Some takeaway facts

What do we know after watching episode 8:
1. Martin wants to stay with Louisa and once again make an effort to change.
We primarily know this because he really doesn’t want her to leave, he tells Ruth outright that he wants to be with Louisa and Ruth tells him he must change for that to happen, he apologizes to the patient he ditched in his office because he was too distracted and distraught to listen to him, he intends to make a reservation to fly to Spain but then he discovers Louisa’s AVM, and he tells Louisa when she’s on the operating table that he needs her help – the last 3 things are acts he would not usually be inclined to do.
2. Being in the operating room gives Martin confidence.
He still vomits from the sight of blood, but he can continue the operation. His first bout of hemaphobia came up when he met the family of the patient – this time the patient is family and he says he’s not worried about the operation because he’s done it many times before.
3. Martin and Louisa agree that there is work they must do on their marriage. They can’t go back home and be a couple without making some changes and they plan to do that.
4. James is important to Martin and being a father matters deeply to him.
Martin apologizes to James and has a close moment before Louisa and James leave. Martin always tenderly touches James and pockets his toy frog because he cares. Martin remembers the bottles in the bathroom and always remembers that James needs to be cared for no matter what else is happening.
5. Margaret is morally bankrupt and utterly bereft of any feeling for anyone but herself.
Her history speaks for itself, she lies repeatedly (about her reason for coming, about her feelings for Martin, about his father’s cause of death, about why she’s leaving, about the gift of the clock), and her comments about Martin to Louisa are devoid of any sensitivity or motherly concern for her son.
6. Louisa still loves him and wants to be with him.
Even though she’s leaving, she seems hesitant at several moments and might have reconsidered if Martin had had the wherewithal to say something like he has said before, e.g. “I can’t bear to be without you,” or “I love you.” She defends him to Margaret at the airport and says she’s not sure what she’s doing. (This admission is very pertinent because Louisa is really just as unsure as Martin about how to function in a marriage.) During the prep for surgery, she looks at Martin in her fog and finds him appealing, plus her expression is very sympathetic to him. And at the hospital after the operation she wants to know where her husband is and thanks him for coming after her. She still wants him to know that they can’t return to the relationship as if nothing has happened, but she seems ready to go home.
7. Louisa is some sort of superwoman.
During this series, Louisa has been forced to trudge through the woods in her wedding dress wearing fancy shoes, fallen at the caravan, somehow gotten through a makeshift operation where blood spurts all over her, stayed up all night only to make it home and be concerned about James. Then she walks into a glass door and gets a deep cut on her forehead, which seems to heal very quickly. As time goes on, Martin falls deeper into his funk and she has trouble finding a way to reach him. Finally she is hit by a car where she somehow only sustains a broken collarbone and some cheek abrasions, although she hits her head on the ground and the car hits her on the right thigh. Impressively she feels able to get up and leave the hospital after a one day stay even after she develops a deep vein thrombosis with probable embolism to the lungs, and she doesn’t just go home with all these injuries, she plans to fly to Spain with James after one evening at home. She walks out of the hospital quite normally, no limp or slowness of gait. The next thing she undergoes is an emergency surgery of an AVM the day she plans to fly (only 2 days after her car collision), and yet she’s sitting up in bed following the operation looking pretty fresh. I want to know her secret!
8. The writers of this show don’t have much respect for nurses.
Early in the series Martin finds a nurse derelict of duty because she doesn’t make sure a patient in the nursing home takes her medicine. The nurse at the hospital where Louisa is coughing doesn’t get off the phone when asked questions, can’t answer simple questions, and ignores her patient. In the final scene of the series, the nurse doesn’t know that Louisa is the surgeon’s wife even though they have the same last name and Martin seems to be well-known for his surgical expertise.
9. Ruth is the aunt who will be the resource Martin and Louisa can turn to. She is also the one person in the village who can relate to everyone. Joan may have been more overtly loving to her family and neighbors, but Ruth solves problems with a calm assuredness and endearing wit. She’s the family member who Martin can relate to best because she has medical training, doesn’t mince words, and knows what he’s been through since childhood. She knows Margaret’s toxicity before Martin does and tells her to leave first.
10. Al has finally grown up and found a way to separate from his father.
Although Al still tries to help his father early in the episode, he does so with lots of resistance. His idea for a business comes without help from his father and he pitches it on his own. He also shows his ability to take on challenges when he runs to get the defibrillator and shocks Caroline’s heart back to life. His maturation has been a long time coming, but we’re finally seeing a man and not a boy (as his father always calls him). We’re also pretty sure that Al and Morwenna are involved, as Ruth notes, because they work together to resuscitate Caroline and obviously care about each other.
11. Mrs. Tishell has now become a laughingstock in the village. Her fixation on Martin and how she acts around him clearly irritates everyone and they mock her. In the last episode she almost takes on the clown role that Penhale has occupied.
12. Joe Penhale may be the comic relief in many episodes, but he also often comes through when he really needs to. He is very helpful in finding Mrs. Tishell in the last episode of series 5, he helps Ruth get into Mr. Moysey’s house to find the leak, he diverts the MPs when they’re looking for Mike, and in this episode he convinces the security guard at the airport that he must allow Martin to get Louisa off the plane.
13. Morwenna is the most evolved of all the characters.
She started out a flighty young woman who couldn’t keep a job and has now become a responsible and reliable receptionist who also knows how to handle the doc.

