As everyone struggled to process the situation and move forward, they found there was no one right or simple response to such pain. Some people will themselves to believe they can simply ignore their way past the pain; others shift into overdrive and fight in reaction to that pain, and yet others' instinct is to run, thinking their best chance of survival is to try to outmaneuver their pain. And while everyone's path through pain is singular, we all eventually find growth through our experiences. We also learn that life moves on around us and that sometimes too is painful even as it helps propel us forward.
Owen went into chief-mode, doing everything he could and then some as Chief of Surgery to make things right for those who were injured in the crash and to help those around him mourn the loss of Lexie Grey and Mark Sloan who didn't survive their injuries. Cristina went inward, after doing what she could to keep her colleagues alive while they awaited rescue in the woods. She was hospitalized for a lengthy period of time as she slipped into a reactive psychosis in her attempt to deal with the painful event.
As the first few episodes progressed, we saw Owen and Cristina step onto individual paths to deal with the painful results of the crash amidst their fractured marriage and trying to find ways to move forward. Owen remained in Seattle, trying to keep the hospital's surgical service focused on the business of saving lives while processing their crash-related injuries and grief while Cristina fled to Minnesota and the promise of a rigorous fellowship at the Mayo Clinic to avoid processing the painful associations which Seattle brought to mind.
At the same time, we saw a full circle of sorts for the remaining original interns who started out on the show in its first season. Having all attained the medical milestone of passing their licensing board exams, Alex Karev, Meredith Grey, and Cristina all began stepping into putting their training to the test as teachers and fellows. Meredith coped by presenting a seemingly emotionless exterior and earned herself the nickname 'Medusa' from her interns; Alex found himself drawn romantically to a couple of the new interns while preparing to exit Seattle for a prestigious fellowship at Johns Hopkins; and Cristina appeared brittle and fragile as she kept everything about her new opportunity in Minnesota on the surface, focusing on surgery as a way to obscure her deeper emotional state.
Some new staff members appeared in the form of a fresh crop of interns who acted and worked as their teachers had before them, jockeying for the best surgeries and the most hours in the operating room. Their naïveté regarding the practice of medicine ...
responsibility to his staff while also clearly missing his wife Cristina. Callie Torres, Derek Shepherd, and Jackson Avery took turns sitting vigil by Mark Sloan's bedside as he fell into an unresponsive state after the crash. Arizona Robbins remained bitter and withdrawn while she recovered at home from surgery to amputate her leg which was fractured in the accident. Miranda Bailey took care of everyone while balking at the process of remarriage. Richard Webber also stepped into a new relationship, having connected with Catherine Avery, Jackson's mother. Meanwhile, April Kepner had fled to her parents' farm after failing her boards and getting fired.
Owen worked to be a calm and supportive presence for his employees to lean on, yet his frayed edges were also sometimes on display. He tirelessly worked to problem-solve options for Arizona's complicated follow-up care when Callie earnestly asked him to help her figure out how to save her wife's life. He also schooled an intern who decried Meredith's harsh workplace attitude regarding the strength it took for their colleague to face the adversity of the plane crash which caused both her sister Lexie's death and her husband Derek's potentially careerending injury.
Yet more telling were Owen's words to April, his former resident, in trying to convince her not to give up on her professional dreams. His fraught emotions were clear when he talked to April about second chances and voiced his desperate urge for a 'do over' of his own, wondering aloud what might have happened if he'd said something to Cristina sooner. While Owen's caring demeanor was evident in this situation, it also seemed evident he was taking care of everyone around him in place of not yet knowing how to reach Cristina and heal her and their relationship.
At the same time, Cristina clung to her surgical duties in Minnesota as a way to guide herself through her own post-crash healing process. When she was assigned a surgical mentor to help her learn the layout of her newly adopted hospital environment, Dr. Thomas at first seemed like a punishment. Old school in the extreme, his meticulous work was at first hidden behind his verbose lessons about surgery. He soon shed his dinosaur demeanor and turned out to be a focused and quirky teacher and a kind, if somewhat prickly, friend and father-figure.
While it was frustrating to see Owen and Cristina so emotionally and physically apart from each other, a flashback to the immediate aftermath of the crash provided a haunting filter through which to view Cristina's attempt to outrun her past and Owen's continued attempts to reach out to her. Seemingly frozen within herself, Cristina fought anyone who tried to get near her at the Boise hospital where they were taken for treatment upon being rescued. It was only in Owen's arms that she was momentarily calmed even as she still appeared glassy-eyed and emotionally vacant. When Owen took Cristina home to heal, she once again found her voice and shared with him her experience in the woods after the crash. After Owen had tenderly bathed her in their tub, Cristina related how she spent four days awake taking care of her fellow crash survivors.
The impact of her vulnerable and frightened words upon Owen was evident as he leaned in and wrapped his arms around her. Her splintered status remained clear as she said ‘Don't you see? I’ll never get out (of the woods)’ – and it was in this heartbreaking moment that we began to grasp why she ran to Minnesota to disappear into surgery and a world in which no one knew her, her story, or was emotionally connected to her. We also got a glimpse of Owen's deep understanding of her brokenness, and why he would let her go, perhaps remembering how he couldn’t have been diverted from his own path to healing post-war until he was ready to accept help.
