Duet of missed messages, S3E4+5

Other interests aside, my true passion is literary analysis and I am pleased to get back to that again. In this case the analysis will be of S3E5 because I want to argue that what we see going on between Martin and Louisa in this episode represents well the kind of “push me, pull you” interaction they have throughout the show, including during S6. The theme of control is also very much a factor in E5. (Please excuse the length of this post. I always try to keep my posts as brief as possible, but sometimes I find that difficult because I’m also trying to do a thorough job.)

In order to put E5 in perspective, I think we need to start by looking at E4. In this episode Carrie Wilson stirs up Louisa’s jealousy about Martin’s love life. We will see much more of this during S4 when Edith appears; therefore, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s been there for quite some time. From S1 on we’ve seen that Martin is smitten with Louisa. (Despite Martin Clunes’ claim about their initial plan, my impression is that it was immediately apparent that the relationship between ME and LG was going to play a central role in this series. I have no doubt that Caroline Catz increased that likelihood or changed the nature of it, but there was always going to be a tension between these two characters.) During S1 they create regular conflicts between this couple over their differing views of how to treat patients, ending with a harrowing effort to save Peter Cronk during which Louisa witnesses firsthand Martin’s capabilities as a doctor and a person. Martin even ends up looking compassionate to her in relation to Adrian Pitts. We applaud Louisa’s decision to defend Martin while agreeing with her that he has a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Unfortunately, he undermines his own desire to have Louisa as a love interest by the end of the series, setting up what happens between them in S2 and beyond. The final episode of the regular season of S2 ends pretty much the same way S1 ends — Martin spoils whatever close bond they appear to be developing by insulting Louisa.

By the time we reach S3, things between Martin and Louisa have stabilized to some degree. Nonetheless, Martin continues to do damage to their fragile relationship despite obviously being anxious to find a way to connect with Louisa. The writing of S3E4 is once again attributed to Jack Lothian and I find some analogy to Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” in it. (If I’m right, Jack Lothian has fun using his knowledge of Shakespeare on this show.) In general, the play and this episode are filled with constant misinterpretations amongst the characters as well as suspicions of straying attention between the men and women. Jealousy is at the heart of the play and is also important in E4. Louisa has spent much of S3 vexed by Martin’s reticence to do anything that will reignite their affair. When she sees Mrs. Wilson making moves on Martin and hears Mrs. T.’s comments that men are often vulnerable to women like her, she is provoked. Here’s where we get a scene in which Martin has trouble interpreting what Louisa is saying. As in S6E1 when Louisa’s position on having a honeymoon is totally unintelligible to him, Louisa’s reaction to his acceptance of her invitation to Penhale’s party at Carrie Wilson’s hotel makes little sense to him. Louisa has no idea that Martin has just turned down a similar invitation from Mrs. Wilson and is suspicious when M accepts her invitation so quickly. Rather than being satisfied that he has accepted, she finds his quick acceptance troubling and probably believes his unspoken motive is to go to Wilson’s hotel. This is one of many times when he has no idea what she wants him to say. Of course they are interrupted by the phone and a so-called emergency and Louisa leaves without knowing whether she’ll see Martin later or not.

It turns out that Martin has more than one reason that brings him to Wilson’s hotel. He has run over her precious dog and decides to bring the dead animal to her. When he arrives, Aunt Joan derails his initial plan and we’re not sure what will happen either with the dog or with the party. But the party goes on and Martin is still left holding the dead dog wrapped in newspaper. As he enters the party area, we begin another series of misinterpretations as Louisa’s immediate delight at seeing him there is undercut by Martin’s focus on finding Mrs. Wilson so he can hand over her dog. Mrs. W shows up and immediately offends Louisa because she thinks Martin wants to have some time alone with her. Once she finds out his real purpose, and Louisa is there to witness someone else bearing the brunt of Martin’s lack of tact, things change rapidly. Now Louisa and Martin can have a moment alone and Louisa can show concern. However, she once again jumps to conclusions when Martin asks her what she’s drinking, assuming that he’s judging her for drinking wine. Soon they are standing apart from the group and find concordance in their assessment of Mrs. Wilson as narcissistic, hypochondriacal, and extremely annoying. Once again Louisa proffers an invitation, this time to a concert, and Martin accepts immediately. He even makes a nuanced comment when she warns him the musicians are amateurs when he says “everyone has to start somewhere.” Things seem to be going well until Louisa turns her head toward the window and Martin attempts to kiss her head only to have her jump away and ask him what he’s doing. Aren’t we witnessing a tender and possibly emotional moment generated by Martin that is met with rejection from Louisa? Just then Penhale makes an announcement that forces Louisa to leave precipitously, although she mentions the concert date to Martin just before walking out the door.

The maneuvering for control between this pair is magnified throughout this episode and will continue into the next. Louisa wants to maintain Martin’s interest in her while also backing him off at times, and Martin wants to be agreeable to her while also having trouble getting out of his own way. Awkwardness abounds on both sides, but we think we are heading in a good direction until the next episode and its constant fluctuations as to who is making the right moves at the right times.

The first time Martin sees Louisa in S3E5 is while Pauline is taking a blood sample and doing a poor job of it. Louisa mentions their date and wonders what to wear. Martin does the gentlemanly thing and says he’s sure she’ll look nice. So far, so good. His day takes a detour when he discovers Pauline has given him the wrong notes for the patient he’s examining. But this scene gives us a little insight into what’s to come in that Martin asks the patient who initiates sexual activity between him and his wife. He observes that usually one is keener than the other. Beyond the truism of this observation is the hint that who the initiator is takes on importance. Initiating something also indicates an effort to take control. To me, the key to this episode and to the relationship between Martin and Louisa is the issue of control — who has it, who doesn’t, what should be done about it, etc.

When we next see Louisa, she is dressed for the concert and putting on the finishing touches. It’s clear she has taken great care in how she looks. She goes downstairs and opens the front door before Martin can get there. She could have waited for him to knock, but has preempted that. She hopes for, but doesn’t get, a compliment on how she looks. Despite his earlier flattery, he neglects to say something here and actually makes things worse by wondering if her shoes will be a problem. (We learn later that women’s shoes seem to be a preoccupation of his.) She tries to prompt him by remarking how his suit looks, but this could be seen as a sort of role reversal. They arrive at the concert where they sit on the grass. Before intermission it’s Louisa who sneaks glances at Martin and initiates contact by putting a flower in his lapel; after intermission we see Martin peeking at Louisa. It’s a nice way to balance their attraction to each other while also indicating the back and forth nature of it. His reaction to the flower is typical Martin in that he is not pleased, but he leaves it there.

