This week’s “Defriender” established a turning point for many of Hope Zion’s talented doctors. While on their way to a seminar, Alex and Joel must rely on their resourcefulness when they tend to two patients on a remote road-side gas-mart. As they work together, we discover that the former lovers still share a spark. Perhaps those feelings would not have bubbled to the surface if Charlie had been able to accompany Alex to the seminar. Unfortunately, Charlie’s best friend, Tom Ford, shows up to Hope Zion with a massively mangled and septic leg. Alex perfectly understands when Charlie explains that their plans must be delayed until he can find a way to save his buddy’s leg. Meanwhile, Shahir overcomes his own obstacles when he tries improving his bedside manner after a terminally ill patient wages a complaint with the board.
There were quite a few gasp and cringe worthy moments during this shocking episode, directed by ‘9012’s’ Jason Priestley. As the episode closed and a teaser trailer revealed snippets from next week’s unsettling episode, many fans undoubtedly began shouting at their TV’s at the thought of all the crazy things that can still happen throughout the second half of this riveting season.
Charlie, Alex and Joel plan on attending an out-of-town medical conference together, but those plans change when Charlie’s best friend needs his help, causing an abrupt end to Charlie and Alex’s’ “dirty weekend” away together. Instead of adding fuel to Charlie and Alex’s fire-y romance, the road trip rekindles the muted embers of Joel and Alex’s extinguished relationship.
Although Joel and Alex both clarify that they are happy in their current relationships, both of them clearly have some feelings for each other. When Joel told Alex that he was still in love with her last season, she shut him down. Charlie and the girls also made it clear to Joel that Alex is gladly off the market and that making a move on her while Charlie was in a coma was a low blow. Maybe that is why the events in “Defriender” came as a surprise. It always seemed like Alex was totally over Joel. But now she is starting to send him googly-eyed glances.
Charlie has been holding back on her, but has his secrecy put that much of a strain on their relationship? Charlie knows where he stands with Alex. He pushed Dawn away and clearly told her that Alex is the only woman he is in love with. But does Alex feel the same way?
Joel and Alex make a good team out on the road, especially when they have to work together to save the lives of Jack and Diane, two robbery victims who are lucky enough to have doctors on hand when a meth-head loses it in their gas-mart. Sparks fly between Joel and Alex as they treat Diane’s gun-shot wound, which struck a vital vein in her thigh, causing her to lose a lot of blood fast. Judging by the way they bicker and give each other looks of longing she thinks the two are married. They remind her of the way she behaves with her husband, Jack. She later tells Alex that opposites attract, saying, “You know it’s true love when you get mad at each other.” Joel even reveals that he proposed to Alex back in med school, but Alex says it wasn’t a real proposal. Joel just half-heartedly asked if they should give the whole marriage thing a shot.
Whoa! Did we ever think Alex and Joel’s relationship was that serious? What do you make of this new enlightening info, Hopefuls? Do you think Alex and Joel would make a batter pair than Alex and Charlie? Will Alex cheat on Charlie with Joel? Things could get really messy here, anyway, back to the episode…
In total MacGyver style, Alex and Joel pull items from the shelves to treat Diane until the ambulance arrives in 45 minutes. Diane asks about her husband Jack, so Joel goes outside and discovers that the kid nearly ran him over when he sped off in the doc’s car. Alex and Joel stabilize Jack and lay him beside his wife in the mart. Jack has a concussion, a broken leg and possibly a damaged spine, but Diane causes more concern when she suddenly loses loads of blood. Joel calls to check on the ambulance’s status and finds out that they were delayed because they had to pick up the robber who crashed Joel’s car. Knowing that an ambulance is even farther away, Alex makes a bold decision. Alex is a universal blood donor, so she offers to do a blood transfusion with Diane despite Joel’s hesitation.
Joel and Alex’s flirtation hits a dangerous peak when he helps set up the blood transfusion. Each step of the way, they keep exchanging glances that make you worry that the day might end with Alex breaking Charlie’s heart. So Alex tries to deflect teasing that this is much better than giving a presentation. But Joel says he’ll miss seeing the adorable clumsiness she exhibits when she nervously makes a presentation. After Diane gets enough blood, Joel stops the transfusion, which allows for more inappropriate gazes and lingering grazes.
Is anybody else growing more nervous with their every look and touch? This adventure is going to open up Pandora ’s Box. Let’s hope things simmer down by the time they get back to the hospital.
Finally, the ambulance arrives to take Jack and Diane to the hospital, while Joel and Alex go to their hotel. After an awkward moment in the hallway during which we hold our breath, Alex and Joel decide to back to their individual hotel rooms. Phew! At least they technically do the right thing, but is it what they really wanted to do? Will Alex be able to shake these feelings when they return to Hope Zion? Will Charlie catch on to their not-so-subtle stares? If he does, will he dish out an ass-whooping? After watching the embedded promo for Tuesday’s unsettling new episode, it looks like there will be some trouble ahead. Let’s hope the love-triangle scenario doesn’t drag out and taint ‘Saving Hope’ with silly soap opera clichés.
