Secrets and Lies

Believe it or not, I am ready to start writing some new posts. I have several in mind, and I had said in response to a comment by Dale that one would be a return to the subject of happiness, and I will take up that subject, but first I want to write about what I see as an overarching theme so far in S8: the consistent evidence that everyone regularly keeps information from each other. So far every episode has contained examples of characters evading the revelation of important matters from family members and other significant people in their lives. Interestingly during E1 Ruth tells Bert that she considers the twin principles of trust and honesty to be essential to any relationship. Surely keeping secrets and/or lying undercuts those key principles.

E1 centers around Joe Penhale marrying Janice. Within that simple circumstance, which most of us would consider utterly misguided, Janice has been harboring doubts about marrying for a third time and Joe has been struggling with kidney stones that he attempts to keep hidden from Janice. They apparently have never discussed how they see their future together and disagree on most of the basics, including having children. In connection with their marriage, we have the new Curate who shades the truth about having ever officiated at a wedding and even for why she has come to Portwenn. Later, during the ceremony, the Curate is seen surreptitiously taking anti-anxiety meds while Joe tries to pass a kidney stone without being noticed. Naturally all of this cannot be kept secret, and we may even be expected to find it all funny, despite seeing Janice finally tell Joe that she has changed her mind about taking marriage vows and ostensibly breaking his heart. In addition, we are thrown back into the middle of the business troubles of Al’s B and B as well as Bert’s whiskey distilling. Al conceals his lack of guests while Bert, ever the loser in the business of earning a living, is back to covering up for his inability to attract buyers. If we are really frank, Bert should be called a scam artist and conniver. (Throughout the 7+ series the humor behind Bert’s character is how he spends his life drifting from one scheme to another, never managing to sustain any vocation for very long. Thus, Bert is identified by his shaping of the truth, and yet there have been times when he stands out as the one person who articulates the essence of a particular situation, e.g. keeping the new GP in town; knowing how to tell Al he’s always been his father; finding a way to romance Jennifer from leaving; and being philosophical about his own life and seeing the bright side even when things are going wrong.)

Then there is the continuing marital tension between Martin and Louisa Ellingham. Whereas we thought the final scene of S7 had settled the matter of her being obsessed with everyone, especially Martin, being normal and now she accepts that he (and she) is “unusual,” we begin this series, only at most a couple of months later, with these two still appearing stiff and strained around each other. We wouldn’t expect them to be all hearts and flowers, as they say, but Louisa appears especially on edge and her interactions with Martin include continuing to be preoccupied about James becoming like Martin. These concerns are mostly kept from Martin, however. Indeed, the notion that they may have different ideas of what normal is raises its head again.

E1 ends with many of those hidden sentiments being brought out into the open; however, E2 brings us back to the efforts of many of the characters to keep things secret and/or to cover up what is actually going on. If there is a unifying theme to E2, I haven’t found it. Even its title is misleading. Sons and Lovers could refer to the famous D. H. Lawrence novel of the same title, but this episode reflects very little of that storyline. The most important father-son relationship in this episode is of John Rahmanzai and his father. Although John and his father are depicted as having had a troubled past, it’s nothing close to Paul Morel in Lawrence’s book. And Al and Bert are still at each other, but that is such a commonplace now that we find it unremarkable.

Instead it is Ruth who is revealed to have been John’s father’s lover (for the lover side of the title), but her secret rings so hollow as to be truly hard to swallow! Here we have to believe that despite never having heard of a time when Ruth visited the farm during Martin’s childhood appearances there, he actually remembers seeing her with Izzy Rahmanzai several times. (We also have heard Ruth say Joan had always wanted to get her to move to the farm without any sign that she had some sort of deeper connection to the farm. Even more to the point, we have heard Ruth tell Louisa at Joan’s funeral service that she has had only quasi-sexual experiences and she can be prone to oversharing. Somehow she has overlooked the serious affair she had with Izzy while making that comment and her oversharing has never included any mention of that affair.) Moreover, this revelation puts Ruth in the same category as her siblings insofar as having extramarital affairs. I find that demeaning to Ruth’s character and damaging to a storyline that Ruth has kept the affair a secret; then decided to continue that deception; and ultimately been discovered through Martin’s inability to recognize nonverbal cues. Everything is resolved by Ruth admitting the affair to John and then lying again to him that his father had been the one to end their liaison. Oh Ruth, we thought we knew you well!

