Archives

Doctor Doctor–Season 1 Finale

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.

Advertisements

Doctor Doctor–Season 1, Episode 9

I delivered my verdict on this episode on Twitter–brilliant and absolutely heart shattering.

Ajax has exiled himself from his family after being told that Hugh is his father. I felt that the ramifications of this revelation weren’t explored fully, it almost felt brushed off and everyone moved on too quickly, with the biggest ramification being public humiliation. Considering the build up to the revelation, it felt like a let down, however I question whether this choice was made to focus fully on the Joey subplot.

Speaking of the Joey subplot, it could not have been more realistic and heart shattering, not breaking, shattering. Joey requesting Hugh (his doctor as well as his friend) to end his life was slightly cliche but I’ll give it pass considering how realistically it was portrayed. Dave Eastgate’s, Lucy Durack’s and Rodger Corser’s performances were absolutely spectacular and I felt that both the writers and the actors handled the topic with realism and sensitivity.

I wasn’t sure at first whether Joey was going to die in this episode or in next week’s finale. However this episode was the right one, as having a character die in a finale can be cliche, and the time in the finale can be dedicated to the impending grief and ramifications. I found it interesting that the writers and director chose to have Joey’s final moments interweaved with Jim’s transfusion. Whether this is foreshadowing, symbolism or an attempt to avoid traumatising the viewers is left up to interpretation.

Penny’s subplot was interesting as we saw another side to her—a simultaneously reckless and ambitious side with her sleeping with an 18 year old and being interviewed for a new job, respectively. While her interactions with the love smitten teenage boy (Tyler De Nawi) were sweet and hilarious, I didn’t feel that this minor subplot really added to the episode. In regards to her new job, or at least the interview for it, it’s obvious that it’s been inserted to up the romantic stakes between her and Hugh for next week’s finale.

Other small moments I enjoyed were Hayley standing up to Meryl and Jim, Ajax in his school uniform and the discovery of the damage to Hugh’s hand being permanent. I was personally surprised by the outcome of Hugh’s hand injury and I’m hoping his surgeon is wrong considering there’s going to be another season next year.

Overall this episode, especially in regards to the Joey subplot, was heart shattering and raw. I think it will hit a nerve, if not the tear ducts of every single viewer. If this is the penultimate episode, I can’t wait for the finale.

 

Doctor Doctor–Season 1, Episode 8

This episode was the one all the viewers had been waiting for–Ajax finally finds out that Hugh is his father.

While the outcome of the truth coming out prior than planned was cliche and inevitable, I did love the build up as it was authentic. The whole family find out ultimately because of Hugh as he decides to tell his parents and Charlie, with the latter telling Matt. It’s a typical thing to happen with someone like that within the family, however one thing I didn’t see coming was Meryl’s admission of her knowledge of the situation. I liked how the inevitable truth coming out tied in with Hugh’s minor surgery subplot.

I loved the surgery subplot as Hugh’s surgeon skills were on display again. I also thought it was an interesting and humorous choice by the writers to have Hugh’s ego taken down a few notches by Aiofe’s hatred towards him. While I did find the scenes between Aiofe, Ken and Aiofe’s friend humorous, their little vendetta didn’t add to the episode. I did enjoy Ken’s moment of trying to be a bad boy.

I did enjoy Hugh’s further attempt at fathering both Ajax and Floyd with the motorbike and surgery respectively, however it didn’t really add to the rest of the episode. I also enjoyed Betty telling Penny that it’s okay to like Hugh–she’s more observant than the others–and it opens the door for future plots.

The motorbike motif was well done and showed Ajax’s emotions perfectly from fear at the beginning, to confidence just past the middle, to shock and upset at the end of the episode.

The writers’ choice to have the episode end on Ajax alone on the farm, Hugh’s hand surgery and Meryl announcing her intention to run for mayor, was a great one. These choices and endings are clearly not resolved as they are being used to set the remaining episodes in motion.

Overall this episode was great but not spectacular, however it is an improvement from last week. I’m looking forward to seeing how all of the aforementioned writers’ choice play out over the remainder of the season.

Doctor Doctor–Season 1, Episode 7

This episode to me felt like a filler.

At the end of the previous episode, Hugh suggests to Aiofe that they become a couple, which plays out in this episode humorously and disastrously. The outcome was obvious and frankly, since there was a strong build up for them as love interests, I don’t understand why the inevitable had to be dragged out. I felt that Aiofe’s behaviour was quite out of character and I didn’t like the change from her sassy, casual self to a needy girlfriend, just to suit the story.

Interestingly there seemed to be a penis theme throughout the episode with the ice addict and the town artwork. I don’t know why the writers made this particular choice, however it did provide some laughs, good with the ice addict but great with the town artwork, especially with Hayley ultimately blowing it up. Hayley’s choice adds another dimension to her character and shows how well she fits into the Knight family.

It was interesting to discover that Matt didn’t know everything he had, his parents do, which ultimately lead to the punch up with his father. However as interesting as it was, it didn’t really serve the rest of the episode. What was also interesting was that there were no interactions between Hugh and Charlie.

There were several moments throughout the episode that I felt were underrated and under explored, such as: Matt and Jim’s punch up, Meryl and Charlie’s similar ways of comforting/reprimanding their husbands, and Penny’s fear of flying. These moments were all humorous and added layers to the characters, yet weren’t resolved. Joey also made another reappearance to be sent to an immunotherapy trial.

