In season 3, Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) and Burke were engaged. They were working together. They were in love. Then Burke left Yang at the altar, and that was the last we saw of him. Now that Oh is leaving the show, creator Shonda Rhimes said she felt his return was an integral part of providing closure to Cristina Yang. But what will happen between the two? We’ve got some ideas:
Cristina and Burke get back together and run off to their happily ever after
We all know how this turned out the first time, with Meredith cutting Cristina out of her wedding dress in a heartbreaking (like every other scene of this show) scene. But if we’ve learned anything from Grey’s, it’s that timing can be everything. In the season 3 finale where Burke and Cristina end for good, Meredith is also on the rocks with Derek — never forget the dramatic, “It’s over, so over.” But now look at them, using Post-its for things other than grocery lists and having babies!
Cristina wasn’t ready to get married then, and Burke knew that. And then he left. Since then though, Cristina’s been married and divorced. She’s grown. Things may be looking up for Cristina and Owen after last night’s episode, but just because he got cold feet doesn’t mean he’s done with kids forever (sorry). And Ross? Not gonna happen. Maybe she’s ready for that marriage now, and it would be a perfect way for her to leave with someone she basically started out with on the show.
Not only do they have a history, but he is oh-so romantic. He may have never had a chance to recite his dreamy vows to Cristina, but Addison was right when she told Burke after hearing the vows: “I think I speak for every woman in this room when I say, dump her. Dump Yang, and marry me.” Plus, the two getting back together would mean they’d get to adorably dance with each other for the rest of time. Who doesn’t want that?
Burke dies, Version 1
Grey’s loves killing off our favorites — rest in peace, 007. So it wouldn’t be far off for Shonda Rhimes to bring back Burke just so we could watch him die.
Here’s what happens: Burke gets wheeled into the ER for some heart problem — dying from a condition related to the organ he and his former love specialize in, how poetic! Cristina turns out to be his doctor, and she finds the old feelings she had for him return. Sure, he’s on his deathbed, but this is true love. Burke’s all she wanted all along, she just wasn’t ready for marriage when he was. This is one of these oh-my-god-I-messed-up epiphany moments, and then Burke dies — he dramatically codes — and he’s gone forever. Cristina can’t handle it, even though her reunion with him lasted only a few short days, so she decides that she has to escape Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, and this time, for good. “I’m free!” she cries as she leaves. (Too much?)
Burke dies, Version 2
See above, but instead of re-falling in love with Burke, Cristina releases all this anger she’s been holding in. No matter how much time has passed, he did leave her and then went ahead and put in his resignation without even telling her, so girl has a right to still be a bit mad. He dies. She’s done with holding onto memories formed in the hospital. She leaves. The end.
Cristina sees Burke and realizes she’s meant to be with Owen
Just what we’ve always wanted: Owen and Cristina are back together, and they’re moving away to start a new life and all that jazz. Cristina is having doubts — is Owen worth leaving her best bud Meredith for? Is it actually going to work this time? Then she finds out Burke is visiting the hospital to showcase this great new procedure he invented. Cristina has a bunch of emotions because, duh. Some of these emotions are “What if I’m still in love with him?” emotions, which just add to all Cristina’s fears about settling down with Owen.
Burke shows up, and Cristina feels nothing. No anger. No passion. Nothing! But Burke does. He’s all, “I made a mistake!” but because he’s Burke and is always stoic, it’s more like, “Now is our time, Cristina.” Later in the episode, Cristina is finalizing plans to move in with Owen. She’s ready.
Burke saves Cristina
Cristina is the one with the heart problem, and she’s loopy from the morphine, so she says the only person she’ll let operate on her is Burke. Meredith is like, “Cristina, you’re silly,” but Cristina is insisting and her situation is getting worse so they need to operate ASAP. There’s a bunch of debate about whether or not they should call him, but he ends up showing up in her hospital room. Still loopy, Yang has a one-sided heart-to-heart with him and is uncharacteristically mushy. Her condition worsens and she passes out so they rush her into the OR. The suspense!
Burke saves her, and after she wakes up from surgery (and is no longer on morphine) she is shocked to see Burke is there waiting for her to wake up. He saved her life — both by leaving her at the alter, allowing her to live the life she wanted, and by you know, not letting her heart explode or whatever. Cristina has been holding on to her heartbreak from Burke, but this gives her the chance to finally get over it, completely. He gave her life, and now she needs to live it. This means leaving Seattle and pursuing her dream heart surgeon job somewhere far, far away.