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Saving Hope Review: Break On Through To The Other Side

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Three words for you about tonight's Saving Hope: Shirtless. Daniel. Gillies.

It might've been a clunky hook-up, but I can't say I minded that things got a little steamy for Dr. Goran on "Contact."

Alex Attempt To Save a Boy

Overall, there was a balance to tonight's episode. For everything I liked about it, there was something I didn't enjoy.

For starters, Charlie moved his hand when Alex played the song from the night they first said "I love you." I'm glad that he showed progress, as it gives viewers hope that he won't be in a coma for the entire series. That would get tiresome after a while.

But I didn't appreciate that the idea to play the track for him was delivered by his incredibly creepy ex-wife. Seriously. The rubbing on his chest and all Alex did was ask her to stop? There should've been a girl-fight complete with hair pulling. Show some emotion, Alex!

Introducing his ex-wife right now seemed unnecessary unless the idea is to paint Alex as cold, calculated and methodical instead of warm, caring and emotional. If that was the goal, they succeeded. While part of me likes that she only breaks down when she's alone, or when she's alone with Charlie, there's another part of me that wants to see her lose it because that's what's normal.

I certainly don't mind that Goran got some action! But I do mind that it was with Maggie.

There's nothing about this pairing, specifically the fact that she pursued him, that makes him seem like a womanizer, so that puts us right back where we were on the pilot when it didn't seem likely that he was a huge jerk surgeon. It was also out of character to have him attempt to sidestep Maggie's advances. For that matter, it seems out of character to have her be so forward. Last week she seemed like the timid, eager to please med student and this week she's a woman on the prowl.

I just feel like these characters either aren't well written or haven't been very well fleshed out for any of them to really fit yet.

And is it just me or is this the least medical medical drama on television?

Yes, setting the broken leg without painkillers was gruesome. The actress playing that guest role sold that. She screamed and I cringed. But the scenes with medical emergencies don't feel like emergencies. The language feels stilted, like the actors aren't comfortable with it, and no one seems to be in a hurry. The set feels like a set and not like a real hospital. It's too clean or too bright. Too something. And I'd be remiss not to mention the blue haze. Maybe I've just watched too many episodes of ER and House and my perception of medical dramas is skewed.

If it's not supposed to be a true medical drama and just happens to be a drama set in a hospital, then I like the idea of Charlie coming out of his coma and still being able to see those who are caught in-between. I don't know that that's the direction the show would take, but I like the supernatural element. If Charlie comes out of his coma and that element is lost, I think the show will lose some of its appeal.

The thing that stood out most, however, and which somewhat redeemed the episode, had to be Charlie's closing monologue:

Charlie: Basic human contact is bigger than any idea. It takes you outside yourself. It's more comforting than words. Without it, we'd die. Sometimes, it's not enough. And sometimes it's enough for now. Contact grounds you. It brings you back. | permalink

That line brought the disjointed pieces of the episode together. The little boy helped Charlie make contact with Alex, even if her thoughts were dismissed by the nurse. Because of the boy's drawing, she played the song despite the fact that she dismissed the idea when his ex-wife presented it. Because of the song, he moved his hand.

Human contact made the husband decide to save his wife's life despite the fact that doing so meant they broke with their religious ideology. And, well, Goran and Maggie made contact, too. (Check out the rest of the Saving Hope quotes on the quotes page!)

Since it's only the second episode, I'm inclined to be kind to this fledgling drama. It definitely has promise and potential. But right now, I feel like it's struggling a little. I'm saving hope that it will come together soon.
What did you think of "Contact"? What do you think of Saving Hope so far?

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (86 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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After this episode, I'm over it. I actually like Charlie's ex-wife way more than the fiancée, she seems in touch with herself and reality, and is open to so much more. I wonder why they split up. While there are interesting concepts, i.e. being in a coma and being able to still see, hear, feel, etc, it also seems it's going to become a night time soap opera, which i'm so not into. Whenever a show begins to have stories revolve around love relationships between cast members, it degrades. The early ER was able to pull it off, but once the big cast members left, it became a soap opera.

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@Miranda: Finally, with regards to Alex, even though Charlie is in a coma, she's processing his condition according to the stages of grief. Right now, three days in, it is normal to be in denial. Alex was relaxed in her scenes with Dawn because she's not threatened by her and she's smart enough not to blow up at her while Charlie is just feet away. Plus, there was obviously a part of Alex that was interested in what Dawn had to say. Alex deals with patients' families all the time. She used to loved ones questioning her and demanding that she do something even when everything that can be done has been done. As the episode progressed, Alex began to struggle with her emotions more. The scene with Dr. Zach Miller, for example. When she finally broke down while talking to her friend, Melanda (Dr. Tolliver), Alex was very much affected by not only her fiancee's condition, but also the stress of everything else going on in her life. Alex broke down at the end of the pilot episode as well. I don't think it would be in Alex's or the show's best interest to have its lead constantly weeping or lashing out. It's not even in character.

