Casualty review with spoilers: Abuse storyline confirmed for Jacob and Tina

In an episode that played with reality by offering two different versions of events, the diagnosis tonight’s Casualty eventually reached was that Tina (Adele James) and Jacob (Charles Venn)’s relationship, if it’s going to continue, has a lot of issues to address.

Beginning by showing us both Jacob and Tina with fresh wounds, Tina crying and Jacob saying that he was sorry, the obvious conclusion was that he’d been violent towards her. But surely not Jacob? He’s a man mountain, but he’s kind, caring and wise. Isn’t he?

We’ve previously seen how manipulative Tina can be, and this was on display again here. Each turning point in the story showed two different approaches that Jacob could have taken: ‘assertive’ (though it seemed more aggressive than assertive at times) and ‘passive.’ The passive option worked better in keeping Tina calm and happy, while the assertive only wound her up more, but there was a sense that neither approach was really the right one. Tina’s insecurities run deep and in trying to placate her Jacob was only pushing trouble a little further along the line.

The crunch came when they found a patient they’d been caring for – and squabbling over – choking on some food. As the two of them struggled to save her (no doctors apparently being available), Tina said she wanted to try to remove the obstruction. As the senior staff member in an emergency situation he should have insisted on carrying on himself, but instead he let her and her extra moments of fumbling meant the patient deteriorated.

Afterwards Dylan (William Beck) – who saw what happened – told Jacob that he’d nearly lost a patient because he allowed a junior to tell him what to do. Tina’s reaction to Jacob saving the woman’s life was to be angry that once again he’d played the hero.

This was all leading up to the violence that was hinted at in the opening scene. Would Jacob finally crack under the pressure?

When the outburst came, it was Tina who lashed out by throwing something at Jacob – and that was following the ‘passive’ approach in which he apologised for ‘playing the big hero.’ It seems he can’t win, whichever way he tries to approach her.

It’s a toxic situation and it can’t end well.

Sue Haasler is the author of five novels and the official BBC Holby City book, which you can read about here.

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