Call The Midwife: “Season 5 Episode 6”

This was an emotional roller coaster ride of an episode. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard, been so scared that a character might die and been so upset all in a single episode of television. Bryony Hannah hit a whole new level with Sister Mary Cynthia and the lesbians reacting to a misogynistic comment is my new favorite screen grab from this show.

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This episode deals with multiple different layers of misogyny. The first is a rather handsy old man at the senior luncheon Nonnatus is hosting. Trixie (Helen George) warns Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) to watch out for the butt grabber, but he already got her and Shelagh (Laura Main). Shelagh, Tim (Max MacMillian) and Pasty (Emerald Fennell) seem to be scheming about something and not telling Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann), who fall asleep on the couch inside. Our baby of the week is introduced by Thora coming by to drop off food. She is rather pregnant, but has not seen any of the midwives. She tells them she is going to do a hospital birth for her fifth child.

Barbara and Tom (Jack Asthon) are walking home from their date, where they saw a movie with Christian overtones that they think would be good to take the Sunday school class to. That was a small but great contrast with Patsy and Delia (Kate Lamb), who picked their date night movie so they could oogle at the leading lady. Barbara and Tom have a ridiculously cute moment over a lollipop and kiss.

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They are then interrupted by a injured woman, screaming for help. They take Lizzie back to Tom’s place as Barbara cleans her up and says they should call the police because she was attacked by a man, who bit her on the neck. She doesn’t want to call the police because she doesn’t want to get a soliciting charge. Nice judgmental face, Tom. Barbara says that will not matter. But, Lizzie doesn’t believe her and leaves to go home to her kids.

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Barbara goes back to Nonnatus and expresses her concerns to Patsy and Delia, who aren’t sure what she should do since Lizzie is refusing to talk to the police. Then Trixie comes home. She apparently has been telling everyone she has been taking an art history class on Tuesday evenings while she has been going to AA. Delia comments that she must be emotional about art history since her makeup is running. Patsy seems to be piecing it together.

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This might be the dorkiest Turner episode ever. Tim and Shelagh make a huge dinner, with folded napkins, for Dr. Turner to tell him they are going for a week-long camping holiday. Shelagh has found a fill-in doctor for the surgery and the Nonnatans agreed to help if needed.

As they are getting ready to leave, Shelagh is showing the replacement around. I’m just going to call this guy Dr. Asshat because the first thing he does is talk down Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) and call her old. Patrick runs in because he can’t get the kids and the tents in the car on his own. Nurse Crane tells him to go pick up her car rack at Nonnatus.

And this leads to the great scene of Patsy, Trixie and Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates) trying to not laugh at Dr. Turner in shorts and socks and sandals struggling to secure tents to the car. Fred (Cliff Parisi) complements the shorts and says he has a similar pair and everyone nearly loses it.

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It is raining when they reach the campsite and they struggle to get everything set up. Patrick and Tim set up the kids tent that quickly collapses and Shelagh is trying to lite a fire from under one of the waterproof sheets from a home delivery kit. Shelagh and Dr. Turner have an absurdly cute moment in their tent before Tim and Angela’s collapses on them and they have to join them. About everything that can go wrong does. Dr. Turner fails to leave work back in Poplar, Angela is afraid of squirrels, their tent has holes in it and it is raining.

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They stay for a few days and then Dr. Turner decides they are checking into a nearby hotel.

Barbara brings her concerns about the attacker to Sgt. Noakes (Ben Chaplan), who tells her he can’t do anything since the victim will not talk and she could also be arrested since she was soliciting. Knowing that this episode was going to be about violence against women and a sexual batterer in Poplar, Judith, who has a screaming newborn, seemed like she was only included to be the next victim. And she was while she was walking her baby at night to try to get him to stop crying.

Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) notices she has a bite mark on her neck and tries to get her to go to the police. She doesn’t want to because from her lack of sleep and stress she had walked away from her baby’s pram when she was attacked. Barbara and Sgt. Noakes try to get Lizzie to talk but she doesn’t. He then enlists Fred and the Citizen’s Defense Core, who are kinda jerks about it.

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Thora’s story line comes back around when we find out she isn’t actually pregnant but her teenage daughter, Diane, is. Thora is planning to deliver the baby herself and then raise it as her’s so nobody finds out her daughter got pregnant from a one night stand. Diane’s water breaks while they are working at their fish stand on the docks. Thora is able to deliver the baby but Diane is still in pain. Her mother panics and goes to call Nonnatus. Dr. Asshat, who is staying at Nonnatus and still making misogynistic comments at Nurse Crane much to the distaste of Patsy, Delia and Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt), answers the phone.

