This week’s Grey’s was interesting, and I had been looking forward to it since the previews at the end of last week’s episodes. If you’ve ever seen the movie, “Sliding Doors,” maybe you’d understand my excitement. “Sliding Doors” posits two possible futures based on a ten second difference of making a subway train or missing it (and having the sliding doors close in the heroine’s face). Grey’s had a similar situation for this episode, Cristina’s life based on a patient’s decision to live or die and her subsequent reaction involving Owen. It was a very heavy Cristina and Owen episode with everyone else being incidental, and the message was pretty clear : no matter what happened, Cristina and Owen would be miserable.
So in this episode, Cristina has a patient who is paralyzed and will never be able to breathe alone. This patient’s fiance asks Cristina to wake him to ask him if he wants to remain on the ventilator or remove it (and subsequently die). Cristina had just performed the impossible and saved his heart and was desperate for him to live. In one scenario, he chooses to die, and she decides to confess her undying love to Owen and they get married and she eventually ends up pregnant and not pursuing her work. In one scenario, the patient chooses to live, and Cristina simply goes back to having sex with Owen, refusing to marry him or have children, and he ends up as an alcoholic who is eventually removed from working at the hospital. Either way, it’s not good. (On a side note, in both scenarios, Avery ends up with a messed up hand that ruins his surgical career, so even Avery ends up miserable.) In the end, neither one of these scenarios happens and we don’t know what will happen with Cristina and Owen.
Except we do, because this is Sandra Oh’s last season on Grey’s. This episode painted a pretty bleak future for Owen and Cristina, and I didn’t really like it. I believe in Cristina and Owen, and I believe there are options beyond Cristina having to have babies and give up her work. I also believe that these two adults could choose to end things without their love becoming a fixture of drama that consumes their lives. I mean, come on, this is meant to be somewhat believable, right? We’re not talking Romeo and Juliet here.
But what I really want to talk about is how Grey’s does a complete disservice to its women, especially should they choose to be mothers. I mean, the men are flawed and make poor decisions and life befalls them, but the men don’t ever end up having to choose one life or another. Certainly, Derek makes compromises with Meredith, but only because she forces him to, since she’s become a mother. Grey’s makes it pretty clear : women who choose motherhood cannot also be successful surgeons without sacrificing their personal lives. My problem with this is that it’s sets up a paradigm that women can either be mothers or they can have careers, which Cristina actually said to Meredith. It saddens me that a show created by a woman has set up such a false reality and double standard. I mean, supposedly, we’re talking about highly educated, intelligent, driven women; yet somehow, they can’t seem to figure out how to hire a nanny and follow their career paths. Furthermore, this show assumes that ALL women want children or would end up with children. Cristina is adamantly opposed to having children, but in one of her futures, she has two. You know who else has children in that future? April, Callie, Arizona, Meredith, and Bailey. We don’t see Jo and Stephanie with children, but we also don’t really see them.
I’ve generally held the opinion that Grey’s was one of the best shows on tv. It’s got a racially diverse cast and doesn’t usually give in to stereotypes and unnecessary gender roles. The boys and the girls tend to suffer through similar problems; love, family, careers, random catastrophic accidents, you know, life stuff. But in watching Cristina suffer through two possible futures with either family or her career at the center, to the detriment of the other, it was clear to me that Grey’s is very much lacking in equality for the women in the show. Grey’s has a pretty clear stance, and that stance is very much a double-standard where the women are incapable of achieving the same milestones as the men without having to make some pretty severe sacrifices.
I like when shows go out of the box and try something new, as Grey’s did previously with a musical, as they have done with their catastrophe episodes. I like that Grey’s allows its characters to make awful decisions and to really screw up and screw around while still maintaining characters that are relatable. But I was very disappointed in this episode and the awful futures posited for Cristina (and Avery). In the end, nothing really happened…but the good news is, it appears that something will. The previews for next week show an epidemic taking over the hospital. I think it’s time for some of the characters to die, and I’m pretty excited for this catastrophic episode.
How about you? What did you think of Cristina’s two futures? What do you think will happen with Cristina and Owen? Are you as excited as I am that catastrophe will befall the Grey’s cast next week? Let me know in the comments!