Grey’s Anatomy fans — Calzona ones, in particular — have been riding a rough roller coaster since Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) cheated on Callie (Sara Ramirez) last season. Unfortunately, the ride doesn’t show any sign of ending soon.
During last week’s episode, Arizona thought she drunkenly slept with Intern Leah (Tessa Ferrer) after the fundraising gala. It turns out, they didn’t, but that doesn’t mean Leah isn’t interested. It may come as a shock to those Calzona fans that Arizona appears to be moving on, but Capshaw insists that this new relationship isn’t another betrayal. So are Callie and Arizona over? TVGuide.com turned to Capshaw to get the scoop:
Talk about Arizona’s mindset when it comes to her relationship with Callie. Does she believe the relationship is over or will she keep trying to win Callie back?
Jessica Capshaw: At this point, she’s done a lot of trying. As far as Callie is concerned, she’s dead to her. She sees it as life trying to go on. The 200th episode is where we see Arizona realize that it’s over. Callie’s done. It took four episodes — and however much time it took in the story line — for her to think it’s going to be OK and they’re going to be OK again. There’s been tiny steps where she’s had to weather the, “Oh, maybe this actually isn’t going to be OK.” But by the time we got to the 200th episode, she’s like, “This is not even nearly going to be OK, and if it continued this way, it wouldn’t be OK with me.” Because at a certain point there’s the showing up and apologizing and saying how sorry you are, but there’s a certain point when if a person doesn’t want to move forward from that then you have to move forward from that. It’s so sad.
Is Arizona enjoying getting this attention from Leah in light of Callie pushing her away?
Capshaw: It’s that and it’s that she’s been living in this hotel room for a long time and there’s something alienating and lonely about that. At a certain point, when you’re being cast as the villain, then the villain realizes that even though they don’t feel very villainous, they’re going to at least need some friends and people to relate to on some level. The attention and the possibility makes her feel something that’s not bad. It’s not like she’s running into a relationship and being like, “Oh, this thing with Callie is over, so I’m going to start this new big thing.” It’s just very human. She’s felt very bad for quite a while, and this is something that offers her a little relief from that.
What is it about Leah that attracts Arizona to her?
Capshaw: The attention is very positive, it’s very flattering and it’s very sweet. It’s not like Leah is playing this crazy siren that’s coming up and splitting up Callie and Arizona. I don’t think that Arizona sees it as infidelity or as the follow-up to her life as a cheater. She sees herself as someone who might just need to move on.
Are you worried about the fan backlash from this story line making Arizona more unlikeable?
Capshaw: As an actor, you wouldn’t be able to play a character if you were worried about the reaction to what you’re doing. At the end of the day, our characters begin and end with the writers. There have been many curveballs I’ve been thrown as I’ve been playing Arizona. I have to just trust them. It’s the advice I give to people who tweet me and say, “This is too much! I can’t handle it! You can’t break up my favorite couple! I want everything to stay the same!” That’s all nice, and I understand the emotions behind it, but that’s not exciting television. Whether you like what she’s doing or don’t, that’s not what they’re thinking about. I think they’re thinking about, “Are we entertaining? Are we telling a good story? How do we succeed on that level?” not “Do people like us?” It’s never bad to be liked, and who doesn’t feel good being liked, but that can’t be your end game goal. Wherever Arizona lands on the likability scale during the course of any of this fallout is going to just have to be where this character lands. Sometimes she’s likable and sometimes she’s not, but ultimately if I’ve done a good job of portraying what’s happening to her than I will have done my job and certainly feel good at the end of the day.
You mentioned before that Arizona might still fall further down the rabbit hole, so when might be see her hit rock bottom?
Capshaw: I had originally thought that Arizona was going to get to a very low low and that might still be coming, but that hasn’t been any time now. If anything, it seems like she’s trying to figure out how to get back to her happy place.
Which Callie is also trying to do in asking for her apartment back. Do you think the key to their future is both finding happiness alone to see if they can find happiness together again?
Capshaw: The key to that is finding out where their happiness is alone. The end of anything is not fun because there’s a nostalgia to it and everything else. Even the end of a bad relationship can feel so, so, so sad. But when you start examining what the relationship was, they are coming to a place where they’re trying to understand what kind of qualities their relationship had. If you look at last year, it was not what they used to be. Neither one of them as people were who they used to be. Very gently and intelligently, the writers have taken that quality that these two characters have been through a car crash, losses and gains and everything else, that they have become different people. If you have become two different people, do you still fit together? At a certain level, they didn’t even know who they were anymore. Right now, they have to figure out who they are and what they want, and start taking responsibility. I thought it was so cool when Callie comes in and says, “I want my apartment back.” That was right on. That’s someone saying, “This is what I need. I’m not going to stand here and be a victim.” She’s owning it. Baby steps toward actually being who they really are together would be fantastic.
Will Arizona contemplate therapy again since she knows that’s what Callie wants her to do?
Capshaw: Not right now.
Do you think whatever this is with Leah is real or just a way for Arizona to examine her happiness?
Capshaw: I think that nobody knows what it is. It’s an interesting way for Arizona to see how she feels about being on her own and how she feels about the idea of a new relationship, but more about how she feels about being alone, which I don’t think she likes. But after we found out Arizona was a little slut two seasons ago, it makes more sense now, this whole not wanting to be alone thing.
Do you think there’s still hope for Callie and Arizona?
Capshaw: I am a very hopeful person. I think that Arizona is a very hopeful person. This is more an examination of when it’s not about hope, it’s about reality and what you have to deal with and what is good and what not good for any one person or character. That’s where they are. You wouldn’t want them to be together if they weren’t good for each other, right? But meanwhile, that would mean a whole new world. Again, change is not very comfortable. Here’s the good news, when Arizona cheated on Callie, that was a huge betrayal and a deception in its grossest most horrible form. She did something horribly, horribly wrong. Her relationship with Leah — obviously people are going to debate it — but that’s not that. It’s not this gross deception or betrayal.
Arizona has tried countless times to make amends. She’s done everything she can. You have to imagine the backstory is she’s pulled out every single trick, that she stood outside her apartment with a boom box above her head, she’s left her flowers, she’s called her. It culminates in, “I’m still going to go to the ball in the dress and try to make things normal,” and that’s when she finds out that Callie is telling people she’s dead. That was a pivotal point for her. If someone can say you’re dead, then this isn’t going the right way. The relationship with Leah is not a betrayal. It’s her trying to get on with her life, so it’s a totally different thing. Now, the good news is, they get to figure out whether or not they want to be together not because of a horrible deception, but because they’re two people that are realizing their misgivings and figuring out if they’re even interested in being with each other, which they may or may not be.
Do you hope Callie and Arizona get back together?
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.