(Series 15, ep.32) Oliver Valentine thinks the only people Jac Naylor can relate to are people who are anaesthetised and on her operating table. This is not actually true. The people Jac Naylor can relate to, or who can relate to her, are straightforward, honest people. People with, aptly enough, open hearts.
The living embodiment of this quality is Sacha Levy, which partly explains why scenes involving him and Jac are always so lovely. They’re also rare, because they don’t work on the same ward, so it was marvellous this week when an elderly patient (from a very sweet storyline) asked Sacha to be present in his wife’s operation, thus putting Sacha and Jac in the same operating theatre.
Sacha was worried about his daughter, whose leukaemia isn’t responding to treatment. Jac’s response to this news was some of her top-grade emotionally expressive eye work, given that she was wearing a surgical mask at the time. Later, Sacha asked Jac to shave his hair, so he could show a united front with Rachel who was worried about being “puffy and bald.” This was a completely perfect scene, as Sacha wasn’t the only one with child-based worries. Jac was wondering whether she had the qualities to ever be a mother. Sacha said of course she did, and the expression on Jac’s face was wonderful (like Guy Henry, Rosie Marcel’s acting is ninja level). “A tiny Naylor. There’s a thought,” said Sacha, sweetly. Continue reading
(Series 15, ep.28) Following last week’s harrowing events it was business as usual at Holby, once you stepped over the Tara Lo Makeshift Shrine on the front steps.
How was Young Dr Oliver Valentine coping with his grief? You’d have to say, not well at all. That’s what Jac said, anyhow. “How’s the patient?” Hanssen asked her (about a patient). “Stable,” she said. “Which is more than can be said for Valentine.” Well, indeed. He was insisting on working, which was handy because then he could act out his anguish on his patients – or, more particularly, their relatives. The issue was a young man who’d inherited a life-limiting condition from his mother, but the parents hadn’t told him about it because they didn’t want to ruin his life with worry. Unfortunately this chimed badly with Ollie, who charged around like a bull in a china shop making sure truths were told. This was because he blamed Elliot for not telling him about Tara’s condition sooner. He thought if he’d known about it, he could have persuaded her to have the surgery earlier and the outcome might have been less fatal. Continue reading
(Series 15, ep.25) This episode started at the end and then flash-backed (back-flashed?) six hours earlier in a style that used to feature quite regularly in Holby. It even ended with a musical montage as staff members reacted to an email from Tara Lo, telling them about her brain tumour. Hanssen’s reaction was to make sure the pencils on his desk were parallel, a brilliant little touch showing his need for order and control in times of stress.
The meat of the episode was about Tara facing the prospect of either death or surgery that may leave her drastically altered (or dead) – and either way the probable end to her career. It was intense and dramatic, with Tara demonstrating to the long-suffering Oli how bad she was feeling by smashing up the windows of her car. “This is what the end of my career looks like!” she yelled as she took a metal pole to her windscreen. I couldn’t help thinking that smashing up Serena’s car might have ended her career even quicker, but that’s me for you. While it’s easy to sympathise with Tara’s situation, she doesn’t make it easy to sympathise with her as a person. She’s so spiky, defensive and insular that it’s Oli I feel sorry for. “I’m concerned you’re in a kind of denial,” Tara’s neurologist said to her. Tara’s reply? “Well, I’m not!” Continue reading
(Series 15, ep.24) Even to the casual observer, something is very wrong with Dr Tara Lo. When faced with Oli in his PJ’s asking “Why you aren’t coming back to bed?” what right-minded person would opt to stay with the textbooks instead?
That aside, she’s been exhibiting a few more symptoms recently. Little lapses of concentration, gaps in her memory, falling-over and so on. Then there was a recent MRI scan that showed her tumour had grown. She’s on strict instructions to report that sort of thing immediately to Hanssen, but she’s stubborn, driven, in denial etc, so she’s been ignoring it, with almost fatal consequences for her patients as we saw last week.
