Heroics — “Doc Martin” S6E8 Review — “Departure”

Posted on November 26, 2013

“Departure” is electrified by heroics, juxtaposed with heart-wrenching moments and laugh-out-loud comedy – much like the old days.

Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 3.40.00 PMThe most touching scene of any DM moment is Martin’s farewell to James on the front porch, when the baby smiles and Martin says, “I’m sorry about all this,” and cradles his head against James’.

Comedy sketches are woven throughout, the funniest being the encounter between “Doc” and a patient with headache. Distraught, the “Doc” gives the woman a rabies injection. When she complains, he realizes what he’s done: “The inoculation is quite harmless. Some patients report side effects — mild fever, rash, vomiting. You should be fine.”

Al has been a quiet hero in various episodes. (Remember when P.C. Mylow was bitten by a snake, when Phil’s leg was impaled by spikes, and when the baker fell off the cliff?) Caroline touches a microphone, and the electrical jolt stops her heartbeat. Al breaks into the lifeboat station to retrieve a defibrillator and administers shock treatment, following “Doc’s” instructions over the phone — garnering new respect from onlookers.

Bert also has an heroic moment. When Ruth accepts Al’s business plan to turn the farm into a B&B for fishermen, Bert demonstrates his deep love for Al, contrasting sharply with Margaret. He tells Al: “There will always be a place for you here. As much as I hate to say it, I hope you won’t be needing it.”

Facing serious consequences, Martin takes several heroic actions to stem the tide of events.

After running an array of tests on himself, Martin can find no medical abnormality. He goes to Ruth, who tells him, “This isn’t a medical issue.” She helps Martin understand why he let Louisa walk out. “You don’t believe you deserve her, do you? How could she love someone like you? That’s what I think you believe.”

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 1.04.50 PMRuth pinpoints the cause of his blood phobia and his issues with Louisa to his childhood. “I watched you grow up. I remember a vulnerable, sensitive, four-year-old boy, and I remember a six-year-old who had shut down because of the remoteness of his father and the coldness of his mother.”

Ruth asks Martin, “Do you really want to be with Louisa?”

“Of course I do.”

“Then you must change.”

Martin accepts the challenge and confronts his mother. Margaret apologizes for words spoken during her last visit and says his father made a deathbed declaration of love for Martin. He knows she is lying because a stroke victim would be incapable of speaking. Margaret admits she came for money – £300,000. Martin refuses, and she unleashes a tirade of abuse. Martin tells her to pack and leave.

In another gesture of change, Martin apologizes to a coughing patient for not giving him a proper examination earlier that day.

Meanwhile, at the airport, Louisa meets Margaret, who is making off with the grandfather clock and lying about Martin. Disgusted, Louisa says: “Is it really that hard to say something nice about him, just for once?


Freed from emotional bondage, Martin calls the airlines to book a flight to Spain. On hold, he reviews Louisa’s brain scan and notices an anomaly. He calls to warn her, but she has headache and can’t talk with him. Racing through the village, Martin crashes his car and grabs Penhale to drive him. Airline security won’t allow Martin through the gate. Penhale, in fancy dress for a party, asserts himself, surprising even Martin: “This man’s wife needs urgent medical care. If that plane takes off, she may die. Do you want that on your conscience?”


Martin boards the plane and tells Louisa she needs surgery. At hospital, Martin heroically undertakes the operation himself — after locking the inexperienced surgeon in a closet.

Louisa, woozy from premeds, laughs as Martin pours out his feelings. “I am going to need your help.”

Louisa replies, “If you are going to need my help with this operation, we are really in trouble.”

“No, I’ve done this operation seven times before, but I have never been married before. I don’t seem to be very good at it. I’d like to learn because I want to be much better at it.”

“Doc” skillfully performs surgery despite vomiting. When Louisa recovers, she says she can’t go on the way things were. Martin says he doesn’t want that either.

We glimpse the lovely Louisa from earlier seasons. “Thank you – for coming after me,” she says.

“You are my patient, and you are my wife.”

The episode was outstanding. I can’t use “Doc’s” thermometer because my rating is way over 100.



