Call The Midwife: “Season 4 Episode 8”

The season four finale starts with Patsy (Emerald Fennell) looking directly at the camera, then we see her looking in a mirror and behind her in the mirror is Trixie (Helen George) also looking in a mirror. Over this Mature Jenny (voiced by Vanessa Redgrave) asks who do we see in the mirror, who we really are or the image of person we are trying to be.

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I don’t think there is a better way to sum up what this season is about. We have had two season long arches; Trixie’s alcoholism and Patsy’s secret relationship with Delia (Kate Lamb). And the two of them have been hiding it from everyone, including each other though they each might already know because miscommunication has been a overreaching theme of this season.

Downstairs, Fred (Cliff Parisi) is bringing his fiance Violet (Annabelle Apsion) to meet the nuns and nurses. She is nervous about spending too much on flowers. Fred tells her to relax. She says if he was a woman, he would understand. Fred jokes back if he was they wouldn’t be engaged, which is the second time the show has contrasted the simplicity of Fred and Violet’s relationship to the difficulty of Patsy and Delia’s.

The engagement celebration hits a bit of a bump when Trixie realizes they are using the same cake board as they did at her and Tom’s (Jack Ashton) celebration. Patsy and Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryony Hanna) look a bit concerned but don’t say anything. As clueless as usual, Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) says she’s sure it won’t bring them bad luck or anything. Fred and Violet don’t have a date set yet because they are waiting to hear from their children.

Hey, look who’s back?

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Chummy (Miranda Hart) has returned to do a rotation at The London, but Peter (Ben Chaplan) is taking Freddie to go visit his parents. I get that there is a lot in this episode, but we don’t get enough of the three of them anymore. Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) answers the door when Chummy arrives and is overjoyed that she brought cake. It turns out to be her mother’s ashes in a cake tin. Chummy hasn’t decided what to do with them yet.

Chummy voices that concern with Trixie later, as she convinces her to do a face wash. It is cute and has a bunch of reminiscence dialogue.

We then pop over to Fred’s flat and his daughter has arrived. The show has had a running joke for a while that Fred has two daughters that everyone gets mixed up. They even had Sister Winfred (Victoria Yeates) mix them up during the party. It has been a fun gag, but now that one of them has finally appeared she seems like only half a character. This one is Marlene. She doesn’t seem too happy about him being engaged. She is worried that Violet is using him and he hasn’t thought it through.

Two mothers start chatting up at the clinic about how there might be a birth control pill soon and the wonders of what is packed into jars of baby food. Then the our first baby of the week mom throws up in her purse. She complains about morning sickness and Barbara offers her a mint.

She and the baby of the week couple are both overshadowed by the other events in this episode. Unlike in the first episode of the season, it is not one incredibly dramatic baby story and one with less weight. The morning sickness one that leads to the introduction of thalidomide and the deaf mother worried about communicating if she has a hearing child are both very good. But, this episode is more about our main characters than any other episode this season and possibly in the whole series. Both story lines are overshadowed by the character moments that make me love this episode so much.

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Delia has brought Patsy to the coffee bar from last episode to tell her some news. The London is knocking down part of the Nurses’ Home and she volunteered to move out and find a flat with the rent allowance she will be given. She asks Patsy to move in with her, saying friends live together all the time and nobody will think anything of it. Delia is all excited about saying goodbye before work, getting a record player and closing the door at night.

Later on, Patsy goes to Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) to tell her she wants to move out of Nonnatus. Patsy starts by saying she has a dark secret, as if to only freak out the audience, and then says she has never lived independently and wants to give it a try. Sister Julienne jokes that she has the same dark secret. Sister Julienne says she still wants her to come for lunch each day, so there isn’t too much change.

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Marlene pops into Violet’s shop and starts to reveal her real problem with her father’s engagement is that Violet is trying to replace her mother. Violet says she isn’t, just as Fred isn’t replacing her husband. Marlene lies to Violet and tries to convince her that her father is gold-digging her. I never fully understand why Marlene does any of this. If she was 15 I might understand, but she is way too old to be this mean about this. Fred stops by the shop later and makes some jokes that make Violet think maybe his daughter is right.

They meet on what looks a lot like Trixie and Tom’s bench a while later. Fred apologizes if Marlene was rude to her. She thinks she was just being honest. Violet realizes he has no plan for retirement and maybe the only reason he asked her to marry him so he would have someone to look after him. Fred said he did it because he thought it was something they both wanted. Violet says they are too old to make mistakes and gives the ring back.

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Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia start working together with the deaf mother because Sister Mary Cynthia knows a bit of sign language. They seem to be getting along, but it also seems like they haven’t had a non-work related conversation yet.

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Back at Nonnatus, Sister Moncia Joan finds Chummy praying about what to do with her mother’s ashes. Sister Monica Joan says she has to let her move on. Chummy said she can’t until it is prefect. They run into each other in the kitchen later. Sister Monica Joan is wrapped in blankets and says Fred hasn’t come to fix the chimney and now the boiler has died. He hasn’t been around since Violet ended their engagement. Chummy decides it is time she does something. She finds Fred standing outside Violet’s shop unable to work up the nerve to go talk to her. Chummy goes to his flat later and tries to cheer him up.

