Doctor Foster S2:E4 The Liberation of Kate Recap

So we took a short ride on a long shame spiral last time on Doctor Foster, it ended peacefully so where do we go now? What does the good doctor have up her sleeve for us? Let’s find out!

At the close of last episode, Doctor Gemma Foster (Suranne Jones) and her son Tom (Tom Taylor) had put their house on the market and left the area, reeling from some recent incidents with Tom and his friends. Gemma’s ex-husband Simon (Bertie Carvel) even kicked Tom out of the house Simon bought with his new bride Kate (Jodie Comer), although initially stealing Tom from Gemma seemed super important to our resident ahole Simon.

It got messy, as things involving emotions and people are wont to do, and last episode Gemma and Simon had sex and we all curled up into a ball after that, didn’t we? It made at least Gemma and I sad.

Now we’re at today! In fact, it’s Wednesday at 8 am and we’re waking up with Kate, who we don’t like very much. For all sorts of reasons, really, mainly because she was so farking indecent to Gemma, but right now it’s because she insisted Tom not be allowed in the house again. That’s Simon’s SON.

Simon insists he’s ecstatic about Gemma having left town, course, why does it look so much like longing and sadness?

The marriage that Simon and Gemma had isn’t what you would expect when you hear that he had been cheating on her for two years with another woman. Simon and Gemma were a good couple, sexually active with each other, so closely connected that you didn’t know where one ended, WHY does a person cheat in a situation like that? We all know the wellworn tropes about cheaters cheat and once a cheater and all that, but I have to wonder if there was something in Simon that wouldn’t allow himself to be happy. Because he certainly isn’t ecstatic Gemma is gone, whatever he’s saying to Wife 2.0.

Kate finds a hand-delivered envelope on her doorstep, and sings a song to lovely little Amelie (Joanie Kent) whilst we wonder if a bomb is about to go off. Just a mental one!

Kate must be wondering as we all are: if Simon and Gemma were such a magic thing, WHY was Kate called in to pinchhit on Simon’s penis?

Simon has all kinds of answers for Kate, but it seems he must leave right now, pressing engagement, you understand? And we’re all good, yes, yes, right? Simon, I’m not gonna tell you your business because I hate you, but this might be a time you want to call in for a sickie and spend some time with your (current) wife.

Off he goes because he doesn’t listen and Kate opens up the wedding present Gemma gave her and gulps BUT DOESN’T SHOW US WHAT IT SAYS. Come on, Kate, help a girl out!

Kate drops Amelie off with her parents and heads to school, where friend Aisha (Varada Sethu) is trying to talk her into going away for a night. They run into Carly (Clare Hope-Ashitey), ohhhhh, I wonder if Carly and Kate have seen each other since Carly was spying on Kate for Gemma.

Nope! And now Kate thinks Carly is spying on her again, what with the coincidence of the note earlier. Kate gives chase, but since Carly is WALKING IN THE OTHER DIRECTION, her paranoia seems unfounded. Carly suggests Kate might be worried about that, you know, as above:

Kate blows off Aisha and heads to Simon’s office for lunch, or rather to look through his phone while he rustles up sandwiches in the cafeteria. She finds the picture of Gemma taken on that fun, drunken night out and sits down, worried.


The fight starts with a revisiting of Tom staying with them again, I’ll give Simon credit for continuing to ask. Kate does not feel as charitable about talking about it again.

That’s how you talk to someone you loathe and consider under your control. Interesting.

The conversation progresses and we see Kate begin to realise how entangled Simon is with Gemma. I guess she didn’t know about Simon’s plan to run Gemma out of town and you know what they say: the opposite of love isn’t hate, but rather indifference. Simon and Gemma are locked into this passionate dance, right now they’re on the Hate side, but it’s got all of Simon’s emotions tangled up. Doesn’t leave much for Kate and she’s seeing that now.