Originally posted 2013-10-24 14:58:32.

13 thoughts on “Some takeaway facts

  1. Carol

    Hello. That was a great post. Here is what I would like to know – what do you think Martin was thinking when he was in the stall in the loo? It seems to me there was so much on that face. I absolutely love Martin Clunes!

  2. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    The scene in the bathroom stall is meant to be hard to pin down, in my opinion. He goes into the stall so that no one will see him, which of course would be bad for his reputation as a surgeon. I do know some doctors who aren’t afraid to show their emotion and have become tearful when there is a successful result, but most want to have a strong exterior. In Martin’s case he would be extremely relieved that he got through the surgery and performed well after so many years away from operating in a theater, and I would think he was also extremely relieved that he had saved Louisa from death or other complications. He has so many reasons to be tearful, but the fundamental value of the scene to me is that he’s had a breakthrough and can express his emotions. The fact that his most emotional times have been when he’s reacting to Louisa is significant too. I think at the end of the episode when he tells her he doesn’t want them to go back home and pretend nothing has happened, that he is saying what he told her in the operating room-he wants to work on being a better husband and not make the same mistakes he made before by being so distant. Louisa and James are the two people/things in his life that really matter to him personally. Next would be his surgery. It would be very nice to see him show Louisa this side of him. Instead of questioning why she is close to tears at times, he would be revealing that his emotions get the better of him too now and then – especially when she’s involved.

  3. KR

    I though the scene in the loo was one of the most touching — maybe in the entire series 1-6. To me, it was Martin letting his bottled up emotions come out. He must have been feeling so much — relief, fear, love…and overwhelmed on top of all that. I too hope he gains the courage to allow Louisa to see this side of him — and especially to ask for her help again (when she’s not drugged or half-asleep). His walls are breaking — S7 will hopefully see a continuation of this aspect of his character.

  4. KR

    Karen, great summary of the characters in s6. Did you notice that Penhale’s “speech” to the security guard at the airport mirrored Martin’s speech to the bartender in S4 when they carried in Tommy and he didn’t alcohol.

    Also, just wanted to agree that Morwenna and Al’s characters were some of the best this series….and great acting by Joe and Jessica. We now have two mature and intellectual people in Port Wenn — a good resource for future plot lines.

    My favorite character this series was Ruth. She gives us much needed background information, moves the plot along, and has the perfect sense of dry humor.

  5. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thanks for your comments Karen. Yes, I did indeed notice that Penhale said close to the same thing as Martin. It’s appropriate that Penhale used “man” instead of “oaf” since he wouldn’t use that term, and it’s funny when he’s searching for the right term and settles on “man.” Also, Pauline repeated the phrase when reporting Martin’s comments to the group surrounding her. Maybe he remembers the epithet from a year ago (in Portwenn time) and can’t come up with “oaf.” I really like Ruth too. Elaine Atkins is just perfect in the role and, because of that and her age, I really hope they don’t wait too long before shooting series 7. I wouldn’t mind if they would just ask Jack Lothian to write the whole next series. His episodes are the most well written and emotionally satisfying of all.

