I enjoyed last week’s pilot of Saving Hope a lot, but this week’s episode, “Contact” was amazing. The show proved that it was so much more than just another medical drama. This episode gripped me from the opening scene with Charlie in his tux, watching as Alex slept in a chair beside his bed, to the final moment where Alex found fresh hope as Charlie’s voiceover delivered an amazing speech about why human contact is so important.
Joel started the episode off by jogging into the hospital and promptly cutting in the cafeteria line, which infuriated Maggie, who was waiting with Gavin. She bit Joel’s head off and as soon as he walked away, she asked Gavin if it was obvious she had a crush on Joel. Gavin said no, if anything, she’d been rude to him. Joel and Alex shared a brief moment where she commented on his (hot) haircut and he gave her the coffee he’d just cut in line for. Alex had to rush off because the interim chief of surgery, Dana Kinny, wanted to have a word with her. First, Dana made it clear that as soon as Charlie was awake, she was done and he could have his job back. Then she told Alex that she wasn’t her fiancé so she wasn’t getting special treatment from her. Clearly, I disliked this woman immediately.
The first of the two cases in this week’s episode involved a woman named Kim, who had fallen off her bike and hurt her leg. Her husband, Aaron, was by her side and he was not pleased when Joel was the doctor who came over to help. He didn’t want Joel touching her and requested a female doctor, but Joel told him he was her doctor. She mentioned there was also a pain in her shoulder so he called for Maggie to give a consult. She continued to insult Joel and accused him of having a God complex. She also figured out that the patient had ruptured her spleen and needed surgery to have it removed, which would include a blood transfusion. Aaron said that their religion forbid it.
Joel was not amused by that or Kim’s refusal to take drugs for the pain. But he and Maggie set her leg in a seriously gross scene to watch. (I don’t do pain, okay)? Kim was having a hard time and Maggie interrupted Joel during another surgery to ask what she should do. Joel told her to keep the patient comfortable. Maggie was irritated that he didn’t care. Joel insisted that he did, but if the patient didn’t consent, there’s nothing he could do. She suggests talking to the hospital ethicist (who knew that was a word?) and Joel asks if she wants to try to bore her into having surgery (Ha!). He mentions that he worked with patients in Mexico who also refused surgery on religious grounds. Maggie asked if he went to med school in Mexico and he informs her that he went to Harvard.
Kim continues to get worse and Maggie gets Joel again. Aaron yells at him to do something and Joel reminds him that he can’t without his consent. He explains that she’s lost so much blood that it can’t get back to her heart. Aaron asks if she’s dying and Joel says yes. Aaron agrees to the surgery and Joel already has an OR lined up and blood on standby. Maggie asks if he knew the entire time he would change his mind. (I missed some of the dialogue here because I was arguing with my mom about how hot Joel was. I regret nothing). Anyway, Maggie came to the same conclusion and told him that she didn’t have a crush on him, but she would do him. Joel didn’t seem to know what to think.
Maggie continues to make inappropriate comments to Joel during the surgery. Afterward, they’re alone in a room together and he tells her that he’s not up for a relationship. She responds by taking off her clothes and kissing him. (On the one hand, I can’t blame her, but on the other, she annoyed me from her first scene so I am not here for this). Joel responds pretty quick and the two get busy.
The other case involves a little boy named Cal. This is his third visit to the hospital that month and he’s had various stomach problems. Alex is examining him and clearly wonders if it’s psychological because she asks if anything is bugging him at school. The kid freaks out and bites the nurse and starts yelling at his mom. Alex consults with Gavin and he offers to help her if she needs it, but she’s not interested.
Alex heads to Charlie’s room and finds his ex-wife, Dawn, there with him. As Alex starts to walk into the room, Charlie’s voiceover talks about this being one of the reasons he loves Alex. She faces things, she walks toward trouble, looks in right in the eye and if she has to, she fights. The two women share an awkward hug and Dawn wants to know why Alex is doing the nurse’s job. Alex explains that it makes her feel closer to him. Dawn makes a few suggestions for Alex to try, including coma arousal therapy. Alex isn’t really interested and Dawn points out that she would think Alex would be willing to try anything. (I suppose I get where this woman is coming from, but I still don’t like the way she talked down to Alex).
Cal is being discharged, but he starts to have trouble breathing and tells Alex that he’s dizzy. He falls to the floor and Alex calls a code blue as she tries to find his pulse. Cal ends up standing next to Charlie for a brief moment before the doctors are able to bring him back. Charlie starts to hear music and walks back to his room where Dawn is playing his favorite song for him. Alex comes in and Dawn asks why his wife isn’t doing anything for him. Alex reminds her that she’s his fiancée and Dawn says the Charlie she knows would rather die than be in this position. Charlie stands off to the side with a contemplative look on his face. (See what I mean about not liking this woman)?
Both of Cal’s parents are at the hospital and they’re literally standing on opposite sides of his bed, fighting. Cal’s condition gets worse again and Alex kicks the parents out. Meanwhile, Cal is wandering the hall trying to get their attention and Charlie explains that they can’t see either of them. Charlie tells him that he was kind of dead for a minute and that when people die in the hospital, they’re there for awhile. Cal has a lot of questions. He starts to freak out and Charlie offers to show him a dead body, which calms him right down. Charlie is asking him questions about his parents’ divorce as he tries to come up with a diagnosis and when he sees Cal flushing, he figures it out. Alex figures it out as well when she sees him flushing and promises that she’s going to help him. Charlie asks Cal to give Alex a message and tell him that he saw him and that he loves her.
Cal has characinoid tumors, which have something to do with hormones (I’m not a doctor, people. Google it) and Alex explains that he’ll need surgery to remove the tumors. The parents feel guilty and worry that maybe they somehow caused it by not always agreeing on things. Their fight gets Alex thinking and she goes to visit the neurologist and mentions the treatments Dawn suggested. He literally scoffs at her and points out that Dawn is a cardiologist and knows nothing about neuro. Alex asks why Charlie isn’t waking up. He explains comas can be mysterious and he warns Alex to watch out for Dawn.
Alex goes to talk to Dana again and points out that she got her job on her merits and she deserves to be treated with respect. Dana tells her not to screw up then, but she’s smiling as Alex leaves so maybe she’s not totally terrible. Cal is drawing a picture of himself and a man in a tux with his bowtie undone. Alex asks him questions, but Cal doesn’t really remember who the man is. Alex excuses herself for a moment and barely holds in the urge to cry as Charlie watches her. She asks Cal if she can have the drawing.
Back in Charlie’s room, Alex plays a song for him and flashes back to a moment of the two of them in the car while the song plays. They’re lost and arguing and Charlie finally stops the car in the middle of the road, looks at Alex and tells her that he loves her and that he said it first. (Aw)! Alex tells him that she loves him too and they kiss and it’s so sweet. She’s touching his chest in the hospital and Charlie is watching from the doorway as he gives a voiceover that’s too awesome not to include in its entirety:
“Basic human contact is better than any idea. It takes you outside yourself. It’s more comforting than words. Without it, we die. But sometimes it’s not enough. Sometimes, it is enough for now. Contact grounds you. It brings you back.” As he finished, his hand started to jerk and Alex was ecstatic that he was moving. However, Charlie continued to stand in the doorway and seemed pretty confused by his body’s reaction, which made me assume it was just an involuntary spasm and not the good sign Alex wanted it to be.
In the scenes for next week, Alex seems to be coming around on the coma arousal therapy as she gets desperate to bring Charlie back. Did you enjoy Contact? Did you hate Maggie moving in on Joel as much as I did? How do you feel about Dawn and Dana? Sound off in the comments below.