The Importance of Being a Mother

In Sept. 2013 I wrote a post called “Mothering” and reviewed the generally poor mothering skills  of the women in Portwenn. I want to revisit the topic of mothering because I have become convinced that the role of mother is eminently important and that when Martin and Louisa enter marriage counseling, they will have to address their experiences with their own mothers.

In Sept. 2013, I wrote that Joan and Louisa were the only women in the show who demonstrated an aptitude for mothering. It’s especially curious that Joan is portrayed as a good mother figure because she has never had children of her own. Instead, Martin’s summer visits seem to have been a vicarious way for her to fulfill her mothering instincts (unless we consider her animals her children). We are led to believe that she always loved Martin and was sincerely hurt when his parents no longer allowed him to visit; however, we also know that whatever mothering she provided was limited to the few months he visited each summer. We also know that during his visits he met John Slater who was actually Joan’s lover, not her husband. What sort of relationship Martin had with Joan’s husband remains unexplored. Therefore, not only was Martin subjected to a biological mother who rejected him, and even resented him, but also the one loving mother figure in his life was only with him a few months each year and had a questionable home life herself. (We have speculated that there might have been a loving nanny/governess during his early childhood years, but we haven’t heard anything about that on the show.)

Louisa demonstrates natural mothering instincts when she has her baby. She has previously told Bert that she wants children of her own, she spends her days working with children as a nurturer and teacher, and she has come to her student Peter Cronk’s rescue more than once. Hence we are not very surprised that she falls easily into her role as mother. From the moment the baby is born, we see Louisa hold the baby close, have difficulty letting the baby cry, worry about whether she’s handling things right and reading the current literature pre and post natal. She starts out breastfeeding, although we aren’t shown too much of that (something that would be much more a part of her daily life under normal circumstances), and she has the baby near her a lot of the time. Once she returns to work, she is conflicted about leaving the baby, except with his father (and sometimes even with his father). Thus, we have the overall sense that Louisa is the kind of mother neither Martin nor she had themselves, and who Martin appears to take delight in when observing her. She would probably be seen by Martin as the sort of mother he would have liked to have had.

What I find most interesting, however, is Louisa’s relationship with her own mother and how that may have played a role in Louisa’s personal development. What we’ve been told about Louisa’s childhood begins at the age of 11. To the best of our knowledge, she was born in or near Portwenn and grew up there. She remembers good times with her father, Terry,  who occasionally took her for ice cream. The most significant memory of her mother, however, is that she left for Spain to be with Javier when Louisa was 11 years old. We have no idea what her home life was like until then, but her mother’s departure to be with another man must have been preceded by some sort of affair with him as well as some sort of estrangement between Eleanor and Terry. It certainly seems as though Louisa and Eleanor have been out of contact with each other much of the time Eleanor has been in Spain, despite the fact that Louisa decided to write her mother about her pregnancy. Clearly Eleanor considered a letter from her daughter significant enough to fly to see her after the baby is born. (She also came because she wanted to make a deal for a seafood supplier for the restaurant in Spain.)

In Eleanor we meet a fun loving, free spirited woman who acts totally unaffected by the long break in their contact with each other. She immediately tells Louisa she looks like she could use a rest and she wants to hold the baby. There’s not even a slight hesitation on her part.

Soon Eleanor becomes involved in their family life and Louisa trusts her, with some reservations, to care for James Henry. They need someone to watch the baby while they both continue to work, and Eleanor appears competent until she adds a few drops of her elixir to JH’s bottle to calm him. Once that somewhat innocent blunder is overcome, Eleanor disappoints again when she  shows up late and hires a questionable teen to watch JH so she can work in Bert’s restaurant. Eleanor is not sufficiently committed to the baby’s care even after she is given this second chance to redeem herself. Moreover, it is at Louisa’s lowest moment that Eleanor decides to leave again.

The unexpected behaviors Louisa exhibits are turning to her mother twice following difficulties with Martin. The first time is in S5 when Louisa decides she can’t stay with Martin due to his consistent failure to consult her about matters of the home. She takes JH in his carriage to her mother’s house and is received there with genuine sympathy. The second time is in the last two episodes of S6 when she decides to fly to Spain with JH to have some time to think about her marriage. As Martin says, in his constant state of bewilderment, she doesn’t even like her mother. But such is the power of mothers and the need for their comforting and nurturing that, despite ongoing conflicted feelings, Louisa looks to her mother for sanctuary.

