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‘Saving Hope’ winter premiere recap: Out of luck

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Saving Hope’ sure knows how to make a comeback. After a long break, this Canadian gem packs a punch as we plunge into the lives of our beloved Hope Zion doctors in “Wishbones.”

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At the end of summer, “Vamanos” left us feeling uneasy. Charlie took a momentary break from life and bounced on a trampoline, pondering the very important choices he must make in his relationship with Alex moving forward. Unfortunately, his detour gave Joel the perfect opening to woo Alex back. When Charlie was a no-show at Luke’s event celebrating his sobriety milestone, Joel lent his support to Alex and Luke, as the troubled brother thanked his older sister for years understanding and encouragement. The more Alex tried to get close to Charlie, the farther he pushed her away. Even if he told her the truth about his gift, it would be against her pragmatic instincts to believe him. It would take something pretty epic to give Charlie the nudge he needs to finally tell Alex that he can see ghosts. Surprisingly, ‘Saving Hope’ took an unforeseen leap that presents Charlie with a perfect opportunity that cannot be ignored.

Have your tissues handy and get ready to rehash Thursday (Jan. 2) night’s heartbreaking episode.

Feeling unlucky

Charlie and Alex sneak away for a quick rendezvous during their two minute break. Charlie tries to ignore an old lady ghost who appears mid-smooch. Meanwhile, Alex is still worried about her little brother, Luke. She asks Charlie about the pills that fell out of Luke’s coat earlier that day. When Charlie finally admits Luke was in possession of Vicodin, Alex calls her baby bro to give him a piece of her mind. As the phone rings, we are transported to Luke’s side.

A construction worker has just been fired. He looms over a 50-foot ledge, threatening to jump to his death. Luke is the brave paramedic trying to talk him out of suicide. He ignores Alex’s call and reasons with the distressed man. If he jumps, the fall only has a 50% chance of killing him. Odds are he will be severely crippled and live in agony for the rest of his life. The man agrees with Luke’s logic and takes his hand to step away from the ledge. Suddenly, he slips and drags Luke down with him. In a gruesomely graphic scene, we see a pole sticking out of Luke’s leg and his bone poking out. They call for Joel and Zach, who immediately rush to the site.

Joel wants to tell Alex the news, but Luke wants to wait until he can speak to her in person. They cut the pipe under his leg and move Luke to Hope Zion where Joel asks for Charlie’s help. Despite Luke’s wishes, Charlie wants to tell Alex about her brother’s condition. He checks in on her and sees that it isn’t a good time, since she’s in the middle of a complicated surgery.

Charlie and Joel carefully work on Luke in the O.R. They remove the pipe and decide they will build a new bone for him. It may be risky, but it is better than amputating his leg. While they work on Luke, Alex learns the truth from Zach, who turns out to be crappy liar. She bursts into the operating room and chastises Charlie and Joel for not telling her, then she wants to scrub in to help. Joel tells her they can’t operate on family, plus she will only slow them down, so she should just go. After Alex leaves, Charlie and Joel share their feelings on Luke.

Alex worries about Luke all the time, so Charlie wishes he could just get his act together. He says it was ok to be a mess when he was 19, but he should grow up by now. Joel defends Luke. For starters, Alex worries about a lot of things (hint, hint, secretive Charlie) and Luke’s heart has always been in the right place, so he deserves a little slack. Luke just has bad luck. Especially in this case, the accident was not his fault at all. He was only trying to do the right thing. Judging by their interaction since Luke first arrived earlier this season, it looks like he always had a close relationship with Joel and felt like an imposing nuisance to Charlie. Anyway, the surgery works out and Luke comes out just fine. Charlie comforts Alex saying that Luke’s in one piece and everything will be okay.

