Graham Greene shines in his debut as native healer Leonard, in an episode that revolves around the motif of rebirth.
Leonard is a guest observer of Joel's medical practice, and helps him to reinvent himself after a realization that he has lost touch with the human side of medicine. He also helps Shelley realize that her dreadful skin rash is only a passage to transform her into a new, radiant self.
Symbols of resurrection abound in Wake Up Call, from bears (hibernation to re-awakening) to egg hatchlings (conjuring thoughts of renewal of life in spring).
Maggie is featured in an enchanting, folksy story line when she is romanced by a handsome stranger who is really a bear who has assumed human form.
Chris nails down the episode's philosophic undercurrent with two of his most brilliant radio monologues:
-Chris: Bears, which we've all had on our minds lately- They really say it all, you know. Their- Their deathlike sleep in the sepulchre of the cave, followed by their awakening rebirth. Death and resurrection - something bears and deities have in common. Point of fact: In many cultures, bears themselves were considered gods. You know, way before Mithra, before the burning bush, Christ, Buddha, what do you think our Neolithic brothers lied prostrate to? Hmm? Bears.
-Chris: About the same time our Cro-Magnon ancestors started burying themselves... I'm talking about the big bang of the human psyche: the recognition of death. We saw death, and we did what no other animal had done before. We dealt with it. We hit on the idea that death wasn't an end. It was a- a passage. That blessed event that I talked about? Birth of the human spirit.
Wake Up Call features some very good dialogue, and once again reminds us of how well this show can dig deep into the human condition.