‘Saving Hope’ S1 Ep 9 recap: Harder to breathe


Can Charlie survive without life support? (Photo credit: NBC/CTV)

Two weeks ago, ‘Saving Hope’ left fans with a heartbreaking cliffhanger that kept us anxiously waiting to learn Charlie’s fate. In “Bea, Again,” we finally get our answer to the big question: Can Charlie survive without life-support? While Alex and her friends carefully watch over Charlie’s body for signs of improvement, Charlie encounters his dearly departed colleague and friend, former Chief of Surgery Dr. Mack Macilreath. Mack tells Charlie he has come to help him cross-over into the afterlife, but Charlie isn’t ready to leave quite yet. Intersecting flashbacks give us a glimpse of Alex and Charlie’s budding chemistry and introduces us to one of Alex’s first patients, Bea. Alex takes a brief break from watching Charlie and examines Bea when she visits the hospital for a pre-worldwide adventure check-up. We gradually learn the importance of Bea’s arrival when Alex and Charlie strive to help Bea across both realms and correct an error that was made four years ago.

The episode opens with Alex tearfully removing Charlie’s ventilation with the moral support of her friends and colleagues. She spends the morning lying beside him with her head on his chest. Alex soon realizes that Charlie’s breathing is surprisingly strong for someone in his condition. She reaches out to Melanda for advice on how to reverse Charlie’s DNR order. Mel says that the odds are slim, but she knows of a lawyer, Martha Sykes, who has been able to change a judge’s mind once before. Alex immediately hires Martha and for $500 per hour, the top-notch lawyer hunkers down in the hospital with the hope of finding a legal loop-hole in Dawn’s case. Martha gets to work and Alex steps away from Charlie’s side when a past “special patient,” Bea, returns to Hope-Zion.

Alex insists on personally performing Bea’s physical because they have history. On her way to Bea, Alex recalls how they met four years ago while she was in her first year of residency. In the flashback, Alex has trouble intubating Bea and Charlie carefully guides her through it with patience, kindness, and confidence in her skillfulness. In the present, Bea is very happy to see Alex and gleefully explains how she wants a full check-up before going on an exciting vacation to Alaska with her boyfriend. To be extra thorough, Alex orders a CT and blood panel to make sure Bea is still cancer-free. While Alex fight’s for Charlie’s right to live and waits for Bea’s test results, Charlie’s spirit faces a new challenge when the ghost of his mentor, Mack, claims to be there to guide him into the afterlife.

Mack explains how he donated his body to science and believes his spirit was drawn to the hospital, not because of his organs, but in order to help Charlie cross-over. Although Charlie is happy to see a familiar face on his plane of existence, he disagrees with Mack and believes he still has a chance to live. Mack thinks Charlie doesn’t feel like he is ready because he still has some unfinished business to resolve before he dies.

Another flashback reveals the details of Bea’s case from years ago. Mack, Charlie, Dawn, and Alex clamor around Bea’s x-ray and try to figure out how they can treat her lymphoma and the fluid in her lungs. Alex says they could drain the fluid to at least relieve some of the pressure and make Bea more comfortable. Dawn quickly scoffs at her suggestion, but Charlie likes the idea and gives Alex the opportunity to perform her first procedure. A nervous Alex doubts herself and Charlie gives her a nudge by saying that Hope-Zion is a teaching hospital, so she is there to learn and prove her capability as a surgeon. After seeing how Alex nailed her first surgery, we return back to the present and check in on Charlie’s spiritual dilemma.

Charlie and Mack are chatting in the coffee shop when Charlie notices Bea scramble her coffee order by asking for a “telephone” instead of a “latte.” Charlie fears they may have missed signs of a brain tumor developing four years ago and he hopes Bea presents the same symptoms when she sees Alex again for her test results. With Bea’s life at stake, Charlie and Mack begin to think she might be the reason why his spirit lingers on.

