For me, the best performance of the episode came from Claire Bloom as Martin's mother Margaret. Her portrayal of the character felt totally apt and she was totally believable.Unreality TV, 7th October 2013
The Doc's blood phobia is getting worse, as is his consequent insomnia, which is also beginning to disturb his wife Louisa in the marital bed. Maybe it's time he saw that psychologist his Aunty Ruth recommended, particularly when there's an unfortunate and very public incident involving Doc Martin, dopey police officer Penhale and a staple-gun. Penhale (John Marquez) causes widespread panic in Portwenn after jumping to conclusions about an asbestos scare.
But nothing is quite as terrifying as the sight of Martin's poised, chilly mother (played by Claire Bloom) who turns up on his doorstep with some news which, if delivered to any sentient human being other than Martin (Martin Clunes) being would be cause for thoughtfulness and sadness. But not the blithely unempathetic Doc, oh no. Not in a million years.Alison Graham, Radio Times, 7th October 2013