Or Al, a May-December romance
That dynamic between Ruth and Al that's built up through S5, I've wondered where it's going. The first thing Ruth says when she sees Al in Joan's hen coop is "young men and chickens" so there is something decidedly cougarish about Joan -- perhaps there have been other instances besides Edward Melville -- and it's not altogether impossible that it runs in the family. But on the whole I think things will not take off in that direction. So that got me wondering about Ruth and Bert (also a 15 year age difference or so). The points of connection are even less there than between Ruth and Al. Basically I think if any kind of romance between Ruth and Bert were to develop it would require A LOT of fancy footwork on the part of the writers to make us accept that as plausible. Bert's character being what it is, I think he would just not hold very much interest for a woman like Ruth. There are two ways it might be done: If Bert were to develop a really interesting psychopathology. Bert is a bit of a hypochondriac when it comes to his mental health (turning up late at the Doc's surgery in S3 to ponder the possibility of his depression), so I think I could be made to believe that. Or else if Bert and Ruth were to be united in concern over Al in some way (like if he got testicular cancer or attempted suicide after Pauline dumped him). We see another side of Bert -- unique glimpses of his virtue and his wisdom -- where Al is concerned. If Ruth were to overlook what meets the eye first in Bert -- the petty avarice and foolishness of his character -- and see through to something worth attaching herself to in a relationship, I think it would have to be that. At the end of S5 Ruth has been given a part-share in the Large restaurant, so there's certainly potential for some kind of association between her and the Larges to continue. I trust NewPark means Ruth's return to Broadmoor as a consulting professional, not as an inmate! That would mean we wouldn't see Eileen Atkins I suppose in every episode, and I'm hoping that they will retain her as a regular character.