(Series 18, ep. 14) I think we’re supposed to dislike Selfie. Jac says he’s after Darwin. Hanssen says he’s after everything, and since Jac and Hanssen are the intellectual and moral centres of the hospital respectively, I take them seriously. In this episode he was even prepared to risk the life of a woman who’d been nothing but a friend to him, in order to pursue more glamorous and headline-making surgery, and that’s not the behaviour of a nice man.
And yet, Holby likes its villains to be nuanced. Apart from out and out monsters like Jac’s mother, most Holby baddies have a back story that grants them at least a tiny bit of sympathy. In Selfie’s case, the tragedy of losing his wife has perhaps been augmented by the near death experience of having a live grenade in his hands. Something has been sending him to support groups alongside other tortured geniuses. Something upsets him so much he has to absorb himself in a daily sudoku to cope.
He’s still a rampaging ego on a stick, though, and try as I might I can’t have any sympathy for him. But if all this is ultimately leading to a massive showdown with Hanssen to once again restore the moral compass of the hospital, well that gets my vote. You can’t have a hero without a villain.
Talking of heroes – Arthur Digby. What an extraordinarily lovely man he is. Morven asked him to keep their relationship on the down-low, and the silly pickle kept it so down-low that when Serena asked him if there’d be any problem giving Morven an “honest, objective, ethical” appraisal he said of course not, and toddled off. And of course it was a problem, but instead of ending up with them getting all cross at each other and ruining a beautiful thing before it had even properly begun, Digby decided to announce his feelings for Morven, loudly, spectacularly and poetically, in front of the whole ward. He was egged on by a man with a screw through his tongue (a piece of prosthetic work so disgusting it should have come with its own advisory notice and a helpline for the traumatised to call afterwards). Serena, who was on very amusing form during the episode, told Digby that he was a “brave boy” to declare his love, after she’d just told him she couldn’t abide office romances (while being deliciously gossipy herself about Ollie and Zosia).
The other ongoing office romance is Sacha and Essie. Sacha was having a day off, but Essie was very much in evidence, coordinating transplants, acting on her usually rock solid instincts and getting things a bit wrong but only a bit, and finding out she’s not pregnant. A busy shift indeed.
Next time: Selfie’s trying to get control of the hospital again and one man stands in his way. One very tall man.