It’s old news at this point, but when I first heard about Sandra Oh‘s plans to leave Seattle Grace Mercy Death—or, as it’s lamely known these days, Grey-Sloan Memorial—my general reaction was, “Somebody sedate me!” (Episode 2x4. Anyone? Anyone?) Cristina Yang has been one of my favorite Grey’s characters from the moment she first arrived in the OR with a fiery hunger in her eyes. Always no BS but never cruel, I loved her matter-of-fact approach to life in the surgical wing and how she had the ability to zing you with a life lesson when you least expected it. They’ve been dragging out the “Farewell to Cristina” thing for what feels like months now, but we’ve finally reached that point. The emotional season finale airs tonight at 9 p.m. on ABC.
Here are five reasons Grey’s just won’t be the same without Dr. Yang:
1. Her ambition. Cristina never stopped reaching for the surgeon she knew she was destined to become … and made all our dreams seem lame by comparison. Be an entertainment reporter? Ha, and what, get paid to watch TV for a living? Yang wants to fix hearts. Game over.
2. Her confidence. Cristina always knew her potential. She worked hard for her brilliance and saw no shame in flaunting it. Did it sometimes get annoying? Pssht, you’re just jealous.
3. Her sensibility. Life is what it is, so man up. She made it look so easy, but often found her fellow interns/residents/attendings couldn’t quite get the hang of it.
4. Her passion. If only we could all be so self-assured … this particular gem is something we should all aspire to live by: “Have some fire. Be unstoppable. Be a force of nature. Be better than anyone here and don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. There are no teams here, no buddies. You’re on your own. Be on your own.”
5. Her spontaneity. Important job interview? Performance review? Exam? First date? Don’t stress! Just dance it out. And it wouldn’t hurt to also grab a bottle of tequila.
Perhaps most importantly, it was her friendship with fellow surgeon Meredith Grey that showed us how strong the bonds between women could grow. And even though they’ll now be separated, fans of the Twisted Sisters know one thing will never change:
Shonda Rhimes has said in interviews that she wants Grey’s to air forever and ever (or, at least as long as they still have stories to tell). It was recently picked up for an 11th season, putting it in the running to catch up to ER as the longest-running medical drama in TV history. I have yet to lose interest, which is great, but this inevitably means we’ll have to say goodbye to more of our favorites along the way. There are now only two of the original five interns left (hang in there, Karev). I, for one, am just looking forward to a finale that doesn’t include cancer, a bus accident, a mass shooting, a plane crash, or a hurricane. (You think the guys over at The Walking Dead have it bad…) Join the staff of Seattle Grace—because I refuse to call it anything else—tonight at 9 on ABC as we all bid a fond farewell to our favorite straight-shooting doctor, Cristina Yang.