One patient makes Cristina re-evaluate her life and imagine two possible scenarios for her future with Owen; alternate realities follow

By Samantha Highfill
March 28, 2014 at 02:30 AM EDT
Kelsey McNeal/ABC
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Going into this episode knowing that it was all about Cristina and Owen, I was already excited, but whatever that was that just happened on my screen blew my mind (and also made me more fearful than ever). Before I get into my fears, I have to say that was an amazing episode of Grey’s Anatomy. It reminded me of just how good this show can be, and particularly how good Sandra Oh and Kevin McKidd can be. Of course, that only made me sad considering Sandra Oh’s inevitable departure, but we’ll get to those feelings at the end of all this. First, let’s dig in!

We started with a Cristina voiceover: “Do you know who you are? Do you know what’s happened to you? Do you want to live this way? All it takes is one person, one patient, one moment to change your life forever. It can change your perspective, color your thinking. One moment that forces you to reevaluate everything you think you know. Do you know who you are? Do you know what’s happened to you? Do you want to live this way?” Perfectly Grey’s-esque, opening, amirite?

After a montage of epic Crowen moments, from the vent to their first kiss, their wedding day and so on, we were in the OR with Cristina and Shane. Cristina was doing the impossible — repairing a patient’s Black Mamba, a.k.a. the single trickiest vessel in the human body. Some people say it’s impossible to repair, but Cristina danced her way through it. Why? Because she’s awesome. The bad news, however, was that the patient, who’d been in a car accident, was still paralyzed from the neck down.

The next step was Cristina delivering the news to the wife of Jason, her patient. The wife immediately asked that they wake up her husband so that he could decide whether he wanted to live like that. But as the wife spoke about knowing her husband, knowing his every move and what he’d order for dinner, Cristina looked at Owen. In a funk, she went to the lounge, where Alex and Meredith were talking about Jo’s reluctance to get married. Alex was fine waiting, but he wasn’t sure if she ever wanted to get married. Cristina, however, tuned it all out, no matter how applicable it might’ve been to her, particularly Mer’s sentence about “You’re together, why does it matter?”

Back by Jason’s side, Cristina asked him if he knew who he was. She told him about the accident, and she asked if he wanted to be taken off the vent that was breathing for him. He said yes. Cue Crowen life scenario number one!

In this alternate reality, Cristina saw Owen at the elevator just as she left Jason’s room. She was still in a daze, which is why she didn’t notice when Jackson got his hand smashed in the door. She walked right up to Owen and asked him, “What the hell are we doing?!” She spent the day saving the life of a man who was now choosing to die. “All I keep thinking is you and I are throwing so much away. We should be together. You’re the love of my life and it is stupid, just stupid for us to keep pretending. I love you. I want to be with you, for real, forever. It’s as simple as that.” Then they kissed and I just about fell over with excitement!! This was the moment Crowen shippers had been waiting for, but what happened next wasn’t nearly as hopeful.

NEXT: What are belly buddies?

Let me give a quick shout-out to the very cool visual of the three “Grey’s Anatomy” logos on the intro screen. I love when shows incorporate themes in every way possible.

Back in alternate reality numero uno, Cristina and Owen had just finished christening every room in their new, very large home. From there, they hit the dog shelter, where Cristina picked out a scraggly little thing — all of this made me think of Doc! — that they later named Mrs. Rodriguez. And yes, it was a boy. In this reality, their life together was all about getting home to take care of Cristina’s “dog baby” as Meredith put it.

Jumping ahead two years, the board was informing Jackson that despite the rehab on his smashed hand, he still wasn’t ready for surgery. Anyone else having Burke flashbacks at this point? Then, at home, Cristina and Owen fought over the job opportunity that was presented to Owen. He was offered the chance to run the entire military trauma division with Teddy — Teddy! — but Cristina wasn’t too thrilled that Owen had brought it up to the board considering it was in Germany and she wasn’t about to leave their happy Seattle bubble. And God forbid they ever put Owen first. Brief pause: Any Friday Night Lights fans in here, because that comment about putting Owen first brought me right back to the FNL series finale, when — spoiler! — after 18 years of putting Eric’s job first, he finally agreed to let Tami follow her dream and move to Philadelphia. Could that be what happens for Crowen?

Jumping ahead even further, they hadn’t moved to Germany, but Yang had changed her mind about something — she was pregnant! As was April, who called them “belly buddies.” However, in delivery, Cristina panicked, telling Mer she’d made a mistake. Owen brushed it off, but after their son was born, Cristina looked to her Twisted Sister and said, “I screwed up, Mer. I really screwed up.” Weeks later, when the baby was waking her up in the middle of the night, she clearly still believed she’d made a mistake becoming a mother.

And then, when her son Theo hit his head on a concrete step at the playground, she found herself sacrificing her job to be a better mother. She told Shane to take over phase three of her trial while she dealt with Theo’s scratched head. Few years later? Meredith’s son, Bailey, was already 7, and Cristina was pregnant again (with short hair!). She told Mer that she felt like she was sleep-walking through life, and not just because she was pregnant. She wasn’t happy, but Owen was as she watched him play with their son.

