Continuity problems

I have no idea if others have written about the two major continuity issues that have bothered me in this show. The strange thing is that I still suspend my disbelief because the episodes have to do with the relationship between Martin and Louisa and I want to make an exception. I’m going to mention them despite my willingness to accept them.

The first one comes in series 3, episode 5 after Martin has saved Holly’s life with Louisa’s help and admiration. Holly’s accident in Louisa’s kitchen has led to a large puddle of blood on the floor and Martin and Louisa make a little effort to pick up some of the pieces of glass from the broken milk bottle. Louisa tells Martin she’ll clean up the rest and then emotionally tells him he’s an extraordinary man. Martin grabs his medical bag and defibrillator and turns to leave. Then he has second thoughts and asks Louisa to marry him. She can’t believe her ears and asks him to repeat what he just said. He puts his stuff down, comes back in the house and once again asks her to marry him, telling her he can’t bear to be without her. She accepts his proposal and runs into his arms and that’s the end of the episode. The next episode begins the following morning when Martin is getting dressed in the same clothes as the day before while sitting at the end of Louisa’s bed. So what happened to the blood on the floor, and what happened to the rest of the day? It’s hard to believe that the two of them went their separate ways after this passionate scene and Louisa cleaned up the floor while Martin went to work and then he returned to spend the night. I would expect them to head upstairs directly following their embrace, and maybe I’m getting too particular, but leaving the blood on the floor when Martin has such a problem with blood makes me wonder. And telling Pauline to cancel the rest of his day is out of character for Martin and would lead to lots of questions from Pauline. It’s great to see that they spent the night together and that Martin is so caring when he repeats his marriage proposal and says goodbye at the front door, and I want to be happy with that, but I have a little trouble with the sequence of the day.

The other one is more significant to me, although it doesn’t change the fact that the episode is very special. It is the last episode of season/series 4 when Martin has packed up to move to London. When the movers carry out his things, he takes the Buddha figurine from them and places it safely in the right rear seat of his car, even putting the seatbelt around it. On his way out Martin stops to help Tommy the taxi driver’s wife Tatia who has collapsed during a dance performance. He realizes she’s suffering from methanol poisoning, gives her alcohol as an antidote, and then worries that her husband is driving Louisa to her hospital appointment and probably has the same condition. He rushes to catch up to them and places a bottle of vodka on the seat next to the Buddha. I find it hard to believe that Martin would put the bottle there in the first place considering he says the Buddha is valuable and there’s no question that the bottle is not secure there. On his way out, Martin has to swerve to avoid hitting a tractor and the bottle of liquor breaks over the Buddha figure. (There may be some symbolic value in that, but I don’t know what it is. The only thing I can come up with is that Buddhists reject alcohol and either the vodka spilling on the Buddha is a sign that Martin’s sobriety is compromised by his concern for Louisa or the Buddha’s value is not as important anymore. The figure remains an object in Martin’s office, which gives it some continued import. I’m at a loss! Maybe it’s just thrown in to mess with us!) So now we have vodka and glass all over the right rear side of the back seat.

Soon Martin finds the taxi off the road and Louisa in good condition, drags Tommy unconscious to his car, and drives off to get to the nearest pub. When we see inside the car, however, Tommy is sitting in the same seat where the Buddha had been and where the vodka and glass landed. Not a likely scenario, although good for filming since Louisa and Martin are talking and both are in the front seat and we can see Tommy behind Martin. Also, the right side of the car is the closest access point both at the scene of the accident and once they arrive at the pub.

Series 5, episode 1 starts at the hospital where Martin and Louisa have gone to make sure the baby and Louisa are doing well. Everything seems fine and Martin offers to take Louisa home. They leave and get in the car, Louisa in the left rear seat next to the Buddha, which now seems to be placed on a garment bag. So we haven’t forgotten about the Buddha but somehow the car doesn’t smell of vodka and the glass is gone.

I may be getting a bit technical, but I found these examples a little irksome and thought I’d mention them.

Originally posted 2013-09-30 20:17:05.

24 thoughts on “Continuity problems

  1. DAnielle

    Re. Continuity problems, for the most part since we don’t see every second of every day, we can assume that things get cleaned-up or fixed off screen.

    One continuity problem that has bugged me is Martin saying he can’t dance in Season 1 when Louisa wants to give him a ticket to the dance, but at their wedding he tells her that he took lessons in school.

  2. Post author

    Good point!! I suppose we could think that he didn’t want to go to a dance out in public early on, but at his own wedding he was willing to get out there. Things do get cleaned up at some point, but by whom and when is the question?

  3. Linda

    The broken vodka bottle leaving shards of glass and vodka all over the buddha and backseat bothered us at the time. How was Tommy able to sit there? Even if Martin had put the buddha on the floor there would still have been a mess. Later, Louisa was able to sit in the back on the other side. The buddha was back on the driver’s side but without the base. I’ve been watching s5 and the buddha is behind Martin’s desk but the base is still missing. I guess some of this was a way of getting Louisa to a pub so she could give birth there.

  4. Linda

    As to the morning after, some one on DS has pointed out that he didn’t have his bag and defibrillator with him so he must have gone back to the office, finished up for the day and then gone back to Louisa’s for dinner. It would have been presumptuous on his part to bring a change of clothes or anything else except maybe a toothbrush. I don’t know why they don’t share all these details with us.

