The Christmas Doctor

Alright, we did it you guys. The last movie of the weekend.

At Newark Hospital, “Doctor Zoe” and a bunch of other staff sing Christmas Carols and pass out stuffed animals to kids. Zoey has completed her rotation here. She did 8 days there. She is a visiting doctor and is used to moving around. She carries a flimsy takeout box into her apartment. Her…sister, Deborah, FaceTimes her and shames her for WORKING SO DANG MUCH. Deborah is wearing a very lovely Christopher and Banks sweater. She demands that Zoe spend Christmas with them. SHE IS ALWAYS WORKING!

Meanwhile, an older doctor, Dr. Ray, looks at a list of doctors to fill in for him while he has surgery. His office manager, Gabby, hopes he picks someone she can boss around. He sees Zoey’s name and seems very interested.

Zoey is out for a jog and sees people playing chess. She flashes back to being overseas playing with a soldier. She asks for a rematch the next day.

She gets a call about working at Willowbrook. She wants something in a bigger city but she decides to take the job.

Then she heads to her sister’s to break the news to her. The doctor she’s subbing for is having surgery. Why doesn’t he just close the practice? It is way upstate in a tiny town. So she is trying to quickly celebrate Christmas with her sister before she leaves.

In Willowbrook, Zoey wanders around the super cute downtown and then heads into the office. It is VERY CHRISTMASY. She rings a bell at the front desk and startles someone. He calls her a “Rent a Doc.” He’s Luke Barnes and he does IT type stuff. He is helping a friend update all the computers in the office. So it is a clinic…maybe they do a quick care type service. Probably can’t close it down while ol Dr. Ray is out.

Gabby walks in with lots of coffee and said she found a different house for her to live in because the other rental fell through. Also she got her a monogrammed white coat for the office. Zoe is touched. Then Dr. Ray arrives. He says don’t call me Dr. Johnson…call me…Dr. Ray. THAT’S DIFFERENT.

Zoe talks to Ray about his rotator cuff surgery while he shows her around the clinic. They do a few surgeries in the Willowbrook clinic but you have to go to Buffalo for the major stuff. He asks why she left the military. She is vague and just says it was time.

Francis, a hypochondriac, or maybe just a disgruntled pet owner, needs some advice for a cat scratch. Sounds like MY KIDS every time they get a little scrape. She only wants Dr. Ray to look at it.

That night, Zoe knocks on the door of the house she’s staying at. I believe the manager told her it was empty? Anyway, she startles Luke AGAIN. This is his mom’s house. She asks what year it is…he says “1985”. She’s like, WHAT? He’s like, girl, look around. HE’S NOT WRONG. Zoe reveals she knows about plumbing. There are family pics all over.

Zoe promises not to bother him any more. He tells her he is going to be so busy anyway. His daughter is coming home from college for Christmas! As he leaves, the door handle pops right off.

The next morning, Gabby fills Zoe in on LUKE. She didn’t WASTE A MINUTE. She’s like he’s single. His ex wife just abandoned them. And also, he’s single. Did she mention that yet?

No one at the clinic wants to see Zoe. They want to wait until Dr. Ray is back. Then, a woman kind of collapses in the office. Zoe tells her she’ll take a quick look. The patient kind of fills her in on her history. They’ve run every test and chocked it up so far to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Luke’s daughter arrives to his work. She’s home for the holidays! He surprises her with the tree lighting presentation? He tells her he is going to hire an intern for her to manage next summer. She seems…unsure about that. He has all kinds of plans for her tonight…but she wants to see her friends! Luke asks her about coding class while they are out to dinner. She is like…yes…coding…I definitely enjoy that.

Gabby strolls along the street and fills Zoe in on the town. They stop by the diner…but it seems like it’s a Mexican restaurant? They see Luke and his daughter eating inside. Anyway, Gabby suddenly has to BOLT.

