Call The Midwife: “Season 5 Episode 4”

As a warning this post might be absurdly long because there was so much going on in this episode and all of it was great. All the story lines were fantastic and both had twists I was not expecting. Also every member of this cast from Emerald Fennell to the toddler that plays Angela can say so much with only facial expressions something is going on all the time. I could probably write an entire post about the porch steps scene and it barely had anything to do with the plot of this episode.

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Anyway let’s get into this. The episode starts with Trixie (Helen George) treating a woman with sores on her arms and a rather bad cough. She is a long-time employee at the local paint factory. Her son, Ian, runs in excited with his acceptance letter to university. Over at the clinic, Shelagh (Laura Main) is giving a talk about home vs. hospital births, which are becoming more popular because modernization theme. This is the introduction to our first baby of the week with Mrs. Cottingham saying she is having her baby at home. It’s her fourth and she doesn’t need any of that fancy hospital stuff.

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Ian meets his girlfriend, Linda, who works at the paint factory along with her father. Ian says he is going to get them out of Poplar with his education but she is pregnant. They have a bit of a freaking out fight through the docks as they try to figure out what this means for them.

Meanwhile, the nuns and midwives of Nonnatus have a long conversation over dinner about home vs. hospital births. St. Catherine’s had asked for someone to help out for a few weeks. Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) sends herself despite Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) saying it might be too strenuous and Patsy (Emerald Fennel) being a bit jealous because St. Catherine’s is a nicer version of The London.

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Also in this Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryony Hannah) is charged with planning the ceremony in honor of Sister Hildagard, the founder of Nonnatus House. Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) is annoyed that she wasn’t picked but willing to help Sister Mary Cynthia when she asks her.

So to this porch steps scene. Delia (Kate Lamb) and Patsy are sitting on the front steps of Noannatus looking at movie times in the paper. Delia has been looking through the roster and knows Patsy can see a movie with her on Friday. They are having a conversation about how attractive the actress is and Trixie joins them with the perfect straight girl response. Patsy politely invites Trixie and Delia looks annoyed that she invited a third wheel to their date.

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Barbara joins them and Delia invites her too, since Patsy has already ruined her plans. Barbara awkwardly makes up a story about cousin being in town because she totally doesn’t have a date with Tom or anything like that. Trixie storms off and Barbara is left looking defeated on the steps.

This is one of only two Patsy and Delia scenes. Later on, Delia stays up to meet Patsy when she gets home from work late, like they had planned to in their flat. They flirt and hug and Delia is making them spiked tea.

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This scene almost swayed me away from a Patsy and Delia rant I have been planning for a while but it still fits. I have been wanting to comment on the fact that Patsy and Delia are the only long standing couple on this show that we haven’t seen kiss yet. It would have made sense in their second scene together. My feelings on this are exactly the same as Delia getting hit by that stupid car: this isn’t the BBC being homophobic, it fits with the show that they haven’t.

Delia’s big fantasy in that scene was to make Patsy tea and play with her hair. Patsy has had pretty good indications from Nurse Crane and Trixie that they already know but she is still too scared to even let Delia take her hand to comfort her in front of them.

So, I perfectly understand why we haven’t seen Pasty and Delia kiss yet. It is because Patsy and Delia aren’t ready to let us see yet and I am fine with waiting until they are ready.

Where was I? Oh right, our love triangle. Barbara finds Tom (Jack Ashton) outside of Nonnatus and breaks off whatever is going on between them because Trixie isn’t over him and he isn’t over Trixie and she doesn’t want to be with him if it is going to hurt Trixie. She then gets call to deliver Mrs. Cottingham’s baby with Nurse Crane. There are a bunch of complication and Mrs. Cottingham is sent to St. Catherine’s and into Sister Julienne’s care.

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Trixie and Tom both get entangled with Linda and Ian. Trixie is still taking care of Ian’s mother and acting as Linda’s midwife. Tom had helped Ian with his university application process and provides some counseling when Linda’s father finds out she is pregnant. Ian and Linda don’t seem to have a lot of options so Ian buys a ring and proposes to Linda.

