If you’re a victim, er, fan of Grey’s Anatomy and Shondaland, I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the phrase, “Trust the Journey,” and as such, you might be a little apprehensive trusting anything that Shonda Rhimes has to say. But, I guess it all depends on how you’d like this journey for Calzona to end. If you’re like me, I’d be willing to bet you’re hoping to see a legal wedding for our beloved Calliope and Arizona, once they’re able to work out all their crap. Something tells me that after watching this couple for 7 years you will not be satisfied with anything less. That seeing them as friends and co-parents just won’t cut it for you. Sadly, however, that is precisely how a lot of fans see this journey ending. And what’s even sadder is the fact that, much like their marriage, this new, redefined relationship, will also leave you wanting as it too lacks depth. Let’s go over the journey thus far, and see if we agree. We’re already 20 episodes in, with 4 to go, and in my opinion, we have yet to see any real progress for the pair.
The season started where last season left off, with Callie & Arizona continuing the talk about adding to their family. They had agreed on surrogacy as the perfect way to bring another child into the mix. Remember this scene from 10×24?
We were so excited! Another baby for Calzona! This time without Mark! Could this really be happening? Someone pinch me, it has to be a dream! It must be too good to be true, right? See the trust issues we have? Given Shonda’s track record, it’s no wonder! Anyway, I don’t know if you pay any attention to interviews or Twitter, but if you do, then this tweet from Sara Ramirez might have left you scratching your head.
That tweet was in reference to the Calzona surrogacy scene in the finale. And at first glance, the exchange between our favorite couple seemed promising. But look at the scene again. Take a careful look at Callie. Does she seem excited? Or does she look more like she’s starting to feel suffocated? Like, she’s asking herself, omg, what did I just agree to? Knowing what we know now, after the infamous break up episode and what Shonda would tell us at the beginning of the season, the baby talk was nothing but another band aid. So, I guess you have to ask yourself, what do these band aids mean? What exactly were they covering up? Were they just a quick fix to the wounds that hadn’t healed after the plane crash? That even though Callie and Arizona thought they were healing, they really weren’t? It’s like if you fall and break a bone and don’t go to the doctor, you may think the injury is getting better, but, in fact, you’re just moving forward while your bone is healing incorrectly. And, in time, you realize you have to go back to the doctor only to have the bone broken again, so that, this time, it will heal the right way. And that’s much like the metaphor we heard in 11×05. Callie is talking to Meredith and using a pickle to illustrate what they can do to save their patient’s leg. They could to split the bone into two pieces!
This is what she says, “Look it’s genius. We take his fibula bone and we split it into two pieces we can use to bridge the gap from the tumor resection. The fibula will still have its…native vessels and we can attach…” What I find interesting here are a couple of things. First, the use of the word, “native.” That means, born in a particular place. -used to refer to the place where a person was born and raised. : belonging to a person. Hmm, sounds an awful lot like the theme they have going this season. The one about home. I know a lot of people see the recurring mention of home as having to do with family. And seeing that as a sign for Callie and Arizona coming home to one another by the end of the season. And I want to believe that too. But I’m not convinced that’s what’s intended here. Take a listen to this song, “Home,” by Aron Wright that was used to accompany a Calzona scene earlier in the season. What do you think of the lyrics?
“I’m following the lead of the setting sun and I’m going back where I came from. I’m going on home.” To me, this could mean, both Callie and Arizona are going back “home” to who they are as people. What’s native to their being; their core. Who they are as individuals outside of being a couple. Something they each lost while they were married. It’s the Calzona bone being split into two separate pieces.
Now, secondly, it also gets me to thinking of an interview with Jessica Capshaw from last season. She talks about IF Callie and Arizona “were to have a chance, it would certainly be having to repair all that, all those bridges and all that work to even get back to the square one that they started at.” And Sara said, “[Season 9]…was progress in the midst of denial. The foundation for how they move forward in their relationship was denial. It wasn’t diving into Arizona’s process of healing truly; not just her leg, but her heart, herself, her whole being.” Do you see what I’m trying to say? About the healing and the bone and how it relates to their relationship? But who knows what it really means at this point? Does it mean that they will actually be able to repair anything beyond friendship? Last season, Arizona offered a speech to Callie and explained that she had to burn her life down in order to find out how she now fit into it all being the person she is today. We thought she had finally found some clarity. That she had healed. But was that “need” talking again? More of the co-dependency Shonda & Co. have talked so much about with regards to Callie and Arizona and their dysfunctional relationship.
