In defense of Louisa, S6

To my way of thinking there have been too many comments about how Louisa has deteriorated in S6 and that she has become very harsh and angry. I want to look at things from her perspective a bit and defend her based on how she has been portrayed in this series and throughout the entire length of the show. I’ve given a pretty full assessment of Louisa in my post Women’s Issues, Part 1, and I’ve mentioned more about her in a follow-up post Women’s Issues, series 6. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to say more because I continue to read remarks to the effect that Louisa is expecting too much from and demanding too much of Martin.

Yes, she went into the marriage knowing that Martin is a difficult man and hard to talk to sometimes (to paraphrase Martin’s self-appraisal at the end of S5). She certainly knows that he can ruin intimate moments and is not the most romantic (not mister hearts and flowers). And we have no idea what happened between them following his confession of love and expressed intention to change at the end of S5 and the wedding at the beginning of S6. We have to assume that things were going well in their relationship or they wouldn’t have decided to get married.

So Louisa starts the marriage with reason to believe she and Martin are now on a better track. He looks at her lovingly throughout the wedding events, he expresses certainty that he wants to be married, and even after a tough night they both appear on the same wavelength – the night was difficult but they handled everything well together and they continue to look at each other fondly after reaching home the next morning. What happens next is a series of typical marital squabbles over child care, her wishes for him to be more engaged in her world and in the community, and the juggling of time demands when both parents work. Of course his mantra is that her life would be easier if she stopped working. She doesn’t see it that way and his regular reiterating of that is really upsetting to her, and many women should relate. Some of the stress would be relieved – child care concerns, the mixed emotions of being apart from her baby while she deals with school issues and meetings, possibly household needs. But other stressors would appear – loss of standing in the community, loss of self-respect, loss of her sense of purpose, perhaps a lack of direction in her life. Louisa is presented as needing all of these and shouldn’t be forced to give them up.

Meanwhile, some of the changes in their home life have started to affect Martin even though he wants to help with JH and tries to engage in more activities with L. He has adapted to JH and being awakened at night during S5, and he’s been capable of taking care of the baby when L is out or when childcare difficulties arise. But the older James gets, the more toys there are and the more noise too. I understand that these new conditions would require difficult adjustments for M, but they come gradually and we all generally adapt because it all benefits the child and makes our lives easier in the long run.

But Martin, more than most men, is very closed off to his wife. When she kisses him goodbye and tells him she’ll miss him, he’s very uncomfortable and doesn’t respond in kind. When she comes home at the end of her work day and says she missed being with both James and Martin, he tells her he did fine without her. When she kisses him goodnight after they get into bed, he accepts her kiss, but does not reciprocate. When she asks him nicely to take some time off to go away with her and James, he refuses and uses the excuse that he has a responsibility to his patients. He confesses to Ruth that his blood sensitivity has returned, but doesn’t tell Louisa. She knows he’s having trouble sleeping, but nothing she tries helps (e.g. lavender oil, magazine, offering to talk). When she can’t sleep because she’s worried about Mrs. T returning, he recommends going to bed because “everything seems worse [when it’s late].” But it’s not as though he takes his own advice. His mother arrives and he never tells L anything about their history or about their conversations while she’s been there. He agrees to attend the Sports Day event when he should have turned it down because he was never really interested but couldn’t tell Louisa honestly. We can argue about whether agreeing to do the awards was him trying to be helpful or whether he was going along to get along, but for me L was right to think he would approve of encouraging students to exercise. She is aware that their home life has been growing more difficult, but she could never have imagined that he would behave borderline antagonistic towards her. She had offered to find someone else, which I see as an effort to give him a way out, but he’s there in front of his mother and possibly unwilling to look uncooperative to either his mother or L.

Expecting Louisa to curtail her own emotions, be understanding of his without any willingness on his part to divulge his feelings to her, and to either stop her own activities or reduce her own effort to do her job well, is a lot to ask. Without any input from him and any attempt to give her some insight into what he’s going through, L cannot know how to interpret his rejection of her. If your new husband appears to be turning away from you within a few months of getting married, you can’t possibly be blamed for being devastated and upset. She’s confused, hurt, angry, disillusioned, worried, etc., etc. Give her a break!

Originally posted 2014-03-17 12:07:19.

