The path to enlightenment is paved with LSD and emotional amnesia. Thursday’s “Saving Hope” revealed two heartbreaking epiphanies. In “Stand By Me,” a couple of Hope Zion’s finest choose to stand alone.
During an accidental acid trip, Gavin realizes that he needs to move on and leave Hope Zion. After three weeks of recuperation and pretending, Alex makes a jarring confession to Charlie. Ian warned Charlie that part of Alex was left behind, unfortunately our feared predication is true: Alex doesn’t love Charlie anymore. During that double dose of downers, Joel finds fulfillment in unexpectedly helping out a church clinic. At least there’s one thing that’s on the bright side.
Dr. Gavin Murphy’s Psychedelic Swan Song
Wow. Bravo, Kristopher Turner! It is sad to see Gavin go, but that was a phenomenal exit performance. Turner finally had the chance to truly display his acting chops. He covered the rainbow of emotions in one majestic swoop. It is such a shame because the writers should’ve given Gavin more juicy material like this all along. It was always so frustrating to see Maggie criticize and belittle him simply for being a nice guy.
Gavin may have come off as a vanilla type of character, but Turner brought him to life and added nuanced layers to his polite personality from the start. Sure he was funny, charming and sweet, but he also had problems. His pursuit of and eventual relationship with Maggie was riddled with moments of torment and even tragedy. This certainly was a very surprising departure, but at least Turner left us with a lasting impression of Gavin.
Maggie and Gavin’s miscarriage and break-up has taken a toll on him. He’s living in his office, cancelling appointments (even with Charlie), and sulking all the time. Poor Dr. Murphy is at an all-time low, so it is really ironic that during this point in his life, Gavin experiences a life-changing high.
We learned about a new shrink joining Hope Zion, we just didn’t realizes he would become Gavin’s immediate replacement. Dr. James Dey (Mac Fyfe) is sharing Gavin’s office space. Unfortunately, it looks like a messy a dorm room at the moment. Dey puts a box of sugar cubes down on the table and Gavin gleefully drops a few cubes into his coffee. When Dey returns, he says those cubes had been laced with LSD for one of his case studies. Gavin braces himself for a 12 to 14 hour trip down the rabbit hole.
Meanwhile, Charlie approaches Hope Zion’s psych department head about Gavin’s slump. Since Gavin has taken the LSD, Dey studies his behavior as a subject and the department head approves of the experiment. Your heart breaks for Gavin as you see him go through various stages during his acid trip.
Gavin starts freaking out, curled up in a blanket under his desk. In frantic sweats and tears he says, “I’m an orange…everyone wants to peel me.” Poor Gavin! You can’t blame him for being depressed. Maggie has ripped his heart out and emasculated him on more than one occasion. Throughout the trip, Dey gets Gavin to slowly open up.
Gavin talks to Dey about the miscarriage and the crazy kind of love Maggie wanted. He is strangely aware of what is happening in this moment. He even shrinks himself in a way. He knows how they will talk about having one true self, but Gavin doesn’t know his true self. He decides to go for a walk and clear his head.
He stumbles through the halls and comes face to face with a mother holding her baby. This sight is like a sucker-punch to Gavin’s soul. The anguish in Turner’s eyes says it all. Brace yourself, the water-works are about to go into overtime.
Gavin settles back into his office. Dey continues to ask Gavin about how his feelings towards Maggie and the miscarriage. Gavin’s eyes well up with tears. Suddenly Dey transforms into the image of Maggie holding their unborn baby. Gavin is afraid to talk about it. He tells Maggie that he tried to be everything she wanted. She was always an intimidating person. Now he’s worried no one will truly love him because he’s not good enough. You are killing us, “Saving Hope.” Gavin’s pouring his broken heart out. Somebody give the guy a hug already!
Dey suggests that it may be time for Gavin to go find himself. In an effort to do that, he asks how Gavin’s feels. His answer is brutally honest. He feels angry (rightfully so). He also feels surprised and worried. Mostly he feels anger and love. With all of that having been said aloud, Gavin has a teary-eyed epiphany.
