Grey’s Anatomy‘s resident Scot, Kevin McKidd, who plays Owen Hunt, remains hopeful for a rekindling of the Owen/Cristina relationship but says it won’t be easy.

The couple has been going through a rough patch since season 8 when Owen admitted to having an affair. The plane crash that killed Lexie Grey (and, later, one other beloved character) didn’t help, as Cristina booked it out of Seattle to brave the Minnesota cold soon after recovering. Despite all that, McKidd is optimistic, because “they’ve got this deep connection that’s undeniable.”

“I think there’s hope,” McKidd told TV Guide. “I just hope they can make it because I think they’re a cool couple and I think they really are destined to be together, but how they do that is hard to tell at the moment. I think it’s going to be Owen striving to win her back, but it’s going to take a while.”

Things haven’t looked too good for Owen and Cristina in the first two episodes of the ABC medical drama’s ninth season, however.

“In the first couple of episodes, you don’t really see them make much headway,” McKidd said. “Owen’s trying to reach out to Cristina and she’s not really able or willing to receive much from Owen yet. There’s still that distance between them that hopefully will break down as they move forward. They’re very much as separate as they’ve ever been even though they’re married.”

Read more about Owen’s relationships with Arizona, Derek and Meredith in this season at TV Guide.

The third Grey’s Anatomy episode of the season, “Love the One You’re With,” airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

“The survivors from the crash are asked to make an almost impossible decision that will affect the rest of their lives,” reads the episode synopsis. “Meanwhile, tension grows between Jackson and April after they’re forced to work together, and Alex tries to restrain himself with one of the interns, on Grey’s Anatomy.”

What do you think will happen with Owen and Cristina? Will Cristina return to Seattle Grace?

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