That scene was an aw moment for the fandom, who had been waiting for that kind of interaction and closeness between these two ladies for what seemed like an eternity. And it made us believe that we were FINALLY on the way to some happiness. But alas, we were wrong. What we were seeing was not genuine. That they weren’t truly happy. That the only happiness that was to come was individual happiness for Callie and Arizona. Back in October, the couple called it quits. And both Sara and Jessica gave interviews that talked about the decision to have Callie and Arizona divorce. Sara wondered, “What if they work better as friends sharing a child? And what if the lesson there is actually more meaningful than the discomfort and fear around them breaking up?” She talks about the excitement that could come from, “seeing two women who still love each other and share a child be willing to shift their relationship into a different kind of loving relationship that’s not necessarily romantic but that exists for the sake of the child’s well-being.” Read the full interview here…
And if you think about it, this whole notion really did seem to start back in season 10. Remember the Halloween episode? Callie tells Meredith it’s the first thing she and Arizona had agreed on in months.
Maybe they do work better as friends? 10×09 showed the same thing. It was a call back to when Arizona and Callie first met in the bathroom at Joe’s. Arizona followed her into the bathroom out of concern.
Now, to me, all of this plays into what Shonda tweeted back in November regarding episode 11×08.
Here’s the scene:
You remember, it sent some of the fandom into hopeful mode! Yay, we can go into the winter hiatus optimistic about the show’s return in January! Thinking that when Shonda said there was still love between them, that meant they’d find their way back, romantically. Well, I don’t know about you, but it didn’t make me hopeful. It made me slightly depressed actually. lol I didn’t get a sense that Callie was longing to be with Arizona again. All I got was the feeling that while Callie may have still cared for her, it was only in a platonic way. The way she patted Arizona’s knee didn’t sit well with me. It came off as a bit condescending? patronizing? I don’t know. Almost the way a parent would pat their child’s knee. Certainly not the way a former lover would pat their ex-spouse’s knee. And then, of course, BOOM, in January, we were blessed with more words from Shonda regarding what was ahead for Callie & Arizona. She told The Hollywood Reporter, “When a couple breaks up, I always ask: where does the love go? It’s not like you don’t still the love the person; the love just doesn’t disappear. But you can’t love the person. It’s really great watching them try to figure out how to be friends, how to love each other as friends and co-parents, and how to support each other when the other person needs it without it being weird or without it being too much.”
Um yeah, that didn’t help my mood. All it did was give me more confirmation that Calzona, as a couple, were over. And that after Calzona’s, “transitionary period,” came to a close, we would see them slowly build a new relationship. And learn how to navigate this new dynamic. Which was exactly what was to come in 11B. Here are a couple of examples:
Episode 11×13: Callie asks Arizona how she’s doing now that she knows Arizona’s new friend, Dr. Herman, needs brain surgery.
And Callie again, offers her support in 11×14:
People associated with the show seem to be praising that moment between Calzona and their evolving relationship. Look what Caterina Scorsone had to say:
This is part of what Sara talked about in that Huffington Post interview back in 2012. She mentioned people either evolving or regressing and “how much the writers want these characters to really evolve or how much they want them to stay stuck in their usual patterns, leading to a dysfunctional relationship.”
And I’m guessing this evolution is also what Jcap was referring to when she said this in her interview from this past October:
Think back to 11×05 and the interviews that followed. We heard a lot about Callie’s decision to stop fixing their relationship and that it wasn’t because she no longer loved Arizona, but because she felt, “stuck.” They were going around in circles. The same old patterns. They were not growing. And up until that point they hadn’t been honest with each other or with themselves. They had been afraid to speak the truth out of fear of being alone. But what that episode showed us is there was nothing to fear. And it’s something that Callie now tells others. Life is too short to be scared.
