Thursday 21 November 2013, 9pm
It is 1918 and the Civil War rages throughout Russia, but has not yet reached the Young Doctor’s remote little hospital in Muryevo. It is actually an oasis of tranquility for him. He is in a relationship with Pelageya, albeit one based on companionship more than love, as she is able to facilitate and conceal his morphine addiction.
Fast-forward to 1935 and the Old Doctor is in Moscow being discharged from the institution he was sent to at the end of series one. He is bright, upbeat and most importantly cured.
He returns to his memories of 1918. In contrast to Series 1, he now loves life and is no longer sneering towards his younger self.
A letter arrives informing the hospital that the Zemstvo is coming for an inspection, sending the Young Doctor and Pelageya into a panic as they might discover the shortfall in morphine. The shortfall is a quart, or “basically a pond,” as Pelegaya puts it.
Under the watchful eyes of the Old Doctor, they cover their tracks by filling some morphine bottles with water. A short while later their tranquility is shattered by the arrival of a group of injured Bolshevik soldiers and the Young Doctor must get to work.
Thursday 28 November 2013, 9pm
The Old Doctor is on a train when his notebook is suddenly thrown at his head by Vlas, a fellow traveler, who tells him he hates morphine addicts. The Doctor replies that there’s more to the notebook’s author than morphine, before revealing how many pages have been used for toilet paper. Meanwhile, the Young Doctor is shambolically attempting to replace the morphine that has been taken by the now departed Bolshevik soldiers.
The following day, the White Guard arrive at the hospital, asking for medical assistance for a particularly badly wounded soldier. The Young Doctor meets the soldier’s sister Natasha, a beautiful aristocrat who insists all the staff join the White Guard for dinner.
After accidentally shooting himself in the foot, the Young Doctor ends his relationship with Pelageya and confesses his feelings to Natasha, but she reveals she is betrothed.
Thursday 5 December 2013, 9pm
The Young Doctor becomes more fixated with Natasha. Meanwhile, his older self boasts that he is writing an opera in an attempt at cathartic self-discovery.
The Feldsher and the colonel of the White Guard discover a badly wounded soldier and bring him to the Young Doctor. Natasha is eager to know if he has any information about her fiancé, a White Guard General, and the Young Doctor lies, telling her he died in battle.
The Young Doctor heads to his quarters, convinced Natasha will visit him. His older self becomes angry with him, telling him he should be looking after Pelageya and that his obsession with Natasha is as self-destructive as his addiction to morphine.
The Young Doctor finally visits the dying Pelageya, mainly to retrieve a reusable condom he thinks is in her room. He behaves with indifference as the Older Doctor reacts with disgust at his younger self.
Thursday 12 November 2013, 9pm
At Pelegaya’s funeral, the Young Doctor delivers a self-serving eulogy in which he absolves himself of blame for her death before reading a poem which he hopes will impress Natasha, much to the disgust of his older self.
Later, an explosion rocks the hospital and the Feldsher informs everyone that the Bolsheviks have returned. The Young Doctor pathetically attempts to persuade Natasha to stay. In desperation, he reveals that he lied to her and that her fiancé may not be dead after all.
Later that night, the Young Doctor inadvertently tells two angry Bolsheviks that the White Guard has left and is heading for a supply train full of drugs. Joined by the Feldsher, the Young Doctor heads off through the snow to try to warn the train’s passengers, but they arrive to find it has been derailed by a massive explosion.
The Young Doctor finds Natasha with a broken leg and attempts to find some basic medical supplies. Stumbling through the wreckage he discovers a large number of bottles of morphine. Natasha’s carriage is now on fire. Faced with a stark choice between escaping with the morphine or taking a risk and going back, he runs away, leaving himself to face the consequences of his cowardice.