(Series 20, ep. 38 ‘One Man and His God’ by Andy Bayliss 18.9.18) I’ve written a nice long review of this episode over at Metro, but before you go to have a look here are some additional thoughts.
– The ending was just about the most twisted, terrifying thing I’ve ever seen on Holby. The idea of deliberately leaving someone in a ‘locked in’ state (especially as we knew that Roxanna’s mother had already experienced that) – well, even the most seasoned Gaskell-watcher will have been shocked at just how far his drive to succeed has pushed him.
– We’ve had murderous people on the wards of Holby before (Nurse ‘Killer’ Kelly Yorke in series 5/6; Hanssen’s son last year), but Gaskell is an entirely different kettle of fish. The scary thing about Gaskell is that he truly believes he’s only one step away from the next great medical breakthrough. He takes no pleasure in people being hurt or dying, but at the same time he views anyone who suffers during the course of his experiments to be collateral damage. The bigger picture is all he cares about.
– I loved the flashback scenes. Young Gaskell, Hanssen and Roxanna were perfectly cast and played their parts brilliantly, and Andy Bayliss’s script filled in plenty of blanks about each of them in a subtle and moving way. I also liked how the different sets of flashbacks were in the minds of each of the three older characters, so each one had a slightly different focus.
– Scenes between Hanssen and Dominic have become as precious and lovely as scenes between Jac and Sacha. It’s a similar dynamic – a closed-off, apparently cold person and someone who is expressive and emotionally open who sees them for who they really are.
– Gaskell’s last words to Roxanna – ‘forgive me’ – were chilling. I honestly doubt she’s going to be forgiving him any time soon, even if he ‘fesses up and sorts out the mess he’s left inside her head (if that’s even possible).
(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. Continue reading
(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. Continue reading
(Series 19, ep. 19) Unusually for me, I’m going to start with a patient storyline. I usually whizz over them as just a backdrop to the regulars’ stories, but I really loved the Darwin story about Sandy, who was terrified of surgeons. Erin Shanagher previously appeared in an episode of Casualty in which the patient story knocked my socks off, and she was equally good here. Sandy was justifiably upset, angry and fearful about the way she’d been treated as a baby, and I liked the way her story was used to highlight aspects of Jac’s and Matteo’s personalities and relationship.
It was Valentine’s Day, as if we would ever be allowed to forget. Darwin was full of (appropriately) heart-shaped balloons, courtesy of Mr T, but Jac wasn’t feeling the love as she’d dumped Matteo last week. But then how to resist a romantic Italian who presents you with a ticket to Rome? Jac had a good try, but between Matteo’s cheeky charm and a bit of business with Mo and a voice recorder, all was well that ended well. Continue reading
(Series 19, ep. 18) Hanssen was back, but he wasn’t wearing the tie of authority. he was wearing the open-necked shirt of civilian life. “Avante garde for the NHS,” according to Dominic. Hanssen wasn’t there as CEO, but as a patient’s relative. His son Fredrick (William Postlethwaite – son of Pete) had been in an accident, and needed surgery.
There was a strange drug in Fredrick’s system, the fictional Oxamorol, manufactured by Lovborg, the family business now run by Fredrick. It was a magic bullet for depression, according to Fredrick. Hanssen was devastated to think that he might have passed his own depression to his son.
The truth was actually even more devastating than that. Fredrick was using himself as a guinea pig to test the drug, which had already been shown to have nasty side effects including possible and actual death. He was willing to risk his own life, but also to cover up the negative trials that had already been done. And he didn’t even have depression, dismissing Hanssen’s condition as a weakness. Continue reading