‘Good Sam’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 5 “Wake Up”


Right from the start, viewers have been on a drama-filled rollercoaster when tuning in to CBS’s newest medical drama, Good Sam. This week’s episode is no exception, bringing the heat with more scandal, strife, and surgery — and so many flashbacks. Read on to see what this week brought in our Good Sam recap for the season’s fifth episode, “Wake Up.”

Old wounds still bleed

Ramona Diaconescu/CBS

The case of the week? A gunshot wound to the chest — which brings up some bad memories for Griff, as you can imagine. As the patient (who was injured in a hunting accident from 30 feet away) is rushed in and given emergency treatment, Griff flashes back to his own shooting. Somewhat frantically, he tries to help with the emergency intervention, and Sam ends up having to shove him out of the way and wrestle the instruments out of his hands to keep him from violating the legal terms of his proctorship.

Dr. Katz summons all of Sam’s team to reprimand them for the scuffle in the trauma bay. She brings in her psychiatrist husband Dr. Asher Pyne (to both Sam and Griff’s obvious disgust) to have them work out their problems. This is honestly the first time we haven’t seen Sam and Griff at odds, as their ire is directed at Pyne instead of each other. However, the peace doesn’t last long. As Pyne compares the shooting victim’s situation to Griff’s, he goes off, citing that at least the patient’s family saw his shooting as a tragedy and not a career opportunity. Yikes. Sam tries to explain that Griff’s proctorship isn’t a punishment and that she’s trying to help him, but he’s having none of it. The tension remains.

Sam signs off on Griff advancing to the next stage of his proctorship (where he can start helping treat patients incrementally again) a few days early, having thought about what Griff said. She wants to give him a win. However, Griff is still extremely displeased, comparing this advancement to giving Picasso fingerpaint. Despite this, Griff tends to the patient with his limited privileges with care, relating to his situation. Sam watches the interaction before the man has a seizure and is rushed to the OR. Sam allows Griff to participate in the surgery, which goes south, as the bullet has dislodged and is circulating somewhere in the man’s body. Working together, Sam and Griff locate it and stabilize the patient.

Griff is still angry at Sam, continuing to make jabs about her waiting in the wings to steal his job. In the heat of an argument, Sam reveals that she violated her oath by withholding Griff’s DNR when he was in a coma so Lakeshore’s doctors would revive him. She’s tired of arguing and doesn’t understand why she needs to prove she loves him; she never even wanted to be in the position of having to take over for him in the first place. Their pagers ring; the patient is coding. Though they try to save him, he flatlines just as his son arrives.

Sam’s reveal prompts Griff to (quasi) apologize for his behavior since waking up from his coma and proposing they start over. He explains the reason he wants his job at Lakeshore so bad is so that he can be near her and fix their relationship. They agree to get breakfast.

The Griff-less Days

As previously mentioned, this episode is chock-full of flashbacks to Griff’s shooting and its aftermath — both from his perspective and Sam’s. We finally get some insight into what happened in that six-month period where the department head was unconscious. Vivian and Sam were understandably distraught when the shooting happened, but we get to see Sam’s devotion to being there for Griff while he was out. From spending the night at his bedside to reading him case files, Sam was dedicated to seeing him get better. At one point when she was by his bedside, she sensed he was about to code from the change in his heart rhythms, called for help, and ended up saving his life. We later find out that Griff had a DNR that Sam and Vivian were searching for. Though Sam found it, she withheld the knowledge that she had done so so the doctors would revive Griff.

We also get to see how Sam got promoted. After Griff’s shooting put him out (and with Sam by his bedside night and day), the department was falling apart. Vivian asked Sam if she was going to step up or not. The department offered her the job, but before taking it, she cried by Griff’s bedside, begging him to wake up. She never wanted to steal his job — never even wanted it in the first place. She just wanted him to get better.

Payback comes with a price

Ramona Diaconescu/CBS

Rhonda wants Sam to go over her mom’s head and bring up a profit renegotiation concerning her work at her Lakeshore-affiliated outpatient surgical center; she receives 40% of the profits and brings in a large amount of money to the hospital, and she feels she deserves more. Sam agrees to bring it up to fulfill her deal.

At the chief’s meeting, Sam puts forth that she thinks everyone should be getting paid fairly for their labor at the outpatient centers. The room is sent into a tizzy, with the other doctors asking how they would know if they weren’t getting compensated fairly. Sam’s mom tries to shut the conversation down, saying that it could be tabled until the budget committee’s next meeting and that talking about their salaries would violate confidentially agreements. However, Rhonda, ever the inciter, casually slips in she’s “sure [they] all make the same 40%”. This triggers outbursts from the other doctors, who are … all getting paid less than Rhonda?

