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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)
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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)

 

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 3

This episode felt completely different to the previous two and I think it was due to the amount of character development.

This episode provided major character development with Hayley and Charlie. With Hayley we learn that she was adopted like Ajax, meet her parents, and see where her religious beliefs and pressures come from. With Charlie, we learn that she wrote a book years ago about the Knight family hidden in sci-fi metaphors.

What I loved about these developments is the fact that they enabled Hayley and Charlie to become more rounded characters. There is finally more to them than being love interests of the Knight men. In this episode we get an insight into Hayley’s life as she grew up and why she is struggling with both the electoral fraud and losing her virginity to Ajax. The fact that Meryl knows she has lost her virginity but her own mother doesn’t, provides a subtle but strong contrast, between the two mothers and families. Hayley confiding in her mother that as she’s getting older it’s harder to know what the right thing to do is, perfectly sums up Hayley’s character at this point in time and the situations she’s in. Her breakdown over the electoral fraud was well performed by Bayliss, with a great pay off of Tugger catching her and Meryl in the act of trying to hide the ballots again. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome of the electoral fraud story arc in future episodes.

I loved the writers’ choice to have Charlie’s book appear to be badly written because Matt didn’t enjoy it, when in reality it was good and Matt thought it was bad as he didn’t grasp the metaphors. The running gag of the book making its way to each Knight family member (with the exception of Hugh) was hilarious. I felt Matt publishing the book online was the perfect outcome as it was true to his character and I hope it’s not the last we hear or see of it.

Meanwhile Penny has returned but surprisingly Nora hasn’t actually left yet. I honestly thought her departure was in the previous episode but I was wrong. I loved the writers’ choice to throw in another plot twist through the reveal that Nora was dealing Oxycodone to Gus, as he would be the last person you’d suspect of being addicted to drugs. I would have liked the reasons behind his addiction to have been addressed, but considering the reason for this twist was to provide another obstacle, to eventually finding another way to get rid of Nora, I’ll give it a small pass. I found the outcome of getting rid of Nora by scaring her into thinking that Gus died of an overdose unsatisfying, but as she’s finally gone, I’ll eventually forgive it.

On smaller notes, Hugh is living in the unused section of the hospital and even buys a sauna for his own use, which perfectly leads to the hospital blackout. The pay off of the sauna at the end of the episode by Ken using it to help the Lupus patient was hilarious and perfectly executed. Hugh has also come up with the idea of designing a stent in the shape of helix as another project for him and Trevor, after their artificial heart transplant failed, during another hook up with Kimberley of all times. That being said, I’m looking forward to seeing the stent development in future episodes.

Overall this episode was a big improvement over the previous two and provided interesting, as well as much needed character development.

 

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: The Lupus patient, the crush syndrome patient, the blackout and Nora dealing Oxycodone to Gus.

Dora sighting: I think in the background at Matt and Charlie’s place when they were discussing Charlie’s book.

Throwbacks to season one: The running gag of Penny following Floyd while he was on his way to school, and the reappearance of Gus.

Best one liners:

  • “Can it be the right decision and still be a mistake?” (Penny to Betty on moving back to Whyhope) (N.B. I haven’t quoted this line exactly right)
  • “We should have just let her die, hey?” (Mia on Nora upon discovering that the latter has given the hospital a new set of problems)

-Ajax is smarter than he lets on as he was capable of clearly explaining the metaphors in Charlie’s book to an oblivious Matt.

-Apparently Betty had a long-distance relationship with a man in Bulgaria.

-Apparently Ajax wants to have three children with Hayley.

-Hugh’s LED display clock counting down the end of his probation is hilarious.

 

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 2

Now that the premiere has come and gone, the season can really get underway.

The A story focusing on Ajax and Hayley was incredibly sweet and touching, as well as hilarious. Hayley struggling with her conflict between her religious beliefs and human desires was realistic, funny and true to her character. Both hers’ and Ajax’s reactions to their “first time” was hilarious, especially Hayley asking Charlie if they did in fact have sex.

The most interesting part of this story was Ajax seeking approval from Jim, Matt and Hugh on his decision to propose to Hayley and their subsequent reactions. Matt takes his marital issues out on him, Jim wholeheartedly (and sweetly) approves, and Hugh (or “other dad” as Ajax calls him) tries to discourage him more as a doctor than a father. True to his character, Ajax sticks to his guns and proposes in a very sweet and romantic manner, which in turn inspires Matt to let his marital issues go. I’m thankful that the writers made this decision, if their marital issues continued for the whole season, it would bore the viewers, in fact I was already bored with it, let the new season be new.

Meanwhile, the B story revolves around getting rid of Nora. The gang’s (Hugh, Betty, Ken and Mia) plan to hide the patients in a (sadly) unused section of the hospital and film her sexually harassing Ken, was funny, but also a little cliche. Nora threatening to expose Hugh’s and Penny’s involvement in Joey’s death to save her own skin would have been more shocking, if Joey’s death wasn’t referenced before the episode kicked off. That being said, it was a genius way for the writers to throw a spanner in the works.

The outcome of Nora being struck by lightning on the golf course and Ken rearranging the roster so Nora would ultimately be given a huge enough Workers Comp payment to be able to retire, was bizarre but also the most refreshingly unique character departure I’ve ever seen. Like with the Matt and Charlie subplot, if the Nora drama lasted the whole season it would bore the viewers.