31 thoughts on “In defense of Louisa, S6

  1. Santa Traugott

    Thanks so much for this post, with which I entirely agree. I have been quite put off by what seems like constant carping about Louisa. It has been suggested to me that by the end of S6, when she decides to leave, Louisa believes that her husband no longer loves her. I can’t see that but I do think she believes that without major change on his part, he cannot give her what she needs from him as a husband, and she has to have some space to think about whether she wants to try one more time to make him see that or whether she should minimize the pain for both of them, and give up without trying further.

    It’s not clear to me that she would have stayed if he had just been able to tell her, one more time under extreme duress, that he does love her and want to be with her. I think she was so sad as she was leaving b/c she genuinely loves him and knows that she is giving him pain, but there is nothing he can really say at this point that will miraculously fix things.

    What has struck me about Martin is not only how closed off he is, but how oddly passive he is sometimes with Louisa. The inability to simply tell her directly, that he could not do sports day, even tho she gave him several chances to beg off, seems to me to be an example of his inability to communicate directly with her, which we have to (I think) connect with Ruth’s statement to him that he doesn’t think he deserves her (how could Louisa possibly be able to figure that out?) . If he doesn’t deserve her in the first place, why rock the boat by communicating honestly about things that upset and bother him about their living situation and other aspects of their marriage. Stifling all that did, imo contribute to his “breakdown.”

    So I don’t expect to see Louisa immediately agreeing to return to the surgery and married life. I think he will have to show by repeated actions, that things are different with him, and that he can and will change.

  2. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Santa, I really like what you have to say, especially the last part. Repressing things must have been one reason for his resurgent blood issues, and it makes sense that he doesn’t feel like he can help himself by talking to L. He has told her by the end of series 6 that he needs her help to be a better husband, so that seems to set up the likelihood that they will find ways for her to do that. If we want to speculate about the next series, your idea that she won’t move back to the surgery right away would work well. They wouldn’t want to repeat series 4 by having them at odds all the time, I wouldn’t think. But it seems logical that he’ll have to demonstrate to her that he wants her back, and I can see how that would give them so many opportunities for all sorts of antics. Great thinking!!

  3. Waxwings2

    So glad you wrote on this subject. I too have been disturbed by the critiques of Louisa as too harsh and angry in S 6. She has every reason to display her upset, concern and frustration, and tries over and over to work on fixing whatever is bothering Martin. He retains his walls and resists all communication. Who would not be at their wits end? So thanks for challenging the undeserved Louisa criticism.

    I’m also glad you brought this up because of another disturbing development I’ve encountered concerning Louisa, which is a logical extension of what you write about here. I’ve observed on other DM-related sites, that writers (in imagined future episodes) have cast Louisa (after the car accident and brain surgery) as totally apologetic and/or feeling “responsible” for the couple’s dilemma. (Yes, Series 7). When, after her accident in the final S6E8, Louisa discovers the horrible childhood of M, and his early exiled, harsh treatment by his parents, she immediately retreats into a supplicant, all-forgiving mode. And the authors even have her apologizing to M for “treating” him so badly (reprising the “angry” Louisa charges of your post). This new Louisa seems to erase the couple’s immediate bad history, blame herself, and absolve Martin of his own responsibility. Her character is portrayed in a submissive mode. I can only hope the real writers of the DM show do NOT subscribe to this perspective. It is very chauvinistic.

    Hopefully, in Series 7, we will get a more balanced, nuanced portrayal of the Doc, in which Martin recognizes and comes to grips with his off-putting and impossible behavior towards Louisa and their relationship. Louisa will have a better understanding of Martin, and with the help of counselors, they both will come to some better, more life-affirming and loving place together. But first, Martin must wrestle with his demons that keep telling him he doesn’t deserve Louisa or James….

  4. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Hi, Marta. I have not seen those stories about Louisa that project that she’ll be apologetic and submissive. It’s disturbing and I think departs radically from the character the DM writers have developed. (I’ve seen some stories, and many of them go off in vastly different directions from how I see the characters, so I guess many writers enjoy imagining the characters as totally different from how they appear in the show. I hope they realize that the writers for the show will be unlikely to take the characters in those directions.) Louisa has never been submissive throughout the show. How they get there is beyond me.

