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The Freckle, the Key, and the Couple Who Weren't
Season Three, Episode Five
Air date 21 October, 2002
Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Martin Dennis
Episode guide
Remember This
The Girl with One Heart

The Freckle, the Key, and the Couple Who Weren't is the fifth episode of the third season of Coupling. It aired on the 21 October, 2002.


The episode begins with Jeff and Julia trying something kinky while Steve and Susan fight because Steve finds a suspicious looking freckle on his bottom and is upset that Susan hasn't noticed it. Jane introduces her new celibate boyfriend, James, to the group, when Jeff rushes in, still wearing a black, leather mask (from his and Julia's kinky role-playing), to ask the group how long "intestines take", meaning how long does it take for something to pass through the body. Jeff soon runs out when he realizes that he's wearing the mask back to Julia, who's still tied to the bed. It turns out that Jeff swallowed the key to the handcuffs and as Jeff is talking to Julia about why he ran off, the doorbell rings. As Julia realizes that Jeff's lost the key, her ex-boyfriend, Joe (who has just returned from Iraq) turns up and demands to see her. As the group talks, where Jane relaxes Steve by telling him that he's always had that mole, James discovers that Susan was his girlfriend in college. At the end of the episode, James tells Jane that he is going to Germany for a few months.

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Steve is suffering from a bout of hypochondria, thanks to the discovery of a mole on his bottom. This leads to a bitter argument with Susan, about how well the pair can remember each other's blemishes. Steve feels hurt that Susan can't remember if the mole is new, and Susan becomes paranoid about the possibility that she too may suffer from freckles in her otherwise-perfect private regions.

The argument is settled when the gang are introduced to Jane's new boyfriend, James. It turns out that Jane has perfect recall of Steve's mole. And it also turns out that James has perfect recall of Susan's "nether freckling" - the two of them were briefly an item at university.

Meanwhile, a kinky evening with Julia goes horribly wrong when Jeff swallows the key to the handcuffs. Things go from bad to worse when Julia's ex, Joe (a man prone to violence), turns up at her flat demanding to see her. Jeff narrowly avoids being beaten to a pulp, but his heart is in even greater danger of being broken than his bones. It seems that there's a lot of unfinished business between Julia and Joe.

Embarrassing Moments[]

Jeff rushes into the bar, desperate for advice from the gang. He's swallowed the key to Julia's handcuffs and he needs advice on how many laxatives he should take. He's left the poor girl cuffed to the bedposts, so time is of the essence. It is several minutes before he realises that he forgot to take off his rubber fetish mask before leaving Julia's flat. No wonder the chemist didn't charge him for the laxatives.


Main cast[]

Supporting and guest cast[]