Thursday, August 13, 2009

Remote Rewind: Peace on the Mountain

We're going to take a little break from Sully and Michaela this week to focus on a stand out episode from the third season that pushed Michaela both physically and emotionally. At this point in the Sully/Michaela arc, they were reunited after being faced with the possibility of losing each other at the hands of Cheyenne dog soldiers and now, engaged (after Sully dreamt about losing Michaela, he asked her to marry him right after he woke up in a sweat lodge where he was trying to recover from a nasty migraine). But before these two could walk down the aisle, Michaela needed to complete a challenging journey: climbing Pike's Peak.

It all started when an eccentric, but aspiring former teacher found her way to Colorado Springs. Never one to shy away from a challenge (or an opportunity to raise a few eye brows), Sam came to Colorado Springs to climb Pike's Peak. She had lived a life of excitement and scandal (having an affair with a married man back east), but she hadn't climbed the tall peak. Michaela wants to climb it with her, but Sam tells her that she needs to do it alone. Michaela protests, but Sam assures her that she has hired a guide and will be fine. Michaela finally drops it and decides to spend the time she has with Sam before she starts her climb to get to know her better. Sam shares her love of Emerson with Micheala and the two become fast friends.

Sam says her goodbyes and takes off for her journey up Pike's Peak. Michaela worries, but lets her go. Things change when she spots the guide Sam hired back in town without Sam. When she asks him what happened, he tells her that he took Sam to the trailhead and she told him to leave. Michaela packs her things and gets the guide to take her to the spot where he left Sam. He, of course, thinks that she and Sam are crazy, but does it anyway. Michaela begins her hike and eventually catches up with a very weak Sam. It turns out, Sam is dying and has very little time left. Michaela being a doctor, wants to get her back down the mountain and into treatment, but Sam refuses. She has been through the treatments and she simply wants to enjoy her time left, accomplish something grand and die in peace.

Michaela once again protests Sam's decision, so when she wakes up the next morning, she's alone on the mountain side. She grabs her things and goes looking for Sam. She finds her, but she is even weaker and having trouble breathing. Michaela tries to help her, but Sam refuses. She wants to be left alone and she gives Michaela a choice: either leave her to die in peace or stay with her as her friend (NOT her doctor). Michaela feels torn between her duty as a doctor and her obligation as a friend. She settles on the latter. She looks up at the night sky with Sam as Sam quietly passes away. Michaela is devastated when she loses her friend, but finds one last message from Sam telling her to live life to its fullest. The words comfort her as she makes her way to the top of Pike's Peak and then back down and into town. She leaves that mountain a new person thanks to Sam, a little Emerson and her own physical and emotional strength. Little did she know that that emotional strength would be tested even further in the coming weeks, but we'll delve into the show's most tragic episode next week.

Feeling nostalgic for Dr. Mike, Sully and the rest of the residents of Colorado Springs? Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Complete Series is now available on DVD.

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