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Doctor Doctor–Season 2 Finale

To review this season’s finale, I read my review of last season’s finale to give me something to go off. For those that don’t remember, last season’s finale focused on Tugger’s investigation into Joey’s death, Penny leaving for a new job, Matt leaving Charlie, Meryl campaigning to become Whyhope’s mayor, Nora replacing Penny, and Hugh and Penny almost declaring they had feelings for each other in the final minutes. While all of this was addressed this season and isn’t entirely relevant to this finale, which aired last night, I felt it was good to reflect on and make a comparison.

This season’s finale was a much lighter one with Ajax and Hayley’s nuptials. Hugh and Charlie trying to convince Ajax and Hayley they were too young to get married and have children respectively frustrated me, as it was an obvious obstacle that the writers threw in to drag the story out. I understand the need to make the story and the episode as a whole interesting, but I personally didn’t enjoy that it was at Ajax and Hayley’s expense. That being said the payoff was beautiful, especially when Ajax and Hayley put the fate of their nuptials in their respective shooting abilities. Of course they were going to get their happily ever after, I would have liked to have seen an actual ceremony take place, but I appreciate the writers avoiding schmaltzy dialogue and scenes by not doing so, choosing to have them kiss at the start of their ceremony to applause and cheers was a better choice.

Meanwhile I didn’t really enjoy the Harriet and Hugh subplot as the outcome was obvious. While Harriet’s volatile personality was described by Hugh in the previous episode, in this one we saw it in action. Harriet’s order to Hugh to basically screw Penny over and kick her out of his life was a forced obstacle to their non-relationship, which made me appreciate his decision to end their marriage, as predictable as that outcome was. I felt for Harriet for a moment when she tearfully admitted she didn’t want their marriage to end, and I would have liked to have seen Hegney’s acting chops on display for a little while longer, however I appreciated that this story arc was short.

On smaller notes, I felt that Hugh and Penny’s stent being purchased wasn’t celebrated enough but perhaps there will be a focus on it next season. Also I felt the throwback to Charlie’s ectopic pregnancy and her fears about having and possibly not wanting children subconsciously being revealed in her writing, was a let down. I was hoping she was actually pregnant, but then again that would be a cliche.

Speaking of Hugh and Penny, once again they did not declare their feelings, or at least not overtly. Rather it was done with subtlety when Hugh held out his hand and simply asked “partners?” and she responded with “always”, they certainly are in more ways than one. While having a couple together and happy makes for a boring story, and I appreciate the writers keeping them apart to avoid the cliche for the most part, I do find myself wondering how long they’re going to keep them apart for. On a more positive note though, unlike the previous season, I felt that their relationship development was more realistic, which was proven when Hugh refused to end his partnership with her when Harriet ordered him to, and when he stated outright that Penny is his friend.

Overall this season’s finale was solid, doing its job by opening a few doors for next season with the stent purchase, Ajax and Hayley finally getting married, and Rod proposing something mysterious to Meryl. As for the season as a whole, there was an extensive amount of character development, and the show has a whole has settled and found itself. I’m looking forward to seeing what season three will throw at us and reviewing it next year.

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: The young boy whose brother hit him in the face with a cricket bat, resulting in Harriet pulling out his teeth.

Dora sighting: Ajax and Hayley’s wedding.

-Apparently Hugh has 88 days left of his probation, which means 11 days have passed since the events of the previous episode.

-In last year’s finale, Hugh had six months left of his probation, now he only has 88 days (about two-and-a-half months). Therefore this season spanned about three-and-a-half months.

-Hugh told Harriet about Ajax being his son.

-Harriet’s a dentist.

-Everyone but Floyd hated Harriet.

Best one liners:

  • “Other Dad time!” (Hugh at the family dinner celebrating Ajax and Hayley’s impending nuptials).
  • “He’s a clever man, but not a wise man” (Matt describing Hugh to Ajax).

 

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Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 9

Well this episode was a rollercoaster.

I found the A story of Hugh’s “Las Vegas” wife, Harriet (Genevieve Hegney), coming to Whyhope was a great distraction from the kidney transplant. However I also felt it was another forced spanner in the works for Hugh and Penny’s “non-relationship”. I felt absolutely frustrated when Hugh gave into temptation with Harriet, in fact I found him just plain unlikeable when he was around her. That being said, the most interesting part of her introduction was the development of her character throughout the episode. She wasn’t a stereotype or one dimensional, she had depth with the reveal of her recent sobriety after years of alcohol and drug addiction, which resulted in the breakdown of her marriage to Hugh.

