(Series 17, ep.5) The writers of this episode used the fact that it was being screened on Armistice Day to add another poignant angle to the story of Adrienne’s dementia – and to give us the magnificent sight of Serena driving a mobility scooter.
Serena encountered Eric (Dudley Sutton) in the car park. He was an old soldier in full military regalia, selling poppies and riding the aforementioned mobility scooter. He also had an excellent line in persuading senior doctors to part with cash. Unfortunately we know that the car park is never the safest place to be, and Eric got mugged. He wasn’t too badly hurt (he had a dislocated shoulder, but he popped that back in himself. The piece of broken samurai sword that had been embedded in it since the war was a bit trickier to deal with), but his injuries meant a short stay in AAU – where Adrienne had just returned, having been ousted from the ward she was in for plot reasons. She’s (understandably) not keen on AAU. “This is the worst hotel you’ve ever taken me to, George,” she complained to Raf, “and the staff are appallingly rude!”
We’ve seen Adrienne relating (or not) to her daughter, her granddaughter and hospital staff, but we haven’t seen her relating to someone of her generation who was able to share reminiscences with her and understand how she was feeling. Eric was lovely with her and made her smile. His wife had had dementia, and he had some wise advice for Serena: “Your mum is still in there somewhere. You want to go looking for her before it’s too late.”
The most distressing part of her mother’s illness for Serena has been that Adrienne often no longer recognises her, but in a scene where she was helping to tidy Adrienne’s hair, her mother asked her when she was going to get her own hair sorted out: “You’ve had that boy’s haircut for years.” Serena’s smile was heartbreakingly lovely – just for a moment she’d got her mum back. Once again, Catherine Russell and Sandra Voe were brilliant, as Adrienne faced the fact that she was ill and mother and daughter wept in each other’s arms.
This is not the time for Serena to be going off to America for a lecture tour, but she has been asked to do just that. She asked Fleur if she would be interested in going instead. Michael Spence was also up for the gig, and they both wanted it. So when this week’s Keller Patient With A Mystery Complaint arrived, Michael suggested that whoever figured out what was wrong would get the job. They should have gone straight to Digby, because he’s usually the man for a rare diagnosis. Fleur did actually ask for Digby (or “Clark Kent”) to assist her in theatre, but Dominic was up to his old tricks. Fancying a ticket to the US as Fleur’s assistant, he told her that Digby was already at lunch. Then he told Digby to treat himself to a nice lunch. Then he volunteered to assist in the operation. Cunning.
There was a further, non-surgical, complication in the form of Fleur’s ex, Sophia (Nina Toussaint-White), who is working as a nurse on Keller. Fleur got rather cross when Michael Spence said he fancied “taking a run at Sophia,” and threw him out of theatre. But technically he worked out that the problem with the patient was dead bowel (ugh), so he used his out-of-theatre time well. Fleur got the lecture tour anyway, but by then Dominic had already started to back the wrong horse by running off to get Michael a latte wth sprinkles and whipped cream.
Talking of backing the wrong horse, on Darwin Jesse Law was continuing to turn Effanga heads, but this week the head was Mo’s. And everybody knows that she really needs to be with Mr T. Jesse is rather lovely, though. He’s obviously easy on the eye, but he’s also very kind and supportive. Mo needed that this week, because she was doing a double lung transplant and things went horribly beep in theatre. At times like that you need someone calm at the head end. Jesse suggested doing the procedure on bypass and Mo settled down and got on with it and saved her patient’s life. She would have taken “Team Transplant” further, but was disappointed to see that Jesse already had a date. Luckily Jonny Mac had a two-for-one curry offer, so the night wasn’t entirely wasted.