Transitions and both the chaos and the healing they can create continued to be the theme in this week's episode of Grey's Anatomy. Staff began to return to work after the hospital's successful sale to a management team made up of the plane crash survivors with the financial backing of the Harper Avery Foundation. The doctors found themselves faced with figuring out how to run a hospital while maintaining their personal and professional relationships and hectic surgical schedules. Additionally, procedures established by Pegasus, the hospital's previous potential purchaser, created further conflicts. The stress of the situation pushed many characters to their breaking points which, in turn, helped them establish footholds on the next phase of their lives.
Owen Hunt tried to stay the course as he has been all season. In this episode he did his best to diligently craft a cohesive workplace plan that would meet the needs of his patients and staff. And when Cristina Yang told him the Foundation was considering a change in leadership in order to boost staff morale, Owen took matters into his own hands. Rather than stand quietly in the background any longer he gave voice to his feelings and confronted Jackson Avery and Derek Shepherd about the Foundation's plan and its impact on his employment status. In that moment, standing up for himself allowed Owen to access his own emotional response rather than simply focus on what's best for the hospital. Owen made the decision to quit, later telling Cristina he questioned his ability to be an effective leader while the pain of the plane crash lingered.
Cristina spent the day showing her loyalty to Owen, standing up for him and making it plain that she not only saw his side of things she's firmly in it with him. While juggling two separate transplant surgeries Cristina repeatedly made it clear to her colleagues that if part of being on a management team with them meant keeping information from Owen then she was not going along with that plan. Additionally, Cristina emphasized that Owen should be invited to the table with them to discuss both reopening the Emergency Room and their plans to regain their Level One Trauma designation.
Amidst the swirl of figuring out how to maintain their surgical schedule without Owen's administrative expertise, Cristina took time to reassure her patients and make sure they felt comfortable with her plans for their transplants. She also went to bat for Owen with Derek when she told him they were all trying to move forward and that blaming Owen for the crash wasn't helpful since he had already shouldered the blame for it ever since it happened. She further cautioned Derek to think about why he repeatedly lashed out at Owen about the crash, if it wasn't about something else other than Owen.
After reflecting on Cristina's words, Derek went to Owen and was able to say that while he's angry about the crash his feelings weren't aimed at Owen but, rather, at the world and at losing his friend Mark Sloan to the crash. In that moment Owen was able to see his friend's conflict and to put words to a concept he himself has maybe started to learn – that they way they’ll heal is by letting go of the pain. And as a pleasing bookend to their day of adapting and conflict-laden discussions, the management team meeting at the end of the episode had a very different forward-moving tone. Jackson relayed that he believes they should immediately reinstate Owen as Chief of Surgery and that Owen has agreed to return with some conditions, seemingly including reopening the ER.
Elsewhere in the hospital: Avery felt the weight of and settled into his new workplace roles; Miranda Bailey agitated for establishing new workplace protocols; April Kepner managed her emotional response to a tough transplant case; Alex Karev failed to keep his emotions in check around his friend and former intern Jo Wilson and her new boyfriend while he also tried to convince a teenaged patient to have a kidney transplant; Richard Webber attempted to manage his new workplace relationship with paramour Catherine Avery; and the management team voted to change the hospital's name to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.