This season of ‘Saving Hope’ has been very bittersweet. Thursday night’s (Jan. 30) “43 Minutes” turned out to be a bit of a downer. Going into the episode, we knew it would be a fast-paced race against death as Alex & Co. try to save John Doe’s life. There were so many close calls, giving us hope that he would survive. But he did not. Why? Because the doctors couldn’t figure out his enigmatic medical history until it was too late. Alex was rightfully upset, knowing that they were staring at the answer all along. Unfortunately, we can’t place the blame on Alex and her team because they were missing a key player who could have solved their puzzle early on.
Charlie bowed out of this case. He spent those crucial 40 minutes in a session with Gavin, which is fine, except for the fact that Charlie was avoiding John Doe’s spirit. Gavin gives Charlie the opportunity to show him what happens when he sees spirits. In return, Charlie dodges all the spirit hot-spots in the hospital. When Gavin calls him out, Charlie finally approaches Alex’s O.R. but he is too late. John Doe’s blue eyes hauntingly stare at Charlie. His life could have been saved if only someone was there to hear him out.
Since the focus was placed on an individual patient, it may have felt like a lot didn’t happen during the episode. However, the final moments dropped a couple of bombshells. By the end of those 43 minutes, Charlie and Alex both have a new vision for their respective futures.
I like how this episode provided more insight on the doctors of Hope Zion. The way each doctor reacted to John Doe’s condition, reflected one’s over-all character as a doctor and a human being.
Alex briefly interacted with John Doe before he was shockingly struck by a young girl’s car. Alex impresses this girl by asserting her control over the situation and remaining calm. She calls Zach and the rest of the E.R. team to help her with John Doe and she tells them to start the clock. We soon come to realize this clock isn’t just counting the minutes they have to save his life, it really reflects the hope that remains among the doctors treating John Doe.
Alex works tirelessly on John Doe, even when it seems like all hope is lost. Her conviction is infectious and her team rallies around her. Maggie, nurse Jackson, even Zach do everything they can to help. I love how a jokester like Zach turns to Alex and says he hopes she’s there if his life is ever on the line. From one doctor to another, that is a major compliment. One that all doctors may not deserve.
John Doe’s condition is touch and go, just when you think he’s dead for good, his heart starts beating again. Once they realize he has a heart murmur, they call Dawn into the O.R. Again, we see contrasting personalities in and out of the operating room.
Dawn takes a couple jabs at Alex and Charlie’s break-up. First of all, this is so not the time for chit-chat. Second, stay out of it, Dawn! Suddenly, John Doe codes while Dawn is working on him with Alex. Dawn sees that they’ve been working on him for about half an hour and she stops the clock, essentially giving up all hope. Alex snaps at her, saying it is bad luck to stop the clock. Dawn considers him dead and stoically leaves the O.R. But Alex still holds on to hope.
Nurse Jackson found a pill in John Doe’s car and asks another physician about the medication. With this clue, they realize that John Doe has kidney problems and he’s missed a couple of his dialysis appointments, which explains why he seemed drunk in the parking lot. Alex finally has the information she needs to save John Doe’s life, but it is too late. He is too far gone to bring back at this point. Alex looks at a tattoo of the solar system on John Doe’s arms and she realizes that it concealed the injection site he had for his kidney dialysis. She lamentingly tells Zach that they were staring at the answer all along. Ironically, the tattoo that may have led to John Doe’s demise, serendipitously gave a troubled family hope.
When Alex, Zach and the team wheeled John Doe into the E.R., they took an elevator ride with a family. Husband and wife bickered over their ill son, but it all ceased when John Doe entered the elevator. The young boy stared at his tattoo and imagined that the mystery man was an astronaut. Later, the father approaches Zach to ask how John Doe is doing.
Without realizing it, John Doe touched that family. Husband and wife stopped arguing and focused their attention on their sweet son. The boy has leukemia and is at the hospital for a bone marrow test. The father just wants to bring his boy some good news. Zach remains evasive, saying he can’t discuss other patients. By the end of the day, the father asks Zach about John Doe again. Zach pauses for a beat and decides to give this worried family some hope. He lies and says that the tattooed astronaut survived.
I feel this moment says a lot about Zach. It is easy to forget that he is a divorced father, but moments like this remind us that underneath the goofy exterior, Zach is a sensitive man. He probably thought what he would want to hear if he was in that father’s shoes, so he decided to spread some hope. It is a moving and sweet moment, in the midst of a heartbreaking and distressing episode.
