‘Saving Hope’ S1 finale recap: Haunted dead or alive

Charlie returns from limbo with a gift! (Photo credit: NBC/CTV)

‘Saving Hope’s’ season finale delivered deeply desired pay-offs, while creating interesting new challenges for the future. In “Pink Clouds,” Charlie is grateful to be alive, but he feels frustrated by the limitations he must learn to overcome as part of his recovery from spending months in a coma. Alex is relieved to have Charlie with her again, but she also worries about what their future will hold. Alex learned very quickly how one unexpected moment can change her life. Her final patient of the season, Jackie Rampell, reminds her not to waste a single moment she has regained with Charlie. Newly united love-birds, Maggie and Gavin, are also eager to move their relationship along and spend secret moments canoodling throughout the hospital. Meanwhile, Joel is given an offer he may not be able to refuse and he works fearlessly to save a young man from being consumed by a flesh-eating disease.

They tried to make him go to rehab…

Charlie has awakened from his coma, but we soon realize that he still has a lot of obstacles to overcome before he gets back to his old self. Shahir gives Charlie the green light after he and Alex run a few tests to make sure his brain is functioning normally. Alex is still shaken from what happened to Charlie and she worries about all the side-effects that pop up in the months after a coma patient wakes up. As a result, she treats Charlie like a delicate flower, behaving extra cautious and hesitant in her interaction with him. Charlie clearly does not like feeling restricted by his physical condition. Although he is aware of Alex’s reservations, he shifts his focus on regaining his physical strength in hopes of making a swift recovery.

Charlie sits in a wheelchair while Shahir takes him to his first physical therapy session. On the way, Charlie asks him what coma patients tend to remember from the time they spent asleep. Charlie says he had a prolonged out-of-body experience and clearly recalls overhearing conversations that occurred around him. Shahir says it is common because many comas feel like the early stages of sleep, so people wake up with the memories of dreams they had while they were comatose. Shahir assures Charlie that he is perfectly normal and tells him not worry. Shahir drops Charlie off and leaves him in Gino’s care.

Charlie’s first physical challenge is learning how to walk again. When Gino offers to help him walk long the parallel bars, Charlie insists on accomplishing the task by himself. Charlie pulls himself up, takes a couple of steps and falls to the floor. A fellow patient, Pamela, shares Charlie’s frustration with physical rehab and offers him encouragement as he struggles to get up and try again. Gino, on the other hand, isn’t as gentle.

Gino tells Charlie to learn to accept help from others during his recovery, bluntly saying that Charlie may have been able to take care of everything all by himself, but he isn’t that man anymore and it will be quite a while before he becomes that man again. Once Charlie gets back in his chair, he feels it is time for a lunch break and heads out to get a bite to eat.

While rolling through the halls, Charlie encounters a frantic Alex. She sternly asks why he didn’t tell her where he was. He nonchalantly teases that he is in a hospital, so there is no need to worry. Alex explains that she spent the past three months in the hospital with him and she is afraid of something happening to him again. Charlie pulls her aside and tries to find a way to reassure her. After the accident, they can’t make any guarantees about the future. She just doesn’t want to lose him. Charlie is sorry for making her worry and has her climb up on his chair to give her a tight hug and kiss.

After they part ways, Alex bumps into Gavin in the elevator and he offers to help Charlie get through this tough time. Alex appreciates Gavin’s offer, but says Charlie would never go for it, besides he doesn’t really need counseling because he is doing just fine. Meanwhile, Charlie crosses paths with Pamela in the hall on his way out to lunch. He asks if she would like to join, but she just want directions back to the physical therapy room so she can get back to work. They agree on a rain-check and Charlie heads out to the patio.

