Welcome to another installment of KCET's Doc Martin episode recaps! Check back every week for new entries going live after the show every week.
It's becoming clear that much of the Doc Martin subplot centers around unrequited love -- or at least built-up sexual tension. Why can't these island folk get it together when it comes to the opposite sex? I guess we'll never know.
While this tension usually centers around Doc and Louisa's escalating sexual tension, we don't get much of that this time around.
We begin with an an awkward exchange where Louisa basically tells Doc she'd like to see him in a wet suit, the runs away, surfboard in hand. Doc is stunned, but his attention (and the plot of the episode) is directed to the beach as an older gentleman passes out and crashes his motor boat into the shore. This salty dog is John Slater, who recognzies Doc as "Marty," despite his flummoxed state.
We learn that John has a history (a 30-year history!) with Doc's aunt Joan. They used to be lovers back in the day, even while Joan was married to her husband Phil. Joan ended up sending John away back then to stay with Phil and provide a cohesive home for Martin when he'd come to visit. Phil passed away years ago, so all those old feelings of love slowly come back for Joan.
Back in the Doc's office, a budding "romance" is blooming between Elaine and Al Large, who is back to fix her never-ending computer problems. This relationship is definitely one-sided (i.e. all about Elaine, of course).
Elaine lets Al call her, but only at certain times during the day and only if he has something to talk about. She's obviously using Al as a rebound after breaking up with her boyfriend, Greg, but Al is oblivious to the terrible way Elaine treats him. We have a feeling this isn't going to end well for Al at all.
Doc's got a big problem on his hands after he fixes 15-year-old Melanie's dislocated shoulder. She's instantly infaturated with Doc and brings him cakes, thank you cards. She even goes as far as to sneak into Doc's bedroom, strip to her underwear and lie waiting in bed! Doc can yelp like a little schoolgirl if you scare him well enough.
Joan and John begin catching up and realize that they still love each other after all of these years. Unfortunately, Doc discovers that John has serious health problems that he refuses to acknowledge due to his old-guy stubbornness.
First there was his passing out on the boat, then one day he comes to Doc's office sweaty with labored breath just from walking up the hill to the office. Doc orders more tests and discovers that John is suffering from rheumatic heart disease and infective endocarditis, which means he has about a year to live unless drastic action is taken.
Being the stubborn old chap that he is, he decides that it would be best to tell Joan -- with whom he'd rekindled the dormant spark lit three decades ago -- that he is married to a woman named Laura and will be leaving town to meet her soon. Poor Aunt Joan is heartbroken and apologizes to Doc for not heeding his warnings about John.
Doc soon finds out that John was lying to Joan so that she wouldn't have to nurse another sick man to his death bed. Doc relays this information to Joan as they watch John sail away from a cliff overlooking the coastline.