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Owen’s Grey Sloan Return Continues 1 Problematic Grey’s Anatomy Tradition

Warning! SPOILERS for Grey’s Anatomy season 19, episode 3.After Grey’s Anatomy season 18 ended with Owen and Teddy running away from the law, season 19 reintroduced them to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital – however, their return continues one problematic Grey’s Anatomy tradition. Grey’s Anatomy season 19 saw Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Teddy (Kim Raver) come back after six months far away from Seattle after Noah threatened to report them to the police after they refused to hand him life-ending drugs for his wife, another patient with chronic and degenerating conditions following the US military mishandling of burn pits. While Owen’s return to work is conditional on him being able to practice only with attendings present in the room, Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital swiftly accepting him back continues an old, problematic Grey’s Anatomy tradition.


While the consequences of Owen’s actions weren’t simply erased with a suspension period like Grey’s Anatomy did in the past, Grey’s Anatomy season 19 still easily welcomed Owen back to Grey Sloan. Indeed, Owen and Teddy had to hire lawyers for him to keep his medical license, and Owen also had to practice medicine while supervised, but the hospital didn’t punish Owen. While illegal, Owen’s actions in Grey’s Anatomy season 18 were inspired by good intentions, as he saw the system as failing patients. However, this type of reasoning was also behind previous misconduct of Meredith in season 7, or Izzie in season 2, proving all doctors that broke the rules in Grey’s Anatomy had good intentions. Nevertheless, they did break them, and the hospital never really punished them for their questionable actions, just like they didn’t with Owen after his crimes in Grey’s Anatomy season 18.

Related: How Denny Duquette Almost Returned To Grey’s Anatomy (& Why He Didn’t)

Owen Hunt Returning To Grey Sloan Works For The Story (But Follows A Disturbing Pattern)

The consequences of Owen’s actions weren’t as easily brushed off in Grey’s Anatomy season 19 as the medical drama did in the past. After all, they caused Teddy and Owen’s relationship issues as his choices greatly impacted their family life and finances. On top of that, they also created problems at work for both Owen and the hospital.

Indeed, with Owen’s return depending on him practicing supervised by other doctors, Grey Sloan would actually have to use its few resources to check on Owen instead of being able to freely use him as a surgeon. In addition, Teddy having to be responsible for him as Chief of Trauma would also make Owen miserable, as their home problems would present themselves at work too. The friction caused by Owen’s actions to Owen and Teddy’s relationship and Owen’s career makes for great storylines in Grey’s Anatomy season 19, as viewers get to see the outcomes of Owen’s choices instead of just imagining Owen and Teddy’s life on the run. Still, they highlight how Owen’s rule-breaking attitude wasn’t really punished by Grey Sloan Memorial, despite him technically committing crimes. Grey Sloan’s somewhat lenient response went on to underline Grey’s Anatomy‘s disturbing pattern of not letting its doctors own up to their mistakes and pay the price for them.

Grey’s Anatomy Has A History Of Leniency Towards Rulebreakers

Owen’s misconduct isn’t new, as Grey’s Anatomy famously put its doctors in extreme and morally gray situations. For example, Izzie Stevens cut Denny’s LVAD wire to make his health worse, thus making him eligible for a new heart in Grey’s Anatomy season 2. When she confessed to it and quit, Richard and Bailey were left blindsided, as they didn’t seem to want to punish her. Grey’s Anatomy season 7 saw Meredith and Derek’s relationship suffer after Meredith ruined Derek’s Alzheimer’s study by letting Richard’s wife, Adele, have the trial drug instead of the placebo. While Derek and Richard initially wanted her fired, the latter backtracked when he understood Meredith did it for Adele. Grey’s Anatomy season 19’s Owen return storyline only manages to add yet another doctor who breaks the rules and doesn’t suffer the consequences of his mistakes to the fullest extent possible.

New episodes of Grey’s Anatomy air every Thursday on ABC.

Next: Why Grey’s Anatomy’s Alex & Izzy Choice Was A Total Betrayal

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