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Saying goodbye to Dr. Cristina Yang from 'Grey's Anatomy'

Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang


Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang



Editor's note: We welcome TV enthusiast and Times designer Brittany Volk back to the blog for some farewell thoughts on one of TV's best characters.

Tonight, things are about to get real. Tonight, I have to start dealing with the loss of my favorite television character of the past decade: Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy. Grey’s is billing the next couple episodes as the character’s final ones before actor Sandra Oh leaves the show for good, just before the 10 season finale May 15. And, guys? It's going to be rough.

It’s hard to believe Grey’s has been on television for an entire decade. Way before Scandal, creator Shonda Rhimes crafted the art of OMG TV on this show. Remember the pole that held together two people? Or the bomb that blew up Coach Taylor? Insanity. There have been hundreds of characters who have come through the doors of Seattle Grace (now Grey-Sloan Memorial) hospital, but there’s one that has kept me tuned in at 9 p.m. every Thursday, and that's Cristina Yang.

As we head into her final episodes, here’s why we’ll miss her:

Aggressive confidence
Yang is a tricky character; her cocky and overly confident demeanor can be a turn-off for some. At first, it seems she’s just a cold, stubborn, know-it-all doctor. But of course, that’s not really the case, and that’s what I love about her. She practices tough love and tough medicine — on her patients and herself. She performed surgery on her best friend’s husband while a crazy person held a gun to her head. After a horrific plane crash, she came through her PTSD stronger than ever. Cristina embodies the "lean in" philosophy full force. Actually, she’s not just leaning in. She’s busting in.

Twisted sister bond

Cristina’s counterpart is the dark and twisty protagonist Meredith Grey, and together they’ve provided one of TV’s most screwed up and most touching friendships. Their phrase “You’re my person” is used throughout the series to highlight their bond, which has been tested A LOT over the past ten years. But they’re one of the show’s best examples of unconditional love, and a strong example of a female-female relationship in a TV landscape where those aren’t always abundant.

Unpopular decisions
One storyline that has always stuck with me is Cristina’s firm decision to not have children. While secretly dating her boss, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Preston Burke, early on in the series, she gets pregnant and seriously reconsiders keeping the baby. (In the end, she suffers an ectopic pregnancy, even though she had scheduled an abortion.) But it wasn’t until she married emergency surgeon Dr. Owen Hunt that the issue became Cristina's most important storyline. Cristina gets pregnant, again, and Owen wants to have it, but she clearly does not. Unlike other network television shows that might gloss over a woman’s decision to not have a child, Grey's confronted it head on. The show decided to treat Cristina's struggle as messy and true-to-life. As a character, Cristina is far from perfect, but that’s what makes her so relatable.

I can’t wait to see how the show finishes off her journey in these final episodes. Of course, there won't be any tears - Yang wouldn't approve.

WATCH: Grey’s Anatomy airs 9 p.m. Thursdays on ABC.

Times staff writer Michelle Stark contributed to this story.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 24, 2014 4:34pm]


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