S7E2– ”The Shock of the New”
by Karen Gilleland © 2016
Louisa is back. She and James arrive at the surgery overflowing with patients. The awkward public meeting between her and Martin continues in private, where they stand across the room from one another. At dinner, Martin asks: “Are we staying together, Louisa?” She replies that she thinks “they could stay together better if they were apart,” at least until “things change.” It’s agreed that she and James will move out of the house.
She makes an effort in small ways to reach out. When Martin moves into the spare bedroom for the night, she takes him a clock for the morning. When he packs up, she gives him a photograph of the three of them taken in Paxton. When she tosses the kitchen towel on the table, a habit that annoys Martin, she stops, picks it up and hangs it on the rack.
For his part, Martin tells her that now that she’s back, he doesn’t miss the peace and quiet. And when the apartment Louisa must take turns out to be abysmal, he declares he will move into it because “the surgery is James’ home” and he “wants to do this.”
With so much sadness, the comedy rests squarely on the shoulders of P.C. Penhale, with his new taser; Al, with his business disasters; and Bert, with his two-for-one lobster promotion.
Everything goes wrong for Al at the farm when Paul & Heather Merchant, his first holiday guests, arrive. Played to perfection by Melanie Walters & Bruce Alexander), Heather is confronted with a mouse, a nosebleed, and Penhale’s taser.
Bert’s lobster special falls apart when the fisherman (Jason Baughan) can give Bert only two lobsters instead of 40; nor can the man return the money. Bert complains: “In the meantime, I’ve paid for lobsters still crawling around in the sea.” To make matters worse, the waitress Becky Trevean (Ella Ainsworth) kills the two lobsters by putting them in a pail of tap water rather than salt water.
Al, to appease his guests, treats them to a free lobster dinner. But when Bert tries to pass off the dead lobsters, Paul starts a row. Penhale, walking below with his taser, rushes up and shouts. “Sir, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to lower the lobster.” The commotion continues, and he pulls the trigger, hitting the woman, who incidentally has a heart condition. When the “Doc” arrives, Penhale tells him: “Technically, this woman may have been shot with 50,000 volts of electricity.” She survives, fortunately.
During the episode, we see the “Doc” in action – first, taking a biopsy of Ruth’s face to test for polymyalgia and, then, cauterizing Heather’s nose, because Al accidentally hit her with an oar. Morwenna assists and begins her campaign for a pay raise, which adds levity to the scenes.
What I enjoyed most were the confrontational and tender scenes between Martin and Ruth. She upsets him by ignoring his advice to slow down and accepts a position in London. When his diagnosis is confirmed, he rushes to Bodmin station, where she’s catching a train to London. The scene between the two of them on a bench is wonderful. He says, “I really would appreciate it if you would just take my advice.” She finally agrees, saying, “All right, Martin. Let’s go home.” They walk off together.
My overall reaction to E2: Although I found the scenes between Martin and Louisa painful and longed for hints of tenderness on Louisa’s part, the comic elements lightened the episode’s overall tone.
Click on following links to read other reviews:
Read all articles at FanFiction on the front page at: karengilleland.wordpress.com