Holby City: Just Oliver

(Series 20, ep. 13 ‘No Matter Where You Go, There You Are – Part Two’ by Andy Bayliss 27.3.18) Last week’s cliffhanger made us wait an entire week for the verdict in Ric’s trial. And this week, we got that verdict, though it was a very low-key affair. We didn’t see the courtroom. We didn’t even see Ric. We heard the news as relayed to Ollie by Meena, and then Serena popped up to Darwin to present Fletch with a bottle of celebratory Shiraz.

Celebratory? Yes! Because the news is good. Ric Griffin is a free man!

Having swiftly wrapped up the ‘Ric’s Prison Hell’ storyline, the episode settled in to the topic at hand, which focused on Oliver Valentine and his determination to get back to being a doctor once again, and Henrik Hanssen’s ongoing struggle to come to terms with the consequences of his son’s actions. 

And what a dramatic story it was. It took Hanssen to point out to Oliver what Roxanna, Gaskell and everybody else have been failing to tell him: “There’s no cure, Oliver. Professor Gaskell has no wand!” (I loved the way he said that). “There is no retraining. There is no more Dr Valentine.”

Not mincing his words, then, but not speaking them with any malice, either. There’s nothing Hanssen would have loved more than for Oliver to be well and be restored to his old self, but as Hanssen has to face reality, so has Ollie.

Ollie’s reaction was to watch through the observation window at the absolutely disgusting-looking marathon surgery that Hanssen, Sacha, Dominic, Meena and Essie were all involved in. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat jelly again. He baited Hanssen, pointing out what other people were saying and thinking about him, saying he was twice the doctor Hanssen would ever be. I think at this point he really hated Hanssen for dashing his hopes.

During a break in the surgery, Hanssen and Ollie had a huge row. And I mean huge. Seasoned Hanssen watchers will not have seen their man react like that ever before, and Ollie was giving just as much back. It was super dramatic stuff, and played with intensity and conviction by both actors. “You are brain damaged! You will never be the same again. You will never be a doctor again. Your brain can’t work like a doctor’s brain ANY MORE!” Hanssen concluded. Straight after this, Fletch came over to take issue with Hanssen about a piece of work he’d given him to do, and Hanssen ended up with his hands around Fletch’s throat. Seriously. These are not words I expected ever to use, but that’s what happened.

Of course, this kind of behaviour isn’t Hanssen, but perhaps he needed to get to such a peak of passion before he could crumble and admit what was really going on. When Ollie asked him why he was crying, Hanssen said, “Because I lost my son, and I don’t know when.” A beautiful, tragic line that spoke volumes about Hanssen and Fredrik’s broken relationship.

It took the massive argument with Hanssen, and the compassion he felt for him, to give Ollie the breakthrough he needed, too. He remembered a lot more about who he was and what was important, finally accepting that he won’t ever be a surgeon again.

Hanssen gave Ollie the little coin thing that he’s had with him, and told him it was from an ice rink he went to as a child. “It’s funny to think of you as a child,” Ollie said. “Did you wear a suit then, too?” Their farewell was an incredibly poignant, sad moment. As we saw Ollie leaving the hospital in the snow, we heard Hanssen in voice-over: “Mr Valentine has left us. Just Oliver now… Oliver Valentine.” We saw Ollie place the ice rink token on the Raf DI Lucca Memorial Thing, and look up at the building that, in James Anderson’s words on Twitter last night has been “a school, a playground, and a family to me for over seven years.”

So it’s goodbye to the most beautiful blue eyes in the NHS, and I’ll miss all the Olivers we’ve known over the years – brash, unqualified Young Dr Oliver Valentine; Ollie 2.0 who surfaced from grief to be funny, kind and caring and a wonderful doctor; and brain-damaged Ollie, who’s been sweet and heartbreaking as he struggled to get back to who he was.

