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The Cristina Scene That Went Too Far On Grey's Anatomy

Originally premiering in 2005, the hit medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" has continued to air for a whopping 18 seasons. During its long and winding run, countless controversies, dramas, and tragedies have unraveled onscreen. From accidental drownings to ferry crashes, the beloved characters of "Grey's Anatomy" have seen it all. At the same time, even the most stalwart surgeons have not always survived the misfortunes that plague the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, as it's now known. While watching "Grey's Anatomy," it is important to remember that, at the end of the day, no one is safe.

For the first 10 seasons, keen-eyed Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) navigated the turmoil of her hospital with a steady hand. More often than not, she consistently managed to focus on her surgical goals, no matter the cost. Of course, like her cohort Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), she occasionally lost herself in the drama. After all, it can be difficult to work at Grey Sloan completely unscathed. From being left at the altar to surviving a hospital shooting, Cristina certainly had to grapple with her own range of devastating experiences. As the doctors eventually learned on the show, it is never clear exactly what is going to happen.

Considering its lengthy run, "Grey's Anatomy" has often resorted to wild and unexpected cliffhangers to keep audiences coming back. When looking at Cristina's time on the series, it is obvious that a specific moment went just a bit too far.

Cristina is impaled by an icicle

During the 5th season premiere of "Grey's Anatomy," the surgical residents tend to patients while a snowstorm rages outside the windows of the hospital. In this episode, Cristina attempts to prove herself as a competent surgeon but accidentally mishandles a suture during surgery. Exhausted and horrified, she tries to clear her head by taking a walk.

At this moment, Meredith follows her outside into the snow, chatting incessantly. Frustrated, Cristina informs her that she cannot focus on her relationship troubles. Immediately, she slips on the ice. As Meredith offers a hand, an icicle drops from above and stabs Cristina in the stomach. Abruptly, the episode ends on a cliffhanger -– seemingly raising the question of whether she will survive or not.

Not only is this storytelling event highly improbable -– it perfectly perforates her abdomen –- but it also toys with viewers in a needless, silly fashion. It is difficult to believe that Cristina will actually die after being impaled by an icicle –- and, of course, she doesn't. Moreover, it is arguably an arbitrary plotline that seems to have been created only to incite some level of apprehension from the audience. 

In the end, however, no one is truly worried because the implausibility of the scene undercuts any tension. There are no real stakes. Not only can one say that it's insulting to viewers, but it is also emotionally unearned. As the icicle hits Cristina, it has as much storytelling heft as a meteor pummeling her from outer space.