Call the Midwife: “Season 4 Episode 2”

Note: I’ve read a couple of other Call the Midwife reviews written by Americans about this season and I just wanted to clarify something. I have seen this season in its entirety but I am not going to spoil anything beyond the episode I am writing about. I’ll be mentioning season long story arches but I’m not going to explicitly say what they are until we find out. 

This episode starts with Mature Jenny (voiced by Vanessa Redgrave) telling us that spring can be a dangerous time because it is as if too much had been waiting to happen for too long and it can now all come at once. Is that a bit of menacing foreshadowing or just explaining why Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) got caught in the rain?

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Our baby of the week is introduced by a very pregnant lady running after a bus telling Sister Winfred (Victoria Yeates) to hold it. Turns out Abigail (Cherrelle Skeete) is trying to get her husband, Terrance (Kadiff Kirwan) his lunch. He thanks her and tells her to go home and put her feet up. I really like these two and they might be one of my favorite baby of the week couples.

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Back in Nonnatus, Trixie (Helen George) is taking a call about her engagement party as Patsy (Emerald Fennell) and Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) are deposing of the afterbirth Trixie was forced to bring home with her. Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) arrives back and tells Sister Julienne her mystery sickness is not a big deal but the doctor wants her to get an operation that would put her out of work for eight weeks. She doesn’t want to but Sister Julienne convinces her it is for the best. Anyway, there is a new midwife coming that will be able to take her place.

At the clinic, Trixie goes from showing off her ring to asking Patsy about urine samples. This show loves to contrast girly girl Trixie with the grossness of her job and I always find it enjoyable. Trixie goes to tell Tom (Jack Ashton) about the plans for their engagement party. He playfully comments on the cost and amount of people she has invited.

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The new midwife arrives via car and it is clear she might not fit in with the other nurses that well. Her name is Nurse Krane (Linda Bassett) and one of the first things she does is get on Barbara for saying hello instead of good morning. She joins everyone for dinner and we find out she is a vegetarian and starts asking about petrol receipts. She even questions Sister Julienne.

While Barbara was introduced as a bit of a earlier seasons Jenny, Cynthia and Chummy mix, Nurse Krane doesn’t seem like any of the midwives because she is basically an anti-social Sister Evangelina but for pushing modern techniques instead of traditionial ones. They are both equally stubborn so they don’t get along too well. Sister Evangelina vents about her to Sister Julienne.

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Barbara is the one who gets stuck with rooming with her. She berates her again for saying hello and has divided every part of the room into equal sides with tape. Barbara escapes down the hall to the party room to gossip with the cooler nurses.

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Sister Julienne is heading off to met with a secret benefactor with Sister Winfred. Sister Winfred is wondering aloud about the benefactor, who seems crazy rich and lives on the opposite side of London. The benefactor turns out to be Mr. Newgarten (Mark Edel-Hunt), who is a childhood friend of Sister Julienne’s. They haven’t seen each other in 30 years. He is dying and making his will. The last time they saw each other was in 1932 when Sister Julienne, then Louise, stood him up for a date. Mr. Newgarten said he could tell at the time she was considering joining the religious life. They get pretty nostalgic and sad and Sister Julienne quickly walks out.

Sister Julienne wasn’t going to take Mr. Newgarten’s money, but after more and more structural problems arise at Nonnatus she realizes she has to. Mr. Newgarten is rather cute about it and says he will still give it to her if she agrees to finally see the movie they were supposed. His son set up a projector in his sitting room and they watch a Charlie Chaplin movie together while eating ice cream sandwiches.

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Back in Poplar, Barbara goes to see Abigail and she is concerned that her baby has stopped moving. She was a dancer before. Barbara is having trouble finding a heartbeat. She breaks the rules and calls an ambulance, goes to the hospital with her and loses her bike in the process. She ends up getting lectured by Sister Evangelina, Nurse Krane and a bit by Trixie during lunch. Patsy gives her a pep talk later. Abigail ends up not feeling safe at the hospital and escapes back home to her husband.

Patsy has taken over Chummy’s (Miranda Hart) position as the cub pack leader. She invited her friend Delia (Kate Lamb), a nurse and ambulance squad member from The London, to help them learn about fire safety. Patsy worked at The London for three years before she joined Nonnatus, so these two seem to know each other pretty well.

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Back at Nonnatus, Trixie and Tom are going through wedding planning. He again is concerned about the cost and extravagance of it all. The question of if glamorous Trixie and cleric Tom really work together culminates into an argument. Trixie is yelling at him right as Patsy and Delia arrive home with their dinner. Patsy quietly pulls Delia into the chapel and they eat in there. Tom storms out past them. Delia jokes that they might be going to hell for this and playfully steals some of Patsy’s food. They start to seem like they might be more than friends.

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The next day, Abigail goes into labor and Patsy and Barbara come. It takes most of the day. When the baby is finally born, Barbara freezes when she realizes it is stillborn. Patsy, as the more senior midwife but not by much, takes over and has to explain to Abigail that her baby must have died in the womb a few days ago.

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Though miscarriages and stillborns are talked about rather often, this is the first time we have actually witnessed one. And the episode handles the emotional pain perfectly. Barbara is left with a sobbing Abigail as Pasty has to walk past Terrence and tell him his baby is dead. Hard ass Nurse Mount almost loses it and has to ask Terrence to go call a more senior midwife and Dr. Turner. Abigail is still having pain and when Dr. Turner arrives they realize she is in labor again. She was carrying twins. The second baby survives.

Nurse Krane and Sister Evangelina come to Barbara and Patsy’s aide. They are able to put aside their stubbornness and work together to help. Barbara ends up breaking down at one point and Nurse Krane is there to comfort her. Patsy holds in her break down until later.

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She goes to The London’s nurses’ home and into Delia’s room. We get the most vulnerability we have seen out of usually hardened Patsy. Delia holds her and tells her its alright and it becomes almost perfectly clear they are more than friends.

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Patsy wakes up early in the morning and leaves, telling Delia it is too early for anyone to see anything.

Abigail and Terrence are having a tough time trying to be parents to their one child while grieving for their other. Tom wants to hold a funeral for the child that died, even though she wasn’t baptist.

Sister Julienne agrees after she receives a letter telling her Mr. Newgarten died. She tells Tom, “what is love if it cannot be acknowledged?”

After seeing Tom hold the funeral service, Trixie realizes she was being silly and makes up with Tom. They have a small engagement party at Nonnatus with just the regular cast of characters, Nurse Krane and Delia.

 

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