Episode 6

Episode Summary:-

The first casualty of the day is resident drunk Martin, who was unlucky enough to get himself caught in the middle of a fight and subjected to a kicking. David tried to avoid having to treat him, but is threatened with Rob if he doesn't...
       Kate Brady (Tamzin Malleson), the new SHO, arrives in Rob's office - he's obviously still not himself, since he's forgotten she's due today. The very first case she experiences is the first emergency of the day - a woman (Rosanna) who has been hit by a train. It took around 45 minutes to extricate her from under the train, and despite her injuries she's still conscious...
       And WPC Mandie turns up again - legitimately this time, escorting one Charles Jones, handcuffed, who has swallowed a bag of crack cocaine. When he manages to escape their custody, however, Mandie and her partner PC Eddie become Stuart's next patients.
       And finally, Kate is given the chance to show both her nascent skills and potential when she persuades Stanley Williams to allow her to take a look at him...

A much more personal episode this, focussing on the individual characters and their problems while still maintaining that wonderful balance we've come to expect.
       A newcomer in A&E is always a source of friendly interest - and especially when she's as attractive as Kate!

             [Terry] "She is going to make a lot of sick people very happy..."
             [Stuart] "You included, Terry."

       But she's anything but simply a pretty face - which is just as well given what she's let herself in for -

             [Rob] "What we normally do is throw you in at the deep end."
             [Kate] "And hope I'll swim."
             [Rob] "No, it'll be three months before you can swim; we just hope you don't drown."

       She's determined not to, and on this showing she'll succeed admirably. But it's best not to take too much for granted...

The Mike/Stella scenario was intriguing. Stella comes across as a perfectly reasonable, rational woman - she really does seem to have a accomplished a lot in the time they've been apart (though I still think seven years is a very long time to take to get your act together...) - while Mike seems to really not have a clue as to how to treat women! Maybe that was part of the reason Stella walked out in the first place: it's a pity she didn't opt to explain her reasons to him. But poor Cathy: I sense a crisis on its way.

And speaking of crises, has Chris just made a very big mistake?

Mandie and Stuart's 'relationship' is becoming interesting. (I do love the way this series keeps the viewer wondering!) Is Mandie playing hard to get? Or has the hard fact that the A&E team are committed to saving any life - even that of criminals, those who cause harm to others - causing a paradigm shift in her own perceptions? Or am I just making too much of the whole thing?
       Well, regardless of the reasons, Stuart comes across as an entirely honourable young man and a true professional - quite a contrast between his behaviour and that of the somewhat lecherous David Scobie...

... Who redeems himself admirably in this episode. Martin is exactly the sort of patient he doesn't want to treat (even forgetting their altercation in the first series.) Yet it's Martin's illness which finally lets us see the human behind the unpleasant, career-minded, self-centred young doctor with no consideration for the feelings of others. And it's a nice human! A friend of mine (Sue Tier) put forward the point of view that David is a necessary member of the team because there needs to be one unlikeable character in the series ("one of those people who deals with accidents as problems to be solved, ignoring the people themselves..."), in order to cover a larger range of personalities, and as such he works well. But it's good to know he is capable of that compassion so necessary in a person dealing so often with critically ill people - and their frantic relatives...
       I particularly liked the fact that he knows his shortcomings - though whether this is the result of a spell of hard thinking after Rob's threat in episode 5, or whether he has always been aware of it but dismissed it as unimportant in the past is open to debate. I'd opt for the former, personally.

              [Rob] "Why did you need to connect?"
              [David] "Because most of the time I can't see past the medicine. I know that." (my italics.)

       It's a wonderful start.

I'm in two minds about Rob's behaviour on the rooftop. On the one hand, he is still suffering, though trying to cope ("Do I reek of grief?" "You display courage.") and some slightly aberrant behaviour can be forgiven. But to scare a friend and colleague that badly is almost inexcusable. Then again, he may be overcompensating. Rob has never struck me as a humorous man. He has a dry, sardonic wit, yes, but he is not funny. It doesn't suit him, in any case; he's too dignified and respected a character for such behaviour to be apposite. And perhaps that was the point - it's not 'him', and thus shows that despite that outwardly calm exterior he is still having problems. It's very touching that he can share them with Chris, though.

Thinking out loud...

One of the problems with writing and posting a review the same night the programme is screened is that you can miss some significant elements. I certainly did, in last week's episode...
       It revolves around Anne's comment, "There's always IVF." Given that Sue and her husband had been trying for a child for 10 years, it's reasonable to assume that they had at least considered, and very possibly tried, IVF anyway. But the procedure isn't that successful, and it's very expensive. Fair enough, Anne was in surgery, concentrating on the operation, annoyed by Rob's unprofessional behaviour, and is in any case a very blunt, plain-spoken woman - but the comment was, nevertheless, insensitive and harsh.


Senior House Officer. Back
       Wonderfully gory and realistic effects too: the woman's right foot has been rudely amputated in the accident - it's not surprising Kate looked green! (Very nicely understated and highly effective acting, by the way.) And what great teamwork by everyone involved. Sometimes seeing it from a newcomer's point of view brings the whole thing into focus. As Kate said, impressive...Back
       Just what on earth was wrong with the poor embarrassed young man, anyway!? The way he was unable to straighten up and was obviously in pain raises all sorts of interesting and/or bizarre possibilities... Inquiring minds want to know (well, mine does anyway...) Back
       Does the fact that Martin's clothes were kicked around the floor mean that next week's episode will have A&E infested with fleas? Back
       It's not specifically said that Martin has cancer, but when examining his X-ray Rob mentions metastasis (the spreading of a disease, especially cancer, from one part of the body to another), pointing at the ribs while talking about the shoulder-blade...Back
       Well, he's dry and sardonic, anyway... I rather liked that little exchange with David ("Go away. I'm busy.").
       One of the delightful, and at the same time irritating, elements of the series is that (with rare exceptions) we never get to know more about the backgrounds of the cases the staff treat. But then, that's exactly what happens in the department: the patient comes in, is treated, and either discharged or forwarded to another unit - and that's usually the last the A&E staff hear of them (unless there are repercussions or the person returns for some reason.)
       I like the way Rob and Chris don't use abbreviations of each other's names when speaking to or of each other.
       Hmmm.... Was David's "Thanks, Martin." at the end of the episode directed at Martin the drunk or Martin the actor? (Not that it matters. Just wondering....)

With thanks to Dr Kate Irvine for her comments!

© 2000 Joules Taylor

Episode 7