All posts by 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

Review: Explosive Saving Hope season finale kills off character

When I figured Alex would have to make her final choice between Charlie and Joel, I never imagined it would come the way it did during the Saving Hope season finale.

Spoiler warning: turn back now if you haven’t seen Wednesday’s game-changing episode.

Sure, it was a given that Alex would end up going into labour at the same time she was writing her surgical boards, as the two most important events in one person’s life usually happen at the exact same time on television. And sure, it was clear something terrible was going to happen given the ominous white horse Charlie kept seeing all around the hospital. But Joel essentially self-sacrificing himself for Zach and getting blown up by the bomb post-surgery? Certainly didn’t see that one happening.

It was predictable, but I’ll admit that it was funny seeing Alex tell herself she’d be able to get through the surgical boards before delivering her baby. There’s absolutely no way I could write any test, let alone an oral surgical board exam, knowing I was inches away from popping a baby out. Erica Durance certainly sold the labour scenes extremely well, but no more so when she screamed at Maggie not to break her baby during the actual delivery. Also deserving serious props was Maggie for ditching the test with one to go to deliver her BFF’s baby.

After missing out on what sounded like a really cool surgical experience to Joel, Charlie wasn’t really up to anything too exciting at the hospital. Instead, what was so intriguing was how he kept seeing the white horse running around the halls, something I wasn’t sure had significance for an earlier episode or not. He had said he hadn’t been sleeping well and that he had a bad feeling, so I wasn’t sure if the horse vision had shown up before another bad incident or if Charlie was just a big equestrian fan. But when Charlie did declare his bad feeling I was on high alert for each of the characters.

Obviously, the birth of Alex’s baby could’ve easily been one where Charlie’s bad feeling came from. And for a few minutes it did look like there was a life-threatening complication. But when the birth of Luke went smoothly, I knew it was going to be either Zach or Joel’s life in danger. For some reason I pegged Zach as the one who’d end up hurt somehow, even going so far as to suspect he’d be in a car accident when Joel tricked him into leaving the dangerous surgical procedure to remove the bomb from the middle of the resident base bomb expert (how ironic, as they said). And the surgery generally seemed to be going ridiculously well, given how difficult it was to get the thing out from the bones of the soldier. Right up until Joel had the bomb in his hands I figured everything would be OK, although I did wonder why no one was on hand to either defuse or get rid of the bomb immediately after it was pulled from the soldier’s abdomen.

But then the horse appeared, and suddenly it all made sense. I jumped a mile when the bomb went off and needed a minute to comprehend that the show had actually just killed off such a serious main character—one of which was about to propose to Alex, nonetheless.

As much as I’ve absolutely loved the presence of Daniel Gillies throughout the show’s run, this past season has certainly made me feel like Joel and Alex were meant to be best friends more than lovers. Meanwhile, it was clear Alex’s heart still belonged to Charlie, particularly so at the very end of the season. So in the end if someone had to die, I think it was the right choice to have it be the sweet and beautiful Joel, whose death will certainly shake up everyone’s emotions at the hospital—none more than Zach.

How will Zach cope with survivor’s guilt? And will baby Luke end up being Joel’s after all? Those are two questions we’ll be taking with us until Saving Hope returns for another season.

Notes:

  • Anyone else hope Dawn and the two-finger guitar player start hooking up? Just me? OK.
  • Team Shalex t-shirts forever.
  • I wish we could be given a full list of the paternity pool and whom everyone was betting on.
  • How is Team Joel doing? Remember, you’re all in this together.

Thoughts? Let us know through the comments below or via @tv_eh.

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Review: A mother’s touch on Saving Hope

Mother’s Day seems to have come early for the Saving Hope crew.

Wednesday’s all-new episode, “Fearless,” put matriarchs front and centre in the action (as moms rightfully deserve to be), as some end-of-pregnancy thoughts made Alex ponder the type of mother she’ll be and the poor relationship with her own mother, one she hadn’t even shared the pregnancy news with.

Of course, whenever Alex has something going on in her life, there always seems to be a medical storyline that coincides with it. Cue the world’s most rude mother. Theresa (if I caught her name right) was a real piece-of-work, bitter about the way her life and two daughters (who seemed perfectly normal on all fronts) turned out. It only took Theresa’s comment about throwing Alex down a flight of stairs to terminate her pregnancy for me to quickly realize no one would be able to reason with her all night, which was quickly proven the case. Yet, somehow, her two daughters were able to put their mother’s baggage aside and stay by her side throughout her hospital stay, which included trying to command nurses to take her to the operating room and nearly dying after surgery.