I felt that her attempts to make amends and her amends themselves were sincere and I actually grew to like her. I also enjoyed the backstory into their marriage and her interactions with Betty at the A.A. meeting. However I felt that Hugh’s request to ask her to stay at the end of the episode was another forced obstacle to keep him and Penny apart, and due to its obvious nature, I frankly didn’t like it at all. However I’m looking forward to seeing it played out in next week’s finale, especially as her intentions and her true nature haven’t been made completely clear yet.

Meanwhile, I also enjoyed the balance of emotion and comedy with the transplant subplot being paralleled with Harriet’s return, however I felt Hugh’s heart attack was only added to fuel the Hugh-Penny-Harriet love triangle. I also found the dream sequence of Hugh’s love life flashing before his eyes to be cliche but humorous. I’m not sure how Dora fitted into the equation, nevertheless it was the most creative sighting of her ever.

The B story of Betty’s jealousy of Ken and Mia’s relationship was much more intriguing and well written than the A story. I loved the character development of Ken and Betty’s friendship with the reveals that they have their own book club and regularly play one-on-one netball games. I didn’t buy the possibility of Betty having feelings for Ken as the idea has never presented itself throughout the series, and the kiss between them felt cliche and forced, however it redeemed itself with its outcome. The outcome of both Ken and Betty feeling nothing and the latter realising that she just misses their friendship, was more realistic and true to their characters. The ending of this story with Ken and Betty expanding their friendship by inviting Mia and Darren to their netball game was very sweet and I hope we see more of this friendship group in the future.

I felt that the Ajax-Hayley C story was weak due to the fact that the outcome was predictable–they were always going to get back together. However I enjoyed the way in which Charlie taught Hayley a lesson in harmless desire.

Overall this episode was mostly solid, however its strength was undermined by its rollercoaster-like nature. While there were some fantastic one-liners, to me this didn’t feel like a penultimate episode, but I’ll see what happens and how I feel when I watch the finale next week.

I would also to congratulate the Doctor Doctor cast and crew on their renewal, I’m looking forward to seeing season 3 next year.

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: Jim’s kidney transplant and Hugh’s subsequent heart attack. For the first time, the hospital drama was outside of Whyhope.

Dora sighting: In front of Hugh’s car in his “love life flashing before his eyes” dream sequence as he was having a heart attack.

-Surprisingly Betty was once an alcoholic, but has managed to turn it around through 12 years of sobriety and leading the Whyhope A.A. meetings.

-Apparently Hugh has 99 days, 7 hours and 42 minutes left of his probation.

Best one liners:

  • “Can you castrate my husband?” (Nameless patient to Hugh after being diagnosed with Herpes).
  • “Did we just witness a murder-suicide pact?” (Not sure if this was Hugh or Matt, feel free to correct me).
  • “Will the transplant be as painful as this is for you?” (Jim to Hugh on Harriet bonding with the rest of the family, especially Charlie).
  • “He is handsome and very organised!” (Betty on Ken’s attractive qualities).
  • “Please ignore the burp and continue” (Dream Sequence Penny).

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 8

This episode managed to contain a lot of drama and subtlety.

The A story was Jim’s dialysis and need for a new kidney. Jim has another collapse at the wheel and is taken to hospital where it is eventually revealed that he has been avoiding dialysis and now needs a new kidney fast. I liked the realistic moments of worry and love between Meryl and Jim, as well as Hugh’s attempts to avoid being tested. While Hugh gives valid medical reasons for his reluctance, his true reasons for his reluctance aren’t fully addressed, which I’m hoping will happen in next week’s episode.

The B story of thieves stealing Christmas trees from Matt and Charlie’s land was hilarious and provided necessary comic relief throughout the episode, especially from the serious and sometimes grim A story. The question of whether the thieves would be revealed or caught added some fun intrigue to the episode, with eventually Craig, a farmer from season one, being revealed as the culprit. I felt that the ending of this subplot was anti-climatic as Craig wasn’t properly punished or dealt with, despite the build up throughout the episode.

I felt the C story of Charlie being stalked by a fan, Frank, was minor but solid. I enjoyed Charlie’s book making another appearance, this time in a reading, showing the book’s success with subtlety. What I thought was brilliant about this subplot was being led to believe that Frank was a crazy fan only for her to encourage and help Charlie with the development of Love at Lightspeed‘s sequel, almost like an advisor. I also liked the contrast between Frank’s encouragement and honest advice with the trolling tweets as Charlie was trying to write, eventually switching to using the typewriter. I hope we see more of Frank in future episodes, or if not, at least hear about her.