Something had to give, and what gave was Tara’s knees as she went crashing to the floor in the prayer room. It wasn’t a bout of religious fervour, it was some kind of tumour-related seizure. Luckily she was with a rather calm trainee monk, who didn’t bother shouting “Can we have some help in here?” but sat with her till she came round. Unluckily, the monk was a friend of Tara’s patient, who was in line for the experimental Herzig 3 artificial heart, and the monk didn’t think his friend should risk having the procedure. Persuade him not to have it, the monk said, and I won’t tell anyone about your fits. You could tell from this that he wasn’t exactly gold-standard monk material. Continue reading
(Series 15, ep.22) The theme of parents and children ran through all three stories in last night’s Holby City, both for the patients and the staff.
In Darwin Jac found an ideal patient to practise her exciting Japanese surgery on. It quickly became obvious that the patient was less than ideal, as she had a phobia of hospitals after being in an accident in which her son died. Then it was discovered that she was pregnant, but it wasn’t until she was in theatre and the cry of “We’ve got a bleed!” went up, that Jac realised she’d taken some medication to make her miscarry, as she thought having a new baby was betraying her dead son.
All complex enough, but made even worse because Jac was suffering from severe pains herself and had to leave the operating theatre. She tried to pass it off as period pains, but Jonny Mac wasn’t buying that. “Come on,” he said, “You’re the woman that never blinks.” He’s actually wrong about that, as Jac has the most sarcastic blink I’ve ever seen. He was worried that the problem might be her remaining kidney, but Jac gave herself a quick ultrasound scan and ran the results (anonymously) past Serena, who said it was probably something gynaecological. Oh, typical. No sooner do we get Jac and Jonny happily back together – she even allowed him to be seen arriving at the hospital with her – and there’s a spanner in the works. Not literally, as that would have shown up on the ultrasound. Continue reading
(Series 15, ep.21) Oh, but this was a good one. Excellently written (by Nick Fisher), full of emotion, drama and quotable lines, and featuring three compelling storylines.
Malick started the episode in a good mood, looking forward to sampling Nathan’s fried squid rings stuffed with pine nuts. Rather him than me, but still… He was also in the mood for some quality mentoring. “Act as if,” he instructed Digby (who is really growing on me – he’s very loveable and funny). “As if what?” said Digby. “As if you’re me.” Obviously.
When a patient was brought in with severe abdominal pains she’d been ignoring for a year, Malick didn’t recognise her at first until he saw her little devil tattoo. “Is it some religious thing?” Digby asked Chantelle, as the very sight of it had provoked an extreme reaction in Malick and made him tell Digby to get lost. The tattoo was actually a reminder of Malick’s younger, more carefree but less gay days, when between him and Anna they’d managed to produce Jake. You can see why Malick wouldn’t want Digby knowing about that, but mentoring is mentoring and Digby had procedures to learn, which led to the poor lad having to do an ultrasound on Anna while trying to ignore the fact that his mentor and his patient were having a blazing argument about their mutual son at the same time. Continue reading
(Series 15, ep.20) Why would any Holby City staff member allow a friend or family member to be treated at that hospital? They should know by now that it can’t end well, and should insist that all loved ones either go private or go to The Mythical St James’ (or The Mythical St Peter’s, which was mentioned several times in this episode). Anywhere but Holby, which is far too dramatic if all you want is a nice, straightforward op and a speedy recovery. You’re far more likely than the average patient to end up dead, permanently disabled or to have one of your visitors diagnosed with a nasty condition.