The flower is still in his lapel when they go inside for intermission. At this point Martin makes one false move after another: he’s sullen and unfriendly towards Holly, then offends Joan’s friend the caterer. Louisa is surely unhappy about his behavior and Joan notices. Joan goes right to the heart of things when she sarcastically asks Martin “you being your usual charming self?” Nevertheless, they return to their place on the grass for the second half of the concert and Louisa notices Martin looking at her. The sexual tension is rising. Soon we see them leaving the concert and walking down a path to the car surrounded by other concert goers. As in S1E6, Martin wants to take Louisa’s hand. This time he follows through and appears to feel triumphant when he does. However, once again Louisa takes charge, draws him aside, passionately kisses him and receives the same response as before — Martin takes refuge in medical speak and particularly insensitive comments. CC plays the scene perfectly as she looks at Martin in disbelief and anger. It’s kind of the last straw for the date even though with Louisa hope springs eternal. Louisa, too, responds similarly to her reaction in S1E6, this time by marching off in a huff. It’s somewhat amusing to see her so convinced that her kisses will be returned in kind yet always end up with the same Martin, who is incapable of letting go. In this case she is stuck riding home in the car with him, but she gives him the silent treatment and soon tells him she doesn’t want to see him anymore. We can see the oscillating power struggle here pretty clearly: Louisa has initiated the date, initiated the compliments, and initiated the kiss, while Martin has instituted his influence by remaining “his charming self” and all that that implies, as well as having a breakthrough of sorts by taking Louisa’s hand. (I have to say that I think the best response Louisa could have had to Martin taking her hand would have been to simply let him have this moment and walk to the car hand in hand with him. Naturally, for the purposes of this show, she doesn’t do that and her reaction underscores the basic control issues always at stake between them. She is also always battling her instincts and emotions.)

Martin makes a vain attempt to explain his reaction, but she’s not looking for an explanation of his scientific interests; she wants a sign that he feels something for her. As usual, Martin is left wondering what went wrong. Both of them seem tearful and regretful. The fact that Martin spends the night unable to sleep emphasizes his desolation. We can only assume he’s been trying to ascertain what he could have done differently without the capacity to come up with any answers. He appears to be making an effort to be introspective, something he has a lot of trouble doing. (If his breakup with Edith continues to be a factor for him, we might imagine that he feels bereft that a woman he loves has once again rejected him.) This time he decides to take action and leaves his office with the intention of talking to Louisa. In effect, he is running after her; however, he chickens out and it’s just as well because Holly’s arrival would have interrupted them anyway. His plan to take control has gone unconsummated.

Later that day he returns to a state of deep consternation while sitting on the couch. Louisa’s rejection has been quite a blow and he is uncharacteristically lost in thought about it. Joan walks in at that moment and observes that Louisa seemed fed up with him at the concert. In her view, Martin and Louisa can never be a couple and he should simply move on. It isn’t until she’s expressed that view to Martin that she notices how upset he is. Meanwhile, Louisa asserts to Holly that her date with Martin is the end of their relationship. Their future as a couple seems doomed.

The time for despair passes quickly as events take over. Holly slips and hurts her back, putting in motion a series of incidents that bring Martin and Louisa into contact again. After they get Holly to Louisa’s house and into Louisa’s bed, Martin tells Louisa he has to check on Holly the next day. After Martin returns home Joan appears at Martin’s kitchen door again and reaffirms that in her mind Martin and Louisa are like chalk and cheese, and that “we are what we are, we can’t change.” But Martin disagrees and is sure he can change. He equates change here with talking rubbish, by which he means acting more concerned about others, but the important matter is that he is asserting his ability to control his behavior and he sets out to prove it. An accident, or event that we can’t control, has led to Holly needing a place to stay and forced Louisa to offer her home. It has also meant that Martin is forced to tend to Holly at Louisa’s house and that Holly cannot leave despite being scheduled to rehearse somewhere else. No one has control over any of these situations.

The change in behavior that Martin attempts only makes Louisa think he’s acting weird. Martin reacts with one of the most emotional outbursts he has with Louisa because he feels like nothing he does satisfies her. He tells her, “I don’t know what you want.” EXACTLY!

The next morning Louisa returns to find Holly out of bed against doctor’s orders. Holly’s determined to assert control and leave, but soon she falls again and this time her injury is life-threatening. Martin arrives in a hurry and the previous altercation between Martin and Louisa is put aside so they can work together to treat Holly. Holly’s accidents have been the catalyst to bring Martin and Louisa together twice, demonstrating how Fate is beyond our control. This time it takes both Martin and Louisa to handle the situation and there is a kinder, gentler exchange of who’s in charge. Martin’s aversion to blood makes him nauseated and Louisa asks if she should take over; Martin recovers and manages to remove the piece of glass lodged in Holly’s back; Louisa tries to help by filling a syringe but drops the vial of medicine; Martin calmly finds another way to save Holly; and they reconnect over Holly’s revivified body. As Holly is loaded onto the ambulance, Louisa makes clear that she has had a resurgence of respect for Martin. She’s shaken but tells him he’s an extraordinary man. It is here that he finally takes control and decides he can’t leave without asking her to marry him. She, in turn, can’t believe her ears and asks him to repeat his proposal. (Asking him to repeat nice things he says is another amusing recurring scenario throughout the series.) Louisa accepts his proposal and runs to jump into his arms. Their embrace is emotional on both parts and is one of several scenes like this where they are both overcome with emotion. Thus, the episode ends with the exchange of control between these two being equalized.

Included in this episode is Pauline’s addiction to gambling, another loss of control. Significantly, Martin intercedes between Pauline and her mother to give Mum a lecture on how Pauline’s gambling is an illness not a weakness, and that it controls her. He demands an admission from Pauline that she is an addict and her commitment to attend a support group to get treatment. By the end of S6, he’s made the same demands on Michael in regard to his OCD. Martin definitely recognizes that many psychological conditions are out of the control of those who have them and these people would benefit from therapy.

S3E5 contains so many of the primary forces in the show. It emphasizes the issue of control and how Martin and Louisa constantly tangle with it. In addition, their emotions are a factor with Martin exhibiting more emotion than usual. Many of the set pieces that are used in the show appear here as well, making this episode very representative of the show as a whole.

Originally posted 2014-08-01 15:57:54.

39 thoughts on “Duet of missed messages, S3E4+5

  1. Linda

    This was, as always, an interesting post. Poor Martin. He wants her but continually drives her away because he has no notion of how to respond to her affection. I don’t think has a clue as to how to control things. Louisa, tries very hard to push their relationship along, but she is frustrated because she doesn’t have a clue as to what makes him tick. Their early interactions are like a dance with each of them stepping around the other – trying to figure the other out. Clearly, the chemistry was there from the start. In their first interactions, they clash in what she calls “mini rows” because they misunderstand each other a lot AND they both are quick to defend positions without listening well and considering what the other is really trying to convey. I think there are many new couples who experience this same thing. Both are strong willed and neither wants to be submissive towards the other for fear of losing control. Neither wants to risk pusing too hard for fear of rejection.

    I loved the jealousies Louisa experienced – over Mrs. Wilson and Edith. Both experiences caused her to reveal her true feelings for Martin. Interestingly, she reacted to each of them differently. With Mrs. Wilson, she stepped up her actions – dressing up, visiting, flirting, and asking him to the party. She WAS a bit suspicious that he might have wanted to go to the party because he wanted to run into Mrs. Wilson, but she learned that Martin really had no use for the woman which gave her the confidence to ask him to the concert. Her invitation prompted him to try a kiss – albeit a misunderstood one! She was so wrapped up in trying to beat Carrie Wilson at her game, that she didn’t recogniize that Martin was really trying to show her that he was interested in her. He came at her invitation, he bought her a drink, he accepted her invitation, and he tried to kiss her. You are right that she didn’t know that Martin had turned down Mrs. Wilson’s invitation to the party. That would have changed everything!

