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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The TV series Doc Martin is a well-written quirky, charming comedy. It
has a winning mix of colorful but believable characters of all shapes,
sizes and ages; picture postcard location in a Cornish fishing village;
and true-to-life dramas of an English village general medical practice.
The series carries on with distinction an English tradition in which doctor/author Richard Gordon was a master with his popular 'Doctor in/at/on ' novels, which also had movie and TV spin-offs.
The main character, Dr Martin Ellingham, played by Martin Clunes, is a gruff and detached oddball. He fights recurrent bouts of haemophobia - fear of the sight of blood. He appears to have a mild autism-spectrum disorder impairing his ability to relate to other people, including his aunts, his local teacher girlfriend and his baby with her (at the end of series 4 and through series 5), and his patients. But along with whatever is his unexplained behavioral or personality disorder, he also has a touch of the autistic savant: he is an excellent medical practitioner, often diagnosing and successfully treating problems overlooked by others.
Usually I am not a fan of sitcoms or soap operas. While this show has foundations in the sitcom/soap opera genre, it soars beyond the usual in that genre. Its formula of good stories and fine ensemble cast makes Doc Martin compelling viewing for me. The picturesque real Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac, which plays the fictional location of Portwenn, is a "character" in its own right.
This is a truly bizarro episode. I wasn't thrilled with how weird it
got, but Martin's profession of his love for Louisa and his FINALLY
acknowledging how horrible his parents were at raising him save the
day--making this a truly memorable episode.
Eleanor is recovering from an impromptu operation from Martin! During this convalescence, Mrs. Tishell's husband returns home from the oil rig at the same time Mrs. Tishell is truly going off the deep end. Throughout all the show, the viewer knows that she loves Martin--but here the severity of this and its delusional nature become obvious. The Doc finds she's built a little shrine to him...and she kidnaps Martin's son in order to force Martin to meet her for a tryst!! This is all super-wacky but works wonderfully when Martin finally proves himself human and talks about his love for Louisa and agrees that his draconian ideas about child-raising are stupid.
All in all, for fans of the series, this is a must-see. Very sweet and worth your time.
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