    Your remarks about Martin in the loo are so true. He’s dealing with all sorts of emotions and feeling overwhelmed, as you say.

  6. Canuck Doc Martin Fan

    I`m wondering if you could share your thoughts on Martin`s last words to Louisa after she thanks him for coming after her. He states: You`re my patient and you`re my wife.
    This was a very emotional moment for Martin and his voice caught as he said it. But I think it would have been more powerful and meaningful if he had reversed the roles: You`re my wife and you`re my patient. Louisa knows how dedicated he is to the health and welfare of his patients but she`s uncertain about his relationship with her as his wife. I believe the statement would have meant more to her if he would have thought of her as his wife first and patient second.
    Or perhaps I`m just reading too much into this.
    What are your thoughts.

  7. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Sorry it took me a while to respond. Here are my thoughts on the final scene:
    The first thing I want to say is that I trust the writer(s) to have thought everything through before settling on what they want Martin and Louisa to say. With that in mind, we need to look at what’s transpired throughout the episode and how Martin has been using the term “patient” all along. He refers to Louisa as his patient when he calls the hospital to arrange for the surgical theater to be prepped, next he refers to her as his patient when he tells the check-in agent and the security agent at the airport that he needs to get her off the plane, then he refers to her as his patient when he boards the plane and finds her in her seat. In my opinion he would do that because he is generally inclined to treat anyone with a medical problem as a patient, so it’s his practice to use that designation; and he would use it this time, in particular, because he may figure that referring to her as his wife will predispose people to react to him as if it’s a personal problem and not a medical emergency. At the hospital, Martin wants the staff to treat Louisa as a patient and not as his wife because, like the young surgeon, if they know she’s his wife, they may act nervous or it may otherwise affect how they care for her. In addition, he may be concerned that it’s better for him and his decision to operate himself if they don’t know she’s his wife. I actually think that for him to add “and you’re my wife” to the end of his comments to her in the final scene is very touching because those are the final words of the episode, and his saying that is meaningful because it conveys his deep conviction that he wants her to remain his wife. In fact, I think it’s another sign that he is trying to change. As he says to her in the operating room, he realizes he’s not very good at being married and he’s wants her to help him learn. He agrees with her in that final scene that he doesn’t want to go back to the same way they were when she decided to leave, and she seems ready to try again too. I want to interpret her tearful expression as she watches him leave as understanding that he wants things to be better.

  8. barbara stiockler

    I would like to see Dr. Martin become a surgeon again and not stay as the doc in Port Winn which he has stated he hated. He could be a surgeon in the hospital where he operated on Louisa. I am sure it would be close enough to Port Winn so Louisa could keep her job as well.

  9. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I’ve thought about that as a possibility too. Now that he’s felt such relief from being able to operate again and surgery is really what he loves to do, why couldn’t he go back to being a surgeon in Truro? That could also mean that they move out of their small house and into a bigger home. Of course, that would change the story quite a bit, but there would still be lots of room for Martin to interact with the village(rs) and even come to their aid medically if something happens to someone when he’s there. They could find a competent GP to take his place and Martin and he could be rivals and/or colleagues. Maybe he’d actually be able to have a relationship with someone in the village other than Louisa and Ruth. Fascinating thought!

  10. Theresa

    I too can’t believe how much of my time is spent reading, watching and thinking about this show. I LOVE it. The writers, actors and all involved have (in my opinion) put together the best show ever. I just can’t get enough of it.

    I agree with Barbara I would also like to see the Doc go back into surgery while still having some contact with the villagers. He really is good at it. Could he do both in some capacity? Somewhere close to Portwenn where Louisa could remain teaching. I even see Martin spending more time at the farm. Did he every fish. I can’t really see him fishing but . . . maybe. He does need a hobby. Maybe running? I mean he must have some good memories of his time on the farm and I think spending time there will help him remember the happy times. Perhaps they could build a house on the land on the other side of the lake – away from the current house.

