Call the Midwife: “Season 7 Episode 1”

I always enjoy the first episodes of the season. It always feels like everything I know and love about this show is back, but with a bit of difference. And since it’s Call the Midwife, we can swing wildly between silly and enjoyable and horrifically sad. We were in a mix of both this week.

We are still during the 1962-1963 winter, which was the coldest in more than 300 years as the radio told us. Everyone is wrapped up in blankets, but no one more than Helen George. I sort of enjoyed how the show used all the cliched ways to cover up her pregnancy. I’m really glad the show didn’t write it in or write her off for a bit but it has been humorously distracting at times.

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Down in the clinical room, Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates) is preparing to take her driver’s test and freaking out about it. Without Barbara here, it seems that all the humor has fallen to Sister Winifred, which is…fine. Nobody is better at comedy than Charlotte Ritchie and nobody is better at being an asshole, judgmental nun than Victoria Yeates. And I like both of those aspects about them.

Elsewhere, a stripper we haven’t met yet, but her name is Nadine, is getting chewed out by her boss for not showing enough skin. Her argument that it is burlesque doesn’t work because her boss knows she’s pregnant. She gets fired and sent away without her last week’s pay.

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Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) is sent to check on a patient, who was recently released from the hospital. Mrs. Gelin keeps telling him that she is fine and not to worry. He husband is seemingly concerned but doesn’t want to speak up against her.

Back at Nonnatus, Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) tells everyone that a new midwife is coming from a class of newly qualified midwives. The new midwife will be sharing Nurse Crane’s (Linda Bassett) room and she looks a little disappointed at how quickly Barbara was replaced. Sister Julienne isn’t sure when she will be arriving because of the weather. Then there is a fun gag about cake because the power keeps randomly going out and the butter cream might not keep outside the icebox.

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A bit during the cake gag and then afterward, Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) seems to not be doing all that well. One of the reasons she states is that their numbers have “severely dwindled” and with Barbara, Tom, Patsy, Delia, and Sister Mary Cynthia all not around, she isn’t wrong.

Trixie (Helen George, and her pregnancy covering coat) spends the afternoon with Christopher (Jack Hawkins) and his daughter, Alexandra. Alexandra is not as interested in nail polish as she usually is and she tells Trixie it is because her mother said only “tarts” wear bright nail polish. Christopher says his ex-wife is difficult and conservative and he should have known better than to send her home wearing it.

He then expresses his disappointment that they didn’t get to go to Switzerland, specifically because he was going to book them a hotel room. One hotel room. Trixie sort of clams up and doesn’t know what to say.

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I like everything about this story line because it directly addresses a seemingly contradictory part of Trixie’s personality. She loves fashion, fanciness, and pop culture. But she’s also a virgin. Because only one of the young nurses has ever been okay with extramarital sex and she had it a lot, sometimes in a convent.

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Aw, I miss you guys so much. Canonically, they are travelling and currently in Botswana. And they sent a postcard specifically to the only person who knows about their relationship.

A little bit later, Trixie admits she is virgin to Valerie (Jennifer Kirby), who looks confused before the power goes out again.

It has been nearly five days since the new midwife was supposed to arrive so Nurse Crane files a missing persons report with Sgt. Wolff. He is standing in Sgt. Knoakes spot and is unhelpful without being compassionate about it.

Thankfully Lucille Andersen does finally show up. It seemed like the show was keeping her appearance a secret, which seems silly in two ways 1) we all know Leonie Elliott was joining the cast as the new West Indies midwife, and 2) none of the Nonnatans are racist about it. Sister Winifred, of course, does bring up if their patients will have an issues. She uses the word “colored” but everyone says they will put any racists in their place.

Anyway to Lucille’s adorable introduction. We see a very cold looking woman struggling toward Nonnatus in the snow. She trips and has a bloody knee. Valerie answers the door and starts asking her about medical attention and needing a midwife until Lucille tells her she is a midwife.

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She and Val seems to instantly hit it off. Lucille’s train got stuck in the snow for five days and she had to leave her luggage on the train and walked there. That experience made her sick though and she collapses in the clinical room before her first shift. She sadly watches her new co-workers head off to work. She gets on Sister Monica Joan’s good side by quoting Keates and having been a librarian back in Jamaica. She also gets on her bad side by asking if she can organize her books using the Dewey Decimal system.

Nadine, the former stripper, arrives in Poplar. She is seen by Trixie at clinic. Trixie is worried about the baby having a blood disorder because of Nadine’s blood group and the father being unknown. Later on, Trixie goes to Nadine’s rented room when her labor starts. Everything is going well but Trixie realizes the baby is breach.

Nurse Crane and Dr. Turner have been tending to the Gelins. Mrs. Gelin has advanced cancer but didn’t want to bother anyone. They are trying to make her and her husband and daughter as comfortable as possible until she passes. Nurse Crane gets into it with a building crew and Sgt. Wolff. The Gelin are refusing to move despite their street being demolished. Sgt. Wolff starts being helpful after Nurse Crane basically calls him a Nazi.

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The three of them assist the family until Mrs. Gelin dies. They then attend the Jewish funeral that is held for her outside their home.

With the small staff and freezing conditions, Lucille is called out to help. Valerie drops her with Trixie to help with the breach. Sometimes I am amazed that in season seven they are still creating new birth problems to freak me out. But, everything goes perfectly. The baby does start having medical issues later and has to be taken to the hospital. Nadine decides she isn’t giving her daughter up for adoption. She takes about the intense love she feels for her. Trixie says some people spend their entire lives waiting for that. Nadine says maybe they are scared.

Trixie tells her AA group that maybe she is practicing self-discipline but maybe she’s putting herself in a cage because she is too afraid to admit she loves someone that much. Again, the kind of love that only one character has experienced.

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Everything warps up nicely. Nurse Crane shares her thank you gift from Mr. Gelin with Sgt. Wolff. Nadine takes over Valerie’s aunt’s dance school, which Valerie was poorly filling in as the teacher for. Sister Winifred passes her driving test. Trixie tells Christopher she would like him to book them a hotel room somewhere. Shelagh (Laura Main) decides they are getting an au pair because she doesn’t want to drive the kids into Poplar every day.

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Overall, good episode and good new character introduction. I’m glad this show is actually back. See you next week.

 



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