“Saving Hope” took us on another emotional roller coaster and tugged on our heartstrings. “Can’t you hear me knocking?” tackled some unique cases, delivered troubling news for one of Hope Zion’s greats, and provided a fascinating twist in Charlie’s supernatural circle of trust. The show is definitely hitting its stride this season by creating thought-provoking storylines that steer clear of soap-opera-ish superficialities. This episode focuses on the importance of family, love, acceptance, forgiveness and appreciation. Time to dive in and keep those tissues handy!
Charlie pulls double-duty once again, treating his patient in the physical and supernatural realm. However, this time there is an unexpected twist. Charlie, Maggie and Zach treat Cal, a high school football coach who is rushed to ER after sustaining some severe injuries during a game. Charlie operates on Coach Cal, an alpha male who loves football and hopes to see his son, Ty, recreate his glory days. Cal doesn’t realize that Ty hates football. While Cal is in recovery, Ty confides in Charlie. The boy loves his father so much and doesn’t have the heart to tell him the truth. The irony is that Cal has been keeping a secret of his own.
We’re used to seeing Charlie confronted by his patient’s ghosts, but this time, he just sees some random female spirit lingering in the locker room, admiring how beautiful she looks. Soon enough, the puzzle pieces come together. This woman, Caroline, is Cal’s true identity. Whoa! Well done, “Saving Hope.” Caroline begs Charlie not to tell Ty. The boy is a gentle soul and isn’t ready to hear the jarring truth. Charlie thinks Caroline should give Ty more credit, the kid is tougher than he seems. Suddenly, Caroline’s body start coding.
Ty rummages through his father’s bag and finds some pills that could explain what caused this unexpected post-op problem. The pill are female hormones, so Caroline asks Charlie to take them away before Ty realizes what they are. The poor kid fears his father was on steroids, which would make him a total hypocrite since he always warned Ty to stay away from that crap. Charlie is upset at Caroline for not telling him about the HRT. It increases the risk of clotting, which is why she started coding.
Luckily, Maggie stabilizes Cal. It is a bittersweet moment for Caroline. She doesn’t want to die, but she doesn’t want to go back to being Cal either. This is the first time she has felt like her true self. It is almost as though she would rather die than continue living as a man. She promises Charlie that if her body pulls through, she will tell Ty the truth when the time is right. Sadly, fate forces her hand.
Caroline’s body codes again and this time they can’t save her. Ty blames himself. If he had just been honest, then his dad wouldn’t have gotten injured on the football field. Charlie comforts the kid, saying he was only protecting his dad’s feelings. That’s what you do for the people you love. As tears stream down his face, Ty asks Charlie about the pills. Without openly saying so, we can see he knows the truth. Regardless of their secrets, Ty loved his dad so much. Caroline caresses her boy and with that affirmation, her spirit moves on.
Kudos to ‘Saving Hope’ for creating a storyline that gracefully tackles this sensitive subject matter. Caroline’s struggle was humanized rather than sensationalized. She had real reservations about revealing the truth and in the end, you can even argue that it cost Caroline her life. But at least she died feeling like her true self and knowing that her son loves and accepts her. This was an extra challenging scenario for Charlie. He is visibly shaken by this case when something serendipitous happens.
He meets Kristine (Nicole Underhay), a nurse who provides end of life care at Hope Zion. She confronts Charlie about his gift and he denies it. They both see the old cat lady searching for her precious Athena. The poor thing won’t move on until she knows her cat will be there to see her on the other side. Charlie says she won’t know until she gets there, so she takes a chance and moves on. After witnessing this encounter, Kristine tells Charlie that she uses the phone trick too. She recognizes the signs because she sees spirits too. Charlie shrugs it off and says he just talks to himself.
Later that day, Charlie hangs back at the hospital to finish up paperwork while Alex eagerly awaits to see him at home. As he files the forms with a heavy heart, Kristine surfaces again. She asks if he’s had a hard day and if he’d want to talk about it. He still hesitates, so she gives him a nudge. Kristine matter-of-factly states that she sees ghost and knows that he sees them too. So, now does he want to talk about it? Well, color us intrigued!
This is kind of bittersweet, Hopefuls. Kristine is exactly what Charlie needs. She could be a confidant who knows exactly what he’s going through because she overcomes the same obstacles every day. However, this could potentially cause trouble in Charlie’s relationship with Alex. She can’t see ghosts and could not handle all the risk involved in helping Charlie out with his ghost doctoring. Alex says she’s there for Charlie and she wants to know what he’s going through. She wants to maintain an open dialogue about that bizarre part of his life, yet she made it very clear that she does not want to partake in it.
After the way the last episode ended, we were a little worried about ChAlex. Even at the start of this episode, Alex was a little frustrated when a ghost took Charlie’s attention away from their conversation about Luke and baby birthday parties. Before Alex leaves for home, they seem to be solid as a couple. They clearly love each other very much. She doesn’t seem bitter or resentful about Charlie’s situation, but you can tell that she’s still trying to figure out how to live with it and make it work within the confines of their relationship. You can’t blame Charlie if he withdraws from Alex because he wants to protect her from all the worries/pain/frustrations that come along with his ghost patients. In the midst of this dilemma, Kristine enters Charlie’s life.
