Doctor Foster (Series 2)
The end of the first series of Doctor Foster (which I unashamedly binged watched until 3 am one night) left my jaw on the floor and my emotions in a flutter. I was spiritually awakened by powers of the femme fatatle that is Gemma Foster. I shook to my core. Now, the heroine of my dreams is back, and ruining men's lives left and right.
Two years after her husband (Bertie Carvel) left her for the new posh girl on the block, Gemma Foster (Suranne Jones) is trying to move on with her life. But just as things are beginning to look up, the devil himself returns to Parminster with his new wife and daughter in a great big house. Gemma, unwilling to let him waltz back into her town as if nothing happened, begins to plot her revenge. But soon things start to spiral out of control and Simon's control grip begins to suffocate her again.
Mike Bartlett's Doctor Foster is excessively melodramatic. It's maddening. But it's this exact "Desperate Housewives" drama that makes it so cringe-worthingly good. I actually had heart palpitations watching it. But what makes Bartlett's story really hit home is his uncharacteristically horribly wonderful characters. Bartlett's characters go against the typical divorce story characters - they don't fall into the cookie-cutter mold of characters. Does the woman always fall to knees in sorrow for her husband's infidelity? No. Do the man always say 'it's never going to happen again'? Heck, no. Instead, they represent the reality of messy divorces - except magnified by about 500%. The Fosters hate each other (like most divorced couples) and Bartlett makes sure to show just how
Gemma (aka my feminist icon) is just a devilish and revengeful as the first series, but this time around she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Suranne Jones absolutely exudes the wrath of a woman scorned, but still finds the immense sensitivity and harrowing reality of the modern, independent woman. It's a glorious performance that truly captures all the dimensions of a strong woman.
And then there's Simon... Simon, Simon, Simon. In the words of the President of the United States, "what a loser." He's horrible and villainous and I hate him (Both Trump and Simon). But that's just a testament to the terribly brilliant performance by Bertie Carvel. He's just so horrible and vile that it physically makes you want to jump through the screen and punch this guy in the face (since Gemma is too sane to do it herself).
Doctor Foster also triumphs with its fantastic supporting cast, in particular Victoria Hamilton and Adam James as the Foster's dysfunctional neighbors. The dynamics between the supporting characters and Gemma and Simon bring the characters and plot (no matter how melodramatic it is) effortlessly to life. And call me a trader, but I would like to see more from Jodie Comer as Simon's new boo, Kate. Her character has some interesting stories to tell and she has just a marvelous presence on screen.
Doctor Foster is a hard-hitting, drama-indulgent revenge thriller. It's guilty pleasure viewing to the max (just as long as you don't punch your screen every time nasty Simon comes on), but dam is it good.
Doctor Foster airs on BBC One on Tuesday nights at 9