    I vote for couples counseling. Both have to take action every day to make things different/better. Louisa has to see that she runs whenever things get rough and it only confirms in Martin’s mind that he doesn’t deserve her and that he isn’t worthy of being loved. I think that is a big reason why it took so long for them to get together – he just couldn’t put himself out there – knowing at some point she would leave him – why would she be any different – everyone in his entire life – including his own parents and then even Joan left him or rejected him (although he now knows it wasn’t Joan’s choice).

    I don’t think Louisa had any idea how really HORRIBLE his parents actually were and how all that affected him until this series. She had heard some about his upbringing but until this series did not see how real horrible it was for him. I appreciate the reminders of Louisa showing affection to Martin and Martin to her because neither of them showed any (that I recall) in series six and that is something they both need to work on.

    At some point early on in his life he began to shut down emotionally. Probably a bit at a time until he couldn’t put himself in any kind of situation where he could be hurt emotionally. We know about his parents and Edith – who also rejected him in a way since we know she went abroad for her career instead of marrying him.

    Who else was in his life? I believe he must have had someone – possibly a teacher who was there for him – we know he excelled academically.

    Even the seemingly little things like not liking cake probably resulted from some deep rooted memory. Could it be because of memories of birthdays where there was no cake and possible no presents. We know he got a frog on his 5th birthday but what if that was the end of birthdays and cakes. What if he had to see others at school celebrating birthdays and no one celebrated his.

    There is so much sadness in his past but I do think he is ready to face it. Lots of possibilities– lots of new beginnings,can’t wait –REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want a 7th series and 8th and 9th and . . .)

  11. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Theresa, two things you say sound really important to me: “At some point early on in his life he began to shut down emotionally. Probably a bit at a time until he couldn’t put himself in any kind of situation where he could be hurt emotionally. We know about his parents and Edith – who also rejected him in a way since we know she went abroad for her career instead of marrying him,” and “Even the seemingly little things like not liking cake probably resulted from some deep rooted memory. Could it be because of memories of birthdays where there was no cake and possible no presents. We know he got a frog on his 5th birthday but what if that was the end of birthdays and cakes. What if he had to see others at school celebrating birthdays and no one celebrated his.” Like you, I think rejection has been more the norm than the exception in his life and every time Louisa leaves, he experiences rejection each time again. However, we shouldn’t forget that Louisa has also experienced a lot of rejection in her life and he’s rejected her a number of times too. So it’s not a one-way street in the show and that’s what makes their relationship so challenging and so fascinating to us. He disrupts many intimate moments by saying things that insult her or push her away, and he tells her she wouldn’t make him happy or that she could be identified as a stalker. We all get the impression throughout the series that they want to be together and really care about each other, but they have such difficulty opening up to each other to the point that they can address their relationship issues.

    The cake idea is very interesting because what you say about his childhood and his lack of fun birthday celebrations sounds likely. I was thinking he had an aversion to cake because of its connection to being unhealthy, but what you say is certainly a good psychological reason to dislike it.

    Series 6 had less affection in it, but don’t forget the first two episodes where there are several romantic moments. Then we should include the arrival of his mother where Louisa holds his hand and wants to comfort Martin and the aftermath of Louisa’s collision with the car as well as the surgical suite conversation where Louisa says some sweet things to Martin and Martin confesses his need for her help and tenderly rubs her cheek. It’s easy to think of the last series as much less caring because the tone of the episodes is so different from what we have been used to, but it’s not totally devoid of examples of fondness between them.

    Thanks for your input. I’m working on another post and hope to find the time to publish it before Xmas. We’ll see how that goes…

  12. Theresa

    You are so right. There were some very tender moments in series 6 between Doc and Louisa and I sort of blocked them out for some reason. I guess I wanted more and for them to last more than a few seconds. Last week I decided to watch the series again. I find myself liking each episode a bit more the more I watch it. I see and hear things I missed the 1st and even 2nd time around. Also, I want you to know I really enjoy your writings so thanks for that and I look forward to reading more from you.

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