I loved the scenes between Penny and Hugh when they were stuck at their patient’s home. It showed how well they work as a team and further explored the possibility of them as love interests, especially when they have to sleep in the same bed and Hugh tells Penny about Ajax. The highlight for me was when Penny finds out about Hugh and Aiofe and they act like an old married couple, which ultimately leads to them saving an elderly woman from dying due to Hugh’s stupid actions. I didn’t see Debbie snorting the cocaine coming, but it was a gutsy scene.

Overall this episode was good but not great and clearly nothing more than a filler.

Doctor Doctor–Season 1, Episode 6

This episode focused more on Hugh’s family–his actual family and his hospital family.

With Hugh’s family it was obvious that the aftermath of Charlie’s ectopic pregnancy was going to be explored. Both Matt and Charlie are grieving in their own ways–avoiding each other–it’s a little cliche for them to avoid each other for their inevitable chat at the end of the episode, however I’ll give it a pass as I’ve never experienced ectopic pregnancy and its aftermath myself. What I liked about this plot was Meryl and Hayley trying to help her, while they can both be overbearing and they were a little to Charlie, they did mean well and it’s nice to see them in “caring mode” rather than “people pleasing, better than everyone else mode”. Even the ordinarily distant Jim tried to cheer Matt up, in his own odd cliched way.

I also liked the moments involving Ajax’s birthday, I’m not overly sure whether Hugh is trying to be Ajax’s brother or father both in general and in regards to buying him the right present, however it is kind of sweet in his own arrogant way.

My favourite moments of the episode involved Hugh’s hospital family. Clearly Hugh and Penny are growing closer to the point where I’m questioning whether she is being set up as a potential love interest for him.

Meanwhile his interactions with his former colleague show both his city arrogance, as well as how much he has changed since moving to Whyhope. Betty’s, Ken’s and Penny’s reactions to Hugh words also show how much their relationships with him have grown–they all care about Hugh’s opinion and he in turn feels guilty. I also love his interaction with Floyd to try and avoid his former colleague, his ability to work with Betty in an emergency situation which was similar to when he worked with Aiofe in the pilot, and his way of making amends at the end of the episode.

I liked the choice by the writers to have Hugh’s circumstances finally revealed to both of his families. Apparently there will be ten episodes in this season and the series was renewed for a second season after the first two episodes aired, so having the truth come out just after the halfway point of the first season is a good time. The fact that Hugh told Aiofe and she told everyone says a lot about her character. It has been revealed that she has a slight drug and alcohol problem, she parties hard and now it has been revealed that she is not trustworthy. I can’t help but feel that the writers are going out of their way to show how incompatible Hugh and Aiofe are and how compatible he and Penny are. Maybe I just feel this way because I don’t believe he and Aiofe are a good fit, he is changing, Aiofe isn’t.

On another note, Dora the Goat makes another brief appearance, for the life of me I can’t figure out whether she belongs to the Knight family or whether she is just a stray that happens to have great comedic timing.

Overall this episode wasn’t as emotional as last week’s, on the curve I’d say it’s a plateau but I don’t think the series is going downhill, I’d say it’s on a steady rise.

 

 

 

Doctor Doctor–Season 1, Episode 5

To me this episode was emotional, not for me, but for the characters.

We get off to a fast-paced, dramatic start, going back and forth between the two major plots–Hugh’s IED-trapped patient, Jai, and Charlie’s ectopic pregnancy.

The sequence with Hugh trying to rescue and treat his patient in the middle of a minefield was equal parts frustrating and intense. With the great directing, it was easy to see and empathise with Hugh’s frustration, as well as be kept on the edge of your seat as Hugh was walking through the field. The outcome was predictable as the writers are clearly not going to kill a protagonist, however the writers made up for it by the ingenius lead up to reaching the predictable outcome. I’m glad that the story didn’t end there, with the consequences being explored with Ajax later on, especially discovering the real reason behind his tantrum after Jai’s fate was revealed.

Charlie’s ectopic pregnancy was spoiled for me due to the trailers, however in this episode itself, it was a nice balance for the reveal to be slowly built up to, rather than fast and intense like the IED scene. Once her ectopic pregnancy was revealed, it became fast and intense and was over just as quickly as it began. I’m not sure whether this was a good thing or not, it didn’t drag on but it wasn’t explored thoroughly as the outcome was predictable. Just like with Hugh in the minefield, Charlie is clearly not going to die from the ectopic pregnancy as she is too big of a character to kill off this early. Instead the writers chose to explore Hugh and Charlie’s sexual tension in a really stupid way. I feel that this is getting old, either have Charlie love Matt or love Hugh, the writers questionable need to have her go back and forth needs to be dealt with and I hope the writers eventually made up their mind. Charlie decided that her feelings were gone, but Hugh’s feelings definitely haven’t disappeared.

On other notes, the exploration of Penny and Floyd was perfectly done due to circumstances in which it took place. I felt the only real way for Penny’s and Floyd’s grief to be explored was through a major event revolving around the death, and the anniversary was perfect for it. I also enjoyed the scenes involving Joey and Tugger, I thought it was sweet that Hugh tried to set him up with her (even if it was just to get him laid) and that it was even sweeter that they turned out to be a perfect match. I also enjoyed Hugh’s interactions with Ajax and Floyd as his potential fathering skills were on display, as well as his words at Callie’s grave, whether his parents knew about Ajax being his son is yet to be revealed.

Overall this episode had great emotional content and in terms of dramatic stakes and strength, it is at the same level as last week’s episode, hopefully the steady improvement continues.

 

Doctor Doctor–Season 1, Episode 4

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.