Hi everyone and welcome back to Doctor Foster! This was one of my favourite shows to recap, I think because of the Suranne Jones crossover I was doing at the time with Unforgiven. Anywho, who's ready to find out why they added a second season to an already-finished story? ME TOO!! Rolling S2:E1 after the break.
We open with Doctor Gemma Foster (Suranne Jones) stepping precisely out of her SUV and striding into HER medical practice while fielding texts from her son Tom (Tom Taylor) who is buying her coffee.
I've heard there is a magical transition wherein children start to do stuff like grocery shop as help instead of just trying to push siblings off carts while screaming 'IT WAS MY TURN TO PUT IN THE PUDDING IN THE CART!!' Just *heard*
We get a quick look at everyone who is back for the sequel, I think the gang's all here! I'm sorry, the neighbour she blackmail-humped into helping her find out information about her ex is still there? And his wife, who loathed our Gemma so much that she started an online hate campaign? HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN? A decade? And that arsehole she worked with is still there too! Hai Ros (Thusitha Jayasundera) you wanker!
All over town, everyone is receiving red envelopes addressed by hand, whatever could they be?
It's a wedding / housewarming invitation from the happy couple and Tom looks as though he's swallowed a goat. Gemma reassures her distraught kiddo: it's okay. People do move on and have babies, some even before their first divorce is final.
Full disclosure: I wrote the recaps for season one before I myself joined the ranks of the divorcing, I will do my best to not be obnoxious about oversharing, but that right there counts as fair warning. I have stopped crying all over strangers who accidentally make eye contact, so at least there's a chance of neutrality!
Gemma falls asleep in the bath then checks in on her kiddo, who is texting too late but says exactly what Gemma wants to hear: he doesn't want to go see his dad and his new baby and new wife.
Oy, Gemma, you canea do that, you've got the encourage the relationship between him and his dad as much as you loathe the yerk. You can't pick at your fingers (first blood on Gemma and her finger-picking) and say thanks when he says he doesn't want to go to the celebration.
Late that night, she gets a text from Simon about he and his new family moving back, in case she didn't already know. He sends the address, luckily it's only a mile away.
She drives out there the next morning, this time picking at her lips, which is new on the fidget scale for her. The house is extremely modern, in fact it looks exactly like Simon's (Bertie Carvel) old office building. All glass.
All those windows make it super easy for Gemma to see the beautiful indoor swimming pool, Kate's (Jodie Comer) daddeh Chris Parks (Neil Stukes - he was in Paranoid! I think he thought he was in a different series than everyone else, though) must have laid down a bundle.
Gemma debates for a bit then goes on inside for a wander, LIKE YOU DO. Annnnd she gets busted by a very snide looking Simon with little tiny sleeves that he has to keep tugging on.
He's quite affable inside, cheerily talking away while Gemma says...nothing. I do not like it when Gemma goes mute and starts picking at her fingers.
He says he moved to London for HER, now he's back to be closer to Tom and Kate's friends and family. And don't worry, he wasn't hiding money from her during the divorce and that's not why he can afford these posh new digs, it's a change of circumstance. He still dreams of her, and remembers how she likes her tea, awww. Wanker
He presses about Tom coming to his wedding/housewarming, he's got to put family first. Gemma finally speaks to say that it depends on how you define family.
He gets much less subtle, accusing her of coming to see him, to showing up in his house unannounced in her same old clothes looking the very same, looking for some Simon, perhaps? He's been asking her friends (ROS. You know it was ROS who sold her down the river) and they say she just works all the time so he assumes she's just been waiting for him.
One last shot as she goes, a slam of her door against his. Oh yes, she's totally over him.
When are people supposed to start dating after separating? I know in theory it isn't supposed to be BEFORE you separate but surely in two years Gemma would want to get out a bit? Or not, perhaps, it all seems exhausting and then there's trust issues and a kiddo to deal with, maybe better to focus on work.
At work she gets some super helpful advice from an obnoxious coworker, Gemma should try being organized! Like her. Fanks
Ros isn't surprised to hear about Simon's party (YOU DON'T SAY), she knows he always hated London and with Tom here, it just made sense. I get how Gemma is feeling, she's built her world in Simon's hometown, surrounded by his old friends and allies and she's always been the outsider. With Simon back and kicking around, will she be on the outside again?
