Saving Hope “Contact” Review

Creatively speaking, the pilot episode of Saving Hope raised a lot of questions about the direction of the show. While the second episode provided a window into the future direction of the show, more issues cropped up as well.

For starters, the writers showed you a little bit of their plan for Michael Shanks’ Charlie Harris. It would seem that Charlie is set to roam the hospital and converse with the near-dead or dead.* It’s definitely not making the best use of Michael Shanks, but it’s better than what the pilot gave us. Still, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of Charlie Harris talking about being invisible. Call me crazy, but I don’t think you would want your best actor to be invisible.

*A thought popped into my head when Charlie was trying to read the newspaper over the guy’s shoulder in the waiting room: What does Charlie’s spirit do all day? Aside from the occasional chats with dead people, what else is there for a spirit to do? A couple episodes from now, I would like to hear Harris talk about how bored he is.

Another ongoing problem that the show has is the supporting characters on the show. Through two episodes, these people are so underdeveloped that I have trouble remember most of their names without a trip to IMDB. While most of them are merely forgettable, there are a few characters that are fairly painful to watch. This week, they decided to devote some time to tracking Dr. Lin’s embarrassing courtship of Dr. Goran. (Yes, I had to look up both of those names.) Lin’s attempt at being just as cocky as he is in an attempt to get him into bed was so off-putting that it will take a few episodes of really quality work to get her in my good graces. For the record, she’s not capable of work on that level.

Even worse than the courtship was Goran and Lin’s patient of the week. Strangely, I was into it at the beginning despite the overdone blood transfusion/religion angle. Watching the woman writhe in pain was emotionally effective. It was really tough to see her that way. When the husband agreed to sacrifice the religious principles for the sake of the surgery, I thought we were potentially headed to an interesting place. I thought that Lin’s condescendingly cocky “You made the right decision” foretold doom. Apparently, I gave the show way too much credit. We only revisited the couple in a montage where the husband was happily kissing his now okay wife on the forehead. I’m not the biggest religious guy in the world, but I thought that whole scenario played out as a nice FU to religion. If anyone actually watched the show, I could imagine a few of them being offended.

While Lin and Goran’s POTW was awful to watch, I enjoyed the work of Alex Reid with her patient this week. There were plenty of unbelievable elements involved, but having the kid slip in and out of the world gave us an opportunity to watch Michael Shanks… you know… act. Plus, I thought Erica Durance was good in her scenes with the kid and the parents. She’s a credible actress, but she needs more help than her co-stars are giving her.

And therein lies the problem. All of these ills could be covered up if Shanks wasn’t spending his time standing in the corners of rooms staring at his bride-to-be. I’m actually kind of glad the ex-wife showed up to prompt Alex to ask Charlie’s doctor “Why isn’t Charlie waking up?” Alex, we’re all wondering the same thing.

Some other quick hits:

*The lens flare thing was a real issue for me this week. It was distracting to the point where I can’t imagine someone thinking it’s a good idea. My wife even asked if there was something wrong with our TV at one point.

*Coma arousal therapy? Sounds like an excuse for Erica Durance to take her top off. For the record, I’m for it.

*I’m going to be continually interested in the passage of time on this show. Given that the longer Charlie stays in the coma the less likely he is to come out of it, I can’t imagine the show having big jumps in time between episodes. This week’s episode occurred 3 days after the crash.

*I’m not sure if I’m supposed to take anything away from the scenes with the interim chief. Seemed like Alex was just being overly sensitive. The writers didn’t give her any reason to behave like that.

*The flashback scene was kind of weird. It was touching, but I can’t say that I’ve ever been lost on the road somewhere, and I felt compelled to pull over and tell my wife that I love her. It just seemed odd.

What did everyone else think?