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Review: Saving Hope peels back the truth

They say that what was lost can be found, but that certainly didn’t seem to be the case with Thursday night’s Saving Hope (“Stand By Me”). With multiple characters walking out on loves by the final few minutes, it was hard not to leave the episode feeling like a kid who just spent 50 or so minutes rummaging through a Lost & Found bin and turning up with nothing but sad memories of the things that used to be something to someone.

First and foremost, we have to talk about the fact that Alex blew out whatever flame her and Charlie had left by admitting that she doesn’t love him “anymore.” It’s something that we’ve seen coming given her post-coma behaviour, but hearing her actually say it was a whole other matter entirely, sparking what could be a whole new, spark-less chapter for the couple. Seeing Charlie’s–or more accurately, Michael Shanks’–face as it all went down was truly wrenching (he gave her his heart and breakfast in bed and she gave him … the worst relationship diagnosis ever!) too. It’s quite impressive that Shanks was able to pull that level of emotion off while also directing the episode, his first of the series.

With Shanks in the director chair, it’s not really a surprise Charlie was more of a side character this episode, making way for more Alex, Gavin and Joel. While she might not be doing so well in the personal department, it’s great to see Alex doing the opposite professionally, finally finding her way after some minor back-to-work struggles. Our girl came back to some interesting cases (a man with organs on the opposite side!) for sure, but what was more engaging about her return to Hope Zion was her small side issues, including a minor incident involving her being afraid of her own underboob blood (OK, that sounded crass, but that’s the quickiest–and dirtiest–way to describe it). It’s always weird to consider the fact that a doctor might not be interested in their own biology, but Alex has every right to be worried about minor injuries right now. I can only hope that after this she invests in a sturdy, non-wire sports bra while her stitches fully heal.

It’s going to be hard to heal after the other lost love-themed plotline played out, with Gavin leaving Maggie and Hope Zion behind after having a mega breakdown. His story was the most poetically erratic one of the episode, starting out more or less hilarious as he accidentally got high on LSD tablets (Kristopher Turner really knows how to play ridiculous stoned, saying lines like “I’m an orange!” with both infinite sadness and glee) and finishing things in the most depressing way possible. Taking a break from things might be the best decision for Gavin as a character, especially given how much he broke down over Maggie and the baby that could have been, but it doesn’t make it less upsetting. Turner brought some nice comic relief, as well as total adorableness, to Saving Hope, not to mention some really sweet jackets. At least he got to go out in a blazer of glory (seriously though, that grey one was way sharp).

I joke, but only as a defense mechanism. Gavin truly was one of the more interesting Hope Zion regulars, and seeing the series without him is not something I’m looking forward to doing and living. But at least we still have Joel around for some interesting side action, as evidenced by his compelling solo piece this episode.

Although there is plenty of compelling relationship drama to be had in the Hope Zion canon, sometimes it’s nice to see a non-romantic subplot take centre stage. We got to see that here first as Alex tried to get back into the professional zone and Joel was forced to do deal with a clinic patient’s emotional trauma in addition to his physical one. The latter plot had a nice mixture of medical and personal reactions, as Joel had to deal with a Ugandan man’s bullet wound and scarring past with homophobia. I almost wish we could have spent more time learning about that man and his brother, who fled their home country to try to avoid getting persecuted for his sexuality. But perhaps this episode already had enough harsh reality to go around.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to peel an orange as well as my emotional security blanket (literally my blanket) back and attempt to find a way to deal with all the loss I experienced last night.

Saving the best for last:

  • Patient: “She just called me fat!” Alex: “I mean fleshy!”
  • “I’m just not a big fan of poo.” Maggie might be best out of context.
  • Zero to Horny in 2.5 Beers. Joel, we all know you’re keeping that shirt.
  • For those wondering if Turner will be back on the show this season, I’m very sorry.

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

Emily Gagne

Emily Gagne

Emily has been analyzing her favourite shows since she wrote about how much she loved Goosebumps in her school journals. She spent three years writing about Canadian TV for TV Guide Canada and now runs a completely girl-powered movie and TV blog called Cinefilles. She loves talking about puns, Breaker High-lights and dorky, but strong female characters.
Emily Gagne
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3 thoughts on “Review: Saving Hope peels back the truth”

  1. So impressed with Michael Shanks’ directing….his acting is always so perfect….how that man can emote and isn’t afraid to show his feelings…he brought out the same in Kristopher Turner who rung my heart out…

    Also loving Mrs Shanks/Ms Doig as the kick ass doctor who pulls no punches – literally – sadly I think she’ll be sacrificed as another “passing fling” for Joel to add “spice” to the rather cliched Love Triangle….but hey ho…

    But this was Mr Shanks’ triumph…hope he gets to direct a LOT more…

  2. Not looking forward to seeing this episode. I really liked Gavin and have nothing but hatred for annoying Maggie. She’s probably my least favourite character currently on television (of the shows I watch), even surpassing Laurel Lance from Arrow, Tony from Orphan Black, Princess Aslaug from Vikings, Teddy from Nashville, Camille from Originals and Elena from Vampire Diaries.

  3. I’m so sorry for K! I also cannot believe Mr. Turner is out. His character gave the show a depth for truth in life and his acting was genuine and heartfelt. He didn’t do the routine stereotype quack.
    I wonder what happened that might have caused him to leave? Mr. Shanks did him justice directing. I will head over to the FB page and comment. I really don’t do comments but this is special.
    Many, Many Thank U’s and Best Wishes for a Great Life to Mr. Turner!

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