“The Great Randall” is an excellent example of just how much heart this show has to give. Unfortunately it isn’t stealing as many hearts as it once did. According to TV by the Numbers,
This suggests that NBC’s lack of advertising for Saving Hope may be continuing to hurt the ratings. Some fans tuned back in despite the lack of previews, probably because there was no holiday to potentially disrupt the airing schedule, but the majority of viewers who missed last week have not bothered to return. The longer they miss the show the less likely it is that they will come back to bring the ratings back up. This is very, very bad news.
In “The Great Randall”, Alex realizes that there’s a chance that she is pregnant. A man comes in to the ER with a piece of rebar sticking out of his guts, but he doesn’t feel any pain. In fact he doesn’t know his own name. It turns out that he was hypnotized by Randall (Peter Keleghan) so that he wouldn’t feel a constant stomach pain that nobody could diagnose. Until Alex, that is. She tracks Randall down to break the hypnosis, and Charlie discovers that Randall may be his only hope of communication with Alex. Randall can see him! After fans thought Joel was going to break Maggie’s heart, it seems to be going the other way around. Or else Maggie just likes to play hard to get, but I think Joel deserves it. Doctor Gavin gets his turn to shine when a young woman with paranoid delusions and auditory hallucinations causes a commotion.
This episode has a lot of firsts. For the first time the episode name does not indicate an overall theme for the episode, but rather names a specific character. At the same time, the episode is largely about the mind, a person’s perceptions and decisions, and that theme pulls every aspect of this episode together very effectively. For the first time, someone can see and hear Charlie without being dead or in a coma as well. In the course of this episode, there is a vampire reference that fans have found amusing because of Daniel Gillies history with The Vampire Diaries. It’s a great way to acknowledge the fans that have followed him to Saving Hope. I hope this means that somehow Smallville and Stargate fans can look forward to similar references to shout out to the followers of Erica Durance and Michael Shanks.
I wanted Charlie to try to punch Randall. Partially because the guy totally deserves it, and partially just to see if Charlie actually could! Randall has a gift, a rare ability to talk to dead (or not so dead) people, but he sees it as a curse. He reminded me a lot of Allison from Medium, except this guy has no compassion, only selfishness. He will only do something if he thinks there’s something in it for him, and that happy tingly feeling from doing something good for someone else doesn’t count. He thinks he’ll be tossed back into a mental institution if he’s seen talking to the air. Ok, I can understand that. But there are ways around that. He could find an otherwise empty room. He could pull out his cell phone and pretend to be talking on it. The fact that he flatly tells Charlie to go away makes him a world class jerk.
Charlie chases Randall around until he agrees to talk to Alex for him. Things were going fine and it looked like Alex might have been willing to believe that Randall was telling the truth. Even Charlie thinks Alex would believe. That is until he asks her to pay up before he delivers Charlie’s message. Predictably Alex thinks she’s being taken by a con man and storms off, along with Charlie’s only chance. I’m not sure, but I wonder if we might see Randall again in the future. I also wonder if Charlie will take the only useful thing that Randall said to heart. “You haven’t fully accepted what you’re going through.”
After putting it off for as long as possible, Alex finally takes a pregnancy test. She goes to tell Charlie the news. The look on his face makes words irrelevant. The flashback that follows, a discussion about their future family, was far too short for my liking, but still effective at turning me into a puddle on the couch. Once again, Saving Hope struck a perfect balance between humor, medicine, and heartbreak.
In the next episode, titled “Consenting Adults”, Charlie meets another person in a coma, and her story is very familiar to Charlie. Make sure you tune in to NBC at 9/8c, and let everyone know that IT’S ON!