Previously on "Doc Martin"
Martin and Louisa attended an outdoor concert together. Martin, of course, was at peak awkwardness and ruined their romantic outing. Louisa broke up with him when they reached town later that night, but after Martin treated her friend for a serious back injury, they were back on. So "on," in fact, that Martin proposed. Pauline's gambling addiction surfaced as well, and it became quite clear that she needs professional help. (Read the full recap for "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" here.)
Last we left Portwenn, Martin (Martin Clunes) and Louisa (Caroline Catz) were officially engaged. The episode opens with Martin leaving Louisa's house. It's then that we meet Dave the mailman, who proceeds to give Martin a thumbs-up for staying the night. When Martin gets to the office, Dave (Tony Maudsley) and Pauline (Katherine Parkinson) laugh about it.
Martin ends up treating an elderly woman named Beth (Thelma Barlow) for a knee problem. She says she's only getting worse since her knee surgery, but begs him to get the stitches out. Her sister, Janet (Irene Sutcliffe), keeps telling her to avoid antibiotics and the hospital, and constantly advises her to her the stiches taken out.
Beth: "Janet says --"
Martin: "Far too much."
Martin starts to freak out because everyone around town seems to know about the engagement. He asks Louisa if she's told anyone, and she says she might have mentioned it. (By that she means she's told everyone about it and finds any chance to mention she has a fiancé.) On the other side of town, Dave delivers mail to Aunt Joan (Stephanie Cole), who seems to have no clue about the impending nuptials. Dave lets news of the engagement slip, and she seems a little disappointed that she hadn't hear earlier.
"Why does the subject of marriage reduce everyone to ridiculous clichés?" Good question, Martin.
PC Penhale (John Marquez) makes a real idiot of himself when he goes to the practice and offers Martin congratulations. He prattles on with "insight" about how women just want to be equal to men, but it's hard for them between all the yoga and hormones clogging their brains. Yes, he was serious. Martin quickly notes that Penhale is divorced (shocking) and writes off any of his advice. Good call.
Louisa and Martin go to dinner that evening, and they are arguably the most awkward engaged couple. Just as things are looking up and they start discussing wedding plans, Dave crashes into the restaurant unable to breathe. Of course, Martin has to cut their dinner short and take care of Dave.
The next day, Martin and Louisa bump into each other on their way to Mrs. Tishell's (Selina Cadell) pharmacy. She's out cold, head down on the counter. She apparently sleeps with her eyes open, which is pretty creepy. Martin checks if Beth has been in to grab her prescription; Mrs. Tishell says she hasn't seen Beth in years. To make things worse, Janet calls in and says Beth can't come to the doctor's office. Martin drives down to her house, where Janet eerily peers through the window... opening the door right as Martin walks up to it.
Janet is a bit of a sociopath. She pretends to be nice and doting while Martin is there talking to Beth, but when he leaves she takes the medicine away and says it's interrupting her work on Beth.
This is not any cause for concern. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
That evening, Martin prepares a dinner for Louisa and himself that is of "optimal nutritional value."
Earlier that day, he visited Joan to tell her the news, and she gave him an engagement ring to pass down to Louisa. At dinner, he takes out the ring and it falls into Louisa's food. He proceeds to wipe it and places it on the table in front of her plate. No words. It just sits there. She stares, then tries it on. Martin asks her what her plans are after dinner. (Who does that? Your fiancé is there for dinner and you inadvertently kick her out after eating? Mortifying.) Luckily for him, he comes to his senses and tells her to stay the night.
How is this marriage even going to happen?
Dave delivers a parcel to the sisters and ends up going inside for a chat with Beth and to have some tea. He's apprehensive at first, and clearly worries that Janet is going to be upset about it. Beth assures him that she won't know because she's working in the cellar.
Of course, Janet walks in and Beth kicks him out because she's terrified of her sister.
While Martin is treating Bert, Dave shows up having another asthma attack. He collapses to the floor and can't breathe. After fetching an oxygen tank, they call an ambulance and lay him down. Martin suspects the increase in respiratory issues in the town has to do with a fungus called aspergillus.
Mick, Al (Joe Absolom) discovers, has been stealing money from the restaurant. He calls him it out on it, and Bert promptly fires him.
There's an opening in three weeks for Louisa and Martin to get married. They decide it's not too soon. The date it set! But a phone call interrupts: Mick collapsed in the kitchen and is having the same aspergillosis problem. Beth calls the surgery asking for help, and Martin makes a house call. She's in awful shape and has to go to the hospital. She can't breathe or stand -- she's bedridden and Janet keeps giving her weird green pills.
Martin sees the pills on her bedside table and decides to confront Janet, who is in the cellar growing cultures and trying to manufacture her own antibiotics. Surprising no one, she's been testing it on Beth and is convinced that she's helping her. After yelling at her for a bit, Martin calls Janet a "spooky old bat," and then leaves.
Truer words, sir. Truer words.
Pauline approaches Louisa and offers to be a bridesmaid. Louisa, unfortunately, already has one and doesn't even want a bridesmaid to begin with. (Side note: I like that they reuse wardrobe to make things realistic, I've seen Louisa wear that striped sweater a few times.) Martin, meanwhile, meets up with her at the restaurant, and says he has a gift for her. This time, it's not as sweet as an engagement ring. He gives her snore strips and tells her she needs them if they're going to be spending nights together.
And they say chivalry is dead.
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