This week’s ‘Saving Hope’ shines a light on the past and some of the doctors’ personal lives once again when we learn a little more about Alex and Maggie’s family. We also get another welcomed blast from the past when Joel reaches out to Dana (Wendy Crewson) with a special medical case and alluring professional offer. Ultimately, the titular case, “The Face of the Giant Panda,” provides the over-all message of this episode. As Alex fights to properly diagnose and save a violent criminal patient, we realize that everything is not as it appears.
Cry Me a River
Dr. Maggie Lin has always been a difficult person to figure out. Last season, she masked her vulnerability by having an overtly casual relationship with Joel. She also hid her true feelings from Gavin, until he finally broke through her defensive walls. This season, she shows she is has made progress by saying she would like to move in with Gavin. Life is short, so why waste time by holding back. However, there are some barriers that Maggie has kept up and Gavin is calling her out on it.
Maggie doesn’t cry. Gavin tells their co-workers that they were watching a movie and Maggie was the only person who didn’t shed a tear. We soon find out why.
Maggie accompanies Charlie to the morgue to help him harvest a patient’s bones by replacing them with hockey sticks. As Charlie goes to take the body out, the spirit of Maggie’s father appears. No one realized that Maggie’s father had died in the hospital the night before. Charlie postpones the procedure, gets more information from Dr. Lin and figures out how to break the news to Maggie.
Sadly, we don’t get to see as much of Charlie’s ghost whispering in this episode, but he seems to be feeling more at ease with his gift. He walks through the halls, picking up clipboards and looking preoccupied while inconspicuously chatting with the world famous Dr. Lin. When Charlie asks Zach about Dr. Lin’s admission, we learn that he had a heart attack at a message parlor and died later that night in Hope Zion. Obviously, Dr. Lin doesn’t want Maggie to know the embarrassing details of his death. As the walk through the hospital halls, Charlie points to Gavin and tells Dr. Lin that he is Maggie’s caring boyfriend and he can break the sad news.
As Gavin begins to tell her, Maggie immediately realizes what happened with Charlie in the morgue. She knows her father is dead and she still doesn’t shed a tear. Maggie eventually explains that her father was never around. Her parents divorced and her whole family felt like Dr. Lin abandoned them to help other people. Ironically, it was Dr. Lin’s negligence that inspired Maggie to become a doctor and she isn’t going to let this personal matter prevent her from doing her job.
Maggie joins Charlie in the morgue and pleads her case. She explains that she was trained to be dispassionate because it makes her a more effective doctor. That’s why she can’t cry for her father. Essentially, Maggie is her father’s daughter. He is the reason why she became a doctor and he would want her to do this. Charlie looks to Dr. Lin for his approval. Although Charlie has reservations, Maggie’s father gives him the okay and she helps with the bone harvesting. As Maggie gets to works, her father proudly says, “That’s my girl.”
During the episode’s final moments, Maggie finally breaks down and cries.
Out of Africa
If you’ve been wondering what Dana has been up to ever since she got booted out of Hope Zion, then you finally got your answer. Joel has a lunch date with Dana and we discover that she is now in the business of plastic surgery, posh office and all. But is this what she really wants? Last season’s “A New Beginning” showed us that Dana loves a challenge and excels under pressure, so we don’t buy the act she puts on for Joel.
Joel takes Dana to an Ethiopian restaurant and when gushes over the delicious cuisine, he introduces her to the chef, Embelly, a refugee with facial paralysis. When Joel asks for her help with Embelly, Dana refuses to return to Hope Zion, even if it is for just one surgery. Joel tells her of the poor refugee’s plight, hoping that will woo her back. Embelly was a slave. When he was enslaved, the love of his life was forced to marry another man. The determined refugee traveled across Africa to reclaim the woman he loves. Sweet story, surely that will do the trick…right? Not quite. Luckily, the refugee visits Dana himself, so she decides to help Joel out by giving him information.
