Huzzah!!! It took a few seasons, but “Saving Hope” finally gave fans the moment we’ve been waiting for. Charlie and Alex are so happy together. They’ve weathered the storm and are able to live as a sweet, blissful family with Baby Luke. After last season’s brutal finale, it is fantastic to open Season 4 with the beautiful sight of some much needed ChAlex love. Their rekindled romance provides a pleasant contrast to the troubling cases the doctors tackle in “Sympathy for the Devil.” Alex, Zach and Maggie deal with a flurry of emotions and personal challenges while tending to their patients. Before we dig into this juicy episode, we applaud the “Saving Hope” writers for the way they returned after losing a main character. Although Daniel Gilles has left the show, Joel Goran’s presence can still be felt in the halls of Hope Zion. Bravo!
All of Michael Shanks and Erica Durance’s scenes together were everything we’ve been wishing for. Their relationship is rock solid and Charlie sealed the deal by saying the absolutely perfect thing every step of the way. After three seasons of annoying obstacles, miscommunications, break-ups, hook-ups, and what-have-you, ChAlex is back on track and better than ever before. Charlie, Alex and Baby Luke are a real family, which what these two lovebirds truly wanted from Day 1.
The opening scene is precious and it shows why Charlie and Alex are perfect together. As we all know by now, 11 months have passed and Alex has first day jitters returning to work after her maternity leave. She’s wary of leaving her baby. She loves him, but she loves being a doctor too. Compromises must be made in order to have it all. Luckily, she has Charlie by her side and he is one helluva daddy. If Season 4 has more absolutely adorable moments like this, then we’re going to be mush by the end of it. Sigh. Charlie gives Alex the strength and confidence she needs. She’ll just take it slow and steady on her first day back. Ha! Like that’ll ever happen in Hope Zion.
Dr. Reid makes quite an entrance when she’s rolled into the ER already tending to a patient they encountered on the way to work. Even the new General Surgeon, Dr. Patrick Curtis (Max Bennet), takes note. Props to the “Saving Hope” writers for poking fun at the fact that Joel was replaced with another self-assured British dude. “He’s like Hugh Grant with a job,” teases Maggie. Sounds like another ladies man has hit the Hope Zion campus. But let’s focus on the patient, shall we?
Naomi is a single mother who gets seriously injured in a car crash. She begs Alex to care for her baby, Felicia, since she’s the little one’s only parent. Alex promises to take care of both mother and daughter, well, Charlie actually has the baby covered. Oh Charlie, you are scoring extra points in this episode. What’s cuter than a man with a baby? A man with two babies! Plus, he proves to be quite the baby whisperer, especially when Shahir sets poor little Felicia off. Since Charlie has work to do, he leaves Felicia in the doctor’s lounge with a nurse. We find out that Shahir has come to ask Charlie for a favor and he doesn’t waste any time once the baby gets settled.
Shahir wants Charlie to be part of his Alzheimer’s study. He’s presenting his proposal before the board in a few hours and he could really use Charlie’s support. He also needs an orthopedic surgeon on hand for the trial treatment. When Charlie says he doesn’t have enough time to do the proper research necessary to commit to such a study, Shahir snaps at him. He says he would’ve gone to Joel if he were still alive and he would’ve agreed to help. Ouch! Low blow, Shahir. We’ve seen him be inappropriate, awkward and sometimes rude, but never intentionally hurtful like this. There must be something more to this study. Elsewhere, Alex is dealing with her own dose of unnecessary attitude.
Curtis and Alex have been at odds since the moment Naomi was rolled into the ER. He takes a more cautious approach and Alex is willing to do whatever it takes to save her patient’s life without wasting time. When Naomi needs surgery, Alex insists on being in the OR with Curtis since she promised Naomi she’d watch over her. Dawn allows it, so Curtis must oblige. Curtis struggles during the surgery and when Alex tries to be helpful, he gets testy with her. For Naomi’s sake, he momentarily hands the reigns over to Alex because she’s in a better position to clamp her aorta. Once Naomi is stabilized, Curtis says he can handle the rest and Alex leaves. She tells him to page her if he needs anything. Geesh, what’s with this guy? Is he afraid he’ll lose his job now that Alex is back? He needs to learn how to be a better team player because he isn’t making the best first impression. Nonetheless, Alex isn’t dwelling on her new colleague because she has more important things on her mind.