Because I find the decision to have Louisa seek out her mother under trying circumstances in her marriage so credible and yet so startling, I think it’s worth writing about. While acknowledging that the show needs a place for Louisa to go in both cases, and her mother fulfills that need quite well, it’s also telling that they choose her mother as the person Louisa seeks out. Here’s a thirtysomething woman who has been on her own most of her life and now needs a soft place to land. And the place she decides on is with her mother, the person who abandoned her and has disappointed her many times.

We could think there aren’t many options for Louisa, and we have to say that’s true. However, there could also be something else going on here. To some degree there could be some sense of unresolved abandonment issues in Louisa. Throughout Eleanor’s reappearance in Portwenn following James Henry’s birth, Louisa tries to excuse her behavior. She gives Eleanor second chances, she thinks her mother is having a romantic dinner with an old flame, and is jealous of her, when she’s only going out to close a business deal and has no concern for the man as a person. Once he’s injured and can’t fulfill his contract, she’s off to find someone else. No matter what Eleanor does, Louisa continues to care about her. When she ultimately requires an emergency surgical procedure, Louisa is markedly worried and acts very relieved when it all goes well. Thus, Louisa is depicted as much more compassionate than her mother and towards her mother than her mother is towards her.

Another thing that could be going on is some feelings of self-doubt in Louisa. One source notes the following rather pedestrian, but substantive, observations: “All children who have been abandoned by their mothers, either physically or psychologically, wonder what they did to cause “Mommy” to leave. They ask themselves if they did something wrong; if they did, they want to figure out what it was. These children also wonder if they are lovable.” There is a strong likelihood that Louisa is still blaming herself for her mother’s departure during her childhood and she is probably still yearning for her mother to treat her in a loving manner. When Eleanor ushers Louisa into her home in S5, she is showing Louisa the acceptance and love she craves; and when Eleanor talks to Louisa prior to departing again at the end of S5, she tells her how proud she is of her. To a certain extent, Eleanor has finally answered Louisa’s apprehensions developed in childhood about her mother. After that resolution, minimal as it may appear, perhaps Louisa’s decision to fly to Spain to stay with her mother isn’t so surprising.

It’s also perhaps not surprising that Louisa habitually decides to leave Martin whenever they have dissension in their relationship. According to the same source, “Some children who have experienced a maternal abandonment will come to the mistaken conclusion that they are better off protecting themselves from any more hurt. They also decide that it’s better to do the abandoning than to go through the pain of being abandoned again.” Marriage counseling should at some point identify these inclinations as well as how Louisa’s mother has played a role in her approach to her marriage. Feeling abandoned by one’s mother is traumatic at any age. In this show we have two main characters who have been either physically or psychologically (or both) abandoned by their mothers. It’s a topic of some importance to the show.

We have discussed Martin’s mother’s influence on him to some extent, but in my next post I want to add more to that too. It’s nice to get back to writing another post and I hope to hear from some of you. Sorry for the lengthy break.

 

Originally posted 2015-02-14 15:21:57.

19 thoughts on “The Importance of Being a Mother

  1. Carol

    Hey Karen and everybody! Sorry I haven’t replied in so long, but I have been faithfully reading and enjoying the posts – just out of time to write. This post, of course, is amazingly important. Louisa does have such a HUGE back and forth, emotional, and completely illogical relationship with her mother. But I think that is true so much of the time, especially with mothers and daughters, and especially when the child has been abandoned in some way. I would argue that emotional abandonment is just as bad, or perhaps worse, than physical abandonment. With one, others see and hopefully attend to the child. With the other, perhaps no one knows, or no one helps even if they do know.

    These relationships can nag us for all of our lives. Louisa will surely have to deal with her feelings about being abandoned. I think she believes that she has done so, but even the often clueless Martin can see that she has not. It may take a counselor actually saying it aloud to her to help her to see it and even then she may disagree that there is any problem. This will be probably her highest hill to climb. I hope she makes it. IMHO their relationship will depend just as much on that as on Martin and his issues.