Dana visits Joel at Hope Zion and gives him plans on how this radical operation can be done with two surgical teams. When Joel asks her to head one of the teams, she stands her ground and says “No.” So Joel resorts to Charlie’s suggestion and mentions Dr. Storms. That does the trick and motivates Dana to perform a successful and groundbreaking facial paralysis surgery with Joel.
After the operation, Dana tells Joel that she found out that he was simply bluffing because Storms had been suspended. Joel takes this opportunity to offer Storms’ job to Dana. She still is not interested because she has done it before and is over it. When Joel promises that she can do surgeries like this one every day, it seems that she may have a change of heart.
For a brief moment, Dana almost let’s down her guard with Joel, implying that she thought their lunch would’ve been more of a date rather than a business proposal. But she stops herself from being too revealing and walks away instead. Does Dana still have romantic feelings for Joel? Is that also influencing her decision to work at Hope Zion? Is Joel still interested in Dana or are his sights solely set on Sonja? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Alex faces a new challenge when she cares for Lily, a 21-year-old “crazy” and violent criminal. Once again, we see a bit of Lois Lane in Alex, when she tells the cops to remove Lily’s restraints despite their stern warning not to do so. Alex claims she can handle the situation and she sort of does, until Lily tries choking her with tubing and sinks her teeth into Alex’s shoulder. But the attack doesn’t scare Alex off the case. She can sense something if seriously off and believes Lily’s behavior stems from an undiagnosed medical issue.
After Lily suffers a miscarriage, Alex asks for access to her medical records. Lily refuses to give her access. Alex meets with Gavin to see the medication that the prison has put Lily on and they both agree that she is on way too many pills. They reduce the dose to see how the lack of conflicting meds will affect Lily’s behavior.
The next time Alex checks on her, Lily apologizes for her manic behavior and asks to be put back on all of her meds because she needs them to stop her fits. She also reveals how she got pregnant in prison by falling in love with the librarian. She realizes that Alex can be trusted and gives her access to her medical files.
Alex is shocked by what she discovers in Lily’s files. She first went to prison for stealing a box of chocolates for her mom’s birthday when she was 15 years old. Since then, Lily has made six suicide attempts. On top of it all, Lily’s attack on Alex established new assault charges that will send her to a maximum security prison.
As Lily tells Alex that she afraid of being in maximum security, she starts to seize from the drug withdrawals. Shahir notices her eyes during the seizure and believes Lily may have Wilson’s disease. He quickly confirms his diagnosis by comparing an MRI of Lily’s brain with that of Wilson’s disease patient. If you look closely at both images, you can see the face of a giant panda. So Lily has Wilson’s disease and an increase amount of copper in her body is the reason for her erratic outbursts. With the proper treatment, Lily can live a normal life.
In a brazen move, Alex fights the system and places lily on a psychiatric hold at the hospital so that she can’t be forced into a maximum security prison. Alex tells the cops that prison has made Lily crazy and she calls a lawyer to help Lily get out of this unfair situation.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Throughout the episode, Alex has been speaking with a mystery man over the phone. Something is up, but you can’t quite tell what. Charlie appears understanding and trusting of Alex, but we still aren’t sure if he even knows who she is chatting with. At the end of their work day, Alex tells Charlie has somewhere to go and he says he’ll see her later at home. Based on a few little clues, if you guessed the mystery man is Alex’s brother, then you were right.
Alex picks up her brother, Luke (Tyler Hynes). It looks like he’s the type of guy who always gets into some sort of trouble. She brings him the licorice he asked for, gives him whatever cash she has on her and takes him out to dinner so they can catch up. When he playfully calls her “girlie,” Alex quips that no one has called her that since their dad died. It looks like we still have a lot to learn about Alex. Hopefully, this season will shed some light on her past.
What did you think of “The Face of the Giant Panda”? Do you have any favorite moments? Did you like learning more about Maggie and Alex? Do you think Dana will come back to Hope Zion? Will her return jeopardize Joel budding relationship with Sonja?
Share your thoughts below and stay tuned for more news!
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on July 27, 2013.