What if Alex (Erica Durance) and Charlie (Michael Shanks) really are cursed? Then what? How do they move on from something like that? That’s what both Saving Hope doctors will be trying to deal with on this week’s episode of the CTV drama. In “Midlife Crisis,” airing Sunday at 10 p.m. on CTV, neither doctor knows where things now stand. Alex decides to throw herself into her cancer study work with Maggie (Julia Taylor Ross), who is busy dealing with pressure from Zach (Benjamin Ayres) to start dating again. Elsewhere, Dawn (Michelle Nolden) clashes with Dana’s (Wendy Crewson) decision to recertify as a Trauma surgeon.
The Season 5 premiere of Saving Hope, while it certainly brought the drama, also showed viewers that there will be a lighter side to the show’s final season and introduced new characters like Jarod Joseph’s Dr. Emmanuel Palmer. To get a closer look at what the Hope Zion doctors are up to this week, and how they move on from that premiere, The TV Junkies spoke with writer and co-executive producer Noelle Carbone. “Midlife Crisis” was written by Carbone and directed by Kelly Makin, and she previews not only what we can expect this week, but some insight into what’s still to come this season.
The TV Junkies: At the end of the premiere, Alex decided that she and Charlie may be cursed and returned his ring. What kind of fallout will they be dealing with this week?
Noelle Carbone: Alex is really struggling with the choice she made last week. And the people around her, Shahir, Maggie, Dana, and especially Charlie, are all struggling to understand what’s going on with her too. Problem is, she can’t tell them because she doesn’t know herself. She just feels it in her gut that something’s wrong – and that something’s ALWAYS going to be wrong – if she stays with Charlie. And that’s a devastating realization for both of them, especially now that they have a child together. Luckily they’re both very busy at work this week, Alex with her cancer study and Charlie with possibly the goriest, grossest surgery we’ve ever done.
TTVJ: Dana came to a big realization that she was going to recertify as a trauma surgeon and ditch plastics. What kind of challenges does that pose for her?
NC: After her health scare, Dana is reevaluating her priorities. But she’s also feeling reinvigorated, like she has a new lease on life. The thing is, when you recertify you’re back in the trenches working longs hours, covering call, barely sleeping, and competing with the other residents for surgeries. This week is her first taste of that life and despite her insistence that she’s only doing trauma from now on, she kind of gets sucked back into Plastics when a motorcycle trauma patient needs her vascular expertise. Dana’s like that friend you have who’s exceptional at their job but they hate it. In theory you want to support their decision to leave that high-paying, high-profile job and chase their bliss. But practically speaking you know it’s a terrible idea. Or maybe I’m just a terrible friend.
TTVJ: We haven’t ever had scenes between Michelle Nolden and Wendy Crewson and they are everything I have ever wanted. Can we expect to see a lot of the relationship between Dawn and Dana this season? Please say yes!
NC: YES! And we know how you feel because WHY DID WE NEVER DO THIS BEFORE?! Probably because Dana and Dawn are both tremendous surgeons at the top of their games and neither has anything to prove to the other. That dynamic doesn’t tend to produce a lot of drama. But now that Dawn’s Chief of Surgery and Dana wants to recertify, there’s real conflict between them. What happens when you’re the Chief and your top plastic surgeon wants to go all Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School? Hilarity ensues, yes. But also lots of juicy drama because Dawn can’t stop Dana from following her bliss. But she can make the process excruciating.
TTVJ: Zach is pretty happy in his relationship with Dawn, and now seems to want the same for Maggie, even pushing her into internet dating this week. Why was it important to keep building their friendship even after she kissed him last season?
NC: Zach loves Maggie and the feeling is mutual. And sometimes, under the right circumstances, romantic relationships grow out of platonic love. Whether or not that’s what’s actually happened here for Maggie remains to be seen. But Zach is so happy with Dawn and they’re settling down. He knows that Maggie wants the same. She’s pretty gun-shy though, so Zach’s leading the charge – a little more zealously than Maggie would like but hey, nobody’s perfect. The Zach and Maggie friendship was one of those happy accidents that grew organically from the chemistry that Julia and Ben have, and now that it’s become a cornerstone of the show, it was important to tell that story in the final season. As much as this show is about Alex and Charlie and the other romances, it’s also about the bond these people have forged over the five seasons.
TTVJ: We meet a very interesting new character this week played by Houdini and Doyle’s Rebecca Liddiard. What can you tell us about her and the arc she’ll have this season?
NC: Rebecca plays a patient who, through no fault of her own, causes lots of problems for both Alex and Maggie. She’s a patient who Maggie becomes very deeply invested in – to the point where other doctors start to wonder whether that personal investment is clouding Maggie’s professional judgment. We had a lot of fun this year writing longer arcs for recurring characters, which isn’t something we normally do. But we all loved Rebecca so much we wanted to keep her around for as long as we could.
TTVJ: The premiere gave us a glimpse at Jarod Joseph’s new character Dr. Emmanuel Palmer. Can you tell us any more about him and what he’ll be up to this season?
NC: Manny is an Interventional Radiologist and don’t ask me what that is. [laughs] He’s a different type of surgeon, one who doesn’t need to cut people open to heal them. And we thought there was something really beautiful and poetic about that. Especially for Alex who’s in so much inner turmoil. We wanted to see her connect with someone who had a really gentle nature, someone very spiritual – but in a different way than Charlie. And Jarod fit the bill completely. He’s such a unique actor with such a unique energy.
TTVJ: Saving Hope definitely feels a lot lighter and funnier this year, and someone who is very good at the comedy is Huse Madhavji as Shahir. However, this episode is a bit of a change up because he’s got some serious stuff going on. What can you tell us about Shahir this season?
NC: Huse has such wonderful comedic instincts so it’s always fun to write those lighter stories for him. But with this being the last season, we really wanted to give Huse — and all our actors — some meaty dramatic arcs to go out on. Since Shahir struggles so much with empathy and human connection, we thought it would interesting to watch him try and forge a deep emotional connection with the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with. To see him struggle to find and keep his happily ever after, and maybe even start a family. It’s unchartered waters and complete terrifying for him. But it does mean that we’re finally getting to meet Jonathan! And we’re all very thrilled to have Christopher Jacot with us this season playing Shahir’s partner.
What did you think of the Saving Hope premiere? Got any predictions about this season? Add them below!
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.