If you got knocked out, would you lie down and give up or would you pull yourself together and fight for your life? That is the question Charlie wrestles with in “The Fight,” one of ‘Saving Hope’s’ best episodes so far. The paralleled tales tackled in last Thursday’s episode all center on the will to fight, the understanding of what is truly worth fighting for, and the passion that drives each person to persist until they get what they need.
As “The Fight” opens, Charlie explains how the hardest part of healing is waiting for the body to get better. Unfortunately, it seems that Charlie’s body will be facing a set-back when Alex hears a crackle in his lungs and fears that he has developed pneumonia. While some of the other doctors go out to celebrate Shahir’s birthday at a club, Alex decides to spend her Saturday night working back-to-back shifts in the ER and keeping an eye on Charlie’s condition. However, her presumably quite late night shift takes a shocking turn when a vendetta between two drug dealers makes its way into Hope-Zion’s waiting room.
Paramedics wheel in a night-club stabbing victim named Eddie, Charlie adoringly watches Alex as she tries to stabilize him, but he codes. As Eddie appears next to Charlie, he cheekily mutters, “Right on cue” and tells the young guy that “It’s over, you need to let go.” Surprisingly, Eddie starts shouting at his unconscious body, determinedly screaming, “Come on, fight!” Next thing you know, Eddie’s spirit vanishes and his body barely begins breathing, which officially puts him in a coma and lands him next to Charlie’s room. While Charlie gazes in shock and wonders how Eddie got back in his body, Alex moves on to her next patient, hockey player Todd Fahey.
A couple of guys start fighting in the ER while Alex tries to get Todd’s medical history; she turns around to break up the fight and Todd jumps out of his bed and stops the scuffle with a couple of swift hockey-style maneuvers. Todd’s girlfriend, Amanda, explains how an unfair fight landed him in the ER and Alex confirms that he has a few cracked ribs, but she wants to thoroughly check him for a concussion as well. Todd refuses to have a CT scan, so Alex checks with Zach to see if a diagnostic blood test can show if he has a concussion or not. Zach agrees that a blood test would work and tells Alex to go for it; he also shows her that Eddie’s buddies and the guys who stabbed him are now staring each other down in the waiting room as they wait for Eddie to awake from his coma. As she notices the increasing tension in the room, Alex receives Dr. Melanda’s page and runs off to Charlie’s room for an update oh his status. Unfortunately, Charlie does have pneumonia. As Alex tearfully fears her fiancé is destined to die, spirit-Charlie places his hand on her neck and vows that he would never do that to her. Alex leaves his room and Charlie’s attention is drawn to Eddie’s boisterous spirit next door.
Unlike Charlie, Eddie refuses to idly sit by and watch his body take its “sweet time” to heal. Charlie is still amazed that the kid willed himself back the first time around and he is curious to learn how Eddie managed to do it. Eddie takes Charlie to the waiting room and explains his motivation for survival. Eddie was dealing drugs at the club earlier that night when a new guy walked in and tried peddling drugs on his turf. Spirit-Eddie looks into his stabber’s eyes and promises to chop him into pieces the moment he wakes up. He tells Charlie that you have to fight back and throw the first punch or else you are just giving up. While Charlie tries to muster up some fighting power, Alex has her own battle to tend to with Todd.
Tough-guy Todd refuses the blood test in addition to the CT scan and adamantly wants no knowledge of a possible concussion, so he starts heading out of the ER. As Alex chases him into waiting room, shots are fired when Eddie’s pals aim to kill his stabber. Sadly, Irene and Anthony, a middle-aged couple Alex had encountered earlier that evening, get caught in the commotion as they are leaving the hospital. Alex rushes to treat Irene’s gunshot wound; when it is clear that she will need surgery, Alex pages Joel at the club and asks him to come in to help with Irene. Shahir asks Joel if there have been any brain injuries, but there aren’t any. Although he hasn’t been paged, Shahir eventually decides to return to the hospital after arguing with his boyfriend, Victor, about the uncomfortably overpopulated venue chosen for his birthday bash. Back at Hope-Zion, Todd explains why he doesn’t want more tests, while Joel assesses Irene’s surgical options.
Todd tells Alex that he is 35 years old and only has a year or two left to play in the NHL. He reveals that years ago a coach said you either need to have the talent or the fists to make it in the NHL and Todd lacked the talent. With twelve people relying on him for support, Todd has no choice but to tough it out for a little while longer. He has to stay in the ER to give a statement to the cops, so while Todd waits, we switch over to Irene and Anthony, who have been discussing her condition with Joel.
Once again, the hot-shot doctor has a risky procedure he would like to perform on Irene, but given her unstable condition, she could possibly die during the operation. Joel fears that Irene could be paralyzed if they wait to perform this complicated surgery on her spine. He is confident in the surgery’s success rate, but Irene’s husband is hesitant. If Anthony has to choose between having a paralyzed wife or a dead one, then he would prefer to save her life and wait until she is stable enough to operate on. However, Irene asks Joel what he would do in her position, he says he would undergo the surgery and she agrees with his decision. Meanwhile, Todd’s case takes a turn for the worse.
As Todd tells the cops a funny story during his witness report, he begins to laugh uncontrollably and suddenly seizes. Shahir consults on his condition and discovers that three aneurisms caused Todd’s emotional outburst. As they prepare him for brain surgery, Alex comforts Todd’s girlfriend and gives her hope that he will wake up just fine. Alex then tries to take in her own words of encouragement when she checks on Charlie.