    For me, S6 really stretches CC by having her be funny and loving in the first episode, somewhat edgier in the second, settling into the marriage in the third and fourth while having some expectations of Martin, struggling more in the fifth especially with Mrs. T’s return, beginning to become troubled and concerned in the sixth, exasperated in the seventh, and perhaps sad and dejected in the eighth. She also gets beaten up a lot throughout S6. Far from assuming that CC considers her role monotonous, I think she would be likely to be pleased that they demand so much from her. Even at the end of S6E8, after Louisa has the operation and things go well, she is grateful to M for coming after her, but not ready to back down from her deep apprehensions about their marriage. Certainly I think if she hears more about M’s childhood and puts that together with what she’s seen and heard about it before and what she knows about Margaret, she will be even more sympathetic to M. I think she already has been making an effort to reach out to him. She’ll want to work with him and find a way to help him. Let’s face it, the show depends on them being together in some way.

    I think Santa’s view that Louisa won’t go back to living at the surgery right after leaving the hospital sounds like a good way to start S7 because then they can develop a story that will show them trying to find a way to work things out while encountering various stumbling blocks. I don’t think they would be headed for another period of “will they, won’t they,” more like “how will they.” We’ve been shown so much evidence that they both want to be together and parent JH together. I have to believe that the show will end with a resolution that is positive for their marriage and for their characters.

  5. Santa Traugott

    To what do you attribute the criticism of Louisa, which was particularly harsh on the (now apparently moribund) DS forum? I am somewhat bewildered by it. I know people adore Martin Clunes and are strongly drawn to the Doc Martin character, but he that character was never intended to be one who would be easy to tolerate in real life. Someone said (can’t remember exactly who, but associated with a PBS promo) that the attraction was that women felt they could fix him, and I suppose by extension the argument is that there must be something wrong with Louisa, b/c she can’t or won’t fix him and indeed, makes the situation even worse. “But that’s rubbish, isn’t it” as Louisa would say — it doesn’t take into account the reality of living, day in and day out, with a man as difficult as Martin, as a working mother with a young child, in a too-small environment.

    I agree with you about the fan-fic. Very few authors get the tone of the characters right.

    I am sure that S7 will end on an up note. I think tht S6 would have, except they worked so much angst into the story line that it wouldn’t have been realistic to do that. To my mind there would be very little point to taking the characters through 7 series, with all the audience investment that their relationship has produced, only to tell us in the end that it never could have worked after all!

  6. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Santa, I’ve been thinking about how to answer your question most of the day. I agree that Martin Clunes has a lot of fans, but I feel pretty sure there are plenty of Caroline Catz fans too. I am also a bit unconvinced by the argument that women feel they can “fix” him. Even CC says something like that about Louisa when they interview her for DM Revealed. She says that Louisa figures that she can make some adjustments to him and that she’s somewhat arrogant to think that, and it never works either. I just find myself thinking there’s also evidence that Louisa doesn’t want to “fix” him because she says at least twice that sometimes people who don’t fit in are just fine the way they are. Throughout the entire show, Louisa has been depicted as having almost as much interest in Martin as he has in her, even with all of his flaws. She dreams about him, she wants to get his attention, she asks him to meet her in the pub, to join her for a drink, to go to parties and dances, to come over for dinner, etc. She’s jealous about Mrs. Wilson and about Edith just as much as he’s jealous about Danny and even Mark. She does tell him off at times, but he puts her down too on occasion. That’s what makes their relationship seem realistic and, to me, makes them a good match. Their relationship has been set up such that he is smitten with her and she is intrigued by him.

    Then, in S6, she handles things pretty well from my perspective, as you know. So I don’t know what it is that has caused some viewers to turn on her. Maybe they struggle with strong female characters who expect to be treated equally well by the men in their lives. Maybe they are particularly sensitive to a man who seems quite vulnerable due to his childhood. Maybe they feel sorry for him because people call him “tosser” and generally don’t like him. He’s the underdog that often gets a lot of sympathy in shows and films.

    I think we viewers have been given good reason to consider Louisa vulnerable too. I guess there’s no rational reason for people to blame Louisa for the problems; they are doing what viewers do – projecting, reacting emotionally, and looking at scenes from a personal perspective.