Ros nags her to go on a dating app, but instead Doctor Foster goes and feels up an attractive male patient who asks her out on a date after. She's not looking for a relationship. Gurl.
Everybody can't wait to tell Gemma that they're totally not going to the party, even though of course they are. As is Tom, ready for the big day in a lovely suit with a Windsor knot. Their creepy neighbour Neil (Adam James) prefers looking at Gemma in her bright blue dress, seriously: in front of his wife Anna (Victoria Hamilton) who totally knows they banged. I.do.not.get.it.
Yay, Gemma's dressed up because she accepted the date from the patient after all! He's James (Prasanna Puwanarajah) and he's adorable! I guess a date on the day your ex-husband gets married is better than no date on the day your ex-husband gets married. Okay, she stalked and called him, which is our first breach and problem of the series.
Gemma's not even giving adorable James a shot, though, she's picking at her phone now like it's her nailbeds and it's super obvious that she's not even half checked in. A text to Tom gets a picture of Simon holding up a drinking Tom, but I'm more interested in the fact that the picture is angled so that Simon is in front of Tom.
Now you understand the source of her unease. She's worried that Simon will take Tom from her. Plus maybe feed him booze. That may seem crazy and unfair and a whole lot of other things but that feeling is like no other. Forget about someone cheating on you; have someone threaten your time with your children and watch that thin veneer strip away, revealing the primordial.
This is the worst date ever.
Oh nooooo. It's about to get a lot worse because guess who's going to Simon and Kate's wedding party? NO, GUESS??
Chris begs her not to make a scene, Gemma just gives him That Look and then wanders about to get a drink. Oh look, totally not going Ros made it with her fiancee! Just after Gemma explains it to James, Simon sees her and drags her away by the elbow. There's still so much chemistry there.
She should go. She really should. Simon's explained it, so has her tipsy kiddo (hey, James is his teacher, that's not going to be awkward Monday!), she should just pack up and go. But she isn't going to, no sir.
Because he's ruined her life and she won't sit at home like a nice girl and pretend she's fine about all of her friends celebrating with her lying, cheating ex-husband. She releases James back into the wild, he doesn't have to stay if he doesn't want to. He grabs two glasses of champagne, he's a good sport.
Time for toasting! Simon and Kate's little girl Amelie (Joanie Kent) is sooo cute!! Simon does a fast and furious toast and then it's Kate's turn. She does one on the fly, starting with acknowledging hers and Simon's murky beginnings, thanking everyone for their forgiveness and ending up thanking Gemma for coming, this must mean she wishes them well, right? And that it's going to be nice and peaceful from now on? For the children?
She's almost pleading at this point, so Gemma plasters on a smile and reassures Kate that yes, she hopes they'll be very happy.
Gemma disappears as the toasts continue, heading upstairs to find "Tom's Room", which makes her face fall. The present she gave him for Kate earlier is on the floor.
On she moves to the Master Bedroom, this is so cringe-worthy. I expect her and James to break in the new bedroom set any minute, once he catches up to her.
Gurl. You can't go through someone's night stand, you know better than that. Looks like Kate or Simon has one of those FANCY vibrators! Hand sanitizer, stat!
Damnit, it's Simon who finds her in his bedroom going through his things, I'm surprised he hasn't been violent yet. I'm surprised they haven't humped yet, it's hanging in the air with the violence and I can't tell which way it's going to go.
She needs to know that he's suffered some ill-effect from how he treated her and Tom. This posh house, all these friends, this triumphant wedding: it sure doesn't look like it.
When she brushed the fluff off his shoulder during his chat, she felt his growing erection. He still wants her. Why doesn't she move, not him?
A tense pas de deux later, he very much does still want her and unfortunately, his new wife is not his type. He always did like the intellectually superior. Kate isn't a secret anymore, either, so: boring. He presses close to her and she feels it again; does he want to? Does she?
She'd rather slit her own throat.
She walks out, running into Kate on the stairs and passing on the present she had: don't show Simon. Interestingly enough, Kate immediately hides it from Simon. Hm
Now it must be time to grab James, yes?
