While I was at Dragon*Con and regrettably too busy to catch it, Saving Hope‘s 11th episode, ‘The Law of Contagion’, aired on NBC. At this point it appears that ‘The Law of Contagion’ will be the last episode that NBC will air. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. According to TV by the Numbers, the ratings were continuing to improve!
In ‘The Law of Contagion’ a man comes in with what appears to be appendicitis, but in reality he is suffering from a contagious disease he picked up in Mumbai. Before the hospital is locked down, Alex begins an experimental procedure on Charlie in an attempt to wake him up. She positions a device above his head to stimulate his brain using tiny electrical pulses. When the contagion is discovered Alex orders Charlie’s room sealed to prevent him from being infected. Meanwhile, the electrical impulses are having an interesting effect on Charlie, who experiences a reality outside of the hospital for the first time, and it may help him to identify part of the mental barrier that is keeping him in a coma.
From my synopsis of the episode it may seem like Charlie was a primary focus, but that’s not so. In fact, the lack of Charlie in this episode kind of drove me nuts, especially towards the end. Charlie’s experience may be described as traumatic. The device that is trying to stimulate his brain may have unlocked a repressed memory from his childhood. Charlie had told Alex that his parents had gone out without him and died in a car accident. This left him with an understandable fear that the people in his life can easily and suddenly leave him. Charlie’s experience shows him that his memory wasn’t correct. He sees that he was there with his parents when the crash occurred. It’s so real to him that Charlie’s body moves, shoving the device away from his head! He may have even been awake, his eyes open wide though glassy. Did anyone notice? No! They were too busy with the contagion! Hours passed before the threat from the disease was over, and by then Charlie had lapsed back into the coma, his eyes closed. The most disconcerting part? From the time that Charlie remembers the truth to the end of the episode, we don’t see Charlie in spirit form. What if the procedure that unlocked the memory has trapped him deeper in his own mind? What if he can’t wander the hospital in spirit form anymore?
The rest of the episode screamed of the writers going, “Okay, we’re almost at the end of the season and the last episodes need to focus on _____ [hopefully Charlie!] so we need to wrap up some of these other unresolved plot lines.” We see resolutions in the relationships between Shahir and Victor, Maggie and Joel, Maggie and Gavin, and finally Alex gives Joel the telling off he deserves. But you know what? All of this, aside from the confrontation between Alex and Joel, feels like so much filler. Mostly because the only thing I could think about was, “What the heck is happening to Charlie?”
So what’s next for Saving Hope? I think NBC has effectively killed the show’s prospects here in the US. After deciding not to air the last two episodes of the season and filling the slot with America’s Got Talent, it seems highly unlikely that they will pick up the second season that will be airing on Canada’s CTV. Obviously NBC just doesn’t think the ratings, which have averaged at 3 million viewers a week, are good enough. Well you know what NBC? Now you’re going to lose those viewers to Hulu! The twelfth episode, ‘Ride Hard or Go Home’ is currently available there, and it seems likely that the season finale will be too. It is also available on NBC’s site for the show, but do your fellow fans a solid and don’t let NBC benefit from a show that they have already trashed. As for the second season, there is no word yet on how or if it will be available to the US. However, networks have yet to learn that when it comes to something we love, borders mean nothing to geeks! If the networks don’t want to provide, we will find other means to watch our shows from the other network and they will lose out.