I am not going to pretend that I have not been looking forward to this show’s premiere for a while now, because I definitely have. However, I do promise an unbiased review. For those who are unfamiliar with the set-up, I always begin with a quick summary followed by an in-depth version with the review interspersed and concluding. Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts on this new show in the comments!
The Campbell’s Version:
For this week’s quick summation, you can read HRC’s overview (and watch the trailer) here, both cover that part fairly well.
The Homemade Version:
Saving Hope‘s Pilot episode opens with Alex Reid (Erica Durance) and Charlie Harris (Michael Shanks) in a cab on their way to their wedding [maybe that’s traditional NYC, going to your own wedding in a Taxi]. In what is a thoughtless move for a doctor to make, neither are wearing their seatbelts and, in fact, Alex is completely facing the wrong direction. Naturally, this sets a premise for the taxi to be blindsided. Charlie hits his head, but otherwise, both seem fine.
Charlie rushes to check on the driver of the other vehicle while Alex calls the paramedics. The other driver does not appear to be so lucky as Charlie informs her that one of her lungs has collapsed. With some quick-thinking and unorthodox use of a tampon tube, Dr. Charlie saves the woman’s life by cutting her open right then and there and jamming the tube into her lungs [I'm not a doctor, so I'm just presuming that's how that worked - of course, they weren't clear on the details, but the point is, the driver is going to be fine].
At this point, the paramedics have shown up, so Alex and Charlie step off to the side to celebrate their survival, at which point Charlie collapses because, apparently, his head wound was worse than they thought [props to this show for keeping the pace up, showing they're clearly striving to get to the point so as not to lose the viewers' attention]. One ambulance ride later, they pull up to Emergency at Hope-Zion Hospital and we get our first glimpse of brain surgeon Dr. Shahir Hazma (Huse Madhavji) who rushes to their aid.
At this point we hear Charlie thinking and see him looking around – until Alex states that he’s currently unconscious, at which point the real fun begins. We see Charlie standing amid the chaos while the rest of the hospital moves on around him, unaware that he is “standing” right next to them.
Cue the standard flashback to earlier in the day, Dr. Charlie Harris is leading a lecture. He poses a medical dilemma for the class to answer, which leads to Alex and Charlie having a sassy exchange (with some input from the brain surgeon Dr. Hazma) about the dilemma while the class looks on. As resident Maggie Lin (Julia Taylor-Ross) so aptly puts it, the two were engaging in a little flirty “foreplay,” which is the segue to moving to the two getting some action in their office.
They’re interrupted when Alex gets a page, and they head off to tend to their respective patients [I know, it can get confusing, just keep in mind it’s a Pilot episode, so a lot has to get explained to lay out the show’s premise], which serves as the transition into the traditional medical drama territory that you should expect. We move from doctor to doctor, giving us the opportunity to get acquainted with each character and get a feel for their [presumably] diverse personalities.
The first segment follows Charlie as he makes his rounds, stops in with a patient and schedules a surgery to amputate the patient’s arm. Our impression from Charlie’s demeanor is that he’s clearly someone confident and used to being in control. Meanwhile, across the hospital, Dr. Alex Reid and new resident Maggie Lin examine a woman complaining of pain in her stomach, who turns out to be pregnant, but out of fear that her boyfriend would leave her, she ignored it. In an aside between Alex and Maggie, it is revealed that Maggie is new, and clearly nervous and unwilling as yet to be left to her own devises.
At this point, Dr. Joel Goran (Daniel Gillies) breezes through the door astride a gurney – and a bleeding patient – straight through to the O.R. Meanwhile, Alex and Charlie now must work together on another emergency surgery with an unknown bus crash victim. [They chat about their future plans, showing their familiarity and ease with each other, obviously intending to set up their relationship for the viewers.] Outside the O.R., Joel is cleaning up from his surgery, at which point we learn that he is new to the hospital, and that he and Alex dated, before Joel supposedly cheated on her with several of the nursing staff. Joel’s personality comes off as a bit cocky and brutally honest, as he gets right to the point with Alex.
