Saving Hope Writers Preview An Important Test for Alex and Charlie

Bell Media
Bell Media

When we last saw Saving Hope, Kristine (Nicole Underhay) was inappropriately kissing Charlie (Michael Shanks), and sadly, Maggie (Julia Taylor Ross) was once again saying goodbye to Sydney (Stacey Farber). In this week’s episode “Goodbye Girl,” Kristine isn’t willing to let go of Charlie so easily and shows up drunk at his doorstep. After Charlie turns her away, she ends up in a drunk-driving accident and it’s up to Alex (Erica Durance) to save her, despite her confusion over what’s really going on between the nurse and her boyfriend.

Will she and Charlie be able to put aside all their feelings and save her? That’ll definitely be the main question at hand on Thursday night. The episode’s co-writers Noelle Carbone and Katrina Saville joined The TV Junkies to provide a closer look at the episode, as well as what lies ahead for the rest of Season 4.

The TV Junkies: First off congratulations on the Season 5 renewal news. Was the plan for the current season and how it plays out affected at all by that?

Noelle Carbone: It definitely was. We were writing Season 4 as if it were the last season. When we found out we were renewed, we cracked some celebratory beers and then immediately got to work completely overhauling the last few episodes of Season 4. Luckily for us, our fearless leader [showrunner] Adam Pettle is quick on his feet and cooked up a new killer ending that’s even better than the one we had. You guys are going to love it.

Katrina Saville: I will not comment on the above question, as I was brought in as a freelancer to help write with Noelle and then took off while we were shooting. However, I would like to applaud how elegantly Noelle is kissing up to Pettle here. (Slow clap)

TTVJ: You two co-wrote this episode. What’s that process like and have you written together before on a script?

NC: Katrina and I worked together on Rookie Blue, and that room, much like Saving Hope, was very collaborative in terms of the actual writing. This was the first time we co-wrote in an official capacity though. The process went like this: Katrina wrote excellent pages, very, very quickly, and I slowed everything down by being preoccupied with the episodes that came before ours. The beauty of co-writing with someone–especially with someone whose writing you love–is that every scene they send you is like the birthday present ever. “Surprise! It’s a hilarious, beautifully written scene that somehow also manages to be heartbreaking.” And then you do your best to return the favour.

KS: This is mostly correct. Though, I don’t think I wrote “excellent” pages. I wrote the easy way: with no regard to page count, fumbling my way through medical scenes, and writing whatever silly thing came to mind at 1 a.m. Noelle would then take my clumps of clay I sent her, which were molded into weird Yoda–like creatures, and chip away at them carefully with all her experience and talent and make beautiful Renaissance sculptures. Do you see what I did there? I just made a weird analogy attempt, which probably has you thinking about the statue of David and Yoda battling with lightsabers instead of giving you a clearer picture of our collaborative writing process–which was my intention. It’s because Noelle isn’t editing my answers. Basically, Noelle makes everything better.

TTVJ: There’s been some tension brewing with Charlie’s relationship with Kristine for a while now. How will things there come to a head this week and what does it mean for Alex and Charlie’s relationship?

NC: If you think Kristine stepped over the line in the last episode, she steps way over the line in this one. Charlie has a full life with Alex and their family. But Kristine only has Charlie. And because they share the same gift/curse, she’s going to fight like hell to stay connected to him. This episode is the first time we see how that conflict directly affects Alex. And it definitely rocks her world, especially when she finds out Charlie hasn’t been completely upfront with her about Kristine.

KS: This episode is a really important one for Alex and Charlie and highlights just how easy it is, even for solid couples, to lose their way a little. I’d like to think it’s an honest look at how sometimes there is no one to blame either, or no “bad guy” in a situation. Just people trying their best to get through life with the cards they’ve been dealt.

TTVJ: When Kristine is involved in the car accident, her spirit wants to crossover, but Charlie has a hard time accepting that. Why is that and what struggles will he face?

NC: Charlie is facing down one of the fundamental struggles of this series: what happens when a ghost wants something but the patient wants or needs something else? If Charlie actually did what Spirit Kristine wanted, he’d lose his license. But not heeding her wishes means he’ll have to face her spirit-world wrath. Plus on top of all this, Alex has to put her personal feelings on hold in order to give Kristine the best care she can. It’s a friggin’ mess.

KS: Yes, and I think Charlie also has a hard time accepting Spirit Kristine’s request because he believes there’s more to the story than Kristine is giving him. He’s not giving into her, or giving up on her, until he truly understands what’s going on with her.

Bell Media
Bell Media

TTVJ: Maggie has been very focused on her career this season, and it’s again at the forefront for her this episode when a patient accuses her of malpractice. Why was it important to throw this roadblock in her way when she just seems to be figuring stuff out professionally?

NC: Being singularly focused on achieving your goals comes at a cost. In surgical medicine it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the O.R. “wins” you’re racking up are actual people. In this episode Maggie is so focused on how this mistake might torpedo her career that she forgets to treat her patient humanely. She’s so busy trying to protect her reputation that she ignores the real problem right in front of her face. This story was a way to remind Maggie that the people matter more than the medicine. I think all of our characters need to be reminded of that from time to time.