Luke wakes up and Alex is by his side. He asked why she called and she doesn’t want to talk about it now. He apologizes for always screwing everything up and she teases that he simply “stirs life up.” Luke then gets serious. He tells Alex that he has always been unlucky, just like he was with the wishbones. When they were kids, Alex would always break off the large half of the bone and as an adult, most of her wishes have come true. Alex finds a plastic clip in the drawer and uses it as a make-shift wishbone. They both pull and once again unlucky Luke breaks off the smaller piece. Luke is not only unlucky, he feels cursed too. He confesses to Alex that he wished he was not a drunk. He’d like to be able to go back home, hang out with Alex and just have a few beers without causing any trouble. He tells Alex, “You’re ashamed of me.” She quickly denies it and says she absolutely is not. Luke also says that the pills were not his. But she doesn’t believe him. He gives her a list of brutal truths, including his one night stand with Yolanda, and apologizes for his behavior. Before Alex leaves he calls out, “Alex, I love you.” She kind of shrugs and rushes off to check on her patient.

Later, Joel checks on Luke who has suddenly taken a turn for the worse. In the midst of his failing health, Luke asks if Alex is okay. Luke codes and they discover blood around his heart. Joel and Yolanda fight to save his life. Charlie gets Alex and takes her to Luke, on their way he encounters Luke’s spirit in the hall. While Alex watches Joel work on Luke, Charlie has a chat with his spirit.

Charlie tells Luke that he is not dead yet, there is still time to fight for his life. Luke doesn’t want to be a constant disappointment anymore. He thinks Alex would be better off without him. Charlie begs to differ and says Alex will be crushed by his death. Luke admits he is tired of always being scared, for the first time ever, he is not afraid. He just needs Charlie to do something for him. Before find out what it is, Charlie runs out the door to be by Alex’s side.

Although Joel keeps telling Alex to walk away, she stays by his side and urges him to keep working on Luke, but it is too late. Charlie arrives on the scene and Joel calls Luke’s time of death at 6:17 p.m.

Afterwards, Charlie and Alex sit in an empty room and she grapples with what has just happened. Luke’s spirit is present, but Alex can’t sense him. She lashes out at Charlie for screwing up in the O.R. and then apologizes for blaming him. She worries that Luke died thinking she was mad at him. She says Luke was so full of life and she was so proud of him. Charlie assures Alex that Luke knew how much she loved him, but she doesn’t really believe him. She gathers herself and checks on her patient again.

Alex is done for the day and wants to go home, but Charlie stops her. He finally bares his soul and tells her the whole truth. He explains what happened during his coma and how he woke up with the ability to see ghosts. That is how Charlie knows that Luke can still hear her. He tells Alex to speak with Luke and tell him how she feels. Alex thinks this is insane. Instead of being supportive and understanding she tells Charlie, “I feel like I’m going crazy.”

In an utterly gut-wrenching scene, Alex goes down to the morgue to look at her brother one last time. She cradles his face and kisses him goodbye. Then she takes all her rage, sadness, frustration and heartbreak out on the door.

Paging Dr. Sexy

‘Saving Hope’ does a good job of juggling painstaking drama intercut with moments of flirty fun. Alex’s patient, Karen, is pregnant with twins and has a cancerous tumor in her bowels. When Alex decides to remove the tumor, she calls Dr. Kalfas (Eric Johnson), Karen’s OB/GYN, to watch over the surgery and be on call in case he’s needed. One glance at the handsome doctor sends Maggie into school-girl crush mode, which results in some hilarity. Maggie feels weird all day and acts strangely as well. She even shares her attraction to Kalfas with Gavin, noting the differences between their attractiveness (sexy vs sweet). However, during their care for Karen, we realize the Dr. Kalfas is more than just pretty face. When complications arise and Karen is threatened with the loss of one of her babies, Alex and Maggie encourage Kalfas to try an experimental procedure that could save her baby’s life. After some hesitation, he examines Maggie’s research and successfully performs her recommended procedure. Afterwards, Dr. Kalfas makes an observation regarding Maggie’s peculiar behavior. All the signs point to pregnancy, so he congratulates her. Aww, Gavin and Maggie are expecting!