    Louisa jumped to the conclusion that Martin and Edith were an item – probably because she was shocked and disappointed to find Edith at the kitchen table when she turned up to talk to Martin about the baby. When she asked about her, Martin didn’t say anything to the contrary. Edith seemed to be there every time Louisa popped in to tell him something. Edith made sure her presence in Portwenn was very obvious, no doubt to send a message to Louisa that she and Martin WERE an item.
    No doubt Edith’s presence was the main reason why Louisa and Martin clashed a lot in Series 4. Louisa assumed Martin and Edith were an item, and Martin was clueless about how Edith’s presence affected Louisa. He was confused by both women really!

    The date for the concert held such great promise for them as a couple. I loved that episode. He was uncomfortabe but clearly smitten. She was almost pleading for him to make some kind of romantic gesture while they sat on the grass. She really didn’t take charge of that by sitting close or taking his hand there. Of course, the flower thing flopped. The best he could do was a long, sweet look at her. If he could had held her gaze when she looked back at him, that would have been very reassuring for her. It was cute when he took her hand as they left. He had such a sweet look on his face. Clearly, he felt good about taking the initiative to hold her hand. It was his first taste of taking control. When she drew him into the trees for a kiss, he seemed comfortable and wrapped his hands around her. Sadly, he couldn’t just enjoy the moment with her, taking it at face value. He had to speak. Clearly, he does not realize that his analyzing is offensive and spoils such moments. She was SO frustrated because she just wanted to kiss and, as has so often been the case, she wanted him to be in the moment with her. No analysis was needed. He, of course, didn’t really get what he had done. He did try to explain himself when he should have apologized, tried to comfort her, and maybe even pulled her into him and kissed her. It was clear that both of them were struggling with what had happened but by then, the damage had been done and neither of them knew what to do about it. It ended with neither of them being in control.

    Thankfully, the incident with Holly brought them together again quickly. He was trying to be more congenial to impress Louisa which was funny and sad at the same time. She called him on it and he argued that she didn’t know what she wanted. When the big crisis happened though, Louisa once again saw Martin doing what he does best and she is impressed. He goes to leave, still thinking that she is angry with him. When she calls him extrordinary, he takes the biggest step ever and asks her to marry him. She is impressed because this was ALL HIM for once and she realizes that he does love her and want her inspite of all their fasle starts. I thought it was a lovely proposal all in all. It was HIM, speaking FROM THE HEART for once, and she truly gets this. It must have been quite a shock for her. Thankfully, she picked up on his sincerity, and responded just as he wanted her to. It was truly a moment in their relationship when Martin was in charge! It was the lead up to some of my favorite episodes -when they were engaged and were so enjoying each other. To bad it led to such heartbreak. That of course is another post.

    I wonder if her time with Danny was really her trying to control Martin by making him jealous or if she was just caught up with Danny because he was there AGAIN. It seemed like she hated it when Martin saw them together, especially when Danny was demonstrative. She looked horrified when she looked back at Martin. It was the same when she was dancing with Mark, trying to talk to him, and saw Martin looking on. She never seemed into Danny. I suspect she hated his “flood pants”! Just sayin’! Was he just someone to hang out with? He was very much into her but she was surprised by his proposal so I suspect she missed a lot of clues from Danny because she was so concerned with Martin. Thankfully, for Martin, she seized the moment after dumping Danny, to aggresively try to make progress with Martin. It was a great episode – both funny AND poinant. I loved it.

    As always, you have proposed a very thought provoking post karen. Thank you!

  2. Santa Traugott

    So many thoughts on this post. I haven’t sorted them all out yet in my mind but here are some, rather disjointed I’m afraid, reactions.

    You have put your finger on the critical dynamic of the Martin-Louisa relationship: the constant push-pull, approach-avoidance between them. In the first seasons, Louisa waits for some evidence of his interest in her, and then swoops in, with perhaps an over-reaction that Martin is ill-equipped to handle, so sabotages with med-speak. (Here I think of the drinking scene in Erotomania where she remarks “and maybe seduce you” and we see the look of alarm on Martin’s face.) Yet, when Louisa becomes discouraged by his off-putting responses, Martin can’t help himself — he must find some way to re-engage her.

    But somehow I feel that somewhere along the way, by the time of S4, Louisa made a decision that Martin would have to be the one to open up, to “man up”, to take some positive step on his own to show her that he wanted to be back in a relationship with her — because only if he could do that, would he be capable of not fleeing from a situation that he felt overwhelmed by, i.e., their strong emotional attachment to each other. In other words, she has decided, I think, to stop trying to take control of the situation, in realization that until he is ready, it will be pointless. To me, the last episode of S4 is emblematic of this: in the poignant schoolyard farewell scene, it is so achingly clear that she is waiting and hoping for him to step up, to do something that would show her that he cared and was emotionally ready to re-institute their relationship on some basis. But she will not help him. And later, as Martin is leaving his house for the last time, the movers tell him that “someone is here to see you.” As he whips his head around, we see how pathetically hopeful he is that Louisa has come one more time to give him some hope that their relationship can resume on some basis.

    And this is what we finally hear her say at the end of S5: “do you know how long I’ve waited to hear you say nice things?” To me, this says that she knows, has known for some time, that only if she can relinquish control and let him take the initiative, is the relationship worth salvaging.

    Of course, when he does do this, he is unable to sustain the breakthrough, and quickly retreats to his more passive position, with devastating consequences.

    When you speak of his awkwardness with Louisa, of his not being able to “get out of his own way” it reminded me of how true his remark in the ambulance was, that surgery “was the only thing I was ever really good at.” He is not at home in his body, physically clumsy, inept in many practical matters — installing the diswasher, e.g., horrible at derring-do, as in On the Edge. He is just a very awkward man, in general, except in his medical practice.

    Finally, you mention that great doorstep scene in S3E5, where his attempt to change has been scorned by Louisa: “You have to WANT to, Martin.” And his reponse: “WHY?” I think the whole of S6 shows us why — that he can’t change superficially, with words only. He has to look deeply at who he is, and how he got that way, perhaps for the first time, and make an earnest effort to deal with those characteristics that are stumbling blocks in his attempt to maintain an intimate relationship. And now, he does WANT to do this, as the ending of S6 show us.

  3. Santa Traugott

    Sorry, one more thought: perhaps also Louisa’s reluctance in S4 to take any steps forward on her own is based also on pride, and on the discouraged view that it wouldn’t be effective anyway — he has moved on, figuratively as well as (imminently) literally.

