Last Thursday’s ‘Saving Hope’ provides Charlie with more motivation to fight for Alex when he meets Scott Coburn, a man who has been in a coma for over 27 years, and discovers that life in the real world still goes on when he is “Out of Sight.” Alex also experiences a troubling revelation when she allows herself to celebrate an extraordinary achievement with her co-workers and gets a surprising sense of what life would be like without Charlie.
The episode’s groundbreaking case centers on Ysidro Pineda, a 33-year-old migrant worker from Honduras who had both of his hands amputated in an accident at work. Interim Chief Dana presents the case details to the staff. She says they must reattach both hands within the next 12 hours and explains how she and Joel will each lead and assemble two teams that will simultaneously work on each hand. While Dana speaks, Charlie strives to get Alex’s attention by begging her to look at him. Unfortunately, Charlie realizes his efforts are useless when he watches an exhausted and over-worked Alex nod off in the middle of Dana’s lecture on how this surgery would be such an important accomplishment for Hope Zion hospital. Dana calls her out on the mini-nap in front of her peers and Alex immediately apologizes after the presentation. Dana instructs her to take the day off to catch up on some sleep. Alex is pleasantly surprised by Dana’s understanding and heads home for some much-needed rest. Although Alex checks out of the hospital, those who remain are anxious and excited for this historical operation.
Before Joel meets with Dana to choose their respective surgical teams, Maggie seductively conveys to him how she is willing to do anything to be part of the operation. Joel says he will see what he can do and she gives him a “Thank you” kiss (for two people who refuse to admit that they are dating, they definitely don’t hold back on their PDA). However, Maggie’s powers of persuasion pale in comparison to Alex’s talent. During their meeting, Joel tells Dana that Alex has the most experience and should be part of his team. Dana dismisses his desires, saying she sent Alex home. Naturally, Joel does not give up easily when he wants something and he decides to convince Alex that this is an opportunity she cannot miss.
When we see Alex at home, it seems like this is the first time she has been back since the accident. She throws away her dead plants and unexpectedly finds a note on the fridge from their wedding day. In the note, Charlie asks Alex to bring his cuff-links if she can find them. As she lays her head down to sleep she notices the cuff-links on his night-stand, but before she has a chance to reminisce, a knock on the door interrupts her thoughts. Alex is shocked to see Joel and fears that something has happened to Charlie, but he quickly explains that he is there to recruit her for his team. Alex thinks Dana was trying to be “nice” to her by letting her go home, but Joel argues that Alex is simply handing her job over to Dr. Tom Reycraft by passing on this surgery. Although she confesses that Dana “scares the hell” out of her, Joel convinces her that this would be the perfect chance to show Dana exactly why Charlie made Alex Chief Surgical Resident. Moments later, we watch Alex arrive at the hospital just in time to greet their amputee.
Using her high school Spanish skills, Alex calms his fears and assures Ysidro that if the surgery is successful, he will be able to work again. Despite Alex’s interpretive help, Dana fears she will be a liability in the O.R. and does not want her to be part of the surgery. However, Alex notices a problem related to Ysidro’s leg injury and when Dana struggles to find the cause, Alex quickly realizes the symptom he is exhibiting is simply a false positive for kidney failure. Thanks to Alex, they conclude that with the proper treatment, renal failure can be prevented and he can still undergo surgery. Just when we think Dana can’t cut Alex out of the surgery, she treats her like a page and sends Alex out to get some coffee.
Alex enters the break room and finds Shahir obsessively scrubbing the table clean. While she fills up the coffee mugs, Shahir tells her that Victor mentioned what happened earlier and asks if she wants to talk about anything. Alex admits that she is exhausted and starting to see things, which is making her wonder if “this is it.” She fears that Charlie may not wake up and Shahir only feeds into her nightmares with his frankness. He cautions her hopes, reiterating “What if this is it?” because Charlie could be in a coma for decades or he could die and Alex will have to learn how to live without Charlie. Meanwhile, Charlie discovers what would happen if he were to be in a coma for decades and he does not like what he sees.
Although Scott has spent over 20 years in limbo, he never figured out a way to fight his spirit back into his body. What Scott has discovered is how to go with the flow and learn to make the best of this situation. Scott grabs Charlie’s shoulder and teleports them to the second-story railing over-looking the lobby. While Charlie philosophizes about their metaphysical condition, Scott suddenly shoves him off the balcony and sends Charlie plummeting to the floor. An enraged Charlie grabs Scott by the collar and asks, “How can you be so cavalier about this?” Scott explains that after 20 years, he has “adapted” to this new reality. He argues that the other physical life is a dream and he encourages Charlie to let it go. Although Scott is eager to let go of his corporeal existence, other patients in the hospital are desperately trying to cling to theirs’, including Hope-Zion’s newest arrival.
After Maggie learns that Joel wants Alex on his team instead, she scoffs at his clichéd apology (in which he explains that it is not personal, it is just the “way it’s got to be”) and she moves on to a mysterious patient. Earlier in the day Gavin encountered a battered homeless man in the lobby and Dr. Melanda has diagnosed John Doe with pneumonia. When she assigns Maggie to monitor his progress, Maggie examines the enigmatic man whom she chooses to call “Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy” and she believes his abdomen has distended, which means he may have ACS (Abdominal Compartment Syndrome). However, Melanda snaps at Maggie, saying that she isn’t there to diagnose and she should just stick to the planned treatment. Meanwhile, Dana allows Alex to participate in Ysidro’s surgery and she finally understands why Charlie picked her for this job.
