I’m officially worried, Hopefuls. Charlie reached his breaking point in Thursday night’s (Feb. 13) “Breathless.” Just when I thought he finally embraced his gift and decided to use it for good, Charlie abuses his special ability and then goes to great lengths to get rid of it. To be honest, I am disappointed in Charlie. I understand that he’s afraid of losing his job, but he must have realized how seeing ghosts has helped him save more lives (as Dawn eventually points out.) I really hope Charlie hasn’t completely lost his ability to communicate with ghosts. The supernatural aspect of ‘Saving Hope’ is what sets it apart from other medical dramas, plus it is what I like most about the show. Without ghosts, I’m afraid ‘Saving Hope’ might just turn into another sudsy ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ Which brings me to another huge moment in the episode.
Joel throws down the gauntlet and kisses Alex. The love triangle has officially been set into motion. Charlie already expressed his feelings towards Joel when he awoke from his coma and warned Joel not to hit on his lady. But that all changed when Charlie broke up with Alex. She can kiss whomever she wants now that she’s single and Charlie has no right to meddle. But we all know Charlie won’t sit back and let Joel whisk Alex away without a fight. ‘Saving Hope’ is entering cliché soap opera territory, so I hope they tread carefully. I don’t want to be rolling my eyes at the TV screen as this plot-line develops. Like many viewers, I expect a lot from this climactic Team Joel vs. Team Charlie showdown. I’m also curious to see how Alex feels about all of this.
When Joel passionately kisses Alex, she kiss him back, but she appeared a little hesitant and in shock to me. She opened their relationship up for discussion, I don’t think she expected a smooch as Joel’s answer to her question. We’ve seen how Alex’s feelings for Charlie have been gradually changing. One week, she can’t imagine a life without Charlie. Then a couple of weeks later, Alex can start picturing her life without him. Joel has been totally aware of Alex’s feeling throughout this adjustment period. He has been there as a friend, but they can’t shake their steamy history. Joel has also shown a lot of progress since we first met him last season. He’s gone from womanizing playboy to a monogamous boyfriend. Can Alex imagine a future with Joel? Is she ready to let go of Charlie completely? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Along with the aforementioned climactic moments, “Breathless” served up a few interesting and vastly different cases. Alex strives to save Connor the 18 year-old “Miracle Orphan” with cystic fibrosis who beats the odds while awaiting a double lung transplant. Joel and Maggie tackle a crazy couple, Bridget and Louie, who are at each other’s throats and cry bloody murder in the middle of their divorce. Then there is sweet Violet, an older woman who, like Charlie, is in a coma. When her spirit reaches out to Charlie for help, he turns the tables and asks for a favor before doing his due diligence.
Connor’s case is arguably the episode’s most moving one. This brave teenager gives hope to other children with cystic fibrosis and serves as a friend and role model. However, time is running out for Connor. He is scheduled for a double lung transplant and complications arise.
When the new lungs gets stuck in traffic, Reycraft commandeers a motorcycle and speeds the lungs over to Hope Zion. Connor is prepped and everything seems like it will work out, until they look at the lungs in the O.R. Despite Reycraft’s efforts, the lungs are no longer good enough for transplant. They take Connor out of surgery and try to figure out another plan.
Alex and Reycraft try to see if there were any fatalities in the crash to see if they could get some fresh lungs. When that doesn’t work, they contact Alex’s mentor, Dr. Rakka, at Memorial Hospital. After sweating it out, Dr. Rakka comes to Connor’s rescue.
Dr. Rakka brings a revolutionary E.L.V.P. machine to Hope Zion and it successfully restores the lungs’ viability. Alex even wheels Connor over to the machine to see that hope isn’t lost after all. Once the lungs are ready, Alex performs her first double lung transplant.
Dr. Rakka watches over his former student with pride as they work side-by-side to save Connor’s life. After the operation is a success, Dr. Rakka offers Alex a job at Memorial Hospital. She turns down his offer, but Dr. Rakka doesn’t have any hard feelings.
Later Alex explains that Dr. Rakka was there for her after she broke up with Joel. They were “break-up buddies.” It is funny to see him pop up again now that Alex is on the rebound. I really enjoyed seeing the charismatic Dr. Rakka. I hope he pays Hope Zion another visit in the future because Paulino Nunes is fun to watch.
Break a Leg
Once again, ‘Saving Hope’ opts for shock value by grossing us out with this next case. Bridget and Louie are putting finishes touches on their home before the open house they have scheduled for the weekend. Louie falls off a ladder, separating his shoulder and fracturing his tibia. After Zach and Joel fix his shoulder, they tell him to sit tight until they can find the right time to operate on his leg. Throughout his treatment, Louie and Bridget have been bickering. He claims that his wife tried to kill him and hops out of bed to yell at her. In another cringe-worthy scene, Louie’s broken tibia bone totally snaps and grossly pokes out of his leg. Ewww! Seriously, ‘Saving Hope’ needs to cut back on the gore. There have been too many nauseating moments this season. Give us a breather, people.
They rush Louie into surgery and quickly fix his leg. Once he’s in recovery, Bridget storms into the room asking for their house keys. The two start yelling at each other when they discover that something is wrong with Louie. Although his CT came back clean, Louie emerges from surgery with a strange side effect. His voice has changed and it sounds pretty funny. (Personally, I think Kathleen Turner sounds better than that, but I get the comparison.) Louie continues shouting at his wife, so Joel breaks up the fight.
Bridget tells Joel that she doesn’t wish Louie any harm and she wants to make it up to him, so Joel tells her to get him some soup from the cafeteria. After Louie eats the soup he has an allergic reaction and believes Bridget purposely tried killing him…again. However, we soon discover that it is something different.
