'Grey's Anatomy': Will Cristina and Owen Make it Back to the Firehouse?

Showrunner Shonda Rhimes talks with THR about what's ahead for the couple: "They're on a very complex journey."
"Grey's Anatomy's" Kevin McKidd and Sandra Oh

On ABC's Grey's Anatomy, Cristina and Owen genuinely seem happier as a couple -- post divorce, but that doesn't mean that the couple will return to the firehouse they turned into a home.

After signing divorce papers to remove the conflict of interest so Cristina (Sandra Oh) and the rest of the plane crash survivors would be eligible for a settlement, the couple has found a road back to happiness, even though she recently moved in to Meredith's Alex's house.

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"I wouldn't say that there's hope for them returning to firehouse as a couple because I actually gave the word we could dismantle that set," showrunner Shonda Rhimes tells The Hollywood Reporter. "But they are genuinely happy and their happiness doesn't necessarily mean that they need to be in the firehouse. The firehouse is a place of their past; a lot of painful things happened there."

Among them: the infamous cereal tossing that came when Cristina learned of Owen's (Kevin McKidd) infidelity, the ramifications of an abortion and the two continuing to have different priorities about family and work.

"They're on a very complex journey. Cristina is a surgeon first and Owen is a person first: he wants kids and she doesn't. There are these very basic conflicts that they have in their lives that are very hard to overcome," Rhimes says. "I'm very determined that we need to have a character who is unapologetic about not wanting children, who isn't going to suddenly find herself with a baby and suddenly soften up and discover, 'Oh, I wanted babies all along.' For Cristina, having a child would possibly mean a life of depression."

"This idea that for all women all you have to do is put a baby their in arms and they're going to be happy is unfair," the mother of two adds. "I really like idea of portraying the scientist in Cristina who's not interested in kids. That struggle between these two people is going to remain and be very complex. It doesn't mean they're not going to be together now but it's going to be a very complex struggle."

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Part of their journey will come as Owen continues to be on the hook for Seattle Grace's pending bankruptcy that has already resulted in Dr. Alana Cahill (Constance Zimmer) proposing to shutter the ER. Owen's job, Rhimes says, is very much in jeopardy as he will deal with the professional and personal ramifications that come with sending nearly all the attendings on the fatal flight.

"He did sign a paper that put them all on a plane, that's also a problem -- mainly from the point of view of his own sense of guilt, not that he really did anything wrong," Rhimes explains. "We're going to watch that play out in surprising ways. Owen feels a responsibility to really save the hospital and do everything he can to fix things. That's who he is as a person. We're going to watch him struggle to make that happen."

And just as Owen will struggle as chief to keep a handle on Seattle Grace -- with the crash survivors on one side and others, like the outspoken Bailey on the other -- he and Cristina will also continue to find their foothold as a couple, with the baby situation likely to come up again for the beleaguered couple.

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"I've never been interested in telling story like a fairy tale," Rhimes warns. "We're not headed to any fairy tale moment. But I do think that this is a couple that is going to struggle to figure out ways to remain in love."

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC. Hit the comments with your thoughts on Cristina and Owen -- are you bummed about the firehouse?

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit