I feel to fully explain my feelings on this episode I need to back to a day in May. It was one of those times when I opened Twitter in the middle of a party and felt that I needed to take a screenshot of what I saw so I could make sure later that this was actually happening:
I’m not really the biggest fan of the Christmas Specials most of the time because Call the Midwife is back! But, it didn’t say anything about what happened last season at all. The 2015 Christmas Special being the exception here. But maybe, I am being overly critical. I was annoyed with the 2015 Christmas Special because it didn’t mention Trixie’s alcoholism or the thalidomide story line, which were both the main topics of 5.1.
So maybe all of 7.1 will be about the fact that Patsy spent six weeks on a boat, kissed Delia the sidewalk, walked into the wedding reception of a wedding she didn’t know was happening already, said hello to her segregate family and best friend, talked to her stand-in aunt who now knows about her relationship, convinced Delia to drop out of her midwifery program, packed up all their stuff, said goodbye to everyone, and booked a plane somewhere all in the course of a few days. But hey, who knows?
So, let’s actually get into this episode.
We are about to be hit by the 1962 Boxing Day blizzard. We montage about Poplar for a bit on Christmas. The Turners have a very 1960s house, Reggie (Daniel Laurie) is still hanging out with Fred (Cliff Parsi) and Violet (Annabelle Apsion, who is now in the opening credits). It was all very cute and was topped off with this surprise:
The TV is back! Every then gathers at Nonnatus for a group photo, which again seemed a little weird with the two glaring absences. Especially since Christopher (Jack Hawkins) made the photo.
Now that our fan service is out of the way. Let’s get to the plot.
Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) comes over to Nonnatus because Tom (Jack Ashton) got a call that a pipe has burst at the community center and its clinic day. Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) says they can’t postpone it any longer. Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) says she will make some calls and find a replacement location. Amazingly her first call is to Shelagh (Laura Main), who is holding Teddy while Angela feeds a baby doll cereal on the floor behind her.
The replacement location ends up being Valerie’s (Jennifer Kirby) aunt’s pub.
While there, Val sees mother-to-be Linda. She just moved to London and feels uncomfortable at the clinic. Val says she’ll schedule a home visit with her. Since this is the Christmas Special, Linda is our thinly veiled Jesus-Mary metaphor. She and Selwyn are not married and he is not the baby’s father. Also, they are living in a caravan because they haven’t found anywhere to live yet.
Anyway, on the way to the clinic Nurse Crane and Sister Julienne are stopped by Gruff McNewCop.
Sometime between 6.8 and this episode, Ben Chaplan announced that he would not be back to this season. So, Sgt. Wolff (Trevor Cooper) is our new police representation. Sgt. Wolff is developing some sort of antagonistic relationship with Nurse Crane. There is also a running through line that milk is not being delivered. After a few spats with Sgt. Wolff, Nurse Crane, Reggie, and the cubs end up saving the day in that department.
Over at the surgery, Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) is struggling to keep everything in order while Shelagh is still on maturity leave. He sees a happy-go-lucky patient with a leg burn. Percy doesn’t want Dr. Turner to do a house call, he says he’ll come by and get the medicine himself.
Tom comes home and gets into bed with Barbara. He spent the entire day sitting with a dying retired sailor. He has also been asked to go to Birmingham to take over a parish. It wouldn’t be a promotion, just the same as he is currently doing. He doesn’t understand why God has called him to go and Barbara seems like she doesn’t want to leave Poplar just yet.
Fred finds Dr. Turner’s happy-go-lucky patient dead and buried in snow. He has Sister Julienne go inform his wife, Mabel, of what happened. Sister Julienne is confused at first when Mabel does not seem to react to her husband’s death. Mabel then tells her she is glad because he was abusive to her and their children;one who joined the army to get away from him and the other who ran away.
Valerie gets called over to Linda and Selwyn’s caravan. She thinks it must be a false alarm because Linda is only eight months along. It turns out it wasn’t. Valerie prepares to deliver the baby. Everything seems to be going smoothly until the baby is born and doesn’t cry. The parents start freaking out and Valerie gives the trademark “I need a more senior midwife” face.
But with the snow and the distance from a phone, Valerie deals with everything herself. Linda doesn’t want to see the baby, but Selwyn looks at him.
Sister Julienne tracks down Mabel’s daughter with Shelagh’s help. Anthea ran away when she was 15 and pregnant. Shelagh finds signs of abuse in her and her mother’s medical records. It also seems like the baby was her father’s. Merry Christmas, Call the Midwife. Anthea is nice to Sister Julienne when she finds her and her gaggle of biological and foster children. She says she doesn’t want to see her mother and is glad her father is dead.
Back at the Caravan, Trixie (Helen George) arrives. She thought Valerie was gone too long for a routine check up. Valerie looks relieved to see her but tells her not to say anything nice to her or she is going to fall apart. It was the highlight of this episode. It had a lot of good callbacks to 4.2 when Patsy and Barbara needed more senior midwives to help them with a stillborn. And the last Christmas Special, when Trixie ran outside to stop from falling apart and Barbara found her. I liked the contrast to that though. Trixie and Barbara are rather close friends at this point. Trixie seems to still be in the older sister phase with Valerie.
Trixie stays with the parents as Valerie goes back to Nonnatus with the stillborn baby in her bag. Good job all around to Jennifer Kirby this episode. She slows down when she sees Nonnatus as if she is too ashamed that she couldn’t save the baby and doesn’t want to face everyone’s disappointment.
And then the baby starts crying. She clenches the bag and sprints inside yelling for help. Sister Julienne and Nurse Crane tend to the baby. Barbara finds Valerie confused and crying on the stairs. Valerie had attempted CPR back at the caravan and Selwyn slipped a hot water bottle in beside the baby. Sister Julienne says those actions must have saved him.
The baby is taken to the hospital and then Valerie and Trixie go to tell his parents the good news. When all three of them are at the hospital, Linda asks Tom to bless the baby so the three of them will officially be bond somehow. The act inspires Tom to take the posting in Birmingham.
Barbara tells everyone before the production that’s going on at the Community Center. They all have a big goodbye scene and they are only leaving for six months. Again, two characters are missing and no one has said anything.
Mabel is reunited with her daughter and her family at the show. Barbara and Tom have to catch the train and leave during the production. Barbara peers back while Tom is leading her out. They kiss under some mistletoe and then walk out of the community center.
So, we are starting season seven with a lot of missing characters. I’m excited for Leonie Elliott’s addition as the new midwife. It seems like Reggie is sticking around and possibly Sgt. Wolff too. Well, let’s see how this goes. See you Sunday.
How am I supposed to write about this episode without just screaming and posting photos of how great it was? This thing could all be:
Oh no, don’t you let your voice break while talking about how beautiful this moment is, Jenny Agutter. I can’t handle that right now.
No, Kate Lamb. You put that sad face away!
Reggie, you can’t just come for a visit and call Violet ‘mum’ while giving her flowers.
Okay now that I got that out of my system, let’s get on to this review shall we.
One of the first shots was Delia (Kate Lamb) sadly looking through the mail while Emerald Fennell’s credit appeared in its regular spot, which felt like the show saying, ‘don’t worry everything will turn out fine.”
Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) tells her not to worry. Much like last episode, Delia is still having trouble believing her. We then get a group lunch scene of everyone talking about how the clinic is getting a family contraceptive clinic too. The women going to that will have to go in through the side door. Valerie (Jennifer Kirby), Trixie (Helen George) and surprising Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates) point out that is the entrance the unwed mothers use and that doesn’t seem fair. Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) tells them that is just how it is going to be.
Throughout that scene Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) is getting more and more emotional at reading her letter. Once Sister Winifred finally asks what is going on, she tells everyone her father is about to be sent on a mission trip to New Guinea. Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) launches into how that country can be dangerous for missionaries. But Barbara isn’t worried about. The posting is for three years so he wouldn’t be able to attend the wedding. She always wanted her father to officiate her wedding.
This might have been the best season finale in terms of comedy. My favorite part was when Shelagh (Laura Main) nearly started crying to Trixie about how unfair it was that women have to use the side door for the contraceptive clinic and how that will mess up the schedule in the regular clinic. Nurse Crane takes Shelagh to the kitchen and calms her down. Nurse Crane is concerned that Shelagh has been skipping her clinical appointments and hasn’t attended any mother craft classes. Shelagh said she has just been too busy. Multiple previews of this episode said there was going to be a death and I really thought it was going to be Shelagh or her unborn child.
We then meet not wanting to be a mother of the week Wilma Goddens, who goes to the contraceptive clinic to get the pill. We saw her earlier getting new buttons for her work clothes from Violet (Annabelle Apsion) and talking about how excited she was to get back to work. She is relieved that she doesn’t have to get permission from her husband because he is an “man’s man.”
Back at Nonnatus, Barbara and Tom announced that they are going to get married in three weeks, while Barbara’s father is passing through London on his way to New Guinea. Everyone is excited and looking through bridal magazines with her. She doesn’t like the modern style but Trixie says if she wants an inexpensive one on short notice she is going to half to settle. Another great moment of someone getting emotional in the midst of a large scene, Delia is trying to be excited but sadly puts down her magazine because Patsy isn’t there and as she had said before she wants nothing more than to marry her.
The next morning Shelagh comes by to drop off the insulin for her last duty before her maternity leave. She then asks Sister Julienne to be her midwife, because of course she would. But it seemed like Nurse Crane thought they had bonded enough the previous day. Thankfully Barbara notices her disappointment.
The other great comedy bit of this episode is that Violet is going through menopause. Thankfully, Wilma works for a cosmetics company that sells things that can help her. Violet agrees, commenting that she is an excellent saleswoman. Violet has a bit of a break down to Fred (Cliff Parisi) saying she feels useless since she is no longer a mum to her sons or Reggie (Daniel Laurie). Fred comforts her as he fans her with a pamphlet.
Barbara tells Tom about a wonderful day at the fair with her father, when she was able to go on one ride and chose the carousal. She also nonsense tells him she has an appointment at the family contraceptive clinic. Because it is Barbara, Sister Julienne is working the check in table and then Barbara has a few hilarious scenes with a diaphragm.
Over at the Turners’, Shelagh tells Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) that she wants to have a home birth and wants him to stop acting like such a doctor and start acting more like any other husband, but she is also failing to act like a regular mother and is being more of a midwife.
Valerie walks in on Barbara’s disastrous attempt to make her own dress. The rest of Nonnatus takes up a collection to give Barbara the money to buy a proper dress. She picks Nurse Crane to be her bridesmaid, which was the American equivalent of maid of honor. They go to get her a dress and Nurse Crane adorably guards the curtain to stop the attendant from walking in on Barbara.
Then three dramatic things happen at once. Delia is at Gateways, the real-life lesbian club from 5.7, talking to someone, who we don’t see for a bit too long, about how she used to have somebody who cared about her but she isn’t around anymore. It wasn’t that much more than promo and then it zooms out and we see that she speaking with some random girl, who is dressed in menswear, who says she’s going to call her a cab.
Wilma has been having weird pains and collapses while getting her kids ready for school. Dr. Turner runs over and sends her to St. Cuthbert’s, where Trixie has been helping out on women’s surgery. Wlima is having blood clots. Trixie goes to speak with her husband and asks him to have their children brought there and if there is anyone else they should call. He tells her she was brought up in the church.
Shelagh also goes into labor and calls Nonnauts. I am sort of sad we didn’t get a scene of someone answering the phone saying, ‘Nonnatus House, midwife speaking’ and Shelagh smiling on the other end. But, Sister Julienne arrives and starts helping Shelagh, who knows she shouldn’t have eaten an entire packet of pink wafers and knows what the gas and air case sounds like.
Tom comes to the hospital to deliver last rights to Wilma. Trixie decides to touch up her makeup, while nearly crying, because she knows how important it was to Wilma and that her children probably never saw her without it. Most of the time I hate Tom and I hate how much Trixie there is in Tom and Barbara’s relationship but I like Tom and Trixie being professional colleagues.
Shelagh’s labor is taking a while and being incredibly painful, which she knew it was going to be. Sister Julienne tells her she could start singing like the relaxation pamphlet Barbara gave her said. In a perfect being like all the other moms detail, Shelagh didn’t read it. She can’t decided between a song that was the old religious Shelagh or her new having a baby self. Sister Julienne says they are the same person. She then starts singing a song about secret love. Dr. Turner is standing outside the door and picks it up when Shelagh drops off. He then comes into the room.
Oh damn, that was beautiful. And I wish we would have cut to Delia for like a second. Dr. Turner and Sister Julienne help Shelagh deliver a perfectly healthy baby boy and nobody died, which I was so worried about. The death ended up being Wilma, who succumb to the blood clots from her birth control.
Trixie heads home with Tom and said she thought the pill was a miracle drug, but she should have known better than to believe in miracles. Tom says he will go check in on the family in the morning. Trixie asks if he is certain, tomorrow is the day before his wedding. He then says it is strange that at one point it could have been them. I nearly groaned but Trixie points out the reasons I actually like Barbara and Tom sometimes. They make way more sense than Tom and Trixie ever did and Tom and Trixie would have never worked out.
Tom says he has high hopes for her and Christopher. Trixie says it is complicated because he has a child. Tom says she has always been good with kids. Dear lord, this episode made me like Tom and Trixie. Also, Christopher’s child is a six-year-old girl. Trixie, why are you even worried?
Of course, the tea and ice cream with Alexandra, Christopher’s daughter, goes perfectly. She likes Trixie’s nail polish and Trixie says they should go look at some other colors after their ice cream.
Back at Nonnatus, Rev. Arthur Gilbert arrives. He seems to fit with the stories Barbara has told about him. She asked him for advice about how happy he and Barbara’s mother were. He is reluctant to give it. It seemed like Barbara’s mother died when she was rather young and I sort of wish we went into that a bit more.
Another good comedy bit was Fred and the parish men’s group talking Tom out for his bachelor party since his best man wasn’t arriving until the morning of the wedding. This whole gag might have been because it is the eighth episode of the season and we need to put Tom into an undershirt for no reason. So there you go ladies, who aren’t here for Patsy and Delia:
As I mentioned earlier, Reggie appears in Violet’s shop with flowers right when she most needs to see him. He attended the wedding with them and everyone else. The wedding was beautiful and I’m a bit glad we didn’t spend too much time going through everyone part of it. Tom and Barbara leave in Nurse Crane’s decorated car. He stops it outside the archway in front of Nonnatus. He tells Barbara to close her eyes and walks her toward Nonnatus. Outside is a carousel, which I guess he rented with his gambling winnings from his bachelor party.
The carousel scene was amazing. Mature Jenny (voiced by Vanessa Redgrave) was giving a great voice over wrapping us up and taking about the changes and how sometimes there is room for tears in the midst of the happiness. Reggie is riding around waving at Fred and Violet. Trixie and Alexandra are riding together and waving at Christopher. Tim and Angela are riding together and waving at their parents and newborn brother. Barbara and Tom are riding on the same horse and kiss.
We then see Delia sadly walking beside the carousel. She peers toward the archway and sees Patsy (Emerald Fennell) standing in the same spot she was during the “where on earth have you been?” scene from the 2015 Christmas Special. Delia walks over, grabs her hand and pulls her further away. Delia said she didn’t know if she was going to come back. Patsy tells her she got on the boat the day after the funeral and was always intending on coming back. Patsy also says she is never going anywhere without her again, then pulls her toward her and kisses her!
They finally kissed!
And it was much longer than I thought it was going to be!
Then Patsy, with her button down and trousers, adorably shoved her hands into her pockets as she followed Delia back to Nonnatus.
I am so glad none of the main cast died. I actually liked Tom in this episode. I’m liking Trixie and Christopher and the possibility of Trixie becoming a stepmom. The Turners were adorable. Patsy is back! Patsy and Delia kissed. That is a thing this show can do now!
I’ll probably do a few post between now and the 288 days until Christmas, but this is enough to hold me over for a while. I will also be continuing my American Recaps of the episode when they air on PBS, starting on April 2.
How am I going to go about recapping this episode without freaking out the entire time? This is the most I have cried so far this season and despite being a Patsy and Delia loyalist, I think this is the best episode of the season. And that is because of the Mullocks.
I love the Mullocks as characters and how they fit into the show. Before 5.8, we never had a mother of the week come back. I thought it was a bit strange that only Rhoda appeared in that episode but it didn’t effect the episode. We had the whole family back this time.
We start with Rhoda Mullock (Liz White) taking Susan to nursery school. She is only 18 months but she is wanting to get her on a waiting list like she did with her other children. She walks out looking disappointed and goes to the clinic. She is greeted by Valerie (Jennifer Kirby), who knows them from the neighborhood. Rhoda asks to see Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann). Rhoda said she was turned away because the school doesn’t teach “sick children.”
Dr. Turner and Shelagh (Laura Main) have the same look of support and guilt as they usually do about thalidomide. And I know the show is mostly episodic but we did a lot of clunky exposition and callbacks to 5.1 and 5.8 to explain this story line.
Our other story line this week involved Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) and the Antoines, a biracial family that is about to have their fourth child. The other three are in the cubs, which Nurse Crane is now leading. The mother insists on having a home birth because she doesn’t want to deal with the stares and talk at the maternity home or hospital.
The fact that Valerie is from Poplar was woven in nicely this episode. She commented about Mrs. Antoine’s sister reaction when she said she was going to marry a Jamaican guy. And we get Delia’s (Kate Lamb) line about not being able to choose who you love. That also introduced Trixe’s (Helen George) story line. She is getting ready for a date with Christopher (Jack Hawkins). He blows her off just like he did for the last two and she spent so much time getting ready with Valerie and Delia, who had very specific tips about how she should dress for the date.
Dr. Turner puts a call into a hospital that makes artificial limbs for the Mullocks. Mr. Mullocks get a little mad because they had decided they were not going to send Susan away, ever. Rhoda counters by saying it is only a week. And shout out to Chris Reilly, who plays Bernie Mullocks. He drove me to tears three times.
