Sigh, Hopefuls. Usually I excitedly dig deep into each episode, but the final season of ‘Saving Hope’ keeps thrusting sucker punches into my gut. If you’ve followed my coverage of the show, you know how invested I’ve become in these characters’ stories over the years, especially Charlie and Alex’s roller coaster romance. Forgive me for straying from the norm and brace yourselves for my very emotional and character-driven review of the past three episodes: “Birthday Blues,” “A Stranger Comes to Town,” and “Tested and Tried.”
When Alex broke-up with Charlie at the beginning of this season, he begged her not to throw their happiness away. He understands that she’s had a rough life. He had one too. The difference is that Charlie doesn’t let fear stop him. He will fight for Alex and Baby Luke, no matter the consequences. Alex is so hung up on this silly curse theory, that she can’t see the truth before her very eyes.
Alex is staying away from Charlie to save him, but her withdrawal is actually causing him more pain than the curse ever could. Say the curse is real and being with Charlie may eventually lead to his death. If that is Alex’s worst case scenario, then at least we know Charlie would die happy. All he’s ever wanted was to be a family with Alex. He’d leave this world knowing that he loved them with every beat of his heart and they loved him back.
“Birthday Blues” reminds us of Alex’s demons. She hates her birthday. Her friends desperately try cheering her up on the big day every year, but nothing works. There is a valid reason for that too. Alex’s father killed himself on her birthday. As if that isn’t horrifying enough, she’s the one who found his body. How so very traumatizing and heartbreaking. Her birthday officially became the worst day of her life from that moment on. Her father left this earth on his own terms and that act haunts Alex until this very day. How can it not?
Everybody doesn’t know about her horrifying birthday past, so when Maggie throws her a surprise party, she think’s she doing her gal-pal a favor. Maybe if she clued Charlie in, he would’ve warned her not to because walking into a surprise party is a nightmare for Alex. What’s even worse is the stunned look on poor Charlie’s face. No, Alex, he wan’t invited because you made things awkward by dumping him. The only person in the room who truly understands how she feels and what she needs on this day, is the one person who has to leave. Annoying! In other Hope Zion relationship news…
Maggie has three speed dates at the hospital.
All of which are epic fails. We thought the
last guy would be a keeper. He helped Maggie set-up the party and then hooked up with another chick. Alex and Maggie laugh it off, but it’s a total jerk move. At least she’s taking Zach’s advice and putting herself out there.
Dawn asks Zach to move in with her and he says yes. He’s clearly thrown by the idea, but
still loves Dawn and wants to be with her. She realizes that she may not have thought it through. After a sweet chat, they decide to take a leap together by finding a new place of their own. That way it’ll be a fresh start for them both. Awww! I really loves these two together. They truly are a power couple. Their happiness is making up for the ChAlex drama.
“A Stranger Comes to Town” opens with Alex cruising into Hope Zion on a motorcycle. What…Really?! She’s in full-blown mid-life crisis mode, even though she’s too young for it. Charlie gives her a look, which is pretty much the same expression I have on my face as I watch. She has a baby at home and her job has proven to be dangerous enough. What the hell is she thinking? Alex tells Charlie that he knows she’s always wanted a bike and she’s being safe. She’s only riding once a week and taking it easy when she does. Okay…
Alex is unraveling before our very eyes. She is regressing and acting like a rebellious teenager. She’s also letting her Hope Zion family down by being reckless. A new CEO, Thomas Leferin (Joe Dinicol) is re-evaluating the hospital’s needs and breathing down Dawn’s neck in the process. When Maggie tells Dawn that Alex is taking a lat minute mental-health day off, it comes at a very inopportune time.
Manny hops into the hospital to grab a medical kit on his day off. Alex bumps into him and finds out what’s going on. He’s going to treat Mia, a teenage runaway who is part of his Youth Group. Alex bails on work and joins him. She eventually convinces Mia to go with them to the hospital, promising that her mother will not be contacted.
Dawn catches Alex in the hall and expresses her disappointment. She can’t just flake out like that, coming and going on a whim. When Alex asks for an OR to operate on Mia, Dawn denies her request. She wanted the day off, so that’s what she’ll get. Of course,
Alex isn’t one to let go or abandon a patient in need. She disobeys Dawn and successfully operates on Mia. Dawn doesn’t fire Alex because she saved the girl’s life, but she can’t pull another stunt like that again. Fair enough.