  5. Post author

    Now this sounds more like a good, practical explanation. If the vodka bottle hadn’t smashed over the Buddha, Martin could have delivered the baby himself, I suppose. Or they might have made it to the pub in time even if Martin had administered the vodka to Tommy already. But the pub scene is so good and I’m sure they wanted to end the episode and series with Martin expressing a change of heart and Louisa having the baby delivered by someone other than Martin. Sometimes writers have to adjust the events to suit the best overall outcome and I get that.

  6. Post author

    Wow! So you think that after the marriage proposal and acceptance and their emotional embrace Martin and Louisa just decided to return to their regular activities and meet again in the evening?! That would certainly demonstrate incredible control on both their parts. You’re right that he doesn’t have the bag and defibrillator the next morning, but that could also be an oversight. I don’t know, I am just not convinced that two emotional adults would have that degree of control that they could just say goodbye at that moment. I guess we’re really not supposed to figure all of this out.

  7. Linda

    Another thought I have had about this whole scenario is that we don’t know what time of the day it is. He had been there early in the morning to visit the patient and give her an injection. Perhaps she fell much later in the day near the end of office hours or even after the surgery was closed. He could have told Pauline to cancel the rest of his appointments as he rushed out to the emergency.

  8. Post author

    After some thought and looking at the scene again, I still think it’s supposed to be morning because Holly is getting herself some coffee when L returns from looking for something called sun dry. She says she couldn’t find it so she got fresh. I thought that might refer to some orange tasting breakfast drink but so far can’t find anything that fits that name. Holly has just gotten milk from the fridge for her coffee when she falls. Also, Holly wants to head out. We’re definitely getting too particular here and I’m ready to just leave it alone. It’s true that some of these details can bother me, but we shouldn’t get too hung up on them.

  9. JThompson

    I thought Louisa said sun dried and was referring to sun dried tomatoes. She couldn’t get any so she bought fresh tomatoes.

  10. Post author

    That was a thought I had too and sounds very logical but doesn’t really help with what time of day it is. So we’re still not sure about that, I suppose.

  11. Teresa

    I thought Luisa referred (the morning after) to his proposal (which came as such as shock) as being “last night” when she asked him to repeat the proposal. I was thinking that getting Holly to the ambulance and half-heartedly cleaning up the blood was near the end of the day, which makes sense of his spending the night (but not of the medical bag being left behind or the blood and glass on the floor).

  12. Post author

    She does say “last night” the next morning. So I guess you’re in the camp of M going back to work after their embrace, seeing patients, leaving his medical bag behind and returning to spend the night. Meanwhile Louisa would have had time to clean up the floor. I still have trouble believing that they would have had that spontaneous moment following his proposal and then parted for the rest of the day. No way to really know…

  13. Post author

    I think we agree then that there is a continuity problem after all.

  14. Linda

    I presume she cleaned up the bedroom and bath upstairs and then cleaned up the glass and blood. He must have had blood on him and she had some on her arm too so one would think he’d have gone home to shower and change. Maybe. It would have been interesting to know how the rest of the day went and what they talked about etc. but then, we’d have nothing to think about! I liked the way they handled them spending the night together and the next morning. Very classy. We don’t need to see them to know they were finally intimate and I think that this is a great hallmark of this show. It was clear that the nighthad gone well and both were happy.

  15. Santa Traugott

    Maybe there’s not really a continuity problem in the sense of something being overlooked. When he walks out of that house in the morning, he’s a man in love, not a doctor. I would bet a lot that they discussed what to do with those props and decided to leave them out, betting that 99.5% of their fans wouldn’t notice. Also, I agree with Karen — they didn’t go their separate ways and busy themselves with prosaic everyday activities. And if DM had gone home and come back, I think he would have walked out of his house with some kind of kit, for overnight, and we know he walked out of Louisa’s cottage in the morning empty handed and dressed in the same clothes as the night before. Also, sometimes, as in the case of the Buddha, I think they have to have a little dramatic license to do things that don’t stand up under close scrutiny, in the interests of moving the plot along.

  16. Amy

    Another post I’d not read earlier. šŸ™‚

    So what IS the point of the Buddha? Is Martin supposed to be a Buddhist in some way? He certainly is dismissive of the notion of the Judaic-Christian-Muslim omniscient, omnipotent God, but it’s also hard imagining him adopting Buddhist views. So why have the writers made that an icon in his office and in his life? These things have to be intentional.

    As for continuity problems, I never notice these things. I am probably the type of viewer that the writers and producers are counting on when they ignore things like broken glass and blood on the floor and broken glass and vodka in the car. I am too caught up in the drama to notice those details. I am not proud of it, but there it is.

  17. Post author

    Did you read my attempt at figuring out what the Buddhism references might mean? I believe it’s called “Buddhas, Buddhism, and Doc Martin.” I don’t actually know what the purpose is of including them, and it could be simply a diversion, but I decided to take a stab at it.

  18. Amy

    Nope, I will search for it.

    By the way, the links to the posts that appear in the notifications of new comments are still not working. I continue to get a “This is embarrassing response,” and then have to search for the post by its title to find it.

  19. Post author

    Grrrr!! Why is there always something annoying happening on the site and I have no way of knowing about it without you telling me!! I’ve tried accessing the site myself and don’t see that message. How am I supposed to deal with problems if I don’t see them!

    Thanks for telling me. I’ll do what I can to fix it.

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