Rescue Team

Inciting Event: ER director Kate meets search-and-rescue volunteer Wes in the hospital parking lot. The Inciting Event is always a good place for the two leads to initiate direct contact with one another in a romance. Kate and Wes had already essentially met each other earlier, during the crisis of discovering a stillborn baby in the ER bathroom. But this is the first time when they really talk to each other and introduce themselves. It’s also worth noting how they both immediately “reject” this Call to Adventure. They get off on the wrong foot and initially want nothing to do with one another, despite their mutual attraction.

First Plot Point: In desperatation, Kate takes her estranged father, who showed up unannounced, to see Wes’s search-and-rescue demonstration. They stay for dinner, where Kate helps Wes save his autistic brother from choking. This is a relatively subtle First Plot Point. But we know that’s what it is because this is the moment where Kate and Wes first begin to bond. They begin to leave behind their antagonism from the First Act and enter their growing relationship in the Second.

First Pinch Point: Wes sees Kate going out with the hospital lawyer and assumes she has a romantic relationship with him. This emphasizes the stakes (will they or won’t they get together?). Kate’s conversation with the lawyer also furthers the subplot about the pressures the hospital is under and Kate’s fears of getting dragged into a lawsuit over the dead baby’s missing mother.

Midpoint: Kate argues with her father, who is trying to make up for his own past mistakes. She immediately goes looking for Wes. They go out on a second date and afterwards decide they want to be a couple. This is a distinct shift on Kate’s part: she’s no longer just reacting to Wes’s presence in her life; she’s now actively seeking him out.

Second Pinch Point: One more in a string of letters criticizing the ER staff’s supposed lack of compassion is printed in the newspaper, which stresses Kate and threatens her job and her ability to remain in Austin.

Third Plot Point: During a storm, Kate finds the bones of the previous ER director. She falls, knocking herself out. Although I would have preferred to seeing a “lower” moment in this scene itself, it neatly sets up the emotions and decisions that lead Kate to her moment of self-realization in the Climax.

Climax: Kate tells Wes the truth about her past: that she abandoned her own newborn baby when she was seventeen. Since he was abandoned himself as a child, this hits him hard and he draws away. Kate takes off running to Dallas. This actually feels way more like the actual Third Plot Point, but both the timing and the fact that there isn’t another significant turning point into the Climax makes me label this as the Climactic Turning Point.

Climactic Moment: Wes finds Kate at her dad’s house in LA, and they make up.

Resolution: Wes asks Kate to marry him.

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