Previously on "Doc Martin"...
Martin visited the Flint brothers at the country home they share with their parents. Wallace and Paddy Flint were suffering chronic stomach disorders, and a blood test confirmed they had salmonella poisoning. But that's not all he discovered their dad, Mr. Flint, has something of a mental problem: Not only does he shift from crazy to polite in 60 seconds, he's been dressing up as his wife, Mrs. Flint, all along, after she left the family years ago.
Oh, and there's the small detail that Pauline and Al Large have started dating. How do we know this? Because poor Martin walked in on them making out. At least Al's over Elaine?
Ah, Portwenn -- a beautiful little countryside town with colorful people and rolling hills. What a lovely place to live and work, right? Not for Martin (Martin Clunes). Things get particularly sticky this week as he deals with a really (really) smelly old man and potential drunkard in denial -- and his feelings for Louisa, on top of that. Because let's be honest, that's not going anywhere anytime soon.
The episode opens with us listening to Caroline Bosman (Felicity Montagu) hosting the local radio show (hard-hitting stuff on Mrs. Bosman's end, the likes of which you'd find on NPR... except not). Of all people, Danny Steel (Tristan Sturrock) is her guest. She's praising him for being a golden boy and being all-around sweet toward him. And this, of course, annoys Martin. Remember his stint as a guest on her show? Anyway, Martin realizes she's beginning to slur on her show, and his spidey senses start tingling. He knows something's up, but he and the rest of the town just assume she's drunk, as always. It doesn't help that she leaves the room and has Danny continue his story as if she were there. Totally normal.
While this is going on, Martin gets a new patient named Julie Mitchell (Angeline Ball). She's just moved into town, so I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her.
Afterward, Mr. Cooke (Hugh Lloyd) comes in to see the doctor. He reeks. Whatever it is that's causing him to smell so bad has everyone in the office gagging. Oh, the joys of the medical world. Martin tries to flesh out what could be wrong and land the diagnosis, but he can't figure it out. All he learns is that Mr. Cooke has been depressed ever since his greenfinch, Freddy, flew away and left him behind. (Let's pause for a moment here and realize how utterly sad it is that this pouty old man has lost his pet, the only companion he really had. Thanks, "Doc Martin" writers.)
Caroline's life is basically in shambles. She's hassling Martin for more medication for an illness she has called, thrush, but he's not buying it. He thinks she's taking too many pills and abusing them. He doesn't give her more. Because that's not bad enough, Caroline gets into a fight with her husband outside the doctor's office. It seems he's leaving her because of her "problem." She drives off in a fit of rage... right into a bush. Not looking good for Caroline.
Could it be there's trouble in paradise? Danny seems to be getting on his high horse, given his success as an architect. Suddenly, he's too big for dinky Portwenn. Louisa (Caroline Catz) isn't pleased. Danny continues to bash Caroline as an alcoholic -- does he not realize Louisa is good friends with her? Nice one, Danny. Talking trash about Caroline is great way to get on Louisa's good side.
While all this is going on, Officer Mark (Stewart Wright) is smitten over the new girl, Julie. He offers to give her driving lessons, and she takes him up on it. (Score!). Then he gets kind of creepy about it, and sprays a pheromone aftershave on himself to attract her...tone it down, Mark. Tone it down. As he's giving her lessons, Caroline whips around the corner without any control of her car. She nearly rams them, but Julie swerves out of the way. Add one more point to the "Caroline is a lush" camp.
Annoyed with Danny, Louisa heads over to Martin's to ask for some advice. She has this "friend" who may or may not have a drinking problem -- whomever could it be? -- and she wants to know how to confront her when they meet up for drinks later.
Martin starts with, "Don't have drinks." Astute advice, sir. Louisa doesn't appreciate his sarcastic tone, and she goes off on him in one of her usual "Why do you act this way?" and "Why are you so shut off" tirades. Sigh.
Later that day, Louisa meets up with Caroline for drinks -- but she orders them sparking water instead. This really upsets Caroline, who just wants to have a glass of wine to wind down after a terrible day at work and her husband leaving her. She storms off. To add insult to injury, Mark goes to Caroline's house to tell her to tone it down on the drinking. The woman is depressed in bed, but she has enough energy to go off on him, too. Not bad enough? Our good friend Bert Large (Ian McNeice) calls Caroline out on the radio for frequently drinking and driving.
The next day, Caroline has an appointment with Martin to get more pills. She's really upset with him for asking questions about how much she drinks, with the implication being that she's an alcoholic. Again, she storms off. "You're such a people person, aren't you?" teases his secretary, Pauline (Kathleen Parkinson).
Caroline can't drive properly. She's swerving out of control, and Mark catches her in the act -- something tells me her shoddy driving isn't because Brits drive while sitting on the right side...even though that's blasphemy. Mark gives a breathalyzer, which she fails. Things aren't looking good. He takes her into the station, where Martin shows up to take a blood test. After it's all over with, he drives her back to her place.
Meanwhile, Martin is still trying to figure out what's wrong the old man. He gets a call from a colleague, but it's fruitless. He has no idea what's wrong either. The search continues. Within an hour of being home, Caroline passes out. Thanks to the blood test Mark suggested, Martin discovers that her problem is in fact alcohol -- just not the kind you drink for fun. The Breathalyzer Mark had given her didn't work properly. It was old, so it also picked up ketones in Caroline's system--an indication that she's been diabetic all along. She has ketoacidosis, and it was so bad that she almost died from her blood sugar levels. So she's not a lush, she's got a legitimate health problem. Everything ends up just fine after the ambulance takes her to the hospital and gets treated. Minor death scare -- no worries.
Back at the practice, the old man is still smelly. Martin decides he's going to send him to the hospital in Truro. He genuinely has no clue what is causing the stench, but it's bad enough that Pauline lights a bunch of candles and puts out scented oils.
Mr. Cooke opens his bag to get Pauline matches, and Martin quickly realizes it's the bag that smells so bad. They empty it, and what is perhaps the saddest thing I've ever seen: the bird he loved so much was in there, dead and rotting.
Excuse me while I go sob.
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