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'Flesh and Blood' Episode 2: Mark pulls off surprise wedding in Gibraltar and could be faking his passion

As soon as Mary hears of the surprise wedding between Mark and Vivien, she asks Natalie to find out what happened to Mark's first wife and how she died
Stephen Rea (IMDb)
Stephen Rea (IMDb)

There are red flags all over the place in Episode 2 and most of it has to do with Mark (Stephen Rea), though Vivien's (Francesca Annis) children are all in the middle of familial dramas themselves. Some time has passed since Vivien's trip to the hospital and Mark moving into her beachside cottage.

Mary (Imelda Staunton), who is always peering at her neighbor's house, is shocked when a realtor's board goes up suddenly -- indicating the house is now on the market. She goes over with scones and jam, only to hear Vivien tell her children that she doesn't want to end up like Mary and wants to travel to India with Mark, while she can. Mary slinks away but you can see that she actively starts resenting Mark (and maybe Vivien too?) at this moment. Right after this, Mark buys Vivien a flashy red sports car for her birthday -- another OTT gesture that the kids hate. But they take it as a sign that he is well-off.

Mary, however, is not so easily convinced. She drops hints to each of the kids about her suspicions -- one, that Mark could have slipped something into the food to make Vivien fall so ill that she had to be hospitalized. Two, the car he bought could have been bought on credit. Mark takes Vivien to Spain, ostensibly to meet his daughter. When his daughter (conveniently) doesn't show up, Mark takes Vivien to Gibraltar for a quickie marriage instead -- something we saw him planning in Episode 1 when Vivien was in the hospital.

But he sets things up in such a way that Vivien thinks it is her idea to get married, impulsively. Later, on their wedding night, he has to escape to the bathroom to take viagra pills. This could be an age thing, but it could also mean that he is faking his passion. Mary raises a few red flags herself in the way she strolls into Vivien's house when no one is around to do some detective work, but in her defense, she seems genuinely worried for Vivien. This is why, as soon as she hears of the wedding, she asks Natalie (Lydia Leonard) to find out what happened to Mark's first wife and how she died -- her third red flag. 

In the meantime, Helen (Claudie Blakley) does her own digging to check out Mark's surgeon credentials, which check out. However, there is also trouble brewing for her closer home. Her husband George is targeted by Helen's disgruntled ex-employee, Meera Kapur (Clara Indrani), who chats him up and gets some candid shots of him fetching drinks -- and posts them on Helen's daughter's social media account (as a follower) labeling George as her "new boyfriend." Helen loses it and George is absolutely flummoxed about why a random woman he met would do something like this because he has no idea that the woman was Helen's employee. He also has no way to prove his innocence.

Meanwhile, Natalie almost gets run off the road by her boss's wife Clara after she catches Natalie spying on their family. 'Flesh and Blood' seems to delight in having its characters spy on each other at the drop of a hat. While unnatural, it creates this strange tension on the show. Even Jake (Russell Tovey) spies on his wife through his children who report her dating activities to him. Jake confronts her while trying to apologize but it backfires horribly, and his wife grows even more distant. 

Jake has started bellyaching about his problems to his sugar momma who, while patient and open to giving advice, is also losing her patience with him. She had signed up for sex without the emotional baggage. So the free emotional counseling sessions she is giving could come at the cost of her dropping Jake entirely pretty soon and then where would homeless Jake be then?  

But all these minor dramas recede to the background after Mark and Vivien come back from their holiday-cum-wedding. They are chilling on the beach with Vivien's children who are all questions about the sudden marriage, which, conveniently for Mark, makes him Vivien's "next of kin" just before they set off for India. This means he has access to all her money, including whatever she gets from selling the house. Just after he excuses himself to get the steaks on the grill, they hear him call out in panic saying the car has been set on fire. This is very odd because Vivien lives in an isolated stretch of the beach. Mark says it might have been kids or teenagers, but could that even be a possibility? Even eagle-eyed Mary saw nothing and as we watch her suspicious little eyes turn to Mark, it occurs to everyone that Mark can now collect on the car's insurance. The good doctor might now be so good after all. 

'Flesh and Blood' Episode 3 will air on October 18 at 9/8c on PBS Masterpiece.