Call the Midwife: “Season 4 Episode 4”

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I wanted to start this post with that photo to comment on how seamlessly the show as able to transition from season three to four despite half the cast being written off completely or temporarily. I know this happens on British shows all the time, but this stuff does not usually work on American television. But, I think Call the Midwife has made it work.

But, they also aren’t afraid to point out the differences by having Nurse Krane (Linda Bassett) complain about Trixie (Helen George) being late to clinic and telling Shelagh (Laura Main) how to do her job.

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When we do see Trixie she is walking with Tom (Jack Ashton). He has been contacted by a Bishop who is interested in the work he has been doing and wants to meet him. Trixie asks when they will be meeting him and Tom tells her he forgot to ask if she could come. Trixie tells him to call him back. When Trixie arrives to the clinic she gets chewed out by Nurse Krane.

Our baby of the week is introduced by a young, unwed mother named Bridget getting checked on my Sister Winfred (Victoria Yeates). She hasn’t been able to go to the clinic regularly because of her job. The B plot baby is introduced by Mrs. Robbins and her husband as Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) goes to visit them. The husband, who owns a rope making business called Frank Robbins and Sons, is convinced the baby has to be a boy.

Back a Nonnatus, Barbara is in Pasty (Emerld Fennell) and Trixie’s room teaching Trixie how to act around a Bishop. Barbara’s father is a clergyman in Liverpool. Patsy isn’t really helpful on the acting proper front, but is there to make a mildly concerned face when Trixie gets up for another drink.

Sister Winfred goes to the address Bridget gave her for a home visit and realizes she lives in an apartment above the brothel where she works and is still working at. Bridget starts to notice Sister Winfred judging her and reminds her of what she said in their first scene together about leaving talks of wickedness at the door so they can just be a patient and a midwife. This is a topic that has come up a few times in the show, but I like that someone had to remind Sister Winfred about it, especially after her homophobic reactions in last week’s episode.

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Bridget says the brothel is her home and her family and she isn’t leaving. Bridget is also living with a older lady named Dora, who she is taking care of. Sister Winfred can tell she has advanced Syphilis. Bridget already knew and tells her she can handle it.

Over in Barbara’s story line, Mrs. Robbins has been knitting all blue baby clothes. She says she doesn’t can what it is as long as it’s healthy, which was a funny but I’m sure unintended reference. Mrs. Robbins said she doesn’t want to disappoint her husband by having a girl. Barbara gets back to Nonnatus and vents about this to everyone. Trixie said she is surprised that anyone still thinks girls aren’t equal to boys. Pasty says they are better. Sister Winfred then chimes in with saying some women don’t seem to see it that way, especially the ones selling themselves at the brothel. Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) points out what else were they supposed to do, just live with nothing.

Nurse Krane then says it is strange that women took up all the jobs during the World Wars but are supposed to act like it didn’t happen afterward. And that makes a great time for me to plug Bomb Girls. If you like Call the Midwife and haven’t seen Bomb Girls go watch it on Netflix. It is pretty much this show taking place 20 years earlier in a bomb factory in Canada.

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Dr. Turner (Stephan McCann) gets Sister Winfred to come with him to visit Bridget. She has Syphilis too. They want to take her to the maternity home. She ends up going. She confesses to Sister Winfred that she tried to get rid of the baby a few times, but if it didn’t work the baby must have wanted to be born. Now, she is worried she is going to bring it into the world diseased. This all convinced Sister Winfred to change her mind about Bridget and prostitution. She asks Shelagh about ways to help stop other women from getting STDs. Shelagh said she once tried to get the girls to ask their clients to wear condoms, but the men didn’t like them and that ended the discussion.

Sister Winfred then finds Peter (Ben Chaplan) in the Nonnatus kitchen and asks him if he can introduce her to some prostitutes. She plans to educate the women about safe sex and decrease the amount of disease. Sgt. Koakes goes around with her and it doesn’t go too well.

Back at Nonnatus, Trixie is listening to loud music and pre-gaming a night out with Barbara, who is telling her more about the bishop.  When they get back, Barbara seems a bit tipsy and jokes a bit about how much Trixie drinks and how she and Pasty have talked about it a bit behind her back. Trixie seems offended. Barbara tells her they are just joking around.

When the Bishop comes to Poplar to met with Tom and Trixie, he asks Tom to lead a parish in St. Anne’s in Newcastle. The men have been mostly ignoring Trixie and continue too when she says they had planned to move somewhere more rural to raise their family. Tom gets mad at Trixie for speaking out of line. Trixie is mad that he excepted her to not say anything while a stranger planned their future. She storms out across the street to Nonnatus. Tom chases after her and says he will go wherever god will send him. Trixie says she doesn’t want her children to grow up in Poplar or anywhere like it. Tom tells her marrying him is marrying the church. Trixie says she has never looked at it that way before.

She starts to see all the contrasts the show has been playing up this season and goes to her room to drink.

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One of women Bridget works with comes to break her out of the maternity home because Dora needs her. She quickly goes with her. Shortly, after she arrives she goes into labor. Sister Winfred and Nurse Krane arrive to help. They have to call Dr. Turner. Her baby ends up being fine and Bridget helps Sister Winfred teach the other women about safe sex.

A woman arrives at Nonnatus in labor, the only people home are Sister Monica Joan and passed out drunk Trixie. Sister Monica Joan takes her through the rain to the maternity home. The only person there is Shelagh. The lady is concerned that the secretary is going to deliver her baby. Shelagh reminds her, what everyone seems to have forgotten, she was a midwife for 10 years. Sister Monica Joan helps her through the labor and the lady thanks her by naming the baby Monica, which was just what Sister Monica Joan, who was feeling like she couldn’t help anyone anymore, needed.

Later on, Barbara gets home from delivering her second baby of the day. Sister Julienne is home now too. They just got another call from Mrs. Robbins about her baby. Sister Julienne tells Barbara to go wake Trixie and have her go. Barbara finds Trixie, hides the evidence that she was drinking and sneaks out to cover for her.

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Barbara ends up delivering Mrs. Robbins’ daughter. She has to go to the hospital. Barbara has to tell Mr. Robbins that he as a daughter. He refuses to look at the baby or his wife. Barbara, who has been working for almost 24 hours, gets rather pissed and starts yelling at him. Dr. Turner talks her down and then drives her home. Later on Dr. Turner goes to talk some sense into Mr. Robbins and convinces him a daughter is just as good as a son. Mr. Robbins takes his daughter to the factory and when his wife arrives he says she has to know how important it is to their family.

When Barbara gets back to check on Trixie, Sister Julienne is already there. Barbara apologizes for hiding the evidence. She says nobody else has to find out about it. Sister Julienne meets with Trixie in private the next day. Trixie is half crying as she explained that everything seems like it is falling apart with Tom and she might not make a good cleric’s wife. She is worried she is turning into her alcoholic father and doesn’t want to tell Tom because she is afraid he or no other man would want to marry her.

Tom and Trixie finally talk. Trixie tells him she can’t life up to his and the churches standards and gives him her engagement ring back.

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In terms of Trixie’s season arch, I am really glad that show did this episode. Up until this point, I felt like the alcoholism story line it seems to be hinting at was out of place. Trixie liking to drink and go out was a normal and fun part of Trixie’s character since the beginning but now that it has started to interfere with her work it feels like an actual problem.


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