They reluctantly agree to take Susan for a visit. While there they meet Lydia, whose son was also effected by thalidomide. And I would also like to give a shout out to Claire Price, who played Lydia. She was basically an exposition dump but she delivered all the lines very well. Mr. Mullocks freaks out and doesn’t want Susan there. Dr. Turner attempts to help but it doesn’t go very well.
Nurse Crane goes to deliver the Antoine’s baby. They run out of gas and air and call Nonnatus for more. Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates), who hasn’t been actually practicing to drive but has been quizzing herself, answers the call. But, since Fred (Cliff Parisi) is doing maintenance on all the bikes she walks instead.
Okay, I have one small complaint about this episode. I don’t know if it is the direction or the editing but multiple scenes that were indoors made it appear to be night but then characters would go outside and it was the middle of the day. It was a bit confusing but didn’t stop this episode from being amazing.
The birth goes fine but Sister Winifred arrives after the baby is born. Nurse Crane scolds Sister Winifred for being so slow and saying it would have taken five minutes if she could drive. She tosses her the keys and tells her to drive them home. With all of Nurse Crane’s intensity, Sister Winifred stalls in the middle of an intersection and Nurse Crane kicks her out of the driver’s seat.
A lot like with the filming of Delia riding that bike in 4.8, this whole thing was making me anticipate a car accident. I really thought Nurse Crane was going to get them into an accident and that crying from the promo was because she had seriously injured Sister Winifred. But then Lenny, the Antoine’s oldest son, runs into the street and Nurse Crane hits him as she is adjusting the rear view mirror.
Sister Winifred tells an onlooker to call an ambulance. Nurse Crane stands stunned. The police arrive. The other Antoine boys run away. The constable asks who the driver was and Nurse Crane tells him she was. She gets taken to the police station and gets booked by Sgt. Noakes (Ben Chaplan). Mr. Antoine comes running in to inquire about his son and yells at her.
Nurse Crane gets released from police custody but is suspended from nursing duties until the police are done investigating. Despite Barbara’s (Charlotte Ritchie) best efforts she can’t do anything to make her feel better. Sister Winifred also gets interviewed by the police. She tells Sgt. Noakes that she saw the other boys at the accident scene but they ran away and she knows why. Peter goes to speak with them and their parents.
They are only supposed to play on a street that doesn’t have traffic. They were but after getting called names by racist bullies they ran away. Mr. Antoine says Nurse Crane is a good woman and he does want to press charges. Peter says there are no grounds anyway, since it was an accident.
Over in the Mullocks’ story line, Rhoda takes Susan to the hospital without telling the rest of the family. Belinda and Perry get mad at her. Belinda asks if Susan cried when she was left there. Perry says Mr. Mullocks is going to be pissed, which he is. Rhoda tells Bernie that they can’t keep protecting Susan all the time. They have to let her go a bit and that includes admitting there are things they can ‘fix’ with artificial limbs. Can the Mullocks get their own spin off?
Though she isn’t facing any charges, Nurse Crane is still questioning herself in terms of nursing and driving. She sits in the garden, per Barbara’s suggestion and then Tom (Jack Ashton) brings her tea. He tries to help but Nurse Crane shoots him down in the best way possible saying people like him look to the almighty for answers while she, as a rational atheist, only has herself to answer to.
Trixie actually goes out on a date with Christopher. He explains that he blew her off the other three times because he has a daughter and is divorced. I saw a spoiler for this and I was really hoping he was going to have an out-of-wedlock child. That seemed like it would have fit better with his character. Trixie gets mad that he didn’t tell her. She is in the midst of realizing she is being hypocritical when he asks if they could go to a pub. She quickly leaves.
Back at Nonnatus, she is eating custard (with bananas so it is healthy) in the kitchen with Valerie. She says it is hard to tell people secrets especially if they are afraid of being laughed at or judged or prosecuted. Interesting word choice, Valerie. She doesn’t know about Trixie going to AA it seems. I am not sure how much I believe this Valerie is also gay and is going to drive a wedge between Patsy and Delia theory, but homosexuality was grounds to be discharged from the British Armed Forces until 1994.
Trixie ends up inviting Christopher to tea at Nonnatus. She tells him the truth and he says “good for you” and jokes about not bringing drinks to dates anymore.
Nurse Crane gets left on call at Nonnatus with Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt). A mother calls that she is in labor. Sister Monica Joan finds Nurse Crane nervously staring at her car and says she must not know the directions but she does so she will come and assist. The drive and birth goes well thanks to Sister Monica Joan’s encouragement.
All of the Mullocks go visit Susan and Rhoda and Bernie get invited to a thalidomide parents group by Lydia. That parents meeting got me crying again. Mature Jenny (voiced by Vanessa Redgrave) tells us about the work of the thalidomide parents and how they spent 50 years trying to get justice for their children.
Also at the end of the episode, Nurse Crane finds Delia sadly reading a newspaper. There is an obituary for Patsy’s father. He died two weeks ago but Delia hasn’t heard anything from Patsy. Nurse Crane reassures her that she will write soon. Delia doesn’t sound so certain.
Patsy better be back next week. It also looks like Shelagh is going into labor and Barbara and Tom are rushing to get married for some reason.
Well, this was an emotionally draining episode. There have only been a few times when it seems like something happy might happen at the end but then Mature Jenny swoops in and says, ‘nope, keep crying.’
But let’s not focus on that or this:
And focus more on this:
So, female genital mutilation, the Cuban Mission Crisis and Sister Mary Cynthia’s forced institutionalization, let’s get into it shall we.
We start with Fred (Cliff Parisi) finding Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) outside the gates of Linchmere, the hospital Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryonny Hannah) is in. Inside, Sister Mary Cynthia is being taken for ECT again. The nurse commends her for not fighting them anymore but she tells them she is too tired.
Fred bring Sister Monica Joan back to Nonnatus and she tells Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) that she is fasting until they know Sister Mary Cynthia is receiving better care.
