Previously on "Doc Martin"
Martin struggled to come to terms with fatherhood. On top of that, he had serious doubts about the competency of the new GP after she misdiagnosed a patient, and dished out prescriptions for totally inappropriate drugs. In the midst of all the drama (and agreeing to stick around until a better doctor can be found), Martin's unprepared for Aunt Joan's shocking death.
The town gathers to pay their respects to Joan (Stephanie Cole) at her funeral. As people trickle in, P.C. Penhale (John Marquez) tells Mrs. Tishell (Selina Cadell) he'd like for something violent to happen for once, where he'd actually be of use (totally appropriate conversation). Even worse, the hearst shows up late, which Martin (Martin Clunes), understandably, isn't too happy about.
His aunt Ruth (Eileen Atkins), another Dr. Ellingham, has a chronic case of social awkwardness. Naturally it's uncomfortable when Louisa (Caroline Catz) sits next to her in the church trying to make small talk. She prattles on about how she either alienates or overshares, and discusses her "quasi-sexual encounters." Whatever that means.
Things take a turn for the horrible when the procession begins. One of the pallbearers, Harry (Chris Ashby), drops Joan's casket after getting a cramp in his back. This town can't even have a normal funeral.
When it comes time for Martin to deliver the eulogy, he uses it as a soapbox from which to preach about the perils of heart disease. It's not exactly the heartfelt speech one would expect.
"Joan was overweight refused to exercise and had a poor diet," he explains.
Louisa steps outside with the still-unnamed baby because he starts crying in the middle of the ceremony. She finds the pallbearer who hurt his back, and explains he should see Martin since he will be in town until Friday. Meanwhile, the good doctor is still inside explaining heart ideas. He doesn't participate when the attendees start singing hymns --neither does his aunt.
At the reception, Martin asks Louisa to stay with him for the short time he has left in town. She agrees that it would be for the best, but then Martin takes it a step further and says she could also move with him to London, where there are also schools and students "just as dim" as the ones she's used to.
As he's leaving, Martin tells Ruth her sister left her the farm. She seems totally shocked -- especially because she has no intention of staying in Portwenn. And speaking of inheritance, Martin seems to have inherited Joan's dog, who keeps following him.
Ruth stops by the farm later, where she runs in to Al (Joe Absolom)
who's feeding the chicken. She decides to stay a week to sort things out, and tells Al he'd better stick around and help her with the animals in the meantime.
Harry goes to see Martin at the surgery for his back condition. Louisa decides to help him out, acting as interim receptionist in Pauline's absence. Martin assesses the patient's back, turns away for a moment and then trips over him when tries to give him his prescription. He howls in pain -- apparently Martin has really messed up the guy's knee. In fact, he's probably fractured it. Ouch.
When he returns from the hospital with x-rays, Martin realizes the break is the result of a larger issue--someone Harry's age shouldn't have such brittle bones, and he shouldn't get a fracture just from falling over. He sends him back to the hospital for a closer look. And his back pain is because he has kidney stones.
The next day, Martin gets a call that there's an emergency with Harry at his house. He heads over only to find out that he's been drinking three protein shakes a day. That extra protein has been making his blood acidic, which has lead his bones to release calcium --hence, the fracture.
Al heads back to the farm to help Ruth out with the plumbing (there are some hot water issues that Joan struggled with). While he's taking a look at the pipes, Ruth completely loses her coordination -- and the grip on the jar she's holding -- breaking glass all over the floor. Al asks if she has arthritis, but she insists she's just clumsy. She cuts herself on a shard, but doesn't even notice. Paired with her bleeding tongue, dry eyes and severe cough, it seems like something is definitely up.
Al takes her to get stitches at Martin's surgery, and he realizes she can't feel the pain. When he prods her, she admits that she has lupus and she's dying. The thing is, she diagnosed herself. While she's telling Martin about how she's so sorry to do this to him after he's just lost an aunt, he realizes her symptoms are indicative of something else: Sjogren's Syndrome. She gives him a big hug, unofficially thanking him for figuring out what was really wrong.
Ruth decides to stay in Portwenn, and enlists Al as her handyman, tending to the farm daily. Louisa hires a new receptionist for Martin, which is definitely necessary considering Martin is now staying in town for two months.
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