Charlie and Alex touch base in the middle of their hectic day. “Saving Hope” nicely sets the stage for their pertinent conversation. In the background we see that a fracture clinic has been established in Joel’s name and in the foreground Charlie and Alex bring up the elephant in the room. A father has not been listed on Luke’s birth certificate. Alex knows it is time to take a paternity test, but they’ve been so happy that she didn’t want to burst their bubble. Well you can’t blame her for that. Unfortunately, Alex gets paged away before they come to a decision and we are left hanging a little longer.
Alex is called to operate on a prisoner named Tom Crenshaw (Travis Milne) who was convicted of murdering his wife. Yikes! Due to certain health reasons, Alex must perform Crenshaw’s surgery while he is still awake and she’s had experience doing this kind of thing before. She asks the guards to remove his handcuffs and she tries to make Crenshaw as comfortable as possible during the surgery. Convicted wife killer or not, he’s still her patient and she has a duty to make him better. As expected, things go downhill for Crenshaw pretty quickly. He starts to feel the pain of the operation, so Alex works her magic, puts him safely under without compromising his health and completes the surgery. Go Alex! She may have been out of the game for a while, but she’ still got it.
Just when we start wondering where the supernatural element of the show is going to come into play, Charlie spots, not one, but two ghosts. Crenshaw appears to Charlie in his orange jumpsuit and claims he’s innocent. Suddenly, Charlie sees Naomi’s spirit frantically scanning the hospital upstairs, so he ditches Crenshaw and goes after the worried single mom. He takes Naomi to see little Felicia and the mother is overjoyed that her baby remains safe and sound. However, Charlie learns some unsettling news about their situation.
Naomi adopted Felicia and is her only guardian. If anything happens to her, Felicia will go back into the foster care system. Charlie tries to reply to Naomi’s concerns about the system without looking like a crazy person in front of the nurse and she says something that Charlie really needs to hear during this crossroads with Baby Luke’s paternity. The nurse says that anyone who decides to care for a child, whether it is his own or not, should be looked upon as a hero. Awww. The sentiment clearly makes a strong impression on Charlie, leading to one of this episode’s, make that the series’, best moments…we’ll get to that bit soon.
As Charlie heads out, he catches Shahir on his way to the presentation and asks why he’s so bent out of shape over this study. Why is this one so important to him? We learn that Shahir’s grandmother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and he wants to help. If he can put her in his study, he’ll at least be doing something to help slow down this degenerative disease. Well that’s merit enough to get Charlie on board, so he assists Shahir in the presentation and they get the funding to conduct the study. Hopefully it will help Shahir’s grandmother, guess we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out. But wait, there’s more good news!
Curtis tells Alex that Naomi is doing well after her surgery. Yay! Of course, Alex immediately asks if he let her see Felicia yet and he says no. Boy is he a stickler for the rules. After Alex enlightens him to importance of reuniting mother and daughter, we see that Curtis is beginning to lighten up a bit. By episode’s end, he takes baby Felicia to her loving mother. Well that’s pretty quick progress, let’s see if Alex can manage break his attitude in the OR next time around.
Now that Naomi is all good, Alex only has one patient left to worry about: Crenshaw. He awakes post-op and tries removing his breathing tube, causing a raucous with the guards. Since they are having trouble calming him down, the safest thing to do is induce a coma. Alex assures everyone that she’s very familiar with comas (Ha! That’s an understatement) and she knows what she’s doing. So far on “Saving Hope,” comas result in some sort of supernatural chaos, so you can’t help but wonder what will happen to Crenshaw while he’s in limbo or when/if when wakes up. Hopefully it won’t be anything troublesome. Speaking of trouble, Zach takes a big gamble while treating his patient.
Early in the episode, we discover that Zach and Melanda broke up a few months back and she transferred out of Hope Zion six weeks ago. He’s been on the rebound ever since and is currently dating Selena, a hospital clerk. Seems like Zach is wrestling with his grief and he’s finding comfort in frivolous flirtations. Well that sucks! We had high hopes for those two. You can’t blame Zach for still being traumatized by what happened. He definitely has survivor’s guilt and he may even have a death wish.
Maggie and Zach treat Viv, a patient who presents symptoms of Ebola and is immediately quarantined. While they run her bloodwork we get her story. Ever since childhood, it was on her bucket list to see pigmy hippos before she turned 50. Her boyfriend Sam (who’s a whopping 18 years her junior) encouraged her to go to the Ivory Coast to see them before her birthday. Before she left, she dumped her supportive beau. He said all the right things, but the age gap was just too much. She couldn’t rob him of his future like that. Now Viv fears she will die alone.