When Bea meets with Alex again, she receives a clean bill of health and exhibits none of her symptoms. Charlie tries to get through to Alex and asks her to keep talking to Bea. Alex gives Bea a chance to reveal anything unusual she’s been feeling lately, but she only mentions an increase in headaches due to the stress of her upcoming trip. Alex agrees that it is nothing to worry about and Bea asks her about Charlie’s condition. Alex reveals Charlie’s fragile status and Bea expresses her sympathies. After saying their goodbyes, Bea heads out of the hospital. Charlie stays with her every step of the way and begs her to go back to Alex. As Bea opens the door, Charlie forcefully yells at her to stop and she does. Feeling the guidance of Charlie’s energy, Bea turns around and heads back upstairs to see Alex. Meanwhile, Alex watches over Charlie and waits for news from her lawyer.

Alex is sitting by Charlie’s side when her lawyer arrives with disappointing news. Martha could not find a judge who would appeal her case. She apologizes and admits there is nothing more she can do. Interim Chief Dana over-hears and asks Alex if she can be of any help. When Alex tells her to stop the DNR order, Dana says she can’t. Alex tells Dana to “go to hell” and lies on the bed with Charlie. Bea walks in on Alex in tears. She has brought Charlie some flowers, which she calls “shoes.” Alex reaches Charlie’s same conclusion and orders a brain scan. As she reviews the results with Shahir, they both realize that Bea was misdiagnosed four years ago. Bea had been treated for the wrong type of cancer, so they both head out to give her the news. Meanwhile, Dana shares some news of her own.

Dana believes Alex will need time to recover from Charlie’s impending death, so she offers Dr. Reycraft the job of chief resident. Just a reminder: Dr. Reycraft is the surgeon who messed up during the double-hand transplant and gave Alex attitude after she kindly fixed his error and comforted him. Needless to say, he accepts the job without hesitation and will begin working under his new title immediately. After that upsetting news-brief, we return to Shahir and Alex informing Bea about her new condition.

Bea learns she has brain cancer and will have to postpone her adventure, but the good news is they can treat it and she can look forward to her future. As Mack and Charlie look on, Mack discloses his guilt to Charlie. As an oncologist, Mack feels the misdiagnosis was his fault. If Charlie didn’t notice Bea’s symptoms, she would have died due to Mack’s error. Mack realizes that he was sent to Hope-Zion to conclude his own unfinished business, rather than help Charlie cross-over. He urges Charlie to follow his instincts and “think outside the box” to find a way back into his body before it is too late. Mack goes off into the light, leaving Charlie to figure things out for himself. Luckily, he might have more time than we originally thought.

When Dawn enters Charlie’s room, Alex persistently tells her to feel Charlie’s chest to sense the strength of his breath and heartbeat. Dawn finally puts her hand on him and she remembers when she saw Alex and Charlie together four years ago. In the flashback, a pregnant Dawn walks in on Charlie and Alex having a chummy conversation. Charlie catches Alex practicing incubation on a dummy and he praises her work on Bea. Dawn interrupts their sweet moment by telling Charlie that it is time to leave for dinner. Dawn’s memory fades into the present and she surprisingly agrees with Alex’s assessment. Dawn promises to help Charlie live longer and Alex tells her to file the legal paperwork “right now,” before Charlie loses anymore time. Dawn gently kisses Charlie’s hand, tells Alex to take care of him, and runs out to file the necessary paperwork.

As the episode concludes, Alex asks Shahir if they might have misdiagnosed Charlie, like Bea. If they can figure out the true cause of his coma, then they can find a way to save him. Of course, Charlie awaking from his coma could take a miracle, which ties into one of this episode’s side-stories.