As the season progressed we saw Owen's efforts to support his staff start to garner results as their outward injuries began to heal and patients and teaching could once again move more toward the forefront of their days. While this workplace shift began to help him move forward as well, it was clear in Owen's repeated attempts to reach Cristina that his heart was in Minnesota with her. As
a parallel to the healing Cristina began to find through the continued friendship of Dr. Thomas, she and Owen were once again in contact though it was regarding the legalities of the potential settlement on offer to the crash survivors.
Even though the subject of their conversations was work-related, it was still reassuring to see them talking and that their bond remained even as neither knew how to broach what might be next for them as a couple. Cristina's girlish demeanor on the phone with Owen even as she declaimed any feelings one way or the other regarding the settlement displayed the complexity of her emotional response to talking with him. Owen’s bemused smile as he listened to her ramble on showed how pleased he was to hear her feeling more like her old self, even as his wistful expression indicated how much more access to her he wanted.
Both knew they couldn't keep pretending things between them were normalizing just yet as he was in Seattle and she had a fellowship in another state. When Cristina sadly pointed out that her life was in Minnesota now Owen quietly agreed to her assessment. You could sense their shared sad resignation in their inability to quell the remaining distance, both emotional and physical, between them. In their own ways Owen and Cristina attempted to figure out how to move on separately, at least in the meantime. Cristina's unlikely friendship with Dr. Thomas allowed her much-needed support as she found herself saddened by feeling she had to let Owen go. Thomas remained the one person with whom we saw Cristina appear more like her old self, laughing at his self-deprecating jokes and stoic demeanor while displaying an awestruck reaction to surgical tricks he showed her having spent his lifetime focused on career. Owen, meanwhile, held onto his love for Cristina and expressed to Derek how much he missed her, eventually seeking emotional respite in Derek's trailer rather than living surrounded by memories of Cristina in their former home while their relationship remained uncertain.
In a heartbreaking turn of events, Thomas collapsed while in surgery with Cristina, leaving her to choose between saving the patient's life and trying to save her friend who was already beyond resuscitation. The loss of this man, friend, and mentor sent Cristina out the door and back home to Seattle. As she prepared for her journey, Cristina recalled some of Thomas' prescient words, 'You have greatness in you Yang. Don't disappoint.' So with only a stop at the liquor store for a little liquid courage, Cristina was on her way to the airport nd a return flight to Seattle. Upon her arrival, the dance between her and Owen once again began even as each displayed some hesitancy. They seemed unsure how to expose their own feelings as they guardedly began to explore how to be back in the same physical space again. The first concrete step in this dance grew out of Cristina accidentally finding out that, unlike his words upon her arrival, it was Owen who fought for her to have a place back on the surgical service at Seattle Grace.
It was from that opening that Cristina began to explore why Owen might have made professional space for her when they couldn't yet relate to each other personally. He claimed initially it was because she was capable of surgical greatness and that he wanted it to be accomplished under the Seattle Grace banner. Yet the focus in his expression and the intensity in his tone of voice as he stepped into her physical space to ask her what she wanted belied the casualness of his initial claim. His challenge left Cristina feeling uncertain of her own response until later in the day when she realized with great certainty that what she wanted was another chance with Owen.
Their dance remained complicated as we approached midseason when Owen learned the hospital's attorneys counted on Cristina and Owen's marriage and the resultant potential for conflict of interest being the loophole through which the lawsuit aimed at suing the hospital and its board of directors would be derailed. At the same time Owen was being reminded by the board of the confidentiality clause he'd signed upon entering into the lawsuit proceedings, Cristina found clarity in her own feelings and asked Owen to meet her at their home so she could ask him if they could try again. Crushingly, after arriving Owen told her he wanted a divorce without letting her know it was motivated by protecting her and the rest of the crash survivors' options in the court case.
The imminent arrival of their divorce papers brought out a complex emotional response for them both: Owen remained sadly focused on protecting Cristina's legal interests by letting her go without knowing she was once again prepared to fight for their relationship while Cristina attempted to stoically process her inner conflict at both her reignited focus on their relationship and her understanding of the reasons which motivated Owen to request a divorce. However, upon learning it was possible Owen's divorce request was a direct result of the court case, Cristina once again approached Owen to talk about their relationship. When
she stepped boldly into requesting they try again, Owen's response was to pull Cristina into his arms, making his feelings on the matter abundantly clear. While their dance would be anything but simple throughout the rest of the season, as they once again set out upon the dance floor together a midseason voiceover shed some light on their path:
We have to be willing to give up what we used to believe. It can be scary to find out you've been wrong about something but we can't be afraid to change our minds, to accept that things are different, that they'll never be the same, for better or for worse. We have to be willing to give up what we used to believe. The more we're willing to accept what is and not what we thought; we'll find ourselves exactly where we belong.
Article by Ella1967
screencaps from You Tube Videos