Last night’s “The Law of Contagion” revealed shocking truths from the past, when the characters we have come to know over the past ten episodes make bold confessions in the face of danger, unravel intensely repressed trauma, and finally admit how they genuinely feel about each other after overcoming a life-threatening event.
Outbreak and heartache
Carlos Garcia enters the E.R. with acute abdominal pain and other symptoms indicating appendicitis. Carlos is kindly accompanied by Dr. Mark Wilson, a general physician who treated Carlos when he first started presenting symptoms mid-air on their flight from India and decided to stay with him during his six hour lay-over.
Alex and Dr. Rachel Pratt perform Carlos’ surgery and realize that his organs are in fine shape, but Alex sees signs of an infection in his bowels. Sadly, Carlos dies on the operation table before they can figure out how to save him. Alex immediately meets with Dana and Zack to discuss her concerns because she fears all of Carlos’ symptoms (cough, wheeze, exhaustion) could be signs of a bigger virus. Zach looks into the issue while Alex tells Carlos’ flight buddy, Dr. Wilson, the news.
When Alex sees Dr. Wilson, he is exhibiting the same symptoms. In the middle of their chat, Zach calls her aside with some news. There has been an outbreak of a corona virus (a virus like SARS) in Mumbai, which is where Carlos’ flight came from. Another meeting is held to discuss their options.
Alex thinks the hospital should be completely shut down to prevent the virus from spreading any further, but Brian from the Board is worried about publicity. He will divert ambulances and cancel all surgeries, but the doors will technically stay open. In the meantime, they will consult a specialist to know how bad the threat is.
Dr. Peter Hibbs, a specialist in infectious disease, concludes that the worst case scenarios will result in 20% of the hospital dying within the next 12 to 22 hours. With an expert’s stamp of approval, Brian finally agrees to shut down Hope Zion.
Meanwhile, those infected are getting worse. Dr. Wilson regrets allowing himself to get so close to Carlos. He wishes he could speak with his wife and daughter and hopes he will survive this mysterious virus. However, Dr. Pratt ends up in worse condition, having been directly exposed to Carlos, she suddenly passes out and seizes after having a coughing fit in line for coffee. As doctors tend to her, Alex, Joel and Victor get paged to the O.R. where they must remain in quarantine until further notice since they were also directly exposed to Carlos during his operation. Zach then makes the official temporary lockdown announcement over the P.A.
Victor starts checking himself for symptoms and starts panicking when he discovers a fever. He fears dying and feels he has too many regrets to die. One such regret is the fight he had with his boyfriend Shahir earlier that day. Shahir’s mother is in town and after two years of dating Shahir still hasn’t introduced her to Victor. Victor thinks it is because Shahir’s mother doesn’t like her son being gay and he pressures Shahir for the truth. Shahir finally admits that his mother would prefer to see him date another doctor rather than a nurse, like Victor. Heartbroken, Victor tells Shahir he is “pathetic” and storms off. Shahir left the hospital after the fight and has now been shut out from the lockdown. While Shahir worries and waits outside, Victor retreats to the operating table behind closed doors. He finds comfort in talking to Shahir on the phone and distances himself from Joel and Alex to keep them safer.
While Alex and Joel keep an eye on Victor through the window, the two ex-lovers have a confrontation of their own. Victor is talking to Shahir, Alex calls Mel to check on Charlie, but Joel has yet to call Maggie. Alex asks Joel about his behavior and realizes from his cool response that he has cheated on Maggie. Alex says it has been his pattern for years, even before they lived together in med-school. Wow. So their relationship was that serious. She unloads years of hurt on him when she tells him that he always runs away when things get remotely serious because he is afraid to take real risks. He claims she was the one who moved out, but she tearfully snaps back saying she left because he broke her heart. Joel thinks this is an opportune time to kiss her, so he does and she angrily slaps him. A phone call from Mel then shifts the focus back to the chaos at hand.
Mel tells Alex that Dr, Wilson passed away and she asks about Victor’s condition. Unfortunately, Victor has started coughing and he seems to be getting worse. While Alex and Joel rush to help him, we learn that Dr. Pratt also died from the virus. Moments later, Dana gets a visit from Dr. Hibbs with test result on the virus. Dr. Hibbs announces his gross disappointment in not being able to study the case further because the virus is not as severely contagious as they thought. It is safe to open the hospital now that the 12 hour window of transmission has passed.