Dr. Shahir flies by on his way into the O.R., barely pausing to introduce himself, which is explained away by Alex, who tells Joel that Shahir is always like that. Moving back to the present, Shahir and Alex are doing everything they can to figure out how to help Charlie, who is busy background-narrating. He ruminates about having an out-of-body experience and then proceeds to berate himself, or his body, to wake up, again showing his need to be in control at all times.
Dr. Reid takes a minute, but after some encouraging from a co-worker, heads back to work. [What sane nurse or doctor would tell another doctor to "get to work" when their husband just landed in a coma? Well, apparently the ones at Hope-Zion Hospital. I guess you're considered stable enough after taking a few minutes to yourself to cry before jumping right back to working on patients. But, that's where TV dramas get to draw liberties from the fact that they're fictional, so in the end, they can do what they want.] Anyway, while she’s doing that, Charlie finally runs into someone who can see him, but it turns out to be the anonymous bus-crash patient who died earlier.
Moving on, we get to see the hospital’s psych doctor Dr. Gavin Murphy (Kristopher Turner) who evaluates a potential suicide patient, though it turns out the patient was just on the recieving end of a poorly concocted “love potion”. Meanwhile, Alex cancels the reservations for the wedding and Charlie begins to code. Fortuately, Joel jumps in and resuscitates him, and then drops the prognosis that Charlie needs brain surgery to reduce the swelling or else he’ll die. Dr. Shahir does the surgery successfully while Charlie background narrates some more, helping the viewer get more of the technical side to what’s going on.
One of the paramedics who were at the accident returns to tell Alex they found her wedding ring on site. Dr. Shahir tries to force Alex to make the decision whether or not to resuscitate Charlie if he codes again, which triggers her much-needed breakdown. Joel Goran comes to the rescue to comfort her. This was a good moment because it let us see the more patient and optimistic side to him, while simultaneously showing us that Alex does not seem to possess either trait at this point.
Goran takes over Charlie’s patient list, and begins by immediately trying to undermine Charlie’s prognosis on the patient awaiting the amputation. Joel thinks there is something more to the case. Dr. Gavin Murphy – the psych resident – diagnoses the patient with PTSD, and therefore decides he’s in no state to make the decision to have the amputation. Goran tells Dr. Murphy he’s going to remove it anyway, but in the end tries some experimental surgery instead, which is totally at odds from what Charlie would normally do [again showing their difference in personality]. When the patient wakes up and discovers what Goran did, he threatens to sue, to which Goran replys “You’ll probably win.”
The episode ends on a philosophical note from “background narrator” Charlie about life and death, while Alex goes and lays with coma-Charlie in his hospital bed, and “background narrator” Charlie begs her not to give up on him. It is a very emotional scene set extremely well to the music score [which, I might add, was done beautifully overall throughout this episode - kudos to the music supervisor David Hayman].
[Essentially, it's clear that all of this is being done to let the viewer see how they all work together, as a family - in a manner of speaking. Their efforts are not wasted, and the point is driven home. The episode effectively shows the inner-workings of the hospital without inundating the viewer with too much information right out of the gate. Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a lot of information being thrown out here. However, it isn't more than what is to be expected in a pilot like this.
The storylines are weaved together well and manage to create the world of Hope-Zion Hospital well. One of this episodes major flaws was their use of lens flares, which, you can see in several of the photos, but even without, you will notice what I mean within the first two minutes of the episode. These flashes of light are bright, blinding, and distracting, though fairly obviously supposed to be the symbol for hope (at least, that's what I'm interpreting them to mean). Of course, the general rule is to not judge a TV show by its pilot episode, though this was actually a pretty good one, as far as pilots go. However, I will reserve judgement at least until after next week's episode. My main hope is that the lens flares get transitioned out of the show, but we'll have to just wait and see. So, until next week!]
Is Charlie (and thus Michael Shanks) going to spend the entire series (or at least until he wakes up) wandering around the hospital in that Tux?
I’m sure the “shippers” are already pairing everyone off. Anyone have predictions on the first hook-ups and relationships?
I love that each character seems to have distinctive personalities.
Ultimately, what did you think of the episode? (And the lens flares!)
In the meantime, check out next week’s trailer and synopsis:
1.02 “Contact” Synopsis: Dr. Alex Reid tries to help a boy with puzzling symptoms while dealing with Charlie’s former wife. Elsewhere, a patient declines lifesaving treatment due to religious convictions.