Luke’s daughter meets Zoe inside the diner. Zoe tells her she’s seen the pictures of her when she was little. NOT WEIRD. Lilly invites her to stay but Zoe says she has stuff to do. Lilly LIKES HER. Pay attention, Lukie!

Zoe fills her sister in on LUKE and the house. LUKE LOOKS OKAY. She says.

Meanwhile, Luke looks at the meteor shower alone on his back deck. So does Zoe.

In the morning, Zoe stops by Dr. Ray’s with flowers for his wife for putting up with him. Dr. Ray has her look at his binoculars at a cardinal in their yard. Zoe fills Dr. Ray in on the patients. She talks about Emma-The girl with chronic fatigue. Dr. Ray says she should look in on her. Zoe is like, I don’t do house calls. She does NOT want to connect with patients. Dr. Ray is like, get over it! Serene, his wife, gives her a basket of Christmas decorations for her mantle.

At the clinic, Lily is Zoe’s first patient. Lily went to the same college as Zoe! Lily is there for a flu shot. Lily tells Zoe she is studying computer engineering…reluctantly. Then she asks when Zoe knew she wanted to be a doctor? Zoe tells her a story of her friend getting injured on the ice skating rink at college and how Zoe tried to help deal with her injury until paramedics arrived. That friend is lucky it was Zoe there and not me because I would have been passed out right next to her! After the shot, Lily decides she’s not too cool for a candy cane or two as a reward for being a good patient. Then, Zoe sees a chess set inexplicably in the cupboard. This makes her flash back again to her deployment.

In the flashback, Zoe fills a nurse in on the condition of her little chess playing friend. He’s all ready to play again. He tells her this is his first Christmas away from home. He asks to finish it later because he’s very tired. What is wrong with him though? He doesn’t seem to have any injuries or anything…

Gabby asks if she plays chess? She says no, why would you ask? Can’t a guy just stare vacantly at a chess set in a cupboard? Zoe gets Emma’s bloodwork back and reluctantly makes a house call. Emma is making a big old turkey. For WHO? Oh, she is a caterer. She talks about how low energy she is lately.

Zoe does some work thinking about Emma. And then the power goes out! She calls Luke but he has no idea where the circuit breakers are. They go to his room. She basically accuses him of being a huge dork. SHE’S NOT WRONG. They both like to look at the stars! He finds his old light saber in the closet. EMBARRASSING. He asks if she lives in the city. He says he lived in the city until he got married. Zoe says she heard he’s a good dad. And he admits he is a snowplow parent. Zoe tells him she was divorced too. And then they finally find the circuit breaker. She correctly guesses his age because she says she can guess ages by people’s wall paper. That’s funny. Then Luke realizes the house isn’t decorated for Christmas!

The next morning, Zoe is out for a run and sees what she thinks is a cardinal but it’s a winter finch. She sees Ashley and Lily making a snowman…woman. Zoe sympathizes with Lily a little having a tough time visiting home. Lily admits she is not sure she wants to work for her dad after college.

Zoey is back at Emma’s helping her chop vegetables. Emma offers to help teach her to cook. Then Emma gets a call from “Kevin.” She ignores it. She says she’s been avoiding him because she doesn’t want to see anyone right now. Zoe tries to give her some encouragement.

She gets home to discover that Luke has decorated the whole exterior of the house. She invites him to eat dinner with her. Zoe tells Luke she actually really likes the house. She doesn’t have any “stuff.” at her house because she’s never home. Luke says he doesn’t know what to do with all of his mom’s stuff. They both talk about how nerdy they are. He tells her he enjoys living in a small town. She says she keeps track of each day in a new place. Zoe shares that every doctor has one patient that sticks with them. For her, it was one patient in the Army she couldn’t save. She left the Army after that and has been moving from job to job since. She gets kind of emotional so Luke has an idea.

They head to the tree lot. The owner says he needs to come see her about his knee. All of a sudden everyone starts looking at them. They are standing under the mistletoe. He looks like he’s actually going to kiss her. But she gets a call. She has a baby deliver!! He offers to find her a tree while she’s gone.