Shahir rushes to Victor’s side, his fever is coming down and he will be fine. Shahir tells Victor he loves him and Victor retorts with a smile, “It’s about time.” Meanwhile, Maggie expresses her true feelings to Joel when they go outside for fresh air.
Throughout the day Maggie has been perplexed by Joel’s evasiveness and cold attitude. He repeatedly treated her solely as his inferior resident and turned down her suggestion for weekend getaway. To better place his behavior in perspective, Maggie spent her quarantine time with Gavin, who sharply contracts Joel’s abrasiveness.
While locked in a room with Maggie’s hyper-superstitious surgical patient named Carol, Gavin apologizes to Maggie for the kiss and takes back his actions. After seeing how another doctor was flirting and making plans with Gavin that morning, Maggie realizes that her feelings for Gavin might be stronger than she initially thought. She apologizes to Gavin for being so dick-ish. A simple smile puts them back on the same page and Gavin tells Maggie to get some rest. She suggests they share the hospital bed and she holds his hand as they sleep. In the morning, the lockdown has been lifted and Carol asks for something personal of Maggie’s to have as a lucky keepsake. Maggie gives her Gavin and says, “Keep him close, you’ll feel better.” While, Gavin helps Carol with her OCD-ish issues, Maggie sits Joel down for a chat.
Maggie finally breaks up with Joel. She says he is a terrible boyfriend and she can do better than him. Joel admits she is right and he apologizes. Granted Joel warned her that he wasn’t a relationship type of guy, so this should not be a shock to her. With three relationships settled, it time to move on to the key couple in ‘Saving Hope’ – Charlie and Alex.
It’s all coming back to me now
Alex continues trying new methods to draw Charlie out of his coma and this week it is a form of brain-wave stimulation called TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation.) While Shahir set the machine up over Charlie’s head, Alex eagerly waits to see if this will give him the boost he needs. Charlie’s spirit is even more anxious to wake up and get out of his penguin suit, so he really hopes this will “un-stick” him.
For the first time in the series, Charlie’s spirit is transported outside of the hospital. He feels the bloody gash on his forehead and watches Shahir walk past him. Then he notices a crashed car on the side of the street. He looks inside the car and sees his parents as they died. Suddenly he is in the backseat of his parent’s car and he is frustrated with their silence. He says dead people usually talk to him and shouts at them to speak, but instead of saying anything, his dad starts driving. As his dad accelerates, his mom tells him to slow down because he isn’t going to make it. Charlie remains baffled, thinking this can’t be a memory. Charlie sees bright lights ahead.
When we return to his flashback, we see young Charlie warn his dad to slow down and watch out, but it is too late and the car crashes. Charlie utters in shock, “I was in the car and I saw my parents die.”
Charlie finally unlocked the deep-seated truth Kendra poked at in last week’s episode. He was in the car with his parents when they died. Experiencing such severe head trauma in a car crash as an adult would undoubtedly open old wounds. But the memory does more than awake his subconscious.
When Charlie relived the impact of the crash, his comatose body completely moved. His arms flailed and his eyes opened. Unfortunately, Mel and Jackson turned their attention to a coding Dr. Pratt at that exact moment. Alex checks on Charlie after the lockdown is lifted and thinks Mel moved him. When she says his door hasn’t been opened since the quarantine started, Alex checks and confirms that a seizure didn’t cause the movement. The treatment appears to be working. Alex has more reason to hope and Charlie has even more psychological digging to do.
What did you think of “The Law of Contagion”? Were you totally shocked by Charlie’s memory? Were you surprised by some of the relationship reveals? Share your thoughts below!
Note: NBC will air the last two episodes of ‘Saving Hope’ on Saturday night beginning with episode 12 on September 8 at 8 PM. CTV will keep the same Thursday night schedule.
- Where do we go from here? The truth about Charlie’s childhood and the fact that just remembering it made him move is huge progress. But what will happen next? Is his coma a result of psychological trauma more than neurological? Are there other memories he needs to address before he can move on with his life? Share your theories below!
- Joel is a jerk: He is seriously getting more and more douche-y. He made it clear to Maggie that he isn’t boyfriend material, so it is no surprise he cheated on her. Then he professes his love to Alex and kisses her when she clearly wants nothing more to do with him. Does he even really love Alex? Maybe he sees her relationship with Charlie and realizes that he missed out on something amazing, so he is childishly lashing out now. How do you feel about Joel and his behavior?
- Maggie and Gavin: Do you think these two will get together now that Maggie has dumped Joel? Do you think they should be together? Does Gavin deserve better?
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on September 5, 2012.