  4. Linda

    I think Louisa feels he has “moved on” because she has made many assumptions about him. When she left abruptly at the end of S3, she assumed they were done and that all hope was lost. HE could be blamed for not shaking himself off and calling her back or at least going to see her later that day. She did the same thing to him. Then, she took off for London. That action, would certainly have signalled the end of the relationship for him. So, if they didn’t talk, and both assumed it was REALLY the end, it is not surprising that there was no further contact. When she found out she was pregnant , it really WAS “high handed” of her not to tell him. Again, she made the assumption that HE would not welcome the news and she may have thought by telling him, she would hold him back from his career – especially if he was planning to go back to surgery in London. She assumed he would suggest an abortion which I think was NOT what Martin would have suggested if one knows the character well. He just would not have suggested it as a first recourse. Yes, he did mention it, but only as a way of acknowledging that SHE might want to go that route. HE might have been making and assumtion here – I am not really sure. We have to remember that he was in shock and had only minutes to absorb what she had told him while she had known for months. He was probably aware that Edith was lurking nearby as well. Louisa is trying to present a “front” that she is okay with going forward on her own and tells him things will be OK. I think she was upset, truthfully, having discovered Edith there. The discussion was not what she might have expected as a result. She likely saw herself being comforted in Martin’s arms and then having along talk about everything. She probably hoped he would open up and declare his love for her and the baby. What she got was her misguided idea that Martin had moved on with Edith. He, of course, was so confused that he just let her go.

    The scene in the classroom after she got the job was a conundrum. He accused her of being “high handed” which got her back up of course. If she had read him better and looked into his face, she would have seen he was really trying to show his feelings and initiate some discussion. He was truly sad that she had her notes sent to Truro instead of to him. He wanted to go to the appointment with her when Joan came to get her. She missed the chance to let him be involved. I think, had she asked him to come, it would have changed everything. I’m not sure why she shut him out that way. I think she missed a great chance to re-connect with him by such actions. When I think of S4, I know see that they were struggling a lot – she to be independant and show him that she could do it on her own, and him showing that he was interested in the baby and her. She pushed him away and caused a lot of angst because she didn’t catch that he was interested. Their fights were a sad thing that soured the experience for them both.

  5. Theresa

    Wow Linda. You really expressed that well. I have often thought that Louisa was so wrong in not telling the doc right away about the pregnancy. She also had no right excluding Martin like she did from the prenatal appointments. He was the father even if they were not going to be “together” and he had every right to attend the prenatal appointments. I also felt like she just should have thanked him for the money he tried to give her for the baby. She was thinking about herself not the baby and he was thinking about what was best for the baby. She talked a lot about being fine about being a single mother but we see over and over again she never really could do it. Heck she couldn’t even manage those few months after going back to work and that was when she had help from Martin.

  6. Maria

    Linda and Theresa, I think the perspective you bring up is particularly interesting. Along similar lines, I have frequently thought that Martin is more accepting of Louisa than she is of him. Because he is so without guile himself, he takes what people say completely at face value. But Louisa makes assumptions about his feelings and then acts as if those assumptions are reality, which completely confuses him. He is then left to respond to what she thinks he thinks, which is not really what he thinks at all. Not telling him about her pregnancy and the sonogram appointment are perfect examples. She assumes he does not want a child, reacts by assuring one and all that she does not need or want his help (since in her mind, he would not want to provide it, so, better to take the offensive). Since Martin is not one to read between lines, what can she expect other than the response she gets from him?

    Her actions are understandable to an extent because because we know more about Martin than she does. She didn’t see his utter despair when she broke off their relationship after the concert date. She questions his motivation in accepting her invitation to Carrie’s party not knowing that he has just told Carrie he won’t be there. There are many examples like this.

    But overall, she contributes to her own frustration by pushing Martin to do what she wants him to do rather than let him proceed at his own pace. Granted, it would be glacial, but it would also be smoother. Instead, she pushes him so far out of his comfort zone that he can only respond by instinctively throwing up the defensive wall so high that it takes them back to square one. The cab ride, for instance, could have turned out much differently if she had recognized the effort it took for him to inch his fingers closer to hers. A tiny step for anyone else, but for Martin, a huge leap. What if she had let him feel pride and accomplishment? Maybe he would have taken the initiative to kiss her, maybe not. but either way, they wouldn’t have ended up with her angry and him confused? The hand-holding scene at the concert was similar case, as Karen has noted.

    It could be argued that she should go for what she wants and waiting for him to get where she already emotionally is or physically would make her a ‘passive’ woman, but I don’t think so. It seems to me more that it would be a more skilled approach for ultimately getting what she wants. Not to say that it would be easy, obviously.

  7. Linda

    I loved your perspective Theresa and Maria! Thanks for your comments! It is always so wonderful to see the view that others have. You both saw that Louisa has misread Martin (which is easily done). Of course, we must forgive her, (somewhat), for this because of what she has gone through with him in the past. This time however, IT”S ABOUT A BABY so that is a real game changer. To play games or make assumptions about this is really unwise. Once again, they fail to sit down and REALLY talk. You would think two intelligent adults, (albeit characters), would have the skill and sense to do that. This discussion should have occurred immediately and they should have had many subsequent sincere chats. I think Louisa really blew it by assuming Martin would not be happy about the baby, and would not want to share in the raising of the child. She didn’t ask and didn’t give him a chance to say IF he wanted to be in the baby’s life. She just cut him out. I do think she was in a tough place and probably, she thought she was handling things appropriately, given her assumptions about Martin. Again, I think finding Edith in the kitchen the night she arrived was a big surprise (also a musunderstanding). Did Martin explain her presence appropriately? OF COURSE NOT. But, she had just shocked him with the news that she was pregnant so who can blame him, (this time), for not being able to comment with empathy, interest, happiness, or kindess? He did sort of. He asked her what she wanted to do and asked if she wanted to get married. I wonder if that was JUST about the baby or if he had regrets about calling the wedding off? I think she thought she knew what he would say and do and was so wrapped up in this notion that she didn’t really see the angst he was in over the whole thing. Martin, being Martin, was not happy, and certainly DID seem to want to be a part of his child’s life, but probably thought he should let her call the shots. Louisa completely missed his sadness over losing her, and not being part of the baby’s life. She was so hormonal that he might have missed her real feelings as well. I imagine this is a scenario for many unwed couples who go through this. There are many misunderstandings, wrong assumptions, and fear about the future. I believe Louisa was VERY fearful and worried but she wanted to present herself as a capable and willing single mother who didn’t need help. Theresa has pointed out all the ways that this was shown not to be true. She was pretty happy to have Martin home with her the first night and in the coming days! I loved what Maria said about Louisa not having the benefit of knowing things about Martin that we, the viewing audience, know. That was brilliant Maria! Of course, this IS true and contributes to our view of their interactions being quite different. I also liked what you said about her pushing him to do what she wants instead of letting him set the pace. Your examples of the cab ride and the concert date were spot on examples. He certainly did take pride in small things HE initiated and as I said, the proposal was ALL HIM! She must have recognized that as a fairly significant event! I have wondered what things looked like when they decided to marry the second time? Do you suppose he proposed again? What ever happened to the engagement ring? I find myself grinding my teeth as I think about all this because truthfully, I wanted to reach out and strangle them both for being so STUPID. “IT’S A TV SHOW!” I remind myself. But, isn’t it FUN to sit on the sidelines and try to figure them out? I LOVE this forum and the wonderful analysis of it’s readers! By the way, I am SO EXCITED to tell you I am travelling from Vancouver Island in Canada to Port Isaac next May. My sister and I are staying at the Slipway Hotel and planning a week in Cornwall and some time in London. I can’t wait! I sure hope they are filming then!

