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