The other major action in E2 has to do with Astrid and Louisa. Apparently after Astrid has been diagnosed with strep and given medication for it, she has secretly spat it out only to have a rare side-effect of strep strike her. Although the most likely rare outcome from a strep infection is tics or OCD, in Astrid we see increased anxiety about going to school and interacting with others. And somehow Louisa’s concern and gentle nudging are enough to quickly bring Astrid out of her troubling mindset. Additionally, Louisa’s success with Astrid starts her thinking about changing professions.

Once again we have the usual circumstance of Bert lying to Al, this time about his whiskey sales, and Bert has neglected to tell Al about a guest booking.

Another mystery in this episode is the appearance of Ken, the owner of the Crab and Lobster who is new to us as of S8 E2, although they act as though he’s been around for ages. Being totally honest is the obverse of lying and on two occasions honesty comes up while Martin is talking to Ken. Then there is Clive whose excessive honesty about Al’s B and B makes Al squirm.

When we get to E3, the theme of keeping secrets or lying really becomes prominent. We learn that Bert has been staying at the B and B without Ruth knowing about it and that he has an overdraft that he neglected to tell Ruth about also. Then Bert decides to quit the whiskey business and doesn’t tell Ruth. Furthermore, when discovered, Bert is always ready with a quick excuse that evades the truth. Amy is hiding her bald spots and then uses hair regrowth treatments without telling the doc. Louisa hides her fear of sailing from Amy and the class, pretending that she knows how to handle a boat. She also has not told Martin that she has applied for a series of lessons in child therapy. For his part, Martin doesn’t mention being late for James nor having arranged to pay Mel extra for bringing him home at the end of the day. To top it all off, and put some emphasis on it, Sally hides her grief about Clive’s sudden death and Ruth becomes alarmed that she might have another mental breakdown.

We also have another reminder about honesty when Al tells Ruth it’s important to be honest with her.

I wish I could say that I have a theory about why they have decided to highlight how much secrecy and lying go on in this town. We could say that most people shade the truth from time to time, and often the reason is perfectly harmless or even to protect the person from whom they are keeping the truth. It remains to be seen whether this theme turns out to be something of significance for this series.

28 thoughts on “Secrets and Lies

  1. Cindy

    Karen
    Well, darn – here in PA we don’t have access on our local PBS to Season 8 yet. Is it airing in NC, or are you watching through Acorn TV?

  2. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Yes, I am watching through Acorn. I am sorry you haven’t had a chance to see the first 3 episodes yet. In my reply to Dale a few days ago I noted that I would be writing about the episodes since they are available on Acorn already. I think two years ago I waited until Acorn made the new episodes of S7 available, so I’m sticking to how I did things then.

    I hope you can see them via Acorn or possibly on YouTube or some other service. If you don’t have access, I hope you will check back after you’ve been able to see the new series. Thanks for reading the blog Cindy!!

  3. Amy

    As always, interesting observations, Karen. But is this really a new theme? Martin’s patients have always hidden things from him. Bert has always lied. Penhale hid his emotional issues when he got to Portwenn and lied to his ex-wife when she had amnesia. Mrs. Tishell hid her use of prescription drugs as did Clive. And Martin and Louisa have never been able to be honest with each other about their feelings except when under duress and in crisis. In fact, Martin’s honesty often gets him in trouble with everyone—from his patients to Louisa.

    And then there are the lying parents—Eleanor hides her reasons for coming to Portwenn, Martin’s mother lies about when and how his father died and hides her reasons for coming back to Portwenn, Christopher lies about why he is interested in Joan’s farm, and Terry is a thief plain and simple.

    The idea that we lie and hide the truth seems to be an overriding concern throughout the entire show, not just this season.

