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Review: Saving Hope delves into the past

I’ve always been interested when a background component to a major character gets introduced on a television show, more often than not creating a major shake-up from the norm. For Wednesday’s Saving Hope, that concept involved two different characters, one major and one minor. Joel had to come face to face with the father he resents to his core, while Sydney–who hasn’t gotten much central storyline time so far this season–had to face a crush from the past whose life she meddled with. In the end, both characters ended up uncovering something about themselves that will be sure to shape the show as the season progresses.

Since I haven’t seen every single episode ever made of Saving Hope, I’m not completely aware whether the story of Joel’s father has ever surfaced before. But if his dad has been introduced it didn’t matter much, since viewers were given a lovely little rundown of the fact that Joel’s dad left his mom, that his dad is a little bit of a male cougar and that Joel’s resentment ran deep for the guy. So when his father collapsed and Joel found out his dad had been using his very own body to experiment with stem cell research, I knew it was going to be a moment that either brought the two closer together–as tragedies tend to–or helped Joel realize something deeper in his life. It turned out the latter, as he was finally able to admit to Alex that he was terrified of turning into his father but really wanted to be there for the baby. You could see in Alex’s eyes how much the declaration meant to her, and although the two didn’t seem too lovey-dovey it was a milestone moment.

The other character whose backstory came into play was Sydney, on the scene to help a couple with complicated pregnancy problems and instead had to deal with the wrath of an angry ex. I was surprised at first that Alex and Maggie never pressed Sydney to find out why she and the patient, Marion, had so much beef. But when it was finally revealed at the end of the episode that Sydney basically came out to Marion’s parents on her behalf, my heart went out to the poor, pregnant lady. I won’t judge Sydney for poor decisions at 17, but I still can’t imagine having that taken out of your control and did understand why she’d still be sour grapes knowing Sydney would be the one to deliver her baby. In the end, the two were able to get over their differences (next time someone’s mad at me I’m using the lullaby approach), but further opening up about her past brought Maggie and Sydney together as the two ended up hooking up. It’s certainly been a long time coming, so I’m relieved to see the writers address the sexual tension between the two.

While those two storylines were unfolding, Charlie had his own hospital drama to deal with after a sweet old lady, Iris, came in with some suspicious bone fractures. Elderly abuse isn’t something that’s talked about much, so I was already pretty happy Saving Hope decided to tackle a storyline about it. I was even more content that the storyline instead focused on Iris’ grandson, Cameron, and his mental illness that was going untreated. It made me feel better knowing Cameron had probably thought he’d been helping his grandma the whole time by feeding her his drugs, and that he and his grandma were still there for each other at the end of the episode.

The sweetest side story of the night, however, came as Charlie met the “kinda awesome” spirit of Henry, a little boy who couldn’t find his body anywhere. The kicker? After joking about dying and not knowing, it turned out Henry had died and his organs had helped saved the lives of many other children. I actually almost teared up as Charlie told Henry he “did the most amazing thing anyone can do” by being an organ donor. But not only did viewers take notice of his behaviour around the children who’d received Henry’s organs, but we caught that glimpse of Alex looking onward with a smile on her face. They may not have directly addressed it this episode, but it’s gotta be nice for Alex knowing that whoever’s baby it is, it’ll be in gentle, trying hands.

Notes

  • Great directoral work from Rookie Blue‘s Gregory Smith on this one.
  • Anyone else able to spot the Royal York hotel during those scenes with Joel and his dad?

Saving Hope airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Thoughts? Hit us up in the comments below or on Twitter via @tv_eh.

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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2 thoughts on “Review: Saving Hope delves into the past”

  1. Pretty sure the only mention of Joel’s father was earlier this season when Joel headed to New Zealand for his fifth wedding…and that marriage is already failing. Looks like Joel is so afraid of turning into his father that he actually is, in a way.

    At the moment it’s show vs tell with Joel and Charlie. Joel says he wants to be there for the baby if it’s his, while Charlie is setting the bar fairly high. Loved Charlie and Henry. Couldn’t figure out who Henry was, that was a good twist.

    Looks like next week will be huge. The possible ‘revealing’ moment I’ve been expecting for a long time now. Can’t wait!

  2. It certainly helps that Michael Shanks is a dedicated father to three children aged from 9 to 16 as his understanding and working with kids on set is a revelation in how to truly be a father…

    Alex and her baby will be in safe hands with Charlie if Mr Shanks continues his most excellent portrayal of a fascinating and complex character and for me, the mainstay of this series..

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