  8. Santa Traugott

    Re Louisa’s belief that DM would not be intereted/want a child: This is foreshadowed in the non-wedding episode very well. Her bridesmaid has just given birth and in her euphoria, asks DM to be her baby’s godfather. We can see that DM is more pleased than not by this idea and would probably have consented, but Louisa jumps in, and making the decision for him, decides that he should be spared something he would, in her view, certainly hate. She thinks he would not want to be bothered, and I think also she thinks that he does not like or understand children.

    So once again, she is leaping to conclusions with checking her assumptions, and jumping in to make decisions for Martin.

    I actually think that this was one of the crystallizing moments in her decision not to go through with the wedding. She wants children — see an earlier conversation in S3 with Bert — and she is forced to recognize suddenly that (in her own mind) Martin does not. I think this is a major stumbling block for her. So at a minimum, she goes into that first doorstep meeting with Martin in S4, with the assumption/belief that he does not want a child. She has tried to spare him that by not coming home; when forced to, her posture is defensive from the get-go, much more so not that she imagines him involved with Edith.

    And, to defend Louisa here, she has ample grounds for believing that he does not like or understand children. His whole attitude toward children up to this point has not been, to say the least, paternal. And perhaps she does have some sense that he would react badly by having to deal with the loss of control of your environment and circumstances that comes with being a parent. (As we see, she was probably right about that.)

    We are wandering somewhat from the point of Karen’s blog, I think, which was about the “push-pull” of their attraction to each other. But perhaps not so far, if we think that the push-pull, approach-avoidance aspects parallel the aggressiveness of Louisa vs. Martin’s curious passivity; her unwarranted certainty about things vs. his insecure indecisiveness. And I think this is what is reflected in their dynamic in S4.

  9. Santa Traugott

    BTW, while I agree with Karen and others who wrote that Louisa’s initiatives in making advances to DM probably scared him off and to some degree had the opposite of the desired effect, I think it goes along with the whole package: that is, he probably wouldn’t have been attracted in the first place to the kind of demure approach that let him take the agonizingly slow steps toward intimacy. I think her impulsivity and action-oriented nature is a big part of what attracted him to her.

  10. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I’ve once again had trouble finding time to write much, but I want to reply to you all and especially to Santa. I do think we’ve strayed from my original post in that my intention was to bring up their miscommunications and their constantly fluctuating positions in relation to having control over their relationship. We’ve gotten much more into how they should handle their conflicts. Anyway, Santa mentions the scene in the final episode of S3 when Martin delivers Isobel’s baby while Louisa does what she can to help. She brought up the scene because she believes that Louisa’s reaction to Martin being asked by Isobel to be her baby’s godfather showed that Louisa “decides that he should be spared something he would, in her view, certainly hate.” I have a slightly different take on this and also find that scene to be an excellent example of what I was trying to get at.

    I would once again side with Louisa that Martin should not feel forced to do anything. It is their wedding day and, if anything, she’s protecting him from another of her “horrid friends.” I can sympathize with how she would think he’s only saying yes because he’s been put on the spot by Isobel. Once again Louisa doesn’t see how he looks at her after the baby is born. But let’s go over the whole scene from the time she calls Martin to tell him he needs to come because Isobel is in labor. Louisa tells him she’s going to tell Isobel to push. He says, “No, no, no…tell her to pant.” Louisa then emphatically tells Isobel to pant. When he arrives, Louisa asks him if he knows what he’s doing and he says “theoretically.” She questions that and he admits he’s never actually delivered a baby before. The two women are a little concerned at this statement but Martin takes over quite successfully. He tells Louisa he needs her to give Isobel some support. Louisa takes that to mean holding her hand, while Martin tells her “physical support, something to push against.” Louisa obliges, props up Isobel’s foot with her thigh, then says “you’re doing really well.” Martin thanks her and she says she was talking to Isobel. Although everything works out well in the end, this scene is a series of miscommunications between Martin and Louisa that comes toward the end of a very trying day. When Isobel reminds Louisa and Martin about her godfather idea, Martin’s expression is of shock and I could imagine some dread too. Not only does Louisa know that Martin is loathe to be included in many social interactions, but also he, like you say, has not been very inclined to engage with children. But if Louisa did not think that Martin would ever want to have a child, I sincerely doubt she would want to marry him at all. She has been very clear that she wants children and is in search of the right man.

    When it comes to not telling him about being pregnant, we have gone over this to some degree before. They’ve decided not to marry, she’s moved to London in an effort to create some space between them, then she learns she’s pregnant and loses her job. Where is she going to go? Portwenn, of course. But she also has to figure out how to handle returning to the village. She wants a child and wants to have it amongst her “family,” but that also means being near Martin. I also believe once she decides to return, she resolves to first visit him. Maybe she’s had a change of heart about being together with him — a baby has a way of making one reconsider. Also, how could she ever have guessed that he would be entertaining another woman when he’s never had eyes for anyone but her for as long as she’s known him. She has no idea that he was previously engaged either. At this point, though, she’s past a time when there’s any question of whether to keep the baby. The only concern is how Martin will feel about the prospect of having a child and she, like many women, has conflicting emotions. She doesn’t want to guilt him into marrying her or being responsible for her care because she knows she’s made the decision to have the baby on her own. At the same time, she wants her baby to have a father, and probably wants Martin to be involved. Their miscommunication issues lead to a great deal of strife throughout S4 due to Louisa’s mixture of pride, independence, and autonomy accompanied by Martin’s insecurity and lack of insight into how to respond. In his defense, most men would be hard pressed to know what to do under these circumstances. That is exactly the point of putting them in this dilemma, in my opinion. It’s a realistic series of events while also being a great way to shake things up on the show.

    For what it’s worth, I took Martin’s reaction to Louisa’s comment that she wanted to seduce him as surprise rather than alarm. She had just said goodbye to Danny and now she’s coming on strong to Martin. Here he has no idea that she’s been thinking about him for quite some time, as we see when she slips while talking to Danny in the schoolroom and when she follows Martin after he passes by them sitting on the bench. Both of them recover quite nicely following her remark and Martin even reveals that he thinks she’s beautiful and he loves her. They share a very amorous kiss before he crashes on the table. All in all a good outcome.

    Finally, I think the answer to Martin’s question of why he needs to want to really be concerned about others is that he wants a family of his own. Having the baby and living with Louisa in S5 adds an ingredient to his life that he needs (and wants). Unless he grapples with how to make Louisa realize how much he aspires to having a successful marriage with her, and what that takes from him, they cannot settle down as a family. Their miscommunications have now reached a peak and have even devolved into lack of communication. My objective was to discuss both the humor and the seriousness of their miscommunications as a crucial element of this show and their relationship.

  11. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Before I could complete my reply, I saw this new comment from you. I agree wholeheartedly. I think the way she acted on the plane in the first episode and at the interview concerning his application to be the new GP definitely made her more enticing.