    As for Ruth, I am not sure she ever said she only had quasi-sexual relationships—I think she said she had a number in her youth as a way of perhaps demonstrating her not-so-normal youth. It did seem like a slight break in continuity to have this story about Ruth having a past in Portwenn, but I don’t think they’d ever said she’d not visited Joan there. And maybe she only came the few times with her lover. I guess I wasn’t disturbed and didn’t see this as a change in her character but more an insight into her past.

    Also, I didn’t have as negative a reaction to Louisa in these first episodes. I think she was stressed about her job and missing James Henry. And I thought she was softer with Martin than in S7. She is accepting of his scolding of the bridesmaids, she bites her tongue when he says certain things where she might have scolded him in past series, and she is affectionate when he makes dinner plans and supports her desire to go back to school. And he also is clearly trying harder to be supportive and communicative (although still putting his foot in his mouth on the issue of whether L can handle going back to school).

    On an unrelated note—have you noticed how different the color scheme is in this series—brighter colors and more light, almost glaring at times? Is that a hidden message about the stories being lighter?

    I have other questions and thoughts, but will wait for your posts.

    It’s great to have a new post and new episodes to discuss.

  4. Laura H

    Karen,
    Great job of outlining the deceptions characteristic of this new series! Please add to your list the hilarious back and forth
    exchanges between Louisa and Martin concerning James Henry’s first word, which we hear as “dog” but Martin leans toward “duck.” Maybe another deception? Wishful thinking? Of course, every Mother wants her child’s first word to be Mama. Back in the day, I remember reading a child’s first word is often “dada” because it is easier to say than mama. But this child is saying dog. Likely because he hears Martin berating Buddy? However and whatever, this tickled my funny bone to no end. Something tells me this will get more play as we go along. What about you?

  5. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    For me the first two episodes were quite disjointed and not nearly as well constructed as many in the past. The third one was better and had a subplot that supported the main plot. We’ll see how the rest go.

  6. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    You are right about so many other occasions when people have been secretive or mendacious. I am just noticing that the amount of examples seems to be much larger this time around. It may be nothing significant.

    I don’t think Louisa is acting harshly; I do think we are still seeing a very restrained couple. I plan to write more about some of this, so we’ll see what you think when I do. It is nice to see her being more affectionate, although in comparison to S5 they could be a lot more in tune with each other.

    I do find the cinematography more vivid. Whether that means the story is lighter is hard to say. I guess we’ll see, right?

  7. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I don’t know…the likelihood that JH would say dog as his first word seems a stretch. How often has he heard anyone say that word? Also, it’s a little late for him to be saying his first word. Of course all mothers want to hear their child’s first word or see their first steps, which, BTW, we have yet to see in James. Louisa tries to get him to say Mummy. I could see him saying doc as his first word, which some others have suggested might actually be what he’s saying. That makes more sense to me because so many people around him call his father doc. To me they were looking for a way to bring in the dog and they came up with this.

    They are making the most of Martin’s trepidation about germs and dogs. In regard to JH, they are underlining his tendency to hyper focus on objects. That may become an issue, or maybe it’s just meant to be amusing.

    My sense of humor may have changed, but I haven’t found much to laugh about yet, although the young boy and Martin vomiting at the same time with Louisa grimacing was funny to me!

  8. Amy

    As you know, I haven’t found much hilarity in the show in a while—not since the early seasons when DM’s behavior was still shocking. Now hearing him call people idiots is just expected so it is not funny. The blood reactions are no longer funny to me since I know how much pain they cause Martin. I’ve never found the slapstick funny—the walking into doors or the falling down stairs. And I’ve never found Penhale or Mrs Tishell funny. I find the show amusing at times and sometimes still chuckle (like at the vomiting scene) , but to me the love story has always been what’s kept me watching, not the humor.

    I think JH was saying Doc and who knows? Maybe that’s what he will call him if they ever have him talk for real. It is sort of hard to imagine Martin wanted to be called Daddy—he can’t even stand being called Doc and would prefer that everyone call him Dr Ellingham except for Louisa and Ruth. It would be funny to have his son call him Doc, knowing how much he dislikes it when the villagers call him that.

    It would be nice to see M & L being a warm and loving couple—a hug now and then, an endearment, some indication that they are not just living as platonic roommates sharing a son. But I doubt we will. The most we seem to get is Louisa giving him a peck on the cheek and a Mona Lisa smile from Martin in response.

