Doctor Doctor–Season 1, Episode 4 (I Need Another Drink)
This episode for me was a definite improvement from last week, I’m hoping this rollercoaster ride of great and mediocre episodes stops at some point and some consistency comes along. In my review of last week’s episode, I said I could sum up the episodes in one word, this episode I can sum up in three–melodramatic and mundane.
I thought it was an interesting choice to have Hugh in even more trouble, albeit a different kind. The question of how the patient managed to record him in a sterile OR for nine hours was never answered, but I also liked the choice to make Hugh the sympathetic one out of the two in this situation. However there is no such thing as a small detail with writing, so an unlikeable character is not unlikeable for no reason. The revelation of the patient living in a dodgy flat and having to look after his mother was needed and the final outcome of Hugh giving the patient his apartment was the best one for this situation. While it was obvious that Hugh wouldn’t be done for, it was an outcome that I didn’t see coming.
Meanwhile I felt that the Matt and Charlie subplot was cliche. The subplot was more cliche in its storytelling than anything else. It was cliche that they are having trouble conceiving, that Charlie is getting grief from her mother-in-law about her apparent inability to conceive and Matt getting his swimmers tested and being in situation where he may have cheated on his wife. However this problem remedied itself with the outcome of Charlie getting her revenge on Meryl in the most humorous and bizarre way that I have ever seen. One especially odd thing about the outcome was the fact that Dora the goat reappeared and it hasn’t been established who she belongs to.
The biggest and unexpected moment of the episode was the revelation that Ajax is Hugh’s son. I liked the subtle choice to have it be revealed by Joey, however I’m not sure about the choice of the plot as a whole. For Hugh to have a son he didn’t know about, being in his life as a foster brother, is too melodramatic for a drama that is only four episodes in its first season. However I liked how Hugh immediately looked at him differently and seemingly in a positive light, I’m looking forward to the finer details being revealed and how it all plays out over the season.
Meanwhile, Jim’s health problem has been revealed as Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a blood disorder. It was an interesting choice for Jim to have an uncommon health problem, however it was better than cancer, which was obviously a red herring and writing-wise, a cliche. Considering that it has been confirmed that Joey is in fact dying, it would have been a bit much for Jim to be dying also. I also enjoyed the humorous but too-brief interaction between Penny and Betty looking up Tinder dates in their medical records, I hope to see more interactions between them as girlfriends rather than colleagues, as it’s a subtle but great way to develop the characters (I especially loved Betty’s ‘Tinderella’ remark).
Overall the episode alternating between melodramatic and mundane was done reasonably well, however the show as a whole needs to develop some consistency with the strength of its episodes, before it can really experiment with its plots.