  12. Santa Traugott

    I do want to stress, Karen, how much I agree with your basic point, that both the humor and the pathos of the series lie in their miscommunications. Perhaps it would be interesting to ponder WHY it is that they cannot seem to get through to each other.

    We may differ slightly on how we interpret different scenes. But I think that is the richness of the show — that different interpretations are possible, and indeed, it reflects the complexity of everyday interactions, which often are very layered, and the feelings accompanying them mixed or ambivalent. So in the seduction scene, it’s possible that he’s both surprised and somewhat alarmed.

    The really fundamental point, which you are getting at, I think, is that one cannot analyse interactions in such a way as to assign blame to either party, or rather, it is not productive to do so. Each of their interactions is the product of a whole lot of previous interactions and extraneous influences as well. (This is not to say that they are not responsible for their behavior.) I think of them as being locked in a system of dysfunctional communication, which, as you say, has now spiraled downward, and we must hope that they can start on a new cycle of of positive or “virtuous” interactions which allow them to climb out of the abysmal state in which they now find themselves.

  13. Santa Traugott

    Doggone it! I always leave something out…. I wanted also to say, regarding the issue of children, that Louisa would not have agreed to marry Martin, certainly, if she was clear in her mind that he did not want children. I think, in the passion of the moment, she did not really consider this, and only did so at the last possible moment, when she realized that by believing that he wouldn’t want to be bothered by being godfather to Isobel’s child, she was really saying something about his general attitude toward children. I think prior to this, she had not allowed herself to think this through. She WANTED to marry him, so she did not want to consciously think about whether he was the man to be father to her children. As it turns out, of course, he is.

  14. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    You have interpreted my point exactly–that they are locked in a system of dysfunctional communication that has spiraled downward. I think what the writers, et. al. did was begin with a couple whose missed communications were funny and used that dynamic to keep them from developing a workable relationship. They then realized how they could apply that in many ways, especially to often cause them to break up. After 5 series and a final episode that had them successfully communicating by way of an outsider (Mrs. T), their relationship had settled into something too warm and fuzzy and had to be shaken up. S6 began with miscommunications again, many of which were humorous, but then they took them in a disruptive direction and added the misunderstandings with Martin’s mother.

    Miscommunication is an excellent device because it is so often what happens between couples and people in general. It is also perfect for a character like Martin and the humor that ensues when someone like him is so incapable of being able to grasp what people are trying to tell him or how he should convey what he wants to tell others. They came up with a way to carry a show through all sorts of dilemmas and keep it both funny and serious. As I said in my post on why this show is so appealing, the use of language is a huge part of getting the most out of a show like this. I see the value more and more.

  15. Barb

    My DH and I have over the years had many miscommunications. sigh. It also seems to be on both our parts. I have started thinking more about what I say or before I respond to him… and not saying some of the things I used to say.

    I will be very interested in seeing how the writers choose to solve LE and ME’s problems. Hopefully there will be something useful. They darn well better satisfy me in Season 7!!! hahaha. I’m thinking they should make it the last season too.

    It is a very good and thorough post. There are great responses too… I certainly couldn’t think of anything to add.

  16. Linda

    Hallmarks of relationship misunderstandings and woes:
    -COMING FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS, PROFESSIONS AND ECONOMIC STATUS
    -CITY LIFE VS VILLAGE LIFE EXPERIENCES
    -DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARENTS, RELATIVES, FRIENDS AND ROMANTIC INTERESTS – OF WHICH NEITHER KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT THE OTHER
    -ASSUMING THINGS WITHOUT CHECKING FACTS OR GAINING KNOWLEDGE
    -NOT KNOWING MUCH ABOUT EACH OTHER’S UPBRINGING OR LIFE EXPERIENCES BEFORE THEY MET
    -NOT SPENDING QUALITY TIME ALONE IN ORDER TO KNOW MORE ABOUT EACH OTHER
    -TWO ADULTS, BOTH USED TO BEING IN CHARGE, WHO TRY TO CONNECT BUT QUICKLY BECOME COMBATIVE
    -INSECURITIES AND FEAR OF REJECTION
    -NOT TALKING THINGS THROUGH. LETTING THINGS GO WHEN THEY NEED TO BE ADDRESSED AND SORTED OUT
    -POOR LISTENING AND NOT PICKING UP ON VERBAL OR PHYSICAL CUES
    -LACK OF NORMAL SOCIAL SKILLS (Martin)
    -BLINDED BY CHEMISTRY AND REAL LOVE THAT NEITHER HAD EXPERIENCED BEFORE
    -NOT HAVING THE BENEFIT OF KNOWING THINGS THAT THE VIEWERS KNOW
    -DANNY AND EDITH

    Is it any wonder that Martin and Louisa continually have arguments and push each other away? Take any example of push/pull or acceptance/rejection and you can see some of the above examples. In S4 when Louisa turns up 6 months pregnant, she is immediately confronted with the appearance of Edith, which is not discussed or properly explained. This in turn causes her to assume Martin has moved on and is not interested in being a father. They begin several combative discussions in which neither picks up on the verbal or physical cues of the other. WE see their faces and expressions clearly, but they are so wrapped up in their own assumtions, that they do not see the obvious cues. A good example of this is when Martin suggests HE should be taking her to Truo for her appointments – a suggestion she rejects out of hand because she did not look at him when he said it. He is sure she does NOT want him to be involved (wrong), and she is sure he has no interest in parenting a child (wrong). Because they spend no quality time in discussion, the whole thing ends up a mess. Fear of rejection has them both afraid to ask for what they want or to express that the feelings are still there.
    It is really very sad. As viewers, we want to reach into the TV and strangle the both of them! It is to the great credit of the writers that the viewers feel such angst for Martin and Louisa. There lessons in these episodes too. How often, in daily life, do we make similar mistakes? It behooves us to take our understandings from this great drama and apply them to our own relationships.

  17. Maria

    I think there is definitely something to this. Clearly, there is an element of looking for complementary qualities, and indeed, it’s hard to imagine Martin with a quiet more backgroundy type of woman who reacts more than acts (heavens, in that case, nothing would ever happen between them!). I just think Martin is getting a little more than he bargained for. Edith is similar in her take-charge directness, but from what we’ve seen, he holds his own with her pretty easily. With Louisa’s impulsivity and action-oriented nature come the making assumptions and jumping to conclusions that confuse him.

  18. Maria

    “It behooves us to take our understandings from this great drama and apply them to our own relationships.” [Linda]

    I think this is exactly what sets this show apart from any other TV series I can think of (certainly any that I have seen). It is like great literature in that way – a compelling story that can be enjoyed on its own merits, but deeper than that, if one wants to go there.

  19. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I like your list Linda. It delineates much of what the show has used to develop the story arcs in each series. They came up with a formula that precipitates sympathy as well as anger while also stimulating discussions of all sorts of topics. We can relate and see ourselves in their problems at the same time as being amused and entertained. All of the shows I’ve mentioned in previous posts had those attributes and that’s what made them notable. I do think we learn from them even though I don’t want to go so far as using them as models for real life situations.

