I’ve said in my reviews throughout the season, in particular the first three episodes, that the writing has been off kilter, and it was in this episode however in a different way. Rather than the writing of the plots being off kilter, in this episode it was the writing of the characters.
Almost every character strayed from their true selves in this episode and while it would normally be interesting, I felt it was off putting due to the writing problems that have been present and ignored throughout the season.
While I enjoyed the introduction of Joan’s former fiance, Dr Lawrence Faber (Ronan Keating), I felt that the rapid development of their relationship from tense exes to lovers was unrealistic and very-unlike Joan. While Joan has made impulsive decisions in the past, especially with Jim (who has pretty much been forgotten now), considering how much she has grown as a character, not to mention the fact that she was in a love triangle in the previous two seasons, I felt that her decisions with Lawrence were off putting and cliche.
Despite the general continuity problems with the show this season, the continuity with Lawrence was pretty good–Joan’s abortion and Lawrence’s marriage were addressed, the child he had with his former wife was not. I’m glad that Lawrence didn’t leave purely because the start and progression of this plot felt rushed, however I hope the love triangle aspect of this plot isn’t given a lot of attention as it’s starting to get old.
There were two strong subplots in this episode–Rita’s life post-birth and Martha and Simon being blackmailed. As Rita was only starting to be truly developed in the previous episode, it was nice to see the focus on her again, especially now that she has given birth. It was nice to see her as a nun, but it was better to see her end up becoming a trainee nurse. While I found the outcome predictable, I did appreciate this development in her and Viv going full circle in helping her get a job through Matron.
I felt that the subplot of Martha and Simon being blackmailed added a nice mysterious touch to the episode. I felt it was a natural progression in this story arc as it has mostly been too easy for the two of them to get away with the hit-and-run. It was obvious during the fire alarm scene that it was an inside job. It was too easy to be Ed and Matron, that being said it surprised me that Debbie turned out to be the blackmailer, especially considering her progression over the season. Although the blackmail was resolved, I feel that this story arc isn’t finished yet.
On smaller notes, I was disappointed that Lawrence didn’t make any discoveries in Laura’s file however I appreciated that her death was touched upon, as it hadn’t been addressed in the last few episodes. I was also disappointed that Kate and Viv’s feelings were barely addressed and their potential relationship was pretty much thrown away.
Overall this episode felt out of place in comparison to the previous two episodes, I hope the remaining episodes improve and get back on track.