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Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) have had their share of ups and downs on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.
He struggled with PTSD. She struggled with the same after the hospital shooting that traumatized everyone that led to their quickie marriage. To say the couple has issues would be a serious understatement, especially considering it wasn’t until after Cristina was pregnant and planning to have an abortion that they had a serious discussion about having children.
This week, Owen and Cristina will continue to tiptoe around their issues but as the actor – and director of this week’s episode – tells The Hollywood Reporter their problems will eventually catch up with them. “I don’t think there’s long to wait because they’ve brushed a lot under the carpet this season,” he says.
THR caught up with McKidd to discuss when and how the couple will confront their problems, if there could ever be a compromise and whether or not Cristina could ever realize that there’s more to life than her career.
THR: How long will Cristina and Owen continue to avoid facing their problems?
McKidd:That’s going to keep coming back. Around midseason, I think, something is going to happen – some straw is going to break the camel’s back and they’re really going to have to deal with it. I’m not sure what the outcome is going to be, but I think it’s going to be pretty explosive. I don’t think there’s long to wait because they’ve brushed a lot under the carpet this season. I don’t think people will have to wait long to see the fallout from that.
THR: Will Owen eventually confront Cristina or are they avoiding talking because they love each other?
McKidd: I think that’s the reason they do it, because they do really love each other. The problem they have is that they’ve got very different views on children. I think they’ll both eventually have to deal with each other. There’s a big thing that happens medically in the hospital that becomes the catalyst for this, it’s a very intense event that happens. I think that weighs on him and eventually that becomes the catalyst for them confronting each other with the truth.
THR: Is the heart of Owen and Cristina’s problems the abortion or is it more about bigger issues like communication and a shared vision of what a marriage is?
McKidd: It’s all of those things rolled into one. They’re going to get to a point where there’s at a fork in the road and they’re going to have to really decide what they’re going to do, whether they can reconcile all those things or not. I think they have passion for each other but that isn’t always enough in a relationship. I think there’s going to be some dark times ahead for them and it’s going to test whether they can make it through.
THR: Will Owen eventually turn to Richard or Derek about his feelings about Cristina’s abortion?
McKidd: He and Derek are really starting to bond over a lot of things. The fact that Derek went through a period of being chief becomes quite a big support for Owen as we go forward. They’re much more equals now in the hospital, so they can communicate pretty well. I think he’ll become attached to him.
THR: Will being the Chief impact Owen’s marriage?
McKidd: That’s one of the stories we’re telling in the next few episodes: there’s this big medical situation that happens and he has to make some hard decisions as chief and put all of your personal feelings aside. There will be something that happens that will really put a lot of pressure on Cristina and Owen and other colleagues. He’s suddenly in this position of power and having to try and navigate that, he doesn’t get it right all the time. So yes, absolutely.
THR: With Owen’s career blossoming and Cristina’s somewhat stumbling, will Cristina eventually realize that there’s more to life than her career?
McKidd: I don’t know, maybe! Who knows. People do change. Maybe that’s just her. Maybe that’s never going to change for her and maybe that’s the point. That’s a story that hasn’t really been told before. Usually on TV shows eventually they come around but there are different people in the world and it would be naive of us to think that they don’t exist. I think it’s an interesting story itself and I don’t know the answer to that question.
THR: Can there be a compromise in terms of their differing ideas about family and children?
McKidd: Sure, absolutely. I don’t see any reason why not; it might be a hard one. But I can’t see any reason why there can’t be. They both have to be happy or there’s no point in continuing and that’s the same in anybody’s relationship. What that looks like – that’s what they say about people in relationships behind closed doors: you can never really tell what a relationship is really like behind closed doors even if you think you know a couple really intimately, you can never really tell what it is that makes that relationship tick. Cristina and Owen are interesting, odd, powerful, passionate people with very strong ideas about life, so it makes a really good story to tell and a good journey to be on. What that looks like, I think will be more interesting than all of us can imagine because they’re so unique. If they’re going to be together, I think it’s going to be in quite an unusual way; they already live in a firehouse! (Laughs.)
THR: How will Owen factor in with what Derek is going through with Zola? Watching Owen with Zola and the backdrop of Cristian’s abortion is heartbreaking.
McKidd: I think all that does weigh down on Owen a lot. The fact that there’s this cute little baby toddler around, it’s a constant reminder to him. But yeah, it’s not going to be easy for Owen and it’s definitely not easy for Derek and Meredith to have Owen in the shadows with that longing.
THR: Will Owen wind up helping Derek and Meredith with what they’re going through with Zola?
McKidd: We’re on Episode 9 at the moment and he definitely talks and tries to be there for Derek. Meredith and Owen have never had the most warm and cozy-up relationship – there’s always been quite a bit of tension between the two of them when it comes to Cristina. Certainly I think Owen is there for Derek in the same way that Derek is there for Owen. Owen tries to be a good friend and a pair of ears for Derek with what he’s going through.
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