Jodie Whittaker’s character is discovering it’s pretty hard to fake it as a doctor – but not for the reasons you might think.
When it comes to the medical side of things, Cath Hardacre (now “Dr Ally Sutton”) is really starting to gain confidence. Ally is the one who saves a patient from an overdose (not that he’s grateful) and her A&E colleagues all adore her.
Sure, she’s not perfect: she “loses it” when her patient has a fit in a hospital lift, leaving Dr Charlie McKee (Michael Abubakar) to step in to inject the injured man’s bum. But that’s only a minor issue compared to the other problems she’s facing.
It turns out that pretending to be someone you’re not is both dangerous and exhausting: at any moment you may be found out.
Did Cath think about this before she swiped her friend Ally’s CV from her bedroom bin? If she did, it wasn’t hard enough, because she seems utterly unprepared for each hurdle until it hits her in the shins. She must have known she would need to bring in a valid passport, but she doesn’t start googling “how to get a fake passport in Edinburgh” until the hospital’s HR guy has reminded her for the hundredth time. Get a plan, Cath!
Cath faces a long list of problems, and at the moment it’s not clear which of them will finally expose her. Because, surely, things cannot go on like this.
The first is that her old life simply won’t go away. That journalist who she spoke to about the whistleblowing that got her fired? Now Sam Kelly (Nathan Welsh) actually wants to write the story, and he won’t take no for an answer – to the point of turning up at the hospital where Cath is pretending to be Ally.
Cath’s new boyfriend Dr Andy Brenner (Emun Elliott) spots Sam pestering her, and Cath’s lie that she was talking to a particularly persistent estate agent isn’t very convincing. She’ll have to get better at that if she wants to keep this up.
Then there’s the problem of her ex, Karl (Blake Harrison). Karl still loves her, he loves their daughter Molly, and it seems he is finally on the straight and narrow. He’s keen to move to Edinburgh, which is completely out of the question if Cath wants to continue living her new life.
But to get Sam off her back, Cath has told him that she needs to walk away from her old life because Karl abused her. It earns her a temporary reprieve as he backs off, but Sam and Karl are pals, so of course that’s going to have repercussions.
Adding further problems, Cath’s ailing dad is in a care home in Sheffield. And when the care home calls to say he’s seriously ill, Andy picks up the phone – and the woman on the other end asks for Cath, not Ally.
As if this wasn’t enough, Cath’s boss Dr Brigitte Rayne (Sharon Small) forces her to go to a medical conference, partly because that’s what doctors have to do and partly because she wants Cath/Ally to be her new best friend. But! One of the doctors from Cath’s old hospital is there, and recognises her for who she really is. That’s not a good sign.
Finally – and perhaps most alarmingly – her new boyfriend Andy meets up with his doctor friend who went to medical school with Dr Ally Sutton. That is, the real Ally Sutton. Didn’t she move to New Zealand to be a sheep farmer, he asks? Surely she can’t be working in a hospital in Edinburgh!
This prompts Andy to do the thing you’d think he would have done already: look up “Dr Ally Sutton” on the internet. (In 2017, who doesn’t engage in a bit of online investigation/stalking when they have a new love interest?) And lo and behold, he finds a picture of the real Dr Ally Sutton with her former colleague, the nurse Cath Hardacre.
At this point it’s hard to see how Cath will be able to keep up the pretence of being Dr Ally Sutton for the final two episodes: with complication after complication, it seems the net is closing ever-tighter.
But Dan Sefton’s drama could still surprise us. Will Cath somehow find a way to escape that net and live happily ever after as Dr Ally Sutton? That would definitely be a twist.