    Carol

  2. Laura H.

    Thanks for your post about how being a mother is portrayed in DM, especially the interesting look at Louisa as, in many ways, a model mother despite her poor relationship with Eleanor and the abandonment issues she likely acquired through that relationship. Not too far off, then, might be a question asked as to how did Louisa become the mother she is via such an absentee mother? Hope I’m not deviating too much from the germ of your original intent in your post at looking at Louisa and Eleanor when I pose some observations a little outside the box…or gender? I keep thinking of the statement, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and guess I’m thinking of who might have filled in the holes not provided by Eleanor’s mothering to enable Louisa becoming the mother she is? I would say it might be Bert. While that might seem a bit funny and shocking, there is quite a bit of evidence that Bert has “been there” for Louisa on many occasions, some that would be often filled by a mother. We know that Bert is a mixture of “fount of village knowledge,” do-gooder, yet sometimes motivated by an opportunity to make money from a situation. Yet he seems to hold a special place in his heart for Louisa. Maybe because having lived in the village all his life, he likely knew about her parenting and possibly respects how she has stood on her own and made good despite a father with prison record and yes, a mother who abandoned Louisa. And maybe he shares a feeling of how tough it is to go it alone, since he raised Al alone. But the times he seems to step in as substitute mom are quite a few: a heart-to-heart talk with Louisa when assessing her old cook stove about whether she wants children (this is more a Mom/daughter talk than local service guy to mature young woman talk); the time when she returns to the village pregnant and he yells across the harbor to welcome her home; his throwing a baby shower for her; his seeking her out at the hospital after the baby is born; his bringing flowers to her when the baby is born; his turning up with a baby carriage for her to use and showing her how to diaper a baby (both very indicative of mothering behavior); and even though it’s hinted his spearheading of a honeymoon for Louisa and Martin is lucrative for him, he still is the one who puts it in motion and likely be aware that it’s this honeymoon or no honeymoon. Not to say that they don’t have their clashes (his speculation of Al as a possible suitor; the school newspaper review issue), but mothers and daughters have clashing moments, too.

    Back to Eleanor, you said, “But such is the power of mothers and the need for their comforting and nurturing that, despite ongoing conflicted feelings, Louisa looks to her mother for sanctuary.” She does and likely always will, and maybe as you said that maybe this might be addressed in counseling to recognize parts of the relationship that have influenced her flight tendencies and maybe romanticizing the mother/daughter relationship, the one she envisions but is unlikely to be fulfilled.

    A last point might be that Louisa’s good mothering is credible, at least to me. Maybe we’ve all known people who have been determined to be the opposite of their roots and have succeeded. And we admire them.

    Again, thanks for such a great post that gets the head wheels turning.

  3. Abby

    This is an interesting and important topic, and I agree that both Martin and Louisa need to address their experiences of abandonment in couple counseling.

    I would like to make a small point about the timing of Louisa’s abandonment. When it has been discussed on various forums, the consistent timeline was that Louisa was 11 when Eleanor left. However, the only time I am aware of that it was referred to in the show, was in S3E4, Mother Knows Best. In that scene Eleanor reminds Louisa that she wanted her to come to Spain with her, but that Louisa didn’t want to. Louisa replies, “Mum, I was 11 years old. You were practically a stranger by then.” Now, that whole exchange is a little ambiguous, because we don’t know if Eleanor invited Louisa to Spain when she first left or on a subsequent visit. But, the statement, “You were practically a stranger by then” leads me to believe it was the latter. Perhaps I’ve missed some other references to the timeline that would provide clarification. But, I’d like to know what you all think.

  4. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Hi, Carol. It’s nice to hear from you again. I find what you say valid and I, too, consider Louisa’s efforts to comprehend and manage her own psychological baggage as important as Martin’s. This show has put two people together who both have had difficult childhoods. It’s always hard to say how much that was thought through, but at this stage we are all wondering what they will do with that. Since MC has stated that there will be a lot of marriage counseling in S7, we can expect a variety of issues to be addressed. I’m inclined to think that Louisa, who is the more aware and introspective of the two, will be the one to apply what happens in counseling most effectively to their relationship. Getting Martin to respond in kind will be both the sticking point and hopefully the place where the humor can take place. As with S6, CC will end up with many demands on her and I expect her to handle it well.

  5. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Laura, thanks for your comments. I think they have presented Bert as the person in the village who has Louisa’s best interests at heart. He has been responsible for all the actions you describe, which are, quite frequently, arrangements you would expect from a family member or female friend. It is a somewhat amusing element of the show that they have decided that a man should be the one to throw the shower, bring the carriage, demonstrate proper diapering procedure, etc. But, as you say, he has been Al’s single parent and well versed in how to care for a baby. He’s also Louisa’s best contact in town, although we rarely see her seeking him out for any in depth discussions. Bert is the standby, but not the standard bearer for the town. I mean, Louisa wouldn’t want to follow many of Bert’s shenanigans. At times his concept of honesty relates mostly to whether he benefits or someone else does.