    Who knows? Maybe tonight’s episode will surprise me.

  9. Amy

    PS I laughed many times during tonight’s episode! And I thought it was the best one so far this season. I do believe we are seeing a real evolution in Martin.

  10. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Amy, I mostly agree with your view of the humor: it’s either become stale or just isn’t funny. For me it’s not so much that I find the reaction to blood disturbing as much as it has been used so many ways that I no longer am sure what to think. The other stuff like Penhale being an incompetent policeman and Mrs. T being wacky are now ho-hum. The dog stuff has lost its humor for me too.

    I did find E4 better, but like you I am frustrated by the relationship between M and L. There’s no question in my mind that they know that people want to see more affection between these two and yet they stick to pecks on the cheek by Louisa. In E4 Morwenna’s mother’s kiss is about the same as Louisa’s have been. Then, towards the end of the episode, Louisa closes the door to the bedroom against the eye of the camera and the audience. I take that to mean we should not expect to see a bedroom scene, but it may imply they will have some action going on in there. Basically I think they are cutting off any notion that a love scene is going to be a part of the show. I am not surprised by that, but some viewers will be. On the other hand, to keep viewers watching there needs to be some romance involved.

  11. Amy

    Like I said, I never found Mrs T or Penhale funny—just not my sense of humor nor is physical comedy (though I admit to a chuckle on a rare occasion if done very well). I did find Al in Morwenna’s robe funny and some of Ruth’s sarcasm with Martin made me smile. There were a few other times I laughed—perhaps at the dogs. What makes me laugh is almost always some verbal exchange between the characters.

    But I found the dramatic interactions more interesting—the story of Dan and his empathy for Martin when Martin started to faint, the story of Morwenna’s mother and her relationship to her parents and with Al, and even the lonely old woman patient. With all three patients, Martin showed a level of gentleness and empathy that we don’t usually see. I do think the writers are trying to show that he has changed even if only at a glacier’s pace. So that fits into our discussions of whether people can change.

    And although I think they are also showing that he has changed in his relationship with Louisa, it’s also at a glacier’s pace. He is more expressive and more supportive, but as always a bit tone deaf to what she really wants and needs from him. And she is stifling some of her critical reactions, but we still feel some impatience if not hostility coming from her.

    If the writers were trying to hint by the door closing that we were supposed to assume Martin and Louisa were about to have sex, they sure dressed them both in unattractive bedclothes—though perhaps realistic for most married couples! Damn, I’d even be happy with a hug in the kitchen instead of a scene where Louisa for some stupid reason decides to have a Skype session with her teacher while Martin is cooking. I mean it is a small house, but there is the living room, the waiting room, and their bedroom.

    But overall I really liked this episode.

  12. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I would say that they had Louisa use her computer in the kitchen for two reasons: because she gets the best reception in there (Portwenn, like Port Isaac, probably has terrible reception), and this is a TV show where they needed her to be annoyed by Martin and his noise. I would highly recommend the show Catastrophe with Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney who also write the show. In many interviews they have been asked about scenes and their answer is always, “this is a TV show.” I think that is the plain and simple answer to many of our questions.

  13. Amy

    Of course, it was done for the humor/tension. My point is that it was such a deliberate set up that it did not seem believable. The writers needed to do a better job so that our reaction wasn’t, “Well, it’s a TV show.” When the seams start showing that way, it’s hard to suspend disbelief.

  14. Amy

    PS We have watched Catastrophe. We enjoyed it, though not nearly as much as DM. But it’s a good example of how a couple can stay together despite their differences and yet generate both humor and sexual tension.

  15. Amy

    ARggh, another one didn’t make it through. It seems it works for me about 50% of the time. Let’s see if this one goes through. The one that didn’t is about Catastrophe.

  16. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Exactly. It also has two very small children that they’ve managed to include without too much trouble. (Oddly, the word is that JH will be accused of biting another child at some point and Frank in Catastrophe is also accused of biting, and they handle it with a lot of humor.)