    I have thought all along that if the writers, producers, actors want to end the show in the same tone as most of the show has been using – a dramedy – then they will have an ending that will have Martin and Louisa find a satisfactory way to be married and reasonably happy with each other. It would be inappropriate for them to become love birds. Martin is never going to be exceptionally demonstrative with his affection. But he has been known to hold Louisa’s hand, kiss her head, rub her cheek, and say loving things to her. There’s no reason there couldn’t be more of that with some sort of in kind response from Louisa. Anything is possible, and there’s no guarantee that the show will end with Martin and Louisa together, but a separation would be a tremendous disappointment to most viewers and not really something that makes much sense to me. Why would anyone want to end the show that way? They got enough grief from having Louisa get hit by a car! It’s not that sort of show anyway. Then again, S6 was pretty different in tone. The best explanation for that I’ve seen is that they knew they would do another series and could mess around a bit.

    I hope my answer makes some sense. I have no more actual knowledge than anyone else. When it comes to Louisa, I don’t really understand what sets people off any more than you do. When it comes to what we should expect in the coming series, I imagine even the people associated with the show probably don’t know yet exactly what they’re going to do in S7. All any of us can do is use our deductive reasoning and hope that arrives at something close to the correct position.

  7. Santa Traugott

    If I get deeper in the weeds on this, I’m afraid it would come across as rather offensive to some. So I’ll just say that, looked at in a feminist way: here we have a strong woman, a high achiever, vociferously standing up for herself, challenging a strong and charismatic mate, making demands assertively, and finally, needing to decide whether the situation is giving her, or can ever give her, what she needs. It’s quite clear that she cannot go the submissive, passive-aggressive and/or subterreanean route that women used for centuries to get what they needed from husbands, but I don’t see that as a flaw. Indeed, I think this is one of the main attractions Louisa has for Martin., perhaps especially because it is combined with underlying vulnerabilities that she struggles with. I’ll have to go back and read your earlier posts on women in DM, because I do think this is a critical part of how we respond to the show.

  8. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I consider Louisa a strong and competent woman who has pursued her position as headmistress and her marriage to Martin with the same determination and sincere dedication. She loves the students and the school and she loves her husband and son. Her life would be complete if Martin had stayed the man she thought she was marrying – difficult, sometimes gruff and hard to talk to, but clearly in love with her, desperate to be with her, and well-meaning. The problem, I think, is not that she is unwilling to do things his way without some resistance, but that he has shutdown to such a degree that she can’t see how to reach him. Maybe she should just tell him exactly that, and maybe she will in the next series. I would have also told him about some of the comments his mother has made to her. That may not have gotten him to open up, but at least he would have been aware that his mother was telling Louisa stories from his past. When, before Margaret appears at the door, L wonders if she’s the reason his blood phobia returned and he tells her she isn’t, L is not convinced. She is practically begging for him to say something reassuring and even once again tell her how much she means to him. She is expressing her vulnerability but he, because of his own difficulties, can’t respond adequately and then there’s a knock on the door. Nevertheless, when she joins him at the door, she takes his hand, expresses sympathy, and proudly tells his mother that she’s his wife and they have a son. I have been impressed that CC plays that scene like that because it portrays Louisa as continuing to make every effort to be cheerful and support him despite her own insecurities. I just can’t fault Louisa for being too harsh. There are too many examples of her showing a soft, caring side to no avail.

  9. Harry Hanson

    I have enjoyed the discussion on LGE.

    To me the story is compelling because we have two attractive people who both have problems, attracted to each other. Because of their issues, the will they/won’t they get together drives the show.

    LGE while more adept socially than DM, she has a background that would have left her almost as damaged as DM. It is hard to imagine a woman who is portrayed as being very social, wanting children, having a successful career, and seeming to want marriage, not to have had chances to get married before 37. Perhaps this indicates that she has a hard time making a commitment. Many of the FanFiction authors have concluded her defense mechanism to problems is to run away. I can’t blame LGE anymore than DM – they have problems and are trying to work them out.

    Kudos the writers for getting all this complexity in to 36 hours or so of TV

  10. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Welcome Harry! You may be right that Louisa might have a hard time making a commitment. I have written in some other posts that there really haven’t been many eligible men for her in Portwenn. She seems determined to stay in Portwenn, but that definitely limits her options when it comes to men. When she plans to marry Martin in S3, she acts just as excited as any younger woman would be. She has clearly announced their engagement to the entire school. I think her typical reaction in the show has been to leave whenever things get tough, but she always comes back too. I’m pretty sure that’s what will happen again; this time I hope her return is paired with some permanence. The complexity of the characters is what makes this show extraordinary to me. Thanks for your comments and for reading the posts!!

