The Great Doc Martin (Re) Watch Moves on to Series 3!

Doc Martin won’t be airing tonight on WETA, but you can still get your Portwenn fix this week, because our great Doc Martin viewing marathon is rolling right along here at Telly Visions.

This week, we’re kicking off Series 3, with episodes “The Apple Doesn’t Fall” and “Movement.” My fingers are all crossed for some real forward momentum with some of these storylines that have been spinning their wheels for multiple episodes now. Here’s hoping!

So, come on, click through and come chat with me! Leave your thoughts, favorite moments, funny lines, etc. in the comments.

This is the One Where: Martin believes Louisa may be anemic after she passes out in front of him. Portwenn gets a new PC. Martin treats a young girl with hyperactivity.

The Opening Sequence. I have no idea why I found the cold opening of Louisa reading a fairytale to be such an affective narrative device, but I really loved it – though shouldn’t it be “Beauty and the Beast” she’s reading? I am quite curious if this is meant to serve as some sort of thematic framework for this episode or this season – but it would be so cool if it did. Presenting Martin in a more sympathetic/heroic light occasionally would be good for the character I think.(And making sure he acts in such a way so as to deserve it.)

The Continuing Saga of Martin and Louisa: This Sort of Feels Like Progress? Martin rushes to help Louisa after she passes out reading to a group of schoolchildren.  She insists she’s fine, but Martin wants her to come by the surgery and get checked out. Then they apparently make plans that sound an awful lot like getting together for dinner? Dare I hope that we are finally finally going to have some actual forward progress with the two of them that goes behind them having awkward conversations and fights?

When Louisa goes to the surgery and the two of have awkward conversation number a million, she comes out with what is possibly the best line of the series – “Everything’s always up to me, isn’t it? You never do anything or say anything to help us move on, we just go round and round in circles.” This line. I want to hug it. Because, yes, and it’s so fantastic to finally see this problem with their relationship or whatever it is acknowledged out loud on the show. More than anything else that one scene has given me hope that maybe we’re not in for another season of frustration with the two of them. Amazing!

Oh, Goodbye, Mark: Sometimes I hate that I watch so much television, because I had a feeling my prediction that Mark would be leaving Portwenn was correct. Sigh. Why do all the characters I love end up leaving? If you have any person you really dislike on this show, you should probably encourage me to start cheerleading for them as much as possible, it’s apparently the fastest way to get them off the canvas. I’ll miss you, Mark! You were adorable!

Pauline Becomes Interesting At Last. It’s taken an entire season for me to warm to Pauline at all, but this was the first episode where she’s been really interesting the whole way through. Back in “On the Edge,” I liked that she was so forthright about wanting to be a nurse, and was saddened that she wasn’t angrier at Al for “forgetting” to mail in her application materials. So, it’s exceptionally nice to see that story thread continuing in the new season, and it’s wonderful to see Pauline trying to be proactive about broadening the parameters of her job and wanting to actually learn. Yes, it’s unfortunate that Pauline’s desire to be more than a receptionist lead to her giving patients inaccurate advice, but part of me also blames Martin for dismissing her repeated requests for education and development opportunities. He spends way too much time not listening to her.

Really loved the scenes of her helping Martin treat the little girl, and that Martin finally acknowledged that she was actually useful to have around by sending her for a class to learn about how to handle all the blood taking and testing. It’s sort of surprising, I barely even tolerated Pauline before this episode, but I was so happy for her at the end.

Meet New PC Joe Penhale. We meet Mark’s replacement, Joe Penhale, the new Portwenn police constable when Martin finds him slumped over in his car, seemingly asleep (or possibly dead according to Martin). It turns out he has narcolepsy, apparently as a result of getting kicked in the head by a horse. Snap judgment: I don’t instantly like Joe as much as Mark, but he seems sweet and interesting enough. And, from the shallow end, I thought he had some interesting chemistry with Pauline, whether or not that ever goes anywhere.

The Medical Case of the Week: Not Martin’s Finest Moment. Am beginning to think this show just delights in confounding my expectations sometimes – for some reason the fact that Martin wasn’t overtly awful to anyone for a bit lulled me into a false sense of security, or something, because when he went off his rant to Mrs. Lane about how some children are just bad kids and that Delph needed to be “taken in hand” and then called both mother and patient fat, I was horrified. Horrified. I mean, there’s tough love, and calling it like it is, or however you want to phrase it, but that was just so over the line of anything that’s acceptable from a medical professional. And I was so inordinately pleased that Martin’s initial diagnosis was incorrect, and that Delph had been nicking diet pills from her mother and that there was at least in some part a chemical reason for her behavior because I wanted him to acknowledge how wrong that whole outburst had been. Of course, he didn’t, but we, the viewers are at least aware of it, so that’s something.

Series 3, Episode 2, “Movement”

This is the One Where: Bert Large abandons the plumbing business in favor of opening up a restaurant. Unfortunately, after the restaurant’s opening, Portwenn gets hit by a barrage of food poisoning cases. Martin and Louisa go on something that looks an awful lot like a date.

Another New Receptionist. Well, sort of.  Now that Pauline’s going off to learn about how to take blood, she needs someone to cover for her while she’s training and possibly to help out with administrative duties while she’s doing other things around the surgery. Enter Poppy, who seems sweet and is fairly adorable and has the literally the most overbearing and pushy mother in the world. She can stick around for a bit I think.

The Continuing Saga of Martin and Louisa: I Think This IS Progress! Louisa invites Martin over to her place for dinner – and he says yes! And there is no hemming and hawing around whether or not they will – they just make a plan and suddenly are now doing something that looks an awful lot like an actual date. I kind of don’t know what to do.

Of course their date is completely derailed by Louisa dropping the food all over her floor and suffering a power outage, and then they go to Bert’s and other awkward things keep happening. But trust me, I’d rather watch a hundred episodes with zany date hijinks and stupid things happening to the two of them than one more second of them trying to puzzle out whether they want to go on the date at all. Progress.

Hey, It’s Klaus from Vampire Diaries! I realize that this episode was filmed probably long before The Vampire Diaries ever even existed, but seeing Joseph Morgan on Doc Martin was highly personally entertaining. Anyway, he’s playing a guy named Mick who shows up to the surgery to get treatment for being stabbed while he was in prison. Yes, really.

Bert’s New Restaurant: Disaster in the Making. Bert has given up the plumbing business to open a restaurant. Which is sort of charming in that weird Bert way, except that everything is of course horrible – the place has no liquor license, and only one person cooking, who ends up quitting after slicing her hand open on the first day, and Martin ends up with blood in his food. Awww, Bert.

After his opening day disaster, Bert hires Mick as his replacement cook, but suddenly everyone in town comes down with something that looks an awful lot like food poisoning and they all assume it’s because of Bert’s new restaurant. Of course, it’s not – it’s actually Martin’s own fault for trying to fix his dishwasher and messing up the plumbing and making all the patients Poppy’d given tea to tremendously ill. (The fact that it’s Martin’s own fault feels a bit deliciously like payback for some of his high and mighty comments, but that may be because I’m shallow about it. I just love anything that takes Martin down a peg or two sometimes, because he generally deserves it.)

Well, I have to say, I’m a bit impressed by this start to Series 3. Good balance of characters, good mix of stories within each episode, and finally, finally the feeling that several of the series main characters and stories are no longer stagnant. Excited to see what happens next!