Doc Martin

Recap for 'Doc Martin,' Episode 34: 'Mother Knows Best'

This episode will be streaming online for three weeks from December 4 to 25. Catch episodes of "Doc Martin" that aren't currently streaming via our recaps here.

Previously on "Doc Martin"
Martin found himself at gun point, after being unable to tell which of his patients was crazier, the mother or the son. Speaking of Ellingham still went unnamed, and had some serious sleeping issues on top of it. After weighing her options, Louisa decided she and the baby would move to London with Martin.

(Read the full recap for "Born With a Shotgun" here.)

This week's episode: "Mother Knows Best"
Written by: Chris Hurford and Tom Butterworth

Directed by: Ben Bolt

It's Fun Day in Portwenn, and everyone in the town is getting ready for the fund-raising event.

Bert (Ian McNeice) and Al (Joe Absolom) prepare the restaurant for what they expect to be a sea of guests, and they're surprised when they see Mark (Tom Goodman-Hill), who runs the Crab and Lobster pub, putting together quite the spectacle.

Penhale (John Marquez) walks into the surgery sporting some basketball shorts because he's going to be moderating the Fun Run. He asks Martin to help, but of course he says no.

To amp the competition, Bert starts painting signs that rival Mark's. He offers 2-for-1 beer, but Mark offers a free bottle of wine with every meal. How can these guys afford it?

Speaking of Mark, he stops by the practice because he's got pain in his ribs. He's been taking 10 aspirin a day because of back pain, and it's agitated his stomach.

Martin (Martin Clunes)
gets called to the Fun Run after a man collapses on the top of the field. (Don't worry, Penhale's ruled out a collapsed testicle as a possible injury.) When he gets there, he finds the man is severely dehydrated and in no condition to exercise - he has late onset diabetes.

Louisa (Caroline Catz) and Martin are in for a surprise when her mother (Louise Jameson) shows up in town. She's not exactly pleased at the idea of her mom being around for an extended period of time -- uninvited, no less.

Mark's back is only getting worse. Martin tells him to take some time off work so his muscles have a rest, then he notices Mark scratching pretty hard at his hand. When he asks to take a look at it - then insists - Mark runs out of the surgery.

Louisa is pretty peeved with her mother. They don't seem to be on the best terms, and Louisa mentions that her visit is a way for her to weasel her way into their lives. The truth comes out when Louisa snaps and says she was only 11 when her mother left her and moved away, which is she understandably still upset about.

Bert's become so preoccupied with his restaurant war that he's started crunching numbers to see how Mark can afford to give away wine. After all the calculations, it doesn't add up. Mark's got to be doing something behind the scenes that's allowing him to take such a hit.

Baby Ellingham is still having some serious issues sleeping at night. Louisa hasn't been getting any sleep, so when her mom stops by and offers to help with the baby, it's a bit of a welcome reprieve. Of course, a little bit after she takes the baby upstairs, he falls asleep. Louisa, alarmed, goes upstairs to see the baby is perfectly happy in his grandma's arms. Her mother claims he just needed to be with grandma, but something's got to be up.

The Fun Day festivities are now fully under way, and the entire town is celebrating. People are running around in weird outfits (bunnies, bananas, etc) and Penhale is having a great time overseeing it all.

Martin isn't having the best time, though. He comes home to find Louisa's mom is there with the baby, who is asleep (again). He's not too happy she's there, but there isn't much he can do about it, either. Joan's dog follows him in, which only agitates him more.

Bert, meanwhile, suspects Mark is smuggling things in which is why he can afford to give out the wine. He tells Penhale, and the two head off to a shed that's been locked up. Bert finds the key and they break in, finding a whole lot of crates of wine. Just as they're about to leave, Mark arrives and notices the door is cracked open. Puzzled, he locks it back up -- and locks Bert and Penhale in. Of course, Penhale is convinced this is how he'll die.

Martin suspects foul play when the baby is fast asleep all night. He says it's not normal for a baby to abruptly change its sleeping pattern, and that Louisa's mom must be doing something. He's right, naturally. As he cleans out the baby's bottle he notices the smell of alcohol. It turns out that the "tonic" Louisa's mom makes turns into alcohol because of the yeast from the apples she uses. Baby Ellingham is a bit of a lush, it seems.

Penhale and Bert call out for help, but Mark passes out right after he sees they're locked in. They call Martin, who is annoyed because all this could have been avoided if Mark would have come in for an exam like he should have. It turns out he picked up an infection while on the ferry to France, and that was the source of all his problems.

The good news this episode? Ruth (Eileen Atkins) finally decides to hire Al as her farm manager, after realizing that everything would fall apart without his daily visits.

Money in the bank!

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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.
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