Bert’s wedding plans

The whole side story of Bert and his relationship with Jennifer has been a curiosity to me. It’s sweet that Bert revives an interest in a woman he knew a long time ago and might have even married if he hadn’t met someone else. But I wasn’t really sure what the point was in having this other love story in the series. In fact, I was sort of annoyed by the distraction. I even thought this secondary story was another way to avoid putting too many demands on Martin Clunes while he recovered, much like we speculate the storyline about Penhale’s survivor course might have been. However, now I’ve been thinking about it more and come up with something a bit more useful.

I think Bert’s interaction with Jennifer leading to his proposal should be seen as a counterpoint to how Martin has been handling his desire to be with Louisa. Of course, the Bert and Jennifer thing is much briefer, but here’s how I think it may work:
Jennifer comes to town unannounced after a long absence. Bert sees her and is surprised that she’s returned. He immediately approaches her and invites her to stay in his house instead of the Crab and Lobster. Even though he plans to have her pay for her lodgings, his real reason for offering her a place to stay is to have time to talk and rekindle his relationship with her. She’s happy to be asked. While she stays with him they get to know each other better and they confide in each other. It isn’t long before he asks her for a date and she accepts. Mrs. Tishell returns and Jennifer knows that as soon as Mrs. T is given permission to work unsupervised, she’ll be told to go somewhere else. Bert hopes to find something for Jennifer in town so she can stay on, but that doesn’t work out. A short time later Mrs. T gets the letter allowing her to run her business alone again and Bert is faced with the real prospect of Jennifer leaving. Al makes it clear to Bert that if he doesn’t want Jennifer to leave, he must act. And act he does. He tells the taxi driver to bring Jennifer to a quiet spot away from everything where he is waiting to ask her to marry him. He has the ring and he removes his hat as a formal gesture. It has all the hallmarks of a romantic proposal. Jennifer is duly surprised and impressed, and accepts.

If you look at it this way, Bert has handled his interplay with Jennifer the way we would have liked to have seen Martin treat Louisa. Louisa was a much tougher woman to convince when she first arrived back in Portwenn, and may not have accepted an offer by Martin to stay with him, but many people in the town thought he should have asked. At least once L has the baby, M asks if he can stay with her, and she is very happy to have him. Once they stay together, they develop a close connection and series 5 has many nice scenes while they all live together. M is the one who changes his plans to leave Portwenn first during series 5, but since Bert’s scenes with Jennifer occur during series 6, I think we can relate them to how M should have handled L’s decision to depart. If M does not want L to leave, which he certainly does not, he could have made some sort of romantic gesture or offered to drive her to the airport and cancel surgery that day, or he could have even asked the taxi driver to take her someplace where he could have been waiting. To me, L appears hopeful that M will say something loving when she’s standing behind the closed door to the bathroom and M is on the other side. But, despite his evident pain, he can only muster that his first patient has arrived. He offers to drive her only after the taxi is already there and he has a waiting room filled with patients. L knows he always feels a responsibility to his patients and isn’t about to be shut down again by asking him to choose her over his patients. (Ironically, M cancels his patients for 2 days when L is hit by the car, but he would not have voluntarily closed the surgery.) As it turns out, M is in no shape to see patients that day and Morwenna ends up canceling patients for the day after all. M goes after L due to an emergency, but he could have shown L his priorities without the emergency. Isn’t that what she’s looking for? She’d like to see him do something for her/with her without being asked or forced.

Originally posted 2013-11-17 18:29:13.

4 thoughts on “Bert’s wedding plans

  1. KR

    Yes, Bert and Jenny are the counterbalance to L and M. … but Bert, especially is the counterbalance to Martin. Interestingly, Martin sees Bert as a fool, failure and annoying person. However, it’s Bert who takes the time he needs to think things through and to achieve his dreams by communicating w/ Jenny. We can see them having that nice conversation — which, as you said, Karen, implies that they have had the chance to have some nice meaningful talks … and really get to know each other. Everything is not all jokey, jokey with them (as you might expect w/ Bert). M and L have yet to achieve this level of communication –I don’t think it’s even hinted that they have.

    It’s also Bert who takes the steps needed to get the result he wants — to get Jenny to stay with him in Portwenn. He asks Mrs. T if they could possibly work together. When that fails, he moves on to his next plan — to ask her to marry him. Bert turns out to be the man of action — while Martin is simply the man of thought. Martin wants L to stay, but can’t DO anything (i.e. say anything) to make that happen. Martin doesn’t ACT until there’s an emergency — medical emergency, that is — that basically forces his hand…. S4, 5 and 6 all end this way.

    Our writers have once again turned things around on us — Topsy-turvy.
    The fool turns out to be the intelligent one, while the intellectual one turns out to be the fool. Hmm….
    (I guess we could get into areas such as academics vs. human relationships, logic vs. emotion, thoughts vs. action….. etc., etc. — but perhaps that will be for another day).

  2. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I love your comment that the fool turns out to be the intelligent one and the intellectual ends up the fool. I guess we always have to keep in mind that Martin has trouble with expressing himself because of his childhood and his Asperger’s. In S6 he’s also suffering with insomnia and depression (often linked). He’s a mess! But I also agree, and have written, that medical emergencies often bring M and L together. That includes the Peter Cronk spleen emergency. These emergencies are also often accompanied by M finally expressing some heartfelt thoughts to Louisa. In S6E8 he does this when L is on the surgical table and a little fuzzy, but I’m hoping she remembers it at some point. I’d also like to see her admit some fault and say that she knows how much JH means to M and that he’s a great Daddy. I continue to think that series 7 should begin with Louisa telling M that she saw Margaret at the airport with his clock and find out what transpired between M and his mother both in the last episode and in the one in series 2. That would start a good conversation between them and get them on the road to better communication.

  3. karen

    That would be a great start to S7…. and I too hope L remembers some of what Martin says. And, if not, that he repeats it. Either way, they need a serious hear to heart talk. Their communication issues have become more and more frustrating to watch (for me) — after all, they’ve been hashed out over six series now. Martin can’t or won’t express himself, and doesn’t realize he even should — Louisa jumps to conclusions, doesn’t really “get” Martin, and runs away (physically and emotionally). Luckily, though, she seems to forgive easily. Martin asked for “one more chance” at the Castle…. she gave it to him. Let’s hope she’s feeling generous this time around as well. The difference in Martin this time, I hope, is that he has come to some sort of self-awareness….and how his behavior impacts L. They both agreed they can’t go back to pretending everything is OK — so that’s a start in the right direction. I’m hoping the BP gods are feeling kind to us viewers for S7…..
    (thanks again for having this blog)

  4. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I can only speculate that they are well aware of the viewers’ wishes and will want to give us all a much happier series than we just had. I, too, imagine that series 7 will be the last for this show. I’ve been engrossed in several other TV series in the past, most of which get canceled way too soon for me, but this is the first time I’ve ever written about one. It has everything I could ask for in a TV series and I truly admire the thoroughness with which each series and episode have been constructed. The character development is remarkable, the actors are great and well chosen, the setting is pretty, and it all comes together brilliantly. I have had a lot of fun thinking about it and writing about it.

    Just want to let you all know that I will be publishing another post in the next day and then taking a break for Thanksgiving week. For everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving, have a good one! I have a few more possible posts in mind, but sadly without more episodes I may not be able to keep going much longer. I will certainly write more whenever there’s more material, either through interviews, podcasts, or any other form. Please keep checking. Thank you for reading and responding. It means a lot to me.

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