'Saving Hope' Episode 1.08: Heartsick

Can we just begin with a little celebration? Canada’s network CTV has officially renewed Saving Hope for a second season! Though we’re still waiting on NBC to get with the program and do the same, this is still quite a victory for this little Canadian medical drama. Now, if you missed last week’s episode, catch up here, and if not – let’s get on with the review of this very emotional mid-season finale episode!

Condensed Version:

Dawn and Alex have to fight it out over who should have the rights to be Charlie’s legal decision-maker. Meanwhile, the two find themselves working together on a complicated surgery – a heart transplant. Charlie has to deal with the possibility of being taken off the machines while also trying to help the prisoner whose heart is being donated for the transplant. Joel’s new boyfriend status is called into question when he fails to invite Maggie to stay with him for the weekend. Gavin steps in and offers up his place – which Maggie accepts. However, those plans fall through when the two find themselves locking lips near the end of the episode – unbeknownst to Joel – who was off having a drink after trying to confess his love to Alex. In the end, Joel breaks his hand in a bar fight, Dawn wins the legal battle over Charlie, and demands that Alex take him off the machines. We’re left on a couple cliffhangers – not knowing whether Charlie will survive being off the machines, or whether Joel and Maggie are still together after their separate debacles. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until August 16th to find out where we’re going from here!

Extended Version:

Medical Problem #1

The major medical issue in this episode is a heart transplant – and handling Bernie, the prisoner who is unwillingly donating it. With everything else that’s going on – particularly the battle between Dawn and Alex – Charlie is understandably not really in the mood to deal with Bernie, and is very short with him in the beginning, even making a quick attempt to dodge him. This episode sees Bernie helping Charlie more than Charlie helps him – as Charlie finds himself forced to think about the possibility of death. Meanwhile, the heart recipient has a difficult time accepting the heart, which we come to learn is due to Bernie’s guilt over his past indiscretions making him unwilling to see another receive his “bad” heart. However, once Bernie and Charlie realize the problem, Bernie finds it in his heart [no pun intended] to be a more willing donor and make peace with himself, thus allowing the recipient to accept the heart and make a full recovery.

Medical Problem #2

Jimmy, the cop who delivers the heart, checks himself into the ER complaining of lower-back pains. Joel is the lucky doctor who gets to try to figure out what’s wrong with him – only to be told later by Dr. Miller (Benjamin Ayres) that Jimmy is a regular. Jimmy has some mental health problems of his own – due to having shot and killed a child – and thus comes into the hospital complaining of pains so that he can get prescription medication. When Joel goes out to his squad car to try to make him feel better, he finds Jimmy hanging out holding his gun, clearly contemplating committing suicide. Joel tries to talk him down, but just when he thinks he has succeeded, Jimmy shoots himself in the head.

The Hope-Zion Drama

Picking up from last week, Charlie’s ex-wife Dawn Bell (Michelle Nolden) has made her way back to Hope-Zion and is now seeking to take charge as Charlie’s decision-maker so that she can list Charlie as DNR (do not resuscitate), meaning that if he codes, the hospital staff will not try to revive him. Naturally, Alex (Erica Durance) has a problem with this – which is why they have landed themselves in a court hearing to have a judge decide which of them will be able to act on behalf of Charlie’s best interests.

I think it goes without saying that the majority of Saving Hope viewers are not big fans of Dawn – though I have to admit I can see where she’s coming from. She obviously doesn’t see what we see – that Charlie is far from being a “living corpse” – so from her end, it might seem cruel to keep Charlie (Michael Shanks) alive on machines. However, knowing what we know, we are all rooting for Alex to win this fight. [Though, if we’re being perfectly honest here, I was kind of itching for Dawn to win just to stir things up a bit – I love seeing the drama being put into TV drama – though I may have been on my own on that wish.]

Everything gets complicated when Charlie feels pain – we immediately think this might be a sign that he’s going to wake up, as he hasn’t felt anything since going into the coma. However, it turns out he actually has an embolism [medical terms, something to do with a blockage in his blood vessels causing some problems – I don’t know, I’m not a doctor], which could be bad news.

