This is the end of the second season of Doctor Foster and who wants to bet me that scissors are going to be a factor? None of you, you're all too smart for that, arencha? Rolling S2:E5 after the break.
Alright so Doctor Gemma Foster (Suranne Jones) doesn't kill her ex-husband Simon (Bertie Carvel) with her car whilst racing him to get to their son Tom (Tom Taylor), but she for sure thinks about it!
Gemma gets to the hotel room first (duh, Simon was walking), he's confused so packs slightly more slowly than she would like. They drive off just as Simon makes it to the hotel, malevolently breathing through his nose. Well, he could be just tired, that was quite the trek.
Gemma and Tom are back at the house, which is completely empty. Our good Doctor Foster has decided that a new start means redecorating, so. I mean. Sure. Definitely a new blanket in the master bedroom, for starters. Maybe the carpet in the formal dining room too, just some ideas.
Tom's not really interested in painting, he's thinking he'll move out on his own. Apparently they can do this at 16 in the UK? Clearly whatever Simon said to Tom is still having a strong effect on our teenager.
Simon himself is lurking outside, still breathing through his nose and waiting for Tom to come outside and chat.
How can Tom stay there, "after everything I told you about her?" Tom's had enough, he spits "you're obsessed" and stalks off, leaving Gemma and Simon in yet another showdown. If Simon had a knife right now, he would use it here and here and here...she suggest he use it on himself and walks away to him shouting "MAYBE I WILL" which unfortunately Tom overhears. Damnit. So now he's heard her encouraging his dad to kill himself.
The one interesting thing that came out of that for me was that Simon was taking care of his mum at 15, so he had to grow up fast.
The doorbell rings, Gemma has HAD it, grabbing her scissors on the way and I knew those would come into play! You guys owe me ten bucks!
Oh but it's not Simon, course, it's new neighbour Lucy (Anna Madely) with her kiddos come to say hi. NOT A GOOD TIME, LOVELY LUCY AND ADORABLE KIDDOS.
We're back in the past in Gemma's memory, reliving what life was like immediately before her discovery of Simon's secret life. It was happy, close, connected, a real family and once again I am confused.
Was Simon some kind of sociopath? Could he really have been that happy and in love with Gemma yet still maintain and develop a second relationship with Kate? Wouldn't the guilt have eaten him alive? What about fear? What about messing one up for the other in bed? I mean, how can there have been NO signs? People know.
Later, we have Doctor Foster, Tom, dishy James (Prasanna Puwararajah), Ros (Thusitha Jayasundera) and whoever her new groom is, dining and talking about Tom's future at his school (he doesn't have one) while Tom squirms. Ros suggests "let's start looking after each other" while I roll my eyes and Simon commences banging on the window. It's a welcome distraction for Tom at least, although it's really pissing Gemma off. She goes outside to cool him down.
He thinks it should be him in there, dining and chatting with their (his) friends. She could just forgive him, right? There is it, out in the open as we've been waiting for from this delusional bastard. He wants to get back together for TOM'S sake, not for his own, so they can be a family and raise Tom properly again. Jeebus wept. He hands over something wrapped in paper, which she throws away, incensing him further.
"I should choke you to death" says the charmer who just suggested they try to make a go of it.
Gemma points out same, but Simon thinks "that's every family" and now I'm seeing a bit more that Simon's childhood must have been shite. Tom's had enough of his mum defending him and comes out to make a declaration. He calls his dad a massive failure and walks away, I think I felt that from here! Ouch. Simon leaves.
When Gemma and Tom get back to the house, there's that paper on the porch, is that Gemma's wedding vows now? Ah great, James came home with them and he's up in Gemma's bedroom with a present for her.
It's a lovely pair of earrings, Gemma is as non-plussed as I am. How does this guy think things are going so well? He knows she just slept with her ex, is being stalked and harassed by same, is this REALLY the time to deepen their relationship?
Gemma stalls with a trip to the kitchen to get water, where she meets Tom wanting to know about her parents. Simon dangling whatever information he told Tom is working on my brain as much as Gemma's, because I immediately wondered if she killed them. Nope, car accident, but Tom thinks she's lucky because at least they're dead and Simon won't ever stop.
He's not suggesting she should kill his dad, yeah?
Tom wants a little bitta reassurance about whether Gemma was lashing out at his dad, did she deliberately try to get Kate (Jodie Comer) to leave to punish Simon? Was she lashing out? Gemma explains carefully that she just thought he would leave, she didn't want to hurt him but HE STARTED IT!! People forget, you know, how easy it is to irrevocably hurt people they love trying to get back at the people they now loathe.
Alone, Gemma opens the paper on the porch and while it's not Gemma's wedding vows, it is a memento of better times. It's a champagne cork from a bottle Simon opened just before his 40th birthday, he opened it so they would remember "once upon a time we had fun." "Let's never get old and unhappy."
Well. They sure didn't!
Even then, there were troubles with Tom, who felt that Gemma was spending more time at work than with him and didn't listen. Simon says the right words, "you're a brilliant mum" when Gemma asks if she should soften her approach with her son, but I guess it isn't much different from when dads work all the time.
Back in the present, Gemma wakes up to the sound of a cab in the middle of the night, it's Tom and he's gone. She dresses while James says ridiculous things like "I'm not letting you do this" which means she has to give him both barrels. This is NOT working, GTFO after you wait and see if my son comes home. Bai.