Serena’s mum Adrienne was back for her operation, and everyone was feeling unreasonably confident, what with her being in the first class hands of Ric Griffin and Chantelle, and Serena keeping everyone on their toes. What could possibly go wrong? An oversight, that’s what. Chantelle was about to do a post-op check on Adrienne and she put her initials and the time on the chart, but she had to dash away when there was an emergency at an adjacent bed. Then when Digby checked the chart, he assumed the obs had been done. This meant Adrienne wasn’t really checked for two hours, during which time she had a stroke. Continue reading
(Series 15, ep.17) The official title of the episode was ‘Spence’s Choice - Part 1,’ so this naturally directs my attention towards AAU first. Spence’s choice was whether to report a suspected case of child abuse to Social Services. The child had been hurt in a car accident, but X-rays showed some old injuries and the boy’s step-father had a previous record of violence. You can see where Michael was coming from in jumping to conclusions, and Chrissie was right behind him, muttering sentences beginning with, “What parent in their right mind could…” at every opportunity. Gemma and Sacha, however, advised a more cautious approach. Week after week in Holby we see that a cautious approach is usually the right one, but Michael’s not a naturally cautious man, and his judgement was a tad clouded by ongoing parenting tussles with estranged lollipop-headed wife Annalise.
It all ended up with Michael almost getting punched, incurring the displeasure of Ric Griffin and causing the mother to try and take the child away from the hospital. She was spotted from the Window of Regret by Michael and Chrissie. The mother (Lucy Speed off of EastEnders) said the family had all been ok until Michael started his meddling.
The theme of people being better off living in blissful ignorance ran through all three storylines this week. On Keller, Digby was having his assessment and his patient was a rather tricky case, what with him being from another planet and that. Different anatomy and physiology altogether from us humans. Digby’s first impulse was to bin him off to the psych ward, but the radiant Chantelle had dealt with trickier patients than that in her time. Chantelle really is a brilliant nurse, and showed Digby that a bit of patience, understanding and empathy can get you a long way. Digby doesn’t naturally possess any of these qualities, so he lucked out when he got placed on a ward with Chantelle – though he threw it back in her face later with a mean, “You’re just a nurse so you wouldn’t understand” comment. Continue reading
(Series 15, ep.16) Malick took to fatherhood slightly better than I expected, given that he only discovered he was father to a medium-sized porter last week. This episode found him offering the lad advice and money, two things that parents dish out all the time. Jake rejected both. When Malick discovered Jake had been sleeping overnight in Ric’s office, he ended up doing a spot of emergency tidying up as well, again a thing that parents all too frequently find themselves doing.
Just in case all this is giving too much of a glowing impression of Malick’s parenting skills, it must also be added that he started the episode by pinning his (presumably) first-born up against a wall in a threatening style, and ended it by recommending that Ric sack him and driving away with the bloke he met at the New Year party. “I’m a registrar, you’re a porter,” Malick said (this was when Jake was still a porter, before Ric decided to sack him). “Two strangers – nothing more.” Hmm… a little way to go before they reach the father/son bonding fishing trip stage, then. Continue reading
(Series 15, ep.11 & 12) Since I was too busy being Christmassy to write about last week’s episode, here are a few random thoughts about it. Serena was in full Connie mode (looking sooo A/W 2012 in a furry hat), manipulating away with the result that Imelda was somehow lured off to do Ric’s job with Big Pharma in Las Vegas. All a little lame, plot-wise, though Serena was rather magnificent. I couldn’t help thinking Las Vegas wasn’t ever going to be the cleverest idea for recovering gambling addict Ric, anyway.
There was also some wonderful stuff between Jac and Jonny. I’ve thoroughly abandoned the idea that Joseph is the only man for her. He may have been the only man for Jac’s younger self, when she was all about the career, but now she’s older and more or less where she wants to be work-wise, she needs someone like Jonny to bring out the more playful side of her. Yes, she does have one. It was so sweet when she admitted she’d never decorated a Christmas tree before. I’m constantly impressed that the writers and the wonderful Rosie Marcel keep finding new sides to Jac and evolving her character and it looks like there’s quite a bit of evolving to come in the next few weeks.
On to this week, then, and despite featuring a new year party with a Hawaiian theme, it was all rather intense. Luc had been working round the clock since Boxing Day on a new drug that would stop people bleeding to death. Sacha had been sweating blood bringing him blood to experiment on, but when the supply ran dry Luc started using his own. Continue reading