Charlie checks on Gavin later that day and sees him cleaning up his office. Gavin had a clear picture of his future, but now his fate has changed. Charlie imparts some wisdom, “When fate changes, you change your fate.” That is exactly what Gavin is going to do. He tells Charlie he’s leaving Hope Zion. Charlie hugs him and wishes him good luck.
Before he leaves, Gavin finds Maggie. He gives her a peeled orange, a metaphor for their relationship. He gave all of himself to Maggie, now all that is left of him is the peel. He tells her goodbye and she simply says, “Be good.” With that, Dr. Gavin Murphy walks away from Hope Zion.
We don’t know why Turner left “Saving Hope,” but he was certainly thankful for the time he spent on the show. In a series of tweets, Turner expresses his affection for the cast and crew. He writes, “I am grateful my run on #SavingHope lasted as long as it did… I miss them all and I hope to work with everyone involved again soon. xo”
We wish Kristopher Turner all the best in his future endeavors. Gavin Murphy will be greatly missed on “Saving Hope” and we truly are sad to see him go.
As if Gavin’s departure isn’t depressing enough, Alex drops a bummer of a bombshell on Charlie (and Chalex fans).
Back to Work
Three weeks have passed since Alex’s heart surgery and it is her first day back to work. Charlie greets her with breakfast in bed. (Not a shabby way to start the day.) She has her reservations but wants life to get back to normal and heads to the hospital. Dawn lays down the rules, Alex has to work with a buddy for a four hour supervised shift. Dawn will be Alex’s buddy.
Alex’s first patient is a jarring sight. A guy is wheeled into the ER with garden sheers sticking out of his abdomen. Talk about PTSD, he’s got giant scissors sticking out of him! Alex takes a moment, sucks it up and yanks the sheers out. She’s ready to move on to the next patient, who turns out to be a birdwatcher named Lenny.
Lenny proves to be a very unique case. All of his organs are on the reverse side of his body and the organs themselves are reversely constructed. When they learn that Lenny had a heart attack and needs micro valve repair, Dawn is happy to have Alex, a left-handed surgeon used to working backwards with right handed tools, on her O.R. team.
Alex’s supervised time is up and she’s cleared to work in the O.R. Dawn thinks Alex’s think-outside-of-the-box lefty mindset will be vital during this backwards procedure. But when Alex sees Lenny lying on the operating table, she flashes back to her operation and freaks out. She tells Dawn she feels sick and wants to sit this one out, but she can still work in the E.R. Dawn tells her to go home because she isn’t ready yet.
Dawn struggles with the operation because she can’t see things in reverse. Even Reycraft can’t help figure it out. They need Alex. Dawn runs outside and finds Alex sitting by the hospital entrance. Alex doesn’t feel ready to do this, but she’s afraid that if she leaves now, she will never come back. In a surprisingly honest moment, Dawn admits to messing up during Alex’s surgery. Of course she leaves out the part where Charlie saved Alex’s life, but we’ll take what we can get from Dawn. It was scary, but she fixed it and moved on to another surgery the next day. Alex isn’t sure, but Dawn insists there is only one way to find out.
In the O.R., Dawn hands the reigns over to Alex and remains encouraging throughout the surgery. Alex is under a lot of extra pressure because there are a tons of students and doctors viewing this rare procedure. Luckily, she pulls it off without a hitch.
After the surgery is a success, Lenny and his wife feel strange with all of the attention they are receiving. They don’t like the idea of having his operation used in medical schools and he isn’t keen on being an organ donor. Hopefully, they will eventually have a change of heart. But for now, Lenny is afraid of change. After twenty years together, Lenny and his wife have grown accustomed to a certain dynamic of their relationship. He doesn’t want to mess that up. Will Alex feel the same way about Charlie or is she ready for a change?
Love Runs Out
Earlier that day Charlie wanted to take Alex out to dinner to celebrate her first day back, she said he should come over to her place. So Charlie waits for Alex to come home. He has a bottle of wine ready to go and he’s prepared to pour his heart out. When Alex walks in, he tells her about a couple he saw that day.
