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?