Trixie and Tom have a cute moment together at the engagement party. Tom gets into a debate about doing the right thing and acting out of love. Ian says he loves Linda but he isn’t sure if he loves her enough to give up his dream of university. Starting to sound familiar, Tom?

Over at St. Catherine’s, Mrs. Cottingham is having more problems and the doctor calls for an emergency c-section. And just when I was thinking how great of a modernization story line this is and the fact that we have never seen a c-section before, the doctor gets the baby out and says, ‘oh god not another one.’

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I was nearly crying along with Sister Julienne because I was expecting to see a continuation of the thalidomide story line about as much as she was expecting to see another Susan Mullocks. Sister Julienne offers to hold the baby after nobody else will, but it is quickly taken away.

Much like how Rhoda Mullocks feared, the baby is left in a room alone to die. Luckily, Sister Julienne finds the baby. She promised Mrs. Cottingham she would take care of her baby, who she was hoping would be a girl. The baby, which was so disfigured the doctor couldn’t determine sex, dies in her arms. Sister Julienne nearly loses it and starts relying religious facts to the nurse she had made friends with. She could have baptized the baby herself but she didn’t think to.

Back at Nonnatus, Sister Mary Cynthia and Sister Monica Joan are working on the ceremony in the chapel when Sister Julienne gets home.  I loved this little scene. Sister Mary Cynthia is just hanging out with the older nuns, which is great to see. And Sister Julienne asks Sister Monica Joan for advice and if it would be a sin to lie to Mrs. Cottingham about her child. Sister Monica Joan says a lie with the intention of protecting someone can’t be a sin. Sister Julienne ends up telling Mrs. Cottingham that her daughter died in her arms, but she doesn’t have any answers for her about why.

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Over at the clinic, Trixie is treating Linda when she starts to miscarry. When she is talking her and her future mother-in-law, Ian’s mom, home they find Tom trying to break into their flat. Ian is inside and the gas is on. Last we saw Ian, he was trying to go to this first shift at the paint factory but couldn’t force himself inside. Tom and Trixie run in and are able to save him from committing suicide.

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This is was a great reminder of all the things I used to like about Tom and Trixie, when they were working together as equals and were helping people just in completely different ways. But, they only loved each other enough. They start to have a conversation about what their relationship is now and why Barbara is causing such a problem for them. But, Trixie gets too uncomfortable, and there is vomit on her shoe, and runs inside.

She is treating Ian’s mom when Linda breaks off her engagement with Ian because she doesn’t want to stand in the way of his happiness. His mother keeps the ring so it will be there when they need it. Trixie realizes what she has to do and goes home to talk to Barbara

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Trixie tells Barbara she isn’t going to stand in their way anymore. She and Tom weren’t right for each other and she wants both of them to be happy. Their contrast in this scene is great. Trixie tells Barbara she is too nice, which Barbara said to Trixie when they first met. Also, Trixie is dressed all cute and Barbara looks like a fricking church lady. The episode ends with Trixie helping Barbara get ready for a date with Tom and their new big sister, little sister dynamic is amazing.

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Sister Julienne reports to the Turners about what she saw at St. Catherine’s. They go into research mode trying to find a connection between Rhoda Mullocks and Mrs. Cottingham. Despite us knowing it is their morning sickness drug, the Turners make it some god damn compelling. They work late at the office, with brief interruptions from Tim and Angela.

They then go home and keep working into the night after their children have gone to bed. Shelagh tells Patrick (Stephan McGann) they have to call it a night because they have patients in the morning. She also says she loves him the best when he is turning himself into a disheveled mess to help someone. He says his least favorite thing is admitting he doesn’t know something, which is currently where they are in the thalidomide story line.

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Mature Jenny (Vanessa Redgrave) is much vaguer this time about how there is still so much to uncover and they still have so much to learn. I really liked this episode. It was a great way to continue the thalidomide story and we don’t get a lot of sole Sister Julienne. I’m also really glad the resolution of the Trixie-Tom-Barbara love feud was mostly about Trixie and Tom sorting out their problems. Hopefully, we get more of the Turners doing their Sherlock and Watson thing this season.

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