Elsewhere in Poplar, a pregnant Somalian mother starts having pains and sends her husband out to call for help. Valerie (Jennifer Kirby) gets the call and brings her to the clinic, which she has never attended despite being late in her pregnant. Valerie starts to examine Nadifa, who is incredibly nervous. Valerie does the normal “I need a more senior midwife” face and looks to Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie).
Barbara asks if she has had surgery and Nadifa tells she was just cut like all the girls were. The midwifes go talk to Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann), who doesn’t know what it is but says he’ll look into it.
Back at Linchmere, Sister Mary Cynthia is taken to the general ward, a ‘reward’ since she is improving. But, her bible gets stolen, she isn’t allowed to pray at normal times and her habit gets lost in the wash for a while. One of the nurse is not the worst to her and finds it for her. Sister Mary Cynthia tells her it is too important to who she is and she is even more lost without it.
The Cuban Missile Crisis is woven in nicely throughout the episode. Early on Trixie (Helen George) and Fred are listening to the new on the wireless. The Turners are discussing it over breakfast while packing up their house. Christopher Dockerill (Jack Hawkins), the hot dentist from last week, comes around looking for Trixie. He almost gets turned away by Sister Monica Joan before Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) appears to save him.
She later finds Trixie and tells her about her gentleman caller. Trixie is nervous about doing anything with him but Nurse Crane tells her to not let fear stop her. When everyone starts losing faith that President Kennedy will make a deal with the Soviets, Trixie calls him and asks him to go out with her.
Sister Julienne and Sister Monica Joan are able to go visit Sister Mary Cynthia. She tells them she thinks she’ll do better at home. Sister Julienne is able to get her discharged to Nonnatus and brings her back.
At first she doesn’t want anyone else to see her so she can rest. Trixie sadly understands and asks Sister Julienne to give her nice soap that she has been saving. Sister Julienne says it might be too fancy but Trixie tells her to do it anyway. I love Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia’s friendship and I love that Sister Julienne doesn’t really get it in that moment.
Dr. Turner finds out what female genital mutilation is and tells the everyone. Everyone is horrified and Trixie is a tad confused that they have never encountered it before. Dr. Turner says its use depends on the country. Valerie volunteers to take Nadifa to St. Cuthbert’s where she is seen by that doctor that talked down to Delia the other week. He might be the “oh god, another one” doctor from 5.4. Anyway, he has bad bedside manner and scares off Nadifa.
Valerie goes to her flat but she doesn’t answer the door. She had been told to call the doctor as soon as she went into labor because they don’t think she will be able to give birth without surgery. A little while later, Barbara runs into Deka, her younger sister who wants to become a nurse. Barbara brings her to Nonnatus, shows her her equipment and gives her supplies for her sister. Valerie walks her home.
They find Nadifa in labor. She starts having flashbacks to when she was cut, Valerie calms her down and has Deka call an ambulance. They don’t make it very far before Valerie has them stop and is forced to deliver the baby, by pretty much cutting it out. That was a rather graphic and horrifying birth.
The baby gets delivered safely and a blood-covered and rather freaked out Valerie gets cleaned up by Delia (Kate Lamb) at the hospital.
Valerie goes to speak with Nadifa afterward. She was is freaked out by what the doctor might have done to repair her and says she wants her husband to be happy. Valerie goes to figure out what happened.
Fred, Trixie and Barbara watch the television at the shop by the archway and hear the news that the world is on the brink of nuclear war. We then have a montage of all the couples being together.
Expect for Delia, who is just looking at a picture of Patsy hidden in her book.
Trixie is on a date with Christopher and it seems to be going well despite her being all nervous about dating again. She also seems a little intimidate by the sports car and the doctor status. He seems to use that to his advantage and kisses her.
Which seems more forward than Trixie usually is. Maybe it is just because I like Trixie so much more than Barbara, but I am not as bothered by this kiss than all the making out with Barbara and Tom despite Patsy and Delia still not having an onscreen kiss. The next morning Trixie is peering off into the distance (was that implying she had sex? Did she sleep with Christopher in his car?) and waiting for someone to get out of the restroom. When the door opens she turns around her finds herself face to face with Sister Mary Cynthia.
Sister Mary Cynthia has been struggling to adjust back to Nonnatus, telling Sister Julienne she thought it would be better there but she has been having problems since she got back from the Mother House in season four. She thought it would get better as she got closer to taking her life vows but it hasn’t.
Trixie tells her she should have demanded to go see her. Sister Mary Cynthia tells her the soap and the letter she sent with it was more than enough. Trixie gives her words of encouragement about making it through the bleakest days with a fashion analogy. This is also the most glamorous and 1960s Trixie looks all episode. I love their relationship so much.
Next we see Sister Mary Cynthia, she is speaking with Dr. Turner about a hospital she could go to. He tells her about a nice, gentle place that he once attended. It was also the place he initially suggested before Sister Ursula messed up everything. He said the people there walked the path back with him and he thinks they can do the same for her.
Despite being amazing medical professionals, the Turners don’t do so well with their move. The moving truck accidentally took their belongs to Kent and they gave the electronic company the wrong date. So they spent the first night in their new house in sleeping bags by candlelight.
Trixie goes on another date with Christopher. He brings out two glasses of baby cham for them. Trixie hesitates and then uses the excuse that she is on call to not drink. Last episode, I said he understands Trixie better than Tom ever did, but I think he is only getting the outward appearance of Trixie. And she hasn’t been that silly party girl in a very long time.
Valerie and Barbara go to Nadifa’s to visit her. She is still mad about what the male doctor did to her. Valerie asks where Deka is and she tells them she went back to Somaliland because ‘it was her time.’ Valerie starts to go off at her about how she could let that happen to her. Nadifia starts yelling at her back about how it being the way things are done in her country and how men are not a part of the process. Barbara basically pulls Valerie out of there and they go running to the docks. Deka is waving at them from the ship, saying she’ll see them after her holiday.
I am really glad we didn’t end there. Dr. Turner and Sister Mary Cynthia, in her dress she left Nonnatus in the 2014 Christmas Special in, arrive at the hospital Dr. Turner went to. They are greeted by a kind nurse, who knows Dr. Turner. The nurse says she goes by Barry and asks Sister Mary Cynthia what she would like to go called. She tells her that if it is alright she’d like to go by her name, which is Cynthia.
