As much as Martin and Louisa work through couples therapy, not a lot seems to be, well, working for them. Not only did the couple’s date night go sideways thanks to the brief Portwenn presence of Louisa’s old flame Danny, but a well-planned birthday party for James hit the skids after Martin discovered a contagious Hepatitis A patient providing the entertainment.
Back at Dr. Timoney’s, Martin and Louisa are asked about their night on the town, to which Louisa confirms was “a bit of a disaster.” Soon, she can’t help but wonder if the difficulty she and Martin are experiencing is commonplace.
Louisa: “Are things this difficult for everyone? Is all of this struggling a normal part of the process?
Dr. Timoney: “Well, normal is a very loaded word. Not every couple that goes through therapy stays together. That shouldn’t be seen as a failure. Accepting separation is a success in itself.”
Louisa: “I’m not sure I entirely agree with that.”
Dr. Timoney: “That’s because you need to challenge your preconceptions of being apart. I want you to think about some of the positive advantages that being single might have and make a list.”
Martin: “The whole point of us coming here is we don’t want to separate.”
After this stone-faced, yet curious retort from Martin, Dr. Timoney notes that personal wants and needs aren’t always the same thing. Louisa and Martin are again advised to consider the benefits of living apart.
A strong silence is held between Louisa and Martin as they leave Dr. Timoney’s. Louisa reasserts her disagreement with the therapist’s perspective, but in true Martin form, he suggests that the two of them see the process through.
As Louisa and Martin work toward common ground, possibility is rocking the ground on which PC Penhale stands. Considering his astounding crime control rate in Portwenn, higher-ups in the lawmaking community are looking to promote the officer. Unfortunately, this would mean leaving the village he loves and moving to Exeter. Asking Bert advice about what he should do, PC Penhale becomes the recipient of much disinterest: “Take it,” relays Bert. “It wouldn’t break my heart to see you gone.”
However, the one opinion PC Penhale really cares for is that of Janice, whom he has fancied for some time now. As he explains the opportunity to her, PC Penhale makes sure to state that nothing is tying him to Portwenn. It is clear that he wants Janice to give him a reason to stay. As this conversation carries on near an ice cream truck parked too close to a school, a child obliviously crossing the street is narrowly missed by a car that soon crashes heavily.
During the commotion, PC Penhale notices a runaway stroller and sprints fearlessly to stop it – and the infant he thought was in it – from certain destruction. Although a baby did not occupy the stroller, Janice recognizes his moment of attempted heroism.
Behind the wheel of the damaged car was Dr. Timoney, whose noggin took a real good wallop. Louisa, who was on the scene with the school kids, rushes her therapist to Martin. While the injury to her head looks rather rough, Martin doesn’t see any pressing medical issues and advises Dr. Timoney to consult him if her health takes a turn.
Meanwhile, it’s business as usual at the pharmacy for Mrs. Tishell – until the arrival of American tourist Beth Traywick (played by Sigourney Weaver, who is a close friend of “Doc Martin” star Selina Cadell) and her need to purchase glaucoma medicine. Mrs. Tishell refuses to sell Beth any drugs without a prescription, which only encourages Beth to up her demanding, somewhat arrogant nature.
After checking on Clive following his recent medical emergency, Martin encounters Beth when trying to exit the pharmacy. He too refuses her prescription request and encourages her to first make an appointment. Her challenging ways are only matched by Martin’s strict refusal to play by anyone’s rules but his own.
Soon enough, Beth shows up at the surgery seeking an appointment with Martin. Before heading into the examination room, she hands Morwenna a female empowerment book, which could prove troubling for the doctor if she chooses to take its message of being assertive to heart.
In the examination room, Beth says she has a run-of-the-mill case of asthma, but unfortunately the medication she’s taking for that, plus the one for her glaucoma, shouldn’t be mixed. Taking Beth down a couple more pegs, Martin prescribes her the right medicinal combination, before mocking the skillset of the previous doctor that treated her.
The often-mocked PC Penhale has thus far struggled receiving advice about whether or not he should leave Portwenn for a promotion. While staring out at the sea, he once again encounters Janice. After stating that he’ll probably take the job, a disappointed Janice states that she’ll miss him. As the conversation evolves, we see that PC Penhale’s perseverance and charm has won Janice over – she has become his reason to stay. The two soon arrange a dinner date and intimately join hands. Love looks to be in the air!
Poor Martin and Louisa, however, can’t catch a break. Despite checking out fine after her car accident, Dr. Timoney is acting loopy. First, she reveals confidential information about Martin and Louisa’s therapy sessions to Mrs. Tishell before showing multiple instances of forgetfulness. This, unfortunately, is only escalated when Dr. Timoney urgently invites Martin and Louisa over for an impromptu session. Here, the therapist is acting rather bonkers, setting off Martin’s medical radar. He decrees that Dr. Timoney has suffered a worse brain injury than originally thought and arranges for her to go to a hospital for further treatment.
Looking defeated after the Dr. Timoney episode, Martin drops Louisa off at the house, before informing her that he can’t continue living in his new place, or living like he and Louisa are. It’s evident that Martin needs a change.
While Louisa is sympathetic to Martin’s feelings, she seems slightly taken aback by his admission that maybe they should figure out what to do with James and “everything else.” In not so many words, Martin appears to be choosing the path of a separation. After all of the obstacles he and Louisa have attempted to overcome, Martin has grown tired and seems interested in moving on.
Could this be the end of Martin and Louisa? We may know soon enough.