In Thursday night’s “Blindness,” two brothers, Johnny and Isaac Wolf, are rushed into Hope-Zion hospital after falling off of a roof. Charlie tries to help Isaac’s spirit take care of his unfinished business so he can move on to the great unknown, while Joel fights for the right to perform a radical surgery that can save Johnny’s shattered leg. Meanwhile, Alex continues reaching out to Charlie through coma arousal therapy and tries to figure out what is wrong with Benjamin Monk, a patient who presents conflicting symptoms.
As the episode opens, Alex resorts to tapping into Charlie’s primal desires in an effort to “arouse” her fiancé out of his coma. Spirit-Charlie enjoys watching his bride-to-be in a bra, until she awkwardly halts his “therapy” when a male nurse enters the room. As Alex heads out of the room, we are transported to yet another awkward encounter when Maggie and Joel take a joint walk of shame into a coffee shop and are surprisingly greeted by Gavin. Unfortunately, Gavin seems to be blinded by his crush on Maggie and doesn’t realize that she and Joel have been hooking up. Maggie and Joel grab their coffees to-go and join their colleagues in another work day full of perplexing patients and challenging cases.
We first meet Alex’s patient, Benjamin Monk, who is presenting a detailed description of how he plans to propose to his girlfriend in San Francisco that night. As Alex starts checking him out, she sees a scar on his chest and he explains that he had major surgery as a young child; he then talks about having met Charlie in the past and praises his work. His check-up reveals that Monk is anemic, so Maggie clears him to leave and goes to take care of the paperwork. She sees Gavin at the front desk and he talks about a patient who swallowed his cell phone; he also asks her out to grab drinks later, but she blows him off and takes the discharge papers to Monk. Suddenly Monk begins coughing blood and collapses in the waiting room. His new symptoms and his mother’s medical history present a case for a hereditary form of cancer, so Maggie and Alex check his bowels for a tumor.
Alex comforts Monk by telling him about Charlie’s condition; she says that the “human body is an amazing thing” and assures him that they will figure out what is wrong with him. The colonoscopy looks clean, so Alex goes to re-examine his blood work and on her way she notices something on the bulletin board; the name of Monk’s girlfriend happens to be identical to the name of the employee of the month. Alex suspects Monk’s problem could be psychological and asks Gavin to analyze him; Gavin believes Monk could be making himself sick on purpose. They check behind his knees and find needle marks from injecting steroids, which would cause some the symptoms he presented earlier. Alex is furious to discover that a con-man has been wasting her time, but Gavin believes Monk suffers from Munchausen’s syndrome. Monk feels safe in hospitals after spending much of his childhood in them, so they decide to transfer him to Hope-Zion’s psych floor. Before sending him off, Alex criticizes the depth of his denial, but Monk eagerly points out that she chooses to “keep believing the lie too” by thinking that Charlie could still come out of the coma.
Alex’s world has clearly been shattered by Charlie’s coma and she wants to take time off so she can dedicate herself to his recovery; however, Interim Chief Dana refuses to let Alex put her job on the back burner. Dana bluntly tells her that she has been overly distracted by Charlie’s condition and it is time for her to suck it up. Dana says she needs Alex, so she has to get her “head in the game” and focus on her job. Alex understands and agrees, but she still makes an effort to help Charlie by asking his doctor, Shahir, to run the coma status tests again to double-check for any improvement since his hand movement. Shahir does not think it will show any difference, but agrees to test Charlie at the end of the day. In the mean-time, comatose Charlie’s spirit has his hands full in limbo.
Isaac and Johnny Wolf are rushed into the hospital after falling off of a roof; Isaac’s condition is more critical than Johnny’s and Joel performs an emergency surgery, hoping he can still be saved. As Charlie overlooks the operation, Isaac’s spirit appears by his side and watches in confusion as his body bleeds out and he dies. As Isaac walks with Charlie through the hospital halls, he wonders why his spirit is lingering; Charlie is still trying to figure out the afterlife, but so far all he knows is that the people he has encountered in limbo either wake up or die and move on to an unknown place. Charlie and Isaac step into Johnny’s room and listen in on what Joel has to say about his condition.
While Johnny tries to digest the news of his brother’s death, he tells Joel about how Isaac established their roofing company and created baseball caps as a form of advertising. Joel skips the small-talk and explains that Johnny will lose part of his leg, but there is a unique procedure that he can do that will prevent him from losing all of it. Johnny says he does not care what Joel does to him, so Joel presents Interim Chief Dana with his case. He argues that Johnny is an active 24-year-old man who can successfully recover from a radical surgery that basically will re-attach his leg on backwards. With enough physical therapy, Johnny could eventually gain proper use of his knees and ankles after they are trained to move in the opposite direction. A questionable history is hinted at between the two when Joel frankly and informally addresses her as “Dana;” he insists that taking “risks” equals “respect” and his “triumph” will be her “glory.” As Joel prepares for this unconventional surgery, Charlie continues being the “Virgil” to Isaac’s “Dante.”
