Call the Midwife: 2017 Christmas SpecialPosted: January 19, 2018
I feel to fully explain my feelings on this episode I need to back to a day in May. It was one of those times when I opened Twitter in the middle of a party and felt that I needed to take a screenshot of what I saw so I could make sure later that this was actually happening:
I’m not really the biggest fan of the Christmas Specials most of the time because Call the Midwife is back! But, it didn’t say anything about what happened last season at all. The 2015 Christmas Special being the exception here. But maybe, I am being overly critical. I was annoyed with the 2015 Christmas Special because it didn’t mention Trixie’s alcoholism or the thalidomide story line, which were both the main topics of 5.1.
So maybe all of 7.1 will be about the fact that Patsy spent six weeks on a boat, kissed Delia on the sidewalk, walked into the wedding reception of a wedding she didn’t know was happening already, said hello to her segregate family and best friend, talked to her stand-in aunt who now knows about her relationship, convinced Delia to drop out of her midwifery program, packed up all their stuff, said goodbye to everyone, and booked a plane somewhere all in the course of a few days. But hey, who knows?
So, let’s actually get into this episode.
We are about to be hit by the 1962 Boxing Day blizzard. We montage about Poplar for a bit on Christmas. The Turners have a very 1960s house, Reggie (Daniel Laurie) is still hanging out with Fred (Cliff Parsi) and Violet (Annabelle Apsion, who is now in the opening credits). It was all very cute and was topped off with this surprise:
The TV is back! Everyone then gathers at Nonnatus for a group photo, which again seemed a little weird with the two glaring absences. Especially since Christopher (Jack Hawkins) made the photo.
Now that our fan service is out of the way. Let’s get to the plot.
Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) comes over to Nonnatus because Tom (Jack Ashton) got a call that a pipe has burst at the community center and its clinic day. Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) says they can’t postpone it any longer. Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) says she will make some calls and find a replacement location. Amazingly her first call is to Shelagh (Laura Main), who is holding Teddy while Angela feeds a baby doll cereal on the floor behind her.
The replacement location ends up being Valerie’s (Jennifer Kirby) aunt’s pub.
While there, Val sees mother-to-be Linda. She just moved to London and feels uncomfortable at the clinic. Val says she’ll schedule a home visit with her. Since this is the Christmas Special, Linda is our thinly veiled Jesus-Mary metaphor. She and Selwyn are not married and he is not the baby’s father. Also, they are living in a caravan because they haven’t found anywhere to live yet.
Anyway, on the way to the clinic Nurse Crane and Sister Julienne are stopped by Gruff McNewCop.
Sometime between 6.8 and this episode, Ben Chaplan announced that he would not be back to this season. So, Sgt. Wolff (Trevor Cooper) is our new police representation. Sgt. Wolff is developing some sort of antagonistic relationship with Nurse Crane. There is also a running through line that milk is not being delivered. After a few spats with Sgt. Wolff, Nurse Crane, Reggie, and the cubs end up saving the day in that department.
Over at the surgery, Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) is struggling to keep everything in order while Shelagh is still on maturity leave. He sees a happy-go-lucky patient with a leg burn. Percy doesn’t want Dr. Turner to do a house call, he says he’ll come by and get the medicine himself.
Tom comes home and gets into bed with Barbara. He spent the entire day sitting with a dying retired sailor. He has also been asked to go to Birmingham to take over a parish. It wouldn’t be a promotion, just the same as he is currently doing. He doesn’t understand why God has called him to go and Barbara seems like she doesn’t want to leave Poplar just yet.
Fred finds Dr. Turner’s happy-go-lucky patient dead and buried in snow. He has Sister Julienne go inform his wife, Mabel, of what happened. Sister Julienne is confused at first when Mabel does not seem to react to her husband’s death. Mabel then tells her she is glad because he was abusive to her and their children;one who joined the army to get away from him and the other who ran away.
Valerie gets called over to Linda and Selwyn’s caravan. She thinks it must be a false alarm because Linda is only eight months along. It turns out it wasn’t. Valerie prepares to deliver the baby. Everything seems to be going smoothly until the baby is born and doesn’t cry. The parents start freaking out and Valerie gives the trademark “I need a more senior midwife” face.
But with the snow and the distance from a phone, Valerie deals with everything herself. Linda doesn’t want to see the baby, but Selwyn looks at him.
Sister Julienne tracks down Mabel’s daughter with Shelagh’s help. Anthea ran away when she was 15 and pregnant. Shelagh finds signs of abuse in her and her mother’s medical records. It also seems like the baby was her father’s. Merry Christmas, Call the Midwife. Anthea is nice to Sister Julienne when she finds her and her gaggle of biological and foster children. She says she doesn’t want to see her mother and is glad her father is dead.
Back at the Caravan, Trixie (Helen George) arrives. She thought Valerie was gone too long for a routine check up. Valerie looks relieved to see her but tells her not to say anything nice to her or she is going to fall apart. It was the highlight of this episode. It had a lot of good callbacks to 4.2 when Patsy and Barbara needed more senior midwives to help them with a stillborn. And the last Christmas Special, when Trixie ran outside to stop from falling apart and Barbara found her. I liked the contrast to that though. Trixie and Barbara are rather close friends at this point. Trixie seems to still be in the older sister phase with Valerie.
Trixie stays with the parents as Valerie goes back to Nonnatus with the stillborn baby in her bag. Good job all around to Jennifer Kirby this episode. She slows down when she sees Nonnatus as if she is too ashamed that she couldn’t save the baby and doesn’t want to face everyone’s disappointment.
And then the baby starts crying. She clenches the bag and sprints inside yelling for help. Sister Julienne and Nurse Crane tend to the baby. Barbara finds Valerie confused and crying on the stairs. Valerie had attempted CPR back at the caravan and Selwyn slipped a hot water bottle in beside the baby. Sister Julienne says those actions must have saved him.
The baby is taken to the hospital and then Valerie and Trixie go to tell his parents the good news. When all three of them are at the hospital, Linda asks Tom to bless the baby so the three of them will officially be bond somehow. The act inspires Tom to take the posting in Birmingham.
Barbara tells everyone before the production that’s going on at the Community Center. They all have a big goodbye scene and they are only leaving for six months. Again, two characters are missing and no one has said anything.
Mabel is reunited with her daughter and her family at the show. Barbara and Tom have to catch the train and leave during the production. Barbara peers back while Tom is leading her out. They kiss under some mistletoe and then walk out of the community center.
So, we are starting season seven with a lot of missing characters. I’m excited for Leonie Elliott’s addition as the new midwife. It seems like Reggie is sticking around and possibly Sgt. Wolff too. Well, let’s see how this goes. See you Sunday.