I’ll admit, my first reaction to the news of the hearing was that there was no way they’d let Dawn win the battle because this show has been playing things so safe – and handing the reigns over to Dawn would be the opposite of safe. Much to our surprise, not only did Dawn win, but then – wouldn’t you know it – Charlie almost immediately codes. Naturally, Alex comes running into the ICU and – along with Melanda (Glenda Braganza) and Nurse Jackson (Joseph Pierre) – attempt to revive him before Dawn can realize what’s happening.

The staff’s loyalty is put to the test when Dawn barges in and demands that they stop trying to revive him, while Alex is yelling at them to keep trying. It is a tense moment, but a great one for Alex when the Hope-Zion staff listen to her and continue trying to save Charlie against Dawn’s orders. Fortunately, they are successful, though their celebration is short-lived when Dawn announces that she is going to pull the plug on Charlie’s life-support machines. Alex pulls Dawn aside and begs her to give Charlie more time, and Dawn admits that she still loves Charlie, and says that it is because she loves him so much that she has to let him go – basically confirming that she’s not changing her mind about pulling the plug on Charlie’s machines.

In other news, Maggie and Joel (Daniel Gillies) are already on the rocks with their relationship – which, by the end of the episode, has us wondering if there even is a relationship to be on the rocks about. When Maggie (Julia Taylor-Ross) asks Joel if she could stay with him at his place for the weekend to avoid her sister and her sister’s colicky baby, Joel makes a bad move, asking her if he can “think about it” before giving her an answer – even though he had just told her he had no plans for the weekend.

Naturally, Maggie takes offense to that snub, and Gavin (Kristopher Turner) seizes the opportunity to score some extra points with Maggie by inviting her to stay with him for the weekend. She accepts, and goes on about her day, while Gavin calls Joel out on his poor relationship etiquette. However, Joel still sees nothing wrong with his behavior.

Later, in a surprising twist, Joel tries to comfort Alex and ends up attempting to confess his love for her, though Alex stops him before he can get too far into that conversation. Joel takes that opportunity to go off to a bar, where he gets into a bar fight when he is caught flirting with another man’s girlfriend. He punches the boyfriend in the face – which breaks his hand – causing him to make a return visit to the hospital, this time as a patient.

While Joel is off getting into trouble, Maggie and Gavin get into a little mischief of their own when they spend some time together – and end up sharing a kiss. Of course, Maggie eventually pulls away – and points out that it’s probably not a good idea to stay with him for the weekend after all – but the damage is done. We have yet to see the aftermath of these little trysts, fights, and confessions, but I think it’s definitely going to spice things up a bit when we return next episode. That is, more so than it already will be with the question of Charlie’s status still up in the air.


Final Thoughts:

-Forget what I’ve said in the past about this show playing it safe. I think we can say, after this week’s episode, Saving Hope has thrown safe out the window – and the writers are finally doing things right. By having Dawn win the case, it is keeping with the realistic side of dealing with a patient in a coma. From their perspectives, it does not look like Charlie is even aware of anything going on around him – and it would seem cruel to keep him tied up to the machines knowing that, when he was alive, he would have abhorred being in that situation. So, well done!

-Though I admit I got caught up in the episode – as did the majority of us, I think – that is just a testament to the strong actors on the show. I hope this isn’t spoiling anything for anyone, but I think we can all safely say that Charlie is not going to die in the next episode, or even in the one after that. It is unlikely that they will kill Charlie off without having him wake up so we can see if the whole experience changes him in any way. I suppose I could be wrong, but I think it would make the entire show up til now sort of pointless if he dies.

-As for the Joel and Maggie situation – I have no idea if this means that they are over, but if I had to guess, I’d say that it seems highly likely. As Joel pretty much confessed his love to Alex and, just a couple hours later, Maggie is off kissing Gavin, I would have to say that’s a sign of a doomed relationship if I ever saw one. It is going to be an interesting experience watching this little group work through all there relationship problems. Too bad the Hope-Z psychiatrist is involved because they might all need a little help by the time this is over.


Unfortunately, this is the last episode of Saving Hope until after the 2012 Olympics. The next episode is called “Bea, Again” and it is set to air on August 16th. So, enjoy the Olympics – and we’ll see you in a couple weeks!

[youtube width=”646″ height=”393″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfhWp46VCLI&feature=g-all-u[/youtube]


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