(Series 20, ep. 36 ‘Keep Your Friends Close’ by Isla Gray 4.9.18) For a full review, please head over to Metro. But first, a few random thoughts.
– I like the way the Gaskell story is warming up. He hasn’t gone full ‘mwah-ha-ha’ at any point, but we can see how he’s focused to the point of being dangerously obsessed. I have no idea where his moral compass is, which is why it was an excellent idea to put the moral compass of the hospital (Hanssen) up against him. But Hanssen’s view of things has been shaken by what happened with Fredrik, and is further complicated by his feelings for Roxanne.
– I have to wonder, did Gaskell bring all his blue luminous objects with him when he arrived, or are they standard-issue NHS items? Perhaps they’re alien artefacts he got when he was Doctor Who, and their strange intense glow is a form of mind-control. This would explain quite a bit about the Prof.
– Hanssen taking frightened patients out onto the hospital’s scenic fire escapes. Not sensible.
– I’ve honestly forgotten what Meena and Nicky fell out about, but I wish they’d sort it out. I do actually feel sorry for Meena. She’s very lonely and adrift. I think Zav probably knows deep down that she really wants more than just no-strings fun, but he was happy to take what she said at face value. I don’t think either of them is going to feel very good about themselves in the morning.
– Abi was back, which was good news for anyone requiring a CT surgeon because they’ve been a bit thin on the ground of late. But even when she’s there, she never seems quite there, if you know what I mean. Luckily we can see from the Autumn trailer that Darwin is going to get considerably busier soon.
(Series 20, ep. 27 ‘The Anniversary Waltz’ by Joe Ainsworth 3.7.18) This episode was Holby City’s tribute to the NHS on its 70th anniversary, and it was full of lovely moments.
It was topped and tailed with voiceovers of Ric, Serena, Xavier and Jac talking about what the NHS means to them. To Serena “it’s a beautiful thing – a health service available to all, from cradle to grave.” Ric agrees: “Every patient who comes through those doors is equal.” Xavier, meanwhile, likes “the action, the buzz.” And Jac? “None of your business.” Jac doesn’t gush, not even for the NHS.
Holby was the receiving hospital for casualties when the roof of Holby indoor market collapsed. Beds were cleared, protocols were enacted, everyone had to be on top of their game. Patient Lennie Jefferies (Gary Beadle) immediately recognised Serena – or “Dr McKinnie,” as he’d known her. Many years earlier he’d been stabbed in a knife fight, and the young doctor who’d saved him had been Serena. Not only had she saved his life, but she’d inspired him to turn his life around and he was now a father and a model citizen. When he was found to be suffering from some nasty internal injuries it fell to Serena again, with Ric’s help, to try to save his life. Again she succeeded.
I emitted a small squeaking sound when Lennie was visited later by his daughter. Her name was Serena. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 25 ‘Primum Non Nocere, Part Two’ by Patrick Homes 20.6.18) This episode started exactly where the last one left off, if we ignore a bit of preamble with Prof Gaskell muttering ominously to an unseen someone on a ventilator. Meena had just told the Prof of her worries about the trial, and Jac was just about to go into surgery.
Abi had found someone called Dr Philippe Duplessis (Wela Mbusi) who was keen to watch Jac’s op. He was in a similar line of research to the Prof, only his trials were confined to mice. He was excited to see a guinea pig instead, in the form of Holby’s top CT surgeon.
Jac was having a few pre-op worries – the anaesthetist had gone AWOL, the Prof kept wandering off, it was looking like a bit of a shambles – but she went ahead anyway. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 24 ‘Primum Non Nocere, Part One’ by Patrick Homes 12.6.18) The fancy Latin title of the episode means ‘First, do no harm.’ It’s the reminder from the Hippocratic Oath that doctors are not really supposed to make things worse.
It fell to Meena (that jacket looked gorgeous on her, btw) to be the one to start uncovering what we might call the irregularities in Prof Gaskell’s trial. She found the notes from the Fiona Fawcett case, and heard about the recent trial patient in Tangiers, and there were some worrying parallels.
Meena is not a fool. She’s nervous, under-confident and over-eager to impress, but she’s smart and perceptive and she realised she was onto something worrying. She talked to Prof Gaskell about it, but he brushed her concerns aside in that slightly threatening way he has. She asked colleague and boyfriend Xavier what she should do, and he said there were plenty of people higher up the food chain who could take the responsibility for dealing with the information and it wasn’t up to her to do it. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 23 ‘None but the Brave’ by Gerard Sampaio 5.6.18) Jac’s back! Her hair is shorter and wavier! But apart from that, she isn’t feeling any better for her time off. In fact, according to Roxanna, she’s getting worse and might be in a wheelchair within a year. Nooo!!!