After breaking his hand in a bar-room brawl, Dana tells Joel to take some time off to heal and recompose himself. But Joel convinces Dana that he can still consult at the hospital and wants to keep working. When Zach encounters Nadia Bird, a paraplegic patient who fell out of her wheelchair in church during choir rehearsal, he calls Joel in for a consult. Zack resets her injured bone and Joel thoroughly examines her legs. Nadia shockingly feels pain when he pokes the soul of her foot and Joel begins doubting her paralysis. He believes that Nadia has either been faking her paralysis or she was misdiagnosed after the car accident which killed her husband and caused her injury. Joel leaves to examine her medical records and find some answers.

Joel shows Nadia her x-ray from years ago and explains that there is no medical sign of paralysis. He inquires why she did not visit another doctor for a second opinion and she defends her decision by saying she placed her faith in God, rather than medicine. She believes the sudden sensation in her feet is a sign of God’s healing, but Joel remains skeptical and pursues other theories.

Joel returns to Nadia’s bedside and is greeted by a boisterous choir joining Nadia and Zach in a song of praise and thanks for her miraculous healing. Joel asks them to take their celebratory song outside, so he can chat with Nadia. After investigating Nadia’s medical reports and test results from the past and present, Joel believes her paralysis may come from a psychological cause. He explains that she has conversion disorder, meaning that when her husband died, she dealt with her grief by physically manifesting her pain through paralysis, instead of emotionally mourning his death. Joel asks if she ever spoke to anyone about her loss and she says she confided in the Lord. Joel tells her to speak with Gavin for emotional guidance through this transitional time in her life and offers his own support when she is ready to walk again in a couple of years.

‘Saving Hope’ continues to improve each week and “Bea, Again” offered us another solid episode that shed more light on these characters’ history with each other, while setting up additional interesting obstacles for them in the present. It will be fascinating to discover how everyone will overcome their respective challenges.

What did you think of “Bea, Again”? Did you like the twist with Mack’s presence? Were you surprised by the very early stages of Charlie and Alex’s budding romance? Do you think it will take a miracle for Charlie to come out of his coma?

Share your thoughts below!


  • A kiss is not just a kiss: Maggie confronts Gavin about their kiss and says it was a mistake. After five years of friendship, Maggie claims she doesn’t have romantic feelings for him, plus she is currently seeing someone else. Gavin stands his ground and he clearly wants to be more than friends. Gavin finally forces Maggie to face the facts when he refuses to simply sit around and coddle her when she is hurtfully choosing the wrong guy. When Alex tells her that Charlie has been her best friend from the start, Maggie realizes that she could have the same kind of connection with Gavin. Do you think Maggie will choose Gavin over Joel?
  • Surprising flashback: When Dawn told Alex about her pregnancy in the last episode, it seemed to be a new revelation. However, the four-year flashback shows an obviously pregnant Dawn who already doesn’t like Alex. Although Alex and Charlie didn’t cross any lines, their connection was very palpable. For some reason, it always seemed like Alex entered the picture after Dawn and Charlie’s relationship failed. Now, it is a little clearer why Dawn dislikes Alex so much. Charlie was probably beginning to fall in love with Alex, while Dawn was hoping to salvage her marriage. Nonetheless, given Dawn’s behavior throughout the course of Charlie’s coma, it is easy to understand why they divorced and he didn’t waste too much time seriously pursuing a relationship with Alex. Were you surprised by anything in the flashback? Do you think Charlie could’ve started having an affair with Alex before he and Dawn broke up?
  • Unfair promotion: Dana should not have offered Alex’s rightfully earned job to Dr. Reycraft. Alex has still been an excellent surgeon despite the drama in her life. She repeatedly saves patients by catching and fixing other people’s mistakes. Of course she needs a little break, but that doesn’t mean Reycraft should become the permanent chief. Alex continues to prove how she has earned that position and has a right to be furious when she learns Reycraft got the job instead. What do you think about Dana’s decision?

This article was originally published on Examiner.com on August 22, 2012.

UPDATE (Summer 2016): ‘Saving Hope’ now airs on ION Television in the U.S. and still airs on CTV in Canada. Visit ‘Saving Hope’s’ ION TV homepage (HERE) or CTV Homepage (HERE) for details.

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