Longtime fans of the show will remember the plane crash which occurred at the end of Season 8 that left several surgeons seriously injured and caused the death of two former characters - Lexie Grey and Mark Sloan. Here the action was spurred by a small plane crashing when the pilot suffered a heart attack and his date unsuccessfully tried to land the plane in his stead. Because Grey's does nothing subtle when it's dealing with tragic accidents, this time the plane crashed into a prenatal yoga class which considerably upped the number of trauma patients being treated at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
Fresh from fighting with Amelia in last week's episode we saw Owen again try to reach out only moments into the hour after they found themselves getting into the same elevator. Yet before Owen got out more than a few words Amelia cut him off, reiterating her previous statement that she thought mixing work and, what she called, 'play' with Owen was a bad idea. We got some insight into Owen's emotional state as he told Amelia that while he believed they could have been more to each other he was now done fighting, done being underestimated.
From there Owen stepped into chief of surgery mode and directed his team to set up the trauma department. In working with Meredith to assess a patient, Owen began to notice her reaction which presaged the emotional roller coaster he was likely in for as well. To illustrate the thematic link throughout the episode we saw multiple flashbacks to each character's perspective from the Season 8 crash and how it shaded their reactions to the current crash. Even with this dark shading it was good to see missed characters like Cristina, Lexie, and Mark in those scenes.
At the same time that he was coordinating patient care, Owen struggled with his own emotional reactions over the course of the day. What initially appeared comedic as Stephanie twice took him to task for his impatient reactions during surgery and in post-op evaluations, rapidly turned into raw emotion by the end of the episode. Grey's traditional heavy handed anvils were present as Owen's storyline kept bringing him into fractious contact with Amelia as they treated the same patient.
Amelia continually misread Owen's actions as having to do with their fight in the elevator. She eventually made that interpretation clear as she approached him late in the day about his behavior. He responded from a place that was no longer being played for comedy as the chiefly facade Owen had been trying to keep in place all day finally fell. He reminded Amelia that everything wasn't about her as he explained that while treating patients he was being chased by his own guilt at having put his team - his family and friends - onto a plane that crashed with horrific results. As Owen slowly listed the names of the surgeons injured or killed in the previous crash, the weight of his words seemed to reach her. As she moved to sit beside him, Owen calmly stated that he wouldn't survive another crash, which is what a relationship between them would be. Responding to his request for peace, Amelia stood and exited the room. At the end of this affecting scene, we
were left certain that no matter what's in front of him, Owen has been slowly but surely finding his voice this season.
Elsewhere in the hospital: Meredith and Arizona shored each other up as memories of the plane crash they both survived were brought to the surface by treating patients impacted by a small plane crash; Stephanie yearned for a romantic adventure of her own while she and Jo learned more about their supervisors; Maggie learned a bit more about her sister's history; Alex took it upon himself to keep watch over Arizona as they treated patients; Callie and Arizona peacefully faced a bit more of their past; Miranda and Maggie kept Meredith focused during surgery as she worried over Derek's disappearance; and Richard showed his vulnerability after having witnessed the small plane crash on his way to work.