(Series 19, ep. 30 ‘Gold Star’ by Ed Sellek) Well that was fun, wasn’t it? Apart from the dead patient at the end, which was extremely sad. But up until that point, it was one of those episodes packed full of one-liners and excellent comedy stuff from – well, everybody, really. There was a bit of slapstick from Zosia (did you see her whizzing off with troublesome Mr Phibbs in a wheelchair in the background of the scene where Hanssen was talking to Birdie at her bedside?), some funny business with the vending machine and Hanssen’s favourite snack, the Whippy Whirl, Sacha smiling again thanks to a relaxing shvitz (it’s like a sauna, apparently, and it certainly did Sacha a power of good), and Bernie and Ollie teasing Ric about needing naps. Continue reading
(Series 19, ep. 29 ‘Two Hearts’ by Katie Douglas) Sacha Levy is the most caring, empathetic, huggy doctor in the hospital. That’s just a fact. So as soon as he started being snappy with a distressed patient, Essie knew something was up. Her alarm bells were already ringing when she spotted him arriving in yesterday’s shirt with his hair messed up, but she’s no stranger to the walk of shame herself, so that could have been dismissed. But as soon as Sacha starts being less nice to people, we all worry. Then Essie discovered he’s suddenly acquired a shoplifting habit/issue/problem. I really like how not being in a romantic relationship with Sacha has properly freed Essie up to love him and care for him like she couldn’t do when they were trying for babies and she was being all Chrissie 2.0 with him. I also loved how she enlisted the help of Jac Naylor to get him to admit there was a problem. Was he feeling depressed, they wondered? Sacha said that everybody in the room was probably feeling depressed, and given that the room was Pulses I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. Jac wasn’t surprised either. “Except that’s just my personality,” she said. I’m hoping bits of humour like that will be our friend as Sacha recovers from his depression, because it’s very hard watching him suffer. Continue reading
(Series 19, ep. 26) It was one of those starts-at-(almost)-the-end episodes, and the start showed a panicking Bernie, flanked by Fletch and Jasmine, busting down the door to the roof (which was locked for the first time in its history)…
What had happened to Serena? Would we find her teetering on the edge of the parapet, or already in a messy mush in the car park? Would Bernie be in time?
Flashback twelve hours, which luckily for us had been condensed to just one hour. We found Serena “stuck on some hideous merry-go-round of blame and regret.” This could be construed as a general description of AAU on a good day, but it was all about Elinor’s death and Serena’s reaction to it, particularly in her treatment of Jasmine. It was also affecting her family – she said that even loving Bernie didn’t make her feel better, and she was so horrible to and around Jason that he wanted to move back in with his old carer, Alan. “I’m officially an out-of-control monster,” Serena said. She was still unable to address any of this properly until she almost hit Jasmine and Jac was there to (magnificently) intervene. Serena was summoned to see Hanssen, who was infinitely kind and understanding and said there was almost nothing he wouldn’t do to help her. 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