You are always setting yourself up for an emotional roller coaster of a an episode when you tune into BBC 1 at 9pm on a Tuesday evening for an installment of harrowing drama Doctor Foster.
Addictive and intense, the drama tells the story of accomplished GP Dr.Gemma Foster, and her discovery that her husband has been cheating on her with a much younger woman. The previous series ended with Gemma keeping her son, whilst her husband was convicted for assault and quickly left London with his pregnant young lover.
Series two rejoins Gemma and her son Tom, as letters come through the post inviting the neighbourhood to the house warming of Gemma’s ex-husband, his new wife, and their young daughter.
What follows next can be seen as a constant battle between Gemma and her ex; from her gatecrashing his house warming party, to him sending her flowers with a greeting card labelled ‘bitch’.
Her son leaves, to live with his father, her friends all seem to support her ex Simon, and as expected the drama is driven by the hatred between the ex couple.
With a certain incident occurring at school with her son, Gemma moves away with him, finally leaving Simon to his own devices, as he states to Gemma that he will only be leaving London ‘in a box’. However, Gemma doesn’t leave before sleeping with Simon out of hatred, in order to destroy his marriage as he destroyed hers.
This is where the last episode picked up from and as you can expect, we were all in for quite a ride.
The audience can watch in fascination as Simon’s new wife, Kate, is seen to go through the emotional torment that Gemma was subjected to during her marriage to him. From questioning him, through to the visiting of Gemma’s old house to look for clues, the drama perfectly displays the depths of despair a person can go to due to their constant paranoia and mistrust towards the people they love.
The Guardian have dubbed this behaviour as an ‘excessive campaign of domestic espionage‘, as it represents the destructive nature of revenge, hatred and mistrust. Whatever the term for all this snooping, it certainly makes for thrilling television!
The show also focuses on Tom, the teenage son of Gemma and Simon, and his experience during the break up of his parents, the introduction of a new mum, new sister, living in different houses and watching his vengeful parents seek destruction on each other with little regard for his welfare.
The show also explores brilliantly the cunning nature of Gemma, whose hatred for her ex spurs her to operate within the confines of her work, with her colleagues, to effectively destroy his life.
From getting her co-worker to make sure that Kate turns up to her house viewing to find the evidence, through to ensuring that Kate finds out about her husband’s affair with Gemma, she is seen to manipulatively plan the whole scenario, even driving Kate back to her house in order to kick her husband out.
The shocking factor of Doctor Foster is that it is pure drama, this is what people sign up for! A woman, intent on destroying her ex-husbands new idyllic life.
Gemma’s true feelings are revealed as she demonstrates to Kate the evidence that Simon is still obsessed with her; Gemma’s favourite song was the first song to be played at Simon and his new wife’s wedding; Simon’s new wife dresses like Gemma used to dress, Simon ultimately did everything for Gemma.
The show also explores the concepts around societal and family pressures, as it is revealed, after Simon is exposed as cheating on his new wife, that he is in fact penniless, completely supported by the family of his wife- who are seen to completely abandon him in the wake of his betrayal.
‘All you had to do was to love me’, Kate remarks, as she puts her daughter into the car, climbs in after her and shuts the door on Simon’s face, in a plan all so brilliantly and terrifyingly orchestrated by Gemma, who, after witnessing Simon take her life away from her, ultimately sought to take his away from him.
Doctor Foster is chilling and gripping and explores the lengths that one can go to in order to seek revenge, it’s dramatic and at times far fetched, but the controversial viewing is all the better for drama.
Controversy hits an all time high during the ending scene, which ends with Gemma putting her foot down on the accelerator and speeding towards Simon as he leaves his empty house- void of wife and child, and heads to find Tom- his son.
The show cuts out as soon as Gemma very obviously swerves the car towards him, but is he dead?
With one more episode to go, we will just have to wait and see, although the writer and producer of the series have noted that it would be very difficult to create a third series, this could be down to certain characters being dead or behind bars.
Catch the finale of Doctor Foster on BBC 1 next Tuesday at 9pm.