While Charlie takes in the fresh air and munches on some pie, his ex-wife Dawn sits down beside him. In one of the most rewarding scenes of the series, Charlie looks Dawn in the eyes and chastises her for pulling the plug on him. She thinks Alex told him, but Charlie defends her, saying Alex has too much class to do such a thing. Surprisingly, Charlie tells Dawn the truth about his experience in limbo and explains how he knows about her actions during his time in the coma. Dawn believes him and wonders why he hasn’t told Alex about everything. She also informs Charlie that she will be working at Hope-Zion. When she sees Alex a few minutes later, we learn that Dawn has accepted a position as Head of Cardiac Surgery. Within one brief exchange, Dawn tells Alex to beware of Charlie’s tendency to withhold the whole truth and she offers to serve as Alex’s mentor. Alex quips back at Dawn to stay out of her personal life and declines her unexpected offer because she already has Charlie as her mentor. Looks like we will need to get used to seeing more of Dawn next season, which will certainly cause some entertaining, albeit annoying friction. In the meantime, Alex turns her focus back onto her patient when she learns she must deliver some bad news.

Jackie Rampell wanted to lose some extra weight a few days before her wedding, so she had a private doctor insert a feeding tube into her nose. She entered the ER thinking that the tube was causing her symptoms. Alex opens Jackie up in surgery to see if the tube cut into her stomach and notices signs of cancer. Alex removes part of Jackie’s stomach and runs tests to make sure. After getting the results, Alex visits Jackie with the intention of telling her about the cancer diagnosis. However, when Alex sees how happy Jackie is with her groom and their children, she delays the news and gives the family some more time together.

Alex turns to Zach for advice and he wonders why she isn’t asking Charlie like she usually does under these circumstances. Alex clearly doesn’t want to burden Charlie with her troubles during his recovery. Zach tells her that she simply needs to do her job and the sooner she tells them, the better. He also points out the obvious parallel between Alex and Jackie – their wedding days are thwarted by a tragic and unforeseen event. With that in mind, Alex delivers the life-changing news to her patient.

Upon hearing her diagnosis, Jackie impulsively lashes out at Alex and then apologizes. Alex understands her frustration and tries to encourage the couple to remain optimistic because anything is possible. Jackie ultimately refuses treatment, choosing to spend the time she has left with her family. Given the day’s events and Jackie’s case, Alex re-evaluates her feelings on Charlie’s recovery and rushes to see him.

Alex tells Charlie that she wants to marry him immediately. He isn’t fond of “wheeling” down the aisle, but Alex persists. She doesn’t care about the wedding, she only wants to be married to the man she loves. Charlie agrees and they plan to meet in the garden later that evening. Alex starts prepping for the highly-anticipated event and Charlie returns to therapy.

The more time Charlie spends talking to Pamela and Gino in the therapy room, the more something starts to seem a little strange. The conversation doesn’t feel like one that flows between three people. As the therapy progresses, Gino takes Charlie into the pool, explaining that many patients find it to be a successful method of therapy. While Gino works with Charlie in the water, Pamela sits on the edge of the pool and continues chatting away with Charlie. As Charlie converses with Pamela in detail, Gino finally asks who Charlie is speaking to. That is when the light bulb goes off in Charlie’s head.

As the episode starts winding down, we see Jackie and Mark getting married as scheduled, while Alex sits on a bench outside with the Justice of the Peace, waiting for Charlie to appear at any moment. Alex calls Charlie, wondering where he could be. We soon discover that Charlie has wheeled his way down to the morgue and finds Pamela’s corpse lying on the metal slab. Yup, you guessed it…Pamela is a ghost! A distraught Charlie fights back tears as he gazes upon her body and fears what it all means. Pamela pops up behind him and apologizes, but she had no other choice when she realized that he was the only person who could see her. She reveals that she died by carelessly jumping off of a bridge and she asks for his help. Charlie stops her before she continues speaking and says that there is nothing he can do for her now. All he knows is that she will “disappear.”

So what does this mean for the future of the show? Has ‘Saving Hope’ turned into ‘Ghost Whisperer’ M.D.? Would you like to see Charlie recover and work at Hope-Zion while helping spirits out on the side? Will Charlie tell Alex the truth about his supernatural experience and new ability? Would Alex believe him?

While you ponder those questions, let’s review the other events that occurred during the mind-blowing finale.

In the mood for love

Gavin and Maggie’s relationship is picking up steam. As we saw earlier this season with Joel, Maggie has no problem displaying her affection. However, Gavin feels like she is coming on too strong, so he tells her that she doesn’t have to try so hard with him because he isn’t going anywhere. Maggie takes offense to his comments and feels like he is implying that she acts like a slut. However, their little misunderstanding quickly resolves itself. When Maggie asks if Gavin wants to take their relationship slow, he simply gives her a passionate kiss. For now, it is safe to assume these two will be starting next season off in their “honeymoon phase.”

