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'Grey's Anatomy': Wartime memories overwhelm Owen

March 26, 2010 |  9:49 am
In Thursday night's "Grey's Anatomy" episode, "Suicide is Painless," we got a long-overdue glimpse into Owen and Teddy's army deployment. We've always been aware of Owen's severe post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, but they were put on the back burner after he stopped waking up choking Cristina in her sleep.

This week, a lung cancer patient named Kim (Sara Gilbert) brings Owen's issues back to the surface when she asks Teddy to end her life through physician-assisted suicide. Owen, serving as the required second doctor present to witness Kim declare her wishes, begins to experience flashbacks.

Though the initial images of army life are pleasant, with Teddy and Owen flirting and rough-housing with their comrades, things soon turn ugly when Owen and his captain hit a bomb while transporting a patient. Owen and Capt. Dan survive the crash, but Dan's injuries are severe. His body looks wrecked, and when he moves his hand away from his neck, he begins to gush blood. Owen puts pressure on the wound, desperately holding onto his friend, though the moment he moves, Dan is going to die.

Eventually, Dan knows that death will be his least painful option. He asks Owen to let him go, and Owen does. He watches his friend bleed out on the ground just before Teddy arrives in a rescue helicopter.

Though Owen didn't kill Dan, he feels responsible for allowing him to die and draws parallels between the situation and Kim's physician-assisted suicide. He can't handle it, lashing out at Teddy, Cristina, and even Derek when he approves the procedure. He hasn't forgiven himself for what happened to Dan, even though it wasn't his fault. As he says in his Meredith-esque voiceover, surgeons are not equipped to just sit back and watch someone die. They're used to saving lives.

According to her wishes, Kim dies painlessly after washing down her prescribed barbiturates with red wine. She passes away in her husband's arms under her favorite quilt. It's the best thing for her, but of course, she leaves behind a grieving husband who will probably always wonder if there's something more that could have been done, just like Owen.

After the difficult day, Teddy, who has been "getting to know" Sloan without having sex, decides that she's through talking to him about their feelings. When she shows up at his door seeking comfort, his shirt is already unbuttoned and everything. How convenient! I haven't made a judgment call on whether I like McSteamy and the Cardio God together, but they do have some chemistry.

Elsewhere, Derek poaches a surgery from Meredith -- a "gorgeous tumor" that she was looking forward to working on. Being chief may not suit him as much as he thought it did. He barely has 30 seconds for his post-it wife and he misses surgeries so much he's hijacking them without explanation.

I'm worried about Arizona and Callie. Arizona doesn't want children, ever, and when Callie tells her that she's always wanted to have a baby, Arizona looks more devastated than she did when she thought Callie was dumping her. Arizona loves kids! Couldn't she get used to the idea, for Callie? I'll be so disappointed if they break up.

What are your thoughts on the episode? Did you appreciate the flashbacks to Owen's and Teddy's army experience? Do you think Teddy and Derek made the right decision to allow Kim's doctor-assisted death? What do you think is going to happen between Sloan and Teddy, or Callie and Arizona? Let me know in the comments below!

-- Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)

Photo: Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt. (Credit: ABC)

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