Last night, we bid farewell to one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) fictional characters of our generation: Grey’s Anatomy’s Cristina Yang. It was an emotional farewell; I cried. I cried a lot. I cried when she hugged Derek and simply said, “Goodbye.” I cried when she told Alex she always knew he had it in him to be the excellent surgeon he is today. I cried when she hugged her mentor, Bailey. And I cried when she danced it out with Meredith.
When you are part of a fictional character’s multiple story-lines and evolution as a human being for TEN YEARS, you can’t help but create a bond with such character — establish a very strong friendship with them, even if it’s imaginary. I’ve known Cristina Yang for a LONG time — more than I’ve known a lot of people in my life.
And last night, we said goodbye to a friend that never let us down — not once in ten seasons.
Cristina Yang will never be repeated on TV — ever. She was a character that never comprised her principles — that feminism that engulfed her. She was a woman who had to make tough choices — controversial choices — to become the surgeon and the person she always saw herself as. Her feminism was never a political issue. The word “feminism” was probably never even mentioned in the show by her or about her. However, it is that characteristic that made her so different from the rest of TV’s characters. She knew where her happiness lied and followed that path until the very end, not allowing herself to be a shadow or an echo of someone else. She never allowed herself to lose herself in people’s conversations. She never allowed herself to listen to anyone other than herself. She was a strong woman. She was a brilliant woman. She *is* incomparable.
"It’s like candy! But with blood!"
Cristina was also one half of one of the most epic, gripping relationships on television: the relationship of Meredith and Cristina. These women taught each other a lot through their 10-season journey (as they did us). They made each other better people. They made each other braver, stronger. “You are my person,” became a phrase we wanted to live, a phrase that made us appreciate the people in our lives. It’s a phrase that made us want to search for that one person — that one soul-mate — who isn’t a romantic partner, rather… a twisted sister. They were never the cliched TV female friends. Yes, they talked about boys often. But when they did, they talked with such brutal honesty; it was refreshing. They pushed each other to become better surgeons. Even when they let their differences get the best of them, they found their way back to each other.
"Don’t get on any tiny little planes that can crash or stick your hand in a body cavity that has a bomb in it or off your life to a gunman. Don’t do that. Don’t be a hero. You’re my person. I need you alive. You make me brave." (Oh God, I’m weeping again.)
"He’s very dreamy, but he’s not the sun. You are."
I will miss you, Cristina Yang. Thank you for the last ten years. Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for the one-liners we will post and tweet and recite often in the years to come.
Sandra Oh, you are a legend. (It’s a shame you’ve never won an Emmy for playing Yang. And if you don’t get one this year, I’m starting a riot.) Cristina Yang was never just a fictional character. And she will never, ever be reduced to just that. Cristina Yang is a hero, a hero you and Shonda Rhimes created so beautifully. She will live on in people’s memories for a long, long time. Good luck with your future endeavors. We love you.