Here’s where things get a little annoying. Instead of telling Gavin that she might be pregnant, she asks him if he’d want to get a dog. Gavin says they are far too busy to get a dog, so Maggie takes it as a sign that he wouldn’t want to have a baby. I always dislike this take on a TV pregnancy reveal. Don’t ask your man if he wants a dog to gauge how he’d respond to having a baby. A dog is not the same thing a baby, so you can’t compare the two. Gavin is a doting sweetheart who will probably be thrilled to have a baby with Maggie. I really hope she doesn’t play games with Gavin and question how he’d really feel about having a baby.

Afterthoughts:

· Can Alex handle the truth?: There are some pros and cons to this emotional storyline. It is terrible and shocking to see Luke die so tragically, yet it provides the perfect catalyst for Charlie. We assumed that Alex wouldn’t just accept Charlie’s truth about seeing dead people. It will take some seriously convincing to make Alex believe him. Luke can help Alex see the truth by working with Charlie. When Charlie was in a coma, Alex could sense him. She didn’t really believe it, but she felt something. Given her bond with Luke, she should be able to sense her baby brother lingering around, trying to reach out to her the way Charlie once did. I really think Luke can be the one ghost to make Alex believe in Charlie. On the other hand, Alex is deeply mourning right now. She is utterly devastated, so it is a terrible time to spring something so life-changing and huge on her. Luke’s loss could affect Alex in two ways: she can be so troubled that she’ll shut Charlie down or she will want to believe the man she loves and take advantage of having the chance to say goodbye to her baby brother before he moves on.

· I’ve got you babe: The secondary storyline was a nice balance to the tragedy of Luke’s loss. Karen gets her happy ending and we get a bit of comic relief with Gavin’s insecurity after Maggie’s comments on Dr. Kalfas (Gavin’s scene with Zach in front of the elevator was hilarious). Sure, things may not have ended perfectly between Maggie and Gavin, but hopefully she’ll tell him the truth and they’ll be on the same page soon.

· Saying goodbye to Luke: I really liked Luke’s addition to the cast. Tyler Hynes’ humor and quips provided a fun break from all the medical drama. I look forward to seeing Luke’s interaction with Charlie in the next episode. He seems like the type of guy who might try out a trick or two while hanging out in limbo. Hopefully Luke will be able to help Alex come to terms with his loss and accept Charlie’s truth. Hynes delivered a moving performance in “Wishbones” and his scenes with Erica Durance were truly heartbreaking.

· On the next episode: CTV provides the following summary for “En Bloc” (airing on Jan. 9):

“A young boy and his father have driven all the way from Winnipeg to Hope Zion to ask Alex (Erica Durance) to operate on the boy’s extremely advanced and highly malignant tumour. Alex is determined to help them, but the other surgeons are hesitant to perform such a dangerous and seemingly unrealistic operation. Alex is unwilling to give up, and rallies the troops to attempt the impossible.

While Alex focuses on her surgery, Charlie (Michael Shanks) is distracted by the spirit of Alex’s brother, Luke (guest star Tyler Hynes), who can’t move on until she lets go of him – and Charlie lets go of Alex.

Meanwhile, Joel (Daniel Gillies) struggles with the many challenges of being Chief of Surgery – and between fighting with Shahir (Huse Madhavji) over a controversial Parkinson’s study, trying to keep the budget in check, and arguing with Alex over her dangerous surgery, he has his hands full.

Director: Gregory Smith
Writer: Morwyn Brebner & Adam Pettle

Guest Star: Sergio Di Zio (FLASHPOINT)”

Check out the slideshow and watch the promo for “En Bloc.”

What did you think of “Wishbones”? Were you heartbroken and shocked by Luke’s death? Are you surprised Charlie told Alex the truth? Did he do the right thing? What do you think Alex will do? What will it take to make her believe him? Will Alex eventually believe Charlie? Do you think Luke will help Charlie convince her of his gift? How do you feel about Maggie’s pregnancy? Do you think Gavin will be happy to have a baby? Do you hope to see Dr. Kalfas again? If Maggie has a baby, will Dr. Kalfas become her OB/GYN?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

‘Saving Hope’ airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CTV.

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