'Grey's Anatomy': Kevin McKidd on Owen's Game-Changing Decision

The actor talks with THR about how Megan's big move influenced Owen to make a life-changing decision.
Courtesy of ABC

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the "Danger Zone" episode of Grey's Anatomy.]

Kevin McKidd's Owen is entering a new chapter on ABC's Grey's Anatomy.

Thursday's episode jumped between flashbacks to Owen's time in the military in 2007, when he was in Iraq with his sister Megan (Abigail Spencer) and Nathan (Martin Henderson), and the present-day, when his formerly presumed-dead sibling moved to L.A. with her husband-to-be Nathan.

As Owen went along for the ride from Seattle to L.A. in an attempt to convince Megan to stay in Seattle, she wound up being the one to help him with a major life decision: to end his marriage to Amelia (Caterina Scorsone). Married in the season 12 finale, the couple's time together hasn't been easy, as they spent much of season 13 separated and barely speaking. As viewers learned this season, Amelia's seemingly questionable behavior was fueled by a brain tumor, a fact that Amelia acknowledges when the duo re-exchange wedding rings.

To hear McKidd tell it, the decision came after weeks of hard talk from Megan that finally cut through during their road trip.

"It’s a combination of things [that prompted Owen to listen to Megan about his marriage]: it’s brother and sister history and her knowing the person that Owen is and the mental traps that Owen sets for himself," McKidd tells The Hollywood Reporter. "She can see more clearly than anyone the rabbit hole that he and Amelia have gone into. Spending time with his sister and seeing her know what she needs and wants for her life, whether it’s right or wrong, is really cleansing for Owen. For Owen to work through all those things that happened in the past on the day his sister went missing; he suffers from a lot of guilt because he feels he left his sister and she releases him from that guilt and that makes him look at his whole life in a different aspect."

The guilt in question came after Owen blamed himself for a decade for Megan's death. Thursday's episode revealed that Megan manipulated Owen to break protocol and send her off with a patient who wound up being an enemy. As it turns out, Megan learned that Nathan cheated on her — after she cheated on him — and was running away from Nathan after he proposed with another woman's jewelry. And now, that closure will hopefully do big things for Owen as he looks to start anew after splitting with Amelia.

"Owen’s been very weighed down — he was the Chief, the helicopter crash happened, everything that happened with Cristina (Sandra Oh) — I think he’s weighed himself down with feeling badly for many years and feeling like things are his fault and that he has something to make up for in some way in his life," McKidd says. "It’s quite a deep-rooted psychological issue that he has that has definitely shifted, so we’ll see Owen give himself a break and have some fun."

The episode also marked the end of the Grey's Anatomy road for Henderson's Nathan, as the character was written out as he starts a new life in L.A. with Megan and her son. That leaves a big void for Owen in Seattle, as he's left without his sister, best friend and now wife. But that doesn't mean Owen and Amelia won't still be there for one another.

"Ironically, he’ll probably lean on Amelia because they’re so close and they still have a lot of love for each other," McKidd says. "I can see the two of them will lean on each other in a sense, because they’re the closest people they have to each other. In the coming episodes, I think you’ll see him hang out with the guys more too. There’s not been many moments recently of the guys in the show just doing guy stuff. I think he leans into that too."

One thing that is yet to be determined is the future for Kim Raver's Teddy, who returned this season as part of Megan's story. As diehard Grey's viewers will recall, Teddy has long had romantic feelings for Owen that have yet to be explored. Whether Raver's Teddy will stick around after Megan's big move remains to be determined, though given that Owen is single again, it would certainly seem a fitting time to explore their romantic dynamic — especially in a season in which Grey's has leaned so hard into its past.

Speaking of which, eagle-eyed viewers will have realized the ceiling fan Owen was staring at during the beginning of the episode was a nod to a similar scene from when he was coping with PTSD during his relationship with Cristina.

"The ceiling fan has definitely become a metaphor for Owen and his history," McKidd says. "Dating back to that scene where he has a PTSD nightmare, there was a ceiling fan in that scene, and the ceiling fan and the blades of a helicopter have definitely become a metaphor for Owen and have become a trigger point for him, in a way that he kind of accesses the darker memories in his life and they come back to haunt him. It’s always cool when you see the ceiling fan appear because you know that it signifies Owen in a very philosophical, deep, meditative, raw state."

What did you think of Owen's big decision? Sound off in the comments section, below. Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.