  20. Linda

    Perhaps I should have said we should take the POSITIVE understandings we get from watching and apply them to real life. As Karen says, some of what we observe, is perhaps NOT what we might want to model. Since no two people view these events in the same way, we have to pick and choose to model (or not to model) behaviours that we observe. I really liked what you said Maria about enjoying episodes on their own merit or choosing to go deeper. Very well said.

  21. Mary F.

    The push-pull aspect of their relationship is so very interesting. How many actions are based on simple wrong assumptions made by one person about the other. Assumptions happen in all relationships fairly regularly, its just how people deal with them that differs. Their relationship underscores how important it is to listen not just with your head but also with your heart. I hope that this will lead to a measure of happiness in Series 7.

  22. DM

    I like your interpretation of the see-sawing issue of control in these episodes, especially for S3E4. I’d previously had difficulty discerning the writer’s intention for this episode, other than the obvious reversal of of jealousy (or more accurately, envy) vis-à-vis Danny in the earlier episodes. The only common thread I’d picked up otherwise had been multiple references throughout this episode to the assorted effects of hormones. Consider:

    Before we had to witness the effects of artificially elevated hormone levels on the behaviour of both Aunt Joan and Edward (shudder), the episode began with Carrie Wilson at the surgery receiving an unceremonious diagnosis for perimenopause notable for its capricious hormonal effects. Then there is Al’s African sleeping sickness, a parasitic infection that manipulates the host’s behaviour via the circadian rhythm by disrupting the normal action of the hormone melatonin. There is also Edward’s earlier Hx of depression with its attendant serotonin and behaviour changes since his mother’s death, as well as Martin himself whose blushing is noted by Mrs. Wilson and is chemically induced by the release of adrenaline (not to mention the hormones at play in the interactions between the two four-legged characters in this episode).

    Which suggests the possibility that the major plot point in this episode of jealousy/envy between Louisa, Martin, and Mrs. Wilson might be considered as well from a medical perspective and the consequent hormonal contributions on behaviour. If so, there are a number of studies indicating that increasing estrogen levels in women’s earlier phase of the menstrual cycle can heighten feelings of jealousy/envy. There is also more recent research attributing similar feelings of jealousy and envy as a sort of dark-side to high levels of the hormone oxytocin for both men and women.

    Anyway, it seems intriguing to combine the Martin-Louisa control issues you’ve noted together with all the medical issues in this episode revolving around hormone related behaviours (I do think the writer’s repeatedly have fun with recurring themes related to the Mind-Body problem as stand-in’s for yet another facet of Martin’s and Louisa’s traits and their relationship difficulties). Perhaps taken together, the writer’s subtext is that sometimes the issue of control itself can be illusory? Or perhaps there’s more to the question of who controls whom, when the matter of what controls whom is also at work?

    Your literary analysis can probably come up with better interpretations than that, I’m sure (assuming my additional observations are anything more than coincidences). I realize that your other readers have moved on from your comments on this episode and the densely packed S3E5, so my apologies for replying late.Then again, maybe I’ve pulled a Martin and over-thought the medical aspects- but it was fun to read your thoughts on this episode.

    P.S. There’s a great appropriate quote from Comedy of Errors from Antipholus of Syracuse when he becomes exasperated that Luciana refuses to accept his true feelings on account of mistaken motives and identity:

    “Teach me, dear creature, how to think and speak; Lay open to my earthy-gross conceit, Smother’d in errors, feeble, shallow, weak, The folded meaning of your words’ deceit.”

  23. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thank you DM for your always well considered comments. You are quite astute to recognize all the hormonal references in the episode. I noticed several but not as many as you. I do agree that there is a subtext of mind/body forces, which are another form of push/pull as well as another means of addressing the control issue. My position on control is that it is often illusory. Humans want to believe in free will, and we can assert ourselves and determine how we react at times, but we are subject to so much that is beyond our control. Genes, hormones, random events, the collision of our predispositions with that of others, etc., all combine to limit our autonomy.

    Thank you for bringing the discussion back to the original post. I appreciate the quote from the play. It returns us to the subject of words and how misinterpretations and duplicate meanings of words can affect our perspective. Most writers attend to those properties of words, Shakespeare probably more than most. There certainly seems to be a lot of attention to how we use language in this show and it makes the show richer.

  24. Santa Traugott

    Quite a long time ago, someone explained to me that the world was divided into two kinds of people when it came to dealing with machinery/machines — people who were able to think about how the machine might operate and thus deal with it on its terms, and people who went about their task with no understanding of what they were dealing with, and thus usually wound up deeply frustrated and/or breaking the machine.

    Being able to control something — that is, make something or, in human terms, someone, do what you want — seems to me to rest in large part in your ability to understand that other entity. That is, to have some degree of empathy, or capacity to understand what the other person might be thinking or feeling about whatever it is that you want. Martin and Louisa demonstrate a striking inability to put themselves in each other’s place, as well as an inability to learn from experience! Both the comedy and the pathos of their interactions results, I think, from this deficiency.

    One can only hope that counseling assists them in this most basic tool of successful relationships.

  25. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    You’re so right that Martin and Louisa’s relationship founders to a great extent because of their inability to vicariously experience each other’s feelings. The problem is, though, that the show is built on this deficiency and no matter how much we might wish for them to find a therapist who can help them, we fundamentally don’t want to “fix” them. Not only would we lose much of the humor (although S6 already sent us down the rabbit hole into a place where humor was scant), but also we are pretty convinced that they are attracted to each other enough as is. As viewers we want them to stay together and learn how to tolerate their differences, not make too many demands on each other, and finally have Martin get over his haemophobia.

    If a dramedy ought to end the show with a laugh rather than deep introspection, as I wrote in my post on dramedy, we might expect the writers, et. al. to develop a conclusion that will leave us with the relationship still struggling. However, instead of wondering whether it will last, we will be tickled by their prospects for the future. I am ready for a much lighter series than the last, but have low expectations of some sort of classic happy ending.

  26. Linda

    What a great analogy Santa! You hit the nail on the head, as they say when talking about two kinds of people and their understanding of machines. Truly, Louisa and Martin fail to understand one another and as you said, this leads them to mis-read, misjudge, and misunderstand each other and each other’s actions and re-actions. The push and pull is the obvious result. Of course, the writers have done this deliberately to enable them to create both comic and serious rifts. I think everyone is ready to see some of this change in Series 7. If it is to be the end, it will be tricky to bring the story to the close in the way that the viewers want, without losing the essence of the characters. I hope they see some directions to go which will lighten up the story again without it being silly or ridiculous. Martin and Louisa obviously have to learn what makes the other tick. It would be fun to see some real humour from Martin – especially directed at his son. The writers can go in many directions with all the main characters IF this new series is the last but it will be hard to tidy things up in just 8 episodes, that being the case.