10 thoughts on “Heroics — “Doc Martin” S6E8 Review — “Departure”

  1. I wish they would not use so many different babies to play James. When you watch the episodes over on the DVD it becomes so obvious that in one scene for example at the hospital, they use at least three different babies.

    • Child actor labor laws do not allow the use of infants and children for more than the designated time allotment. The infants are all cute and you kind of get use to the requisite change in infants used.

  2. I loved the last episode as well. You’ll notice his last words during that episode are, “You are my patient, and you are my wife.” Despite having just discussed with Louisa that he doesn’t want to “go back to the way things were” – despite telling her that he “wants to get better at being married – he wants to learn” – he is still unable to see her as his wife, FIRST. It would have been a good start at learning! I guess it would have been too soon, had he said, “You are my WIFE, and you are my patient!” The look on Louisa’s face when he said that, showed disappointment, in my mind. She knew he was a “stick of rock.” That’s mainly what attracted her to Martin, unlike the flightly and unsettled “Danny Steel”. The day that the Doc can say “You are my WIFE (first), and you are my patient (second),” will be a breakthrough for him.

    • In S6E7, The Doc sought counsel from his Aunt Ruth, knowing her assessment would be straightforward. His subsequent actions clearly demonstrated that he took her counsel to heart. I see the Doc’s major breakthrough in his acknowledgement that he wants to learn how to be a better husband to Louisa.

      The writers, actors, producers and frankly everyone involved in S6E7 delivered.

  3. “I watched you grow up. I remember a vulnerable, sensitive, four-year-old boy, and I remember a six-year-old who had shut down because of the remoteness of his father and the coldness of his mother.” That is hitting the nail on the head. I’m also recalling the horrid, cruel and detatched words his mother said to him about how he wasn’t wanted. Season 7 is going to have to address this with sensitivity and finesse. This show resonates in my heart and i almost…almost passed it up. I watched the first 5 seasons in marathon time and ordered season 6. I adore all the characters with their quirky but relatable lives, and can’t wait to see what the future brings.

  4. A kiss is not the only physical expression of love. The Doc’s face-to-face touch with James in S6E8 is priceless! Additionally, the gentle strokes to the cheek of both James and Louisa communicate a loving connection.

    • I agree. Doc is extremely loving and gentle when he strokes James’ cheek or forehead and he does this nearly every time he sees James. This is a powerful connection for Doc, given how, I’m certain he was never caressed, never held as a child. He never made voluntary physical connection (except for a few hugs with Joan and when he and Louisa were engaged) with another character until he had a son. Most all of his physical contact are professional interactions with patients; to extend himself to reach out to James and Louisa is, by definition, remarkable and the way he can express love.

  5. In S6E8 Penhale is more than just comic relief, even though the actor who plays Penhale demonstrates such wonderful timing in his delivery. Glad to see Penhale’s show of assertiveness with the airport security person. Also, In S6E8 the stage is set to expand and explore the relationships between several Doc Martin characters.

    Looking forward to future episodes of Doc Martin.

  6. Ditto me with all kudos for S6. I love everything about S6 E8. I think it is one of the best ever episodes throughout ALL of the 6 different series. Nevertheless… I am still hung-up about his last, loving and deeply emotional words to Louisa “You’re my patient and you’re my wife.” I wish he had said “you’re my wife” FIRST. It seems to me that wife is and should be more important to him than all of his patients.

    My vote for 2nd best ever episode is also in S6 “Nobody Likes Me” is episode name. This is when Martin took James to Millie’s Playtime at the Library. He is so sweet with the baby, James is affectionate with Martin (baby stroked Martin’s cheek several times; then, leaned into Martin’s face, put his little hands on Martin’s face and tried to kiss him.) James did this right after Martin took him out of his push chair. Martin was holding James while talking with Millie at the library. Then later, back home from library Playtime, baby & Martin sitting together at kitchen table, James played with his rattling noisy toy…which Martin grabbed from him and replaced noisy toy with a wooden spoon. Hilarious. The baby is spectacular, especially his gorgeous blue eyes and James “stole that scene from Martin (laugh. They achieve miraculous responses from very young babies, very well done.

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