On smaller notes, I enjoyed the scenes between Ken and Mia as they finally kissed and dealt with their feelings for each other. I especially enjoyed Hugh’s reaction to their kiss and Mia bossing Ken around. Although I felt that Ken’s declaration of love for Mia in front of the hospital was cringeworthy and cliche, as it was sweet and true to his character, I’ll give it a pass. There was also an excessive amount of scenery shots in this episode, I was wondering whether this was to stretch out the episode or if the crew were trying something new with their filming techniques.

Overall this was a solid episode, however there was a little too much going on to be able to follow everything with an equal amount of attention.

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: Jim’s car accident, dialysis and Hugh trying to avoid donating one of his kidneys.

Dora sighting: At Charlie’s house after her book reading. This is the first time that I have seen her in weeks and the writers’ certainly made up for this lost time, giving her a lengthy appearance by having Charlie happily talk to her.

-Every member of the Knight family, except for Hugh, offers to donate one of their kidneys to Jim.

-Hayley’s desire to donate herself lead to the revelation that she was born with only one kidney.

-Even Penny considered donating one of her kidneys.

-Ken throwing out Mia’s homemade lunch so he could ask her out on a date was both inconsiderate and genius.

-Meryl stated just after Jim collapsed but before she found out about it, that it felt like “someone walked over her grave”, clearly showing that her gut instincts are on point.

Best one liners:

  • “What, are you trying to stubborn yourself to death? (Hugh to Jim)
  • “I shouldn’t have glittered Millie” (Ajax)

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 7

This episode had a sweet vibe but ended in a sad way.

For once, Penny and Hugh didn’t dominate the episode, don’t get me wrong, I love them to pieces but it’s always refreshing to have the main players in the background every once in a while. With this episode, Hayley, Ajax and Meryl were front and centre with the Miss Whyhope competition kicking off the episode and continuing in the background throughout.

The Miss Whyhope competition provided some great scenery and interesting albeit unusual action, due to the changes in the competition made by Charlie, who was running it. The conflict between Meryl and Charlie on the changing of the competition format to mix modern and intelligent events, with the previous and slightly outdated events, was well played and riveting. The reveal that Meryl’s mother founded the competition and disappointment in her (Meryl’s) inability to win, was solid and unexpected character development. Due to Meryl’s manipulative nature, it is very rare that the viewers are given a real insight into who she really is. As I have stated in previous reviews, Meryl generally draws her morally questionable line at possibly hurting Hayley, and she does so again when she realises how harsh she is being on Hayley and stops herself from cheating for her.

While Hayley is feeling the pressure from Meryl to win Miss Whyhope, she is mostly oblivious to Ajax’s crush on her competitor, Millie. This subplot was the highlight of the episode, even though as a viewer I didn’t enjoy the outcome. The reason why it was the highlight was due to the fact that until now, the writers have never messed with Ajax and Hayley’s relationship.

I felt that Ajax asking for advice from Matt and Hugh, and eventually admitting his crush to Hayley rather than actually sleeping with Millie, was completely true to his character. It broke my heart as a viewer to see Hayley break off the engagement, however as a writer I’m interested in seeing what will happen next for them. I suspect they’ll eventually get their happily ever after, but the journey to it will hopefully be intriguing, but not drawn out like Hugh and Penny. I felt that Hayley’s well-deserved win and the revelation that Millie is a lesbian was a nice twist and a nice dose of karma for Ajax. I appreciated the ending of this subplot and the episode with Ajax going to Hugh for comfort, as it shows character development in both of them, as they are embracing their relationship as father and son.

Meanwhile, the Hugh and Penny subplot I felt was too hyped, considering how their almost hook-up fizzled out. I found their reason for their date–the stent prototype coming together–was true to their characters. I felt that the insertion of the positive drug test to add a conflict was a little too obvious, but it embedded well with the hospital drama. I also felt that Penny airing her anger via asking Hugh about whether he has cheated on previous girlfriends, was cliche and forced. As a writer, their almost hook-up fizzling out didn’t surprise me, but I’m wondering how long the writers are planning to drag this out as it is now feeling forced rather than natural.

Overall this episode was fantastic in regards to the Hayley/Ajax (or Hayjax, a portmanteau created by someone going by the name of Zulu, in their comment on one of Chloe Bayliss’ Instagram posts) and Miss Whyhope subplot, however it fell flat in regards to Penny and Hugh.

 

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: Hugh’s positive drug test result, and the little girl with severe asthma needing two procedures to clear her airways. The reveal of the house that she and her family lived in being a former meth lab, which affected Hugh’s drug test, was a nice touch.

