“Saving Hope’s” mid-season finale was intense. The medical cases were fascinating, unique and kind of creepy. Alex and Joel treat a pregnant virgin, while Charlie spends the day trying to convince a ghostly girl that she is still alive. But as “Joel 2:31 (Apocalypse Now)” comes to a close, the doctors’ personal lives are what leave us hanging in limbo until new episodes return “soon.”
There is full blood moon out, so the ER is full of crazy cases. According to the prophecy in Joel 2:31, “The sun turns into darkness…the moon into blood.” Some people believe that these signs, among other things, warn of the impending Apocalypse. However, as the episode unfolds, we realize that this particular end of days is more of a new beginning for the doctors of Hope Zion.
On his way to the elevator, Charlie passes a dead girl who wants to go to the morgue. He does his little covert ghost doctoring, sets her straight and moves along. Charlie enters the elevator and has an awkward encounter with Dawn. She understands Charlie’s in an emotionally confused state and she isn’t expecting that one night stand to really evolve into anything. But still, she’s putting her feelers out there. Charlie simply admits, “It’s complicated.” Suddenly there’s a thud. Someone has fallen down the elevator shaft and landed on their elevator. It ends up being the ghost girl Charlie saw in the hall. The strange thing is that even though this girl, Vida, is a living patient in the hospital, she thinks she is dead and she only speaks to Charlie. Interesting!
When Charlie and Rian X-Ray Vida, they make a shocking discovery. She’s been internally decapitated! Never thought that could even happen, but apparently it does. Vida is in a catatonic state, but she is still aware of everything happening around her. Charlie explains the situation to her and they perform an operation to mend her decapitated bones.
During the operation, Vida’s ghost appears. Rian soon realizes that Charlie has a “special” way of working in the O.R. because he likes talking to his patients even if they are unconscious. Vida is in total denial. She claims to be dead even though Charlie is clearly saving her life as they speak.
The surgery goes well, but Vida still thinks she’s dead. So Charlie tries to reach out and gain her trust. He remembers seeing her spirit holding onto a stone in the OR and he asks her about it. She remains withdrawn, so Charlie tells her about his traumatic experience as child. He saw his parents die when he was six and he didn’t speak for a year afterwards. He understands how Vida feels, so she confides in him and reveals her past. Vida and her twin sister, Val, were skipping stones at the beach one year ago. Val wanted to stay, but Vida was bored and wanted to leave. Vida believes her sister would not have died if she didn’t insist on leaving the beach. She blames herself for Val’s death. What a heartbreaking story. It is no wonder that Vida feels like she should be dead, but that still isn’t a way to continue living. Luckily, Charlie sets out to get some answers and helps her move on.
Charlie sees Dey, who again is no Gavin, but he is still able to provide some insight. Charlie explains Vida’s condition and Dey says it is a known thing called “Walking Corpse Syndrome.” It can be treated with electric shock therapy. Well that’s harsh! They seriously don’t have any better treatment in this day and age? Unfortunately, they seem to have no other choice.
Charlie tells Vida how the electric shock will bring her brain back to life. She feels like a monster on a slab, but Charlie assures her that this is different. He tells her to meet him in the morgue during the procedure. It’s fun to see how Charlie has grown accustomed to ghost doctoring. Now he’s even setting appointments with his ghost patients. It would be wonderful to see a lot more of these types of supernatural stories on the show.
While Vida’s body is undergoing shock therapy, her spirit appears to Charlie. He tells Vida that Val’s death was not her fault. The cause doesn’t matter anymore. But Vida believes she cannot go on living without her other half. Aww. Charlie knows how she feels (he’s probably thinking about Alex here, right?). He asks her when she remembers feeling the most alive. She says it was while riding a roller coaster and screaming with Val. So Charlie encourages her to relive that moment. He makes her release a cathartic scream that beckons her back to life. Finally feeling alive, her spirit returns to her body.
After Vida’s treatment and recovery, Charlie gives her a gift. He hands her a stethoscope and tells her to have a listen. If she’s ever in doubt, the sound of her beating heart will remind her that she is indeed alive. However, Vida isn’t the only one learning to seize the day and feel alive.