  27. Linda

    My hubby and I are VERY different people too. I would describe our relationship as “lovingly combative”. He REALLY is a prince of a man – generous and kind, funny, happy most of the time, a hard worker with strong values and morals, a great Dad and Grandpa, a great brother, uncle and brother-in-law. He was admired and respected in his career and gives a lot of his time in service to others. His Dad was a tyrant who ruled their large Catholic family with an iron fist. My Dad was no prize, but was a much more gentle man. Neither of them gave their wives much respect or considered their views and needs much. My guy gets focuses on silly things like the lint trap. My kids call him “the lint trap Nazi”. He will check the lint trap before saying hello – it is a ritual. If he is working like a maniac, he thinks everyone else should too. If he can’t see evidence of work, he assumes nothing was done. You get the picture. We have many miscommunications stemming from the way we both react instead of thinking and then responding. I have had to learn to bite my tongue, try to figure out where he is coming from, and talk more quietly to him later. It helps greatly with the push and pull issue. When people fail to look at physical cues and to try to understand fully what the situation is, they have huge misunderstandings and hurts. Strong personalities have the most trouble of course. When you believe that you are smarter, and more knowedgeable than someone else, you don’t listen to what they say nor look for cues. I would not rate my husband highly on his abilities to “read” me and I don’t think he cares if he gets things or not. In fact, he misses a lot. He doesn’t know how to apologize either and this exasperates me. I am the opposite. If I think I have hurt or offended someone, I can’t wait to try to make things right. So, it would seem, that mixed messages correlate directly to the level of good communication. In the case of Martin and Louisa, they are both excellent communicators in their jobs but with each other, they frequently get things very wrong. I think that is because they really love one another but fear being truly honest with each other for fear of rejection.

  28. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thanks for your comments Linda. I appreciate that you are continuing to read older posts and I apologize for taking so long on the next one. I have been working on it and it’s getting rather long. I should be able to publish it in the next day or two. I have a feeling it will get a rise out of everyone, but I’m not writing it for that purpose. It’s about something important to me and I look forward to reading what everyone has to say.

  29. Paul

    I have a couple of questions regarding S4.

    Louisa shows up unexpectedly 6-7 months pregnant. Louisa is surprised; possible shocked to see Edith sitting in the kitchen. I think her surprise at seeing Edith is more about that fact that Martin actually has a woman with him, that anything else( i.e. how can someone like Martin possible have a woman with him?) Edith is present throughout the series and it’s clear from the onset that neither Louisa nor Edith like one another. It is also clear that Edith is jealousy towards Louisa, mainly because she’s carrying Martin’s child.

    Here is my first question. Is Louisa really Jealous of Edit, or is it that Edith is merely a distasteful person? We all know that Martin holds no romantic interest in Edith. My assumption has been that Louisa never believed that Martin had any romantic feelings for Edith.

    My second question is Louisa reluctance in having Martin is part of her life. And why does she thwart every attempt by Martin wanting to care for her and the unborn baby? She does not contact him when she discovers she’s pregnant. Then tells him her pregnancy and the unborn baby is not his problem. Am I not seeing the situation correctly?

  30. Amy Cohen

    Loved the two episodes you describe and loved the post! All their miscommunications and the push/pull they exacerbate are critical to both the drama and the humor. I also find the frequent interruptions when they are trying to communicate both critical and incredibly frustrating! There’s always a medical call or emergency or knock on the door that forces them to cut off a conversation. Even in the castle scene at the end of S5, Penhale cuts off Martin as he’s about to tell Louisa his feelings will never change. I wish just once they’d let a conversation be complete!

  31. Amy Cohen

    One more thought about that episode. Am I the only one who found the scene when Holly was carried on the board back to Louisa’s house with Martin and all the townspeople behind her somewhat evocative of Jesus being carried from the cross? Was Holly being sacrificed so that Martin and Louisa could be reunited?

  32. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Your impression of Holly being sacrificed goes a little beyond what I imagined, but the procession was reminiscent of some sort of ceremonial event. At the time I thought it seemed like a funeral march. How that could be construed, I’m not sure. I always lean toward the humorous side, which in this case would mean they are exaggerating what happened to Holly way beyond the actual damage she suffered. Who knows, it could have been meant to have more significance than that!

  33. Amy Cohen

    Sorry for the long delay. We are away so I’ve been focused on other things. I should go back and see what else I’ve missed!

    Funeral march works also. I like the idea of it being an exaggerated response to Holly (though she was pretty seriously injured). That’s the beauty of art—we all see what we see!

  34. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Glad to hear from you Amy!

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but Holly’s initial injury was a back muscle problem which is very common. Rest is usually the best treatment and it looked like he might have injected her with some sort of anesthetic or muscle relaxer because an epidural would never be done on a patient lying down on a bed. Also, she was up and moving around fairly quickly after getting the injection. All of the above would not rank her back injury as serious. Later, when she falls on the glass jar, she does injure herself seriously, but we’re talking about the injury that led to her being carried to Louisa’s home.

  35. Amy Cohen

    True—though she sure made a big deal out of it! And Martin wouldn’t let her go off to her performances.

    Did my other comment show up? I just read the one about clothing and the one about happiness. I didn’t have anything to add, but enjoyed them both a lot. Your posts always make me think more deeply about the show. Just wanted you to know that even if I don’t comment, it doesn’t mean I haven’t read and enjoyed the posts!

  36. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thank you so much for your appreciation of the posts. From what I can tell, many people read them and most don’t comment. I have enjoyed reading what you have had to say. This blogging is such a blind enterprise. Right now the only thing left to do is revisit what’s happened over the years and I totally understand why there’s not much left to say.

  37. Amy Cohen

    I have the same with my blog. Many more read (or at least open) a post than ever comment. Such is the life of a writer, I suppose. We write for ourselves and hope others care to read what we write. But I know I would write anyway.

    One thing I do find difficult in reading the comments is that they appear in reverse order and then the threads follow chronological order below a comment. It makes it almost impossible to follow the overall flow so I usually find a few comments and then give up on the rest. Is there no way to put all comments in order from earliest to latest? I know that’s how mine appear on my blog, but perhaps your template doesn’t allow for that.

    OK, onward to read some more.

  38. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Amy, I am certain that there are weird things going on with this blog right now and I have made an effort to correct some of them with some luck, but I really need to do more. I promise to try to get to the bottom of all of this ASAP. I have tried contacting the host site and asking for help from other computer experts. So far I haven’t been able to figure out how to fix some of these problems. I’ll keep working on it though.

    When I set out to write a blog, I had no idea what would happen. I definitely decided that I would write my thoughts even if no one ever read them or commented on them. To my surprise and delight, people found the blog and made comments. Then I got some subscribers and some regular comments from a few people and many of them were extremely insightful and added a great deal to what I had written. The experience has been truly edifying, but I’m still learning the ropes and clearly have more to learn about setting up everything. I had no idea there would be so much to get a handle on!!

  39. Amy Cohen

    I didn’t meant to complain, just to let you know why sometimes I may not comment even if I’ve read your blog posts. I just don’t want to repeat what others have said, and it’s often hard to figure that out.

    I know nothing about computers beyond the basics, and my blog is fully dependent on wordpress.com for everything. I chose the template, and everything else—including how comments appear—was done automatically. I assume yours is self-hosted, which I know is supposed to have benefits, but for me, it’s just easier to let WordPress do all the heavy lifting!

    Good luck sorting it out. And I do hope that at some point you will be inspired to write more—perhaps as we get closer to Season 8. Ugh, two more years.

    Thanks, Karen, for all the work you do on this!

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