OH MY GOD!!! “Heart of Stone” left Hopefuls speechless, heartbroken and traumatized. “Saving Hope’s” intense hour tackled very serious issues, including rape, child molestation, suicide, and drug abuse. We had our suspicions about Dawn’s unsettling new beau, Lane, but we never saw this horrific twist coming. As if that isn’t terrible enough, Charlie’s case focuses on a young woman who committed suicide after keeping a dark secret. Alex also gets mixed up in her patient’s family drama when she diagnoses a young motorcross enthusiast with leukemia. Elsewhere, Zach takes on the newbies. He invokes a motto for the day and vows not to let anyone else die in their care. There is a reason why doctors are not supposed to make such promises. You can never know one’s fate. Hope you have your tissues handy for this one.
The episode begins on a bittersweet note. The celebration of Baby Luke’s first birthday is the same as Joel’s death day and the significance is not lost on Alex. She sees that Zach is having a rough time and says she’s always there for him if he ever wants to talk. He appreciates the offer and claims to be doing alright. As we’ve come to learn, seemingly stoic Zach is rather sensitive. We’ll see his interesting way of dealing with Joel’s loss later on. Right now, we must begin by addressing the episode’s most alarming moment.
Lane rapes Dawn. There is no tactful way to say it. It is enraging, heartbreaking, and unforgivable. Although he seemed a bit unhinged from the beginning, this sort of barbaric violence was never anticipated. He’s had some weird moments that served as warning signs. His hissy fit over Dawn not wearing the necklace, his annoyance at how she’s always in demand at work, and then there’s his contradictory overcompensation by giving apologetic gifts after acting like an entitled jerk. In this episode, he takes his bizarre behavior to a whole new level, even before the assault.
Lane is on the hospital board and he helped established a policy that prohibits people from observing surgeries. He insists on breaking his own rule and demands to watch Dawn perform a heart transplant. She begrudgingly allows him to watch, against her better judgement. While Dawn operates on George, a 46 year old father of three, Lane faints. Since Dawn is in the midst of a heart transplant, she has Maggie tend to her boyfriend. While she stitches him up, he asks what kind of make-up gift he needs to get Dawn. Again, this dude cant go two minutes without creating some kind of awkwardness. Maggie seems surprised by his lavish suggestion because it is so unlike anything Dawn would want.
Dawn doesn’t have time to coddle her boyfriend. He keeps pestering her like a child, while she’s frantically struggling to save a life. In true Dawn form, she plainly cuts to the chase. She let him observe the surgery because she didn’t want to disappoint him. His insecure response is ridiculous, so she rightfully says she doesn’t need this. He immaturely mimics her reply and throws another another hissy fit. Seriously?! Of course, that all pales in comparison to what he does next.
After the operation is done, Lane goes to Dawn’s office to apologize. Suddenly, he gets aggressively frisky. When Dawn tells him to back off and stop, he shoves her up against the wall, rips her skirt, and we all know what horror follows. It is appalling. We watch with our jaws gaping open in utter shock. For a moment, we wonder if someone will pass by the office or knock on the door. We pray for somebody to come to Dawn’s rescue and catch Lane in this wretched act. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. Lane just walks away like all is well.
Dawn’s hands tremble in the aftermath as she searches through her desk drawers. Oh good, perhaps she has a medical kit on hand to document the assault and charge him with rape. Instead, she pulls out a needle and thread and starts stitching her skirt. Okay, so that’s not the first step we expected Dawn to take, but she is still in shock. Surely she won’t let him get away with this. Lane must be brought to justice for what he has done. Hopefully, we’ll see his comeuppance in the next episode. For now, it would just be nice to see someone notice Dawn’s plight and reach out to help her.
Dawn has grown so much over the past four seasons and Michelle Nolden has been phenomenal. She has brilliantly brought Dawn to life with her nuanced and engaging performance. After vilifying Dawn for a while, we came to realize that she was simply misunderstood. She’s actually a lonely person who has lost so much in her life. Her marriage with Charlie fell apart after their miscarriage, then she had a glimmer of hope that they could have a baby together last season. Sadly, her dreams of carrying a child were shattered, but she still showed interest in motherhood. Seems like foster parenting didn’t work out since there’s been no mention of children. Her life has been rough, so we were very excited to see Dawn falling in love. We thought she was finally finding some happiness and now this happens. Poor Dawn! How do you feel about this shocking turn of events, Hopefuls? Do you think Dawn should seek out justice and charge Lane with rape? Do you hope someone at Hope Zion finds out and offers Dawn some comfort/support?
There is no smooth transition out of that conversation, so let’s just shift our focus onto something good that came out of another tragedy. Charlie’s patient turns out to be George’s salvation, but at a grave cost. While Dawn realizes that George’s new organ is a useless stone heart, Charlie helps Brynn Stewart’s traumatized spirit find peace. Take a breath, Hopefuls, because “Saving Hope” is holding nothing back during this overwhelmingly emotional hour.
