“It’s been a disappointment”.
“I expected so much more”.
“They should have left it at just one series”.
These are just 3 of the many comments I’ve seen with regards to the series 2 finale of the award winning Doctor Foster this week.
I’ve finally managed to watch the final episode. I couldn’t watch it in real time due to the fact I wasn’t alone. I have to watch it solo. I need to concentrate. I need to feel things.
And feel things I did. I spent the last 20 minutes of the episode with tears stinging my eyes.
I understand people’s reaction to the second series. There was less drama, less twists and turns but for me, this isn’t a bad thing.
We, the audience, learnt more about the focal part of the show; Gemma Foster.
Gemma, for me, is a heroine. An unlikely, deeply disturbed heroine.
You could have the point of view that she’s selfish. She’s to blame for her son being so damaged. And to a degree you’re probably right. But I want to flip that and give a different viewpoint.
Gemma is a human being. A woman with so many roles in life. She’s a Mother, a professional, a friend, an Employer. The list is seemingly non-exhaustive.
Gemma had a life, a life she seemed comfortable living. Until the very foundations of that life were shook, for reasons out of her control.
Simon’s affair with Kate devastated her.
She didn’t ask for that to happen. She didn’t ask for his deceit.
She also didn’t ask for him to return to Parminster with his sole focus being to destroy her and regain access of his son. Her behaviour was a result of his.
He continually upped the stakes leaving her panicked at the thought he could devastate her life once again.
I admired every single one of Gemma’s character traits. Her determination, her fragility, her passion and her intelligence. When Gemma was onscreen, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I felt her pain. I felt her passion. And I felt her desperation.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Gemma couldn’t bear to have Simon manipulate her once again, especially as she’d clearly put so much effort into moving on with her life once he’d left the town, shrouded in a blanket of shame 2 years previous.
I totally understand why she slept with him. Of course, she wanted to use the incident to her advantage with a view to blackmailing him, however, there is a fine line between love and hate and often the lines become blurred. I can’t judge her for doing that, 15 years is a long time to devote your life to someone. Just because they behave in an abhorrent way doesn’t mean you can’t recognise the person they used to be nor does it mean you can’t mourn the life you used to lead with them.
The tragedy of the final episode was laid bare in the final 10 minutes when her beloved son absconded from the car whilst she was convincing Simon not to take his own life. This was the most painful twist of all. Because despite the games, the blackmail, the deceit and the dramas, at the very heart of Gemma was the love for her son.
You cannot deny Gemma’s devotion to Tom. It’s as palpable as her disdain for Simon. It’s just that the lengths she went to, to protect her new life with Tom had devastating consequences.
Ultimately, the victim in this sorry state of affairs was Tom. There’s no escaping that. The depiction of his emotional turmoil paid tribute to how many children are affected by their parents messed up relationships. But Tom wasn’t the only victim. Gemma was too. In totally different ways.
Personally, I hope Drama Republic don’t commission Series 3. Of course, there’s enough scope for another series, but we don’t need it. The only thing the viewers would need, is to know that Tom is safe and well and has perhaps mended his broken relationship with his Mother.
We don’t need another series of Simon’s woe is me attitude. We don’t need another series of Gemma fighting tooth and nail to save the things she cares about, despite the fact you can never have too much of Suranne Jones.
The final episode of Series 3 provided a lesson to all. It reminded me that actions have consequences. And that life doesn’t come with a manual. Often, emotions take centre stage and we are driven by those feelings.
In the end, we all try to live our lives to ensure our happiness and those of our loved ones and dependants. But it isn’t always that easy. Life is complicated and those complications bring tragedy along for the ride. And if anyone knows the harsh reality of that then it’s Gemma.