Zoe wakes up the next day to find a tree in her house. Then, she heads to Dr. Ray’s to show him a picture of the new baby. He talks about how fun it is to deliver a baby and watch it grow up. Dr. Ray says he thinks she could use a family this Christmas. Dr. Ray’s wife and Zoe just banter back and forth. Serene says there is something special about her. What is so special about her she wonders. Dr. Ray wonders if he should say something.

Zoe gets a call about her next job. It starts on the 27th. Francis is there and gives her a fruitcake from the new baby’s grandma. And Francis finally lets her look at her elbow. Zoe sees Luke and Lily across the street. Lily asks when he’s going to ask Zoe out.

At Luke’s work, Lily finally admits that she doesn’t want to work here next summer. She doesn’t want to do computer engineering. She is currently undeclared because she doesn’t like it. She say she didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Well what is he paying for, anyway! Undeclared? SHE NEEDS TO LIVE HER OWN LIFE, OKAY DAD?

Zoe is back at Emma’s learning to make green bean casserole. Emma talks about candied yams which causes Zoe to flashback again. She brings candied yams to that sad little solider in the hospital. She tears up a little as she talks to him. What is wrong with him? Then Emma’s hand starts shaking when she handles the green beans.

Zoe wraps a Santa’s wrist at the clinic. Zoe promises him that she’ll be at the tree lighting. Zoe goes outside and sees a wreath on her car from the tree lot owner. Everyone is so grateful for her in town. They see Ray and Serene downtown. Serene hugs Zoe! Then Zoe realizes she has to find a gift to put on the town Christmas Tree. she and Luke buy Christmas cookies at the market and chat a little.

It’s Christmas Tree Lighting time. Isn’t that guy a mayor of another Hallmark town?

Zoe stops by Dr. Ray’s again with coffee. He gives her binoculars as a Christmas gift so she can bird watch. He starts making a little bit of a speech. Then Zoe shifts to talking about Emma. Zoe just says they’re missing something.

Meanwhile, over at Luke’s house, he makes pancakes to apologize to Lily for being upset that he’s paying for college while she fritters about not knowing what to study. Lily says she will just stay with computer programming. Luke says, no do what you want to do! Just as long as it’s not something unmarketable like…International Studies.

Luke comes by to see Zoe. Gabby is like…oh what’s wrong! Nothing. Gabby tells him where to find her. He struggles with getting the words out. Finally he works up the courage to ask her out. They decide to go to the diner. EVERYONE IS WATCHING THEM. Katie the waitress loves to guess people’s orders. It turns out they just go with whatever she says. That’s cute. Her leftovers are in tinfoil shaped like a reindeer!!! Wow. They decide to decorate her tree. Zoe gets them all set up with cookies and hot chocolate.

They talk about a meteor show on New Year’s Eve. They plan to watch it alone. Then Zoe has a realization about Emma after seeing a stainless steel label on an ornament. They awkwardly both admit they are enjoying their time together. Then Zoe calls Dr. Ray.

Zoe calls Emma in. She thinks Emma might be allergic to nickel!! Good find Zoe! Emma hugs Zoe she’s so happy. Also, Gabby sure looks cute today! Then Gabby tells Zoe that Dr. Ray insisted on picking Zoe. Gabby guesses what Zoe got for the town Christmas Tree. She is SPOT ON. And then she admits her cousin tells her what everyone buys for the big tree. Everyone says hi to Zoe as she walks around town.

Back at her house, Zoe counts down. Two more days. I love her dress. And then she hears carolers outside her door. She heads outside to join them. IN HEELS. Luke is with them. Zoe says this has been her favorite place she’s worked. MORE MISTLETOE. They are about to kiss when the Santa drives by and honks at her. He asks about a rash under his beard. Even with all that rash talk, they STILL KISS. Tonight is the award night for Dr. Ray.

