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Review: Saving Hope tackles competence and consent

You knew it would be a Saving Hope that hit you straight in the feels as soon as the adorable Will was introduced to viewers on Thursday. The man with Down syndrome and his ability to give consent was the real focus of the evening, with the doctors split on whether or not to allow him to be an organ donor for his mother. To make matters even more complicated, Charlie was left acting as the mediator between the in-limbo mother, Will and the living.

It was emotional enough seeing Will react to the accident, his guilt over the car crash spilling all over the place as Charlie was left trying to hold him together. But it was even more emotional seeing his mother, Katie, argue with Charlie that it was “non-negotiable” she survive to continue taking care of her son (which is SUCH a mom thing to say). Of course, being the only one to communicate between Will and his mom in the spirit world meant Charlie was wrangled by the mother to help ease the son, something that could’ve become much messier had Charlie tried to tell the tribunal board it was too dangerous for Will to be an organ donor and ultimately prevented him from going through with the surgery. In the end I’m glad the situation didn’t wind up more complicated than that, and Charlie was able to help the three get through the trauma, acting as a rock for poor Will. If only Katie could remember all that Charlie did for them after waking up.

Speaking of the tribunal board, I thought it was really interesting seeing the storyline focus on whether Will was capable of giving consent for the surgery or not, especially since oftentimes actual legalities are left far away from medical dramas. Props to the Saving Hope writers on that one.

Although the storyline felt a little overacted at times, the best part of the episode was undoubtedly Will’s speech to the tribunal board, listing off all the things he participates in and has accomplished to prove his competence and give consent in donating a piece of his liver. Will’s desire to be more independent was inspiring and sweet, and by the end of the episode it felt almost catharctic to see each character come around and understand how much Will can contribute to society and do on his own.

The lighter side of the night surprisingly revolved around pets … or at least, a pet and a snake let loose throughout the hospital.  The snake was equal parts fun as it was disgusting (unsanitary much?!) and led to some hilarious moments delivered by Zach, who is rightfully afraid of the reptiles. I actually laughed out loud at his terrified statement about the “snake that causes eyes to bleed” roaming the hospital halls, and giggled every time Dawn mentioned the hazardous waste “code brown” every time it was announced.

The final thing that needs to be mentioned about the episode was that kiss between the overly emotional Dawn and Charlie, with Dawn mourning the loss of her guinea pig and Charlie mourning the loss of Alex. I enjoyed how at ease Alex and Charlie seemed to be with each interaction they had, even though it was clearly eating him up inside, so it made sense that by the end he’d be looking for some sort of emotional release. I’m not sure if their connection is going to be something concrete or not in the future, but at the end of the day you can’t really blame two lost people when they find one another.

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

Samantha Sobolewski

Samantha Sobolewski

For just over two years, Samantha Sobolewski was a television critic for TV Guide Canada, where she interviewed the likes of Sophia Bush, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Kevin Smith, Liam Cunningham and many others. You can find her in her final year at Ryerson's School of Journalism, freelancing, watching The West Wing or on Twitter @samsobolewski
Samantha Sobolewski

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3 thoughts on “Review: Saving Hope tackles competence and consent”

  1. Very well done on the Will storyline. Interesting that his mother wasn’t there to hear his speech, and I’m glad Charlie backed down afterward. Wonder how many times Alex will ignore the mention of Charlie’s ghost-talking before she talks to him (or someone else) about it.

    Very well put on the last line. Whether it leads to anything or not Charlie and Dawn were there for each other and I thought that was a great moment between them.

  2. Loved the comment that Alex would allow a NSDTR in her apartment. Maybe she should follow through and get a Toller as a pet. Or, someone else in the building could ask her to sit and the Toller could react to the quasi-ghosts that only Charlie can see. Saving Hope always surprises me. Great writing and superior acting.

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