Blimey. Caught your breath yet? If we learned anything in Doctor Foster tonight it was that Suranne Jones’s Gemma Foster wasn’t wrong when she said she was going into “She Wolf” mode.
“Bitch is right, “ she snarled at Kate at the dinner party from hell. “I’m a wolf tonight”.
And she was. She exposed Simon for his infidelity, Kate for sleeping with a married man and Parkes senior (Neil Stukes’ Chris) for having entered into a dodgy business deal with a man who was having it away with his daughter….
Whatever a She Wolf does it’s not go lightly into these sorts of social situations with words like: “Do pass the cous cous, Reverend, and I must say, I would love the recipe for this fish….”
So Simon had a choice – a pretty stark choice as it happens. Which of the two cars to get into when they beat a hasty retreat from the dinner. His wife’s? Or his girlfriend’s? He chose Kate, but not until after Gemma had told him that she had slept with their neighbour Neil and rather enjoyed the experience….
But if Simon thought that was going to make things easier for him, he was wrong. Gemma sent son Tom to ruin Simon and Kate’s morning cuddle, forcing Simon to lie (once again) to his son and deny that he and this “slut” (Tom’s words) were having sex.
In between the high-octane action there were some neat touches. Kate telling Gemma over dinner (and before the bombshell revelation) that she was working in events and organising divorce parties. It was a deadly moment – a nasty little quip which resonated with the audience (and Gemma) in ways Kate probably didn’t anticipate. I like the brief focus on her finger – raw and cut from her nervous scratching.
Even once she’d unburdened her secret (and about bloody time, I say), Gemma was alone in a cruel world. One where Simon, and seemingly every man in the series, is an unfaithful slave to their biology and no woman can expect honesty or fidelity. A horrible place to be but a little harsh on the male sex, perhaps.
So it was little wonder that many of us (well, me certainly) actually thought Gemma had harmed their son with the scissors she extracted from her medical bag. after deliberately leading Simon to believe that Tom had gone missing, she later said she had wanted her husband to feel the pain of having lost everything. And he did. Going berserk and smashing her face into the patio door.
It was a dark, dark episode, that’s for sure. But there were glimmers of sanity.
I particularly liked the moment Chris told his wayward daughter: “You made a mistake. You’re an adult but there are consequences.”
It’s probably the sanest thing we heard all series.
And there was the reconciliation of Tom and Gemma. I wasn’t quite sure about this after Tom’s attack on her – criticising her parenting, saying she never had time for him unlike the sainted Simon. “It’s not all about the money, Mum,” he said at the time.
Well, he’s allowed his say but it carried with it the sense of authorial approval, a sense that Gemma may well have brought a lot of this on herself. To my mind she hasn’t. Simon was the wrong’un.
But she took her admonishment to heart, determined to make amends, jacking her job in (or so it seemed), focusing on Tom who is probably no longer allowed to see his violent father. And as the last scene showed, she is still someone who can be strong and useful. Or at least that’s what the man who had the heart attack in the town centre must have thought.
The wolf, it seemed, was back. And who can begrudge her. She’d been through quite enough, poor lamb…