Suddenly, Viv begins having seizures. Maggie struggles to pull on her hazmat suit, so Zach says screw the suit and rushes in to help Viv. He insists that he’s simply doing whatever it takes to save his patient. It’s not about having a death wish. The jury’s still out on that, but we’ll see if pulls any other crazy stunts before accusing him of being all too eager to join Joel on the other side.
Viv wakes up to a sweet sight and some good news. Sam has been camping outside of her isolation room and he presents his case in a totally adorable “Love Actually” moment. On a series of cards, Sam swears that Viv is his future and he needs nothing more. Awww. Luckily, Viv will be able to spend her future with Sam because it turns out that she doesn’t have Ebola, it’s just parasites from the pigmy hippos. As Zach so delicately puts it, she’ll still die, but just not anytime soon. So sweet, Zach.
At the end of the day, Maggie tells Zach that she misses Joel too and she’s always there for him if he ever wants to talk. Zach makes a wise-crack and goes his merry way. Oh dear, is there sexual tension brewing between these two? Please don’t go there, it’ll be another clichéd relationship, just when the show is finally moving beyond that kind of nonsense. Maybe “Saving Hope” writers could get a little more creative with Zach’s dating situation. What if his mother tried setting him up with a sweet Armenian girl? That could be a fun way to learn more about Zach’s family and personal life. What do you think, Hopefuls? Should Zach and Maggie get together?
Now for the big, beautiful finish. Alex passes on drinks with Maggie and rushes home to Baby Luke and Charlie. She’s missed her little one so much that she’s willing to wake him just to give him kisses, but Charlie persuades her to take advantage of some alone adult time. Before things get saucy, they want to finish the conversation they started earlier that day.
Charlie tells Alex that he doesn’t want Baby Luke to have a paternity test because it doesn’t matter to him. He perfectly says, “If he’s your, he’s ours.” Sigh. Swoon. Sob. It is all so perfect. Alex loves Charlie even more for saying that. Nothing can ruin this magical moment…right?
Baby Luke starts crying, so Charlie goes to check on him. While he tries calming Luke down, Crenshaw startlingly appears behind him. Oh hell no! Crenshaw begs Charlie to help prove his innocence and Charlie tries to shut him down. This is not how it works. Ghost whispering doesn’t occur in the sanctity of his home, around his family. Crenshaw has crossed a huge line. Still, Crenshaw persists. He says the ME lied and Charlie can help clear his name since he’s an orthopedist. Before Charlie as a chance to go crazy on him, Alex gleefully runs into the room, eager to see her baby. And with that, “Saving Hope” leaves us hanging.
So this is the kind of supernatural rules the synopsis was talking about. Spirits can just follow Charlie home now? Have other spirits tried and failed before this? Or does Crenshaw swing some kind of special mojo in limbo? If spirits start popping up at home, then will Charlie have another chat with Alex about his gift? Where do they stand on that now? In the Season 3 finale, Alex remembered everything from her time in limbo, so she should believe Charlie if they have the ghost whisperer conversation again. This time around, the obstacle wouldn’t be Charlie’s sanity, it would be a concern for Baby Luke’s safety. Should Charlie tell her about this or is it too risky?
Supernatural drama aside, this episode still provided a lot of food for thought. We still aren’t sure exactly what is happening with Dawn. What happened with taking Giselle in as a foster parent? Is Dawn learning languages to fill the time since motherhood didn’t work out? Will we learn more about Shahir’s personal life? Is Maggie going to jump from fling to fling or will she focus on her career and set such flirtations aside? Lastly, do you still want to know who Luke’s father is even though Charlie is cool with never knowing? Would it make a difference? Eventually something’s got to give, right? Baby Luke’s blood type or some kind of medical condition could give it away. If you think about it, as Luke grows up, his personality alone will be a clear indicator of who his father most likely is. Charlie and Joel were both stubborn and brilliant surgeons who loved Alex, but they had very different personalities and appearances. Do you think time will tell, Hopefuls?
Weigh in with your thoughts on “Sympathy for Devil.” What moments did you love? Did you cry over all the sweetness? Would you like to see Maggie and Zach hook-up? Did anything push your buttons? How do you think Charlie will be able to control spirits who barge into his home? Do you believe Crenshaw is innocent? Will Charlie help him? Just throwing this out there: Can Luke please come back and make an appearance as Baby Luke’s guardian angel? That would be so precious! Maybe he can even help Charlie set up boundaries with obnoxious ghosts.
We have so many questions, hopes, and theories! Add yours in the comments below.
U.S. Hopefuls, catch new episodes of ‘Saving Hope’ Season 4 every Tuesday (re-reuns air on Fridays) at 11/10C on ION Television.