Cristina Yang leaves Seattle for a life in Switzerland, just as a new face shakes things up

By Samantha Highfill
Updated May 16, 2014 at 03:16 AM EDT
Kelsey McNeal/ABC

Grey's Anatomy

S10 E24
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So that’s it. Cristina Yang has left Seattle for good, and I haven’t quite wrapped my head around how I feel. In a way, I loved how they sent her off. It was to-the-point, she and Meredith danced it out, and it wasn’t made into too big a deal because it’s not as if she died. Then again, if this is the last we’re going to see of her, I felt it should’ve been more central to the episode, right? Did we need this bombing-turned-accident? I’m not so sure. But before I try and work out all my many feels, let’s get to recapping one last time in season 10.

The day began like any other. Cristina needed to run to the mall, Derek was passing around D.C. brochures, and Alex was looking to buy a fancy car — or as Arizona put it, a “road penis” — with all his new money. Oh, and Bubble Boy was healthy! Too bad the foundation was cutting funding and Bailey’s genome lab was going to be shut down. OK, so maybe it wasn’t just like another other day. Unless you’re Leah, who was sitting on her couch eating. I’m going to be honest with you all: When they said that about Leah, I had a good hard look at myself, because right then, I was the girl sitting on her couch eating. (But at least I’m not as annoying?)

At the hospital, Amelia had found her nickname. It didn’t have a “Mc,” but it was catchy: Shepherdess. Then, April told Hunt that she was pregnant, a happy announcement that was interrupted by some not-so-happy news. There was an explosion at the mall. Owen and April immediately went into crisis mode, and I couldn’t help but think that these poor people are way too good at this. This place will always be Seattle Grace-Mercy Death, won’t it?

With all hands on deck, the hospital turned into a zoo filled with decontamination zones, and thankfully, one Cristina Yang. She hadn’t had time to get to the mall, so instead, she came in to lend a hand. As did Leah, who was suddenly up off the couch and doing better than I was. (Suddenly I was judging myself again.)

Meredith immediately confronted Cristina about why she was at the hospital, but as Cristina put it, “They blew up Seattle, Mer. I can’t leave.” Meredith, on the other hand, was planning to. She and Derek were signing papers on a townhouse in D.C. — a fact that made me literally “boo” my TV screen. And Cristina was on my side. D.C. sucks, and Cristina gave Mer an awkward hug to prove it.

NEXT: Cristina’s goodbyes begin

In the middle of the chaos, Cristina found out that Link, as in Link McNeill of the Heart family, had a match on the transplant list. She was ordering for Link to be sent to her when Owen saw her and realized that she hadn’t gone to the hospital. His face lifted as he walked to her, but he lost her in a sea of chaos. And that marked the night’s first heartbreak.

But heartbroken wasn’t all Owen was. He was also pissed at the local news for spreading rumors about anthrax and radiation. He told a reporter off, then shut his camera off, and continued about his day. Go Owen!

In surgery, Cristina asked Alex if he really wanted to go the private practice route. Turned out she had been paying attention to him all these years, and now she was ready to admit that she’d been wrong about him. He was good. She told him he had good hands, he thinks fast, and he acts faster. Of course, he’d never be as good as her, but he was very, very good. Did he want to put all that talent in a drawer? Spoiler: No he didn’t. Another spoiler: He was going to miss Yang. And that moment marked heartbreak number two.

Fairly quickly, they identified the cause of the rashes to be some dry cleaning fluid, and seconds later, it was reported that the explosion hadn’t been a bombing. It had been a gas main explosion, and there was no evidence of foul play.

It was good news, but it was good news that sent April into a downward spiral. Catherine found her in a closet crying about how she didn’t want to bring a baby into a world where terrorism is our first guess. But Catherine told her a little story about eating out with her father in 1960, and the racists that threw hot coffee on him and tried to ruin their day. She told her daughter-in-law that if you’re not afraid, they don’t have power. Stupid people and accidents will always exist, but fear is what defeats you. What changes the world is “good people raising their babies right.” It was a sweet moment that I enjoyed almost as much as I enjoyed Catherine’s crazy up-do.

With only two hours until her flight, Cristina was scrubbing in to do Link’s heart transplant surgery, but Meredith told her it was time to go. “Nothing feels finished,” Cristina explained. She needed to finish something. “Owen and I split over something that hasn’t even happened, and we never even split up, and you and I are not finished.” And this is where she really got me: “George is dead, Izzie is gone, and it’s supposed to be you and me and Alex, and now nothing is finished. I am not finished.” The words “George is dead,” will always get me, but just as a whole, this speech absolutely turned me to mush. What number heartbreak moment are we at now? Screw it, this whole episode is a heartbreak moment.