When Charlie and Dawn end up in the elevator together again, he apologizes for acting so weird earlier. Dawn doesn’t want to be his rock bottom or his rebound girl. Charlie admits he may not be completely sure of himself right now, but one thing is certain: he is alive. Charlie starts kissing Dawn and we all know where this is headed. Or so we think…
Dawn wants to have baby! It looks like Charlie is one popular prospective baby daddy. This is huge. Given Dawn and Charlie’s miscarriage in the past and the rocky relationship that has followed, having a baby together may not be the smartest thing. If they decide to have a baby, does that mean they will get married again and try to be one big happy family? Would Dawn want to have a baby even if it is without Charlie?
The timing is very coincidental. If Erica Durance’s pregnancy is written into the storyline and Alex ends up getting accidentally pregnant when Dawn is trying to have a baby it could cause some major melodrama. Imagine how Dawn would feel if Alex unexpectedly has a baby when Dawn has been trying/wanting to have one for so long. This could be a slippery slope for “Saving Hope,” but let’s not pass judgments until we see how this all starts to play out. The one thing that would be majorly frustrating is if Alex ends up getting knocked up by Joel. After her conversation with Charlie in limbo, it would be very frustrating to see Alex have a baby with Joel when her spirit planned on starting a family with Charlie. Judging by the way things turn out with Alex and Joel at the episode’s end, a Jalex baby could be in their future.
Like a Virgin
Alex and Joel collaborate on a very fascinating case. Young newlyweds, Rob and Elisa, just got married and they are spending their first night together as man and wife in the ER. We learn the devout, old-fashioned couple cutely met at “Theology on the Rocks.” So it comes as a huge shock when Alex reveals that Elisa is pregnant. Elisa and Rob haven’t even consummated their marriage yet, so this is impossible.
Upon further examination, Alex confirms that Elisa is truly a virgin. Elisa freaks out, thinking that there’s a monster inside of her. Oddly enough, she is not that off base. After more tests and speculative diagnoses, Elisa has a seizure, which proves the problem is purely physical. Ultimately, the doctors discover a teratoma tumor containing teeth and bone fragments growing off of Elisa’ coccyx. That is why the test made it seem like Elisa was pregnant. Alex, Joel and the others gather around to open the tumor after it has been removed. Yeah, it is a gross as you would imagine it to be. Teeth, brown hair, and an eye. Eww!
Once the tumor is removed, Elisa feels as good as new. The past few days are a blur, but she is still happy to have married Rob. They view this supposed apocalypse as a renewal rather than a doomsday. Elisa and Rob aren’t the only ones feeling renewed at the end of such bizarre night.
Old Love Feels New
Joel has been relentless in pursuing Alex. He’s in it for the long haul and has been slowly chipping away at her walls. They even have a moment in the morgue. What if this was really their last night on earth? How would they want to spend it? Joel answers by leaning in to kiss Alex, but a natural disaster keeps their lips apart. Alex believes the earthquake is a cosmic “stop” sign preventing them from making a big mistake. Even her friends have been urging her to take things slow.
Alex’s friends have her best interest at heart, so they warn her to be careful. When Joel skypes with a hot blonde in New Zealand, Maggie alerts Alex to Joel’s flirtation. But Maggie misread the situation. Joel explains that his father is getting married in Auckland and the young blonde is his new step-mom. He asks Alex to go to the wedding with him. That’s a big move for someone who is trying to take baby steps. Alex isn’t quite there yet.
As their wild night and crazy case progresses, Joel can sense that Alex is on the cusp of giving in. Just to be sure his instincts are right, he has a casual chat with Dey. Do people really act crazy because of the blood moon? It is more likely that the moon just offers them an excuse to act on their impulses. Then Joel says that Alex keeps pulling away. Dey says that means she likes Joel. It seems that is all Joel needed to hear.
After an insane day at the hospital, Joel wakes Alex up with a knock on her door. It is 2:31, so it seemed like a poetic gesture to show up. He says that he was on his way to the airport when he heard about the earthquake on the radio. All day nobody else around them felt it, but now they know they aren’t crazy. The radio said the earthquake was 5.1, Alex pulls Joel in and teases, “We can do better than that.” And just like that, Jalex is back in action.
With her love for Charlie left behind in limbo, it was only a matter of time before Alex gave into her desires for Joel. She always had a spark with him. Plus, he’s been trying to woo her back for a while now. This is his chance to get it right and be in an adult, committed relationship with Alex. But what if Alex’s missing piece suddenly comes back and she wakes up one morning loving Charlie instead? Joel thinks he has finally won back her heart, but he’s only got part of it. Everyone is concerned about Alex, but Joel may be the one who ends up devastatingly heartbroken if things don’t work with Alex this time around.