Thank you for being amazing, Bryonny Hannah or this episode would have ended terribly. Oh and nuclear war didn’t happen, but nobody hugged Delia when they were told the news. It doesn’t look like Patsy is going to back next week but the Mullocks are.
I liked this episode but I feel like it got caught in the same weird boat that 6.3 did. That one had a few big plot points it wanted to get us to. This episode had two things it needed to accomplish: introducing Trixie’s new love interest and telling us what happened to Sister Mary Cynthia.
And the story surrounding that was a little weak. I remember the show getting some criticism during season four when it stopped being “based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth” and started being “inspired by the memoirs of Jennifer Worth” for being too much like a television show. And yes, there was an alcoholism story line, a lesbian in a car accident, two broken off engagements and an amnesia story line but I never felt the show was written like an average television episode. But sadly, I kind of did this week.
So, I’m going to do this review by character because character moments were what was important this week.
Fred, Violet and Reggie
Early in the episode as Mature Jenny (Vanessa Redgrave) is talking about letting children grow into adults, we see Fred (Cliff Parisi) stop by his cousin Ivie’s house to fix the sink. She also lives with her adult son Reggie, who has Downs Syndrome. Ivie leaves him home alone, reading a comic book as she goes to church. At church she collapses, Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) and Tom (Jack Ashton) try to help but she dies.
Fred and Tom go to explain the situation to Reggie. He doesn’t really understand at first. Fred decides he is going to take him home and have him stay with him and Violet (Annabelle Apsion). This is where this story line started feeling very tv show for me. Violet is reluctant to have Reggie stay with them, saying they have no idea how to handle him because “he’s simple.” It felt out of character for Violet, but it seemed the episode wanted to do a formerly close-minded person seeing past the disability and accepting them story line and that position feel to Violet.
Fred starts taking Reggie to work in the garden at Nonnatus with him. He scores points with Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) by bringing her the weeds he dug up with Fred to her so she could replant them. He bonds with Violet as she fits him for a suit for his mother’s funeral and helps him grief for his mother.
Just when I was thinking, the show was going to keep Reggie around as Nonnatus’ second handy man, Reggie watches all the nurses ride away from Nonnatus and says he wishes he could go to work and make friends. Fred says they are friends but Reggie calls him old.
Fred goes to Shelagh (Laura Main) about possible homes he could go to be with people his own age and like him. He decides to go to the place he knows as a loony bin. Sister Monica Joan invites herself. This show always handles disabilities and mental health and institutional perfectly. While they get out of the van in front of what looks like a prison, Sister Monica Joan comments that there are no gardens.
Shout out to Cliff Parisi this episode. He, a lot like Charlotte Richtie recently, is usually the comic relief but his acting was amazing while he was getting more and more horrified as he walked through the mental hospital. He and Judy Parfitt were both amazing when they see the most horrifying thing at this hospital, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
When Fred gets home, he tells Violet they are not sending Reggie to that place. Later on, Shelagh finds out about a community for people like Reggie. She and Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) tell them about it. Violet is reluctant at first but they agree to take Reggie. He likes it and there is a greenhouse he can work in. Violet and Fred watch him go like parents dropping off a child at college.
Sister Mary Cynthia
While Fred and Sister Monica Joan are going through the hospital, she spots a tiny nun being led down a hallway. She wanders after them. Fred sighs and then follows her. He finds her outside of Sister Mary Cynthia’s locked room. The sisters touch hands through the glass.
They are both crying in the van as Fred drives them back to Poplar. The nurse at the hospital is giving Sister Mary Cynthia (Brynnoy Hannah) unhelpful advice and telling her she hasn’t been improving. She tells her she doesn’t know how. The nurse suggests ECT, which Sister Mary Cynthia doesn’t want done because she will be asleep and when she wakes up she won’t know what has been done to her, which is the episode’s most heartbreaking moment.
The nurse doesn’t listen to her though and gives her ECT anyway. And I am really glad the CtM showed ECT as a terrible, horrible thing, because it sort of seemed for it back in 3.7, which was really weird.
Back at Nonnatus, Fred and a pacing Sister Monica Joan tell Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) what they saw. She says she’ll have to speak with the Mother House, because remember this is stupid Sister Ursula’s fault. She also tells them to not tell anyone else at Nonnatus.
She then goes to the hospital to try and get Sister Mary Cynthia released into Nonnatus’ custody. The nurse disagrees and tells her compassion and kind words are not going to work. Sister Julienne storms away defeated.
Remember how episode five last season was an anti-smoking PSA. This episode was a dental care PSA. Trixie (Helen George) is helping mother of the week, Crystal, who has really bad teeth and is eight months pregnant. With the British people with bad teeth, a fear of the dentist, someone actually breathing into a brown paper bag and a man and women getting off the wrong foot and then going on a date, it felt very tv show.
Maybe I just didn’t enjoy this story line because it was kinda gross and my dentist is a family friend and I like visiting his office. But, whatever. Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates) is hosting a brush your teeth class with kids at clinic. Trixie goes over to complain about the noise and tells off handsome dentist, Christopher Dockrill (Jack Hawkins).
And because they get off on the wrong foot, they then work together on Crystal’s case and learn to appreciate each others work. When it is finished, he asks Trixie out to dinner.
It does led to a very cute scene of Trixie and Barbara getting ready for dates together. We then go outside and Barbara gets picked up on foot to go to the movies with Tom and Trixie gets picked up in a very nice sports car to go to a French restaurant with Christopher. This guy already understands Trixie more than Tom ever did.
I really wish we had a shot Delia (Kate Lamb) sadly watching them happy go off to their dates because there was no reference to Patsy this episode.
Speaking of no references to Patsy, Valerie Dyer has moved into her bed and side of the room. Is it sad to admit the perfectly straight line of photos of female celebrities not being over Patsy’s bed broke my heart a bit?
After having a few missteps, Valerie ends up fitting in fine at Nonnatus. She had a very cute scene with Sister Monica Joan, who recognizes her and remembers every detail of her birth that she attended to with Sister Evangelina.