  11. Charlene

    Kudos to all for the insightful comments on this subject. The Doc series has intrigued me from the beginning and your blog just makes it all the more interesting. I see so many subliminal messages in just about every episode. It is wonderful having others share their thoughts.

    I too was disturbed by L’s demanding, harsh & angry attitude in S 6. I hope Jack Lothian does more writing in S 7. If the writers were trying to show dads can pull their share of responsibility in child care. They had L to witchy and M too submissive. My impression was L wanted to change M to fit her expetations and when he would not change, she got too angry. In the past she was accepting of who he is. Communication, communication is so lacking. Watching most of S 6 was frustrating. But, Martin might actually be on the mend after getting the courage to break all ties with his evil mother.

    I went back and reviewed prior series. I saw a clue to some of Louisa’s demons (besides her parents) when she broke off the relationship with Danny. She is not going to ever leave Portwenn. Period, end of conversation. If she wants a family, she is stuck with what is available in the local mates. Maybe that attributes to being 37 and not married. Does anyone else see the Superwomanhood syndrome in Louisa? Review the beginning of S4E8 and observe L interaction with Tasha, Tommy’s wife. L does not have to say a word, her face says it all when Tasha talks about being exhausted and stressed out in her balancing act taking care of work, child and hubby. L must think it is easy to have it all, a child, a career, identity, social status and she can do it on her own terms and does not need a husband. This theme of the stresses of single parenthood is also played out by Mrs. Cronk and Peter.

    Yes life would be easier if L stayed home with JH. Is it possible M motive was he wants JH to have as much benefit of time at home with his loving mother as possible? Something M was denied as a child. L stays home only 10 days? Is that all they get in Britain? I am clueless. I sympathize with L dilemma of wanting to keep her career and have a family too. She is identifying with the women of the world that have to make that sacrifice and can not afford to stay home even if they wanted to. In the 60 and 70’s I was a traditional stay at home mom, but my daughters had careers 1st and children later in their late 30’s like L. They were both high income career woman who did not want to stop working. Their husbands took on the role of stay at home dads. I found it gratifying that M as a busy doctor stepped up to the job of child care. This is 180 º from the way he was raised by a “remote father and cold mother.” It would be interesting to learn how some of your readers handled their careers and motherhood.

    I agree, I don’t expect to see Louisa in S 7 immediately returning to live at the surgery. I think separation will not last long as L will not enjoy being a parent on her own. Two years is a long wait to find out if M accepts therapy. God know he needs it. They both do. Hopefully they will both get the help they need to start to communicate. I also see a need for larger living space. A home where they can have some privacy for and from each other and privacy from the community. I had a friend that was a State Park supervisor and lived on the property. She almost had a breakdown before she moved off the property to get away from the job and regain some privacy.

  12. Mary

    Charlene, I absolutely love your insight! I heard an interview with Martin Clunes today that they will indeed have “couples therapy” in Series 7, so it looks like you’ll get your wish! God knows they need some!

  13. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thank you for your comments. I really agree that Louisa is representative of many women these days who have children in their 30s because they want a career too. My own daughter is one of those and her husband has a demanding job too. She has found a way to make it work well with help from a part time nanny, her very supportive husband when possible, and my help at times. She is devoted to her children while also being conscientious in her job. (I was also not a stay at home mother, although I had children when I was young and then entered the working world.) I think Louisa’s job prompts her to go back to work when she does. The school year has started and she wants to be there. That was always her plan. I think I’m still more generous to her than you are. When Tasha tells Louisa about the demands of home life, I would read Louisa’s expression as having a certain anxiety about what’s ahead. I think all along she has shown mixed feelings about having the baby on her own in that she wants the village and Martin to know that she can handle things alone while at the same time showing signs of wishing Martin would be insistent about being involved with her and the baby. It’s like she’s testing him to see where he truly stands, and he keeps letting her down by being too reticent to tell her that he wants to be a part of the prenatal period. He’s so pragmatic that he’s put together a spread sheet of expenses and given her post-dated checks when she’s hoping for something more along the lines of what finally happens when she’s in labor.

    It does look like couple’s therapy is coming in S7 and that should be amusing as well as helpful in some way. They can always use the 2012 Tommy Lee Jones/Meryl Streep film Hope Springs as a source. There are some differences in the marital issues, but many similarities too.