Penny and Floyd’s appearances were brief, however it’s clear these brief appearances are to provide reasons and a transition for their eventual return to Whyhope.

Overall this episode was a solid springboard for the rest of the season with the conclusion of the Matt & Charlie, and Nora subplots, as well as Ajax and Hayley’s engagement. This episode was also a step up from the premiere.

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: The Racetrack accident and getting rid of Nora.

Dora sighting: Standing behind Ajax, outside the house, as he was proposing to Hayley.

Throwbacks to season one: Joey’s death and toxicology report.

-Best one liner: “People are complicated messy individuals, especially the interesting ones.” (Meryl)

-Second best one liner: “We’re trying to save her, right?” (Mia on Nora after the latter is struck by lightning).

-Ken clearly has some mojo as both Nora and Mia are attracted to him.

-The unused section of the hospital due to government funding being cut off, provides a sad but realistic insight into the harsh realities of medical care in regional areas.

 

Doctor Doctor–Season 2 Premiere

The purpose of a season premiere is similar to the purpose of a season finale. The season finale’s job is to conclude the season’s story arcs and set up potential new arcs for the next season. The season premiere’s job is to commence new story arcs for the new season and to follow up on the potential plots set up in the previous season’s finale. By this logic, this premiere did about half its job.

Usually when a season premiere kicks off, especially second and beyond, the writers make a choice for a period of time to pass in the fictional world to give themselves wriggle room to kick off new arcs. In this case, four weeks have passed, which I think is a sufficient amount of time. I liked the writers’ choice to kick off with Hugh visiting Floyd and Penny at Bondi rather than at Whyhope, as it’s a smooth continuation of the vague last five minutes of last year’s finale. I also liked the writers’ choice to have them in a “non-relationship”—their friendship has clearly improved, they clearly have feelings for each other, but are also clearly not ready to face it and are living in blissful denial.

I also liked the reveal of Hugh’s other reason for being in Sydney–his artificial heart being transplanted into a human for the first time–which provided a nice throwback to the previous season. I felt that Hugh’s sense of failure when the patient ultimately died was true to his character, however I didn’t feel that the artificial heart moments really added anything else to the episode as a whole.

Back in Whyhope, Meryl has become mayor by a mere 11 votes, or so we think. Meryl’s disdain at the smell and colour of the mayoral robes was true to her character, and so was the reveal that she has hidden boxes filled with ballots. While we are yet to find out the context behind the hiding of the ballots, which will make a great story arc, Hayley’s attempts to hide them and her subsequent issues with her conscience were both true to her character and hilarious. I know her choice to hide rather than burn the boxes will come back to haunt both her and Meryl at some point.

Matt and Charlie are still separated with Matt apparently hiding out at some mystery location. The reveal of him actually staying at the local motel was predictable, however the cliche was kind of prevented by Matt revealing that he was originally staying in another town before coming back home. I found Charlie’s clingy then hilarious attempts to get Matt to come home realistic, however the highlight of this subplot for me was that it didn’t totally work at first as Matt snuck in to make the beer. I felt that Matt’s choice to ask Charlie about the B&S Ball incident was forced and only put in place to add further conflict–a writing necessity sure, but it didn’t feel natural. I mentioned in my review of last year’s finale that I hoped the writing of their relationship would be sorted out this season. Based on this, I feel that there’s still some work to do but since it’s only the premiere, I’ll give it a pass for now.

Meanwhile at the hospital, Nora is making everyone’s lives hell, but to me the most interesting development in her character is the reveal that she is clearly an incompetent doctor. However the reasons behind her incompetence are clearly going to be this season’s biggest story arc. It will be interesting to see how her character develops as the season progresses. In the meantime, Aoife has departed for India. While I enjoyed Shalom Brune-Franklin’s performances last season, I feel that since the relationship between her and Hugh had run its course, that she really had no further purpose in the show, so it made sense that she was written out. I’m just hoping that the writers don’t take Hugh down the same path with her replacement, the green but strong Mia (Brittany Clark). That being said I appreciated that Aoife made an appearance via Skype to give her a proper goodbye and that her and Hugh are on good terms.

I enjoyed the brief reveal of Penny dating a resident at her hospital. This will add some nice, necessary but also cliche conflict to the Hugh-Penny non-relationship.

Overall this season premiere was solid, but not spectacular. Other than the Matt and Charlie subplot, the writing was concise with nice throwbacks to the previous season, and the acting superb. I’m looking forward to reviewing the rest of the season.

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: A woman giving birth not realising she was carrying triplets as it was “a bit hard to get into town” for ultrasounds.

Dora sighting: Near the dam where Charlie was making her “alluring” video for Matt.

-There was no explanation for the hilarious appearance of the ram in Hugh’s office.

Throwbacks to season one: Hugh’s artificial heart, Jim’s blood disorder, the pharmaceutical rep that has casual sex with Hugh, the reveal of Ajax being Hugh’s son, and the B&S Ball.

-Ajax is clearly the most perceptive in the family as he noticed Jim’s fatigue before his collapse at the wheel.

-Matt is clearly the stealthiest family member with his methods of both preventing Charlie from waking up and letting her know that he was there.

-I didn’t really like Nora’s sexual harassment of Ken and the fact that it was meant to be hilarious. If the roles or rather the genders in this situation were reversed, no-one would be finding it funny.