    I totally agree that putting Louisa in the kitchen to talk to her instructor while Martin is doing things in there was very transparently for the purposes of the conflict and is disappointing for that reason. It is amusing that they bring up Piaget because we have mentioned his theories here too.

  17. Amy

    And attachment theory keeps getting mentioned. As I recall, we talked a bit about that when Martin self-diagnosed with Dr Timoney, but I hope perhaps we can return to that and get Santa to educate us a bit more about both Piaget and attachment theory. 🙂

    (Betting this one won’t go through since the last one did. I think your blog puts a quota on my comments….)

  18. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Fooled ya! I don’t think we can figure out the method to this madness!

  19. Dale Marie

    I have been a little unsettled in my reactions and feelings about this series so far. I can’t quite put my hand on why except maybe my disappointment that the writers have not injected a little more affection between Martin and Louisa. They have decided to make a go of the marriage after all but the dynamics between them seems little changed. Louisa does holds her tongue a bit more and they are seen doing things together like going out to dinner and to the pre-wedding party and the wedding and touring the nursery school. I do like the dynamics between them in those scenes as the snips of conversatiioin between them make them seem more like a normal couple. I also like the scenes of them preparing for and eating dinner: Martin cooking and both of them setting the table and sharing the food and talking. This seems to be as much closemess as we are going to get from the writers.

    I think Martrin is a little threatened by Louisa wanting to study counseling. This starts near the end of episode 2 in the final scene with Astrid in Martin’s office. He is not happy that Louisa is asked to stay by Samantha because Astrid feels more comfortable with her. Louisa takes an active part in the consultation by talking to Astrid, about taking her medicine, from behind Martin’s desk and practically in his chair. He is surprised to see Louisa behind his desk and says “excuse me” as he has to reach across her for his prescription pad. He physically moves her out of his way with his shoulder as he sits down. He is is accustomed to being the authority figure in that room and she is usurping some of that authority.

    In the scene, the directors have put Louia and Martin side by side and practically at the same height and I wondered if this was a signal that there would be some “ medical rivalry” between Martin and Louisa in future episodes.

    I found the final scene very amusing. Martin tells Louisa that she might not pass her counseling course. “Martin, your food is getting cold”. If looks could kill. I laugh out loud every time I see Louisa’s face in that scene.

    I think I may be correct about the “rivalry” which I think is partly about Martin wanting to remind us all that he is the smartest person in the room (smarter than Louisa) and that he does not think much of counseling and psychology. He noisily prepares his coffee while Louisa is Skyping with her professor and inserts himself into the session with the professor by expressing his unwanted opinion about the book being discussed, When Sam asks if that is Mr. Ellingham in the background he points out that he is. Dr. E. In the final scene he suggests, snidely, that Louisa may want to discuss her ideas about Dan’s behavior and its relationship to his upbringing with Sam the next time they had their “video chat”. He also sounded jealous.

    Thoughout the past 7 series Martin has put down Louisa’s work and the school and the intelligence of the pupils and, by extension, her intelligence. With Louisa studying, he has to contend with the fact that she has intellectual thoughts, that she has read a lot and knows things that he know. I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

    One final thought. In that sene in E4 with Dan and Martin on the harbor wall are we getting an indication that the writers might Be touching on the root of Martin’s homophobia? Ruth has talked to Martin about the fact that this condiction has it’s roots in childhood trauma. Martin throws up at the sight oif blood and we have seen this many times. That has always been his reaction. We have seen him dealt with injuries where there has been a lot of blood and he wanted to vomit but kept it together. Actually when he is dealing with severe injuries with lots of blood he usually doesn’t throw up. This happens with smaller amounts of blood. His response to Dan’s injured wrist is new. Martin looks at that injured wrist, with that slash and he starts to faint. Dan saves him from falling off the wall. Why does he have such an intense reaction to an injury which is less severe and has less blood than many that he has dealt with in the past?

    I may be overthinking this.

  20. Amy

    Dale, your comments about the power struggle between Martin and Louisa are really insightful. He has always put down her chosen profession as a teacher, he did not want her to be headmaster, and now he seems threatened by her choice of a new and perhaps more well-regarded career as a therapist. It seems like a struggle that many couples have when a man has married an intelligent, ambitious woman who may in fact be smarter than her partner. I will say from the get-go that that has never been a problem in my marriage, but it certainly was a problem when I was younger; many boys were turned off by the smart girls in school. And I have certainly seen many relationships where the man needs to be the top dog.