KS: I mean, isn’t that life? I know it’s mine. Just when I start to feel settled or stable in any capacity, life pulls a fast one on me. Why Maggie, specifically? Well, I could get really existential here on you… but instead I’ll chalk it up to the fact that I personally love writing for Julia, and the quirk and dynamic she brings to the table.

TTVJ: There were many fans that were sad to see Sydney (Stacey Farber) go last week. Was that a story decision or did scheduling issues and Stacey possibly being attached to other projects factor into that? What are your feelings on that relationship?

NC: Listen, no one was sadder to see Katz go than me. I love that character and what she brings to the ensemble–and what she does for Maggie. But I don’t make the call about who gets brought in and for how long and how the whole thing gets scheduled. Sometimes I wish I did. But then I remember that if they put me in charge of the schedule and budget, no one would know when they were working and we’d be bankrupt after the first week. I think my feelings on that relationship are well documented. (laugh)

KS: Noelle says she “laughed” there. But really she cried. Losing characters you love for reasons beyond your control sucks.

TTVJ: There’s an example of a DIY home renovation project gone horribly wrong in this episode. Truth time: which one of you hates HGTV and where do these more off the wall story ideas come from?

NC: I don’t know about Kat, but I actually love HGTV. In fact I stumbled into an enjoyable Tiny House Hunters marathon Monday night while surfing for the ‘Bama/Clemson game. The DIY Gone Wrong idea was inspired by a story I heard from one of our ER doctors. The real story was about two teenage boys who got into a nail gun fight while their parents were away. Note to self: don’t have boys. But in that version it was really hard to feel sympathy for their idiotic plight. So we changed it and made it a hopelessly romantic nerd who was trying to win back the love of his life via a home renovation–which is way more Saving Hope.

KS: Yep, Noelle brought this baby to the table. We were outside of the studio taking a walk and brainstorming (admittedly, I was climbing trees.) Noelle told me this story and I burst out laughing. Win for team…. Carville? Side note: not a huge HGTV fan, mostly because I’ve lived in my rented apartment now for a decade (no spinster jokes, please)–however, I will admit to my love of MasterChef Junior. Have you seen what those 8-12 year-old kids can do! It’s insane.

TTVJ: Zach (Benjamin Ayres) is working with Dev (Dejan Loyola) this week and we see him once again take on a mentoring position. Why is he so well-suited for that type of role and is that a trend we’ll see continue for him throughout the rest of the season?

NC: Watching Episode 405–the first time Dev and Cassie (Kim Shaw) work the ER with Zach–was really instructive for me. We’ve seen Zach struggle to process the loss of Joel and cope with his guilt surrounding Joel’s death. But the rookies weren’t around for that. They aren’t carrying around any of that baggage. They’re fresh-faced newbies with enthusiasm and optimism to spare and that’s like an antidote for Zach’s pain.

Plus Dejan and Ben are so lovely and funny together. And I have to give Dejan a special shoutout here. We give him some pretty ridiculous stuff to do and say, and he’s often the butt of the joke, but he’s always game and always delivers. So yes, we’ll definitely be seeing more of the Zach/Dev mentorship bromance.

KS: If you ask me, Zach is well suited for anything on the show. Drama, comedy, mentor, romantic interest… I’ve got a huge (totally professional) crush on Ben Ayres. And just you wait–he’s got some prrrrrretty sweet scenes coming up.

Bell Media
Bell Media

TTVJ: We here at The TV Junkies are very fearful for Dana’s (Wendy Crewson) fate this season and this week Alex is trying to still ensure that she’s not given up hope. Can you ease our fears at all and tell us if Alex’s pleas will be getting through?

NC: You don’t really want me to tell you what happens in the Dana and Alex story. You think you want to know. But you don’t. What I can tell you is that whatever happens, Erica and Wendy will have you in tears.

KS: Uh… like crying tears? Or laughing tears? I kinda want to know, too. I’m in the dark right now as well, people!

TTVJ: What can you tell us about where things are headed over the remaining 5 episodes of the season?

NC: We’re definitely continuing along our season arc path of “Alex and Charlie against the world”. The finale has some amazing twists and turns and a sensational ending. There’s also Dana’s battle with breast cancer, which will come to a head, and we’ll see what that does to her relationship with Alex. Plus we’ve got some romance cooking for Bishop (Peter Mooney), Cassie, Dawn (Michelle Nolden), Zach and Maggie–not all together, obviously. That’s a different show.

TTVJ: Anything else you’d like to add?

NC: Thank you for watching and if you have any complaints about this episode please send them directly to Katrina. Just kidding. Keep them to yourselves.

KS: Bring it.

Can Alex and Charlie come through this test for the better? What do you want to see through the rest of  Saving Hope‘s fourth season? Sound off in the comments below!

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

3 Comments