Can Grey's Anatomy Redeem Teddy In Season 17 After That Finale Twist?

greys anatomy season 16 kim raver teddy altman abc
(Image credit: ABC)

Spoilers ahead for the Season 16 finale of Grey's Anatomy on ABC, called "Put on a Happy Face."

Grey's Anatomy has come to an end in Season 16, and although "Put on a Happy Face" wasn't originally designed as a finale, it still ended on a cliffhanger for Teddy and Owen that raises some big questions for Season 17. Teddy crossed a major line in the episode, and I'm already wondering if Grey's Anatomy can actually redeem her after how far she's gone in Season 16.

In "Put on a Happy Face," Teddy and Owen were hours away from their simple wedding when Teddy hooked up with Tom again at the hospital. Unfortunately, Teddy had been calling Owen when she was caught up in her passion, and the end result was a voicemail of her and Tom having sex being recorded onto Owen's phone while he was operating. And that wasn't even the end of it!

Owen had another doctor put his phone on speaker to listen to Teddy's message, assuming it was about the wedding. He was shaken when he heard what was happening, but covered well enough, and he shut the message down before it could become clear to all the listeners that the recording was made between Teddy and another man. Later, when a crying Owen listened through the whole message, he heard Teddy via the recording tell Tom they couldn't be together because she was getting married that night.

Come on, Teddy! I've been able to sympathize with her to a certain extent throughout the season, with the early stages of what I dubbed the "love pentagram" of Link/Amelia/Owen/Teddy/Tom, and facing her past while away at the medical conference was rough on her. Still, she lost me as soon as she hooked up with Tom while engaged to Owen so quickly that it felt like she was looking for an excuse to do it.

But to sleep with Tom at their (and Owen's) place of work, hours before she and Owen were set to get married, and then fully intend to go ahead with the wedding with Owen theoretically none the wiser? That was too far. If Grey's Anatomy wanted me to feel bad for Teddy, looking admittedly lovely in her white dress, when she discovered that Owen had "delayed" the wedding because of an operation, then Grey's Anatomy went too far in tearing Teddy down.

The early end to Season 16 means fans won't get to see any kind of confrontation or resolution to this ugly love triangle any time too soon, but Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff teased to THR how the story will carry forward into Season 17 after Owen's decision regarding the wedding:

The coolest thing that Owen could do in that moment is to call his mother and not Teddy. That didn't come from anything magnanimous. Letting Teddy suffer in that silence and fear … if everything is OK, you call your partner and say we can't do it. I honestly think Owen is in too much pain to talk to Teddy at this point. It's a major storyline for us to play in season 17: are they over? Is there a way for him to come back from this? Owen has cheated himself and been forgiven, so he would be a hypocrite to not allow for possibility that there could be some forgiveness here. Yet what he heard was really damning and man. That OR scene was my favorite scene of the season. It was really beautiful.

Basically, fans shouldn't assume that Owen is totally cool with Teddy just because he didn't cause a scene and yell in the Season 16 finale. Maybe a scene would have been caused if Grey's Anatomy had been able to fill its original order for 25 episodes in Season 16. There were four whole hours of Grey's Anatomy that were supposed to be produced after this episode, and a lot can happen on Grey's Anatomy in four episodes.

While the wait for Season 17 is currently indefinite, considering TV productions across the board are on hold, fans can always relive the first decade and a half of Grey's Anatomy via streaming on Netflix. If you're still in the market for some upcoming TV options, check out our 2020 midseason premiere guide, and be sure to vote in our poll below about whether or not Teddy went too far.

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Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).