Brynn shot herself because her father molested her and she just couldn’t take the pain anymore. She never told a soul about his constant abuse because it would destroy her mother if she knew. Now, even in death, Brynn’s father is keeping her from finding peace. She wants to move on, but the machines are still keeping her alive. Mr. Stewart doesn’t want to let his daughter go and is living in denial. Although she’s brain dead, he believes she’s a fighter and will manage to pull through. Once Charlie learns that Dawn needs her heart, he tries convincing Mr. Stewart to set Brynn’s soul free.
Charlie explains how Brynn is at peace, so her father’s job is done. He shouldn’t feel guilty for not being able to save her. Instead, he should focus on the life he can still save and how that could bring him peace. Charlie’s pep talk works and Mr. Stewart agrees to the transplant. Charlie and Brynn look on as Dawn performs the surgery. Charlie and Dawn have a really sweet and fun exchange here, which reminds us how they can be a great team. It is one of the rare bright moments in this haunting episode. Once Brynn’s heart starts beating in George’s chest, she says it doesn’t hurt anymore. Her spirit is finally at peace and she moves on. Thanks for making us a teary hot mess, “Saving Hope” writers.
Later, Charlie takes a seat by Mr. Stewart. Charlie knows the truth and sternly says, “You can’t hurt her anymore.” It may not be the justice Brynn wholly deserves, but it is better than nothing. Mr. Stewart will never find peace and Charlie made sure to send him home with a jarring message. Again, you do not want to mess with Charlie. That was a classy and subdued way to handle this gut-wrenching case. It kind of makes you hope Charlie learns the truth about Lane. You know he’d defend her honor and make sure some sort of justice is served. Plus, he knows Dawn the best out of everyone, so he’d be a great support system. What do you think?
Charlie and Dawn aren’t the only ones with troubling cases. Alex treats Taylor, a 12 year old girl who enters the E.R. after a motorcross accident. During surgery, Alex and Maggie realizes she has leukemia. It can be treated with chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, but Taylor’s mother isn’t a match. We soon learn that everything is not as it seems.
Nancy is actually Taylor’s aunt, but she’s been raising the girl as her own ever since her unreliable junkie sister, Janice, vanished. Taylor has no idea that Janice exists, but now they must reach out to her to see if she’s a match. To make a long story short, Janice shapes up. Since she is a match, she promises to enter a rehab program and clean up quickly so that they can start treat Taylor before the cancer escalates. When she insists on meeting her daughter, Alex makes a medical argument explaining how Taylor is too weak to know the whole truth. Her health is everyone’s priority, so Janice pretends to be an old friend of Nancy’s. Phew! Janice had us worried for a moment, but she pulled through. Hopefully, everything will turn out well for their family. At least they’re off to a good start. Contrastingly, Zach is off to a rocky start in the E.R.
After Zach loses his first patient of the day, he huddles up with Cassie and Dev (coaching his kid’s soccer team is rubbing off on him), and creates a pact: No one else dies. The doctors take every precaution necessary to make sure all of their patients are good to go, especially when it comes to Doug Renfro. Zach gives him a full head and chest CT, even though he simply has a mild concussion. Dev tests Doug on his cognition and eventually clears him to leave the hospital. Despite all of their efforts, Doug is rushed back into the ER after he collapsed on his way home. There is nothing more they can do for him, so Zach sadly pronounces Doug dead. Dev is devastated. He did everything correctly. Why did Doug die? Zach offers Dev some blunt advice: “Get over it.” They can’t save everyone, even if they do everything right. Zach has learned that the only way to survive is to get over it and move on to the next patient or else they’ll go crazy.
It may seem harsh, but Zach makes a good point. His delivery may sound a little callus, but now that we’ve grown to know him, we understand what he means. If doctor’s obsessed over the patients they lost, they wouldn’t be able to focus on the patients in their current care. They can feel bad and mourn the loss, but then they have to keep their heads in the game and continuing saving lives. The more we learn about Zach, the higher he climbs up on the list of fan favorite characters. Benjamin Ayers brings so much colorful complexity to “Saving Hope” and it is always exciting to discover something new about Zach. What did you feel about Zach’s motto for the day? Was it unprofessional of him? Were you upset when he told Dev to “get over it”? Do you desperately want to see him coaching his kid’s soccer game now?
Sigh. Are your heads also throbbing, Hopefuls? This was so intense! How are you coping? What do you hope to see happen to Lane? How should Dawn handle this situation? This episode will weigh heavy on our hearts for a while. Share your thoughts with fellow members of the “Saving Hope” Support Group below (yes, it is becoming a thing now because we clearly need it).
U.S. Hopefuls, catch new episodes of ‘Saving Hope’ Season 4 every Tuesday (re-reuns air on Fridays) at 11/10C on ION Television.