Ellen Pompeo Pinpoints The Grey’s Anatomy Scene With Sandra Oh That She Wouldn’t Do Today

Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang will go down in pop culture history as one of TV's greatest friendships. The young surgeons provided healthy competition for one another in the hospital while simultaneously supporting each other through all kinds of horrific situations on Grey’s Anatomy. Sandra Oh played Cristina for 10 seasons before becoming one of many main cast members to leave, and even though Ellen Pompeo has signed on to play Meredith for a 19th season, she has no interest in taking her character back to some of those dark and twisty places. In fact, she says there are things she did earlier in the series that she wouldn’t do now — and she named one specific scene with her on-screen BFF that would never happen again.

Sandra Oh has said she was “traumatized” by her quick rise to fame as the cardiothoracic surgeon Cristina Yang, and has shut down conversations about a possible return to Grey’s Anatomy. Ellen Pompeo may not have moved on (the show does bare her character's name), but she is at least setting more boundaries. Talking to fellow Grey’s actress Kate Walsh on her podcast Tell Me, Pompeo said that as she's gotten older, after so many years on the show, there are things she’s not willing to do anymore, particularly when it comes to the real anguish she puts Meredith (and herself) through: 

I find that I don’t want to make myself miserable anymore. Like, you know when you have scenes where you have to, let’s say like when Derek got shot, that’s something I remember, like, really vividly. Sandra and I — shout out to Sandra Oh, one of the greatest to ever do it — we had to scream and cry and go crazy 30 fucking times. I couldn’t do that now, you know? I don’t want to!

Ellen Pompeo certainly isn’t the only one who remembers that scene vividly. Largely considered one of the best episodes in the series, the two-hour Season 6 finale “Sanctuary/Death and all of His Friends” showed an active shooter in the hospital who blamed Derek Shepherd for his wife’s death. Meredith and Cristina witnessed Derek being shot, with Cristina then having to perform life-saving surgery on him at gunpoint. In the ordeal, Meredith tried to sacrifice herself and ended up suffering a miscarriage. All. The. Emotional. Things. 

Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Not only did the actors have to put themselves in that heavy and loaded headspace to give a realistic performance (which they did, masterfully), they had to go through the same motions over and over and over for filming purposes. I don’t blame Ellen Pompeo for not wanting to put herself through that kind of prolonged angst again. Kate Walsh empathized with the actress too. As OB/GYN Addison Montgomery, Walsh found herself having trouble shaking it off when something would go wrong with one of her character’s patients.

The days of Meredith and “her person” Cristina are sadly over, though we’d give anything to see them dance it out again. It looks like fans will have to settle for Addison, and that's actually not a problem for us one single bit! When Grey’s Anatomy returns from hiatus on May 5, Kate Walsh will continue her Season 18 guest appearances, and we are ready for more all-time classic scenes like the one they provided when Addison grieved for Derek earlier this season (speaking of trauma). 

Grey’s Anatomy will resume at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, May 5, on ABC. It’s all leading up to the two-hour season finale, which will air May 26. Check out the spring finale dates for more of your current favorites, as well as our 2022 TV Schedule to see what premieres are coming up soon.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.