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Recap for 'Doc Martin,' Episode 22: "Happily Ever After"

Previously on "Doc Martin"

As the town reacts to his engagement to Louisa, Martin discovers that a local potion made from mushrooms is poisoning Portwenn.

(Read the full recap for "Nowt So Queer" here.)

This week's episode: "Happily Ever After"
Written by: Jack Lothian
Directed by: Ben Bolt

It's his wedding day, but that doesn't mean Martin (Martin Clunes) can't take in some patients in the morning while Louisa (Caroline Catz) gets ready for their afternoon nuptials with help from bridesmaids Pauline (Katherine Parkinson) and Isobel (Amanda Abbington), who has come in from out of town and is very, very pregnant. Jealous that Louisa is marrying a doctor, she has many questions about her friend's future beau, to which Louisa can only respond, "Well, he's straightforward. He's moral. He's...Martin."

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Between patients, Portwenn's Vicar (David Ryall) stops by Martin's office to talk to him about which hymns he's chosen for the ceremony (none). When Martin notices that the Vicar's hands are trembling, the man of god retreats and leaves, but not before Martin accidentally hits him with a door. Not a good way to start of the day, is it?

Meanwhile, Bert (Ian McNeice) and Al Large (Jo Absolom) have just finished preparing the food for the reception when they realize that their pipes have burst. With a streaming fountain of water spraying into the sky, there's no way that the wedding reception can take place at their restaurant. But Al has an idea. "You still got that mate that does the carnivals," he asks, an odd query. Why not rent a circus tent, and then save money by putting it up themselves in the lot next to the church? "Nothing says romance like a 24-horse circus tent."

Back at the office, Martin is in the midst of treating a man with Klinefelter's syndrome (a fun little genetic disorder that gives men an extra X chromosome) when Isobel comes in, her right eye damaged considerably. Only minutes earlier, Roger Fenn (Jeff Rawle) showed up to the bridal party, where he'll be acting as the stand-in father of the bride, when one of the party poppers he brought along to celebrate exploded right into Isobel's face. The damage is minimal, Martin says, but she'll have to wear an eyepatch for the time being. More importantly, though, Isobel gets a quick lesson on Martin's gruff, superior attitude when she informs him she's anticipating having a natural childbirth. "No," Martin retorts. "God forbid you should use icky drugs when you can experience the excruciating agony of childbirth in the raw." Sending her out, Roger stops in to have a word with Martin, saying that many people in Portwenn are surprised that the wedding is happening at all. Regardless, Martin assures him he is ready for his big day. Out of kindness, Roger offers to help Martin choose the hymns for the ceremony.

Although the hymns have now been chosen, it seems that nothing else about the wedding has been going to plan. Take, for instance, the flower arrangements. They would be set up at the church just fine, except florist Charlie Briggs (Andy Pointon) has run afoul of PC Penhale (John Marquez). With the florist now in prison, Auntie Joan (Stephanie Cole) has no way to retrieve the flowers from his locked shop. After stopping by the station and arguing about the situation with Penhale, though, the lawman has a change of heart, goes up to the flower shop, and breaks the door open for Joan, telling her to make a statement that it was the work of some unnamed teenage hooded hooligans.

Having returned from the drycleaners only to find that the suit they gave him is actually a sparkly dress, the pressure of the day finally seems to be getting to Martin. But if he can just visit the Vicar, hand over the list of hymns, and apologize for injuring him earlier, perhaps everything will turn positive. But at the church, Martin catches the Vicar drinking heavily and accuses him of alcoholism. "Judging by the redness of your palms," he tells him, "I'd say you've already done significant damage to your liver." As they battle over possession of the bottle, though, it slips out of the Vicar's hands, causing him to crash into the desk and fracture his hip. With three hours before the wedding and no Vicar, what's a grumpy doctor to do? Arriving to see the Vicar carried out of the church on a stretcher, Pauline suggests another man of God, Mr. Porter (David Bamber), who one day flipped out in the middle of a wedding service and has been holed up in the nearby Hillsborough farmhouse ever since. "He's not crazy," Pauline assures Martin. "He just hates weddings. And people." Not the glorious review anybody was expecting, but with so little time, Mr. Poter will have to do.

On his way to the farmhouse, Louisa calls Martin, asking what the hell happened with the Vicar. As Martin swears he has everything under control, she begins to express doubt about the day, that perhaps Martin is subconsciously sabotaging their nuptials. He disagrees, then ends the call as he reaches the farmhouse. The second Martin mentions a wedding, though, Porter slams the door in Martin's face, only to reopen it when he learns that Martin is a doctor. Although Porter got out of the wedding game when he realized that many of the people he presided over were not ready for marriage and not right for each other, perhaps he and Martin can come to a trade. He'll officiate the wedding, but only if he takes care of one of Porter's ill pigs. Alas, the pig has a slight rectal prolapse, and the deal isn't done unless the very-much-not-a-veterinarian Martin can...put back in the lining of the pig's anus. Fun.

Upset at the way that her supposed friends are speaking ill of her groom-to-be, Louisa yells at her party then leaves to get some air. Isobel joins her a few moments later, inadvisably straining her very pregnant body. Still, Isobel is jealous that Louisa has "found somebody who makes you happy and who you make happy," decrying her own marriage to a city planner who has no time for her. That thought will have to wait, though, as Isobel's water breaks. Making a call to Martin, the good doctor arrives speedily and tells her to push. Although he never delivered a baby before, Martin theoretically knows what he's doing, and before you know it, he brings a baby girl into the world. With that out of the way, it's time for the wedding.

With the ceremony just 15 minutes away, Bert and Al have proudly put up their circus tent and filled it with their delicious eats, when the tent suddenly collapses and ruins all their work. There's no way they can prepare everything again, and so with their tails between their legs, they manage to at least get some crab, lobster, sandwiches, and champagne up and going. It'll have to do.

Everyone is at the church, ready for the big moment...except for Louisa and Martin, who stay in their respective homes staring at their dressed selves in their mirrors, unsure of their future. As Martin paces around his home examining the wedding ring, Louisa stops by, and the look on her face isn't one of comfort or love. She mournfully hands him a letter.

Louisa: It says I love you, and I really do, but--
Martin: I know. I wouldn't make you happy.
Louisa: No.
Martin: You wouldn't make me happy, either."
Louisa: Oh. Right. No, I don't suppose I would."

Both knowing the truth about their relationship, they decide that they cannot go on with the wedding. As the drycleaner shows up with Martin's proper suit--and a bum leg he wants diagnosed--Louisa leaves. Martin runs after her, but there is nothing left to say. She kisses him on the cheek, tells him that she'll see him around, and leaves him to his patient.

Hey! I Know That Actor!

David Ryall, who plays the Vicar, has been working steadily since the early '70s, having appeared in such myriad shows as "Bless Me Father," "On the Line," Dennis Potter's miniseries "The Singing Detective," "The Return of Shelley," "The Village," and several chapters of "Prime Suspect." On film, he can be seen in the remake of "Around the World in 80 Days," "City of Ember," and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1."

David Bamber, who plays Mr. Porter, played Marcus Tullius Cicero on HBO's "Rome," Eric Slatt on "Chalk," Fred Hurley on "Call Me Mister," and Mr. Collins in the popular 1995 "Pride and Prejudice" miniseries.

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About the Author

Marcus Gorman is a pop culture writer and the author of the novel triceratops.
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