Saving Hope “The Great Randall” Review

Saving Hope (NBC) The Great Randall Episode 6 (7)

Fresh off a decidedly above average episode last week, I approached this episode of Saving Hope a little leery. I’ll admit to enjoying last week’s episode, but I fully anticipated a regression to the mean this week. What I found was a typical episode of Saving Hope: Some legitimate potential for a good episode, but ultimately disappointing.

One part that I was pleased to see was the hospital psychiatrist actually got something to do. Granted, it took the series 6 episodes to find something for a series regular to do, but late is better than never I suppose. Once the story got going, it was easy to see why they try to hide him in the crowd. He may have magic hands, but he doesn’t do much for the show when he is showcased. The show is stuck because they have to use him because he is a regular, but they would be better off hiding him among other plot lines where the stronger actors can carry him through a scene.

Unlike the psychiatrist’s performance, I enjoyed this week’s patient of the week. In the beginning, the scene in the operating room after Chester extricates the rebar from his own chest (That slid out rather easily didn’t it?) was pretty cool to watch. The show may not have the greatest production values (lens flares, anyone?), but I think they do some pretty decent work with surgical procedures.

Once the surgery was over, I was expecting a straight-forward, Dr. House-like solution where Alex finds the answer, and everyone rejoices. Instead, they put a nice twist on it by having the illness be a lifelong problem that actually troubles the patient. Sometimes, you are better off not knowing.

While most of the episode was okay, Charlie and Alex’s angle never quite got there for me. Coming off an emotionally-wrenching episode last week, I expected a slight drop-off in the emotional heft, but I didn’t think they would toy with the viewers. With the presence of the hypnotist, “The Great Randall,” it felt like an unnecessary tease to the viewers. If they plan on bringing him back, that’s fine, but if they don’t plan on bringing him back, then the episode becomes a waste of the viewers’ time.

Having Randall spot Charlie at the beginning of the episode made you think that perhaps we were going to get a more tangible connection between Charlie and Alex. (Personally, I was hoping for a Whoopi Goldberg type thing from Ghost, but I digress.) Instead, they give us a Randall who makes Alex believe for a split second before asking her for some cash for his efforts. It was a confounding scene. It was so confounding, that the gentleman playing Randall looked like he didn’t have a clue how he should play it either. What started as a possibly sweet scene turned into a stupid one in a matter of seconds.

The scene spoke to a larger problem that I have with the series: What’s the Charlie end game? We’ve already established how unlikely he is to wake from the coma at this point. How long do they keep their relationship in that state of limbo? Do we have reason to care enough about this relationship to see the status quo continue endlessly? Why can’t I stop asking hypothetical questions?

The Charlie problem is something that needs to be addressed. It’s not a huge deal if you have strong performances to keep the viewer engaged in other storylines, but Saving Hope doesn’t have those performances. People have no choice but to focus on the relationship between Alex and Charlie. At a certain point, flashbacks just aren’t going to cut it anymore.

*Quick Thoughts

*Run, Joel. Run far in the other direction from Maggie Lin and this storyline. Does anyone else think that she’s a legit crazy person?

*It tickled me to watch Joel and Alex pat themselves on the back while talking to Chester about the cool stuff they did in the operating room. You’re good doctors, we got it.

*I like that Alex wasn’t pregnant. It keeps the storyline a little more ambiguous. If she’s pregnant, we are more compelled to see Charlie wake up.

*Alex needs to work on her medical epiphanies. Go study some old tapes of Dr. Gregory House.

*I can’t decide if the psych patient was good or not. I can see an argument for both sides.

What did everyone else think?