Then we go to the coffee bar with Patsy and Delia, who are circling flat ads in the newspaper and making calls. They seem to have found one and then go walk into a tiny, dusty flat. Later that day, Delia is loading up Patsy’s bike with cleaning supplies so they can go fix up their place. They are all cute and flirty. Delia rides off on the bike. Patsy happily chases after her not noticing Trixie sadly watching them go.

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Patsy and Delia have a picnic on the floor in the furniture-less flat as Delia plans what she wants to put in it. They then lock it up and walk outside because Delia has to go to work. It was right at this point my first time seeing this episode that I started thinking this is all going way too well. Maybe it was because I am too used to terrible things happening to my favorite characters or maybe it was because there hasn’t been a lot of happiness in this season.

Anyway, Delia realizes she is going to be late for work. Patsy tells her to take her bike and she will pick it up at The London later. She then gives Delia her scarf. Delia calls her an angel and she’s it is a pity more people don’t get to see it. Then she rides off, turns a few corners and is hit by a car. I have a whole lot of things to say about this, but I want to get to the end of the episode first. For now I will just say, I know this is the third time a lesbian has been hit by a car on a BBC show (RIP Lip Service), but I don’t think this is as bad as everyone has been thinking. More on that later.

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Sister Winfred happens to be walking by as the ambulance pulls off. She finds a broken nurses bike and a scarf with “PM” stitched into it. Back at Nonnatus, Patsy is nervously on the phone with the hospital asking for information about Delia. But since she isn’t family, they won’t tell her anything. Patsy struggles to keep it together as Barbara, Sister Winfred and Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) are in the next room.

Back at Fred’s, Marlene is annoyed that Chummy is there. Marlene seems to be more concerned about Fred leaving the flat because it is where they lived after the blitz and where they put it behind them and came together as a family again. Marlene and Fred agree that is just feels like everything is changing and nothing stays the same. That gave Chummy an idea and she pours her mother’s ashes in the Thames, the one part of London that never changes.

Marlene goes to see Violet. She apologies for being mean and tells her she wants her to go talk to her dad because she and her mother would want him to be happy. She meets him outside and they kiss and make up.

Patsy arrives at The London with flowers. Delia’s mom is there and Patsy introduces herself and asks to see her. She has no idea who she is for a moment and then, to make matters even worse for Patsy, Delia’s mom calls her “the lady she helps out the cubs with.” Her mother tells her she will have to check with the nurse if Patsy can see Delia because she has been having seizures.

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Patsy gets to go in and gets her heart crushed three times as Delia doesn’t remember that she is a nurse, then doesn’t remember they are friends and then doesn’t remember who she is at all. She doesn’t remember who her mother is either. Patsy, who is still holding the flowers she brought, then goes out into the hall with Delia’s mother. The doctors aren’t sure if Delia’s memory will come back or not. Her mother says she hopes taking her home to Wales will help her remember. Delia’s mom tells Patsy she doesn’t think her visiting would be a good idea, they don’t have a phone but she can write. With all that and Delia’s mom calling her by the wrong name, Patsy leaves realizing she as a place for the flowers.

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She goes to her and Delia’s flat, cleans the entire thing while crying and puts the flowers in the vase by the window.

As Trixie gets back to Nonnatus from delivering the deaf mother’s baby, she passes Tom who is going to go sit with a dying man. She gets to her room and goes straight for a drink and downs it while she is about to loss it. She is still on duty and goes and sits by the phone. She calls, what I think is a suicide hotline, and says she just wants to stop drinking. Sister Mary Cynthia is walking down the stairs and overhears. She hangs up the phone for Trixie and tells her she isn’t alone. Trixie says is she starts talking about god that is not going to help. Sister Mary Cynthia says there is healing all around us and the world is filled with people who are there for her and care about her. And they hug finally. I was so relieved and happy.

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So naturally, we cut to Pasty looking too exhausted to cry. She watches the sun go up and illuminate the flowers. She then walks out of the flat, locks it and drops the keys through the mail slot. And because all of that wasn’t enough emotions, we then go to a tearful monologue by Trixie at her first AA meeting. She is saying she gets to spend a few hours every day in the midst of happy families and as she goes home alone every night drinking is the only thing that makes her feel better.

The episode ends with Fred and Violet wedding reception at Nonnatus. Everyone seems incredibly happy, save for Trixie who looks rather nervous but smiles at Tom when she see him. Patsy isn’t shown.

It seemed fitting that the episode ended with Fred and Violet’s wedding after what happened with Patsy and Delia. These two couples have been in contrast with each other since they were introduced. Now, the one is happily married and we have no idea what the future of the other is. And yes, the happy one is straight and the broken one is gay. But, I think all the complaints of discrimination and the show getting accused of “killing the lesbian” is unfounded.

The show hasn’t treated Patsy and Delia any differently than they treated Fred and Violet or any other couple on this show. Delia didn’t get hit by that car because she is a lesbian. Delia got hit by that car because she is a love interest for a main character on Call The Midwife. That is a dangerous position to be in.

Every couple on this show has had some tragedy happen before they finally got to be together. Shelagh almost died of TB before she decided to stop being a nun and marry Dr. Turner. Chummy almost died in childbirth before she and Peter finally got to start a family together. Fred and Violet both let their self-doubt take over and broke up before they finally got to be together.

I’m holding onto the hope that this is just Patsy and Delia’s tragedy before they finally get to be happy together. As Mature Jenny said having to start over or being forced to take a step back doesn’t mean it is over and can’t move forward.

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