Grey's Anatomy Shouldn't Have Brought Back Dr. Teddy Altman

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Characters on Grey's Anatomy come, go, and sometimes return.

Dr. Teddy Altman left at the end of Grey's Anatomy Season 8 but then recurred on Grey's Anatomy Season 14 and returned to regular status on Grey's Anatomy Season 15.

After watching her as a regular character again for more than a couple of seasons -- the lingering question is why did they bother bringing her back?

Teddy's nightmare - Grey's Anatomy

Teddy's initial run as a regular was fine. She adequately served the dual roles of Cristina's mentor and romantic rival for Owen's affections. She developed a strong friendship with Arizona.

Her meatiest storyline began when Henry Burton arrived at the then-named Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital on Grey's Anatomy Season 7 Episode 10. Henry was an ill patient without insurance. Teddy, feeling useless without her star pupil to teach, impulsively married Henry so he could afford the necessary treatment.

It began as a marriage on paper only. Then Henry fell in love with Teddy, and Teddy eventually realized she loved him back on Grey's Anatomy Season 7 Episode 22. Their relationship lasted until Henry's sudden death on Cristina's operating table on Grey's Anatomy Season 8 Episode 9.

Unsurprisingly, Henry's death marked the beginning of the end of her (first) stint on Grey's Anatomy. If a Grey's Anatomy character isn't involved in any onscreen, romantic storyline, it usually indicates the writers lost interest in the character and culminates with writing the character off.  

So Teddy was written off on Grey's Anatomy Season 8 Episode 24, and at the time, it seemed like all her storylines were wrapped up.

Distance Between Teddy - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 6

She was a solid character but, compared to the many other regular Grey's Anatomy characters (past and present), not one of the more memorable ones. If there is one thing to be said about her second stint on the show -- she has become more memorable but for all the wrong reasons.

It has been a struggle to find a place for Teddy to fit in professionally.

Bailey offered her the interim chief position on Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 24, but she turned it down. She didn't want to work under Maggie in the cardiothoracic department, so Owen gave her his job as Head of Trauma on Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 10.

She was named as the Head of the Cardiothoracic department after Maggie quit. When Maggie returned to Grey Sloan, the two of them were named co-heads of the department.

Constantly shifting Teddy to new jobs shows the redundancy of her (professional) role in the series, did little to open up new avenues for the character and provides more evidence of Grey's Anatomy not handling the Pac North storyline well.

Put A Foot In - tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 4

It would be tolerable, though, if the storylines involving Teddy's personal life were not such a disaster.

The idea to revive Teddy and Owen's romantic relationship was bad from the start.

The idea had already been played out, and the two of them had moved to other love interests by Grey's Anatomy Season 7. Teddy even spent her final moments on Grey's Anatomy Season 8 Episode 24, telling Owen to fight for Cristina.

The reasoning for why Owen and Teddy should be together was shaky at best. Amelia's explanation that Teddy was a cancerous growth and dangerous to Owen's other romantic relationships doesn't track with what we've seen.

Teddy wasn't a factor in Owen and Cristina's later relationship difficulties. Also, if Owen were ever again in the position to choose between Teddy and Cristina again, he would choose Cristina.  

Cristina in a taxi - Grey's Anatomy

Another terrible thing about Owen and Teddy's relationship, it keeps spawning terrible love triangles. No matter the combination, the various love triangles among Teddy, Owen, Amelia, Link, and Tom take up too much screentime, hinges on bad plotting, and make most of the participants unlikeable. 

Teddy, most of all.

She withheld the news of pregnancy from Owen. During Grey's Anatomy Season 15, she strung Tom along, only to get back with Owen at the last minute. She blurted out Amelia could be pregnant with his child to Owen. Plus, she cheated on Owen with Tom.

Even Owen is a more likable character than Teddy these days. But making him more likable in comparison does nothing to rehabilitate his flaws or provide him with real character development.

Sticking Tom with Teddy hasn't done many favors for Tom either.

Tom's Battle - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 5

Seeing Tom and Teddy's relationship play out makes it all the more regrettable Grey's Anatomy didn't choose to make Tom and April a full-blown romance.

Tom also has great chemistry with Meredith, as Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 6 once again showed. Tom and Meredith would have been preferable over Owen/Teddy/Tom and DeLuca/Meredith/Link.

Meanwhile, Teddy seems to be an exception to the rule of the more you know a character, the more sympathetic they are. When Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 19 flashbacked to Teddy's pre-9/11 life, we learned Teddy had a history of cheating.

Knowing more about Teddy only makes her more recent actions -- like naming her and Owen's child after Allison without telling Owen the whole story about Allison -- worse.

It's not impossible to make an unsympathetic character sympathetic (see Alex Karev assuming you ignore Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 16), but it's not easy. Could Grey's pull off such a feat for Teddy?

Facing Her Past - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 19

The writing in recent years in general and for Teddy, in particular, doesn't inspire confidence. It would have been better, for the characters and the audience alike, if she hadn't come back to Grey Sloan.       

Over to you, TV Fanatics!

Was it a mistake to bring Dr. Teddy Altman back to Grey Sloan?

Was Teddy even a likable character to begin with?

Hit the comments below.

You can watch Grey's Anatomy online at TV Fanatic.

Becca Newton is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

MEREDITH: "You don't get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I'm all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don't get to call me a whore."
DEREK: "This thing with us is finished. It's over."
MEREDITH: "Finally."
DEREK: "Yeah, it's done."
MEREDITH: "It is done."

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Arizona: No, no, no. It's just that Derek was, Derek was epic for her. They were the great love story. I mean, that girl's heart beat for Derek Shepherd. It just, it never occurred to me that she would ever be with anyone else. He was perfect. He was everything. That man turned her world. It, I spooked you. Don't be spooked.