Alex tells Melanda that Charlie is technically entering his fourth week in a coma and as the clock strikes midnight he will officially be in a “persistent vegetative state,” instead of a coma. Melanda comforts her by disagreeing, but Alex dismisses her efforts and goes to the break-room where she sees Joel. He tells her that Irene’s husband doesn’t want her to have the surgery and Alex places the situation in perspective for Joel. She bluntly says Anthony wants his wife to live and Joel merely wants to show-off. We soon realize that Alex’s words make an impact on him, but first we learn how Todd’s surgery turned out.
Shahir explains that one of the aneurisms ruptured and one could not be fixed during the operation, which means that Todd has to be very careful for the rest of his life or else his aneurism could burst and kill him. While Todd wrestles with the thought of never playing hockey again, Alex tends to Charlie and tries to reduce his fever.
Charlie watches Alex cool him down and learns a lesson from Eddie, who is still relentlessly screaming at his body. Eddie tells Charlie that he has given up and has no fight in him. As Charlie criticizes the kid, “What do you know about fighting?” Eddie vanishes again and wakes up in his body. Alex looks on from next door and rightfully quips, “Are you kidding me?!” A perplexed Charlie gawks at Eddie and finally realizes he needs to literally fight for his life. As Charlie channels his inner Rocky, Irene attempts to comfort her husband before entering surgery.
As Joel wheels her off to the OR, Irene lightens the mood by reminding Anthony to set up her hair appointment and other trivial tasks. She sweetly tells him, “I love you like crazy,” and kisses him. He turns to Joel and with a heavy heart says, “Don’t let her die…I can’t lose her.” For the first time, Joel hesitates in the operating room. He steps out for a second and returns with a new plan; Joel chooses to be safe rather than sorry and performs a simpler surgery by leaving the bullet in and stabilizing her spine to give her more time. Having seen Joel swallow his selfish pride for the greater good, we return to Todd and hope that he will also make the right choice.
As Todd continues to insist on playing hockey, Alex snaps at him, saying that he is an idiot for turning his back on the woman he loves. Indirectly expressing her own feelings towards Charlie’s situation, Alex warns Todd not to leave Amanda when he can still choose to be with her and cherish the time they can have together. As the episodes grows to a close, a montage of they day’s cases play out.
Irene successfully awakes from her surgery, Eddie craves a post-coma hamburger, Todd cuddles with Amanda, and Charlie makes a pathetic attempt at fighting for his life. When Alex returns to Charlie’s side, we learn that his half-hearted spirit-shouting managed to break his body’s fever. Relieved that Charlie won’t die from pneumonia, Alex kisses his forehead and heads to her office to rest. Joel stops by and tells her that he backed-off in surgery. He figures that is what Charlie would have done and Alex agrees. She lies down on the sofa, closes her eyes and has a flashback. While Alex and Charlie walk down the street hand-in-hand, she asks him if they still would have been a couple if they didn’t work together because so much of their relationship is grounded in their obsession with their work. Charlie effortlessly rattles off all of the little details he loves about her, proving that he loves her for who she is, regardless of their jobs. Ecstatic at his romantic response, she playfully tells him to call for a taxi so they can head home. As Alex opens her eyes, she sees Charlie standing in the doorway and calls out to him, but as he steps closer, Charlie’s image fades to reveal Joel. He covers a disappointed Alex with a blanket, as he walks away, Alex closes her eyes and we see Charlie sitting next to her on the sofa.
“The Fight” re-instilled hope in this show because the past few episodes have not been living up to expectation. All of these cases were very engaging and the episode’s pacing kept us intrigued as it jumped from one unexpected moment to another. The patients’ stories also drew the audience in a little more than usual. Todd was charmingly humorous in the midst of intense drama, Eddie broke the spirit-of-the week mold by teaching Charlie a lesson and showing how a spirit still has a hold on his body, and we became deeply invested in Irene and Anthony’s relationship by watching how they cared for each other during this trying time.
What did you think of “The Fight”? What has been your favorite episode so far? Do you think Alex will ever see Charlie’s spirit? Can spirit-Charlie simply fight his way back to Alex?
Share your thoughts below!
• Character revelations: We learned something new about Shahir and it seems that his romantic relationship is a bit shaky. In an argument with Victor, his boyfriend of 1 1/2 years, Shahir claims that he is not embarrassed to be in a gay club with his co-workers, but he is hurt that Victor dismissed his anxiety with crowded places. It will be interesting to see how this relationship plays out in the future and if it will be referred to again anytime soon. Does Shahir have certain phobias or did he feel uncomfortable socializing with his co-workers in that environment?
• The Gavin-Maggie-Joel Love Triangle: So far, this dynamic has been annoying. Gavin has expressed his romantic interest in Maggie and clearly asks her if she is dating Joel. She denies it, but continues shamelessly flirting and hooking-up with Joel while leading Gavin on by agreeing to let him buy her drinks at the club. Hopefully Gavin will quickly realize there is more to Maggie and Joel’s relationship.
• Charlie’s will to fight: One would think True Love would be worth fighting for, but when it comes to the head vs. the heart, Charlie seems to do a lot more thinking than feeling. Everything is explained in scientific terms and what should be expected to happen rationally. Eddie shows him that there is more to being a spirit that just waiting for your body to suck you back in. Maybe Charlie needs to take a leap of faith and plunge back into life. Hopefully this experience will make him try harder to figure what he can do from the other side to snap out of the coma.
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on July 5, 2012.