While this week's episode of Grey's Anatomy focused a lot on the immediate reactions the characters had to what happened in the last pre-hiatus episode, it wasn't all to do with the fallout of Jackson Avery's announcement at April Kepner's wedding that he loved her and thought she might also love him.
All of the surgeons at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital faced personal turning points in this episode that had to do with how to move forward or how to find a new kind of balance when the world shifted yet again from the path you thought you were following. Some characters expressed fears and found a new stability in admitting their vulnerability, while others were surprised by their emotional reactions and found themselves facing vulnerability they thought they'd bypassed by trying to move on.
Owen Hunt had a lot on his professional plate after hearing from Richard Webber that one of the residents had lost it and carved up Alex Karev's father on an OR table in a botched attempt to treat his cardiac condition. Alex channeled his rage and grief at the situation into angry words at Owen's mention of bringing in Cristina Yang to provide follow up treatment. Owen's reaction was immediate and complex upon hearing from Alex that Cristina had slept with this resident and, as such, he didn't trust his friend's professional judgment in this instance.
Throughout the episode we saw Owen take a tough approach to teaching this resident and we were left to wonder if he was trying to school a wayward student back onto the appropriate professional path, or if Owen's emotions were also in play as he perhaps jealously reacted to the thought of Cristina having been with someone else while they've been apart.
In a parallel arc we learned that Cristina's response to the situation was similarly complex. It unfolded that she had fought for this resident even though the rest of the board wanted him discharged from the program. We were left wondering at her motivations when Cristina expressed to Meredith during surgery her distaste for and lack of trust in this resident.
During a tense surgical scene we saw this resident concernedly putting forward his best effort to please Owen's demands, yet to no avail. Owen thoroughly grilled this resident to the point of flustering him and then took him off the case. Afterward, Richard accused Owen of letting his emotions impact his approach which Owen initially denied, yet later reconsidered.
We soon gained further insight into Cristina's own complex decision to advocate for this resident when she and Meredith broke up a fight between he and Alex. She cautioned this resident to learn from his bad decisions and to focus on making more good decisions, like when he stood behind his idea to print a 3D conduit, even in the face of Cristina's objections. She pointed out to him that kind of decision ultimately saved a patient's life, something he can only do more of if he is willing to be taught and figure out his own better approach.
It was disheartening that in another fast-paced episode Owen and Cristina had only one scene together, in a rapidly pulled together board meeting to discuss the new nonfraternization policy initiated by Human Resources after one of the residents filed a sexual harassment complaint. Owen cautioned the assembled group of surgeons that they have all, himself included, let their personal feelings get in the way of their professional duties. It remained to be seen how this policy would impact the surgeons in reality and how they would move forward within its confines. And also, would this policy and their need to adhere to it keep Owen and Cristina from acting on what appeared to be reawakened feelings for each other as we saw in them at April's nonwedding?
Elsewhere in the hospital: Miranda Bailey learned how difficult it was for her husband Ben to give up his place in a surgical residency program out of state to return home to help her; Ben, in turn, began working as a resident at GSM Hospital; Alex and Jo Wilson processed a seemingly confused marriage proposal while dealing with a visit from his father's wife and his father's impending death; Derek Shepherd and Meredith Grey fought over his intent to step into a presidential-sponsored research program; residents Leah and Stephanie struggled to process how each felt abandoned and used by the surgeons with whom they'd recently been in relationships; Callie Torres and Arizona Robbins stepped into buying a house; Callie and Stephanie treated a patient who had transformed himself into a man-sized cat; Jackson and Leah fought during surgery over his treatment of Stephanie; and we learned Jackson and April stepped into marriage together after a quick ceremony in Tahoe.