Cristina becomes more suspicious of Owen's every move and Debbie Allen returns as Catherine Avery 

By Breia Brissey
Updated March 16, 2012 at 06:27 AM EDT
Vivian Zink/ABC

Grey's Anatomy

S8 E17
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First order of business: Your regular recapper extraordinaire, Tanner Stransky, is out. So you’re stuck with me for the duration of this recap. But I implore you to not pull the plug (pun intended) just yet. In last night’s “One Step Too Far” several of the doctors caught the flirting bug. There’s always a steady amount of flirting and sexploits — it is Seattle Grace, the land of the dreamy doctors, after all — but some pushed the boundaries. And as Meredith pointed out in her voiceover, “our intentions are always pure, but we also have the drive to push boundaries. So we’re in danger of taking things too far.” So let’s dive right in…

Picking up where she left off a few weeks ago, Cristina was growing ever suspicious of Owen. And as a viewer, I still couldn’t decide where I thought this was going. I hoped that Owen wasn’t cheating, but the end of the last new episode, it really seemed as though Cristina might be right. Matters were only made worse by the presence of hot nurse Emily (Summer Glau). Her public flirting with Owen only made Cristina’s paranoia grow. Cristina remained tense the entire episode, until she couldn’t hold in her suspicious any longer: “Can you stop screwing my husband?” she yelled at Emily. Only, it turns out Emily was just flirting to get through her day. She has a boyfriend, and was never involved with Hunt. Both Cristina and I let out a sigh of relief.

But instead of easing our fears, the Grey’s writers decided to drop a huge bomb in the last few seconds of the episode. And instead of burying it on the last page of the recap, we’re going to talk about it now: Owen did cheat on Cristina, just not with Emily. Cristina finally worked up the nerve to tell Owen how she’d been feeling, but he didn’t want to have the argument with her. She confessed she’d accused Emily of some extracurricular activity, but was relieved to hear that he “loves [her] so much that it hurts.” At first, I was moved by his seemingly romantic gesture. Then, he reworded it: “It hurts to love you.”

Owen admitted his transgressions. Fade to black. And we’re all left in the lurch until a new Grey’s — at least two weeks away — wondering what’s going to happen next. Obviously, the biggest question is whom did he cheat with? My gut reaction is Teddy. They have history. But she’s been so mad at him following Henry’s death, it doesn’t seem as likely. So unless it’s a newbie, I’m fresh out of guesses. Share you thoughts on the mystery mistress in the comments.

NEXT: James Avery guest stars, and Debbie Allen returns…

I’ll admit, everything else that happened last seemed minor after hearing Owen’s jaw-dropping confession. But we can’t leave the rest of the episode out. In the midst of dealing with her concerns, Cristina was on the case of a man who had suffered serious injuries from a car accident. The trauma had left him essentially brain-dead, and his husband, Sam (guest star James Avery), had the power of attorney. Unable to grieve and let go, Sam just couldn’t pull the plug. Owen tasked Cristina to help convince him that it was really their best option. Then, Owen asked nurse Emily to help. This just pissed Cristina off, and made things awkward. The last person Cristina wanted to work with was Emily. And the last person you would want to leave with a patient in need of some compassion is Cristina.

But the combination of Emily and Cristina finally convinced Sam that there was nothing left they could possibly do to help him. Sam agreed to take his husband off the ventilator, and he gave the most moving speech about how he was never scared to commit when they first met. He was just scared about how much he loved him and how he would never find happiness without him. It was a stark contrast to all the relationship troubles plaguing Cristina and Owen.

In much less depressing plot developments, Debbie Allen reprised her role as Catherine Avery. She came to Seattle Grace to assist Dr. Bailey and Not The Chief Webber to give a woman a new bladder. That surgery was successful, and a woman was grateful she gained the ability to laugh without peeing herself. Catherine brought with her Mara Keaton, a star urology fellow, so Jackson could show her around. But it quickly became clear that Catherine had some ulterior motives for bringing Mara around. Like Jackson, I assumed that Mara was all part of some elaborate set up. Mark, intent on getting Jackson laid, fully supported Mara’s presence and tried to take work out of the equation so Jackson would have no choice but to, um, satisfy her.

Only Mara wasn’t there to date Jackson. She was there to spy on him! I’m not sure which is worse. Mama Avery had sent Mara to glean what she could about Jackson’s love life, work life, and any other worthwhile tidbit. Once he realized that it wasn’t a setup, Mara suddenly became more interesting. Now privy to his mom’s plan, Jackson turned the tables and helped Mara stand up to Catherine. And then, like any good-looking, young, flirty doctors would, Jackson and Mara did it in the on call room.

NEXT: Dr. Webber is still a really good guy, and Meredith returns to neuro…

In her short time at Seattle Grace, Catherine made sure she got in her own quality flirting time. She and Webber had an episode-long rapport that ended with her inviting him to a black tie benefit. It was never anything serious, but after Dr. Bailey called Webber out on his innocent flirting, he realized it would be best to just return home to Adele. Even if she wouldn’t recognize him when he got there. I don’t know about you, but I really love who Not The Chief has become this season, and that’s an all-around great guy.

Also in a flirtatious mood was Morgan, the intern. Busy at the hospital caring for her newborn, she was helping Alex study for his boards and in the process becoming a smitten kitten. Her premie, Tommy, was still not in the clear and had to have heart surgery even though he also had a brain bleed. (I swear, if that little boy dies I just won’t be able to handle it.) Alex, who has proven himself to be great in peds, easily became the object of Morgan’s affection. They aren’t hooking up yet, like Callie assumed, but I imagine it’s only time before something happens with these two. And yes, Alex doesn’t want a repeat of Ava/Rebecca, but we all know that doctors hook up with other hospital workers. Who cares if she’s his intern?

Meanwhile, Derek wanted Meredith back on his neuro service. Had I been in that bathtub with him (sans Meredith, of course) I could have told him that it was a bad idea. But Derek tends to get his way. So Meredith begrudgingly joined neuro for the day to assist him and Lexie on the case of a young woman, Lori, with a cyst in her temporal lobe. In addition to her cyst, she also had a benign tumor in her brain, but they chose to leave it alone as it wasn’t causing any problems. The surgery was going well, but Derek was called away on another emergency case. Without him, Lexie successfully drained the cyst, and then saw the tumor just sitting there. With Meredith’s approval, she decided to take it out. Bad move.

When Derek found out about it, he was furious. Not only did they not get Lori’s consent for that procedure, he was worried that they caused her more damage. And of course, they did. When Lori woke up she’d lost all speaking ability. It was an irreparable problem, and only after intense physical therapy would she ever regain even partial speech functionality. Another perfect example of good intentions going bad. Obviously, Derek was pissed. And he took a lot of it out on Meredith. But that’s one relationship I’m not too worried about. Now Cristina and Owen? That’s a completely different story.

Now it’s your turn: Were you shocked by Owen’s confession? Whom do you think he cheated with? Will Alex and Morgan hook up? And do you like Mara with Jackson? Sound off in the comments below.

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