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Thora asks for Trixie, but Dr. Asshat says he, as a doctor, is more qualified. He thinks Thora is one of the midwives and gives her some medical tips. Thora goes back but does them wrong. Trixie runs down because she heard the phone ring and asks who it was. He tells her it was one of her colleagues and he gave her advice. Trixie knows nobody is out and goes to get Sister Mary Cynthia to come with her.

They find Thora freaking out and Diane in incredible pain because Thora pulled on her umbilical cord too hard and nearly tore out her womb. Thora breaks down and says what they were trying to do as Trixie helps Diane. Sister Mary Cynthia goes to phone an ambulance. I seriously screamed when someone approaches her but it was just Fred and the CDC watch.

They get Diane to the hospital. Trixie says she will follow and Sister Mary Cynthia says she is going to clean up the mess in the flat and then go home. So, I had heard all the rumors and speculation about this episode that is was either going to kill off Trixie, because of the funeral-looking behind the scenes picture, or Sister Mary Cynthia, so Delia can become a midwife. And as if the episode knew I was freaking out like that, Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia both go cycling through Poplar in the dark.

Trixie makes it to the hospital, where Diane is OK and Thora is beating herself up about what she did to her daughter all because she was worried about what people would think. She realizes she shouldn’t be ashamed and keeping secrets never causes any good. Hint, hint, Trixie. Later on, Thora tells her daughter she has nothing to be ashamed of and gives her her son.

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Sister Mary Cynthia, who was had a brief moment of faith questioning earlier, goes to pray at the docks in an incredibly beautifully shot scene. Then she is grabbed from behind and I yelled really loud. We come back to a horrible wide shot of her laying, beaten on docks. The moment lingers long enough for me to think she was dead but then she moves and gets up. She walks back to Nonnatus and is meet by Trixie, who tries to hug her but she yells for her not to touch her.

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The episode takes a huge turn and is so upsetting. Sister Mary Cynthia says it is her fault for stopping at the docks. Trixie is nearly crying when she tells her it isn’t her fault. Sister Julienne and Barbara come down and Sister Mary Cynthia yells at them too when Sister Julienne tries to touch her. Barbara runs off to call Sgt. Noakes.

Bryony Hannah is so fantastic. We have gotten strong-willed Sister Mary Cynthia/Cynthia before but in five seasons we have never seen angry Cynthia and I didn’t realize that until this episode. The amount of anger and hatred in her voice as she explains to Sister Julienne that she had stopped to pray and it was the closest she has felt to god in a long time was amazing and so hard to listen to.

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She doesn’t want to talk to Sgt. Noakes and goes to take a bath. She passes Patsy and Trixie in the hall. Patsy tells her she should be resting and Trixie says she shouldn’t bathe because she needs to be examined. She ignores them and closes the door on them. Trixie then resorts to just pleading with her to not lock it because she was knocked unconscious earlier.

That interaction was great. Sister Mary Cynthia wasn’t wearing a veil or anything. We haven’t seen her without one since the 2014 Christmas Special, which was also the last time we saw the three of them together in a Nonnatus hallway.

Sister Mary Cynthia fills the bath tub but can’t get herself to get into it. Sister Monica Joan walks in and doesn’t say anything. Sister Mary Cynthia then starts to cry and let’s Sister Monica Joan help her. She tells her there are times to be ashamed of the flesh but also times to celebrate its strength. Later on, Sister Mary Cynthia comes down to a somber lunch, says she isn’t afraid like the other women were and goes to talk to Sgt. Noakes. She is able to describe tattoos the guy had, which leads to Sgt. Noakes finding and arresting him.

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Sister Mary Cynthia is examined by Dr. Turner, who came home early because Dr. Asshat is terrible, and then given a shot by Barbara, though I wish it would have been Trixie. Sister Mary Cynthia tells her she thought god had betrayed her but then realizes he was testing her strength.

So with all the talk of secrets and strength and shame, I thought one or both of the big secrets — Trixie’s AA meetings and Patsy and Delia’s relationship — was going to be revealed. Earlier, Patsy returned to her room in her pajamas telling Trixie she thought she would already be out. Trixie asks her where she was. Patsy nervously says Delia’s room and lies that she was teaching her a new card game.

The episode ends with Patsy and Delia clearly coming home from a date. They were standing super close and I thought Trixie, who is coming down the hall, was going to see them kiss. They don’t and Delia asks if she is heading to art history. Trixie decides to give up her lie and tells them she has been going to AA. They tell her they are proud of her. She walks off and they keep their secret to themselves.

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This is a very long post, but this episode was so great. The humor was fantastic, the attacks were well done and I’m really glad it didn’t kill anyone.




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