Holby City: The past lives of two haunted men

tweet ca(Series 15, ep.13) Everyone involved with Holby seemed really excited about this episode – even cast members who weren’t in it. Cast members who were in it were duly despatched to daytime TV sofas to give out a few teaser details, but not give anything away. Video clips were posted on the internet. Expectation was running high. So did it live up to the hype?

hanssen holbyOh yes, and then some. We were promised “cinematic,” and that’s what we got, with beautiful panoramic views of Stockholm (the Swedish tourist board would have loved it) and gorgeous interiors – the austere elegance of Hanssen’s flat (“I love what you’ve done with it,” Jac said, surveying the almost total lack of furniture), the incredible library where Jac did her research.

That was the backdrop, but the two story lines and the actors who played them out were what made the episode so outstanding. Script-wise (brilliant, brilliant writing from jac hanssen holbyJustin Young), Hanssen’s back story must have been planned all along, because it answered so many questions about him. His fractured relationship with his father because of his involvement in using medical research data obtained by the Nazis, his mother who had committed suicide, his failed relationship and the son he had never met, all made sense of why he holds himself aloof even when he’s passionately in love, his need to stay in control, even his slightly dodgy Swedish pronunciation was explained (English boarding school, Danish mother). Guy Henry was, quite simply, incredible. In a scene where he came face to face with his dying father for the first time, he didn’t seem to move at all, yet somehow all his emotions were apparent on his face. It was masterful acting.  

luc holbyBack at Holby, Luc Hemingway was also coming face to face with the demons he’d tried to bury with work. In his case, it was the death of the woman he’d loved that haunted him. She had a blood clotting disorder – hence his frenzied hours in the wet lab trying to find a cure – and she’d died on the operating table in Sierra Leone when Luc had been too drunk to do anything to help her. Joseph Millson gave a raw and emotional performance.

In the end, both men found some sort of peace. Hanssen was reconciled with his father just before he died, and handed on his inheritance to his son’s mother. He stood outside alone and a few snowflakes began to fall, harking back to his memories of waiting with his mother for the first snowflake of the winter to fall.

luc holby cityFor Luc, his Holby career is, for the moment, over. With his behaviour getting ever more erratic and Michael and Sacha just about hanging on to the secret of what happened in the operating theatre last week, he had to go. Against the odds, he left heading for a happy ending, setting off in his camper van to join Eddi in Kerala. All together, Leddi fans – squeeeeeeeee.

Next time: Jac does something stupid; Serena has got competition; and Chrissie finds a lump – and it’s not Sacha.

Posted by PLA More Holby City here


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6 responses to “Holby City: The past lives of two haunted men

  1. Martin Rosen

    So despite his denial, are we to presume that Henrik will be returning to Holby?

    • pauseliveaction

      He’s back next week and I’m assuming he’ll be back behind his old desk just as soon as he’s shovelled Serena’s pashmina collection out of the drawers.

  2. feismother

    Great review as always! Never really took to Luc (particularly the Leddi thing) and liked him best in his leaving. Bit like Dan in that respect.

    So pleased that HH is here for the forseeable. It will be interesting to see how his character develops subsequent to last night’s revelations.

    We didn’t get to meet HH’s son but we did see his photograph, didn’t we, looking very like him? I had wondered at that point why our attention was being drawn to it.

    A wonderfully well-written, well-directed episode with loads of doors both actual and metaphorical being opened.

  3. Corumba Love


    Just yes.


  4. Maria

    One of the finest episodes I have ever seen, it had everything regarding human emotion and an extra bonus of beautiful swedish scenery. It tugged at my heart-strings so many times in that hour. GH and JM were magnificent in their mystifying and complex roles. Well done the cast, writers and direction.
    As a leddi fan, I got to admit, I was upset with Luc leaving but am glad that Holby gave an open return for Luc and a kind of hopeful leddi ending and I hope Luc finds her in Kerala.

    Btw, I would love a one off episode where Luc seeks Eddi in India, still arguing with each other at the lagoon place. Then, I would be forever happy, even if we don’t see leddi on our screens again.
    Ok, I need to stop dreaming now.

  5. LottyC

    Definitely squeeeeee!
    The acting in this ep was so incredible and the writing and the setting and oh..everything was amazing!
    Praise goes out to the writers and producers and actors and everyone else 🙂
    and glad for a happy Luc-Eddi ending.

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