Sure, Mark Sloan and Lexie Grey died, and Arizona had her leg amputated. But what has been most painful for some Grey's Anatomy fans this season is the agonizing distance between Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Owen (Kevin McKidd).
After the plane crash, Cristina hightailed it out of Seattle, willing to deal with the harsh winter of Minnesota to get as far away from her old stomping grounds as possible. Does her move signal the end of C/O as we know it? "I think they really are destined to be together," McKidd tells TVGuide.com.
Let's all take a moment to exhale. Below, McKidd dishes on what's in store for the troubled lovers this season, including Owen's big move. Plus: What are the repercussions of the plane crash? Get the scoop:
What can you tell us about Cristina and Owen's journey this year?
Kevin McKidd: It's hard to see just how they're going to fix things. They're pretty damaged and there have been wrongs done on both sides. They're both pretty strong-willed people, they love each other and they've got this deep connection that's undeniable. In the first couple of episodes, you don't really see them make much headway. Owen's trying to reach out to Cristina and she's not really able or willing to receive much from Owen yet. There's still that distance between them that hopefully will break down as they move forward. They're very much as separate as they've ever been even though they're married.
But is there hope for them?
McKidd: I think there's hope. I just hope they can make it because I think they're a cool couple and I think they really are destined to be together, but how they do that is hard to tell at the moment. I think it's going to be Owen striving to win her back, but it's going to take a while.
With all the death and damage from the plane crash, Owen seems to be handling being in charge well.
McKidd: The good thing about Owen this year is he's rising to the occasion. Even though this is maybe the toughest year at Seattle Grace with all this loss going on, he's doing a good job. He's not a shoulder to cry on or touchy-feely, but he knows what people need.
He also needs his own safety valve. I think he realizes, in the episode that I'm directing, through speaking to Callie [Sara Ramirez] and going through his own process, that he needs to simplify his life. Things are so complex here. So, he decides that he's moving out of the firehouse and he's going to ask Derek [Patrick Dempsey] if he can stay in the woods in the trailer. It seems like the natural place for Owen to regress to when things are really bad. He goes to the ultimate man cave and just really downsizes his life and just lives out in the woods and runs the hospital. He's in a bit of a holding pattern, in a way. He's waiting to see where Cristina is, he's feeling very helpless and very out of control and all that stuff, so that's how he's coping with it.
Does he feel any guilt over forwarding his calls during the plane crash?
McKidd: I think obviously he feels responsible. It was under his watch that this thing happened, even though it's not his fault. He can't help but feel this survivor's guilt. That will play out in an interesting way. It might be something that could come back to haunt him. He's going to be under a lot of pressure in the coming episodes and that's going to get ugly professionally for him.
Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) will be going through PTSD, surely. Will Owen be there to help her?
McKidd: I think he hopes that Arizona can get back to a place where she can be back running the department again. But amputation, it takes as long as it takes. She's in her own inner circle of Callie and the guy that's going to rehabilitate her.
What does his relationship with Derek look like this season with Cristina gone and Mark (Eric Dane) dead?
McKidd: There's a lot of honesty between him and Derek. We clear the decks. We've always been quite honest with each other, but this strips their relationship down even more and they get much clearer and simpler with each other while everything around them is so complicated. Initially you see them being quite there for each other and you definitely see that friendship gather steam.
Will Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) be there at all to help him with the Cristina stuff?
McKidd: I think there's a tacit agreement now. Owen and Cristina are made for each other, and I think Meredith's more on that side now. She gets what the connection is between Owen and Cristina more than she ever did.
Will Owen try to find someone new while Cristina is away, or does he feel too much guilt after cheating on her?
McKidd: I think he's manning up to what happened. He's holding out for Christina. Whether that will be reciprocated, he doesn't know. But until he's explored every avenue to see if it's healable and fixable, then he's going to hold out for her because she's the love of his life. I think he still hopes that she feels the same way about him.
Are you hoping Cristina and Owen will get back together? Sound off in the comments.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.