The gala fundraiser event, cooked up by Jackson Avery's event planner, featured an astounding array of jugglers, magicians, and gymnasts which took Owen by surprise when he walked into the room. Jackson assured Owen the showy atmosphere was a sure way to loosen donors up and to convince them they were having enough fun to loosen their holds on their wallets as well. When Owen further expressed his concern to Cristina she assured him all that was involved was being charming to people to convince them to donate, which she went off to demonstrate with a male donor she jokingly called Ritchie Rich. Owen's approach was a little different, as he stood at the bar telling surgical war stories as a way to bond with his largely male audience. It wasn't until he heard Cristina giggle nearby as she played up to a potential donor that Owen shifted his approach and offered to get a drink for the young female donor who was now standing in front of him.
Things quickly took another turn as the woman Owen was talking to introduced herself as a physician from another Seattle hospital that was also struggling financially and said she'd hoped to poach some of their donors. Owen was further surprised to learn the reason she'd spent so much time talking to him rather than soliciting funds for her hospital from donors was because she found him attractive. All attempts at fundraising were soon forgotten, however, as an aerialist performing at the event fell, injuring herself and their event planner. Suddenly, all the surgeons went into professional mode in which they all seemed to feel so much more comfortable. After operating on their respective patients, Owen and Cristina once again met up in the hall. Both looked tired yet pleased to have operated successfully on people who needed their help. Cristina's offer of going for a drink at Joe's bar to close out the evening was interrupted by the appearance of the woman who had been flirting with Owen at the fundraiser. Cristina got bluffed out, as Owen had earlier in watching her charm her donor into a big fat check, and exited, leaving Owen and the woman from the fundraiser standing there together.
Elsewhere in the hospital: Derek Shepherd and Meredith Grey competed to see who could raise the most funds; Callie Torres told donors her wife had died to garner sympathy and donations; April Kepner and Arizona Robbins bonded over tears and champagne at the hospital; Miranda Bailey's patience was tested by both an irascible cancer patient and Richard Webber who remained resistant to treatment after his accident during the storm; Alex Karev realized the father he hadn't seen in years had been brought in as a patient which caused him to dodge Jo Wilson, his date for the gala; Jackson and Stephanie faced a personal challenge together; and the interns were left in charge of the emergency room and found themselves making mistakes yet also showing themselves to be up to the challenge.
Author's note: It was saddening and maddening both to see Owen and Cristina remain in a cycle of struggling with their connection, with how natural it has still felt to them both, while still not finding the words to discuss any of the issues between them or to find potential solutions. Instead, in this episode, they continued to try to evade their feelings by acting as if they could accept being apart and that moving on was a reality they both considered possible. Both are so wounded, yet so guarded that their vulnerabilities, when they do reach the surface, are often misread by each other or pass by so fleetingly that the other doesn't have time to catch on before they're back in denial of their feelings again. While I know the path in front of these two characters will be challenging, I hope that we will see them again face their feelings and reach out to each other again soon.