In the penultimate episode of the season, Ryan makes a tough call, Mina stands her ground, and Ben falls further than I thought possible. The drama in "Hold on Tight" came in the form of shifting relationships and serious realizations.
How wonderful is Ryan? Beneath those fresh from the beach tresses and that sunny smile beats a heart of steel. If only she was physically that strong. She had the guts to give it to Keaton straight. "I don't want to end up like her." His wife has been on life support for years. That isn't what Ryan wants if it all goes wrong. She tells him with a mixture of directness, humor, and love that is fairly remarkable. She's not pushing anyone away. She's simply making some hard decisions and taking control of her own care.
Part of that decision is to hand her care over to Mina. Ryan knows that Ben and Zee are too close to be objective but Mina is just far enough removed to follow her directives. Mina has grown so much since the start of the season. She's strong and professional. She's calm under pressure yet still feels enough to let the emotions hit her once the emergency is over.
Then there's Ben. Part of me wants to sympathize with him. His wife was shot. She's been on life support for years but is he unable to make the tough call because he loves her so much he can't let her go or because her trust fund is keeping the clinic alive? Honestly, I don't think Ben knows the answer to that question.The truth is every week I like Ben a little less. He's so concerned about his incapacitated wife that he forces the doctors to pump her full of antibiotics to keep her alive yet he doesn't notice Ryan is pale and out of breath when she's standing in front of him. However, Mina noticed it pretty quickly.
Ben's angry that his wife was shot. He's bitter that he can't bring her back. He's distressed that Ryan is ill and he's infuriated that she doesn't want him to have control of her care. But he can't vent his anger at Abby or at Ryan so he lets loose on the one person left standing, Mina. He blames her. He yells at her. He even fires her but his lowest point comes when he dredges up the child patient she lost back in the States. One of my favorite moments is the disgusted look Otis shoots him when he throws that at her.
To be honest, no matter what happens with Ben moving forward, I don't know that I'll ever be able to truly like this character after tonight's episode.
Mina, on the other hand was a stand out. She didn't yell back but she didn't back down. Ryan is her patient and Mina takes that responsibility seriously. Ben's not about to bully or scare her off. I look forward to how this plays out in the season finale.
In other stories, Charlie's mother wanders back into his life and it's heartbreaking. Charlie believes Tommy when he says he'll fix her and Tommy certainly wants to but schizophrenia isn't something you can cure with a pill or a surgical procedure. It isn't that Theresa doesn't want to be Charlie's mom, it's that her chemically imbalanced brain won't let her.
As this plot unfolds, Tommy is able to step up for his friend. The name "Little Dove" is a sweet way to add a touch of humor to a difficult story.
In the only lighthearted story this week, Lily wakes up in Mateo's bed and tries to avoid her walk of shame past his mother. No such luck. She'll have to get up way before that gorgeous sunset to sneak past the residents of a working farm, whether she agrees with the cash crop or not.
Otis and Zee's roles were much smaller tonight but when Zee fell apart after almost losing Ryan on the table, Otis was there for her. It was the warm, fuzzy moment I needed amongst all of the angst.
I don't know if the coming week's finale will wrap up some of this drama or leave us hanging. Either way I'm anxious to see what's in store for our jungle docs next.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.