Gemma searches the house for Tom, there was a brilliant shot of two young men dancing together, like, TOGETHER yay! All you see is heteronormative buillshite on TV, it's great to see! Anyway, she can't find Tom anywhere and just as she's getting really worried, up he pops and so does James with a cab.
James wants to know if he can call her? Hahahahaha sure! You gotta love that there's no quit in him.
Tom is mortified that's she's dating his teacher, calling her desperate before stiffly marching off to bed.
Alone, she drinks wine straight from the bottle and goes to her room to stare at the locked drawer in her dresser. She opens it to show us...a jewellery box? Covered in clothing? I was sort of expecting a hope chest, a la Tipping the Velvet.
Gemma makes it to work to be lectured again about organization by Sian (Sian Brooke) of all the helpful suggestions, this time with a chaser about how to be professional, regardless of what's going on in one's personal life. That one's going to be a problem.
Flowers have arrived! Just as a happy Gemma is calling James to thank him, she reads the card "BITCH" which means that Simon was thinking about her his whole wedding weekend.
Aww, old hypochondriac Gordon (Daniel Cerqueira) is back too! Just like last time, Doctor Foster can't see him, shes coming down with something. Oh dear, not very professional at all, and it's not a good idea to call your son immediately after and say his dad isn't playing fair either.
I mean, it wasn't him in your bedroom last night on your wedding night, was it?
That sentence is a mess but I think you know what I mean. I understand Gemma's anger, but she was the one firmly poking the bear in the nose, yeah?
Gemma goes straight to Simon and Kate's house, where she finds Kate not very interested in seeing her. She finds it unlikely that Simon said he still finds her attractive, because nobody hates her, they don't think of her at all. In fact, she doesn't think of her so often that if Gemma shows up again, she's calling the police. Oh yeah, totally neutral, Kate.
Gemma gets home to find Simon. In her kitchen. Looking evil.
What he says takes our breath away; he seriously means to run her out of town, and not only that. He's planning to drive her out alone, leaving Tom behind.
Everyone's been saying so.
Tom gets home just as things get really quiet and dangerous, oh nooo, he's leaving right now to go to his dad's house. Gemma runs after him, even shoving him away from Simon's car, but he leaves and she screams.
Anna comes out into the road but Gemma has no time for that, there's a small jewelry box stored in a locked drawer that must be opened.
Tom eats supper as Gemma mixes chemicals and reveals...her wedding ring. Oh. Oh Gemma kept the ring, just in case. And now it's gone, melted into nothing in acid and so is her last hope of Simon.
And Doctor Foster's black bag is packed again and ready to go. She lights a cigarette and prepares for battle as we end the first episode of the second season of Doctor Foster.
So. What a challenging episode. I struggle with being on Gemma's side all the time, even though I wholly identify. Her stranglehold on Tom is part of what pushed him into his dad's arms, you just can't do that. I hesitate to judge because I have found that I have been wrong about most things in my life, especially the ones I was really sure about. It usually meant I hadn't gotten to that part yet, and maybe that's what this is.
I also agree with Simon about Gemma leaving, she absolutely should. None of those people are her friends, and this is his hometown. Why stay and bang your head against that particular wall out of spite? Go somewhere fresh, I beg you, or at least change your bloody sheets or get closet doors that aren't gilt-lined mirrors, good lord.
It's also Tom's hometown, and where she has built a thriving medical practice when old Simon was running about propogating the family name, so I don't know. But for the love of all that is holy: CHANGE YOUR BEDDING.
Can you really just throw someone away when you're done with them? Move someone to your hometown, have them settle in, build a life then poof: you move on and now they have to go because your very existence is a bother?
What say you about Gemma showing up at their wedding party? At what point does your hurt over the past allow you to destroy someone's future happiness? Is there no forgiveness possible? I'm terrible at forgiveness; I think because I'm a heathen. I go back and forth about it. Two years is a long time to maintain a fiction, and it's not as though she and Simon were sleeping in separate rooms or married in name only. They had an active and passionate married life and had he never borrowed her scarf, she would probably be none the wiser. Oh except for the fact that Kate got pregnant, never mind. But you see what I mean.
Until next time, you lot! Fingers crossed she gets to see dishy James again soon! Cheers.