After laying the hammer down as a boss, Dawn expresses her concern as a friend. Alex hasn’t been acting like herself. This is more than just about her break-up with Charlie. What gives? Alex says she’s fine and heads out.
Manny catches Alex trying to take a selfie with her bike in the parking lot. He offers to take the picture for her and they both start opening up to each other. She asks why he left the seminary. Manny explains how he couldn’t save his brother. Well, that’s something Alex can relate to. They are both feeling lost in their lives and are trying to figure things out. Maybe they can find some peace in the simple things and go through life’s latest bumpy ride together. So Manny and Alex drive off into the sunset.
Oh boy, I like Manny, but I don’t like what’s happening here. The break-up started off as a way to protect Charlie, but now it feels like Alex is going out of the way to hurt him. The poor guy is in a tough spot.
Dawn knows how much this break-up is killing Charlie, so she has her main-man help out her ex. That’s right! Zach and Charlie, the “two angry loners,” bond over beers at a sports bar. It’s like art imitating life! Assuming you follow @MichaelShanks and @BenjaminAyres on twitter 🙂
I also love how we see Dawn following through on her bet with Dana. The bunny outfit
and hourly photos were all adorable! It’s great to see the lighter side of Dawn. She’s been through hell in her personal life and has so much responsibility professionally, so it’s wonderful to see her have fun when she can. I think Zach a huge part of that too. Go Zawn!
Going into the most recent episode, I was hoping we’d see Charlie’s ghost doctoring take center stage again. So far the final season has been giving me Season 3 deja vu. I feel like a lot of the show’s focus has shifted away from Charlie’s gift and the incredibly moving ghost stories they’re able to tell. Instead, the show is backpedaling and leading us into another annoying love triangle with lost and confused Alex at its center. ‘Saving Hope’ and Alex is on the brink of pushing fans over the edge.
“Tested and Tried” has some great moments, but it is also one of the most frustrating episodes this season. Thomas is taking over and changing the kind of treatment Hope Zion provides. Dawn and Zach feel like they’re in a losing battle against bureaucracy. If she wants to keep her job, Dawn must follow Thomas’ orders. Similarly, Zach will be shadowed in the E.R. and warns his team that everything has to be perfect for their big evaluation. So you just know everything is going to go wrong…Although we didn’t expect a bunch of dogs would get loose and poop all over the ER.
Tensions are beginning to rise on the ChAlex front. Charlie misses his little boy and wants to spend more time with him. He makes a bit of a desperate move by having Luke’s babysitter take the day off and drop him off at the hospital. Charlie wants to give Hope Zion’s day care a try, so that he can spend time with Luke while work.
Alex is upset when she finds out what Charlie did behind her back. He pleads his case. Now that they aren’t living together, he never has a chance to see his son and it is not fair. She understands and agrees to give day care a try. If Luke feels comfortable being there, she’s okay with it. But perhaps that still isn’t enough father-son time for him.
As the episode ends, we see Charlie staring at a form for a paternity test. After Joel’s death, Charlie told Alex he did not care who Baby Luke’s birth father is: “If he’s yours, he’s ours.” Swoon, sigh, and all the feels. Unfortunately, their break-up complicates things The “ours” is gone. Alex is Baby Luke’s mother and has official say over what happens to her son. So Charlie is forced to explore his options. If Charlie is Luke’s birth father, then he has legal rights. The buck won’t stop with Alex. Wow. We never thought their relationship or Baby Luke’s upbringing would ever come to this.
It is strange because Michael Shanks and Daniel Gillies believed Baby Luke was Joel’s. Charlie was an even bigger and better man for loving a child that may not be his own blood. From a storytelling perspective, that is a bold and deeply emotional move. But even that has changed. Now, we want Luke to be Charlie’s even more than before. He wants to be a father to this boy in every way. You can’t help but wonder: If Baby Luke ends up being Joel’s, will Charlie legally adopt him so that he can have custody?
Charlie isn’t the only father who wants the best for his son. This episode brings us one of the stronger supernatural cases this season when a father witness protection comes out of hiding to save his son’s life.
I love the supernatural aspect of “Saving Hope.” It’s what sets this show apart from all of the other medical dramas, but the ghost stories haven’t delivered the goosebumps I’ve grown accustomed to feeling. I liked the twist in “Birthday Blues,” when the skeptical ghost debunker discovers that his childhood friend has been haunting him in a good way for all of these years. But it was just a side story.