Charlie gets a leg up
Charlie has been best friends with Thomas Ford for over 20 years, so he drops everything when his buddy needs help. Here is what we quickly learn about Tom: he has a crazy high tolerance for pain, he is a dare-devil, and he works as an embedded journalist covering dangerous stories involving war, violence, abuse, etc. Tom endures extra pain just so he can have Charlie personally operate on him at Hope Zion. When everybody sees Tom’s mangled leg, they say it cannot be saved, but Charlie refuses to let his friend down.
This is seriously one of the grossest sights on the series so far. All sorts of disgusting images surround the case of Tom’s leg: maggots (ewwww!), shrapnel, a bullet, bones, tissues, muscles, blood, practically everything is hanging out in the open. Tom’s leg turned septic and the infection spread to his lymph nodes, so they must act fast. Charlie calls Dana in to put a free flap on and help transfer muscle from Tom’s good leg to the bad one, so they can save it. She thinks it is a hopeless case and warns Charlie that Tom could end up losing both legs. There is no turning back and Tom has put all his faith in Charlie. Suddenly, Charlie smells smoke and sees Tom’s spirit smoking. Charlie explains that Tom is like a brother, he can handle the pain and Charlie owes him. Dana agrees to do the risky operation and Maggie continues to assist with Tom’s creepy case.
While Tom is in the O.R. his spirit pays Charlie a visit and gets a kick out of the whole “seeing ghosts” aspect of his buddy’s life. Charlie always valued Tom’s advice, so he asks his buddy about his situation. Tom tells Charlie to go full-on ‘Ghost Whisperer.’ He thinks Charlie should embrace his gift and use it to make past wrongs right again. He teases that the two of them could kick-ass from both sides. Since Charlie takes everything Tom says to heart, it will be interesting to see if he takes his gift to the next level and offers help to spirits that aren’t simply his patients.
The surgery is a success, but it turns out that Tom has been keeping secrets. Charlie follows up on Tom’s lack of insurance and learns that he is currently unemployed. During his last gig, Tom witnessed two men trying to burn a person. When they refused to back down, Tom shot and killed one of the men to save the innocent victim’s life. Charlie understands where Tom is coming from and doesn’t dispute his actions. Tom takes a photo with his buddy for old time’s sake and teases Charlie, saying he looks like a ghost.
As the episode ends, Charlie walks out of the elevator and seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. As he walks into the crowd of people with a troubled expression on his face, we aren’t sure how many of them could be spirits.
Is Charlie ready to take the next step? Will he help spirits with their unfinished business? Will get an idea of how many spirits Charlie sees on a regular basis? If Charlie decides to moonlight as a “ghost whisperer,” will he tell Alex the truth about his gift?
Keys to good bed-side manner
This week’s comic relief comes from Shahir’s on-going challenge to improve his bed-side manner. As we saw in ‘Last Call’s’ “Sense and Sensitivity,” Shahir and Dawn had been instructed to take sensitivity training due to complaint lodges from various patients. Shahir’s current case includes one of those patients, Andrew Penn.
Andrew is dying of a brain tumor and Shahir doesn’t know how to break the news to him gently, so he reaches out to Gavin for help. He tells Gavin that he would love to be chief but her hates dealing with people. Shahir would like to be a benevolent dictator, emphasis on “benevolent.” Hilarious!
Gavin makes Shahir role play with Zach. Once Zach settles into his character as a thin pianist, Shahir tries to break the bad news and e is terrible at it. When working with Zach doesn’t help, Shahir takes some time to think things through and find a better way. He later approaches Gavin and tries a new approach, which involved very awkward hand-holding. Gavin tells him that his behavior is even worse than before. Shahir should just be himself, so he goes to see Andrew and does his best.
Shahir honestly tells Andrew that the operation was not as successful as he hoped, then he asks Andrew what he’s been humming. He has been working on a song that he fears he will not live long enough to finish. Shahir tells him he has a month left to live and Andrew asks for some time alone.
Shahir reaches out to Gavin again, telling him that he feels something. He admits that Victor helped him with people. Although he has found lust, Shahir has not found love since breaking up with Victor. Now he is afraid he will never be close to anyone again. Gavin explains that it isn’t just about feelings. Feelings can be translated into gestures, so that what we feel can be reflected in our actions towards. This gives Shahir an idea.
Shahir takes his patient to the music room. He sits at the piano and plays for Andrew, saying he can help with the song. Andrew is moved to tears and appreciates Shahir’s kind gesture, despite the bad piano playing, and he withdraws his complaint.
It’s great to see Shahir’s vulnerable side. Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to witness the changes in his bed-side manner as he strives to be a very benevolent dictator.
What did you think of “Defirender”? Were you surprised by Alex and Joel’s lingering romantic feelings for each other? Did you think they were going to act on those feelings in this episode? How do you feel about the promo for Tuesday’s new episode? Are you worried about Alex and Charlie’s relationship?
Share your thoughts below and stay tuned for more news!
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on August 17, 2013.