There was drama elsewhere too, as Prof Gaskell allowed Essie and Meena to think that his trial patient died because they’d been less than thorough with the post-op care. He is so focused on his trial being a success that he doesn’t mind who he hurts in the process, which makes him a very interesting character. Essie couldn’t cope with the idea that it might have been her to blame for scuppering the work of Raf’s legacy, and she also left. I hope she’ll be back, mainly for Sacha’s sake but also because she’s lovely.

And Fletch was suffering, not only from Hanssen grabbing him by the throat, but from the absence of Jac, who is taking time off to deal with her pain, and also possibly to put some distance between her and Fletch before she does anything silly.

I really think someone needs to have a word with the mythical HR department, though. Frieda is now the only doctor on Darwin. She’s marvellous, but she’s not Wonder Woman. Though she did have the line of the week, talking to recurring patient Ken (Hamish Clark): “Last time I saw you was with a pair of scissors in my right hand and your beating heart in my left. I was at my most restrained that day.”

Missing Ollie already? There’s an exclusive interview with James Anderson in the official Holby City book. More info here

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Holby City: Just Oliver

  1. Valerie Bayliss

    I really will miss James Anderson he is a brilliant actor and I hope we see him again soon. There are at least 6 people from the header photo who have left recently and I hope Holby can deal with the haemorrhage of staff. The new faces are no Ollie, Zosh or Raf replacements. Great review as usual.

  2. Thunderchild

    To quote Ollie, I too think Gaskell is a fraud and I get the distinct impression that Serena is onto him.

  3. Oh now I feel even more sad. Bye Oliver, you’ll be missed.

  4. Sandy evsson

    I don’t think we have heard the last of Ollie or Essie. Both are on to Gaskell.. Also, I don’t think Sacha will ever accept that Essie was to blame in a patient death.

  5. holbybunners

    Yes the surgery was strange and disturbing and I’m relieved others thought it so .. I’m afraid I’m a wimp and always look through my fingers ..

    Still confused about the death of the Trial patient .. but glad that PLA expert TV-Medical opinion is that it was not Essie or Meena’s fault! However didn’t the Coroners report indicated a post-op infection .. and hence lack of thoroughness after surgery?

    I agree though that Gaskells behaviour was suspicious post-op .. and am hoping someone here can join the dots and explain things.
    HB

  6. Andrew P

    Brilliant and tense episode. As well as agreeing with all your points, Sue, I was fascinated to see a patient with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei which required Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC. I have a colleague who works on this cancer, and I remember seeing his talk for the first time and thinking it was the strangest thing. The tumours themselves are tiny, but they produce this massive amount of mucous. The re-enactment of the surgery was amazing, even down to the ‘bath’ made of the patients internal space to accomodate the heated chemotherapy designed to remove the last of the tumour cells. It’s not a common cancer, and it’s very understudied, so great job to Holby for highlighting the immense work that is the treatment – not for nothing do the patients refer to it as the “mother of all surgeries”.

  7. John Ross

    Sad to see all those great actors leaving. Holby and Goiglebox are my favourite TV programmes and my wife and I even stay up on a Tuesday night (Scotland) to watch each episode of Holby. My wife is a physiotherapist who gets frustrated by some of the antics the staff get up to on the wards that she said wouldn’t happen in real life, but that said we are avid viewers. One concern is that the hospital will suffer from the very fast staff turnover. Just as the viewer gets to know each character and that character’s character they leave. Why? What is the script writers aim at the end of the day. The storylines are tragic, funny, gripping, thought-provoking and sincere all at the same time. Great viewing and long may it continue and not go the way of many of the actors any of which are not seen in anything else. Shame!!

  8. Marilyn Linwood

    Such wonderful brilliant drama! British tv at its best!

  9. HolbyNut

    Farewell Oliver – the door is open for you to return.
    I have loved the Oliver character, moreso over the years, and those eyes…..
    As gutted as Frieda lol

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