That is a lesson that if you ask Sara Ramirez, comes with “facing your own mortality…it makes you not want to waste any more time on petty things. I think when you’ve almost lost your own life, you really don’t have the time to put up with things that don’t feel right, that don’t feel good.” Again, that’s from that Huff post interview, I can’t seem to stop harping on. I just feel like so much of what was said there answers a lot of questions as to where Calllie & Arizona will end up. And many of them were addressed in “Bend & Break.” Even the friendship thing seemed to come up again in that episode, when Arizona expresses concern over Callie’s whereabouts. She’s not so much bothered by the fact that Callie might be sleeping with someone else, but rather, she’s more upset thinking that Callie might not be ok.
Advance clip to 2:25
I guess a friendship between them would be oaky, if we actually got to see it develop into a deep and loving relationship, with actual communication between the two. Something that we were cheated out of seeing while they were married. But even now, that seems like an impossibility. It’s so frustrating for me and a lot of other fans seeing how this friendship is being handled. Callie continues to date others, while Arizona remains single. And many of the Calzona interactions are still too short and lack any real depth. Not to mention, the writers seem to be taking a lot of their serious issues that have never really been resolved and are now turning them into jokes. Here’s a perfect example from 11×19:
In that gallery scene, they’re talking about infidelity and maiming spouses. Now, we all know Arizona cheated on Callie and we have yet to hear an apology from her on screen. It is something that we have wanted to hear for 2 seasons. We never even got a satisfactory discussion about it in therapy. And now, it has become another source of comic relief? Are we forgetting that this was the scene we witnessed in 9×24?
Arizona screaming at Callie about evening the score? How she wanted Callie to stick out her leg, so that she could cut it off with a bone saw, so they they could level the playing field? Like, what in the hell? I know some people thought their banter in the gallery was funny because it showed they no longer hurt and are now in a place where they can laugh together, but many others found it quite disgusting and disappointing. It’s just more of the same, let’s use Calzona for “drama and thrills,” then not have them have a deep and meaningful conversation about it. Let’s just turn it into sitcom-like sophomoric humor. And, end scene. Move on to the next thing. Not to mention, are we really talking about the leg again? We all thought they had put that to rest. And that, for Arizona, her issues with Callie, were “never about the leg.” Some say, it was about a broken promise or the fact that, Callie, again, was making the decisions for them. And as we found out last week, Arizona, all this time, had no idea Alex Karev was the one to amputate her leg. She had been holding it against Callie all these years.
Why exactly is this coming up now? I thought Shonda said it made no difference who actually made the cut and it would never be addressed. What purpose does this revelation serve? Is it closure for Calzona? Is it closure for Arizona who can now look at Callie differently? Is this supposed to bring them closer together? Is this an indication that part of their problems stem from each having a different perception of what’s actually going on between them? That Arizona’s truth wasn’t reality. All of her actions and beliefs were coming from assumptions? That maybe had they just communicated honestly and actually listened to each other, they wouldn’t have any problems they couldn’t overcome? they Because, I am not seeing any sign from Callie that she has any interest in pursuing any sort of new romantic relationship with her former wife. In fact, all I am seeing with each passing episode is how far removed Callie seems to be from Arizona. She didn’t even go check on her when the plane crash hit last week and brought up PTSD for Arizona. She seemed more worried about her new friend, Meredith. There just seems to be so much distance. And instead of seeing two ex-wives who once loved each other, who share a child together, what I see are two strangers who once knew each other a very long time ago. Callie has moved on. The look she gives Arizona is almost indescribable to me. Is it one of pity? One of regret? One of sadness? How can we really tell what is going on in her head, since this scene was all of 45 seconds. And we’ve not heard anything from Callie all season, other than her dating woes. And shocker, her cop, Dan Pruitt, is slated to return in the April 30th episode, despite her saying in ep. 11×19, he was boring and there would be no second date for him. But for all we know, that’s just part of what Shonda calls, “the slow and interesting…baby steps,” part of things when it comes to Callie and Arizona dating new people in the second half of the season. We’ve seen Callie out there meeting new people, but nothing has yet to stick. I’m wondering if this next encounter with Officer Pruitt will be the thing that finally “clicks” for her. Callie had given a pep talk to a patient about getting more than one thing to love and how it would finally just click and then you’ll know. When Dan comes back in 11×22, what do you think will