Gemma calls and calls, finally getting an answer on Tom's phone, but it's Simon and Tom sounds...scared? Hard to tell, but Gemma heads off to the same hotel she was staying at previously to not find anyone in Simon's room. Instead, Simon is crying and threatening to throw himself into a busy highway while Tom watches.
Gemma begs Simon to not do this, "not like this" so she saves his life and he thanks her by trying to kill her by taking her with him into traffic.
I think we might be in a psychotic break, yes? Gemma calms Simon down with some words we can't hear and they're off to eat a meal together as a family. SURE.
Simon drinks, Gemma orders him breakfast and then Simon cries and we wonder if Gemma still has feelings for this wreck of a man.
Ah and now we finally know what Simon told Tom, Gemma had just worked it out herself. Gemma had a rare condition (syndrome?) called post partum psychosis, which is something that can happen after women give birth. Most mums get some form of baby blues, post partum psychosis is the most severe and can result in the mother harming herself and / or the baby. Gemma had to leave her kiddo to seek treatment, just as you would if you developed cancer or something, but Simon told Tom that his mum tried to hurt him and then abandoned him. Then Simon had to quit his job and that's why he amounts to absolutely nothing because of Gemma and her infanticide waiting to happen.
You've GOT to be kidding me. All of Simon's smirking about "does he trust you? He shouldn't" and THAT was what he was holding over Gemma? Ah Simon, how could you?
I'm sorry, I can't believe any father would do that to his child. Full stop.
Gemma leaves the table and goes to her car to get her black bag and returns to Simon's room to lay out a bunch of needles and solutions. We know what that means as we saw her euthanize her mother-in-law in season one.
She heads back to the table to find Simon ruefully watching Tom text and not talk to him, "it's done. As agreed." Simon should be a much better liar, but he immediately launches into a monologue about his dad dying and never seeing Tom again and he might as well have "YOU MUM GAVE ME DRUGS TO KILL MYSELF, THE HEWER" written in his forehead.
At least Simon takes back everything bad he said about Gemma, goodonya mate.
Tom cries and Simon heads back to his hotel room, crying as he ties off for his death needle and I take a quick minute to email a friend that THIS IS BULLSHIT.
Simon should die?
Simon had an affair and now he should end his life at the ripe old age of 42 because he has nothing to live for because he's lost his obsession, backup wife and both new and existing children's attention.
THIS IS WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN?
He doesn't have Gemma so he should die? Because he had an affair.
Gemma bursts in before Simon can do it, she wants him to realise that he's looking at a painful death and maybe instead of that they could try being like normal people who work through things or agree to hate each other forever but don't set up Kevorkian Kits for each other.
Because she'll never forgive him, but eventually they might start to forget and maybe that's enough.
Well. Maybe it would be enough, but then she gives him his traveling photobox with pictures of her and Tom inside. He used to take it with him when he had to go out of town (to schtupp Kate with the full approval of Gemma's friends and neighbours) and now he can have it as a little memento of what he's lost. Or what he has to live for. I honestly can't tell with this show.
I get why there would be a picture of Tom in there, but Gemma: a picture of you? Talk about mixed fecking messages.
Gemma leaves, checking at the desk and giving us her new/old name: Dr. Angelis! (I fink)! She checks her voicemail (Tom's getting back into school, hurrah!) and a message from Sian and she's back at the car and there is no Tom.
Tom's in the wind with a final voicemail to his mum: "you won't see me again" and we're with Gemma in complete agony.
A voiceover shows us all the times Tom was at risk and we didn't pay attention, focused as we were on Gemma and Simon's death match. "Your biggest fear was nothing compared to this" and while I appreciate the sentiment, I completely understand why Tom bailed.
We see a montage of the future, with Gemma searching, searching and waiting and waiting but no Tom yet. Gemma speaks directly into the camera, she's here, she's waiting for Tom to come back and now I fear we're in for another season as we wrap up this one. We're oot.
In case I was unclear about how I feel about this season, allow me to elucidate. I did not enjoy this season of Doctor Foster as much as season one and I would be hesitant about committing any further time to future seasons. Even while I tried to remain an impartial observer (okay I never did that), I found it required far too great a suspension of disbelief. That sentence made as much sense as the entire plot of season two of this show. Let me lay it out in a few strokes for you and you tell me if I'm rolling my eyes in error.
Season two in a nutshell:
Simon returns to town with a flash new wife, flash new kiddo and flash new job in a flash new house to show off to his ex-wife (who has been living in a timewarp somehow involving paying a young dude for sex) and to threaten to steal away their son. He gets the son briefly, Gemma gets a boyfriend and then Simon and Gemma bang again, post Simon's wedding (where Gemma said she WOULD RATHER DIE), shortly after Simon sets up the neighbours' marriage to implode (the neighbour Gemma revenge-banged!) and their son sexually assaults a close friend and gets kicked out of Simon and Kate's house forever. THEN Gemma explains to Mrs. Foster 2.0 that it's all about her, always has been and Simon was just developing and nurturing this 4 year relashie (with Kate who "smelled better" and was more compassionate (????)) to feed his obsession with GEMMA. This leads to a suddenly single Simon requesting a reunion with Gemma, whom he then threatens with murder and follows up with several suicidal gestures, helped along by our Gemma with the black bag. Then Tom runs away. Fin.
I'm curious as to what everyone else thought, did you love it? Was it painful to watch? What did you think? Until anon, fair friends, I see see you then.