Are you happy to see them together? Did Maggie come on too strong? Should they take things slow?

While some doctors come closer together, others find themselves pitted against each other. As ‘Saving Hope’ concludes its first season, Joel has a big decision to make.


Joel quit his job when Dana demanded to oversee his cases. In the finale, Joel approaches Alex to say goodbye before he leaves the hospital; she looks him square in the eye and tells him she has nothing left to say that she hasn’t already conveyed to him. With that blunt send-off, Joel moves on with his day, intending to tie up loose ends before leaving the hospital. However, circumstances change when Maggie brings him an extremely rare case and radical surgical opportunity.

Maggie presents Joel with Wes Taylor, a 23 year-old drug addict, admitted to the ER by a couple of security guards. Wes persistently resists treatment, so they strap him into the gurney. Zach notices an infection around his puncture sights and examines him more thoroughly. When Joel takes a look at Wes, he diagnoses him with a rare flesh-eating disease and says they must operate before it spreads. In one of the most gruesome procedures demonstrated on ‘Saving Hope,’ we watch as Joel & Co. cut open Wes’ arm and try to remove the infected tissues. However, the disease is rapidly spreading into his blood, so Joel realizes they must amputate his whole arm in order to save his life.

Dana checks on Joel during the surgery and he informs her about his life-saving decision. During their conversation, Maggie says the infection is spreading to Wes’ chest, so Joel tells Dana he wants to perform yet another drastic surgery, which includes amputating part of Wes’ shoulder and chest cavity. Instead of disagreeing, Dana eagerly scrubs in on the operation. Dr. Reycraft, Dana, Joel, and Maggie all work together to successfully save Wes’ life. Unfortunately, it was extremely disgusting to watch, despite how fake and plastic the limbs looked. After wincing through the gory procedure, we learn that everything works out for the best.

Joel’s radical surgery earns him a promotion, in which Brian from the Board offers him Dana’s job as Chief of Surgery. Judging by Dana’s reaction to the news, it looks like this is an offer Joel cannot refuse. Meanwhile, Wes is reunited with his father, who hopes this life-altering event will cause him to re-evaluate the choices he has made throughout his young life.

Will Joel take Dana’s job? What will Dana do if he does? Will things become even more awkward if Joel becomes Alex’s “boss”?

“Pink Clouds” delivered a captivating conclusion to a season that has been progressively riveting. ‘Saving Hope’ has grown better with every episode, each character reveals more interesting layers, flashbacks disclose surprising secrets from their past, and the series shows immense promise for the future.

The finale has also given fans a lot of information to digest in between seasons. How do you feel about “Pink Clouds”? Do you like the twists that were revealed? What do you want to see happen in Season 2? Share your thoughts below!


  • Charlie sees dead people!: This was a predicted outcome from the time Charlie spent in limbo. Surely, many fans are pleased with Charlie’s new “gift” and it will be a great foundation for entertaining and clever storylines next season. Granted, if Charlie accepts his ability and starts helping ghosts, it will be quite the CBS combo of ‘A Gifted Man’ and ‘Ghost Whisperer,’ except in this case, Charlie will have the best of both worlds. Do you think Charlie will learn to accept his ability? Could it cause a rift between him and Alex? Are you excited to see what role ghosts will play in Season 2?
  • Who’s the boss?: Well, this is going to be awkward. Joel is offered Dana’s job/Charlie’s former position as Chief of Surgery and he will most likely accept it. Dawn is the Head of Cardiac Surgery and will probably work closely with Alex and her team of surgeons. Both Alex and Charlie are stuck with their former lovers. Both Dawn and Joel still have feelings for Charlie and Alex. Tensions will run high and relationships may get messy next season. How do you feel about the job adjustments? Are you happy to see that Dawn will be sticking around longer? Do you hope Dana is able to stay on at Hope-Zion?

Share your thoughts below and stay tuned for the latest news on ‘Saving Hope.’

This article was originally published on Examiner.com on September 26, 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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