Owen Hunt remained a determined leader for his team this week, firmly guiding patient care while attempting to get the hospital's board to see the bigger financial picture beyond their own surgical schedules and in flux personal lives. He made an impassioned case for the necessity of repairing and reopening the outpatient surgical ward via a redefinition of their approach to both patient care and administrative work, which put him in direct conflict with Jackson Avery who believed as the Harper Avery Foundation's representative on the board that he held the deciding vote in how hospital work should proceed. Owen took a creative approach to showing Jackson another way to view the situation by rescheduling surgeries and withholding just enough information to allow Jackson to process his reaction and to see the arrogant error of his ways
At the same time, Owen was adjusting to a very different version of his relationship with Cristina Yang. When he expressed stress to her regarding the need for hospital repairs and convincing the board to pay attention she reached to comfort him as she normally would, yet pulled back when she herself remembered that they were trying to have just a professional relationship at present. Owen's frustration was evident as she removed herself from the situation to step into her own surgical duties that day rather than stay in the temptation of being alone with him. Later in the day when he encountered her reviewing scans prior to her surgery, Owen engaged her in conversation about her patient, the demanding procedure she had planned, and what her approach might be. He then wistfully reminded them both how his usual way of sending her off to surgery would be to wish her luck and then to kiss her. In this sweet and poignant pairing of scenes we saw how natural it has been for both Owen and Cristina to be bonded with each other and how difficult they are finding this new version of that bond.
Cristina's professional story for this episode took her into an attempt at a cardiac repair that might negate the need for her teenaged patient to go back onto the transplant list. While listening to and encouraging her patient and his parents to believe the unconventional surgery she presented might indeed be an option that would increase his quality of life, she also took a pragmatic approach once realizing the scarring in her patient's heart was too severe for the surgery to succeed. We saw how she's developed as a surgeon as she worked alongside her roommate Alex Karev, whom she had nicknamed Evil Spawn, and how she too was struggling in the absence of the romantic version of her relationship with Owen. During surgery, Cristina encouraged Alex to step into his burgeoning relationship with Jo Wilson rather than worry about the timing of it because they were lucky enough to be two people who wanted the same thing and had found each other, a bittersweet reminder of how the reason she and Owen were currently apart was her concern around their different wants on the subject of children.
As the day progressed we saw Owen's attempt to reach the board succeed as Jackson joined Owen in that attempt to get them to all work together to shore up the hospital's financial reserves and create a plan for how they would get back on their feet following the storm, the beginning point of which was arranging a fundraiser gala which will be a main feature of the next episode. While he finished the day on a professional high note, Owen's elevator encounter with Cristina on his way out of the hospital left them both reeling emotionally. We had seen them both wrestle throughout the day with their natural tendency to lean into their bond even in an attempt to now be simply friends and colleagues, so they both struggled with how to respond to Cristina's suggestion that they try to date other people as a way to move past this sad shift in their relationship. Cristina's brittle nervousness as she made the suggestion betrayed her lack of comfort with it as did Owen's quiet demeanor as he tentatively agreed to the idea before exiting the hospital. It will remain to be seen how or if these two people will adapt to attempts to shift their relationship in a platonic direction and if either of them will be able to find the words with which to reach each other and shift their path together again.
Elsewhere in the hospital: Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd adjusted to life at home with their newborn; Miranda Bailey struggled to support Richard Webber's' healing process after the storm; Alex worked on a complicated pediatric cardiac case with Cristina while also negotiating how to show up in his relationship with Jo; April Kepner awaited the results of having retaken her boards; Jackson Avery worked on a pro bono plastic surgery case with his girlfriend Stephanie; Callie Torres remained disinterested in her wife Arizona Robbins' attempts to reach her; the interns studied for their exams and dealt with their remaining grief over the loss of their friend; and the board convened at Owen's urging to discuss how to move the hospital forward in the wake of the storm.