Our final glimpse of this reality was in the world of futuristic scrubs, where Mer and Cristina got all dressed up to attend the Harper Avery Awards. Cristina was presenting the award to none other than Shane Ross, who now wore glasses and had a van dyke. He made a very familiar speech about how all it takes is one person, one patient to change your life forever. Alternate reality number one then ended with Cristina sobbing in a bathroom stall.

NEXT: Bailey has her own television show. Wait, what?

Back in Jason’s room, Cristina was asking her patient again if he wanted her to remove the vent. This time, he said no, and so began Crowen life scenario two! Walking out of the room smiling, Cristina still didn’t pay any attention to poor Jackson, who still got his hand smashed in this reality. She went straight up to Owen and told him that she saved the life of a man who could’ve chosen to die but didn’t. She’d achieved the impossible by repairing a heart that couldn’t be repaired, and it felt incredible. She was ready to celebrate, right now, with a naked Owen. And obviously, he didn’t object.

Post-sex at Owen’s trailer, Cristina asked if Owen was sure he was OK with this, with them just being them. He said he was good. Flash forward a bit, and he was no longer good. He wanted her to give him more. He wanted to reopen that conversation. They fought. They had makeup sex, and then Cristina found herself in Meredith’s bed, where she talked about how she and Owen keep falling back into the same patterns.

In this reality, Derek and Callie’s trial was proving successful, so Owen introduced Jason, who was still paralyzed from the neck down, to the opportunity. Owen then promised that he wasn’t giving up anything by being with Cristina — talk about whiplash! And a few years later, Jason was walking with the help of a body suit. And Cristina? Well she was busy kicking ass in her futuristic scrubs. Once again, she was the robot that George O’Malley once labeled her, rocking her trial and remaining emotionally unavailable to her patients. She didn’t have time to hold the hand of Jason, her former patient, or his wife after Jason collapsed from kidney failure. Instead, Owen went to comfort Jason’s wife, and when she talked about how she’d never get to have the child she always wanted, it really resonated with him. She leaned forward and kissed him, but he put a stop to it.

At Joe’s, Owen was watching Bailey’s television show — please don’t ever let this reality come true — when Cristina showed up. Again, he’d decided he wanted more. “More from you, more from us.” He was still living in a trailer, and she was still at Meredith’s Karev’s house. He needed more. So, back to Meredith’s bed she went. Cristina and Mer talked about how Mer and Derek had adopted again, which probably wasn’t a smart move now that the kids outnumbered them. But more importantly, Cristina asked for help. “Don’t let me go back to him,” she asked. Meredith agreed.

In alternate reality number two, Jackson’s hand still wasn’t ready for surgery — this guy can’t win! — but this time, it wasn’t the board telling him, but rather it was a very drunk Owen yelling at him. Owen started showing up drunk to work, where p.s., everyone in the future wears makeup and does their hair. And when Cristina went to see him, all hooked up to a banana bag, he confessed that he loved her and couldn’t stand to see her every day and not have her. He begged her to marry him and then cried on her shoulder. Honestly, someone make this reality end!!!

NEXT: Snap back to reality

In the next shot, Cristina was in a white dress, but Mer was in a dress you might recognize from alternate reality one (her fashion choices apparently remain unchanged regardless of Cristina’s future, as does Cristina’s hair). They were at the Harper Avery Awards, where Shane Ross presented Cristina with her record-breaking fourth consecutive award. She gave a familiar speech about one patient changing everything while Owen fell to pieces at the hospital.

Owen was still a drunk and a danger to his patients. And when Richard — with a cane! — asked April if she trusted her mentor, she tearfully said no. Arizona wanted to fire him, effective immediately, after he nearly killed a patient by forgetting about her allergy. And that was where we ended alternate reality two (which had Star-Crossed-esque futuristic tablets).

For one final snap back to actual reality, a paralyzed Jason told Cristina to remove the vent. She left the room in the same fuzz she’d been in earlier in the day, but this time, she looked up enough to warn Jackson to move his hand. Hey, at least the guy isn’t hurt in the only reality that actually counts, right? Then, just as she was about to talk to Owen, Mer interrupted her to chat about a patient. Cristina told her to wait, but Owen was already getting on an elevator. He gave her a quick smile before the door shut. “Nevermind, what do you got?” Cristina asked Mer. And just like that, Cristina’s decision is yet to be made.

So what did you all think of the episode? Pretty powerful stuff, right? I got chills a few times. Also, what do you think is going to happen with Crowen’s future? Will they get married and then her departure will have to do with moving for his job opportunity? Are these really the only two options, or do you see another way out? I’m really hopeful they’ll find a third option, or else I’m terrified that Cristina, thinking these are the only possible futures for them, walks away before she can get caught up in anything further. Perhaps Burke brings her a job opportunity?

Ugh, call me naive, but I have to believe a love that strong can get through anything. Then again, in Shondaland, I’m not sure of anything. This is the woman who killed Denny and shot McDreamy. Sound off with your every thought, theory, and worry in the comments below!

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