Anatomy of a CrOwen

» written by Adam ・ March 17th, 2012 ・ filed under: Editorials, Grey's Anatomy

The latest new episode of Grey’s Anatomy ended with a bombshell of a twist that many of us didn’t (or, didn’t want to) see coming: Owen admitted to cheating on Cristina. It was something that had been hinted at and postulated over the last several episodes, but viewers were left in limbo along with Cristina as we all collectively tried to suss out the details and decide if he was really cheating or not.

We thought we had it figured out: There was enough doubt in Cristina’s mind, and nurse Emily had stated it clearly enough that she wasn’t sleeping with Owen, and so there really was no way that Owen could have done such a cruel thing to his wife.

But there’s something we all forgot: this is a show about cheaters. From Day One, Grey’s Anatomy has been about cheaters. Even creator Shonda Rhimes herself has stated that the show is all about cheaters. Derek has cheated, Meredith has cheated, Addison has cheated, Alex has cheated, George and Izzie have cheated… Cheaters. The reason we forgot this is that nobody has cheated in a long time. Cheating hasn’t really played a huge role on Grey’s Anatomy since the fourth season, which featured the dissolution of George and Callie’s marriage due to his “epiphany” that he was in love with Izzie instead. (The Teddy/Owen/Cristina triangle in Season Six never really qualified as cheating in my book, and the Mark/Callie/Arizona baby storyline in Season Seven was… well, that was special, to say the least, and also doesn’t really qualify as cheating in my book.) It seemed like the characters, and the show with it, had grown out of their old cheating habits.

But Grey’s Anatomy is a show about cheaters.

Owen cheated on Cristina. We don’t know yet the who, the when, the where, or even the “how,” all we know is that he did. His reasoning is presumably obvious (not there’s an excuse for cheating): following Cristina’s abortion of their baby at the beginning of the season and the subsequent dropping of that topic off the face of the earth, there’s been a ton of resentment building between the two of them, as Owen desperately wants a child and Cristina desperately does not, which finally culminated in a fight that everyone was present for, followed by therapy to try to repair the relationship.

So the revelation that Cristina’s suspicions had been right all along and Owen had indeed been cheating on her was an admission that was met by fans with disgust and hate, and rightly so. I even saw many fans go as far back as to bring up Preston Burke, declaring “HE WOULD HAVE NEVER CHEATED ON HER!” But Preston Burke is no longer around, and while no, he never cheated on her, he did walk out on their wedding, or was that forgotten in the heat of the moment?

It’s tough to be a CrOwen fan right now. To be honest, I don’t think that there was a single one of us that truly took Shonda Rhimes sincerely enough when she said that it was going to be a rough year for fans of the couple. I know I never saw this turn of events coming. And though I find myself upset at Owen for doing such a terrible thing, and heartbroken for Cristina because of it, I’m also really excited to see how this new story plays out. We’re seeing sides of these two characters that we have never seen before, and that’s always interesting to watch.  And there’s something that feels inherently more “adult” about this particular cheating storyline than the ones presented in the past. Yes, the action Owen took was childish and wrong, but the storyline itself feels more grown-up, like the series itself does.

Owen and Cristina had a huge dilemma – perhaps one of the largest you can ever have in a marriage. It slowly ripped that marriage apart, until Cristina began to have a legitimate concern that Owen was cheating on her – a concern that she not only doubted, but thought she could potentially be making up in her head entirely. But after lots of mounting suspicion and evidence, Cristina confronted the (albeit wrong) woman she suspected, and then told Owen about it, trying to initiate a talk with him, where he confessed to his indiscretion.

It’s been a painful year for CrOwen and their fans, and though the season is winding to a close with just seven more episodes left, it’s obvious that the real pain has only just begun. Still, as Shonda Rhimes says that there is hope coming for the couple and I have yet to truly feel like this could be the end for them, I look forward to seeing how they could possibly come back from this. I may have to cringe the entire time I’m watching it play out, but I’ll suffer through it, because I’m excited to see a different side to these characters and a new direction for this couple, even though I may not be a huge fan of the storyline all around. It certainly disappoints and angers me to see that this has happened, though I have yet to lose all hope for them. Maybe it’s just that I can’t give up on them. Or maybe I don’t want to. Either way, hope is there in my heart for them, and though it’s going to be painful to watch them go through this and I’m sure that at times I’m going to hate them both for how they handle it, I can’t wait to see them come out the other side.

But Owen Hunt better start begging for forgiveness from more than just Cristina, and quickly too: there’s a whole hell of a lot of angry fans out there that need to be won over once more. The question is: will he be able to do that ever again?


  • sarah

    the thing of it is, Owen could cure cancer and people will still hate him. It’s a rough road and they’ll make it but it’s going to be painful to watch. They both need to fix themselves first.