Kate also isn’t sure Gemma is really gone, she jumps all over Sian (Sian Brooke) when she sees her, trying to confirm Gemma’s resignation. Sian drops that tidbit about Simon predicting Gemma and Tom’s departure within a month of his arrival and all of this is driving Kate crazy.

She goes so far as to actually look at Gemma’s home on the market, I do not like seeing her in Doctor Foster’s clean kitchen, and especially not in her bedroom, although I guess Gemma was in hers. She finds a happy picture of Simon and Gemma and steals a note from the notepad before she hears Anna (Victoria Hamilton) downstairs and makes a run for it.

Not in time! Anna sees her, what is she doing here?

I am loving that we’re seeing a web of Gemma allies in this supposed “Simon’s town”, screw you, Foster!

Anna spills immediately about Gemma and Simon banging last Thursday, Kate can see the truth on her face and now we get to see how Kate handles her husband’s infidelity.

She’s going to tell Gemma that exactly! Using one of those convenient notes Anna left everywhere with that address on them, off she storms while Anna pays off the “estate agent.”

We’re starting to see the edges of this trap Gemma has set, let’s see how firmly Kate bites.

Kate rushes to the hotel, where Gemma is not registered, but her cell ringer is audible. Kate follows the noise to see..Amelie! With Gemma?Whut?

Now we getta see Wednesday from another viewpoint! Kate’s parents Chris (Neil Stuke) and Susie (Sara Stewart) and getting ready to take care of Amelie. Susie gets a text from the good Doctor Foster wanting to meet and looks conflicted. Before, in another life, Susie was a devoted patient of Gemma’s and would have done anything for her. Will she go now?

She will. Gemma wants to know about Kate as a child, what did she like? What was she interested in? And then tells Kate’s mother about her and Simon on Thursday.

A quick phone call to Simon: Gemma gives him today to pack up and leave or she will destroy him and his family.

Now we’re back in the hotel lobby with Kate, Gemma, Amelie, Chris and Susie. Ah and now we’re getting a bit more into it, we learn a few things. The fancy house was bought by Chris and Susie, it is in Kate’s name alone because they don’t trust Simon. His fancy business is in Kate’s godfather’s name, because nobody trusts Simon. And now Kate is here, in this lobby, because she doesn’t trust him either.

She denies it, of course, calling Gemma pathetic and a bunch of other things, she knew all about it and is totally okay with him sleeping with Gemma, totes! They’re going to work through it because they have a real marriage and that’s what people in real marriages do!

This is astonishingly true.

Off she storms, demanding that Gemma leave her and her family alone!

Gemma is left alone, again, near tears. She’d been so certain that Kate would kick Simon out and she still might, she’s just not going to let YOU see any weakness, Gemma.

Gemma explains to Tom that they might have to stay gone, is that all right? He will have to decide.

Simon’s once again dealing with a wife in shock over his callous disregard for her.

But she’s been sitting there, ready for him for hours to get home from his pretend job. He starts as he usually does, with denials, but she warns him that if he lies about it on top of the cheating, there will be no going back. She’s good enough to give him a few minutes to weigh out those consequences.

He admits it.

She wants details, specifics, was it good? It was, but his assertion that he only finished out of politeness made me have to stop and walk around, I was laughing so hard. You’re not CANADIAN, Simon, you don’t have courtesy orgasms or give obligatory goodbye beejs.

He still has feelings for Gemma indeed, even now when his furious wife is talking to him about his betrayal, he’s trying to figure out where Gemma is. He’ll be sleeping in the spare room tonight.

Later, she thanks him for being honest, that can’t have been easy for him (hahahaha), she’s not going to do what Gemma did, shout and yell. They have a daughter, so they’ll push through this.

That scene almost made me feel sorry for Kate, she can’t even have her own reaction to betrayal, it’s all already been decided by the actions of her predecessor. And then I remembered that Kate openly mocked Gemma to her face about screwing her husband and my tear dried up just like that!

I should probably mention something about making one’s own bed and stuff, but that’s cliche and surely covered elsewhere.

