in their friendship again.