happen? Will she date him? Will we learn that she actually has been dating him all this time, but it’s been happening off screen? And will her bisexuality be an issue for him? We know Shonda and Sara have spoken at length about the discrimination faced by the bisexual community. She told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve read a lot about that concept that bisexuality has not had a lot of support. One of my favorite things that we did in the Callie and Arizona episode is Callie announcing that she’s bisexual, which by the way, I think nobody has ever done that on television, like ‘I’m bisexual,’ which I think is crazy,” Rhimes says. “I love that she’s determinedly bisexual. She’s not somebody who is straight who discovers she’s a lesbian; she’s bisexual and feels very strongly about that. That’s been interesting for us to navigate — and the character sticks to it. Arizona was always a little dismissive of that. In the early days of their relationship, the fight they always had was, ‘You’re taking a tour through being a lesbian and you’re going to go back to men.’ ”
I guess what’s confusing for some fans is the fact that a lot of what has been said over the years regarding Callie’s sexuality seems to be inconsistent and yet another reason many are hesitant to trust what she says, as the story with Shonda seems to change to fit with the tide. Here’s an excerpt from an old interview after Brooke Smith was let go:
So, it makes you wonder as I have hypothesized before, was this break up done for the sole purpose of pairing Callie with a man? Was Arizona ever intended to be endgame for Callie? Or was she just there as a way to continue the lesbian storyline for Callie after Smith was fired? And that’s why we keep hearing that, “7 years is not a failed relationship.” Is that just a way to justify the breakup? None of us knows. All we can do is speculate. Also, is this now becoming a PSA for awareness? Because several years back Sara gave an interview to After Ellen, where she stated Callie did not label her sexuality. This was when interviewers were still referring to Callie as a lesbian character:
So, again, I’m thinking it’s interesting that now they’re making huge declarations about it on the show. What do we all think? Will the Callie and Dan story serve as a way for Arizona and Callie to tackle another issue? Is this a story that’s more about Callie learning to have a sexless relationship with Arizona? Is this about her realizing that Arizona is her person? And what about Arizona? Has she been seeing anyone? There’s a side for an upcoming episode that mentions a “striking” doctor in her 30’s, that some are speculating could be a potential love interest for Dr. Robbins. Not that I want to see either of them dating. I guess what I’m hoping for as a Calzona fan is some indication from Callie that she does in fact love Arizona. That she has always loved her. That she didn’t just marry her because she needed to feel loved. That it wasn’t because of her low self esteem. We’ve heard Arizona tell Callie countless times how much she loves her. In therapy, she listed a number of things that she loved about her wife:
But we never heard anything from Callie. Is that coming? Is that what Jessica was alluding to when she said her hope is to “find out what these two women loved about each other. What they still love about each other. Because they do still love each other.” And there is all this talk about love still between them, so I guess it will come up at some point, in spoken form. But it seems like it’s all about “parlaying this into another kind of loving relationship.” Because like Sara has said, “just because you love someone, doesn’t mean you should be with them.” And there are many different kinds of love, right? So, is that their journey? Discovering they are happy apart and enjoying the way they’re getting along now?
At this point, I really don’t know what to think or what to expect. We’ve been let down so many times. Why should we think this time would be any different. I haven’t been watching the series. I gave up after 11×08. I didn’t like the new direction for Calzona and was not inclined to tune in, given what was said in interviews. I know a lot of people take them with a grain of salt and, sometimes, what is said doesn’t actually happen. But, for me, interviews are given to let viewers know what’s ahead for their favorite characters and to get them excited about upcoming story lines. Sara has said, “seeing two women become friends on television, could be just as exciting as seeing two women get married on television.” Well, if friendship and barely any interaction for Calzona is what the future holds for Grey’s, then I have no reason to watch. And given Shonda’s tweet that both she and Sara know how this [journey] for Calzona will end, it seems pretty likely.
Everything we’re seeing on screen and in interviews points to friendship and co-parenting for Callie and Arizona, while they date other people. We know Shonda is excited for what comes next for Callie and it makes her line about loving Callie and Arizona together and hoping they can get it together before the end of the series seem like just another way to keep Calzona fans interested. So, I guess the choice is yours. Is this the journey you want to watch unfold? Is this how you expected their relationship to evolve? Is it exciting to you? Do you still trust it? Or are you done?