The title of E5 is Control-Alt-Delete, and there’s no question that control is a major theme in this episode. Martin and Louisa are still jostling for control in their relationship; he has lost the little control over his living arrangements he had when a new neighbor moves in and bothers him; and Buddy continues to follow him everywhere. In fact, Buddy is the default for him in trying to regain some control and almost suffers the utmost penalty for it. But even here Martin gives in to Louisa’s demand that he abort his decision to euthanize Buddy, which leads to Martin seeking the help of an animal rescue person. Alas, she can’t control Buddy either and he is forever finding a way to escape and return to Martin. He’s the one living creature that won’t give up on Martin no matter what Martin does to him.
However, these three keys of the keyboard have more meaning than we might suspect. In terms of their use on a keyboard, they are the way to reboot a PC computer and were originally chosen so that techies working on computers wouldn’t mistakenly reboot a computer when they were working on it. So the keys one has to depress to reboot are not all located near each other. It requires making an effort to hit the correct keys to begin a reboot.
What does it mean to reboot something? We generally reboot our devices when there has been a malfunction and rebooting and restarting will return the device to proper order. It works with TVs, cars, as well as computers; pretty much anything that is mechanical. If we follow that scheme for this episode, and possibly for the series, we can see that there are a number of occasions when either relationships are rebooted or decisions are rebooted, i.e. they are reconsidered and reset. (As an aside here, I want to note that TV shows are also rebooted and this can mean the restarting of a series storyline that discards all previous continuity. We may need that in this show soon.)
In this episode Martin and Louisa try to turn around their relationship by having Louisa be in control of an activity. IMO she has taken control to a great extent already; nevertheless, this time it is she who has been told to make plans and Martin is required to follow them. Although we may consider her periodic “jokes” she makes to Martin a sign that she is being unkind, one effect of her joking is that he is put off balance by them. This time she first explains to him that she has chosen to throw a party and wants him to introduce himself to everyone because they may not have met him yet. He looks quite petrified at this suggestion, but since she has no real plans for a party of that kind, he is relieved to learn that her actual plan is a picnic on the beach. For me, her strategy of switching the party to a day at the beach is somewhat ingenious because a day at the beach sounds much more appealing to him in comparison to a party. (I would have thought she might have wanted to go on a picnic in a more secluded spot, but this is a TV show and they need the interface with a variety of other members of the community. Also, Louisa wants Martin to be more socially active in the village.)
When Louisa arrives at Martin’s door to start their outing, Martin tries to exert control by having made his own picnic food and Louisa is immediately disgruntled and tempted to call the date off. However, they reboot and Martin puts away his picnic basket while Louisa reassesses and continues with the date. Ultimately, of course, many interruptions occur and the date is anything but a nice family outing. Nevertheless, Louisa recognizes that there are certain circumstances that demand Martin’s intervention and he both protects her and James from wild and crazy Angela as well as getting to the bottom of Angela’s mental breakdown. In the end, Louisa acknowledges that she was glad he took control of that situation. They’ve rebooted but not really reset.
As a byproduct of this scenario, Angela learns that medicating herself with animal antibiotics is not very smart. On the other hand, she concedes that she will probably do it again because that is what vets often do. Reboot; no actual change.
The major reboot in this episode is the one between Clive and Sally. Here we have Clive literally telling Sally that he wants to start over and doesn’t want to know anymore about what’s happened in the past. Basically he’s saying he wants to do a “hard” restart, and act as though their relationship is new. He loves her and wants to do everything he can to convince her he’s sincere. She, in turn, responds by reconsidering her actions, chucks the casserole she had prepared for Martin despite his objections, and jettisons the casserole containers she has been storing. She appears to have made a decision to end her obsessive behavior and restart her marriage with Clive. We are all glad to see that happen!
Another pair who reboot their interaction is Ruth and Bert. At the beginning of the episode Ruth has given Bert notice that he must vacate her property. Finding out that he has an illegal still in his van gives her even more motivation to ask him to leave. However, later in the episode Bert brings her a sample of the whiskey he’s been brewing, she tastes it and decides it has promise, and soon she is giving Bert another two weeks to remain on her farm.
We might include Al and Morwenna renewing their personal connection, and we can probably add that Martin’s discovery that Kelly has seizures and not ADHD reboots the approach she should take towards her symptoms.
While watching this episode, and because it’s the episode that I walk through and that I watched while they filmed, I noticed they use several scenes twice. The two that stood out to me are when Martin walks down the alley toward the harbor and when he drinks a cup of coffee in the morning prior to leaving for work. They also repeat with little change the scene where Ruth talks to Bert outside his van. I’m just guessing here, but they may have edited this episode to essentially reboot certain scenes.
I find it is critical that Buddy is the one part of this episode that can’t be rebooted. He not only represents Martin’s lack of control over his life, but also how some situations resist rebooting. He exhibits dogged determination (pun intended). It’s hard to imagine that Angela can’t keep him from getting away from her so many times, especially in the final scene. But there he is running up the hill towards the surgery with Angela following. Buddy’s hounding of Martin is emblematic of his devotion. Rather than be put off from Martin, Buddy will not be deterred.
Much needs to be rebooted between Martin and Louisa. It’s a good metaphor for where their marriage is at this point.
Originally posted 2015-10-29 11:56:15.