Sam’s been set up yet again; she tries to backtrack, but it’s too late. All the other doctors are angry and want a salary renegotiation. Rhonda looks on smugly and asks how Dr. Katz can explain the inequity. Dr. Katz is now stuck. She explains to Sam later on that the profit splits are based on how much each outpatient center brings in; now she has to find half a million dollars in the budget that they don’t have to appease the doctors.

Sam confronts Rhonda about dragging Vivian into the mess. Rhonda expresses no remorse, but Sam calls her mom with an idea on how to fix the situation. The doctors reconvene, and Dr. Katz lets them know all of their earning rates from outpatient procedures have been bumped to match Rhonda’s. The catch? Rhonda is no longer allowed to do tummy tucks at her outpatient center, forcing her to do them at the hospital which will go towards pay for the other doctors and cut Rhonda’s profit. Whatever beef there is between Rhonda and Vivian still eludes us, but the rivalry will definitely continue after this stunt.

Dr. Costa’s carefully constructed walls come crumbling down

Joey is back at it again with the emotionless front. At the ambulounge, he pretends to be okay after the gunshot case to his boyfriend Tim, saying he’s “well-suited for stress”. Tim is upset, because Joey won’t recognize how much Tim’s been his emotional support throughout all these years, including through his residency. He’s tired of the facade Joey puts up about not needing anybody.

Later, we see Joey practicing apologies to Tim with Donna … who is not impressed. His fellow residents get on his case for not letting Tim know how much he appreciates him and how he adds to his life.

Joey finally corners Tim in the trauma bay the next day. He tells Tim that the ordeal with the patient the day before and their argument made him realize that he can’t picture life without him and doesn’t want to. He drops to one knee and proposes; Tim agrees.

Let’s talk about Caleb

Ramona Diaconescu/CBS

Throughout the episode, Caleb tries to engage Sam in conversation — really just about work-related things, trying to give her an opportunity to talk to him — but Sam is not having it. She seems tense and even cold in the wake of Caleb’s confessions about wanting to give them another shot.

Following the episodic theme of flashbacks, we see Caleb storm into a convenience store in his bloody scrubs and coat in the aftermath of Griff’s shooting. The next thing he knows, he’s being woken up in the parking lot by a beat cop in the middle of the night. He tells the cop that he couldn’t take seeing the shooting. Realizing he’s left Sam alone, he tries to get back the hospital to comfort her, but the cop threatens him, saying if he doesn’t let Caleb escort him home and get some help, he’s going to arrest him on a DUI charge. It turns out that Caleb is recounting the story to Sam, saying that not being able to help her during her time of need was his rock bottom and was what fueled him to get sober. He wants her to know that he’s changed and can truly talk to him if she needs to. Things seem better between the two of them.

In a moment of remembrance after losing the patient, Sam adjusts the team’s tradition from a lakeside rendevous with booze to gum for Caleb’s sake, though she doesn’t reveal that to the rest of the team. The two agree to be friends, which the two both seem happy about.

Friendship fixed

Ramona Diaconescu/CBS

Things are getting back to normal between Lex and Sam, though the subject of Griff is still strange for them to talk about. In a flashback, we see Lex having a panic attack after Griff’s shooting; Pyne randomly encounters her in the hospital hallway and calms her down. She agrees to see him for a therapy session. They unpack that Lex put off her own emotional wellbeing to protect Sam but ended up creating more problems for herself. At one point, she planned on telling Sam about her and Griff’s relationship, but when she learned of Sam’s promotion, she fell back into old patterns.

Back in the present day, Lex tells Sam that she can’t go back to the way they used to be, because it was detrimental for her. Sam communicates that she wants the best for her, and Lex leaves the conversation ominously by telling Sam she hopes she truly meant that. Right at the end of the episode, we discover why as Lex meets Griff outside the hospital, pulls him in, and kisses him right before the screen goes black.

Good Sam airs on Wednesday nights on CBS at 10 p.m. ET/ 9 p.m. CT. See here for all of our other content on the show, including our ongoing recaps.

Kenedi is a college student with her sights set on attending medical school. When she isn't hard at work, Kenedi enjoys reading, watching her favorite shows, and listening to music. Some of her favorite fandoms include Supernatural, One Tree Hill, Bones, Abbott Elementary, Percy Jackson, and Scrubs.

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