Doctor Foster episode three review: "The pace and thrill of Mike Bartlett’s writing never lets up"
Everyone seems to be having their wicked way with everyone – well, everyone except Ros. Ben Dowell is gripped as Mike Bartlett’s intriguing BBC1 drama piles on the plots, deceptions and extra-marital nookie
* Spoiler warning: Do not read if you have not seen episode three *
Suranne Jones’ Gemma Foster deployed a crack team of snoopers in tonight’s episode. Her friend Ros was sent to investigate Simon’s finances while Carly befriended Simon’s girlfriend Kate and got the emotional juice. Gemma herself bedded Simon’s accountant, in order to effectively blackmail him into revealing the state of Simon’s finances. (And what a state they are in).
Meanwhile, Simon (Bertie Carvel, below) still has no idea that Gemma knows about his two-year affair (and a good deal else). Do we pity him? By the close of the episode his rather sweet mum had died and, as far as he was aware, he had a wife who was being loving and supportive. Unbeknown to him, mother’s demise probably saved his marriage. Gemma, you see, is going to make a go of it when she was all ready to ditch him….
It’s an intriguing set-up in a drama that has sailed close to the winds of implausibility at times. But the pace and thrill of Mike Bartlett’s writing never lets up.
First, there was Simon’s confession to Ros – the first time we saw him talk about the affair with Kate.
“You’re expected to stick with this one person,” he says wide-eyed with amazement. Yes, mate (as he always calls his son, annoyingly) that is generally the deal. It’s called marriage.
Slippery Si’s finances are also in a parlous state as Gemma finally found out via Neil (pictured), the smarmy accountant played by Adam James. Simon, Neil gleefully revealed, is up to his eyes in debt and has essentially purloined his wife’s money while enjoying the loins of young Kate (see what I did there?).
Simon and Kate's relationship is also on the rocks. She told him she had aborted their baby (has she really? I suspect this is a lie). And all in public, in a pub, in front of Gemma’s chief spy Carly who was working behind the bar at the time. See, I said this drama stretched credulity at times.
Elsewhere, Gemma and Neil the oily accountant had a good go of it. I can’t quite work out who is smarmiest – Neil or Simon. I’d probably go for Neil if only for the moment he told Gemma “I’m here because I think we would have really good time f*****g,”. Astonishingly, she managed not to run out of the room gagging on her own vomit.
And then there was the moment he oozed with self-satisfaction: “There have been other women. Yes”. (I almost rushed to the loo that time.)
Unsurprisingly, his wife seems to have his number, discovering him and Gemma going over their books in their house and flashing him a look of such studied loathing and mistrust it could have peeled the paint off the walls.
The only person in this whole drama who is not getting any nookie is Ros, who was abruptly ticked off by her dishy colleague Luke (Cian Barry) for daring to flirt with him. Poor Ros. She can’t even have pretend sex when everyone else seems to be at it like rabbits.
Someone get her a bit on the side and be quick about it...