  14. Linda

    I agree that she faces ongoing problems with Martin’s inability to be open to her and share his feelings and worries. How else could she interpret his actions but to think he had fallen out of love. She needs to see him be more loving, understanding, and affectionate. He needs to think of what SHE needs and what JAMES needs. Right now, he is only focussing on his so-called health issues because he does not recognize that he is in an emotional crisis. He says he doesn’t wat to worry her but she IS worried because he isn’t letting her in. They seem to need a crisis to open up sincerely to eachother.

  15. Linda

    Interesting! I just figured she would go home but you may be right. She is NOT happy and is in fact, very sad. He still has not really shown affection despite what he said. He does seem, now, to recognize that he needs her to help him to be a better husband and father. Let’s hope he carries through.

  16. Linda

    It is hard to say why Martin wants Louisa to stay home with James. She loves her job, yes. He discounts her work. He hasn’t really encouraged her to stay home with the things he says which pushes her buttons. She gets angry and does the opposite of what he wants her to do. If he really wants a traditional family model, he needs to figure out how they can have it all – kids, work for both, maybe a new house? And ….. he needs to tell her good reasons why she should stay home as well as complimenting her as a mother and encouraging her in that role.

  17. Linda

    I watched S6 E8 (Departure) again today and was analysing his final comment about her being his patient AND his wife. This was in response to her thanking him for coming after her. I always thought it was a strange comment and didn’t get why he said it. Now, I think he was telling her that she wasn’t just his patient, but ALSO his wife. He was recognizing that there was a difference and reiterating what he had said in the operating room. He wants to be a !

  18. Linda

    Oh dear, I did something to the end of my reply. Is there a way to correct a reply which has been posted????? Anyway, he is the rest. He wants to be a better husband and father. Did she get it? Hopefully. I think that was a really powerful scene. It would only have been better if he had kissed her and the young nurse saw Louisa kissing her “surgeon”!

  19. Santa Traugott

    Yesterday I came across this from Viktor Frankl, which seemed to me to sum up at least my view on what Louisa means for Martin. I do think that she has some almost intuitive grasp of him, and she can bring out in him, as someone said on another forum, “the good man he ought to be.”

    “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.”
    ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

  20. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Beautiful. I love Viktor Frankl and the book you reference.Thank you for bringing it into the discussion.

    I have also been trying to determine the accuracy of personality inventories. I’ve found a few sites that are worth directing everyone to:
    For example OR this one

    The problem is that these tests are often used for employment purposes and we’re not talking about that at all. My sense is that any test like this is only reliable when used in conjunction with many other means of looking at an individual and should not be taken as the most important indicator in itself. Years ago I took the MMPI through a friend of ours who was a practicing psychiatrist at the time. The results were actually kind of funny to me because even though I answered as honestly as possible, I thought my assessment was pretty off. I guess we just have to take them with a grain so to speak…

  21. Amy Cohen

    Of course, I am reading this after S7, intrigued by all your predictions in light of what actually happened. Louisa did not come back submissive, but she sure came back angry. Although I do agree with your assessment, Karen, of Louisa is S6 as trying and constantly being shut out by Martin and I was very sympathetic to her during S6 (especially when Martin refuses to go away with her without any explanation), I found her unsympathetic in S7. Although I’ve reconsidered that in light of some conversations here and now see her more as confused and frustrated, she certainly did not come back as the same character from the earlier series. And maybe that makes sense. She must have felt so rejected through much of S6 that perhaps the writers were showing her tough side and her fear of abandonment in S7.

  22. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Yes, we can imagine that Louisa would be struggling with her own mixture of fear of being too vulnerable and tendency to be drawn to Martin nevertheless. Most women also hesitate to leave the father of their child unless they have major reservations, which Louisa would not have considering that she certainly trusts Martin with James.

    There are still the tender things she says to Martin in the operating room despite being doped up, and the relatively soft way she talks to him while in the hospital bed following surgery. She knows he has possibly saved her life, and he doesn’t disagree that they still have much to contend with, but there’s a sense that she is now coming around to a place of forgiveness. That’s why it’s jarring to think she still left for Spain and returns with such a different attitude. Oh well. If we want, we can find ways to explain it all, and that appears to be what the writers, et. al. are banking on.

  23. Amy Cohen

    I wasn’t shocked that she’d gone to Spain. She had said after the surgery that “This doesn’t change anything.” But I did find her coldness and anger quite shocking, given how the had ended S6.

