On ABC's Grey's Anatomy, Kevin McKidd said the one word that really could bring the end of Cristina and Owen's turbulent marriage: divorce. While his request was straight-forward, the motivation behind it was anything but as Seattle Grace's current chief was doing his part to ensure that the plane crash survivors -- including Cristina (Sandra Oh) -- received the financial settlement they deserved after their harrowing experience.
"He's in a corner and he can't get out of it," McKidd told The Hollywood Reporter during a recent visit to the Hollywood set of the ABC drama. "It's Owen being honorable and doing the hero thing falling on his own sword to save everybody else but I don't think [Cristina and Owen] are done at all. They've done a lot of damage to each other over the years but they don't want [to divorce]; they love each other."
During last week's episode, Owen realizes that the attorneys representing the hospital in the crash lawsuit brought on by survivors including Derek (Patrick Dempsey) are only backing him because of his marriage and very clear conflict of interest as they hope to get the case dismissed because of his relationship with one of the plaintiffs -- Cristina.
Meanwhile, Cris -- having grown thanks to her experience in Minnesota with Dr. Thomas (William Daniels) -- confides in Meredith that she wants Owen back, despite each of their extra-marital affairs. Yet moments later, she's quick to agree to his divorce request -- which comes after Owen is not too subtlety reminded that he's under a confidentiality agreement prohibiting him from discussing his true motivations for ending their marriage.
"When he first asks for the divorce, obviously she doesn't know it's because of the lawsuit so she understands that he's asking for one," Oh tells THR, noting that it makes sense considering their icy relationship following his affair during season eight of the Shonda Rhimes drama. "You've seen the really angry abusive stuff, the emotional stuff and betrayal and after all that messiness, you get tired of fighting and just have to deal with the reality of the reality."
To that end, Oh says Cristina and Owen have moved on from that stage of trying to fight for each other and how their story line will play out will be realistic of a long-term relationship.
"What happens when all the fight is just drained out of them? I don't think either side is wondering why at this point, there's been so much s--- that's gone on between them that you can point to a billion things [that led to this]," Oh says. "There's nothing for her to really understand."
Their relationship, Oh notes, will come to a "crescendo" around Christmastime when Cristina reveals how she's coping with his divorce request and what Owen does. "I like to think of it as an exciting beginning," she says.
"They realize that maybe being divorced is an opportunity as opposed to an ending," McKidd says. "It almost feels like the notion that they get to re-look at their relationship with a very fresh outlook but divorce is a very final ting and it brings up a lot of emotions in people and it's tough for them to go there because they're kind of soul mates. It's a very mixed and very fraught period in their life."
For her part, Oh looks at Cristina and Owen's relationship through the eyes of famed feminist/author/poet/psychologist Marion Woodman in that couples could be married to their partners many times as their relationship evolves.
"The first phase is like projection, you spend so much time thinking the person is something they're not and because you fall in love with them and get to know them and then those projections have to fall off because they're not who you thought they were and I really feel like that is what's happening with Cristina and Owen," she says. "Then what happens is that people fight during that time and if you get through that first phase, there's a new one of individuals coming together but many people never get through that first phase."
"What's happening to Cristina and Owen is happening in somewhat real time so you have that same living, breathing relationship with them so to see people, when circumstances and personalities break people apart, to see how they could come back together and rewrite their own rules is really exciting," she adds.
"They really feel for each other," Oh says. "And honestly, there's no way Kevin and I are going to stop acting with each other. I'll put it in my contract!"
And McKidd couldn't agree more. "They're very complicated and messed up but they're kind of made for each other," he says. "There's something about them that they can't stay away from each other for too long."
What are your hopes for Cristina and Owen? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.