Doc Martin

Recap for 'Doc Martin,' Episode Twelve: 'The Family Way'

Previously on "Doc Martin"...

Phil Pratt accused Martin of killing his wife when he comes to their house to treat her. Martin insists he couldn't do anything more to help, since she'd suffered a stroke. Phil won't listen; he goes a bit crazy and starts sabotaging Aunt Joan. We eventually find out he was abusive toward Helen and had an affair... with a man.

This week's episode: "The Family Way"
Written by: Dominic Minghella and Edana Minghella
Directed by: Ben Bolt

Martin's (Martin Clunes) parents are in for a visit in this week's episode, and if you're wondering where the good doctor got his charming demeanor, look no further. His mother is a pill at best, and his dad seems to constantly belittle him. It's been seven years since they last spoke, but they come out swinging like Olympic mind game athletes.

He picks them up from the train station, and on the drive home he spots Danny's (Tristan Sturrock) car broken down on the side of the road. Of course. He ends up giving Danny a ride home too--but not before he has a chance to lug all of his stuff into Martin's car.

Later, Martin's dad, Christopher (John Woodvine), takes him out for a drink at the bar. They run into Mark (Stewart Wright), who pulls Martin aside to tell him he's planning on proposing to his girlfriend, Julie (Angeline Ball). Martin doesn't seem to think it's the best idea, since they haven't been together all that long. You can't really blame him -- I've never had a good feeling about Ms. Mitchel, either. But for what it's worth, the ring wasn't half bad.

When Martin gets back to his practice, he finds his mom is still acting cold, withdrawn and not particularly loquacious. Keep her behavior in mind, because that sort of pent up emotion is bound to explode.

Afterward, Maureen Tacey (Ruth Sheen) comes in to be examined. She had come in before thinking she had thyroid issues, but Martin disagreed and asked her to come back for further testing. After answering a few questions, Martin suspects Maureen is going through menopause. He has to test her blood to be sure it's not anything serious, and as he draws it through the needle they both look away. Priceless.

We get to the heart of the parents' visit when they go with Martin to see Aunt Joan (Stephanie Cole). Joan and Christopher are siblings, and their uncle technically left the house Joan lives in to both of them. Christopher basically asks Joan to pay up or leave he wants his half of the house, which would be around €250,000. She can't afford that, and she's offended he would even ask. Naturally, she kicks them out -- Martin too.

When they get back, Martin confronts his dad. He had no idea what their plan was, and he's upset they would treat Joan that way. Christopher continues talking down to Martin, and then criticizes him for the work he does in Portwenn. It's just not as impressive as being a fancy surgeon in a big city like London. Suddenly, I understand why Martin is so closed off.

In one of the episode's few bright points, Julie accepts marks proposal. Congratulations to the lovebirds! (Julie, I still don't trust you.)

Meanwhile, Martin goes to the Portwenn school to see Maureen. He runs into Louisa (Caroline Catz) outside and asks her where Maureen is. She's peeved and shoots him the equivalent of "well hello to you too." Who can blame her? As far as she knows, Martin ditched her during their drink date for no good reason.

She explains that Maureen is out for a walk to calm her nerves before the local talent show. It would be best if he just talked to her there. Adding more passive aggression to Martin's plate -- because his mother wasn't enough -- she says, "I won't tell her to expect you though, because she just might wait for ages only to find you don't show up." Sick burn, Louisa! Her victory is short-lived, though, because Martin explains why he missed their date... then things suddenly make sense.

Martin heads over to the talent show and finds Maureen. He tells her he's received the test results and she needs to go to the hospital tomorrow. She wants to know why, but he says he'll explain later when she's not busy. She insists, so he drops the bomb: She's pregnant. At 50. Not only that, she's probably in her third trimester.

How can a woman not notice that? It doesn't matter how old she is. There is a child growing inside her. It's not a subtle thing. But... at least it's not early menopause?

During the show, Danny has a coughing fit. He steps outside, but Martin is on his way out too, after talking to Maureen. They see each other, and Danny strikes up a conversation. He mentions Louisa, and how she and Martin may have had a "thing." He adds that he and Louisa also have a history, and that they seem to be getting closer without really even trying to. Always full of faith, he adds that God works in mysterious ways. Because really, that's what Martin needed to hear.

"Yeah, like malaria," Martin retorts.

Meanwhile, Joan is still dealing with her brother's visit. She finds him on the golf course and confronts him in classic Aunt Joan fashion. She proceeds to go off on him about how he thinks he can just run her life, impose his "morals" and do as he pleases, and adds that he made Martin's life difficult just to upset her. Christopher says she wasn't fit to help raise Martin, essentially calling her a floozy because she was married, but also had a lover. (You may remember this revelation from back in the fifth episode.)

Take the house, says Joan. I'm a survivor. But you -- you're just a thug. Poor Joan, it looks like Martin's bad luck is rubbing off on her.

Martin confronts his mom about the silent treatment she's been giving him. He says he's not like his dad, and she can talk to him. Instead of being happy, she laughs at him and says he definitely isn't like his dad -- his dad reached the top of his profession, he's charming and handsome. But if that wasn't mean enough. She keeps going. It was the perfect marriage before he arrived, she says. They were so happy.

Here we get a glimpse into Martin's past. His mother sent him away to boarding school and gave him to aunt Joan in the summer so she could have alone time with his dad.

She finally spills that they lost all their money on a bogus golf development, and they only have the villa in Portugal because it was in her name for tax reasons. Their marriage was just one big tax break, she laments, feeling sorry for herself. But she's met someone, and he's moving there. That's why his dad needs a place.

As if that didn't do enough damage, she adds one final blow: "Forty years of my life wasted because of you."

He leaves immediately and runs into Louisa, who has come to apologize. As she starts to, he tells her to shut up. Ouch.

Danny passes out sanding his mom's house -- looks like the coughing finally escalated. Louisa calls ambulance and Martin rushes over. When he gets there, Danny is awake, but his pulse is weak and he's really out of it. It could be a collapsed lung, Martin explains. He has to make a hole in Danny's chest. (Sure, he can do that, but he can't stand the sight of blood.) His plan works. After asking Louisa for liquids, he puts the end of the tube he put in Danny's chest in water. It's actually pretty interesting -- the water starts bubbling, which shows he's breathing fine. Suddenly the life returns to his face and he looks normal again.

Martin leaves, and the ambulance workers ask Louisa if she's Danny's wife. "No, she says. "But there's a history," Martin adds.

This stuns Louisa. This time, she tells Martin to shut up. Poor guy, everyone is especially rude to him today -- not that he does much to prevent it.

When he gets back, his dad is at the practice feeling sorry for himself. Martin asks where he plans on going after this visit. Christopher wants to stay with Martin, but he flat out refuses him.

Finally, Martin gets a bright spot in his day. He finds out Maureen is having twins, and Roger Fenn (Jeff Rawle) comes in to thank Martin for his help. He even gives him flowers. Aww.

It's finally time for the parents to leave. Martin asks his dad what he's going to do again. It seems plans on continuing to bother Joan for his half of the property. Martin won't have it. He says he will sell his flat in London to give his dad the money for the rest of the house. That's how much he loves Joan: He's settling her debt without telling her. He's not so bad, you guys.

Like Doc Martin? Donate to KCET and choose a Doc Martin-related thank you gift.

Choose a gift

About the Author

Sarah Parvini is a Web Producer for KCET'S "SoCal Connected" and an award-winning multimedia journalist who has reported from different pockets around the globe.
RSS icon

LEAVE A COMMENT Leave Comment