    Anyway, he is kind to Louisa and makes an effort to help her when others don’t, which is odd since she knows other mothers in town and should have female friends who could offer help too. Pippa is the only woman who gives Louisa advice about nursing, although she also alerts Louisa to some of the difficulties of having children.

    I think Louisa may be drawn to children as a means of working through her own childhood upheavals. Again, I’m not sure the show writers/developers spent much time thinking about all of this. They created a female whose job involves being an important member of the staff at the school, so also a respected and responsible leader in the community, who can stand up to the new GP. When they decided to have her return to the town pregnant and turn the liaison with Martin into something more substantial, they may not have given much thought to why she would be a good mother. Her sympathy for the children offsets Martin’s impersonal and emotionless treatment of them and is another way they clash. On the other hand, what we see of her also convinces us that she would be a good mother perhaps in reaction to her own mother, as you say.

  6. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thanks Abby! You are, of course, correct about the only time we hear anything about Eleanor’s departure. It is ambiguous based on what Louisa says. What is essential, I think, is that Louisa already felt like her mother was a stranger at that point. Who knows what sort of invitation to come along Eleanor gave her daughter. The key thing is that Eleanor was leaving whether Louisa came with her or not, right? In addition, Eleanor and Louisa’s relationship was already strained. If Eleanor seemed a stranger to Louisa by this time, then that may be because Eleanor’s heart was already with Javier in Spain and her marriage to Terry was over, for all intents and purposes.

    If Louisa felt abandoned earlier than age 11, would that change anything?

  7. Oliver

    I’m not sure that Louisa is not the perfect mother. While I know she loves her son and would never abandon him – or anything like that – she really wasn’t well prepared for motherhood.

    I see Louisa as a woman who might be trying to juggle too much, and may be overwhelmed by it all. Add to that an unresponsive husband who is having a emotional crisis and it all became too much for her to handle. She was spread too thin. In series 5 she seemed unprepared for both motherhood and her career as head teacher. Remember her first days of school? Pretty disastrous.

    Maybe the abandonment of her mother has made Louisa turn into a bit of an overachiever. However, I’m not sure she has the right skill set to be a successful overachiever.

    I don’t have enough time right now to be completely clear about my thoughts on this. But I wanted to go ahead and add to the discussion.

  8. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Hi Oliver. I hope you don’t think that I was saying Louisa is the perfect mother. I am only noting that among the women in Portwenn with children, Louisa has mothering instincts that are not much in evidence with the other mothers. I think she is presented as someone who cares about children and relates to them well. She wants to take care of her son as well as possible within the constraints of her daily life.

    I would disagree that Louisa is spread too thin though. I think she is representative of working women with babies/young children who are torn between staying home with their offspring and returning to a job they love. In S5 she says she does not want to be a “kept” woman when Martin suggests that she should stop working when they move to London, and even suggests that he could take a break from work instead of her. They are not married at this point and she is adamant about remaining self-sufficient. I would say this is all part of her need to protect herself from any possibility of being abandoned again. Of course, they never move to London so she keeps her job in Portwenn.

    At any rate, IMHO Louisa is quite good at handling the job of headmistress while also being available to her baby and husband. Martin’s deterioration in S6 would be hard for any woman to manage and Louisa certainly shows signs of frustration and vexation. She hangs in there until the Sports Day fiasco and then things fall apart. I wouldn’t begin to blame Louisa for being unable to handle her struggling husband, being hit by a car, having a horrid mother-in-law in the house, and then finding out she has a brain AVM that needs emergency surgery. If that didn’t make the strongest woman flounder, I don’t know what would.

    I look forward to reading more of your thoughts once you get a chance to write more. Anyone can jump in here too!!

  9. Abby

    Karen, the timing of the abandonment would only be important in the level of damage done to Louisa. Younger children have less cognitive capacity to process such an event. By 11, she might have had the beginnings of abstract reasoning, which would give her a greater ability to see shades of gray and to entertain the idea that Eleanor’s leaving was not her fault. It would still have been very painful, but if the abandonment had happened earlier, Louisa would have been more vulnerable.