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@Miranda: Maggie's comments to Gavin earlier in the pilot about foreplay (Alex and Charlie challenging each other during the lecture) seemed to foreshadow Maggie's sexually provocative side. Gavin seemed to take the hint as well, since he set up the poisoned boy's case so Maggie would have a chance to look like "the best" doctor. When Maggie spoke to Gavin about not being sure how she processes her feelings for guys she likes, I think that's exactly what she meant. She doesn't know how to act. When it came to Joel, she decided to go with her impulses. When Joel responded positively to her approach, she turned it up a notch. Also, it hasn't come up yet, but Maggie is supposed to be bipolar. Manic periods, therefore, are not uncommon.

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@Miranda: Joel's behavior in "Contact" was completely consistent with his characterization as someone who sees himself as the center of his own universe. He cut in line and he led Dr. Lin to believe he was going to let a patient die because he was confident his play of waiting the husband out would work out in his favor. His disregards the wishes of his fellow doctors and patients because he believes he's right. Are his motives good? Sure, but he does have a pretty big ego, if you ask me. The two teens who drank the "love potion" did end up together, but there's nothing onscreen to suggest Maggie or Gavin had anything to do with it or that the girl was in cubicle 3.

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@Trixee: The show does consult with actual doctors. They have several doctors on staff. The transfusion story may be cliche, but it was a well-used one. The conflict it caused reflected Alex's internal tug-of-war over whether to try alternative therapies. Basically, when it comes to people you care about, you have to be willing to do anything, including things you don't believe in to try to save them. @Miranda: I haven't seen any of the actors, except Taylor-Ross who was playing a character who was uncomfortable touching a "fat" patient, seem uncomfortable with the medical scenarios or procedures. I don't even know what you mean when you say the set is too staged and too perfect. It's a nice hospital that's kept clean and orderly. It's not a general hospital in the middle of Chicago (i.e. ER). The sets remind me of Grey's more than anything. Joel's behavior in "Contact" was completely consistent with his characterization as someone who sees himself as the center of his own universe. He cut in line and he led Dr. Lin to believe he was going to let a patient die because he was confident his play of waiting the husband out would work out in his favor. His disregards the wishes of his fellow doctors and patients because he believes he's right. Are his motives good? Sure, but he does have a pretty big ego, if you ask me.

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I think the writers really need to consult with actual doctors because the patient storylines are jusr recycled from other shows : the husband refusing the blood transfusion is a plot device we've seen too many times. It did set us up for some awesome Elijah (oops! I mean Joel) abs. For me the best part of the show was Maggie's facial expression while she was standing there in her bra - the ultimate "awww... C'mon pleasssssse"

Miranda wicker

@Fruit Salad--"Gillies so pretty they can make him a schizophrenic drug dealer with mommy issues and I'll still be watching." Amen to that. @Shaerra--Yes, the medicine is meant to drive the personal situations/storylines, but so far the way the lack of comfort the actors have with the medical aspect of the show takes me out of the scene. It's too formal and nothing feels natural at all about it. That could be attributed just as much to the sets as to the speech though. The set is too staged and perfect.

Miranda wicker

The thing with Goran's supposed womanizing is that Gillies himself has said that Goran is supposed to be a man who's "not quite a narcissist but definitely sees himself as the center of his own universe." So far there is very little about this character that seems that way. He seems overly caring. There's no mention of a change of heart or character between the time he was his previous hospital and this one. As for Maggie, when she asked the psych resident to meet her in the cubicle, it was to meet with the girl who poisoned the boy she had a crush on. The two of them conspired to set the two kids up, evidenced by their (the kids) make-out session. Standing in line for coffee, she was very unsure of herself. She said she had a crush on the doctor but seemed unaware of how she processes that sort of thing and made a comment to that effect to the psych resident. The next thing we know she's hitting on Goran in the scrub room. It doesn't match up.

Miranda wicker

@Danny--To be fair to me, I AM trying it. Every week. Just like y'all are. It has so much potential to be a really interesting show if only it gets the kinks worked out quickly. @Wendy--Here's the thing. I understand WHY Alex is so pragmatic. Completely. But, it's a normal human reaction to show emotion in time like this. It's only been three days since his accident. She was entirely too relaxed in the scenes with his ex wife which makes their relationship less believable. I want to root for him to wake up so that they can be together but there's very little about her that makes me do that. You're on to something about her arc being that she has to find a way to trust other people's kindness again. (cont)

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Please stop the blue lights, starbursts, and horizontal flashes across the screen. It's corny as well as annoying. Viewers don't need these silly gimmicks to realize we're looking at a ghost or someone "in between." Take Ghost Whisperer and Medium, for example. Other than the gimmicky lighting and way too many venetian blinds, this show has promise.

Saving Hope Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Charlie's ex wife: I see you doing all this nursemaid stuff for him, but what are you doing for him as his wife.
Alex: I'm his fiancee.

This is what I love about you, Alex. You face things. You walk towards trouble. You look it right in the eye. And when you have to, you fight.

Charlie
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