Cristina, for the most part, tried again to downplay her excitement at her nomination. When Owen flirtily offered to accompany her to the Boston award ceremony for an evening of celebratory champagne and room service, she declared that her intent was to be out of town less than 24 hours, as if she were trying to make this sound like any regular business trip.
Her attempts to remain low key were rapidly overtaken by her concern at the alarming symptoms exhibited by three pediatric cardiac patients she and Owen were treating. When Cristina checked in with her patients before leaving for the night she found them in disarray. The pressure of juggling such an intense situation has left the kids in various states of emotional and physical distress while their parents tensely bickered with each other to mask their fear. When the hostility level between the parents took a sudden turn, Cristina urged the father to take a breather while she evaluated the kids. Cristina then showed us her growth by making a compassionate and caring choice to tend to this family rather than attend to her own concerns outside the hospital.
When we next saw Owen he'd arrived at the family's hospital room where he looked surprised to find Cristina playing Jenga with the kids while their parents were nowhere to be found. While she quickly caught him up on the situation it turned out she'd paged him to listen to the start she'd made on her acceptance speech, albeit with snarky input from their teenaged patients. Once Owen's sussed out her intent he leaves her to it in order to tend to his own busy workday.
We as viewers were lulled by this quiet turn of events, which meant, as usual, there was more intense action on its way soon. In a disheartening one-two punch of intensity, we found that the family's two daughters were in increasingly dire physical straits. The older of the two had seemingly begun to reject the heart from the recent transplant Cristina performed while the younger daughter had collapsed in the hall due to heart failure, the pacemaker they'd implanted no longer being enough to sustain her weakening heart.
As we saw the heightened emotional context for their patients' mother as she struggled with not being able to locate her husband amidst the stresses of having to make very complex decisions about her children's' medical care, we saw Owen and Cristina band together as a team. They took turns tending to their patients and supporting the parents, providing them all the tools they would need to move forward into further treatment options. Amidst their work, we saw Owen and Cristina again discuss her intent to go to Boston on her own, leaving us thinking that Cristina was pulling away and that Owen would let her. This concern was shored up by the continued intertwining of the seeming fracturing of the relationship between their patients' parents with Cristina and Owen's fractured attempts at communicating with each other and yet also in those anvils, there was hope for all involved.
With most patient crises averted, Cristina finally attempted to depart for the airport. Owen and Meredith accompanied her as she waited for her to cab to arrive, both trying to mark the occasion with her while Cristina remained businesslike and confident she could handle this situation. As both her friend and her love were paged for emergency cases we saw Cristina take a deep yet tentative breath as she was finally left alone with her own thoughts. We wondered if she would indeed make this journey on her own until we saw a fairly heavy-handed, yet much welcomed by this fan, anvil as Owen reunited their patients' father with his wife. We saw Owen take in the man's regret at having not been there when his wife needed him to face life's challenges and we hoped that meant Owen will follow his own instincts and make his way to Boston.
And when we next saw Cristina at the award ceremony she was excited yet nervous, faced with people who wanted to talk to her about her research. However, it was quickly clear that Cristina had grown regretful of her attempt to handle this situation on her own as she pulled out her phone to call Meredith to say she'd made a mistake and wanted her people with her - Meredith and Owen both. The delight on her face was evident when she walked into the dining room only to find both Owen and Meredith waiting at her table. It was incredibly touching to see the sweet smile on Cristina's face, to hear the tears in her voice as she said Owen's name before walking into his arms for a hug and a kiss, the grateful tone to her voice as she thanked Meredith for being there too. As she reached for Owen's hand and turned toward him before the ceremony began her hope of winning was giving way to excitement. You'd have to know and love Cristina to see the threads of disappointment in her expression when another surgeon's name was called given how rapidly she covered it with hearty applause for the winner.
Elsewhere in the hospital: Callie Torres and Arizona Robbins' planned date night goes awry when they ended up caring for Meredith and Derek Shepherd's kids when they are both called into unexpected surgeries; Alex Karev was working a double schedule at the hospital and also moonlighting for a surgeon in private practice; Jackson Avery and April Kepner's stark differences are brought into clearer focus when they treated a deaf child and realized how much they disagree on topics of faith and family; Meredith and Richard Webber treated a patient together; Derek struggled to balance work and home; Miranda Bailey continued to treat her immune deficient patient and to juggle his treatment with her research interests; the residents stepped into yet another semi-friendly surgical competition; some good-natured bonding occurred between Meredith, Alex, and Cristina as they all worked late nights at the hospital; and April asked Callie and Arizona if she could stay with them for a while.