Another month's worth of episodes of "The Doctors" has aired on RetroTV. Below are my thoughts on what has aired for the month of August 1973.
There was an eclipse and Mike decided he'd like to take Penny to see it. He also invited Althea, but the girl lied about Althea not being free. They ended up with a flat tire, and the weather was thundering, so they couldn't see the special event. Mike and Penny broke into an abandoned cabin, and spent the night together. They slept in the same bed, and shared a kiss. Since Mike was high on drugs, he can't recall exactly what happened with Penny. After coming back to town, Mike pulled away from Penny on Althea's urging. Everyone realized that Penny wanted more from Mike than Mike was willing to give. While Mike and Toni aren't doing well, he isn't going to screw up his marriage to pursue a 16 year old. Toni and Mike talked and decided to get out of town together. For the time being, Mike is suspended from Hope Memorial due to his drug use, but he is to be reinstated once his father returns from the west coast. Before Toni and Mike left for a small town that Martha and Toni visited before Toni and Mike wed, Mike told Penny to leave him alone. Althea was glad for this, but told Nick that if he wants to see Penny, he could. Nick though felt that he would be in the way of her family with John.
Nick and Ann were in Acapulco for most of the month. They got closer, but not close enough for Nick. He proposed and didn't understand why Ann wouldn't say yes. The nosy hotel owners played matchmaker, and Ann admitted that Nick never said "I love you". Once he heard that he said the three words, and she agreed. The returned to Madison, with her wearing a Mexican silver ring. Martha noticed it and congratulated Ann. Like Nick, Hank also proposed. Lauri didn't say yes or no, as she doesn't want to marry Hank. Lauri spoke to Toni about it, and Toni felt that Lauri should tell Hank that she'll only tell him once she's helped him become a surgeon again. On the happy day after he operates on a patient, she will give her answer.
Matt went with Carl/Charlie to Oregon to clear Carl's name. They were successful, and that black mark is off of his record. Vivian continues to be doing better, though she will take a long time to heal. Matt planned on seeing his nephew (his late wife's sister came to Hope to share the woes of her son, who was a heart surgeon who was a POW in Vietnam.) Matt and Maggie also spoke on the phone long distance.
Mona wanted Steve to have dinner with her, and to speak to Ann on the phone. Steve told her no that he had to go spend some time with his wife, and Mona cancelled the call to Ann, who seemingly only had Nick to comfort her. Win offered Steve the position of taking over his medical practice in Boston. Mona thought this was a great idea, though didn't explain the main reason was due to her belief that Carolee would never make it in a larger city. Win didn't understand why Mona said that Steve was in an unhappy marriage due to the picture on his desk taken of Steve, Carolee and baby Stephanie. Over lunch, Mona offered Steve alcohol, and he said no, due to going back to work. (I wonder if they got flack having Steve drink in the middle of the day earlier in the year.) Steve met with Cliff to discuss Win's offer, though Carolee didn't believe that Steve would leave the practice with his friends. (Steve is still working at Hope Memorial there is some sort of delay with the person who will take his place.) They were discussing this situation, but tragedy struck as Erich fell ill. (I'm glad they didn't get back together just for the sake of the boy.) Erich was rushed to Hope Memorial as he couldn't speak. Lauri looked after him and realized after singing and then touching his head that he was bitten by a tick. No one had realized this was a possibility (this was the early 70s before Lyme disease was an issue in the northeast.) We also found out that baby Steffy was extremely upset over Eric's hospitalization as she cried out for her brother, but he never came for her. The scenes also summarized Erich's role in their lives and how Carolee loved the boy because he was part of Steve, while he said that regardless of everything else Carolee is the only mother Eric knows. (He can't recall Karen, and Eric had his favorite toy with him: the giraffe.) Erich was recast and now is five and being played by a little boy who'll be on the program for the next few years. While there was a potential cure, they will have to wait to see if Erich will get better. Meanwhile Althea called Steve at Erich's bedside to ask him to do an exam on Penny, as Penny is making Althea believe she could be pregnant.
Those were the highlights of August 1973. There were two (August 1 and 6) pre-emptions for Watergate. The weirdest part was how the episodes went between the writers' strike and not. It also was the time frame where the show went from Allen Potter being the producer to Joseph Stuart. It wasn't a clean transition as episodes were taped out of sequence, which had the information alternating. So continuity for clothing, hair, and skin tone (since it was summer and people used to use less sunscreen) went out the window.