Shelagh goes back to work and is instantly awesome in helping Fred and Violet. Dr. Turner sets up a dental clinic. Tim complains about how crowded his and Angela’s room is. Shelagh then starts circling property ads in the newspaper, finds a house for them and gets Patrick to agree to move. It was all very cute. And I am getting more and more nervous about their happiness. It’s getting close to the end of the season, you guys. Be careful.
There is always about one episode per season that is incredibly well structured and all the characters are used perfectly. A few characters have a focus but nobody is felt left out. I’m giving that title to this episode for season six. This was a Tom (Jack Ashton) and the Turners episode but everyone was used nicely. And for the first time ever, I didn’t hate Tom. I still don’t like him but he was all right.
We start by swooping through Poplar to see Trixie (Helen George) is back teaching Keep Fit and get a spoiler from the credits
Trixie and her Keep Fit class are both a little out of shape from the three month break. Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) seems to be doing okay, though. Also, how do we feel about Barbara smoking? I really don’t like it. It would have seemed weird before we had the smoking is dangerous episode and now that our characters know that too, Barbara shouldn’t be smoking.
At the Turners house, Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) is being incredibly cheerful as he rushes off the hospital, leaving Angela and a questioning Tim (Max MacMillion) doing dishes. Shelagh (Laura Main) is doing better and hasn’t had anymore bleeding. Dr. Turner gets kicked out by the matron, Sister Douglas. We also see that Delia (Kate Lamb) is working on the ward and Shelagh has made friends with her bed neighbor, Gloria.
Over at Nonnatus, Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) and Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) are trying to work on the schedule and saying how short staffed they are with Patsy, Sister Mary Cynthia and technically Sister Evangelina’s spots all empty. Sister Julienne says she is going to put in an advertisement in the midwifery journal.
Trixie is having some trouble getting back into work in Poplar and almost makes mother of the week Marne late for her court date. She is having money troubles. Trixie helps her out and then goes to Tom to ask him if he could help her. He agrees too. And yay there was nothing about their previous relationship in that scene.
Back at the hospital, Shelagh is outsmarting the doctor that is using her for observation. Sister Douglas helps her out of bed and sees she has bleed some more. The same doctor is doing observation on Gloria later. He asks Delia is she knows what could be done for her. Delia correctly answers that there is a surgery that could stop her from miscarrying again. He makes a jerky comment and then thankfully disappears.
Dr. Turner comes to visit Shelagh and tells her they were happy before and they will be happy again if their baby survives or not.
Marne gets an eviction notice and goes to her posh cousin, Dot, who popped in earlier. Marne tells her she’ll accept her offer, which we slowly realize is her giving her unborn child to Dot, who can’t have children and her husband. Tom is having a moral dilemma about the issues and brings it up at tea at Nonnatus. Everyone says they should support the decision if it is what Marne wants. He also reveals that he was adopted when he was two-months-old.
That was certainly the show trying to raise the person stakes for Tom in this episode. I don’t know it was the writing or the acting, but it didn’t work as well as it has with other characters in the past.
Hey remember how Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryonny Hannah) is missing? So did Trixie. She goes to Sister Julienne to ask about her. She says she talked to the mother house and Sister Mary Cynthia has been sent to some other facility and they should just wait until she is well enough to call them. Based on the promo, I think Sister Julienne is going to be regretting that decision.
Over at the Turners, Tim calls out his dad for trying to shield him from everything because he is old enough and smart enough to know something it wrong. Dr. Turner gets called to Marne’s birth with Trixie and Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates). Tim then calls a babysitter for Angela and sneaks out to St. Cuthbert’s.
He stands outside not able to go in because he isn’t 16. It was an amazing parallel to when Shelagh couldn’t go in to see him when he had polio because she wasn’t officially his mother yet. Thankfully, Delia is there to tell him nobody will notice and takes him inside.
Shelagh tells him that his father is having trouble talking about everything because Dr. Turner, like her and to some extent Tim, know so much about what could happen and have trouble talking about it emotionally. He is reassured but gets found out by Dr. Turner who beats him home. He thanks him for going to see Shelagh and they have some male bonding time with pale ale and darts.
Over at Marne’s, we see forceps being used. The baby is delivered safely. Marne refuses to look at the child and tells them to give him to Dot. She is incredibly happy. Trixie and Sister Winifred are trying to be encouraging. Marne asks Tom to baptize the child before Dot gets back. He does and tries to say something to make her feel better but he is no Nurse Crane with unwed mothers or Patsy with families with tropical diseases.
Dot ends up taking the baby home. She and her husband want an official private adoption. Marne goes to fill out the paperwork but realizes she doesn’t want to give up the baby. She, Tom and Sister Winifred go to get him back from Dot. Dot and Marne are both super upset.
In the end, Dot’s husband ends up giving all the stuff they bought for the baby to Marne. Tom tells him he can help them with adopting from an orphanage when they are ready.
I just wanted to get Tom out of the way, so over at the hospital Gloria starts going into labor. Delia jumps up to help and assists Sister Douglas, who has realized something is wrong. Gloria delivers the baby stillborn and Delia tries to keep it together. Sister Douglas tells her to take care of the child. Delia walks away trying to be professional.
And that was a heart wrenching parallel. The first time we saw Patsy lose it professional was the first stillborn she delivered. She was then able to go find comfort with Delia, but Delia can’t do that because Patsy is gone.
Later on, Gloria asks Shelagh about what her baby would have looked like since she didn’t get to see her. When Gloria is leaving the next day she tells Shelagh she hopes they see each other in the market in a year both pushing prams. Sister Douglas brought Dr. Turner in to see if they can find Shelagh’s baby’s heartbeat. He does and she is discharged.
Nurse Crane, Sister Julienne and Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) have a fun gag of interviewing the possible new midwife. Nurse Crane set the standards at no men and no Americans. Everyone is seemingly terrible and doesn’t know anything about Poplar. Sister Julienne then remembers Valerie Dyer (Jennifer Kirby) who helped them with the explosion at the docks a few episodes ago.
