‘Saving Hope‘s’ penultimate episode teaches us how sometimes you need to go back to the beginning before moving forward in life. Dana and Shahir are inspired by a coma patient who wakes-up with amnesia. Charlie and Alex return to the goal they started this wonderful series with and set out to get married. Their plans are delayed when they come to the aid of an injured bride and missing groom. We also learn more about Jackson’s personal life (finally!) when he bonds with Zach’s patient who is in liver failure. Staying true to the show’s essence, “First and Last” illustrates how doctors and patients influence each others’ lives and grow from their time spent at Hope Zion.
Forget Me Not
Liam Quinn (Matt Gordon) wakes-up from his coma and thinks he is still 19 years old. Although he’s only been out for a few weeks, he’s lost 20 years worth of memories. Dana joins Shahir on this case and we see how the two have different approaches to rehabilitating Liam. Dana is ready to lay out the truth, but Shahir insists on being more sensitive. The brain is very fragile and they do not want to cause irreversible damage by shocking Liam any more than need be. Nonetheless, he still ends up stunned when his wife walks through the door.
Elise is so excited to see her husband. She rushes in, showering him with hugs and kisses. Liam is confused and overwhelmed. He finds it hard to believe the truth. While Dana and Shahir debate what the best course of action is for Liam, his wife finds a way to reach out without causing him to shut down.
She returns with a basket of his favorite food, cocktail and reminders of the memories they’ve made together. She loves him and it’s okay if he doesn’t remember. They’ll just go back to the start and fall in love all over again by recreating those memories. Awww!
Dana and Shahir find a valuable lesson in Elise’s approach with Liam. They are both at a crossroads and are re-evaluating what they want in life. Dana asks Shahir why he wanted to adopt in the first place. It’s because he and Jonathon were so happy and in love, they just wanted to share their joy. Shahir became so overwhelmed by the adoption process that he forget the reason why he wanted to be with Jonathon and have a baby.
Jonathon is still miffed by Shahir’s doubts, but they still love each other. They just need to clear the air and patch things up. Plus, it seems like Shahir still wants a baby after all and that will surely make Jonathon happy. We haven’t given up on these lovebirds just yet. Now it’s Dana’s turn to come clean.
She plans on meeting with the TV network about the medical show the twin filmmakers’ father had mentioned in “We Need to Talk About Charlie Harris.” It’s a great opportunity, but it feels like she’s taking a step backwards. She doesn’t want to pander to the public by chatting about plastic surgery on some superficial show. The reason why she started this trauma rotation was to do more good, but she’s just wiped out from the hectic schedule. So…what does Dana really want to do?
Dana calls the charming producer (whom she is dating) and says that she appreciates the offer, but it’s just not right for her. She then approaches Dawn and says she wants to open up a burn treatment center at Hope Zion. The hospital could use a stand-out clinic to set them apart, so it would be a win-win. Dawn likes the idea and tells Dana they can discuss it more later.
Well played, ‘Saving Hope’! They are doing a fine job of bringing in storylines from the past five seasons and making them really resonate. Dana did some of her most satisfying work when she applied her plastic surgery skills to treat Elizabeth in Season Four’s “Miss You” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?“. This is a brilliant plan and it let’s fans know that Dana will have a bright future doing fulfilling work.
Going to the Chapel
The day has finally arrived! Charlie and Alex are planning their wedding and they’re starting by scoping out nearby venues. Of course, nothing ever comes easy for ChAlex. The first church they visit is coincidentally hosting the Reed and Harrish wedding. That must be a good sign…Right?
The bride, Nadine (Gwenlyn Cumyn), is freaking out because the groom, Foster (Aris Athanasopoulos), has disappeared. She fears he ran off with a case of cold feet. She frantically searches for her beau and takes a severe stumble down the stairs. Charlie and Alex rush to her side and reveal the gruesome broken leg (bone sticking out and all) hidden beneath her wedding gown. She was lucky they happened to be there.
They rush Nadine to Hope Zion where Alex and Charlie remain a comforting presence in her time of need. Her surgeon may not be Charlie (which feels so strange), but she’ll still be in good hands. Gradually, we get the scoop on their love affair and find out why Foster went MIA.
It was love at first sight for Nadine when she met Foster by chance on a hike. They weren’t able to keep in touch, but he was always on her mind. Then they bumped into each other on another adventure one year later, exactly to the day. They chalk it up to destiny and decide to get married on the anniversary of the day they met. It’s a sentimental superstition that ChAlex can relate to.
When Foster finally reaches the hospital, he explains to Charlie why he disappeared. He wanted to find a quite place to write the perfect vows for his bride. He is still deeply in love with her and feels horrible about what happened. Good news: they both still want to get married. Bad news: they may need to settle on a different date. Or do they…?
Alex is afraid that their curse rubbed off on the happy couple. Everything seemed to be fine until ChAlex showed up. She knows it’s silly, but that’s just how she feels and she needs to make things right. Alex wants to make sure their wedding takes place on their destined date as planned. If she can pull this off for them, then maybe the curse will be broken. I love how understanding Charlie is of Alex, even if he doesn’t agree, he’s always loving and supportive. In another ‘Saving Hope’ first, we get to see a hospital wedding.