Dora sighting: None. I couldn’t spot her, it’s likely that I missed her, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

-Hayley’s last name is revealed in this episode (Mills).

-Meryl states that her mother established the Miss Whyhope competition 30 years ago, yet in the tribute Charlie states the competition was established in 1961 (55+ years ago). This is the first noticeable continuity problem that I’ve come across in the series so far.

-Ken and Betty were picked as secret judges and their cute little arguments on doing the job was hilarious.

Best one liners:

  • “If I turn out to be pregnant I’ll be really pissed” (Mia after taking the drug test)
  • “I’m sure the corpse enjoyed it” (Hugh to Penny on a mishap Penny talks about that happened to her at uni)

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 6

I felt that this episode was a bit of a filler or rather a springboard for the remainder of the season.

The main focus of this episode was Toke clearly wanting to propose to Penny. Ironically this was a clear sign that the relationship was clearly going to end as they have barely had much of a relationship due to its long distance nature, and he hasn’t really bonded with Floyd. What I appreciated the most about this A story was that rather than going down the cliche route of Toke leaving Penny due to her role as a mother, he leaves her because of their lack of compatibility and to follow his own dreams. I also enjoyed Penny asking him the three questions before answering his one, as it was smart and realistic writing for the situation.

One part of the A story that wasn’t realistic was the ultimatum that Hugh gave Penny, it was rather odd for his character and didn’t add to the plot. Hugh rashly asking Kimberley to move in with him was more true to his character, and thankfully that didn’t happen. However now that Toke is gone, it will be interesting to see how the Penny-Hugh non-relationship is addressed, especially with Penny’s choice to walk away from Hugh at the end of the episode.

Now that Meryl is no longer mayor and she’s out of hot water, she now needs something or someone else to play with, in this case, Mr Collins. Charlie is fired for what she calls her “progressive teaching methods”, however due to hers and Matt’s financial situation, she needs to ask for her job back and in the process, finds out that Mr Collins has a rather unusual secret. I felt that the writers’ choice to have Meryl blackmail Mr Collins over his secret rather than Charlie, was spot on as blackmail is something Meryl not Charlie would resort to. I also enjoyed the twist of Charlie being promoted to Acting Principal during the P&C meeting when Mr Collins dramatically resigns when everyone favours Charlie getting her job back, without his secret being revealed.

On smaller notes, I enjoyed the introduction of sweet Downs Syndrome patient and gymnast, Max, in the Whyhope world, through Penny. I especially enjoyed his interactions with Penny and Floyd, hopefully we’ll see more of him in the future.

Overall this was another strong episode, however it wasn’t as strong as the previous episode.

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: Henry (Max’s dad) in a car accident, resulting in him being sent to Melbourne for treatment and Penny temporarily (for now) fostering Max.

Dora sighting: None. I couldn’t spot her, it’s likely that I missed her, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

-Mr Collins secret joy of dressing up and playing like a baby.

 

Best one liner:

  • “I’m going to need a coffee before roll call” (Floyd)

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 5

This episode introduced two new characters and explored the ramifications of the electoral fraud.

The introduction of Penny’s solicitor sister, Celia (Ella Scott Lynch), provided a breath of fresh air for the season. Her interactions with Penny at the beginning of the episode provided some one-liner gold and gave a nice insight into their relationship, however I felt her disposition as the “fun sister” to be cliche. I liked the juxtaposition between her interactions with Meryl and Hayley as their solicitor, and her interactions with Penny as her sister. With these interactions she plays a little dirty, both being a hindrance and a help to Meryl and Penny respectively. The most interesting part of her interactions with Penny was her revealing that Mark wasn’t always the perfect husband that Penny made him out to be. This revelation makes Penny’s reluctance to give in to her feelings for Hugh clear to the viewer and it actually makes sense now. I appreciated the writers’ choice to have Celia encourage Hugh to go after Penny, rather than going down the cliche route of being a one-night stand or a romantic obstacle.

The ramifications of the electoral fraud was interesting and finally came to a rather anti-climatic conclusion. What I enjoyed the most about the subplot was the moral dilemma thrown at Meryl by Celia, especially as it was the first one that has been thrown at her. It has already been made clear to the viewers that Meryl is corrupt and manipulative, however we have all been left to wonder exactly where she would draw the line, and in this B story we are finally shown—she draws the line at Hayley. Hayley and Meryl have always worked as a strong unit and when tempted to save her own skin by throwing her little protege under the bus, she actually does the right thing. For the first time Meryl is redeemable and likeable and I loved this moment. However I felt that her stepping down as mayor to prevent further consequences after episodes of build-up, was anti-climatic and fell flat too fast.