Fathers and Sons
This episode gives us a welcomed break from the soap opera-ish hot mess of mashed-up love lives when we get a glimpse into Zach’s family life. In the past we’ve seen how wise-cracking Zach has struggled with his divorce and being apart from his kids. It was a sweet sneak peek at his softer side.
In the midst of this chaotic night, Zach’s son, Jacob, skateboards into the ER, hoping to spend some time with his dad. While he waits around for his father’s attention between cases, Jacob bonds with Guy, a hippie prophet that looks like a stoner version of Jesus. Of course, this weird stranger will serve as a voice of reason when Jacob pleads his case to Zach.
Jacob’s mom doesn’t care about him because she’s too busy with her new man, Hank. Jacob wants to live with his father. Zach is upset that Jacob ran away from home. Guy butts in: Jacob isn’t running away, he’s running towards. The boy just wants to be with his father. All he needs is love and attention.
Later that night Zach takes Jacob some snacks and says he’s trying to be there for him. He asks how Jacob would rate him as a dad on a scale of 1 to 10. Zach thinks he’s at a 7 and Jacob agrees. Zach understands why Jacob wants to live with him. But Zach works so much that he’s worried he won’t be able to take good enough care of his son. Zach emphasizes that he loves Jacob and wants to have him around always. Jacob insists he won’t be a burden on his dad, he can even camp out at his house the way they used to. Zach wouldn’t have to change anything or worry. Aww. Poor Jacob.
We’re not sure if Jacob will be able to live with Zach full time, but he’s definitely making progress. As the episode closes, Zach has set up camp at the hospital. They make s’mores and do some much needed father and son bonding. It is such a sweet sight. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of Zach’s paternal side this season.
- The Cases: This was another loaded episode. The cases were very intriguing and much better than expected. There were some great twists and turns. This was one of Charlie’s more unique ghost doctoring cases. It was kind of sad that Charlie immediately thought she was a ghost because she only addressed him. It was also strange that she intuitively sensed that she could reach out to Charlie. Other doctors would not have been able to help her the way he did. It was a great way of bridging his work with his patients between both worlds. Just the fact that he told her to meet him in the morgue was pretty awesome. It would be cool if he started taking appointments and setting up a side ghost doctor business.
- The Romantic Drama: As for the love triangle turned rectangle. “Saving Hope” is on the edge of becoming another cheesy medical soap opera. The beauty and individuality of this series is the supernatural aspect and how it influences the characters. This season started off in a wonderful place where Alex and Charlie were finally at the same level. Sure, every good drama needs to raise the stakes with conflict. Alex and Charlie made huge progress in limbo, then regressed when she woke up with a piece of her soul missing. She left her love for Charlie behind. That is frustrating and sad all on its own. Now Charlie and Alex are drifting further apart by falling back into old romances. Since the Charlie-Alex-Joel love triangle was starting to get old, they threw Dawn back into the ring. Instead of shaking things up and making it more interesting, these storylines are becoming really annoying.
- Dawn and Charlie: Dawn and Charlie were married. They had a complex relationship and had difficulty overcoming great tragedy. Things are complicated for Charlie, but he is still in love with Alex. He never stopped loving her. Even when he broke up with her last season, it was out of love and concern for her. Charlie hooking up with Dawn is only going to cause more pain. Unless he’s falling back in love with Dawn and truly getting over Alex. As if that isn’t bad enough, Dawn all of sudden says she wants to have a baby. Does she want Charlie’s baby specifically? Or does she just want to be a mom? It’s great that Charlie feels alive and is giving into his impulses and what not, but this is going to get really messy, really fast. They need to get on the same page before this relationship escalates.
- Joel and Alex: Alex finally hooks up with Joel. We all saw it coming. She doesn’t have her love for Charlie holding her back. Last season, she felt herself being drawn to Joel all over again, but she wanted to give Charlie time to work things out. Now that Charlie is out of her heart, she is free to love Joel. But is she really in love with him? A part of her was left behind in limbo, but what if it suddenly snaps back into place? What if she wakes up one morning and picks up from where she left off in limbo? There can be some disastrous scenarios ahead.
What did you think of “Joel 2:31”? Are you happy with the way things ended? Are you annoyed by the romantic storylines? How would you feel if Alex ends up pregnant with Joel’s baby? Do you think Charlie should move on and be with Dawn?
Share your thoughts below and stay tuned to find out when “Saving Hope” returns with the second half of Season 3.
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on November 1, 2014.