  10. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thanks for the explanation, Abby. So what you are speculating is that Louisa probably felt abandoned before she was 11 yo and, therefore, would have been more likely to think she was at fault. Or at least the abandonment issue is of greater magnitude due to her recollection that she felt her mother was a stranger before Eleanor finally departed for Spain. A young girl who feels estranged from her mother while living with her would be more likely to think she is the cause of some of that detachment. That would coincide with how little we know about her home life but must assume was already pretty strained.

  11. Abby

    That’s right, except I’m not saying I know what happened. I’m just speculating that, if Eleanor left before Louisa was 11, the damage would have been worse. Her relationship with her mother on the show is sort of push-pull. She is very angry, but yet wants to feel that she is important to Eleanor. Nothing in that would give us any particular information about the time of Eleanor’s departure. The scene that I sited in my initial reply is the only information we have but was ambiguous. But it doesn’t make sense to me that Louisa would have used the words “You were practically a stranger by then” if Eleanor was simply emotionally unavailable during the last few years before she left.

  12. My Name Is....

    I was trying to think of my impression of Eleanor…sociopath and psychopath seemed too strong. I don’t see her as ‘fun-loving’ and ‘free-spirited’, I see her as a self-involved, self-gratifying, manipulate narcissist. I really don’t care if she and Terry were having marital problems. She’s a liar and a schemer (don’t remember the guys name) who led, at least, Louisa to believe that she was romantically interested in the man she actually was doing business dealings with. She’s irresponsible and untrustworthy in her casual handing off of her grandson to a delinquent. Her behavior in babysitting borders child abuse. Not for one second did I buy the excuse that she didn’t know the tincture had alcohol.

    Getting back to Martin’s mother, who IS a sociopath, it’s a wonder that Martin and Louisa are as normal as they are.

  13. Oliver

    There are many events in series 6 that make Louisa’s job as a mother and wife impossibly difficult.

    My thoughts have to do with her mothering style absent all the distractions. At its core, I don’t think her skill set is all that well developed. I’m not saying that she isn’t a perfectly good mother, but I don’t look at Louisa as a model mother. She wants to go back to work, but doesn’t plan for child care. She has a bad instinct for babysitters – she trusts her mother and Mel but is suspicious of Mike.

    I’m not making judgements about her fitness as a parent. She is perfectly capable, and I’m sure her son will turn out just fine, but I don’t put her up as a model mother within the spectrum of television parents and/or mothers.

  14. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thanks for the comment. We certainly see Eleanor differently, although I would agree that she is self-centered and irresponsible. I also agree that she failed as a reliable child minder, which is why I was surprised when Louisa kept giving her another chance to help with JH. It is precisely because Eleanor is so negligent that I find it particularly remarkable that Louisa worries about her mother and turns to her mother when she’s in distress. I have to think the show is depicting the incredible need that children have for their mother’s love and approval even after they are adults. It also shows Louisa’s kind and forgiving disposition.

    There’s really no doubt about Martin’s mother being extremely damaging to Martin. He isn’t quite “normal,” but he could be a lot worse! Louisa is much closer to being a woman who behaves as expected, but we assume she had a loving early childhood while Martin did not.

    I always want to keep in mind that the show exaggerates some things as a way of bringing in humor. We wouldn’t approve of a delinquent taking care of a baby, but when we find out she’s wearing an ankle monitor that is chafing her leg, it is funny in a droll sort of way.

  15. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I guess she might not be an ideal mother, but she’s a loving one. She’s stuck trying to find someone to look after the baby partly because Martin scares people off. I think part of the reason she doesn’t like Mike is because he’s so good with JH and that makes her jealous. Also, his tidiness irritates her because it makes her look sloppy in comparison. She can’t help but know that Martin is fastidious. She wants to appear competent and capable to her new husband and Mike shows her up. Her response is to disparage him and question some of the things he does. The work/home dynamic is such a difficult one for many new mothers.

  16. Amy Cohen

    A few thoughts on how the parenting M & L received affected them as parents.

    The writers quite obviously do not think that Eleanor was nearly the evil mother that Margaret was. On the other hand, they certainly want us to know that her abandonment of Louisa had its consequences, though not as severe as the consequences Martin suffered from the abuse/abandonment his mother dished out.

    I know the post is about mothers, but the same could be said for the fathers. Terry may have been a crook, but he must have been loving to Louisa and there for her after Eleanor left. She refused to believe he was a thief; she loved him. Martin’s father, on the other hand, was cold as ice and pushed his son away when he came to show him the butterfly. He never told him he loved him.

