The truth about why Charlie is in a coma is revealed.

By Madina Papadopoulos
October 16, 2014 at 03:11 AM EDT
Carin Baer/Fox
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As the weeks go by, Red Band Society is on the mend. The show feels tighter and more focused. The characters’ personalities, motivations, and backstories are slowly being fleshed out. The genre-bending is starting to make sense. Nurse Jackson brings the drama, Leo hones the romance, and Kara continues to enthrall as comic relief. The pacing of this episode, “So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want,” was right on target (save that title). This week focused on Charlie, and after weeks of anticipation, this felt like the right moment to reveal what had happened to him.

The story flashes back to happy days for Charlie, when he and his dad, Nick, play with origami creatures as mom looks on, smiling. Later, at a party, Nick takes young Charlie home, and his mom, Mandy, stays to party on. It’s a rainy night, and the deck is stacked against them: Charlie gets sick in the car, and the moment Nick turns around to unlatch Charlie’s seat belt so he can lie down, BAM, they get into a car accident. When they arrive to the hospital, Charlie is still awake. There, Nurse Jackson cares for him as he goes into surgery. Unfortunately, Charlie goes into a coma, and mom blames dad for unlatching the belt. She gets his visitation rights taken away—the reason for him to sneak in as the “visiting guitarist.”

Back in present time, Mandy comes in to speak with what we’ll call the “Men-in-Black” and the hospital staff. These men have come to assess whether the hospital is still a productive setting for Charlie, or whether it’s just money down the drain. With a heavy heart, Dr. McAndrew admits he does not feel hope for Charlie, news that breaks Mandy’s heart. Nurse Jackson, of course, has her own opinion, and she will not be silenced. She promised Charlie she would be there when he woke up from surgery, and she intends to keep that promise. In Charlie’s room, Mandy finds Charlie’s origami creature and realizes that Charlie’s father has been visiting him. She is furious, particularly at Nurse Jackson. But she comes to terms with the much weightier news that her son will probably never wake up. She sits down with Nick, who crushingly tells her that she’ll never hate him as much as he hates himself.

While all this heavy drama is going on, there is Kara to lighten the mood. She and Dash are becoming a formidable duo. (Mostly because Dash is tough enough to deal with Kara’s sass.) In a lot of ways, Kara is like a mini Nurse Jackson. Obviously she doesn’t have the heart of Nurse Jackson, but I believe it’s in there somewhere, and could actually see her becoming more and more like Nurse Jackson as the episodes continue. Maybe that’s why Nurse Jackson can’t stand Kara.

After Kara attempts to get high on dry-erase markers, she and Dash bond over needing a transplant. Kara wants Dash to give her tips on getting onto the transplant list. He agrees to help her, but on one condition: She has to get him into a certain, fancy apartment building. No questions asked. Kara agrees, not just because she needs a heart transplant, but also because that poor girl is boarded up and bored at the hospital and needs to cook up some fun.

NEXT: Riding in Cars With Boys

Using her mothers’ connections in the property realm, she gets them to look at an empty apartment in the building Dash is interested in. Dash carries around a suspicious bag, heightening the anticipation of what mysterious act he wants to commit. And it turns out, Dash is not at all interested in the apartment, but in the roof. On the wall, he spray paints an awesome mural. Even mighty Kara is impressed.

After they go home, Kara and Dash talk more about getting transplants. In a touching scene, Dash opens up, telling her that he has resigned himself to his health ailments, and that even if he were to get a lung donor, he wouldn’t necessarily want to go through with the transplant because it doesn’t mean he’s going to have perfect health after. He just wants to be remembered. Kara now understands the point of his mural, but in true Kara fashion, steps on the warm moment by pointing out that he painted it in a place nobody will ever see… little does she know

In the meantime, the Leommordi teen love triangle continues. Jordi gets officially emancipated. The resident hypochondriac, Bono Ruben, makes a reappearance. He announces he is leaving the hospital and let’s Jordi drive his fancy car as a congratulations gift for becoming an adult. Emma takes him on a driving lesson, with Leo sitting in the backseat. Charlie fittingly comments, “What’s worse than having one leg? Feeling like a third wheel.” Leo had told Jordi that things are done between him and Emma, and Jordi gets hopeful again. But after the driving, Leo and Emma have a very overly written and wordy scene, where they speak like theater characters about their romance. He opens by calling her a “bitch,” and then kisses her. Jordi watches in the distance.

But back to Charlie, Mandy decides not to appeal the decision of the Men-in-Black. When Nurse Jackson informs Leo that Charlie is going to be moved, he tells her how he has seen and spoken to Charlie when he is under anesthesia. He tells her of the origami creature, and this information makes Nurse Jackson believe him. This moment isn’t very credible and feels forced, as the origami creature was just hanging out in Charlie’s room, in plain view for everyone to see. But as the believability has grown by leaps and bounds since episode 2, we can’t be sticklers.

The group goes up to the roof for a toast, but when they reach their destination, they look over the roof, and see Dash’s beautiful mural. They are in awe, as adorable Dash smiles one of his cutest smiles. Jordi takes Emma’s hand, as Leo looks on jealously. The tension is brewing!

The episode ends with the awesome Nurse Jackson doing something quite shady, yet very heroic. She takes another patient’s blood type and puts Charlie’s name on it. For what specific purpose, only time, or the next episode, will tell.

Group Therapy:

–Most emotional line goes to Nurse Jackson: “Next breath, next step.”

–Who else breathed a sigh of relief when they heard Ruben was leaving?

–Meanest line goes to Emma (said to Leo): “It’s not like you drive well anymore.”

–How many times did Nurse Jackson make you cry?

–Charlie: “Please don’t cry, Nurse Jackson. If you cry, then I’m gonna cry.” (So will the rest of us.) How is Octavia Spencer so good?

–When will (if ever) Charlie wake up?

–Is it just me, or does Leo look better without hair?

A group of teenagers band together in a pediatric ward—the result is full of humor and heart.
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