Call The Midwife: “Season 6 Episode 7”

How am I going to go about recapping this episode without freaking out the entire time? This is the most I have cried so far this season and despite being a Patsy and Delia loyalist, I think this is the best episode of the season. And that is because of the Mullocks.

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I love the Mullocks as characters and how they fit into the show. Before 5.8, we never had a mother of the week come back. I thought it was a bit strange that only Rhoda appeared in that episode but it didn’t effect the episode. We had the whole family back this time.

We start with Rhoda Mullock (Liz White) taking Susan to nursery school. She is only 18 months but she is wanting to get her on a waiting list like she did with her other children. She walks out looking disappointed and goes to the clinic. She is greeted by Valerie (Jennifer Kirby), who knows them from the neighborhood. Rhoda asks to see Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann). Rhoda said she was turned away because the school doesn’t teach “sick children.”

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Dr. Turner and Shelagh (Laura Main) have the same look of support and guilt as they usually do about thalidomide. And I know the show is mostly episodic but we did a lot of clunky exposition and callbacks to 5.1 and 5.8 to explain this story line.

Our other story line this week involved Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) and the Antoines, a biracial family that is about to have their fourth child. The other three are in the cubs, which Nurse Crane is now leading. The mother insists on having a home birth because she doesn’t want to deal with the stares and talk at the maternity home or hospital.

The fact that Valerie is from Poplar was woven in nicely this episode. She commented about Mrs. Antoine’s sister reaction when she said she was going to marry a Jamaican guy. And we get Delia’s (Kate Lamb) line about not being able to choose who you love. That also introduced Trixe’s (Helen George) story line. She is getting ready for a date with Christopher (Jack Hawkins). He blows her off just like he did for the last two and she spent so much time getting ready with Valerie and Delia, who had very specific tips about how she should dress for the date.

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Dr. Turner puts a call into a hospital that makes artificial limbs for the Mullocks. Mr. Mullocks get a little mad because they had decided they were not going to send Susan away, ever. Rhoda counters by saying it is only a week. And shout out to Chris Reilly, who plays Bernie Mullocks. He drove me to tears three times.

They reluctantly agree to take Susan for a visit. While there they meet Lydia, whose son was also effected by thalidomide. And I would also like to give a shout out to Claire Price, who played Lydia. She was basically an exposition dump but she delivered all the lines very well. Mr. Mullocks freaks out and doesn’t want Susan there. Dr. Turner attempts to help but it doesn’t go very well.

Nurse Crane goes to deliver the Antoine’s baby. They run out of gas and air and call Nonnatus for more. Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates), who hasn’t been actually practicing to drive but has been quizzing herself, answers the call. But, since Fred (Cliff Parisi) is doing maintenance on all the bikes she walks instead.

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Okay, I have one small complaint about this episode. I don’t know if it is the direction or the editing but multiple scenes that were indoors made it appear to be night but then characters would go outside and it was the middle of the day. It was a bit confusing but didn’t stop this episode from being amazing.

The birth goes fine but Sister Winifred arrives after the baby is born. Nurse Crane scolds Sister Winifred for being so slow and saying it would have taken five minutes if she could drive. She tosses her the keys and tells her to drive them home. With all of Nurse Crane’s intensity, Sister Winifred stalls in the middle of an intersection and Nurse Crane kicks her out of the driver’s seat.

A lot like with the filming of Delia riding that bike in 4.8, this whole thing was making me anticipate a car accident. I really thought Nurse Crane was going to get them into an accident and that crying from the promo was because she had seriously injured Sister Winifred. But then Lenny, the Antoine’s oldest son, runs into the street and Nurse Crane hits him as she is adjusting the rear view mirror.

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Sister Winifred tells an onlooker to call an ambulance. Nurse Crane stands stunned. The police arrive. The other Antoine boys run away. The constable asks who the driver was and Nurse Crane tells him she was. She gets taken to the police station and gets booked by Sgt. Noakes (Ben Chaplan). Mr. Antoine comes running in to inquire about his son and yells at her.

Nurse Crane gets released from police custody but is suspended from nursing duties until the police are done investigating. Despite Barbara’s (Charlotte Ritchie) best efforts she can’t do anything to make her feel better. Sister Winifred also gets interviewed by the police. She tells Sgt. Noakes that she saw the other boys at the accident scene but they ran away and she knows why. Peter goes to speak with them and their parents.

They are only supposed to play on a street that doesn’t have traffic. They were but after getting called names by racist bullies they ran away. Mr. Antoine says Nurse Crane is a good woman and he does want to press charges. Peter says there are no grounds anyway, since it was an accident.

Over in the Mullocks’ story line, Rhoda takes Susan to the hospital without telling the rest of the family. Belinda and Perry get mad at her. Belinda asks if Susan cried when she was left there. Perry says Mr. Mullocks is going to be pissed, which he is. Rhoda tells Bernie that they can’t keep protecting Susan all the time. They have to let her go a bit and that includes admitting there are things they can ‘fix’ with artificial limbs. Can the Mullocks get their own spin off?

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Though she isn’t facing any charges, Nurse Crane is still questioning herself in terms of nursing and driving. She sits in the garden, per Barbara’s suggestion and then Tom (Jack Ashton) brings her tea. He tries to help but Nurse Crane shoots him down in the best way possible saying people like him look to the almighty for answers while she, as a rational atheist, only has herself to answer to.

Trixie actually goes out on a date with Christopher. He explains that he blew her off the other three times because he has a daughter and is divorced. I saw a spoiler for this and I was really hoping he was going to have an out-of-wedlock child. That seemed like it would have fit better with his character. Trixie gets mad that he didn’t tell her. She is in the midst of realizing she is being hypocritical when he asks if they could go to a pub. She quickly leaves.

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Back at Nonnatus, she is eating custard (with bananas so it is healthy) in the kitchen with Valerie. She says it is hard to tell people secrets especially if they are afraid of being laughed at or judged or prosecuted. Interesting word choice, Valerie. She doesn’t know about Trixie going to AA it seems. I am not sure how much I believe this Valerie is also gay and is going to drive a wedge between Patsy and Delia theory, but homosexuality was grounds to be discharged from the British Armed Forces until 1994.

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Trixie ends up inviting Christopher to tea at Nonnatus. She tells him the truth and he says “good for you” and jokes about not bringing drinks to dates anymore.

Nurse Crane gets left on call at Nonnatus with Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt). A mother calls that she is in labor. Sister Monica Joan finds Nurse Crane nervously staring at her car and says she must not know the directions but she does so she will come and assist. The drive and birth goes well thanks to Sister Monica Joan’s encouragement.

All of the Mullocks go visit Susan and Rhoda and Bernie get invited to a thalidomide parents group by Lydia. That parents meeting got me crying again. Mature Jenny (voiced by Vanessa Redgrave) tells us about the work of the thalidomide parents and how they spent 50 years trying to get justice for their children.

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Also at the end of the episode, Nurse Crane finds Delia sadly reading a newspaper. There is an obituary for Patsy’s father. He died two weeks ago but Delia hasn’t heard anything from Patsy. Nurse Crane reassures her that she will write soon. Delia doesn’t sound so certain.

Patsy better be back next week. It also looks like Shelagh is going into labor and Barbara and Tom are rushing to get married for some reason.

 

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