That night, Luke is the emcee for the award ceremony. Luke tells a personal story about his experience with Dr. Ray. He is very touched and surprised. Ray walks up and gives a nice little acceptance speech. He asks Zoe to join him on the stage. He thinks the award should go to all the doctors, nurses and front line workers everywhere. Now it’s time for a slide show of Dr. Ray.

Little Lucy gives Zoe a candy cane and misses the picture of Dr. Ray and his SON. Her little Army patient. I KNEW IT.

The next day, Zoe successfully makes green bean casserole with a subtle shout out to Campbells soup. Her sister calls. They showed up at her house! Deborah says they are going to just always go wherever Zoe is from now on. Her sister and brother in law say she looks happy. Zoe is HOSTING. Emma drops off some turkey on her way to see her family. Then Gabby stops by with a vegetable tray. Gabby knows everything about Deborah and Ty. Dr. Ray and Serene come over. And then LUKE arrives. She introduces Luke to Deborah. Deborah has THE LEAST AMOUNT OF CHILL OF ANYONE SO FAR THIS YEAR. Deborah knows about Lily too. Luke offers to help do dishes later. They have a lovely dinner. Why is Zoe wearing HEELS. INSIDE HER HOUSE.

Dr. Ray approaches Zoe. Dr. Ray says he plans to start working less. He wants to take on a partner at the clinic. He wants her to do it! Luke overhears. She says she already has another assignment. Luke is bummed. Lily notices. Deborah and Ty leave Luke and Zoe to do the dishes. She asks what he wanted to talk about. He says nothing. Zoe says she’d like to stay in touch. He says she can call anytime. Zoe has a gift for him. A TOOL BOX. Perfect. He says he has something for her too. A snow globe. So she can have some stuff! They both say they won’t miss each other and they hug.

We are OUT OF TIME! There is too much left unresolved.

The next morning, Deborah, Ty and Zoe all wear matching sweaters in the morning. It’s cute. Deborah and Ty head home. Zoe wanders around the house and picks up the light saber. Then she finishes packing. As she gets her coat on, the doorbell rings. It’s Dr. Ray. He has something on his mind. They head outside to talk. He struggles to say what he came here to say. Then he tells her he brought her here on purpose. He wrote her a letter on the base but she had left already and never got it. It was returned to him unopened. While she reads the letter, he tells her how much his son appreciated her and how much they appreciated her because they knew his son was not alone. NOBODY CRIES. He and Serene are so grateful they got to spend time with her. They have a long hug. As she goes to her car, she notices a hand made sign that says the town will miss her.

Zoe finishes her time in Philly and is going to stay in for New Year’s Eve and watch the meteor shower alone. She picks up her snow globe and FINALLY GETS SOME SENSE!

At Luke’s house, Lily and her dad talk about her leaving to get back in time for New Year’s at the dorm. Because dorms are definitely open on New Year’s Eve. He is going to watch the meteor shower alone too. ZOE IS IN HER CAR. She is back in Willow Brook. Zoe startles Luke AGAIN while he’s fixing a swing out front of his mom’s house. She says she wants to watch the meteor shower with him. Oh and also she wants to MOVE THERE! THEY KISS.

It ends with her starting her first day at her NEW PERMANENT JOB. With her own parking space. And that’s it!

I put this movie off until last because I thought it was going to be the worst one. Boy was I wrong. I think it might be my favorite from the weekend! I just really enjoyed it. It was a fun premise with a great little connection twist at the end…even though I figured it out MUCH EARLIER OKAY? But, I was really hoping Gabby and that lonely guy in the waiting room would get together. Anyone else? Also, I am probably always going to be partial to the movies that take place in a cute little Christmas town. So, let’s score this movie against our Checklist. Only 5/20!

  1. Workaholic too busy for Christmas
  2. Single Parent
  3. Clumsy Meet Cute
  4. Christmas Tree Lighting
  5. A sassy and wise best friend

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