The two-hour season 10 premiere of Grey's Anatomy was all about decisions, how we make them, how we stand by them, how we move through the consequences of them, and how we figure out our lives in that process. And even though last season's finale was months in the past, it still weighed heavily on the decisions made by the surgeons of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital here as the premiere picked up right where the finale left off.
Though the super-storm which swept through Seattle in the finale had cleared away, the resulting environmental impacts left the severely depleted staff of GSMH with yet more trauma patients needing their assistance. A fire crew was surprised by rain-related mud slides as they attempted to rescue residents in an isolated neighborhood while at the hospital both Richard Webber and Heather Brooks were discovered in the basement after having been electrocuted by the hospital's malfunctioning generator. The arrival of injured neighborhood residents and first responders flooded the hospital's emergency room at the same time that hospital staff was tending to their comrades.
Owen Hunt, Chief of Surgery, was a focused leader for his team even as he was processing his reaction to the finale shift in his personal relationship with Cristina Yang. He drew the Board of Directors together to discuss the hospital's dire lack of supplies and their need to figure out how to treat patients who continued to arrive on their doorstep. Ever the trauma surgeon, Owen also coordinated the care of both a critically injured fire chief and attempts to further improve Richard's condition following Cristina's skillful stabilization of his cardiac function. Owen took time to be sensitive to the team of first responders who were saddened at news of their chief's condition as he was also cognizant of his own team's struggle to provide patient care while worried about their fellow surgeons.
Cristina remained a focused professional much the same as Owen did as she was drawn into assisting Miranda Bailey in assessing Richard's injuries. The first order of business was determining the extent of his cardiac symptoms and the best way to treat them, which turned out to be the complicated trauma room insertion of a balloon pump to stabilize him enough to allow them to address his additional symptoms. Cristina readily stepped in to support Owen in covering the ER as a way to help their fellow surgeons when Heather's death impacted the other intern's abilities to treat patients. Cristina then took on the follow up care of a patient with crush injuries whose cardiac function grew compromised.
While both Owen and Cristina showed up as dedicated surgeons facing enormous professional challenges, they remained in personal contact with each other throughout tending to patients and their colleagues. Even their smallest interaction showed us the poignant place in which they've found themselves and their relationship. Their emotional shorthand was evident as Cristina prepped Owen with a few medical thoughts as he planned for Richard's surgery. The warm look on Owen's face as she added those thoughts to his phone even as he assured her he would remember them was further supported by the awed and amused tone in his voice as he told her 'you're a challenging person.'
We saw additional evidence of the strength of their bond when Owen utilized their physical language of intimacy as a way to get past Cristina's business-like demeanor and open up her heart to him. When he sidled up to her with a flirtatious request that they give themselves something good to remember each other by she rose to the challenge, as he knew she would, and followed him into an on-call room. The reverential way they made love to each other during this and a second encounter showed how not simple it would be for either of them to step into a future without their relationship even as it was possible they might have to given their remaining difference of opinion on kids. In coaxing Cristina into letting down her guard with him, Owen was rewarded with her vulnerable, sobbing admission that even though she initiated their finale separation, it wasn't easy for her to handle.
Elsewhere in the hospital: Meredith Grey balanced life as a new mom with making decisions about Richard's medical care upon finding out he'd listed her as his medical designee; Derek Shepherd operated, ultimately unsuccessfully, on his protege Heather; Jackson Avery assisted his girlfriend Stephanie with the loss of her friend Heather as well as supported his mother through her concerns about her beau Richard's grave medical condition; April Kepner found herself in uncharted emotional waters as she went from telling Jackson she was again clear on having feelings for him to ultimately proposing to her fiancee Matthew after Jackson challenged her to figure out what she actually wanted; Callie Torres shut out her wife Arizona Robbins and moved into Meredith and Derek's house with her daughter Sofia as she processed news of Arizona's recent infidelity; Alex Karev and Jo Wilson took some humorous and tentative steps into their new relationship; and Shane Ross remained guilt-ridden over his competition with his colleague Heather leading him to send her to look for Richard and putting her into harm's way.