Call The Midwife: “Season 5 Episode 2”

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I wanted to start with that picture because it illustrates my favorite thing in this season so far. And that is the different pairings between characters. That is Nurse Crane just hanging out with Patsy and Trixie. We also got some great nuns pairings and Trixie stepping up to look after Barbara.

Anyway, to this episode. The modernization theme is continuing. At the clinic a lady is giving a talk about formula’s benefits. Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) is not having it and yells at the lady, while Shelagh (Laura Main) tries to keep everyone calm.

This is the start of our baby of the week B plot. Sister Evangelina is trying to help Connie prepare to breastfeed her baby. Connie’s baby is born easily but she can’t get him to breastfeed. Sister Evangelina keeps telling her to try harder and says breast milk is what real mothers do not formula.

Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryony Hannah) is our voice of reason in this story line. After the baby nearly dies of dehydration, Sister Mary Cynthia stands up to Sister Evangelina and tells her she has to choose her words more carefully because of her amount of influence in Poplar. Yay for the return of strong-willed Cynthia. I feel like we haven’t seen much of this side of her since she became a nun.

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Sister Evangelina goes and apologizes to Connie, who forgives her. Sister Evangelina then realizes she has gotten too caught up in her work and has stopped listening to god. She gets a transfer from Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) to go to a silent order for six months. I was already sad about this and then while she is packing, Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) walks in and starts taking her clothes out of her suitcase. They share a sweet moment about how much they will miss each other. The episode ends with Sister Evangelina walking away from Nonnatus.

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I just wanted to get that out of the way because the nuns had their own story line this week, while the baby of the week A plot and the romantic subplot involved all of the nurses.

This was mostly a Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) and Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) themed episode but the others were woven in nicely. Barbara gets the main focus. She is struggling to help Stella, who is rather stressed because of her husband’s cut hours at the docks and her high blood pressure. Throughout the episode, the show does a good job of continuing Barbara’s tendency to make a fool of herself.

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She does right out the gate with Stella. She voices her concerns to the older nurses earlier, who tell her she just needs a few more battle scars to get the hardness and experience they have. Barbara said she has them but just doesn’t show them. That bleeds through a bit when Barbara tries to help Stella by telling her about the national registry (is that what they said? I’m not sure. It’s welfare, for my fellow Americans)

Barbara is writing home to her father, a vicar in Liverpool, to ask for advice. She is in Trixie and Patsy’s (Emerald Fennel) room and Trixie teases her about the letter not sounding very exciting. It seems Barbara’s home life was only about the church and helping others, before it always seemed like it was a focus but it seemed to overtake everything. Patsy and Trixie seem to be having their own story line in the background of this episode. Barbara emphasizes in her letter that she does not have a boyfriend. Trixie makes an annoyed face at that and Patsy shoots Trixie a nervous look that I’m not sure she saw.

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Amid all that, Nurse Crane starts attending a Spanish class at the community center and hits it off with Tommy. There is a super cute montage of Sister Monica Joan, Patsy and Barbara being perplexed by a love struck Nurse Crane.

As Barbara is making a delivery for another patient, she finds Stella’s husband Johnny at a pub while he is supposed to be at work. She is conflicted about what to tell Stella. She goes to Tom (Jack Ashton) for advice. He is no help but they still have a cute little time together. This story line is going to be my Cynthia becoming a nun from last season: I kind of want to like it but it is making me really uncomfortable. Why Barbara of all the women in Poplar, Tom? And why do all your compliments for Barbara sound like knocks on Trixie?

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Barbara doesn’t get a chance to tell Stella about Johnny being unemployed because she finds out on her own. Barbara is uncomfortably there during the fight and makes a fool of herself while trying to make sure Stella doesn’t over stress herself. Stella kicks out Johnny and Barbara is having a rough day.

Back at Nonnatus, Nurse Crane, who has already gotten tea with Tommy, asks Trixie and Patsy if she could use their record player to listen to Spanish love songs. She then asks for make up tips. They jump at this idea. They also have a great but incredibly frustrating conversation with Nurse Crane (calling her Phyllis still seems weird). Patsy makes a comment about being the only one drinking and Trixie gives the comment about her complexion again. Patsy then says in admiration that Nurse Crane has been able to do what she wants in life and not be asked when she is going to find a man and settle down. The looks between Patsy and Trixie in this scene nearly killed me!

Not only does Trixie still not know about Patsy and Delia, Patsy doesn’t even know about Trixie’s alcoholism and the reasons for her sudden devotion to Keep Fit. Will somebody sit these two down and make them talk about their problems with each other?

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Stella’s husband Johnny gets a shift at the docks where he family has worked for generations but collapses. Dr. Turner (Patrick McGann) is called in and Barbara takes Stella to the hospital. It turns out Johnny’s inability to work and fatigue is because he has rather advanced leukemia. He is admitted to The London and given only days to live. Stella asks Barbara if she could make her baby come faster so her husband could see it before he dies. Barbara promises she will.

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That idea does not go over so well with the nuns because it is not for a medical problem with the mother. Great tiny character things in this argument, someone points out that Dr. Turner would agree if they suggested it and Sister Winfred (Victoria Yeates) is the most vocal opponent. That bitch. Trixie says she will assist Barbara and Sister Julienne agrees.

Then in a rather heartbreaking scene, Nurse Crane goes to assist a lady suffering from dementia. From a mix up with a new charting system, Patsy ends up there too and just in time for the lady’s husband to arrive home. And it is Tommy, Nurse Crane’s gentleman friend who said he wasn’t married. The nurses quickly file out and once in Nurse Crane’s car Patsy offers to buy her tea. She declines. Then Patsy delivers the line that I feel sums up her story line since the end of season three and all the nurses currently story lines, “I won’t ask you anything about it, but we don’t have to pretend it never happened. People do that all too often, and it’s exhausting.”

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Barbara and Trixie take Stella to the maternity home and try to induce her labor as Dr. Turner sits with a dying Johnny at The London.  There is a lot of back and forth of thinking Johnny will die before his child is born, but it turns out Barbara’s plan worked and Johnny is able to meet his son, John, shortly before he dies.

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Tommy comes by Nonnatus and apologizes to Phyllis, saying his wife hasn’t remembered him for five years and he hasn’t felt happy since he met her. Phyllis tells him it doesn’t matter and actually runs off. She gets some words of encouragement from Patsy, who treated his wife, later and says his wife truly seems to be gone. Phyllis ends up going back to Spanish class and sits beside Tommy, saying she is only there for the class but seeming to imply there might be more in the future.

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Barbara and Trixie attend the wake for Johnny. Stella says she is doing well despite the circumstances. She gets a donation from the dock worker head guy, who fired her husband and tells her there is a job for her son when he is old enough. The dock worker guy thanks Barbara for making him realize he was being a Capitalist asshole. Tom, who is also there, then finds Barbara and flirts with her as Trixie looks away awkwardly.

Overall this episode was fantastic. There was tragically little of the Turners and no Delia, who isn’t moving into Nonnatus until June. It is probably late April to early May in the show’s timeline. The show has been doing a great job of creating new dynamics between charterers and slowly, so slowly building toward the plot points I want to see so much. Trixie and Patsy, will you two talk to each other already?


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