An old lady passed away overnight. Charlie saw her ghost in the morning and she said she was waiting for her husband to join her. By the day’s end, her husband of over 70 years was back by her side. Since the day they were married, the couple never spent a night apart. Way to tug on our heartstrings.
Charlie tells Alex that he doesn’t want to spend another night apart from her. He wants to spend the next 70 plus years together and be like that adorable old couple. He wants things back the way they were before. But Alex isn’t the same person. She doesn’t know who she is anymore and she needs to figure it out. She tried for the last few weeks, but the feelings just aren’t there. Alex point blank tells Charlie, “I don’t love you anymore.”
Did you guys hear the sound of that stake plunging into Charlie’s heart? It looks like Ian was right. Alex left something behind in limbo and as we feared, she is missing the love she feels for Charlie. This just sucks! Plain and simple. Poor Charlie! They made plans to start a family and now she doesn’t even love him. Heartbreaking. This episode is a total buzzkill. Stop toying with our emotions like this, “Saving Hope” writers. It hurts too much. This episode is literally causing a headache just thinking about it.
So now what? Is there a chance Alex could slowly fall back in love with Charlie again? Or is it completely over? Is every trace of attraction/affection/love for Charlie totally wiped from Alex’s soul? Is there any way she could get it back? Would another trip to limbo or a psychic like the Great Randall be able to help them? Jalex fans may be happy about this, but it isn’t exactly a fair fight. Charlie just got metaphysically eliminated from the running when he was clearly the man Alex wanted to build her life with. Boo!
How are you handling this, Hopefuls? Is this too much to take in all at once? Gavin’s gone, Charlie’s heart has been smashed to pieces, and Alex feels so lost. Kudos to Alex for kicking-ass in the O.R., but her personal life is still a hot mess. So yeah, it’s pretty depressing. At least Joel’s day ends with a, uplifting sense of accomplishment when he helps two brothers in need.
Joel carries out one of his patient Roy’s wishes (the drug addict who gave his St. Jude pendant to Joel in “Kiss Me Goodbye”). He goes to the church to deliver Roy’s letter and donation to the priest. Upon his arrival, he finds much more than he bargained for.
Two brothers from Uganda, Gabriel and Paule need urgent assistance at the clinic, run by Selena (Michael Shanks’ wife, Lexa Doig). Gabriel has been shot in the arm and they can’t risk going to a hospital because of their immigration status. Joel stays to help Selena.
While they treat Gabriel, we learn about the brothers troubled past. They fled Uganda because Gabriel was being persecuted for his homosexuality. His boyfriend Daniel was arrested, so they were forced to leave him behind. Another heartbreaking tale. “Saving Hope” is holding nothing back during this hour. Paule explains how his little brother fears he will never find love again. Joel sympathizes, saying, “Finding love can be hard.” Clearly, Alex is still weighing on Joel’s heart. Maybe he’ll get the second chance he’s been waiting for. Or perhaps he will find a new love.
Selena appreciated Joel’s help, they worked well together and she hopes he will return to the clinic. Joel hands Selena the envelope from Roy. He wanted to pay the church back for the money he stole while he was on drugs. Selena decides to give the money to Paule and Gabriel.
Do you think we’ll see more of Selena in the future? Would you like to see Joel moonlight at the clinic? Were you moved by Gabriel and Paule’s story?
Congratulations to Michael Shanks on beautifully directing such a heavy, intense, and heartbreaking episode. “Stand By Me” is one of those episodes that will stay with the fans for quite some time. Well done!
On the next “Saving Hope”:
Here is CTV’s description for Thursday’s new episode, “Breaking Away”:
A car accident brings a mother and her son to the hospital. Alex (Erica Durance) and Joel (Daniel Gillies) discover the mother needs a transplant and her son is very adamant that he be involved in the surgery. Meanwhile, the mother’s spirit makes her own feelings known to Charlie (Michael Shanks), as new resident Rian (Danso Gordon) and Maggie (Julia Taylor Ross) get caught up in a hazardous situation.
Share your thoughts in the comments below and stay tuned for more news.
“Saving Hope” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CTV.
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on October 13, 2014.