In “A Stranger Comes To Town,” Todd, a war re-en-actor who believes to be the historical figure he’s portraying, provides some comic relief as we see Charlie trying to make sense of the actor’s bizarre babble. He saves the day, as expected, but the ghost doctoring doesn’t really have the extra panache we’re used to. It felt more like a call back to the good old when Charlie uses the phone trick and tries not to look crazy while dealing with a puzzling spirit.
“Tested and Tried” gives us a supernatural encounter that is full of feels. Alex and Manny treat Colin, a young boy in dire need of a liver transplant, but they haven’t been able to find him a match. His father, Danny (Greg Bryk), might be a match, but he is in witness protection because he is about to testify against the biker gang he used to roll with. He takes a life threatening risk and sneaks into Hope Zion to help his son.
At first, Danny startles us by grabbing Alex, but quickly wins her over once he explains his motives. Alex soon brings Manny in on the secret. They exchange goo-goo eyes while treating father and son. It is very touching to see the family reunited and we are relieved to learn that Danny is in fact able to save his son’s life. While Alex and Manny work on Danny, his spirit pays Charlie a visit.
They spot a biker who has come to kill Danny, so Charlie warns Alex of the impending danger. Manny starts asking questions about Charlie, but Alex brushes them all off and focuses on their surgeries instead. They take precautions to keep Danny as safe as possible. Except the hospital fails to do so.
Posting a guard in front of Danny’s room is like lighting a neon “kill me” sign over his head. The guard even lets a random doctor enter Danny’s room when only a handful of people are allowed to check on him. When the bad guy successfully executes the hit on Danny, we’re very sad, but not surprised.
Danny just wants to say goodbye to his son before moving on, so Charlie takes him into Colin’s OR during his liver transplant. As Danny pours his heart out, the boy’s spirit appears. This is going on my list of favorite supernatural moments because it is so moving. We’ve seen ghosts say “goodbye” to their loved ones, but it hasn’t happened with both of them in spirit form like this. It is heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. Danny made the ultimate sacrifice for Colin and that is what he’ll be lovingly remembered for.
The whirlwind of emotions continues even after Colin’s case is settled. Alex and Manny have been working awfully close together. We’ve seen their constant glances, whether it’s during a surgery or passing each other in the halls. At the end of the day, Manny asks about Charlie again and Alex says she doesn’t want to talk about it. Then she kisses him.
Whoa! What the hell, Alex?! I thought ‘Saving Hope’ moved pass this after Joel died, but apparently they have not. It seems like after every break-up with Charlie, she goes running into the arms of another man. She literally just shattered Charlie’s heart into pieces. Her life is clearly a hot mess. Now she’s complicating things even more by rebounding with a co-worker.
This is going to crush Charlie. It also makes Alex look weak. Is it impossible for her to be alone and sort things out for a while? Why is she always seeking comfort in a man? Plus, if she’s cursed and ruins everybody’ life, then why would she risk jeopardizing Manny’s life? Or is the curse only after Charlie, the one man who has unconditionally loved her for years?
As you can tell, I am peeved and disappointed. I expect more from this show and from Alex. I don’t know how much input Erica Durance has in Alex’s storyline as an actress and producer on the show. All I know is that I wouldn’t be thrilled with Alex’s character development because it is full of transgressions. If Alex needs to figure things out, then she should take time to clear her head instead of repeating the same mistakes and jumping into another tryst. Am I right?
This is the final season. We’re supposed to be building up into happy endings for characters we’ve championed. ChAlex has endured enough. Charlie and Alex have made mistakes (Alex more-so than Charlie). They finally reached a good place and as fans, we just want to see them be happy. Create other obstacles that they can face as a team because this back-and-forth cycle of breaking-up and hooking-up with some else has grown stale. I’m not just saying this because I’ve always been on Team Charlie. I’m looking at the picture as a whole. I want to cheer for Alex, but right now her behavior is pushing every last nerve.
How do you all feel about Alex this season? Are you sick and tired of the soapy love triangle? Why do you think Alex is throwing herself into a new romance? Should she try to find a way to make things work with Charlie instead? Are we losing hope that ChAlex will ever be together again?
Side-note: Maggie is starting to spend a lot of time with Bree (Rebecca Liddiard). Are these two ladies falling for each other?