As we know, ‘Saving Hope’ can be full of surprises and Thursday night’s (Feb. 6) “Don’t Poke the Bear” provided us with a couple. For starters, we gain interesting insight on Alex’s vulnerability. We’ve seen how brave and quick-thinking this surgeon can be, but she isn’t completely fearless. We suddenly discover how huge of an impact this break-up has on Alex’s new life as a single lady. Although Alex is a little rattled by this adjustment period, it does not affect her work. When it comes to getting her job done, Alex proves that she can always trust her instincts.
Wayne and Abigail are rushed into the E.R. after a vicious bear attack. Wayne apologizes to his unconscious wife and assumes all of the blame for this unfortunate “accident.” While doctors tend to his injured shoulder, Wayne explains how a vulnerable city girl like Abigail needs his protection in the great outdoors. He claims they live out in the boonies because “society likes to get the way of happiness.”
Right off the bat we know something is not right here. Wayne gets away with a minor injury while Abigail has rake-like “claw” marks shredding through to her insides. Alex tends to Abigail’s injuries while Charlie gets better acquainted with her spirit.
Abigail is timid and fearful. She hides from Charlie, until she notices there is a TV in the hospital room. It has been ages since she’s watched anything, so Charlie turns it on and she wants to watch cartoons. At this point it seems like she hasn’t watched TV since childhood, which makes you wonder if this is more than just about domestic violence. What if Abigail is being held captive?
While Alex gives Abigail a blood transfusion, Wayne watches her every move. He remains very protective of Abigail and stays on top of everything Alex does for her. She asks Wayne to stay strong and remain calm for Abigail. So he sits by her bedside and waits. He also creepily whistles to let Abigail know that he is still there with her and it is super unnerving.
Alex tells Charlie that Abigail has several old fractures. She starts growing suspicious of Wayne because these injuries have healed without being professionally set. When Charlie and Alex confront Wayne, he claims that Abigail has brittle bone disease, so he sets the bones for her when she accidently hurts herself. Alex isn’t buying it, so she runs some tests and confirms her gut feeling. Wayne is lying and Abigail is in trouble.
Alex tells Charlie that in addition to not having brittle one disease, Abigail’s test results show a deficiency in vitamin D, meaning that Abigail hasn’t the sun in a long time. They check with Gavin to see how they should proceed if this is in fact a case of domestic abuse. Gavin tells them to document everything they observe and they should talk to Abigail about it as soon as she wakes up.
Charlie chats with Abigail’s spirit and discovers how she met Wayne. He rescued her when she broke her leg while hiking and they’ve been together ever since. She feels like she needs him and doesn’t see the problem. Suddenly she can hear Wayne whistling for her, she knows that means he’s coming. While her spirit freaks out, her body codes. Alex must remove part of her liver and rushes Abigail back into the O.R.
Charlie asks Gavin about captive situations because he thinks Abigail might have been kidnapped. Gavin says that dependence is what holds people hostage. Abigail has Stockholm syndrome, so she feels like she can’t live without Wayne.
Charlie rushes back to Abigail, turns off the TV and asks for her real name. After some hesitation, she finally admits the truth. Her name is Kayla Bradley. Charlie does some research and discovers she has been missing for 15 years, since the age of 12. Her parents thought she had died.
Abigail wakes up after her surgery. She identifies herself as Kayla and tells them the whole story. When Abigail tried to run, Wayne attacked her with a pitch fork, hence the bear claw looking marks. The cops take Wayne away and Kayla will be able to make a new life for herself.
When she woke up and introduced herself as Kayla, I wondered for a moment if she remembered speaking with Charlie in the spirit world. As a spirit, it took her a while to regain a sense of her true identity. Charlie helped her with all of that, so I think it’s worth pointing out the fact that she woke up feeling braver and more self-aware that you’d expect.
Something else I found interesting during this case is how Alex was the first one to be really suspicious of Wayne. Usually Charlie expresses his “hunches” after speaking with a spirit. When he saw that Abigail had not watched TV in ages and she acted so timidly, like a victim, he should’ve started putting some of the pieces together. Arguably Alex speaks up after seeing Abigail’s prior injuries, but I’m guessing she had a bad feeling about Wayne and Abigail’s strange situation from the start. Maybe Charlie didn’t mention anything because he didn’t want Alex to start asking questions he doesn’t want to answer.
Alex and Charlie
When I found out that Charlie and Alex would be working together, I really wished this episode would give us hope that the two would reunite. Unfortunately that did not happen. Although Charlie and Alex are miserable without each other, they show no signs of reconciling. They work well together, manage to avoid post-break-up awkwardness and still love each other, so it is frustrating.
The single life is exposing a whole new side to Alex’s character, a side that Charlie hasn’t even seen. Alex rides the elevator alone and when it stalls, she totally freaks out. As Charlie observes, it is unlike Alex to lose her cool like that. Now we know that Alex panics in claustrophobic situations.
She also reveals to Joel that she has certain reservations now that she is living alone. For example, she won’t change light bulbs on Friday because she’s afraid no one would find her until Monday if she were to fall. It is very practical of her to be safe, but it also reveals the depths of her vulnerability. She feels so alone that she worries nobody will notice if she were to go off the grid over the weekend.
This break-up is really heartbreaking to watch. Charlie is living in a hotel. Alex is avoiding all the paperwork that would legitimize their separation even further. It sucks in so many ways. But the thing that really disappointed me during this episode was another missed opportunity.