The reason Roxanna was looking at Jac’s scans is that Jac wants to be Prof Gaskell’s new trial subject. Naturally this is worrying news – we’ve seen the trail of destruction that the Prof tends to leave behind him. Even the Prof was worried. Despite his belief in his own god-like legend, he knows it would be terrible publicity to incapacitate or kill Holby’s top CT surgeon. So he asked Sacha to have a word with her and talk her out of it. Sacha’s opinion of Prof Gaskell is exactly the same as mine – that he pushes the boundaries, but without due concern for the individual patient.
Unfortunately, boundary-pushing is exactly what Jac wants. Though she was almost swayed by Fletch’s persuasive argument that if she dies, Emma will grow up without a mother. Almost. Because she can’t visualise herself as anything but a surgeon, so she’s willing to take a risk. I’m already extremely tense at the prospect of watching that particular piece of surgery. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 21 ‘Belonging’ by Katie Douglas 22.5.18) Junior doctors are very competitive, aren’t they? Always wanting to get their noses into the exciting procedures with the best surgeons, tripping over each other to get their hands on the most obscure and gory thing possible.
Meena and Nicky are no exception, although in their case it comes with a side order of stroppy hair-tossing and foot-stamping that reminds me of when PLA Jr used to go to an all-girls’ school. In other words, it’s a tiny bit irritating and makes me think, “Oh, just grow up, will you?” But on the other hand (as with PLA Jr’s school days) I have sympathy for them, too – it’s not easy being a young woman in a competitive environment. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 20 ‘Blind Spot’ by Katie Douglas 15.5.18) Oh, Fletch. At the beginning of this episode we saw him waking up in bed alongside a blonde head (presumably attached to a body, unless Holby has gone very twisted). But whose blonde head could it be?
Flash-back 24 hours, and who should appear at Holby but Sydney Somers (Gemma Oaten), now in charge of the agency that provides the hospital with extra nurses. When she last appeared there was a bit of a spark between her and Fletch, and she has blonde hair, too. It seemed the mystery was solved.
Fletch and Sydney clashed over the agency workers’ terms and conditions of employment, and it almost ended with the agency refusing to supply any nurses at all, which would have meant Donna missing Mia’s school concert. At the last minute, Fletch and Sydney thrashed out a solution and went to Albie’s to celebrate. Which is where they got drunk and ended up sleeping together, yes? Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 19 ‘Bubble Wrap’ by Ed Sellek 8.5.18) It’s becoming increasingly clear that Prof Gaskell is a little bit… shall we say single-minded in his pursuit of his medical trial. It’s also becoming increasingly clear that the trial isn’t going all that well. He’s had one successful patient – the one in Lisbon who miraculously walked again after the Prof cured him. But then his first Holby City patient, Fiona, died. The Prof let Essie take the blame for that one, even though he knew that the fault lay with his trial. His second Lisbon patient is currently in a very bad way indeed – organs all failing and only being kept alive by very extreme measures. The doctor who’s looking after her on a daily basis, Leo (Nathan Osgood), described her current state as being “buried alive.” This is dreadful, and cruel, but the Prof doesn’t see it that way. What he sees is that a miracle is just over the horizon, as long as his research continues. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 18 ‘Headstrong’ by Johanne McAndrew and Elliot Hope 1.5.18) It was one of those shifts that had started off so busy that its busyness could only be conveyed via the medium of a quick montage. Fletch had gone into work early to deal with a myriad of nurse stuff. he also made a strong case to CEO Abigail that AAU needs some new nurses and a senior staff nurse, and for that latter role only Donna will do. Abigail said yes to the new nurses and senior staff nurse, but she wasn’t convinced by the Donna part, because Donna wasn’t up to speed on some little protocol or other. I hate to keep comparing Abigail with Hanssen, but I’m quite sure he wouldn’t have put ignorance of a new protocol over being a damn fine nurse. Serena certainly didn’t. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 15 ‘Tate Gallery’ by Joe Ainsworth 10.4.18) Number one reason to like new CEO Abigail Tate: she wears slippers under her desk. Number one reason to dislike her: she uses the phrase “blue sky thinking.” She’s no Hanssen, that’s for sure. He’d never wear slippers under his desk, and he was accustomed to giving his pep talks from the stairs next to AAU. Abi gives hers via video.
She wanted blue sky thinking and “game changing ideas” from the entire staff team, and the prize was a lot of money to spend developing the winning idea. That’s even more of an incentive than a Pulses’ gift card, I’m sure you’ll agree. Ric thought he’d have another go with the artificial bladder idea that got such short shrift last week and Sacha also had some exciting thing to pitch. Judging all of this was Abi, Prof Gaskell, a man who didn’t say anything and Sanjay from EastEnders (Deepak Verma). Continue reading