NEXT: Dancing it out

But Meredith told her Twisted Sister that this isn’t the end for her. There is no finish line or end point, she just has to go. Cristina knew that, but she asked for Mer’s help. And with the donor heart delayed in traffic, Meredith grabbed Cristina and started the goodbye tour. I hope you have some tissues ready, because how sweet and simple and perfect was her goodbye with Derek? That hug? I just can’t.

Next, Cristina found Bailey and Webber, who’d just finished talking about Bailey’s lab. Basically, Richard thinks Bailey belongs in an OR, not behind a microscope, and he had recommended her for Cristina’s spot on the board. Now, they both had to say goodbye to Yang, but not before Shane got a word in. He asked Yang to take him with her to Switzerland. He was in charge of his education and he chose Yang. She was who he wanted to learn from, and she agreed. Then he told Richard he quit … respectfully, of course.

Bailey jokingly asked if Cristina wanted to grab anything else on the way out, the answer to which was a hug from Bailey, and then another from Richard. Richard told her he was proud of her, which turned me into a blubbering fool. Then, Cristina told Meredith to wait for her, and she ran to the OR where Owen was operating. Cristina knocked on the gallery glass, and when he looked up, she waved. I cannot even handle this scene. I will never be able to handle this scene. Why is this feeling so rushed?! This can’t be their goodbye.

Outside, Link’s heart arrived in a cab that Meredith shoved Cristina into. She told her to go now or she never would. What did she need, an I love you? Just like that, Meredith told her she loved her and to call her when she got there. Cristina was off. And I was pissed.

Back on the walkway of amazing moments and even more amazing scenery, Amelia was telling Meredith that she could go to D.C. if she wanted because Amy was good here. However, that thought had to be put on hold when Cristina came sweeping through, grabbed Mer and pulled her into an on-call room. She couldn’t go, not before they danced it out. That’s how they were supposed to finish.

As Meredith found a song, Cristina told her to call at least twice a month and to text all the time. She told her to take care of Owen and keep him from getting all dark and twisty. Then she instructed her to take care of Alex, which meant mocking him at least once a day to keep him from becoming insufferable. Oh, and “Don’t get on little tiny planes that can crash, or stick your hand in a body cavity that has a bomb in it, or offer your life to a gunman. Don’t do that. Don’t be a hero. You’re my person. I need you alive. You make me brave.” Only now could they dance it out.

Can we talk about how perfect that speech was? I loved the many throwbacks, particularly the one to Cristina’s “don’t be a hero” speech to Burke during season 2’s bomb episodes. This was the Twisted Sisters goodbye I wanted. But it wasn’t over yet. After they danced all their worries out, Cristina left Mer with these words: “You are a gifted surgeon with an extraordinary mind. Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. He’s very dreamy, but he is not the sun. You are.” I mean, honestly. I’m crying writing this (and also still sitting on my couch eating).

NEXT: Farewell Cristina (and hello Richard’s love child?)

In other, less exciting exit news, Leah got a nice exit, walking out of the hospital to find what she’s good at and leaving behind Jackson and April, who were hugging and kissing and talking about how their baby will be fine. But you know who won’t be fine? Owen! Why wasn’t anything happening with him?

At the end of the day, Bailey was excited for her future on the board, which is why it’s going to be very bad when she finds out that Cristina left her seat to “Evil Spawn.” Yep, it looked like Alex was coming back!

From Meredith’s old house to her new one, things weren’t running smoothly for the married couple. Meredith decided she wanted to stay in Seattle. She wasn’t going to be the “trailing spouse” like her father was. This wasn’t what she signed up for. She needed to be selfish right now. She called Derek out on putting his career first and always seeing her as the “young intern who fell in love with you.” She grew up here, and she didn’t want to leave. Bottom line: She was staying.

And you know who else was staying? Dr. Pierce, the new head of Cardio. Sitting on a bench outside the hospital, she revealed to Richard why she’d come to this hospital. She’d been adopted and recently found out who her birth mother was. She was dead now, but her name was on the hospital. Yep. Grey’s fans, I’d like you to meet Richard and Ellis’ love child. P.S. How reminiscent was that moment to the season 3 finale when Lexie met George in the locker room, and for the first time said her name? Loved it. And loved that Richard has a good storyline for next season.

Finally, in Switzerland, Yang was decorating her office, wearing makeup, heels, and looking very non-Yang when Shane came in to get her. Everyone was ready for her. They were ready for Dr. Cristina Yang, Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery. (But why did she have to wear lipstick?)

I’m not going to lie — I was watching the clock praying Owen would show up in Switzerland. Was that really all the closure he will ever get? I’m not sure how I feel about it, but that’s enough about me. Tell me what you all thought of Cristina’s farewell and, obviously, the intro of Meredith’s half-sister. (Yes, another one!)

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Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.

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