Owen was back in his dark blue surgeon's scrubs, working on a trauma case with April Kepner. Ultimately, the patient's injuries were too severe and Owen had to declare him brain dead. Since the patient was an organ donor he would require further monitoring until organ procurement procedures could be organized. Owen decided this was a perfect task for Jo Wilson, whom he'd removed from her pediatrics rotation considering her relationship with Alex Karev went against the hospital's new nonfraternization policy.
At the same time Cristina was also back in the OR, treating a baby that two of the residents had found dumped in a box outside the hospital. Prior to surgery Richard Webber encouraged her to put Shane Ross back on her service. When she admitted her discomfort with the idea, both from a professional and personal standpoint, in an authoritative moment Richard reminded Cristina he would always be the chief and that she should step up and teach.
We saw Owen and Cristina shine as motivated and supportive teachers alongside flexing their surgical skills while working to help their patients. However complex their medical work was in this episode, it was straightforward when compared to where their personal relationship transitioned to this week.
When Meredith Grey shared with Cristina that Emma had stopped by to remove her personal effects from Owen's trailer after he ended their relationship, her friend was surprised by Cristina's response. Instead of celebrating that she might once again have a chance to rekindle her relationship with Owen, Cristina seemed conflicted. What transpired were two interesting scenes in which Owen and Cristina flirted their way through a seeming new phase of their relationship, one which featured a different kind of communication between them.
Cristina initially approached Owen from the perspective of a friend concerned he had let go of an opportunity for happiness. Their joking banter developed an edge as Owen explained he didn't wish to discuss his decision. He then turned the conversation around completely by asking Cristina why she was concerned about the absence of someone in his life. When Cristina stammered in response and grew flustered, the tension in the scene turned flirty as Owen grinned at her and said he'd give her an answer if she gave him one. Not prepared for this side of Owen just yet, Cristina exited back to work and, as it happened, to prepare her own response. She accosted him at the end of the day and they engaged in more verbal sparring, flirtatious and serious both. They discussed their past, their current relationship, though none of it substantively. We saw them walk away from the hospital together, in good spirits, laughing and talking. A far sight better than their lack of communication earlier in the season, yet still disconcerting as it remained unclear where this new attempt at flirtation might lead for Owen and Cristina.
Elsewhere in the episode: Derek Shepherd learned committing to the Presidential research initiative meant his research materials could not be applied to his combined work with Callie Torres; Arizona Robbins had a physically taxing day in which she clashed repeatedly with her wife Callie until they eventually found emotional closure; April found herself repeatedly and comically faced with a brain dead patient's friend; Alex was suspended from surgery as a result of his actions with the board over the nonfraternization policy yet still managed to help his patient; Miranda Bailey and Meredith operated together; Leah Murphy gained closure with Arizona regarding their former relationship even as it turned out Leah's HR complaint was aimed at Callie; and Jackson Avery apologized to Stephanie about the abrupt end to their relationship.