  • mary h

    Very good summary.
    I have loved this couple from the beginning but have honestly lost hope that they can make it together. I feel that there has been too much thrown at them this season – really what is left – Cristina will fail her boards, a love child comes out of this affair – etc
    I know they seem to get the dark stuff all of the time (great actors) but it is exhausting for this fan

  • Lily

    If you bothered writing a review/analyze post about this complex couple (despite the crapines of SR’s story line) then at least present the situation from both sides not only one. I remind you that both have made mistekes here, not only one partner of this couple.

    • Adam

      I never said that Cristina hadn’t made any mistakes. I was more just looking to postulate over that fact that Owen had actually cheated, which was something I was not expecting, and then furthermore state that I still had hope for the couple. This was more meant to be a kind of immediate response to the events that took place in “One Step Too Far,” not an analysis of everything as a whole. That would be a much larger, more detailed, and more time-consuming article.

  • Nina

    why should Owen alone beg for forgiveness? Ok he cheated and i am not amused about it. i will never see him again as he was. Never. But she committed also a huge crime. She aborted their lovechild. So she caused this mess. he is not the only one to blame here and I am sick of it. Sick of all Owen haters. People who cheat are not evil, they are flawed. And human. Owen Hunt has been turned into a cheater and the person who started this drama was turned into a victim. All these hypocrites who just like her for being hardcore and sometimes ironic and funny.Thats all a sympathy thing.Most people like her.Cristina was no angel either.She offered him to Teddy, gave him back the wedding ring the very next day, aborted his baby, mocked on him in front of his staff with Teddy.She cared more about Teddys pain than her husbands. I mean, did she even NOTICE in what pain he was? No.She ran to Meredith.She comforted Teddy who whished him dead and hitted on him in season 6. So no. I dont hate Owen Hunt.Not at all. It makes me sad to know he was so lonely and desperate and hurt and almost dead inside that he did this terrible thing. And it was terrible.I cried so hard. and all these people just saying leave him Cristina have NO IDEA how hard it is when you love someone. He says its hurts loving her…….but he loves her. And she loves him. And they will hopefully make it. What doesnt kill you…..Shonda just ows us this. She destroyed them. And she ows us to rebuild them. because WE – the fans – made Greys what it is today. WE LIVE GREYS. And we want CO back together. At any price.

    • Adam

      The tricky thing here is that the blame cannot be laid entirely on either Owen or Cristina – they are both at fault in their own ways. Cristina has never wanted children, a fact made well aware to everyone around her. Owen knew (or should have known) that going in to marrying her. Likewise, Cristina should have known that Owen desperately wanted children before marrying him, and I’m not entirely sure that she (or we, the audience) knew that. The idea was always that, in the wake of the hospital shooting at the end of Season Six, Owen and Cristina would get married because “life is short,” but that the marriage would come at a price – the price of coming too quickly, before they had discussed many an important detail, including children. It took a long time for the ramifications of their quick wedding in Season Seven to finally come in to play, but now they have, and in a very unexpected way, at that.
      So, yes, both Cristina AND Owen are at fault, albeit for different reasons, and neither one of them can be fully blamed for what has become of their relationship. That said, nothing that has happened really justifies Owen cheating either. He’s a cheater because he cheated, and Cristina is a victim of being cheated on. It’s a sad situation, but they most certainly do still love each other, and as I said in my article, I look forward to watching how they get that love back.

      • OCbabe

        I mostly agree with you, and I mostly agree with the readers who state that Cristina brought this onto herself by aborting the kid Owen wanted so badly and then treating him like crap and acting as if nothing had ever happened.
        It doesn’t excuse cheating, but at least on his side I get where he’s coming from, as he simply hasn’t beeen treated as being a part of a marriage by Cris, who does and sees whatever she needs (and mind you, I like Cris a lot but I’m aware enough to be able to criticize the characters I enjoy).

        However, if we go back to their rushed marriage and the fact that both wanted different things, namely, no kids ever for Cris and definitely kids for Owen, then, we ought to remember that it was Cris SECOND ABORTION. If she didn’t want to be a mother this bad, she should have gotten her tubes tied BEFORE marrying the guy. She’s a doctor for God’s sake. If this hadn’t been her second abortion, I might be able to get where she comes from. But abortion is NOT like popping a pill and although any woman has a right to act on her own body, it drives me insane that this storyline is presenting the father who wants the baby as a simple bystander, while all the woman says is “I don’t want to be a mother”.
        If someone “doesn’t want to be a mother” there are plenty of solutions to use BEFORE putting any guy through this kind of suffering. This is despicable, from any woman, and all I can say is that I don’t find this as despicable as cheating under those circumstances.

  • OCbabe

    errata: not second abortion, but she would have done it if it hadn’t been for the ectopic pregancy; same point, I just wanted to rectify