Sullivan’s Crossing – Season 1 Episode 1 “Coming Home” Recap & Review

Coming Home

Episode 1 of Sullivan’s Crossing begins in Dr. Maggie Sullivan’s medical crosshairs. Two patients are brought to the Boston Commonwealth Hospital in critical condition. Maggie acts professionally under pressure, reflecting how much she has already learned in the early days of her residency. Her hectic day finishes by nightfall when she takes a moment’s reprieve outside. But not a moment passes by before her boyfriend, Dr Andrew Matthews, also a neurosurgeon, greets her. 

Maggie’s mother, Phoebe, has summoned her presence at an event where her stepfather, Dr Walter Lancaster will be honoring Maggie. While in the limo, Andrew breaks the news to Maggie. He has been offered a job at the Boston Commonwealth. Maggie and he would be colleagues if he takes it up. His divorce is almost finalized; everything couldn’t have lined up more perfectly, right? 

If it had, Maggie would have been happier. But she isn’t, and we put a pin in it for now. Maggie and Andrew arrive just in time as Walter begins to felicitate her. As Maggie is giving her acceptance speech, Federal Agents storm the place. Dr. Bob Hollis, whose practice Walter has invested in, and where Maggie currently learns her trade, is arrested. And so is Maggie. The cause isn’t clear yet, as we directly jump to Maggie driving toward Sullivan’s Crossing in rural Nova Scotia – a place she once called home.

Maggie is welcomed home by Frank and Edna Cranebear, both of whom she has known for years. They are friends and colleagues of her father, Sully, whom Maggie hasn’t stayed in touch with. Sullivan’s Crossing is its own little community where the value of the word is held in high regard. Maggie requests Sully to house her in her old room. She is surprised to see the house in a messy shape, which tells a lot about how Sully has fallen behind on the notions of domestic life.

They share a complex relationship, the nuances of which we can expect to unfold in the upcoming episodes. For now, Maggie wants to stay in Nova Scotia. Despite Phoebe and Andrew’s best efforts to get her back in the city, Maggie simply cannot show face. Hollis has taken the blame for what he did – as he rightly should, in Maggie’s book. But she isn’t going back – for now.

Maggie takes in the peace of Sullivan’s Crossing near the lake when she meets Cal Jones. Their first interaction isn’t suggestive of a romance but perhaps we can expect one going forward. Maggie is greeted next by an old friend, Sydney. It is quite clear the two haven’t kept up their relationship. Sydney had also started college but came back home to help her brother, Rob, deal with the loss of his wife, Sarah. Maggie is invited to the bonfire later that evening hosted by Sully. In the meanwhile, she has to deal with Roy, an elderly resident of the community who looks disoriented calling out for his wife, Ruthie.

Cal and Sully interject, and Edna tells Maggie that Roy lost Ruthie a while back. Now, they all look after him, even though Maggie insists they give him medical attention and place him in a care home. Maggie and Frank share a tender moment where she confesses that she lost her way in pursuit of achieving the pinnacle in her career. Frank’s sage advice to Maggie will definitely come in handy as she navigates her new reality ahead.

Maggie is certainly happy to see Edna and Frank’s timeless marriage keep up its charms. She shares a very close bond with Edna and expresses her gratitude for all that she did to protect Maggie back then. At the bonfire, she meets Robb and his son, Finn, among other people. These include Connie Boyle, a single mother of two, who runs the local fire department. Her sons, Jackson and Rafe, work with the local rescue and search team and bring their unique expertise to the fore. 

Sully, who is barbecuing burgers, is approached by Cal, who doesn’t know Maggie is his daughter. He feels that Maggie is “full of herself” – which seems partly true for now. Cal is left eating his words when Frank tells him about Sully’s daughter. Maggie gets uncomfortable seeing Sully with Lola, who is Roy’s granddaughter. Cal approaches Maggie and apologizes to her. But Maggie is not in the mood. As it starts raining, Maggie walks away from the bonfire. Sydney enquires what’s wrong and Maggie says she realized the mistake she was making.

Phoebe was right to call her back to Boston and revive her career. She plans to head out the next morning. This prompts Sydney to call out Maggie’s abandonment of the community after she left it. Maggie gets a call from Scott, her lawyer, who tells her that Kevin Markiff, whom she treated earlier at the hospital, has succumbed to an aneurysm of all things. And now, his mother is suing Maggie and the BCH for negligence. He advises her to keep a low profile and stay out of sight, which means she will have to stay at Sullivan’s Crossing for the foreseeable future. 

The Episode Review

Sullivan’s Crossing begins with a solid opening episode that is neither too heavy nor too light on details. First impressions are of a sedate drama without the modern, tinkering nerve of sensationalism. There is a lot to unpack here about the show’s setting and its tight-knit community. Some tropes about small-town America (even though it is a Canadian Drama) and the draining standard of modern-day big-city life are clearly established.

They will be further strengthened in the upcoming episodes to give us the full extent of what the show is actually about. Morgan Kohan, Chad Michael, and Tom Jackson immediately catch the eye in the opener. All of them have a pivotal role to play going forward, including Scott Peterson who portrays Sully. 

Although I wouldn’t call Episode 1 too vanilla in tone, it flirted dangerously with the line. It is too early to call the show and that perhaps leaves a lot of room for pleasant surprises, looking on the bright side. 


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You can read our full Season 1 review of Sullivan’s Crossing here!
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