Kristine could be the kind of support Charlie really needs. He doesn’t really have anyone else to talk to about this stuff. If he starts opening up to Kristine and letting her in, will he slowly start to shut Alex out (at least when it comes to supernatural matters)? That could severely harm ChAlex as we know it. On the other hand, maybe seeing Charlie open up to Kristine will make Alex more willing to hear him out and become part of his supernatural world. Or it could upset Alex because she feels like Charlie is betraying her in a way by confiding in someone else. Unless, Charlie keeps Kristine a secret from Alex, which would be really bad. Despite their obstacles, Charlie and Alex have established a very strong foundation for their relationship, which is grounded in honesty. Let’s hope Charlie gets the best of both worlds: Kristine’s support and Alex’s trust.
How do you feel about this, Hopefuls? Are you worried about ChAlex’s relationship? Are you happy Charlie could have someone like Kristine in his life? Do you think this could potentially cause trouble in ChAlex’s relationship or are they beyond that at this point?
Charlie isn’t the only one dealing with a troubling case. Alex’s patient, Dixie, is diagnosed with brain cancer. The sweet young woman has been caring for her grandfather and fears what will happen to him after she passes. She wants to know how much time she has to prepare. Alex hesitates to answer, so Cassie abruptly points out that she only has six months to live.
Geesh, Cassie. You’re a young woman. How would you feel if someone blurted out such traumatic and live altering information like that? There is something called bedside manner, even Shahir has caught on to having a little grace when it comes to serious diagnosis deliveries. Alex rightfully sets the newbie straight and advises her not to be so severely blunt in the future. She then heads over to see Shahir with a groundbreaking proposal.
Instead of losing hope, Alex comes up with a long-shot solution that could extend Dixie’s life. She begs Shahir to go out on a limb and treat Dixie with experimental viral therapy. They will inject the polio virus into the tumor and it will hopefully slow down the cancer’s growth. Shahir doesn’t want to risk his reputation, especially now that he’s the interim chief. Alex tugs on his heartstrings (a manipulative move, according to Shahir) by introducing him to Dixie and her grandfather. Naturally, Shahir is reminded of his grandmother and how he would do anything to help her. Stickler Shahir caves and they conduct the procedure. Phew! Go Team ShAlex!
At first, the treatment feels peaceful, until Dixie suddenly loses her sight. The tumor has expanded and is pressing on her optic nerve, so they operate and remove it. Thankfully, her vision is restored. They had a little scare, but Dixie makes it. She’s going to need constant care and Grampy Guido is more than happy to care his granddaughter, sweetly saying, “It’s my turn.” Awww! Grampy Guido and Dixie’s touching bond is breaking our hearts, in a really good way. Somebody pass me the tissues already! So many feels… Alex and Shahir pulled through for Dixie, but sadly she isn’t the only one facing a tough battle against cancer.
Dana receives some bad news while trying to help Elizabeth (Charlotte Sullivan) learn how to live a “normal” life after that terrible acid attack in “Miss You”. Elizabeth has been scarred, physically and emotionally. During physical therapy with Dana and Jackson, Elizabeth says that she doesn’t want go home and she surely won’t go back to her job as a social worker. Her frightening injuries are causing her to withdraw from the world. In the midst of trying to get Elizabeth back on her feet, Dana gets an upsetting phone call.
Dana’s cancer has returned and she will need more chemotherapy. It is the moment she has feared ever since she went into remission. Cassie is there to comfort her, but what Dana really wants is to confide in her friend, Alex. Unfortunately, when Dana is eager to share her news, Alex bulldozes the conversation with her own case related troubles. Since when does Dana ever come out and says that she wants to talk? This was big oversight on Alex’s part. Yeah, sure, how is she supposed to know? But still, a little awareness wouldn’t hurt. In the middle of her personal crisis, Dana pulls through for Alex and offers solid advice by urging her to find a way to help her patient and hospital. Once Alex’s dilemma is addressed, she asks about Dana. A little too late there buddy. At this point, Dana doesn’t want to talk about it and you can’t really blame her.
This unsettling news gives Dana new perspective on how to help Elizabeth move on her life, despite the obstacles she will face. Inspiration comes from where you’d least expect it: Tori Spelling. She said, “Normal is subjective.” Well, you have to admit, that is a good soundbite. Plus, it is true. Nothing is technically “normal.” Everyone faces obstacles they need to overcome in life and it comes down to a matter of perspective.
As Jackson escorts Elizabeth out, a little girl is startled by her scars. Her mother was burnt by boiling water and she’s afraid her mom will share Elizabeth’s fate. It’s funny how sometimes strangers can put life in perspective for you. In an effort to comfort the girl, she ends up having an epiphany.
Getting sick doesn’t change who we are, it just makes us stronger. Since the girl liked her scarf so much, she removes her security blanket a pays it forward, giving the girl and her mom a little bit of the hope that she has newly found. Dana sees this sweet moment and is finds comfort in the progress Elizabeth making. Hopefully, moments like this will help Dana through her arduous journey to recovery.
By episode’s end, Dana finally has that chat with Alex. She doesn’t want her friend to give her the “oh you have cancer look.” She’s going to beat this thing, she just needs a couple of days. In the meantime, Alex is sworn to secrecy. Not even Dana’s daughter, Molly, knows the bad news yet. However heartbreaking it is, at least Dana knows she can lean on Cassie and Alex for support.
Sigh. This was a load episode, Hopefuls. Wendy Crewson and Michael Shanks delivered exceptional and moving performances. How are you feeling about the season so far? Are you happy Charlie has made a supernaturally savvy friend? Do you think Alex needs to be a little more aware of her loved ones’ needs? Are you worried about Dana? Share your thoughts 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.