Early on we saw Owen and Callie Torres step into a Veteran's Hospital where Callie was to talk to a group of patients about her artificial limb research. While initially it seemed Callie was set against creating a veterans research group as Owen suggested, his words about the struggle our nation's heroes undergo to receive appropriate treatment after having been wounded in the line of duty quickly swayed her.
Their first patient was an Army Ranger who shared his struggle to adjust to life after being injured in the field. As we got to know him two things grew clear - that the way this veteran's amputation was done left him seemingly ineligible for Callie's research protocol and that Owen had a lot of emotion riding on his hopes for Callie's research to change the lives of these veterans. Given his own military service Owen's support of such a program was not surprising, however his initial frustration soon gave way to a vulnerability that showed us more was at stake for Owen.
When Owen tried to apologize for pushing Callie to add one more thing to her already busy life, she asked him to explain his behavior. The answers which tumbled out of him were poignant and loving and made it clear how Owen has struggled in Cristina Yang's absence, even though he sent her to Zurich a week ago with his blessing. We learned that while he's tried to focus on work since Cristina left, reaching out to his fellow veterans gave him something emotionally tangible to hold onto. The urgency of his words and the depth of pure emotion on his face throughout his recitation, made it clear that Owen's heart was struggling to catch up to his brain's logic, that even though he seemed to believe urging Cristina to explore professional opportunities was the right thing to do, that decision has left him minus the light she brought to his life.
'I need something to be good. I need a reason to get up every morning, to not crawl back into that cave I was in before I met her. And you know she saved me. You were there, you remember how I was. I was dark, that war made me dark, and that darkness is still in me and she just lit it up. So I thought maybe to beat back that darkness I would do something good. ... That's why I dragged you to that rehab center, that's why I wanted you to help, why I pushed too hard.'
And having had that lightbulb turned on for her, Callie was pleased to ask Owen to observe the surgery Jackson was doing on their first patient to reroute the nerves in his injured leg prior to fitting him for a robotic leg. We soon learned that not only had Callie decided to move forward with the veteran's health program he'd initially discussed with her, that she decided Jackson Avery should step into the program with them. Later, after realizing that Callie and Arizona Robbins might not be on the same page about the forward progression of their marriage, it seemed that Owen's push for this new approach to her research was just what Callie might need too.
Elsewhere in the hospital: Meredith Grey wrestled with Maggie's news that they were sisters and continued to insert herself into Alex Karev and Jo Wilson's relationship; Alex prepped for pitching the board on his candidacy for Cristina's seat because her faith in him has made him feel like he has something to offer; Arizona discovered her new fellowship was going to move her life into hyperspeed; Derek Shepherd found himself incapable of stepping back from neuro cases and fought with his sister Amelia; Stephanie allied herself with Miranda Bailey professionally and in the board race; Richard Webber connected the dots of Maggie's story with Meredith before telling Maggie he's her father, news to which she reacted poorly; and the board heard presentations from both Alex and Miranda before ultimately selecting Miranda to fill Cristina's vacated seat.