We’re at a funny time where I’m pretty sure everything Simon says (he wants to work through things) means he feels the exact opposite. I doubt very much that he ever loved Kate, not really.

Kate has a restless night while Gemma and Tom bond in their hotel rooms. He’s not going to tell her what Simon said about Gemma to make him hate his mother, and he doesn’t like James either. Deal?

She tucks Tom in and then gets a text from Kate, who’s waiting in the lobby again.

When we started this season, we had Gemma walking in and around Simon and Kate’s (turns out just Kate’s!) house, staring and weirded out. That’s because so many of the things in that house were from her and Simon’s marriage. Like the watch she gave him that he wears, like the cufflinks he wore on his wedding day that were a 7th anniversary gift from Gemma, that’s just WEIRD.

Is Simon completely obsessed with Gemma?

Gemma takes a picture of Kate and then rushes her off to her home to flip frantically through photos until she comes across this one:

They do look a lot alike there, yes. The present Gemma gave Kate was Simon’s speech to her at their wedding, when he pledged to be obsessed with her forever. I love how Gemma describes herself as a totally normal woman, who wishes Simon would just go away. Everything Simon has done, it’s ALL for Gemma’s benefit. Everything he’s guided Kate towards has all been making her more like Gemma, who is his taste. His everything.

Well. There we have it. But I’m back to my question above: WHY Kate then?

Kate cries while Gemma reassures her “it won’t feel like it, but tonight is a GOOD night. You’re not going to waste 15 years…Tonight is when you escape.”

It’s Thursday at 8 am and Simon is once again beating on Gemma’s door while Mariah Carey’s “Obsessed” plays softly in the background.

Hey, his bank cards don’t work either! At work, he gets a text to come home right now, where he finds a moving truck and an ecstatic father-in-law.

No more Simon in the family! That’s it, all Simon had to do was wait 2 years and be normal and he could have had everything, but no, he screwed it up and now, it’s all over.

Simon cries.

And then gets very angry, so I am very worried that Gemma pulls up right then. Thankfully the glass holds while he goes to town on the window and door while Gemma watches dispassionately.

She drives away, calling Tom to say that everything is fine now, they can go home. He doesn’t understand, is Dad okay? Gemma stops.

Oh man.

Because therein lies the rub; they will always be connected by their son. Simon has poured so much poison in Simon’s ears about Gemma that they aren’t talking about and then, and then…

Gemma drives back and offers Simon a couple of days in her hotel, he hasn’t got a pot to piss in but he will not be under her control, not ever. He rubs it in some more about what he said to Tom, it must be very, very bad. He doesn’t think Tom will ever trust or be close to her again and that makes me think of Anna telling Tom about the divorce. Did Simon tell Tom about Gemma “leveraging” the neighbour?


Regardless, Simon jumps up and grabs Gemma’s phone, finding out where Tom is and heading off as fast as he can. Well. You know, he’s on foot, so what starts out looking like the most absurd race ever, Gemma idling behind a marching Simon ends up looking like a perfect opportunity for Gemma to help Simon leave in a coffin.

Our vision focuses to a narrow point as we calculate the distance and watch as Gemma revs the engine and it all becomes visceral as she accelerates towards his exposed form…and then my video ended. WHAT HAPPENED? Someone help a sister out??!!

At least now we know for sure why Gemma did that dead cat bounce with her ex, it ended up being the kind of fatal error that showed everyone just how emotionally invested he was. Totally worth the shame spiral if it saved everyone some peace except Simon.

Kate’s impassioned speech about how fantastic her dad is and how he never let her down made me wish I’d had a dad. I have an awesome stepdad, but I didn’t get him until I was in my twenties so he didn’t have to do any of the really gruesome lifting.

The ending shows us two things: one how you are never the same after you have children. You are vulnerable in a way that you cannot defend. Two: there is a reason that the ID Channel exists, some people recognise the value of paying for the funeral of an ex rather than a divorce attorney.

Until next time!