    Is it any surprise that Louisa functions better in the world than Martin? The biggest surprise is that Martin can actually be a loving father despite what he endured. Although we never see him smile at or kiss JH, we see how caring he is and how much he loves him. The only glimpses we see of how Martin might not be a model father is his by the book approach to “crying it out” when JH is just a newborn. But Louisa ignores him and goes to the baby. Over time Martin seemed to recognize that her more loving approach was better. But aside from his experiences with Joan, he had no role models for parenting whereas Louisa had flawed but nevertheless caring parents (to a degree).

  17. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    What you say about the differences between the neglect/abandonment both Martin and Louisa suffered is important. Louisa’s parents at least never treated her as if they wished she hadn’t been born. There is one occasion when Louisa mentions her father used to take her for ice cream, and that’s a fond memory. As you note, she wanted to believe her father was innocent of stealing the lifeboat money and she wanted to believe he wouldn’t lie to her. Furthermore, they depict him as caring towards her. He is happy to see her, he apologizes to her, and he turns around to help rescue her when he learns she’s being held captive.

    She probably felt more hurt by her mother considering she left and, when she returns, she has ulterior motives apart from just seeing her new grandchild. On the other hand, she does try to be helpful despite being rather unreliable. I found the scene when Louisa goes to tell her mother that she wants her to leave but then sits down to talk and has a sip of wine quite a good representation of the mixed feelings that a daughter would have towards her mother. And Eleanor gets tearful and pleads for forgiveness. Much different from Margaret.

    I do have a post on Fathers and Sons. I imagine we are supposed to look at Martin as trying to emulate his father and grandfather by going into medicine, especially surgery. There’s clearly a lot of baggage that goes along with that. They have done much more to burden Martin with childhood traumas. I have argued that his summers with Aunt Joan must be supposed to have had a comforting effect on him and perhaps provide an example of compassion and tenderness that he didn’t get around his parents. Maybe that was just enough to make it possible for him to know how to express affection for his own child. He certainly appears to be very pleased to have a child and to want to contribute to his care.

    It’s a distinction between them that matters because even though Louisa has relationship issues that can be traced to her childhood, her upbringing included much more love and parents who showed her she was wanted than Martin’s. As a result, we would expect her to have the ability to identify how it feels to be accepted and deserving of someone else’s love. She believes she deserves to have a loving husband in her life, while Martin is supposed to feel undeserving of that sort of commitment from a wife. Thanks for the comments!

  18. Amy Cohen

    I think I did see your Fathers and Sons post a while back. Thanks for your response. I’ve been thinking more about this—how their parents affected them, their needs, and their parenting skills. It occurred to me that both of them saw in each other someone who could fill the gap left by their inadequate parents. Martin sees in Louisa a warm and emotional and caring persono—someone who knows how to love children, as shown by her chosen profession. That one seems obvious.

    But what drew Louisa to Martin? That has puzzled me for a while, and today I thought of this: she also needed a parent figure. Martin isn’t an obvious choice, but looking back, Louisa often felt the greatest love and connection to Martin after witnessing his caring for a patient in dire need—Peter Cronk, Holly, the old man who didn’t have cancer (I am not as good as others with all the names), the girl who was choking at the radio station, etc. She saw in Martin a person who took care of others and who had integrity (unlike her father Terry) and was consistent and persistent (unlike her mother). So in some ways, despite his shortcomings, Martin appealed to Louisa as someone to fill the gaps left by her parents.

    Not sure why this came to me today (during a long car ride), but I know your post prompted it.

  19. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    We can speculate that someone may have had a notion that Louisa would be attracted to Martin due to needing a man who fills voids left by her parents. I tend to look at the moments when Martin saves someone’s life and Louisa reacts by softening towards him as another recurring device they use for this relationship. Typically Martin and Louisa fail to communicate for many reasons, most often because they are interrupted; they respond differently to altercations – he looks clueless and doesn’t understand how he made things worse while she gets exasperated and stalks off; and Martin’s heroics with patients always makes Louisa proud of him and more open to seeing him in a positive light. To me it was no surprise that Martin and Louisa’s reunification at the end of S7 occurred following another case where Martin performed emergency surgery and saved the patient. Once again Louisa is there to witness his efforts to salvage the medical condition of a failing patient, and once again she tells him he saved a patient’s life and acts lovingly towards him. It’s become a regular event.

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