If Theresa’s daughters were able to put aside the angst with their own mother, Alex could try with hers, right? Wrong, although I wish we could’ve actually heard the conversation the two had rather than just see Alex crying over it. Despite being shut out from the actual conversation, at least we were given some context to the rocky relationship the duo share through Alex’s conversations with Joel and Dana, which only reiterated the support system Alex has with her hospital friends.

Speaking of Joel, let’s be thankful he didn’t go through with his seriously dumb plan to pop the question to Alex. However, it seems everyone in the hospital now knows his intentions (not the smartest idea carrying the ring in your scrubs, buddy), which means sooner rather than later that news will probably travel to Charlie. Other than nearly making the biggest mistake of his life, Joel helped save the life of a young hockey player named Hayden involved in a car accident. Joel did a great thing for the boy, but I really didn’t agree with his decision to listen to Hayden’s girlfriend and lie to his face that his best friend, Shawn, had also died in the accident.

Naturally the sprit of the best friend was what Charlie was dealing with predominantly, although Shawn seemed like a really cool dude–minus the texting and driving offense. And Shawn was able to appeal to Charlie’s good nature and help convince Joel and Shahir they could repair Hayden’s back so he wouldn’t be paralyzed. (Has Charlie ever really said no to a ghost’s request before? Can Charlie say no to anyone?)

The most intriguing storyline of the night, however, came when Sydney’s fiancé, Herschel, checked himself in to the hospital, believing he was dying. First of all, I forgot Sydney even had a fiancé, what with her fling with Maggie. The two had zero chemistry together, which was another obvious sign that Sydney shouldn’t have been marrying him. Luckily, Sydney came to her senses and came clean to Herschel that she was gay, and although I don’t blame him for being upset with her, there was no better thing for her to do for herself. And hey, maybe Hershel was just upset that he just had a tapeworm pulled out of his nose.

Will Sydney and Maggie become a thing? Will Alex make a final choice between Joel and Charlie? Will the gang pass their medical boards? The season finale is almost upon us, so expect these questions and more to be addressed as Alex gets set to head into labour.

Notes:

  • That tapeworm might have been the worst thing I’ve ever seen on this show.
  • Alex: “These are the most beautiful flower cupcakes.” Maggie: “Actually these are vaginas.”
  • If Herschel didn’t realize his fiancée had the hots for another lady from the amount of personal information Sydney shared with him about Maggie, he needs to open his eyes a little bit.
  • Congrats to star Erica Durance for giving birth on Tuesday!

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

Thoughts? Hit is up below or via @tv_eh.

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Review: Full circle for Saving Hope

“I’m dying. Please don’t tell my wife.”

Is it a doctor’s job to tell someone their significant other is dying against that patient’s wishes? Where do you draw the line from keeping your personal feelings and professional job from intersecting? Both issues were the highlight of Wednesday’s Saving Hope, with Zach in the middle of a man’s wishes to keep his wife in the dark about Stage 4 lung cancer.

Seeing how happy and in love the couple were–because it takes a real couple to camp in a yert together–it was only a matter of time before one of the two were diagnosed with something terrible. Turned out it was the husband, Mike, who Zach discovered was hiding a pretty bad cancer diagnosis in order to live out his last days as happily as possible. Unfortunately, hiding something like that can be pretty difficult when a guy passes out in the middle of a hospital foyer. The struggle was easy to comprehend, but I still found it ridiculously wrong of Zach to defy Mike’s wishes and bring his wife into his hospital room while Maggie was in the middle of draining his lungs. The move felt cowardly to me, like it was the easy way out of his tough spot, and it didn’t seem like anyone was giving Zach enough flack for the move. After finding out Zach went through a similar situation as a teenager with his dad I understood his decision more, but still didn’t agree with it. But hey, at least he was able to bring the Northern Lights to the couple in that adorable closing scene.

While Zach was hit with the feels, Alex and Charlie were given a patient with the most original storyline of the night. I didn’t understand what the problem with Travis was right away, other than the fact that he was yelling way too much for me to enjoy and was going to jail for some reason. Turned out I didn’t understand what was wrong with him because the issue was internal; he swallowed multiple packs of cocaine to try and smuggle and sell in jail, one of which ended up exploding after he fell. Normally I don’t have a real appreciation for the surgery shots, but seeing Alex pull the little baggies out of Travis’ stomach and seeing one rupture was pretty cool and not something I’ve ever seen on a medical drama before.

