Holby City: Dr Doom and his inherited loom

(Series 19, ep. 48 ‘How Loud It Is’ by Andy Bayliss 5.9.17) My goodness, Holby City is getting more like Shakespeare every week. The sheer amount of detail in this episode – in the writing, the performances and the way it was directed – was just breathtaking.

Holby is under threat of a merger with The Mythical St James’s, and there’s a recruitment freeze.

As if this wasn’t stress enough for Hanssen, his son, Fredrik, was back. Last time we saw him, he’d been responsible for a very dodgy drugs trial, and there was a huge moral face-off in which Hanssen risked never seeing his grandson again by informing the Swedish medical authorities about it. It seems that Fredrik was acquitted in Sweden, but his “reputation is compromised.” So he’s now working at Holby City, where a compromised reputation and a frosty relationship with the CEO/your father won’t hold you back. 

It seems that his motive is mainly to get Hanssen to put his stamp of approval on another drug that Fredrik wants to market, but we saw right at the beginning that Fredrik and his wife Sara (Dana Smit) were planning to ingratiate themselves with Hanssen first.

Director Jamie Annett had Fredrik looking directly into the camera as he rehearsed what he would say to Hanssen, and it was a powerful piece of acting from Billy Postlethwaite, who really is incredible. Fredrik has a scary intensity. If you stripped out everything that’s kind and funny and supportive and moral about Hanssen, Fredrik is what you’d be left with. Which is not to say he’s a cartoon villain with no redeeming features – his obvious hurt when he said of Digby, “I know he was like a son to my father,” and the way he looked at Hanssen and Dominic together, shows where his anger is coming from.

Although he’s inherited his father’s way with a good loom (there were several “he’s behind you!” moments), Fredrik certainly doesn’t have Hanssen’s moral compass. He even contrived to deliberately leave a swab inside a patient, causing trouble for Dominic (on his first day as a registrar – he’s Mr Copeland now, if you please) and Sacha. There was a flashback scene in black and white, with bloody swabs picked out in red, that added to the general dark tone of the story.

Before we leave the Hanssen family, I have to mention a lovely scene where Dominic admitted to Hanssen that he was still taking steroids. Hanssen dealt with this beautifully, and his look of pure compassion when Dominic asked him “Is it because of Isaac?” just floored me.

On Darwin, which has once again become half CT, half Neuro, Zosia continued to notice that all is not right with her father. He’s still making mistakes, she’s still covering for him – even down to making sure she’s working with him on every operation he performs. Ollie is worried, and he’s right to be. You can see that the stress of all this is taking its toll on Zosia, and Camilla Arfwedson is delicately showing that Zosia is putting her father’s needs before her own and risking her health to do it.

Light relief was to be had on AAU, where Donna spent much of the time doing up Fletch’s temporary director of nursing office (he’ll be moving to Darwin eventually), using some of her old WAG cast-off furniture. It’s probably the first time a director of nursing has had an actual throne to sit on.

Donna admitted to Ric that she and her girls have been living in a hotel. Ric offered to let them stay at Griffin Towers for as long as they need to. Blessikins.

And you know that autumn is in the air, because they’re doing soup at Pulses.

5 Comments

Filed under Holby City

5 responses to “Holby City: Dr Doom and his inherited loom

  1. mrssatan

    I spent most of the episode trying to think who Billy Postlethwaite’s Fredrik reminded me of, and then it hit me; Andrew Scott’s Moriarty in Sherlock!

  2. That scene with Dom and Henrick in the Arthur/Linda Shrubbery was beautiful ❤

  3. HELEN

    Yes, Its being able to act with your neck muscles and postures!

  4. thebigmart

    When Fredrik was talking straight to camera, I don’t think his eyes blinked once – scary !

    Did anyone else consider that he could really be Hanssen’s son? There seemed to be a resemblance.

  5. Andrew Porter

    Phew, what an episode. Such a change from some of the lighter moments we’ve had recently, the whole thing was so intense. Kudos to the Holby Team for finding new ways of story telling after all this time.

    Impressive of the various actors to switch tone so well from previous episodes too. And some fancy directing, with the camera directly into Fredrik’s face particulary striking, and the flashback as you highlight, but also the camera generally seemed very close into everyone. I thought the scenes between Zosia and her dad were brilliantly acted, and the parallels between them are striking.

    So a very different feel, but very well handled, and I’m fascinated to see where it all goes next.

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