  24. Santa Traugott

    There’s still no way to make sense of that ending and the status of their relationship at beginning of S8, without doing mental gymnastics that are largely unpersuasive. The best that I can come up with, not terribly persuasive, I know , is that she felt she had to follow through on her threat to leave, and since she felt somewhat guilty about the pain she was causing by doing so, she spent most of the time she was away focusing on her husband’s many faults, and the impossibility of reconciling until he changed. This led to her returning home in a rather defensive posture, quick to expect the worst and slow to build on signs of change in his attitude.

    I suspect that they gave us the softer scenes in the hospital, just so they could end on somewhat of a note of hope, in case S7 wasn’t commissioned. And if commissioned, they could just take them back to the moment she left in the taxi for the first time.

  25. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Your guess is as good as anyone’s. I think someone a while back wondered if Louisa’s mother might have poisoned her mind during her visit in Spain and given her negative ideas about Martin. Anything is possible.

    I also agree that they might have been hedging with the ending of S6 if they didn’t know yet about an S7. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have tried to match the ending of S6 with the beginning of S7 a bit better. I would have done things differently, and I know that means very little. All I can say is how they chose to handle that transition wasn’t very convincing or congruous and compares poorly with the other series’ transitions.

  26. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I guess I figured what she meant when she said the surgery hadn’t changed anything was that they still had a lot to deal with and not about the literal act of going to Spain. Your interpretation must be right though; she meant she wasn’t changing her plans to leave. At least that’s how it played out.

  27. Amy Cohen

    It would be sad to think the writers didn’t care or didn’t notice that there was this poor transition. Maybe they just think that after two years, no one will really remember how that last series ended. If so, boy, are they wrong!

  28. Santa Traugott

    It’s clear now that “this doesn’t change anything” meant , “I’m still going to Spain.” I think I just didn’t want to believe it. My feeling was, that Martin had just saved her life, and perhaps as matter of equity (odd word here, I know), she might just pause and let him make whatever case he could, before deciding that going to Spain was necessary?

    To say nothing of the fact that he given her the speech she must have longed to hear, for some time, before the operation. THAT didn’t make any difference? Why not? And the story that she just didn’t remember because she was sedated, may have been true in “real life” but I can’t think that the writers and producers just intended to give Martin Clunes a set speech to act beautifully.

    So yeah, that’s what she meant — you save my life, you pour out your heart to me — but, hasta la vista. I’m not even going to think about changing my mind.

    That’s what I couldn’t parse.

  29. Amy Cohen

    And I always interpreted it that way. I guess although Louisa seemed to be empathetic to how sad Martin was and she knew he was trying, I always felt that in that scene in the hospital she was holding back and not being effusive or emotional with him as she had been in earlier crises that had brought them closer. And Martin’s departure—you are my patient and my wife—struck me as in some ways acknowledging and also displaying part of the problem. He didn’t say he came after her because he loved her. He didn’t even safe “wife” before “patient.” Once again, he was using his role as a doctor to keep a wall up and hide his emotions. Perhaps if he had shown some real feeling then, Louisa might have melted as she had when the baby was born or when he told her he couldn’t live without her before the aborted wedding.

  30. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    All we can say now is that for some reason they decided that he could reveal his emotions to her only in the operating room and when Louisa was in a compromised state and then after the operation, but only in a bathroom stall where no one could see him. There are so many occasions when they set up opportunities for them to talk, and then those pass without either one of them taking advantage of those. It’s probably meant to frustrate us as much as anything. It is that accepted effort to get viewers to yell at their screens. And it works at first. In the beginning I would just laugh, that was followed by finding it exasperating (which was when I’d be tempted to yell), and ultimately it became too manipulative and obvious.

    I thought it was best to have the last word be “wife” because that put the emphasis on his recognition that she was much more than his patient to him. He also told her he would come back to get her after she rested. I found that a clear indication that they wanted the ending of S6 to be hopeful.

    Just shows how everything can be interpreted in many ways.

  31. Amy Cohen

    Yep, that’s what makes it interesting, the layering.

    The interruptions have become a bit tired. I understand the need to have suspense and conflict for a drama to keep us interested, but I think they need to be more creative and find a device other than interrupting every intimate conversation.

    (I deleted my website URL so let me know if I avoid being trashed.)

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