Real Life- they require grabbing the first plot twist that can lead to a cure and hanging on tight- hence her encouragement of the risky surgery/sue his parents for the right to choose it scenario. If the writers get used to him being a paraplegic, the window of opportunity closes. And he can't die from the surgery, his actor just signed a new contract.
Matthew, Bo and Nora are developing genre savvy.That's why the only possible outcomes they can consider for the surgery are "I'm going to be completely cured yay!" and "ZOMG that butcher is going to kill our son!!!" In a Soap Opera, those are the only possible outcomes. "Limited improvement but still a noticeable disability" is the stuff of Real Life.
Cole's withdrawal hallucinations were originally plotted to be an intervention.Who is he hallucinating? Not the usual Mushroom Samba creatures, but his family and friends - exactly the people who would be there for an intervention. No more, and no less. The switchover probably happened in the writers' room while brainstorming, when everyone lost track of what the characters would say, and jumped headfirst into what they thought the characters should say. With all that material that Crosses the Line Twice, it became a matter of tweaking the outline so they could use it rather than adapting it to an intervention scenario. The producer and director didn't argue with the switch to hallucinations because it saved them the cost of hiring someone for a day to play a facilitator.
A number of the characters in Revolution actually watched this show.This is not a wild guess so much as fact. In "No Quarter", Jeremy Baker did say, "This is so dramatic. You guys remember One Life to Live?" The older generation of characters must have watched it, or at least heard of it. If they watched this show, then what else did they watch?