    But it’s odd that Martin would feel threatened. After all, he’s a doctor—a surgeon, no less—and definitely still more knowledgeable than Louisa. They make that point even with sailing—that he knew what the “sheet” was but she did not.

    I think this is a theme that has always been there in the show—there have been many professional women (Louisa, Ruth, Mrs T, the crazy vet, Dr T, all the teachers at the school). All but Louisa and some of the teachers are childless. What are the producers and writers telling us about the problems women have balancing motherhood and work? And what are they saying about the way that men are threatened by and undermine their partners’ intelligence and ambitions?

  21. Santa Traugott

    (late to the party here because I’ve been away and for some reason, my iPad will not let me read replies, or respond to a post)

    I suppose most plots depend on a certain lack of transparency. But here, it does seem to be an almost constant feature of interactions in Portwenn.

    I would hate to believe that the way Martin and Louisa are learning to get along is to be evasive about uncomfortable questions, as in Louisa not telling Martin about her application, and Martin concealing from her that he is paying Mel to bring James Henry home. Also, to me it’s huge that Louisa has now switched from trying to change Martin, to working on their son, to make sure HE doesn’t become like Martin. No wonder she’s concealed that motivation.

    And Martin is once again concealing the severity of his hemaphobia. Louisa asked him about “the commotion on the pier” and he did not take that opportunity to tell her that he almost fainted.

    So, it’s not clear to me that they’ve made a whole lot of progress in their relationship. And that’s beside the fact that the production team have apparently made a conscious decision to show us very few instances of affection and easy intimacy. Martin is still a pain in many, if not most ways, and Louisa appears to be stifling her impatience and annoyance rather than being forthcoming — itself, a kind of deceit and a very harmful one.

    Since this IS a TV show, I have to think that there is a purpose in frustrating viewers in this way, other than just because they can. But at this point, I don’t quite see it, unless we’re heading for another unpleasant denouement, which I can hardly believe.

    The scene with Louisa and Martin jostling at his desk was a bit jarring. I think it’s too early yet to know what it portends. Martin has been dismissive of her career as a teacher, though not so much as head teacher. But I think he has always been very helpful in childcare, something absolutely necessary where both parents work. I think he has stepped up to the plate in that respect.

    But as for what the show is trying to tell us about working mothers — I remember a comment of Martin when Louisa (in S4) was applying for a headmistress job. He said, very few women are able to combine a career and motherhood, and Miss Glasson is not one of them. (or words to that effect). I think he was somewhat right — she could not have done it without a lot of help from him.

  22. Amy

    Hi Santa! I was hoping you’d chime in.

    I see a few things differently from you and also many things similarly. I did think it odd that Louisa did not tell Martin she’d decided to apply for the counseling course (I am not sure—is she applying for a full psych degree or some kind of counseling certificate? If a full degree, she’ll be in school a LONG time.) That did seem deceptive or at best engaging in avoidance.

    But I didn’t see Martin’s behavior as deceptive. Having Mel bring JH home is no big deal—and M and L are both so busy that this detail might have just slipped through the cracks. I often forget to tell my husband the minor decisions I’ve made until somehow I remember to tell him. And Louisa’s reaction is, “Good work,” or something to that effect. She is pleased he’s solved the problem.

    As for the hemophobia, has it gotten worse? It always seem to ebb and flow, and nearly fainting while standing on a ledge overlooking the sea might not be a sign of it intensifying—just a more dramatic reaction. I guess we will see where the writers take that. But I didn’t think Martin was concealing anything. To him, it might have just been same old same old.

    In fact, I think Martin has been (for Martin) relatively open and forthcoming. He tells her how he feels about her return to school (granted, in a not very supportive way), but also recognizes his need to give her this opportunity. He talks about them both being abandoned as children, he’s sympathetic to her sailing fears, and he seems to be much more willing to listen—whether it’s about the dog, the childcare, her frustration with work, and so on. I think Martin has moved forward to a degree that is believable. (BTW, I disagree that he was not dismissive when she was head teacher; he made all those snide remarks about how undisciplined the children were and how ignorant they were and how it wasn’t good enough for JH.)