Alex asks Charlie how he discovered Abigail’s real name. He could have used this chance to show Alex that he isn’t crazy. He could’ve spoken with Abigail and shared information with Alex that would later be justified. He could have proven the truth to her once again, but he doesn’t. Charlie just says he scoured the internet for missing person’s reports. As if he could find something from 15 years ago so quickly and easily. I really hope Alex start paying closer attention to Charlie. She had a hunch about Abigail, now she needs to target her gut instincts towards the man she loves. She has to start taking notice of Charlie life-saving “hunches.”
When Charlie and Alex part ways at the end of the episode, Alex tells him that she’ll be ok, despite what people are saying after her elevator freak out. Charlie assuredly says, “I know you will.”
Meanwhile, fans are yelling at their TV sets, telling Charlie to get back together with Alex before it is too late.
How did you feel about Alex and Charlie’s interaction? Do you think Charlie should try harder to show Alex what he can really do? Were you hoping for a breakthrough? Do you think they will get back together? Is Alex starting to move on from Charlie?
Live in the Now
Gasp! Joel and Alex had quite a “moment” in the elevator. But before chatting about that, let’s review the events that led up to the aforementioned tension.
Joel’s Buddhist patient, Kai, needs to have a risky spinal surgery to remove a life-hindering turned life-threatening hump on his back. When we see Kai, he is meditating and at peace. Ever since beating his addiction to drugs and painkillers, meditation provides him with a pure and natural high. Despite this sense of enlightenment, Kai remains tentative about the operation and is afraid of the consequences. What if he ends up a quadriplegic? Kai says he’d rather be a hunchback than end up like that. So Joel dishes out some hard truth.
Joel tells Kai that he can’t go on hiding from change and living in fear. If Kai doesn’t get the operation, he will eventually suffocate. Kai agrees to have the surgery if Joel does something for him afterwards. The catch is that Joel doesn’t know what, but we can all take an easy guess.
After the operation, Kai experiences severe pain from a side effect of the procedure. He uses mind over matter and refuses morphine, finding comfort in meditation instead. Once Kai stabilizes, he asks Joel to hold up his end of their agreement.
Kai forces Joel to meditate. Naturally, Joel finds it “excruciatingly boring.” But Kai helps him find a way to identify with the way he feels. What Kai experiences during meditation is the same thing that Joel feels while he is working in the O.R. There is a sense of peace when you focus on living in the moment and taking it all in.
Although Joel did not enjoy meditating, he did learn something from Kai. When he bumps into a bummed out Alex in the elevator he starts rambling on about what he learned. He urges Alex to go out and have some fun instead of hiding away at home. The more he babbles, the harder Alex tries to shut him up. Next thing you know, she’s pressed Joel up against the wall and they are inches apart from each other. We hold our breath wondering “will they or won’t they?” Alex pulls away and thanks Joel for trying to help.
Oh the drama! Things are really starting to heat up in Hope Zion. This may get much worse before it gets better. This season has been a roller coaster ride. When I expected to see a moment like this, Joel was trying to get back together with Sonja. Now I’m not so sure Joel wants to bother with his ex-girlfriend anymore. Joel clearly stated last season that he still loves Alex. Charlie even told him to back-off at the start of this season.
I think Joel is trying to give Alex space before swooping in as a rebound. He wants to be sure Alex is over Charlie. Sadly, Alex is indeed taking baby steps away from Charlie. One week she’s still in love, the next week she can imagine a life without Charlie. Plus, she has been sharing every stage in her emotional evolution with Joel. It is almost as though Alex is setting Joel up, so that he makes his move at the right moment.
Do you think Joel is a better match for Alex? Will he wait for Alex to make the first move? How will Charlie react if Joel and Alex get together?
Moving on to Hope Zion’s younger love birds: Gavin and Maggie.
Maggie keeps blowing off appointments with Dr. Kalfis after she caught him high on codeine. Gavin doesn’t understand what’s going on, so he confronts her about the missed appointments. Maggie simply says she wants a different doctor, a female doctor, such as her friend from med school. Gavin starts to think she may have feelings for “Dr. Sexy” or she’s just making excuses to postpone the inevitable.
Gavin ambushes Maggie with a surprise appointment with Dr. Kalfis. Despite the awkward tension in the room, Maggie and Gavin are thrilled to see that all is well with their little baby.
Later, Dr. Kalfis apologizes to Maggie. He explains that he took liquid codeine to quickly treat his bronchitis. He assures her that he is not an addict. Maggie feels bad about her snap judgment and believes him. Now that the air is clear, the two of them hug it out. Unfortunately, Gavin catches their friendly embrace.
Is Dr. Kalfis telling truth? Are you suspicious that he might really have a drug problem? Will Gavin think that Maggie and Dr. Kalfis are flirting or having an affair?
What did you think of “Don’t Poke the Bear”? Did you have any favorite moments? Were you surprised by anything in particular? Do you wish there was a little more focus on the supernatural and less emphasis on the medical?
I miss the metaphysical ambiance of Season 1. I’d like to see more of Charlie’s interaction with the spirit world. We keep getting hushed and hurried snippets in between extended graphic operations. It would be fun to see more of the supernatural world. Do you agree?
Share your thoughts below!
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on February 11, 2014.