As luck would have it, one of the nurses is ordained and can marry them on the spot. While Alex plays wedding planner, we see that Charlie’s ghost whispering is pretty subdued in this episode. Once Nadine’s spirit learns that the wedding is still on, she smiles at Charlie and is elated to get back to her life. ChAlex looks on as the lovebirds get married.
After years of obstacles and postponements, Alex realizes that there is no reason to wait any longer. She is inspired by the newlyweds and wants to marry Charlie right there and then. Awww!!!! All they need to do is have the babysitter bring Luke over because they can’t get married without their little man. Adorable!
The stage is set for the wedding we’ve been waiting for, but there is still one more hiccup that has us on edge. Hope Zion receives word of a major accident and loads of patients will be arriving at the hospital in mere moments. It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation. Will Charlie and Alex’s wedding be postponed yet again?!
We’ll have to wait and see until the finale. But at this point, we doubt it. The series has to end with Charlie and Alex officially becoming husband and wife…it’s been five seasons in the making!
Jackson’s Second Chance
Over the years, we’ve grown to love Jackson. He’s always been there for others, even though he’s never been the major focal point of a storyline. He’s had a few amusing b-line stories, like the embarrassing bedroom confession he made to Maggie. But we usually see him partaking in some witty repartee with Zach, lending a hand, and imparting wisdom. Regardless of the narrative, Joseph Pierre, has been a beloved presence on the show and his performance always been applauded by Hopefuls. We are thrilled to see him have a meaningful arc before the series ends.
Zach and Jackson treat Randy Rogen (Jason Blicker), a down-on-his-luck nice guy who is running late for a very important job interview. While they check him out, Randy requests to make a phone call because he really can’t miss this job opportunity. Jackson hands over his cell and overhears the negative response Randy receives. The poor guy still isn’t giving up hope. He wonders if they can provide him with a doctor’s note to prove he isn’t lying about the ER visit. Wow, he’s really giving off an “aw-shucks” vibe.
The more we learn about Randy, the more we realize that this guy can’t seem to catch a break. He is about to lose his crappy apartment, he blew his job interview, and now he learns that he is in liver failure. We’ve seen a lot of sob stories over the years, but this one strikes a chord with Jackson. For some reason, he is really empathetic towards Randy and champions his cause.
Randy needs a new liver, but he is ineligible for the donor list. He has no residence and no one to care for him. It turns out he’s estranged from his family. Jackson tried reaching out to them, but they’ve washed their hands of him. Randy literally has nobody he can turn to. Jackson insists that they can’t simply let him die. Zach helps out by getting donations from his colleagues to pay for Randy’s rent. Seriously, Hope Zion’s docs are the sweetest! Now, they just need to find him a donor, which is a long-shot since his family is out of the picture.
Hope Zion is officially the place for miracles because Jackson is a match! He insists on donating part of his liver to Randy. Wow! And I thought donations were going above and beyond. Zach tries talking Jackson out of it because it’s too dangerous. What if something goes wrong? Zach can’t manage the ER without his best nurse. Awww! He turns to Bishop for some back-up and they learn why Jackson wants to do this.
He explains how Randy reminds him of his father. His dad was a drunk and eventually the family gave up on him. He cried wolf one too many times. So when he swore he had changed and reached out in need, the family turned their back on him. They didn’t believe he had truly changed his ways. It wasn’t until after he died from liver failure that Jackson learned his father was telling the truth this time. He really did get sober. He regrets not being there for his dad and feels like he can make things right by stepping up for Randy.
I’m really glad we got to learn something new about Jackson. He’s been such an important part of the team and it feels like we never really got to know that much about him. He’s always been a compassionate, loyal and caring person. It’s wonderful to see his colleagues and friends have his back too. Bishop supports Jackson’s decision and even admires him for it. He knows the consequences, so there’s no point in arguing. Although Zach is worried, he still supports his buddy too.
Jackson makes sure his snakes will be cared for and fed in his absence. He then gives the go-ahead for anesthesia. Something goes wrong as he starts slipping under. A rash appears on his chest as the machines sound alarms. It turns out that he’s allergic to the anesthesia and is going into shock. Oh-no!
That’s when ‘Saving Hope’ leaves us hanging. Why are you torturing us like this? We’re already stressed and sad enough heading into the series finale. We don’t need to worry about Jackson too! This show really enjoys toying with our emotions.
The series finale is approaching and all I can say is…
What did you think about “First and Last”? Was a spotlight cast on enough of the characters in the penultimate episode? Were you happy to see Jackson in a more featured role? Did you wish Charlie had a bigger ghost whispering story? How do you feel about Shahir and Dana’s storyline? Did you also like the way Liam’s case caused some retrospective introspection? Were you hoping for a big ChAlex wedding or do you like the idea of a simple ceremony at Hope Zion? Share your thoughts below!