    Louisa, however, has not really grown much except, as you noted, by stifling her feelings when he says or does something rude or insensitive to her or someone else. As in S7, Louisa seems frustrated and impatient at times, but keeps it more to herself. I don’t know where they are going with this, but my hope is that she will, perhaps as a result of her own learning, realize the need to tell him how she is really feeling. Maybe there will not be a fight, but a true communication of how hurt she is when he says stupid things and of her need for him to say more “nice things.”

    As for the working mother issue, I guess there are two issues—can a single mother or a mother without a supportive partner balance a career and raising children? That is certainly a tough challenge. But that’s not what I was referring to in my earlier comment. I think that the writers are skirting around a much broader issue—can any woman have a career and children whether with a helpful partner or not? Martin is being helpful, as you noted. He really is a full partner in the childrearing. Yet he is still threatened by the idea of Louisa pursuing a career. I don’t think the writers are saying that that is appropriate—quite the opposite. But I do think they are addressing how hard men can make it for a woman to pursue her dreams and reach her full potential.

  23. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I only want to add here that although I don’t think they will be headed for another separation of this couple, I would not be surprised at all if something fairly cataclysmic doesn’t happen be the end of this series. They have to have a way to shake things up and bring viewers back in another two years.

  24. Elle

    I lost my post. I’ll make it brief. Louisa told him at the end of 3 that she was going to the interview? Did I miss something? Where is the deception.
    Louisa, as a single gal working as HM, would have hired help, she would found a rhythm and made it work. I have been in homes with only one parent working, and chaos ensues regardless. Time management is something families struggle with daily. The couple’s communication issues have improved and the house runs more orderly. As far as a shake-up at end of S8, if any have followed spoilers on FB, there is a twist but I don’t know that it puts the marriage at risk.
    What I find myself focusing on is how difficult it would be to live in an environment where there is persistent judgment, criticisms and complaining from my spouse. (you can’t wait 20 minutes). The pressure is palpable and he is seems to be grappling with all of it, but not very well at times, as we witness the hemophobia intensify. She, in this series, appears to be coping better.
    A remark by Louisa in the bedroom scene reveals a dynamic that persists, obviously. “I don’t want to argue…” or I’m too tired to argue. Yes, the mystery finally solved! Nothing much happens behind their closed doors other than more arguments.

  25. Elle

    Let me add, my original post did address your thoughtful discussion regarding secrets and lies. It was lost before mid-way. Another deception that is developing, as Dale points out, is Martin’s in regards to Louisa career change. I am interested as to how this develops, as well. Will he confess to her or continue with the masquerade.

  26. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I’m sorry you lost your post, but at least this time it doesn’t seem to be lost in the trash of my blog!!

    Your points are well taken, especially those about time management in households. Chaos reigns in homes due to many reasons and some days more than others.

    I have seen something mentioned on FB about a twist at the end of this series, and if it has to do with their marriage, I’ll be surprised because they have said many times at this point that the will they/won’t they tension is over. It’s now how will they.

    The haemophobia continues as usual, and waxes and wanes as usual. They aren’t going to fix that because it’s such an integral part of the show that is there for laughs as much as it lingers as an untreated psychological problem. I know Amy will say she doesn’t laugh at his nausea, but I’m pretty sure they originally thought it was something ironic that could happen to a vascular surgeon, and then it came in handy to make him a laughingstock in town, and finally it humiliates him on many occasions when he should be taken down a peg or two. In S6 they turned it into a handicap that appeared to affect him more than it had over the previous series, but now it’s back to being less of an emotional burden. He’s certainly not in a major depression anymore.

    As far as their sex life…I think they are going to leave that up to us to decide for ourselves. I would have a different interpretation than yours. Even so, I don’t see them as highly sexually charged individuals. The passion in their kisses has so far come from Louisa and I would have to guess that if there is anything going on in the bedroom, she would have to initiate it.

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