During the unconventional operation, Alex and her competitor, Tom, simultaneously work on separate hands. Tom turns the surgery into a race and quickly reattaches his hand to finish before Alex. She carefully stitches up her hand moments after Tom finishes and they all wait to see if the procedure is working. Color returns to Alex’s hand, meaning she successfully reattached it, but Tom caused some complications with his hand by carelessly rushing. Dana has Alex fix Tom’s mistake and Joel chastises him for showing-off instead of focusing. However, Alex insists it was an honest mistake and tries to comfort Tom, but he rudely disregards her kindness. While Alex becomes the hero of the day, elsewhere Scott needs a miraculous rescue of his own.
Charlie stands by Scott’s side as he learns that his body has come down with pneumonia, which usually means death for coma patients. Scott is surprised to see his ex-wife Melissa at his bedside for the first time in over a decade and we soon realize that she and her second husband have come to say goodbye. When Melanda asks her about his DNR policy, Melissa says not to revive Scott because his death would be a blessing at this point. Scott uses this as an example and cautions Charlie again by saying, “They forget about us Charlie…They always do.” As Charlie begins fretting over the future, Alex is finally enjoying the present by relishing her success.
After the surgery, Victor dubs her the hero of the day and initiates a celebratory dinner hosted by Alex. Dana agrees and offers to bring the booze if Alex provides the Chinese food. So their “team building” soirée is set for Alex’s later that night. Meanwhile, Scott reveals his history with Melissa and we begin to understand why he has adapted so greatly to life in limbo.
Scott is amazed to see how old Melissa has gotten over the years and it pains him to know she has led a full life without him. The last time Melissa visited him was on June 14, 1997 and two months after the coma-inducing accident she filed for divorce. Since Scott was in a coma, his sister had to sign his divorce papers. Now Melissa sits beside his withered body and Scott tells Charlie she never loved him. In a nice parallel, Alex visits Charlie and fills him in on her exciting day. For the first time, she says she has plans that night and must go, but she promises to see him again first thing in the morning.
At Alex’s shindig, the whole team relaxes and we get a little more insight into these characters. Dana warms up to Alex and hands her a beer. Victor acts as the team clown, he prods Joel to see if he is dating anyone and he teases Shahir for being so germ phobic. Victor demonstrates Shahir’s eccentricities by kissing him after eating a wonton that fell on the floor and the look of terror on Shahir’s face causes the room to explode with laughter. Alex’s boisterous laugh transforms into sobs and she runs to her bedroom. Joel follows her and she tearfully confesses that she forgot about Charlie for a minute when she laughed and in that moment she finally felt free. Meanwhile at the hospital, Scott finds a different kind of freedom.
Charlie and Scott watch as his body is taken off of life support. Melissa holds Scott’s hand as he codes. Although Scott expected something more exciting to happen, he isn’t sorry. He tells Charlie, “If you want to get back to her, you’ve got to try harder.” As soon as those words leave his lips, Melissa begins crying and reveals that she could not let Scott go because she never stopped loving him. Scott tells her she doesn’t have to cry anymore and his spirit passes on in peace, knowing that his wife truly loved him all along. As one soul leaves, another is saved in the nick of time when Maggie comes to “Mr. Darcy’s” rescue.
“Mr. Darcy” suddenly codes, so Maggie follows her instincts (with a little moral support from Gavin) and slices his abdomen open, which releases the built-up pressure and stabilizes him. As Maggie basks in the glow of her victory, Melanda offers cautionary praise; she says, “Graveyards are full of our mistakes. All of us make them…Congratulations on today’s save.” Meanwhile, Charlie receives a pleasant surprise when Alex returns to the hospital that night.
Alex tells Charlie about the party and confesses how terrifying it is to think that her life could go on without him. Her thoughts wander back to the cuff-links and we learn that she gave them to Charlie as an engagement gift. Charlie looks at the monogrammed “FR” in confusion and Alex explains how she wants him to have her father’s cuff-links. Charlie says he loves them even more because they are a part of her. As she returns to the present, Alex vows, “I will never forget about you Charlie and I will never let you go.” Charlie replies, “You promise?”
‘Saving Hope’ has been hitting a smooth stride with the last two episodes and the series seems to show more promise as it progresses. If you watch the extended promo for tonight’s episode (shown above), you will see that a medium named “The Great Randall” might give these love-birds a fighting chance by bridging the gap between both worlds.
What did you think of “Out of Sight”? Did you like what Scott had to offer about life in limbo? Do you hope to see Charlie try to expand his spirit-life skill-set and reach out to Alex on a more physical level? Share your thoughts below!
- Out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind: ‘Saving Hope’ established an effective parallel between Scott and Charlie’s lives. Scott spent the last 20 years believing his wife stopped loving him, but she simply did what she felt was needed to survive. Perhaps, compared to Alex, Melissa let go too soon. With Charlie and Alex, it is clear that she wants to remain devoted her true love because she already feels guilty after the first moment she forgets about his tragic state. On his deathbed, Scott finally learns that he was always loved and thought about, so Alex’s return makes an even more powerful statement to Charlie that night. Alex is willing to fight for him, but Charlie must put up an even greater fight from his end if he wants to leave limbo and get back to Alex. Hopefully, “The Great Randall” will be able to create a strong enough connection between the two, so that they can find their way back to each other and figure out how Charlie’s coma can be cured.
- It’s nothing personal: Maggie received a severe snub from Joel when he clearly blew her off professionally. It will be interesting to see how this will affect their relationship, but you can’t blame Joel for wanting Alex in the O.R. (especially after she saved the day). Regardless of their personal romantic history, Alex and Joel seem to have maintained a professional respect for one another. Joel has also been a very supportive shoulder for Alex to cry on. You usually wouldn’t think an unfaithful ex-boyfriend would be the one who consistently gives you hope when others try grounding you in the brutal reality, but Joel has been sweetly helping Alex hold on to her love.
What did you think of “Out of Sight”? Share your thoughts below!
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on July 12, 2012.