They enter a room in which an old man is coding; Charlie says they will see the man if he dies and Isaac eagerly waits to help out. The old man’s spirit appears and as he screams in terror, Isaac nonchalantly shouts out, “You’re dead bro.” The old man’s spirit vanishes and Isaac is left wondering why he is still stuck in limbo when the old man moved on so quickly. Charlie thinks there might be some unfinished business that he needs to complete before he can move on and we soon learn the whole story of how these brothers fell of the roof.
Johnny’s wife, Dahlia, pays him a visit and wants to make peace. Johnny snaps at her, “What can you tell me that Isaac hasn’t already told me.” We are left in suspense as Joel performs the surgery with most of the hospital staff observing from above in amazement. Dahlia stays in the waiting room with Isaac and Charlie watching over her. Isaac tells Charlie the Biblical tale about the sons of Judah in Genesis. Isaac says God killed one brother for loving the other’s wife. He reveals that they fell off the roof because they were fighting about the affair. Johnny successfully comes out of surgery and speaks with his wife. Dahlia says she never wanted to fall in love with Isaac and Johnny admits that he never wanted to acknowledge what he saw. Johnny says he should’ve fought harder for her or he should’ve just let her go and be with Isaac. Either way, he believes that is the reason why Isaac died. Isaac shouts at his brother, pleading for him not to blame himself because it is not his fault. After watching Johnny and Dahlia speak openly with each other about what happened and realizing that Johnny still loves him when he holds their Bro’s Roofing Co. cap, Isaac feels that his unfinished business is done and he disappears. Once again, spirit-Charlie is left behind and wonders what the chances of his recovery truly are.
Meanwhile, Alex learns that Shahir’s test shows no improvement in Charlie’s condition; he thinks Charlie’s movement was just a random firing of synapses. Alex finds an empty hospital bed and draws the curtains before she lies down and begins to cry with Charlie’s spirit by her side. She remembers when Charlie spontaneously proposed while they were in bed one morning. He impulsively says, ‘Screw it; let’s get married!” But she doesn’t want to rush it and sweetly says, “Patience my love.” As her flashback fades away, Joel catches her crying and offers a bit of comfort. Alex criticizes herself for having blind faith in Charlie’s recovery because she is a doctor and should remain objective. Joel disagrees and tells her that she is not Charlie’s doctor, instead she is his life-line and Charlie needs her to be that. Alex thanks Joel for his kindness and support.
As the episode concludes, we see Monk’s sense of security in the hospital and watch Isaac disappear as Johnny looks upon their ball cap; Charlie narrates the scenes and explains, “To be seen is all we want…tell me I’ll be okay…we’re in it together…you’ll get me through.” Alex anchors Charlie’s spirit in this world because she loves him and believes in him. Maybe his spirit roams the halls to be there for her, the way she is trying to be there for him.
- Relationships:Maggie and Joel may think they are keeping their casual relationship a secret, but Alex has clearly put it together. Alex teases Joel for quoting Shakespeare after feeling “conquest-y” and Maggie not-so-subtly asks Alex how Joel was as a boyfriend in the middle of performing a colonoscopy. Unfortunately, Gavin has not yet picked up on the clues and tries to ask Maggie out for drinks only to be rudely ignored. Hopefully, this blind puppy love storyline won’t drag out too long because Gavin should know better, considering his profession.
• Ghost World: There still is not enough focus on Charlie. The allure of this show is the supernatural factor that sets it apart from other medical dramas. This is not like Izzy being haunted by Denny on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Saving Hope’s’ premise is grounded in Charlie’s spiritual presence. It would be nice to see a day in the hospital from mostly Charlie’s perspective. How many spirits does he typically encounter? Have any healthy people seen him? How is he trying to learn more about his metaphysical state? Is he trying to gain any ghostly abilities so that he can clearly reach out to Alex? Michael Shanks is a good actor and it is time to give him more meaty stuff to work with.
• Lowlights: Poor Erica Durance has had to do some silly stuff on TV shows, but at least on ‘Smallville,’ you could attribute Lois Lane’s cheeky gimmicks to the playfulness of the genre. However, Dr. Alex Reid doesn’t seem like the type of professional woman who would strip down at work knowing that there is a good chance of getting caught in a compromising position. Perhaps it was done to show how desperate Alex is to reach out to Charlie, but it just came off as a superficial move. Also, Isaac’s unfinished business was not clarified very well. Did Isaac just need to see that Johnny was open to forgiving his wife and brother for what happened? When Isaac yelled at Johnny not to feel at fault, it didn’t look like Johnny felt his presence. There was an opportunity to provide a deeply moving moment of unconditional brotherly love, but it created more confusion than emotion.
What did you think of “Blindness”? Share your thoughts below!
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on June 25, 2012.