While Charlie aided Alex he was also getting to the bottom of his own mystery: the spirit of a guy convinced he knew Alex from somewhere. I really loved how he ended up being the taxi driver who was driving Alex and Charlie in the pilot episode (that’s some bad luck you’ve got there, buddy), but more so I loved that he was holding Alex’s wedding vows in his pocket the whole time–despite how farfetched it is he’s had them chilling in his pocket the whole time.

She’s been hinting it for the past few episodes, but seeing Alex have the flashback to them kissing and with the wedding vows popping back up, it’s more clear than ever that Alex is leaning towards Team Charlie, a team that appears to be just as interested in Alex. But naturally, it also appears that Joel is suddenly feeling much more confident about his feelings for Alex–so much so that he ended the night by buying a ring. For his sake I hope the ring has a return policy, because if he plans on proposing anytime soon I don’t think he’ll like the answer he gets.

Notes:

  • No, you didn’t watch too much eTalk today. That really was Ben Mulroney, possibly making coffee for the first time in his life.
  • Only Shahir would make a birth spreadsheet.
  • The storyline with Joel felt ridiculously overdone, but at least it did have that nice moment between a daughter and father.

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

Thoughts? Hit us up below or via @tv_eh.

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Review: Saving Hope explains the unexplainable

Sometimes when I’m watching Charlie interact with the spirits on Saving Hope, my eyes can’t help but wander to the background. Not because I’m bored by what’s going on, but to see if anyone else is noticing Charlie talking to, well, thin air, while we watch him help guide the spirits to a peaceful place.

That idea was at the forefront of Wednesday’s episode, “Remains of the Day,” as an unexplainable move in surgery made thanks to a spirit’s guidance was brought to the attention of staff at Hope Zion, with Dawn hoping Charlie could explain his miraculous move to his colleagues. Only problem? Charlie couldn’t do that without being hauled off to the psych ward.

Really the whole issue was due to a slightly neurotic, OCD spirit named Elaine, whose panic attack mid-surgery forced Charlie to address her spirit in the close proximity of surgeons like Maggie and Rian. It may have been just shrugged off as typical strange Charlie behaviour if Elaine didn’t begin to stroke out, forcing Charlie to use the spot her spirit was clutching as guidance as to where to perform emergency surgery. It certainly was a reckless move to everyone else–can’t say I wouldn’t be freaking right out knowing my colleague was about to carelessly drill into a patient’s head–that spiraled into a medical learning opportunity thanks to Dawn’s insistance (although I’m pretty sure she just wanted to get to the bottom of Charlie’s craziness once and for all). If it weren’t for Maggie and Rian’s elaborate detective skills (or was it simply their oh so desperate need for Charlie to help them study?), Charlie would be in a much different situation when he ended the episode.

While Dawn was trying to expose Charlie’s mysterious ways, she was also attempting to juggle the return of Giselle to the hospital and the bond the two forged during their short time together. I’ve loved seeing Giselle go head-to-head with Dawn, since she’s one of the few characters who seems game for keeping up with Dawn’s bitter attitude all the time. It did feel like we were being hit over the head with the notion that Dawn would at least contemplate adopting Giselle herself, and although I was initially a little miffed she chose her work over the girl, it was probably for the best that Giselle is just staying with Dawn for a week-long trial period rather than anything permenant.

The other main storyline was certainly emotional, as Joel and Alex tried to figure out what exactly was wrong with a caring high school teacher. After years of terrible teachers, I think the storyline touched me so much knowing how much an engaged and invested teacher can shape a young person’s life and how much the dedicated English teacher was trying to give his students. When we finally heard the teacher had an uncurable disease my heart went out to the guy, and I found that doing the play in the hospital was a really sweet way to wrap up his sad story.

Something about what the English teacher said jogged Alex’s memory of her father, causing her hand to cramp up again. It was good of Alex to look into her father once and for all (although it felt like the whole thing was really breezed right over) but the most groundbreaking part of the scene was seeing Alex’s vision of her baby and Charlie playing together. Could Team Charlie be closer to edging out Team Joel in the baby game?

Notes:

  • “You see wonton, I see chaos.” I feel bad calling her insane because OCD isn’t something you can control, but Elaine was a lot.
  • That whole three-way vibe between Maggie, Sydney and James makes me very uncomfortable.

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

Thoughts? Drop us a line below or @tv_eh.

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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.

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