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 September 1973.
Matt returned from being in Portland, and Maggie was glad to see him. They were mainly dealing with Mike and Toni's situation. At the end of the month, Vivian Hendryx who was finally doing better and Matt spoke. She was to be released from the hospital, and her marriage to Carl was back on track.
Mike and Toni's relationship came to a destructive end on Cape Cod. They fought, and he pinned her to the bed, raping her. Considering the year, it was graphic, as you saw him on her back, pushing down her top. That morning Toni took a bus to get away from him. Back in Madison, Toni told Mike, she no longer loved him and the marriage was done. Matt was devastated to find out that Mike hadn't stopped using. He told his son, that he needed to get help and couldn't go back to practicing medicine until he was better. Nick came by, and Mike spoke about himself, and Nick gave the advice that this person will wash out at being a physician and it would be kinder to let them move on with life. Mike made the decision to leave Madison, and left letters to both his father and wife. People tried to convince Toni not to give up on her husband. In Lauri's case, she knew what happened, Carolee didn't know, but once she found out understood why Toni gave up on Mike. What was really sad about Mike's departure is that he didn't say goodbye to Greta, and his younger sister should have had the opportunity to see him one last time. Penny made his departure all about herself, but it had nothing to do with her.
Penny implied something sexual happened between her and Mike. While they kissed and shared a bed, which is bad enough that is all that happened. Between the pills and the brandy, Mike blacked out and couldn't confirm or deny what happened. Penny saw Steve, professionally and called him Dr. Aldrich, which was amusing just cause she used to have a crush on him. In a weird way, it is good that this was forgotten otherwise it would be beyond awkward. There were a lot of scenes, which discussed how there was no way to prove Penny was still a virgin, especially considering her equestrian activities, the differences in people's bodies, and that a baseline wasn't established earlier. (The whole thing was bizarre, as really who wants to watch adult characters discuss that. If it had been only one Steve and Althea scene, but then Althea also went to Matt. It was extremely matter of fact, like it was the most normal thing to discuss on a soap, but in all my years of viewing I've never seen anything like it. I do wonder what the people working on the program at this time thought, but perhaps it is only me.) The one positive was at least Penny wasn't pregnant.
John and Althea planned to go away on vacation to London with Penny in tow. They planned not to tell her, but she found out. It ended up not happening because Lisa Kincaid invited herself over to their apartment. She announced to Althea about her weekend with John, and how she didn't have suicide on her mind. Althea was horrified, but realized the one thing that John had going for him, his fidelity, was gone. Althea told John to go ahead to England without them, and he left a night early. Penny was upset over not being able to go, but suffered from headaches. Considering it was September, and Penny had to go to summer school to make up her coursework, in what universe did anyone think it was a good idea for Penny to go on vacation and miss classes again.
Nick and Ann continued their engagement. She wouldn't set a date as she wanted to be stronger, Steve told Nick he had to return the favor and be the best man at that wedding. Mona started to resent Ann and Nick's relationship as Ann defied Mona. Ann told Steve her feelings about him going to Boston and not becoming partners in the medical practice. That all Steve cared about was his ambition, and Carolee also felt Steve should live up to his promise to his friends. Erich came home, and Steve and Carolee bought the boy a bicycle. Carolee suggested getting a puppy, which Erich said he didn't want. (I wonder if playing with a dog, is how he got the tick, but it wasn't said.) Eventually Steve realized the wisdom of their words, and told Mona he wasn't going to take Win's offer. Mona wasn't happy, as she thought getting Steve to Boston would derail his marriage. Steve is still at Hope Memorial as his first replacement didn't work out, as I wonder when this story thread will be dropped. Lauri still didn't want to marry Hank, but was leading him on as his health improved. Carolee asked Lauri to perform at the hospital talent show, but later apologized for upsetting her.
Those were the highlights of September 1973. There was one pre-emption September 25, and one missing episode on the 26. This month was the end of Peter Burnell's rendition of Mike Powers. Of all the actors who played the part, he was in the role the longest, and was seen by most as the definitive version of the character. Everyone else that were cast later lasted under three years. If the show wanted the audience to be upset with Mike, they did a really good job at it, but it was disturbing if well-acted by all involved.