“That might be the best sex I ever had,” puffed an exhausted James (Prasanna Puwanarajah), the hunky schoolteacher who found himself in Gemma’s bed following a particularly vigorous moment of intimacy in tonight’s episode two.
“Yeah, it was good,” flat-batted Suranne Jones’ GP who, on this evidence, clearly isn’t one to gild the lily when it comes to boosting the egos of her bedfellows. She told James about a recent squeeze who she paid in order to ward off intimacy. He only did it two times and then stopped because he felt “insulted”.
These are not the kind of things any prospective new lover ever wants to hear and it does make you wonder what James sees in her. To date he has been rather doe-eyed where Gemma is concerned, overlooking all her irrational behaviour (he came upon her stalking her son outside the school gates tonight) and heavy drinking. Does he enjoy the uncertainty and danger? Because there’s been a lot of that.
As for the boozing, those goldfish bowl wine glasses that these feckless Parminster types prefer has always been something of a Doctor Foster leitmotif. And tonight Gemma’s fondness for the sauce is looking like it’s a real problem. She brought two bottles to dinner with her colleague Sian and then got hammered at a nightclub (bumping into Simon who took a photo of her).
“I’m winning,” sneered the slimeball. And he’s not wrong. We’re nearly half way through this series and Gemma is yet to land a proper punch.
We did get a flash of the old Doc Fos when she saved a comatose man in the club by putting him in the recovery position beflre spurning the advances of his heartless mate.
But while her lack of control is good for pushing the plot along, as we saw last week, it’s watch-through-your-fingers stuff at times.
She got her new colleague Sian to reveal what her son Tom had said in a private consultation, and she even prowled around Simon and Kate’s place (again), believing she had stumbled across the golden bullet when she saw Kate kiss another man while Simon was out.
“Mark’s her godfather, anything else?” snapped Simon.
Gemma also recruited Neil to take Simon for a drink on a crassly-conceived fact-finding mission. Simon, master dissembler as he is, was wise to the ruse. And after exchanging unchivalrous notes about Gemma’s sexual technique, set Neil up with a woman in the pub – which promptly destroyed his relationship when he got home. The info he gleaned from Simon was also entirely made up.
Gemma’s meddling in Tom’s affairs, stalking his teenage friend Max, watching him from his garden, then quizzing him was another sign of a disturbed mind, the effects of which are clearly being felt by her son.
The end of the episode saw Tom excluded from school for attacking his erstwhile mate. His teacher appeared baffled about why it had happened but it’s hard not to see the real reason. Has Gemma gone too far this time? And what the hell has she got in store for us next week?
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.