She goes to see her in the pub where she’s a bartender. She says she left the army because it was all curing and no caring. And that is enough for Sister Julienne. She applies and gets her acceptance letter. I’ve liked Valerie so far so I hope she continues to be a good addition to the cast.
From what I have heard, it seems like episode 5 and episode 6 are going to be dealing a lot with Sister Mary Cynthia’s story line. That is going to be heart breaking but I’m looking forward to it.
This episode seemed to have a lot it wanted to do but wasn’t quite sure how to get there. The whole episode felt a little slow as it was building up to everything crashing down or being revealed at the end. Even the thing I was most excited for in this episode didn’t happen for about 30 minutes, but that’s okay because Trixie’s back!
We open on Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) cycling through a Chinese neighbor and despite everything around us screaming CHINA (including the score. We get it, CtM. They’re Chinese) Lucy grew up in Liverpool and was raised by her English mother but her mother-in-law is wanting her to do things more traditionally.
Over at the maternity home, Shelagh (Laura Main) and Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) are being cute as hell and excited about their new baby. Careful you two, you know the relationship between happiness and CtM.
Dr. Turner is about to go to a meeting about a new hospital plan and finds that Sister Ursula (Harriett Walter) has invited herself. He looks annoyed but it professional about it. That goes away slightly though when they are told the maternity home might get closed down and there is an inspector coming. He and Shelagh go tell everyone at Nonnatus. They all clearly want to help as much as they can but Sister Ursula says the maternity home can’t be there priority because they are short staffed.
Sister Ursula list of offenses continues with her telling everyone they need to limit their visits to 20 minutes. Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) tries to protest but it doesn’t work. She finally goes to speak with Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) about how Sister Ursula is ruining everything. Sister Julienne tells us that Sister Ursula was the matron of the cottage hospital when it was shut down for inefficiency and blames herself. I figured we’d be getting some humanization for her but still not enough.
Barbara stays late with Lucy and her family and misses tea. She then get chewed out in front of everyone by Sister Ursula, who calls her a slacker. Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) is also missing. Apparently she has been taking a lot of walks recently.
Sister Ursula also isn’t allowing anyone to go the maternity home to help out. So Shelagh and Dr. Turner are stressing out while trying to make everything perfect for the inspector. There is a bunch of insane cuteness with the Turners, including all the women in the maternity home realizing Shelagh is also pregnant.
Lucy’s birth goes smoothly but her mother-in-law is keeping the room incredibly warm and insisting that Lucy and the baby stay in the room for 30 days. Barbara goes to check on Lucy and tries to help, but the baby is sleeping and Barbara is running out of her 20 minutes so she leaves without checking the baby, saying she’ll stop by in the morning.
The inspector comes to the maternity home. The inspector is seeming a little disinterested and talks about how easy it would be to have it absorbed into a hospital. Dr. Turner is in the middle of giving him an impassioned speech about why it is needed while over at Lucy’s her baby isn’t moving. She runs for her mother-in-law, who starts running through the street with the baby and Lucy runs after them.
They all come crashing into the maternity home. The Turners and Barbara snap into action while the inspector stands around confused. The three of them are able to piece together that it was carbon monoxide poisoning from all the heating stuff in Lucy’s room. Barbara freaks out a bit because she didn’t check the baby. The Turners call an ambulance and get everyone sent safely to the hospital.
Dr. Turner goes to finish speaking with the inspector. Shelagh tells Barbara it isn’t her fault and she should go home. Shelagh has been having stomach pains for most of the episode. She goes to the restroom and realizes she is bleeding. She quietly call Nonnatus and asks Nurse Crane for a ride to the hospital.
On her way out, Nurse Crane runs into Trixie (Helen George) who just arrived from South Africa. Nurse Crane says she is happy to see her but she has to go and tells Trixie to watch the phone.
Trixie walks through an empty, quiet Nonnatus and peers into Sister Julienne’s rearranged office confused.
Back at the maternity home, Dr. Turner tells Shelagh possibly having a miscarriage is a more than reasonable reason to interrupt his meeting. He takes her to the hospital and Nurse Crane finishes the meeting with the inspector. He says he isn’t going to suggest the maternity home be closed immediately but says he doesn’t think it will still be needed in a few years.
At St. Cuthbert’s, they are told that the bleeding has stopped but even with bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy (which is only four or five months along) there is a high chance of a miscarriage. Dr. Turner tries to be optimistic and supportive.
Elsewhere in the hospital, Lucy and her mother-in-law are watching the baby, which is in a coma. Then we get what this story line was building to. Lucy’s mother-in-law had a daughter while she was fleeing from the Japanese army during WWII but because of the rain and the cold the baby died. She just wanted to do everything she could to protect her grandchild. Lucy finally understands her and hug each other and cry. In the end, the baby wakes up and should be fine.
Back at Nonnatus, Barbara comes home to find Trixie putting her clothes away. Trixie asks “where’s Patsy and what on Earth has Sister Julienne done to her office?” to which Barbara bursts into tears. She gets caught up and has the same complaints everyone else has been having about Sister Ursula.
Though everyone thought it was going to be Trixie, it is actually Nurse Crane who finally calls out Sister Ursula on her shenanigans. She tells her about Lucy’s baby and how 20 minutes isn’t enough time and none of this was Barbara’s felt. Sister Ursula goes to apologize to Barbara, while getting some stern looks from Trixie.
After tracking down Sister Monica Joan and the missing television, Sister Julienne goes to find Sister Ursula praying. She says she failed her last mission and failed god. Sister Julienne tells her that isn’t true. They pray together It seems like Sister Julienne tried to convince her to stay but she agrees to leave and go back to the Mother House. It was nicely done. I did start feeling sorry for her but I’m so glad she’s gone.
Right after Sister Julienne finishes rearranging her office, Trixie goes to speak with her. She asks if she has heard from Sister Mary Cynthia. She hasn’t and Trixie is concerned because she spent the night at the Mother House after her ship landed but she didn’t see Sister Mary Cynthia and nobody would tell her what happened.
This episode was a slow build up and a rapid fire end. Everything is seemingly back to normal at Nonnatus, expect for Pasty and Sister Mary Cynthia being in Hong Kong and missing, apparently. I hope they get the television back next week.