Tonight’s episode of Saving Hope, “A New Beginning” was odd. That’s the best word I’ve got to describe it. One of my biggest problems with the show is I always feel like I’m watching a different show each week and I never know exactly which one I’m going to get. Normally, I can come up with a word or two to pinpoint what the central theme of the episode was. I suppose it was about beginnings, considering the episode title, but I’m not really sure that fits.
Everyone had their separate storylines going on. When the episode started, Alex was happy to hear that Charlie’s scans had improved. But there was still the question of why he wasn’t waking up. Joel was back in surgery (I guess his hand healed?), except when it was time to make the first cut, he froze, asked for a different surgeon to step in and then hurried out of the room, shaken. (He clearly needed a hug). Meanwhile, Dana was informed that the hospital was replacing Charlie permanently and she was more than welcome to apply for the job…that she was already doing.
A woman was brought into the ER with head trauma (gross peeling back of her skull included) and it turned out that she’d been ingesting mushrooms. Her name was Kendra and she was a therapist on TV. She ended up in the in between world with Charlie. He gave his usual spiel about how things worked; unfinished business, we all know the drill by now. But Kendra was more interested in helping him than having him help her. She was pushing him to find out why he wasn’t waking up. I mean that in the literal sense. She kept shoving him until he finally admitted that he was terrified and he didn’t want to wake up (What?).
Alex was treating a man, who I am almost positive was named Doug (Seriously, show, you are the worst with enunciation of names). Doug had previously had gastric bypass surgery and he was there with his boyfriend, Richard, getting his normal checkup. Alex was checking something on his chest and when she pressed near his nipple, it started leaking red discharge (gross). The first suggestion was steroids, but Doug swore up and down that he was not using them. Alex realized that he might have breast cancer, something that is rare in men, but more common in men who were once heavy like Doug was pre-surgery. She wanted to run some tests.
Meanwhile, after Joel’s freak out, Dana suggested that he accompany her on some kind of retreat for the weekend. I’m still not really sure how this worked, maybe it’s a Canadian thing since they have universal healthcare, but basically, they drove to a small town to talk to other doctors about being surgeons. It wasn’t really the point; the point was for Joel to tell Dana that he thought it was ridiculous that she had to audition for her job and hinted that it was sexist. When they arrived, Dana introduced Joel to her friend and former patient, Stephanie, and Stephanie’s husband, who was surprised Dana was a woman (Are there a lot of men named Dana?). Joel got a look on his face that said this was clearly the sexism at work again.
Back at the hospital, Doug did have breast cancer and Richard disappeared before Alex gave him the results. Doug pointed out that the two of them had been best friends for years, but Richard had never paid attention to him until he lost weight and if he has to have a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, Doug is positive Richard will leave him. Alex tries to make him feel better and then Richard showed up and told him how much he loved him and it was a super sweet scene. But Alex was practically a background character. She also had another minor subplot where she tried to be nice to Dr. Reycraft (even though he took her job), but he wasn’t interested at first. However, after he yelled at people and they played pranks on him, he was a little more receptive to Alex’s insights. While Erica Durance does everything flawlessly, I can’t help thinking she deserves a lot more than this.
Charlie tells Kendra that he doesn’t know why he can’t wake up because he wants it more than anything. Then he has a flashback to being with Alex and talking about how his parents died when he was six and he was so despondent that he didn’t talk to anyone for a year after he found out. He was adamant that he didn’t want to lose her. Alex had the line of the night when she replied, “You’re older than me. You’ll die before I do. I’ll pine for you.” But aside from that hilarious moment, I’m not really sure what the point of that flashback was. If Charlie is scared of losing Alex, shouldn’t he want to wake up so he can be with her?
The retreat took a bad turn when a tow truck fell on Stephanie. She ended up pinned underneath it and Joel and Dana were working with whatever they could do stabilize her, since the ambulance was taking too long and she was in bad shape. Dana made the decision that they had to pull her out from under the truck, but since they couldn’t lift it, they had to amputate her foot. Once again, they didn’t exactly have the proper tools so Joel had to use bolt cutters. That’s right; he used bolt cutters to cut off her foot and the shot was a little too graphic for my wimpy tastes. But it saved Stephanie’s live and her husband was grateful.
Afterward, Dana and Joel were having a few drinks and playing a round of darts and Dana made the decision that she was not going to let them make her fight for her job. Joel was telling her how great she was and he threw out the word “sexy” and I started thinking that they should just make out and get it over with…and then they did. Not only that, they continued to make out as they made their way back to the hotel and…you can go ahead and fill in the blanks. The next day in the car, things were a little awkward, but he thanked her for helping him get over his surgery issues and she thanked him, but didn’t specify for what so I can only assume it was all the hotel sex they had.
Once they returned to the hospital, Maggie asked how the weekend was and Joel told her about the bolt cutter, but she didn’t believe him (In case you’re wondering, she remains the worst). Dana told her boss that she was not fighting for the job she was already doing and he looked a little surprised, but it was a nice moment for her.
I liked that this episode focused a lot on Joel and Dana, but the Alex and Charlie stuff felt really off. I didn’t love the episode, but I didn’t hate it either; mostly I’m just confused about it, which is how I normally feel after the show.
A little programming note: there are three episodes left. Episode 11 will air on its regularly scheduled night and time and then Episode 12 will air that Saturday night. Episode 13 will air the following Saturday night. I’m not sure why NBC is doing that other than to spite me. See you next week.