The introduction of Sergeant Darren (Uli Latukefu) was brief and unsatisfying, especially as the electoral fraud case was closed in the same episode. I especially loved the fact that he took Meryl’s advice on buying knitwear, hopefully we see more of him in the future.

The ending of the episode with Meryl overacting a heart attack and Hugh subsequently overacting his saving of her was hilarious.

Overall I believe this was the strongest episode of the season.

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: Ally, a Norwegian backpacker trapped in a farming vehicle and her subsequent complications.

Dora sighting: Behind Meryl while she is talking to Matt and Charlie at the farm.

A Place to Call Home alumni, Jenni Baird (Regina), as Norwegian backpacker, Hilda.

-Apparently Betty speaks Norwegian, knows about a hospital-style hangover cure, and owned a burlesque house in Shanghai.

-Celia teaching Ken how to pole dance involved nominating him as the pole.

-Ken’s sexual escapades with Celia involving the use of yoghurt and bananas and just stopping short of asphyxiation.

Best one liners:

  • “My husband died, that’s not a rut it’s a gaping hole” (Penny to Celia)
  • “It’s very early in the morning for judgement and abuse” (Penny to Celia)
  • “Dinner tonight, bring condoms, I mean wine” (Celia to Hugh)

 

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 4

I emphasised in my review of last week’s episode that the episode revolved around character development, this week’s episode revolved around plot/story arc development.

This week’s episode was split into A, B and C stories. The A story being Ajax’s work experience at the hospital, the B story being the recount of the council election ballots, and the C story being who would inherit the Knight family farm after Jim passes.

The A story provided solid hospital drama starting with the fatal plane crash, which lead to revelation of how the hospital handles dead bodies when it lacks a morgue, to Brian’s death. The most interesting part about this story was the fact that we are seeing the hospital from a different perspective, we are seeing it from Ajax’s eyes–a sweet, innocent and idealistic teenager. I also enjoyed the character development between Ajax and Hugh, as Ajax’s experiences with death at the hospital led to his unresolved issues with Hugh and his mother’s death coming to the surface. The ending of this story and the episode with Betty helping Ajax spiritually deal with his issues regarding death was perfect and incredibly sweet.

The B story of the recount of the council election ballots added much needed comic relief and balance to the episode. While there were some serious moments with Rod’s ill health, it was mostly comic with “Why Throat” revealed to be Rod’s own wife, and Rod and Meryl’s chuckling encounter on the street. This story arc is clearly far from over despite the fact that Meryl legitimately won, as Tugger shows the footage of Hayley tipping off the police to Meryl and subsequently reveals she is leaving, and that a tough city cop will be replacing her and investigating Meryl. I’m looking forward to seeing how this story arc will progress.

The C story of the conflict between Matt, Charlie, Meryl and Jim, over who will inherit the farm when Jim passes away was understated but also underwhelming. The promos made it out to be this big drama, when in reality it was a brief conflict that was glazed over. The reveal of the “tradition” being the “eldest son of the eldest son” inheriting the farm, which means that it will go to Hugh, so it goes to Ajax and Hayley, so they have a secure future, was unexpected but also made sense. While the glamping scenery was interesting and aesthetically pleasing, I didn’t really feel it added all that much to the episode, and the reveal of Jac having ulterior journalistic motives was predictable.

On smaller notes, the Hugh-Penny-Toke love triangle was subtly addressed with a hilarious fight scene and a solid hospital scene. Despite the tension, the three of them actually make a great medical team, and I loved that Penny would prefer to see them fighting than fawning over each other.

Overall this was a solid episode with concise and well-paced writing, and superb performances by the entire cast, especially Matt Castley (Ajax) and Patrick Wilson (Rod).

 

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: The plane crash, the death of Brian, and Rod’s emergency heart surgery.

Dora sighting: At the glamping site when Matt and Jim are talking about who inherits the farm.

Throwbacks to season one: Penny’s and Hugh’s mutual fear of flying.

-Penny and Hugh sedating each other to get through the flight back to Whyhope was hilariously cute.

-The Whyhope Hospital lacking a morgue and the subsequent fridge jokes and moments, provides another glimpse into the realities of rural medicine.

-Mia finally kissed Ken.

-Apparently Charlie’s maiden name was Priera.

-Charlie’s book has another fan in Jac.

Best one liners:

  • “Hey, that’s my badminton arm!” (Floyd to Hugh)