After losing John Doe, Alex bumps into Joel in the hall. Before this crazy ordeal with John Doe, Alex thought she couldn’t imagine her life without Charlie. Now she reveals an unsettling epiphany to Joel. For a brief moment while she was working on John Doe, she imagined her future and for the first time, she could see herself having a life without Charlie in it. Alex realizes that she is capable of moving on. Joel offers his support and faith in her, saying that is only natural for Alex to be able to get over Charlie.
Uh oh. That is not what I want to hear, Hopefuls. Is the clock running out on Charlie and Alex’s relationship? The last time they spoke, they said how much they still love each other. Alex couldn’t see herself having a family with anyone else. What changed so suddenly? Is it a matter of self-preservation and survival? Is she telling herself that life will go on because she’s given up hope on Charlie? I really hope Alex doesn’t act on these feelings yet because Charlie is in the midst of his own breakthrough.
I have to admit, I expected to see a lot more of Charlie in this episode. I thought we would see something jaw-dropping during his interaction with Gavin. Especially since Gavin really wants to understand Charlie’s hallucinations. Charlie tries to blow off his treatment. He says the pills have suppressed his visions, so he is feeling much better. But Gavin insists that part of his treatment includes discussing his problem. Charlie does not want to be shrinked on Gavin’s sofa, so they wander through the halls and chat.
Gavin wants to make sure Charlie is taking this seriously and he raises some really good questions. When does Charlie see these hallucinations? Are they helpful to him? Does Charlie really want to get rid of them?
Charlie tells Gavin that he gave the most important thing in his life to figure this all out. Charlie pushed Alex away, but he doesn’t want to lose her. He assures Gavin that he is taking his treatment seriously. Gavin listens to Charlie and understands how he feels, but he also isn’t afraid to stand up to him. It is nice to see Gavin take charge. When it comes to his work, Gavin clearly is quite fearless and good at getting through to people. After meandering around the hospital, Gavin states the obvious. Charlie has avoided the morgue, O.R. and any other place where he might come across death. Although Gavin can’t see Charlie’s ghosts, he can tell that his patient is trying hide from the inevitable. Gavin tells Charlie that it is time to really see if the medication is working.
When they go up to the O.R., Charlie sees John Doe’s spirit, but he pretends not to. Gavin realizes that Charlie sees something. He asks Charlie a very important question: Does Charlie want to see ghosts? That is something Charlie must decide for himself. Their hour is up, but Gavin has left Charlie with a lot to think about.
Charlie ignored John Doe when he still had the chance to be of some help. When Charlie returns to the O.R., Alex is gone and John Doe has died. Charlie faces John Doe’s ghost. Although he does not speak, Charlie knows he should have been there to help this poor soul.
Charlie throws away the pills and decides to embrace his gift. Finally, Charlie realizes that his abilities serve a greater purpose. I’m happy he threw away his pills and I am curious to see if he will take a more proactive approach when interacting with spirits from now on.
Alex and Charlie are at a crossroads. Once again, this is all so bittersweet. Charlie is accepting his gifts and wants to use them to help save people. He was about to give up on the spirit world, but then he realized how much of a difference he can make. Does embracing his gift mean letting go of Alex?
Just as Charlie shrugged off the spirit world, Alex is trying to imagine her life without Charlie. Unfortunately, she can see a future without him in it. But does she really mean what she said to Joel or is she trying to fool herself into believing she can move on? We saw what happened when Charlie tried to convince himself that he is better off without supernatural sightings. Perhaps next week’s episode will make Alex realize that she really isn’t ready to give up on Charlie quite yet.
I believe Charlie and Alex’s clock is still ticking. The time has come to make every minute count. I am very eager to see what move Charlie and Alex will make next.
What do you think, Hopefuls? How did you feel about “43 Minutes”? Did things turn out as you expected? Do you think Alex is ready to give up on Charlie? Did you expect more from Charlie’s session with Gavin? Do you think Gavin will continue to keep an eye on Charlie even if he refuses to pursue more psychotherapy? How do you feel about the other doctors’ behavior in this episode? Were you surprised by Zach or disappointed in Dawn?
Share your thoughts below and stay tuned for more news!
‘Saving Hope’ airs Thursday’s at 9 p.m. on CTV.
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on February 4, 2014.