I was interested in seeing how the finale would play out, especially with the highly emotional end of the previous episode.
It was obvious that Joey’s death was going to be investigated, especially by Tugger. I really felt for her as she was struggling between being a dutiful police officer and a grieving girlfriend, which highlights how great Lucy Durack’s performance was. I especially liked the moment where she lashes out at Hugh and they both admit the reality of Joey’s situation and their grief. The writers’ decision to have Penny change the toxicology results to death by snake venom, involving Joey’s beloved snake, was a stroke of genius and I certainly didn’t see that coming, it was an interesting way to get Hugh out of strife.
Hugh trying to catch the plastic balls thrown at him by Charlie, Matt and Ajax was a great running gag and a great little bit of symbolism at the end of the episode. I especially liked how it fueled the Hugh and Penny subplot, especially with Ajax at the end of the episode.
Speaking of the Hugh and Penny subplot, while over the course of the season, especially in this last half, their relationship growth has been slow and subtle, in this episode I felt it was a little rushed. I like how of all people, Charlie was the person to tell Hugh that she was leaving, that she said what he was thinking out loud, and that she became obsessed with their relationship.
I also liked that the writers chose to focus at first on the progression of their working relationship, especially with Penny’s humorous truthful reference which revealed that six months have passed since the pilot and then her “palatable” one. I also liked how the writers chose to show the evolution in Hugh and Floyd’s father-son like relationship with Floyd’s cute goodbye and Hugh’s lie, which ultimately bit him in the arse when he tried to hook up with Penny. I was a little pissed off when Aiofe interrupted Hugh’s attempted hook up by calling him for “ex sex”. While writing wise, an interruption/conflict to the happy ending is necessary and as a viewer I was sending subliminal message to Hugh screaming “don’t do it” which is what the writers were going for, as nothing happened (thankfully), I didn’t really see much point to it as it didn’t really add to the plot.
It wouldn’t be Doctor Doctor, without some sort of hospital drama. Seeing the heavily damaged bus and the severely injured bus driver pull into the hospital was confronting and the following scenes were intense, however it was great that it showed exactly how well the hospital staff work together, especially Hugh and Penny. I have always liked the insertion of the hospital drama as it perfectly balances out Hugh’s family and romantic dramas.
I liked the development in Hugh and Ajax’s relationship, especially as the revelation of Hugh being Ajax’s father hadn’t been properly addressed due to the show’s focus switching to Joey’s death. Ajax finally asks Hugh why he felt the need to have the truth come out and I liked that Ajax seemed to accept it as it’s true to his character. I believe Ajax is the most interesting character out of all of them as he turned out to be someone completely different to what I expected in the pilot. I at first thought Ajax might have been a bit of a psycho, but he is clearly the kindest and sanest out of all of them. I also found Ajax’s choice to call Hugh his “other dad” and yell at him in the presence of Jim, in an attempt at loyalty, hilarious and very sweet. I also liked the subtle nod to the continuity of Meryl’s campaign by showing that Ajax is in fact still in school, despite his reluctance to go back to it.
I was surprised by Matt’s choice to leave Charlie. Matt could clearly see Charlie’s obsession with Hugh and Penny’s relationship and mistakenly saw it as a jealousy. Well it was entirely mistaken, but I think the writing in their relationship is a little sloppy considering that, as a couple, they clearly have communication issues and Charlie’s true feelings towards both Hugh and Matt aren’t made clear to them. I also feel that Charlie’s lingering pain from the heartbreak Hugh caused her is hindering both her’s and Hugh’s character development. I hope both Matt and Charlie’s relationship and the writing of it, is sorted out next season.
Meanwhile, I am growing tired of Meryl’s campaign for Whyhope Mayor. It’s already been established that she is slightly corrupt and while some of her campaigning techniques have been hilarious, I think this little subplot should end. I did like the choice by the writers to have Rod make a pass at her and for the revelation of Rod being Nathan’s father (I at first thought Rod might have been his lover, especially with the way the revelation came out). It looks like Meryl may lose, but knowing her, it surely won’t be the end of it.
Meanwhile, in the middle of everything, Penny’s replacement, Nora, arrives. Nora appears to be an unpleasant character, and she is, but she is certainly not boring. Between making Hugh give a urine sample in front of her, her insensitive “slackers” comment to the staff after treating the bus crash patients, and her discovery of Penny’s honest review of Hugh, she will certainly make things interesting next season.
I felt that the ending of Hugh rushing to tell Penny his hand works, making the viewers think that they are going to declare their feelings for each other, only for nothing to happen, was a let down. Clearly the writers are leaving things open for next season, but I’m not sure if disappointing the viewers to do so was necessary, however there is a part of me that likes the fact that they didn’t go with the cliche.
I also loved the final moment where Nora reads Penny’s honest review of Hugh, which sets their impending working relationship in motion, which I look forward to seeing next year.
Overall for a finale, I thought it was good but not great–everything was left open for next season, there was a great mix of humour and drama, however I felt the ending and the Matt and Charlie subplot was a bit of a let down. However I have enjoyed the show overall and I’m looking forward to reviewing season two next year.