Maggie takes a closer look at Louie’s CT and shows Joel something strange. During the fall, Louie’s clavicle was severely injured. There is some tiny problem that was easy to miss, but it can be fixed. Unfortunately, the recovery takes about six months. Bridget steps in and calms all of Louie’s fears. They do not have to sell the house and she will personally nurse him back to health. They used to be friends once and even though they are getting divorced, they can still find a way to be friendly. Finally, the crazy couple calls a truce.
Maggie uses this case to convey a point to Joel. She notices the way he has been acting with Alex and she calls him out on his true feelings. Maggie knows that Joel wants to be more than friends with Alex because she is the one that got away. No matter how hard he tries, deep down he knows they can never just be friends.
Violet’s case was difficult to watch. Charlie is confronted with a spirit he can truly relate to, more than any other spirit he has ever seen. He has a chance to give this woman hope and at least the comfort of knowing he will carry out her wishes. Instead, Charlie decides to be a selfish jerk.
Violet’s husband sweetly sits beside her bed and reads to her, hoping she will awake from her coma. As Charlie goes to look up old files to find a way to help Violet, he discovers that all of his files are missing. When he learns that Dawn took them, Charlie fears that his job may be in jeopardy. He bursts into Dawn’s meeting with Gavin, notices his stack of case files on her desk and he pulls Gavin outside.
Gavin’s conversations with Charlie are protected under the doctor-patient confidentiality clause, so he hasn’t said anything to Dawn. Gavin also feels that Charlie has nothing to worry about because he is feeling better. Nonetheless, Dawn asks to see Charlie later. Charlie breaks into Gavin’s office and steals a bunch of packets of the prescription pills he tossed after John Doe unnecessarily died. As Charlie sneaks out of Gavin’s he bumps into Violet’s spirit.
Violet wants Charlie to tell her husband to move on. Charlie says she can still wake up, but she feels that her life is coming to an end. So Charlie enacts a little quid pro quo. If she does him a favor, he’ll talk to her husband. Charlie sends Violet in to eavesdrop on Dawn and Gavin’s conversation.
Dawn is trying to protect Charlie. She is worried that he could lose his license if someone investigates him. Although Gavin can’t discuss Charlie’s treatment, he can convey his faith in Charlie’s capability as a doctor. Dawn asks Gavin if he would trust Charlie to operate on Maggie. Smart move on Dawn’s part. When Gavin doesn’t give a response, she worries that Charlie may be in trouble.
Violet reports her findings to Charlie and he freaks out. He doesn’t want to lose his job. Instead of helping Violet, Charlie takes a ton of pills. Dear Violet worries about Charlie and wonders how many pills he has taken. Too many to keep track of. He pops a couple more, until he turns pale, drops to the floor and seizes. Charlie wakes up and after a moment he realizes that the spirits are gone.
Charlie chats with Dawn and she relays some good news. She looked over his files and Charlie has the lowest mortality rate out of all the doctors at Hope Zion. As far as she can tell, his job is safe and he should carry on saving lives.
Charlie then visits Gavin and asks about electro-therapy. It seems that electric-shock acts like a seizure. Both rattle the brain in the same way, so it looks like Charlie’s visions may be gone for good. Charlie is relieved to have shaken off his ghost whispering powers. But should he be?
I was really surprised to see Charlie so pleased after what Dawn told him. Charlie’s sixth sense is what enabled him to save more lives than other doctors. Whenever doctors were at a loss with a patient, Charlie could discover the real problem by chatting with the spirit and gaining knowledge other physicians don’t have access to. If a doctor could ask for a superpower, I think being able to talk to a patients when they are unconscious would be one of them. Instead of viewing this ability as an advantage, Charlie fears it is a hindrance.
I have a feeling Charlie will miss seeing spirits once he’s confronted with a case he can’t easily solve. If he starts losing patients, Dawn will grow suspicious all over again. I hope Charlie shapes up soon. His behavior in “Breathless” was wrong in so many ways. Charlie knows better and he needs to snap out of it.
Kiss the Girl
Joel drove Alex to work and took a little detour on the way. He stopped at a junk yard and wanted Alex to blow off some steam by beating a totaled car. Alex thinks it is a waste of time, but she humors Joel. She smashes a bat against the windshield a couple times and insists they go back to work. (Did anyone expect her to go all Dean Winchester on that car? I don’t think any car-smashing scene can compare to Dean’s heartbreaking cathartic moment on ‘Supernatural’.)
At the end of the day, Alex meets Joel in the lounge so that they can leave together. She asks him what is really going on between the two of them. The first time around they hung out as friends and it led to a fiery romance. Joel admits they are not just friends and kisses her. He walks away, leaving Alex with a big decision to make.
Will Alex pursue a relationship with Joel? Does kissing Joel make her realize she still loves Charlie? Does Alex just want to be single for a while?
We only have two episodes left this season and things are really coming to a head. As the embedded promo reveals, this love triangle is stirring up trouble. Now that the ghosts are gone, Charlie wants to patch things up with Alex. But it looks like Joel may be getting in his way. Charlie and Joel both want Alex, but what does Alex want?
How did you feel about “Breathless”? Do you think Alex should be with Charlie, Joel or stay single? Were you surprised to see Joel kiss Alex? Are you disappointed in Charlie? Do you think he’ll regret his actions? Will he miss seeing ghosts? What if the medicine stops working and the spirits return? Do you hope to see more emphasis on the supernatural? Is ‘Saving Hope’ is losing its way? So much has changed from the first season. It used to be fun watching Charlie adventures in limbo and I hoped that would translate to his interaction with the spirit world in this season.
Share your thoughts below and stay tuned for more news!
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on February 17, 2014.