Call the Midwife: “Season 7 Episode 4″Posted: February 16, 2018
Once a season Call the Midwife seems to have an episode where every character is used perfectly. I could say this is a Trixie and Sister Monica Joan episode, but Nurse Crane, Sister Julienne, and Fred were so amazingly woven in that seems unfair. This episode covered a lot of dramatic themes and it earned all of it, unlike last week. That might be because Heidi Thomas (and Laura Klee) wrote this episode.
We set up our two main story lines right off the bat. Trixie (Helen George) is not having a good time. I have always criticized the alcoholism story line because they never seem to put enough effort into it, but that seemed to change this week. Trixie was actually displaying alcoholic behavior for the first time.
Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) is reading with a magnifying glass and it takes her a moment to recognize strawberries. The issue with her eyesight was revealed rather slowly and I greatly appreciated that.
Elsewhere in Poplar, Saddiq Gani returns from Pakistan. His wife, Mumtaz, has just got home for the sewing shop they run together. She is confused to see he was brought someone back with her, a pregnant someone. He is clearly nervous and upset as she tells her Parveen is his second wife. Their families decided it without even telling them. Mumtaz runs out angry at the both of them.
Over at the clinic, Lucille (Leonie Elliott) sees Mrs. Campbell. She catches her quickly eating something out of her purse. Lucille makes a joke about it being cake before she realizes it is not cake, but coal. We quickly explain Pica. Lucille says it isn’t that strange or uncommon and then we move along. Nobody seems concerned enough about Mrs. Campbell eating coal. That has to be dangerous. Also, Lucille and Val (Jennifer Kirby) are a bit underused in this episode.
At the Gani’s, Saddiq is trying to apologize to Mumtaz again. In some incredibly well written and delivered dialogue, we realize they couldn’t have children together making Parveen and her pregnancy even worse. Saddiq said he really didn’t want this and it was already arranged when he got home for his father’s funeral, which seemed oddly specific and like a reference to a character who has only appeared in photos so far this season. But more on missing main characters later.
Trixie attends to Mrs. Campbell’s birth. It went so smoothly we didn’t even see it, which is an odd new thing this season. But the Campbells seemed more like set pieces than characters so maybe it was okay. Mr. Campbell offers Trixie a brandy, which she accepts despite being on duty.
Through some simple observation by Fred (Cliff Parisi) and medical advice from Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter), everyone realizes Sister Monica Joan has cataracts. Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) goes to see her but she is not having it. She doesn’t want his advice or his help. She has come to terms with whatever God has planned for her and she tells Sister Julienne she should know to respect that.
Val goes to visit Parveen and we find out she is Mumtaz’s cousin. Ouch. Also, I appreciate Val’s East End confusion about there being two Mrs. Ganis, Lucille’s utterly religious based disapproval, and Nurse Crane’s western feminist disapproval.
Then a few quick plot points happen at once. Nurse Crane visits the Campbells and is told about Trixie accepting the brandy. She returns to Nonnatus and calls her out for relapsing and not attending AA. Shelagh (Laura Main) convinces Sister Monica Joan to see the eye specialist with her. He suggests surgery, but she doesn’t want it and runs out. Sister Julienne visits Mumtaz and tries to convince her to come around to fact that the child she doesn’t want will be part of her life, but Mumtaz is not having it and tells her off.
Trixie goes to an AA meeting but leaves before it begins, goes back to Nonnatus, locks herself in the bathroom, and drinks from the bottle of vodka in her purse. Christopher (Jack Hawkins) comes around Nonnatus later looking for Trixie but only finds Nurse Crane. She tells him that Trixie can’t be with someone who is basically married – why is nobody respecting his divorce? –but she could use a friend. That is a good god damn point because remember oldest-friend Sister Mary Cynthia, let’s-have-fun-and-not-talk-about-our-problems Patsy, and little-sister Barbara are not here!
Christopher ends up creeping in front of Nonnatus waiting for her. They then go have a talk in the garden, where everyone has serious talks. She admits she needs help and he says he wants to help her, as a strictly platonic friend. Later, he drives her to an AA meeting and waits for her outside. She thanks him and tells him she needed his friendship but that they can’t go on seeing each other like this. They say goodbye and Trixie gets out of his sports cars.
Back at Nonnatus, Fred finds Sister Monica Joan in the chapel. He tests her eyesight and it is the first time she doesn’t seem angry about someone trying to help her. I’m so glad Heidi Thomas wrote this episode. Fred’s relationship with Sister Monica Joan is so much different than it is with Sister Julienne, Dr. Turner, or Shelagh. And I don’t even exactly know how. But he convinces her that God created the world, so he created the medical advancements that allows for the surgery she needs. He even uses the example of the first women in space, which she has been particularly interested in this episode.
Sister Monica Joan then excitedly goes into Sister Julienne’s office and tells her she is getting the surgery while comparing herself to the astronaut. Sister Julienne was side-eyeing in confusion so hard that I laughed out loud multiple times. It was the funniest moment of the episode and it was just an eye movement. Jenny Agutter is amazing.
Sister Julienne takes over the Gani birth. Mumtaz is there for Parveen, who is only 15, during it but stops being so supportive when her husband says the baby is “his son” to Mumtaz but “our son” to Parveen. Parveen isn’t interested in feeding the baby later on. Sister Julienne goes to Mumtaz for help and she eventually agrees, knowing they are all going to have to adjust to this situation none of them chose. They are all being nice and familial during the ending voice over.
And now back to Trixie. Trixie at first berated Nurse Crane for butting in on her business but then thanks her and says she needs to take some time to figure everything out. She then goes to Sister Julienne’s office. Sister Julienne grants her six months of leave so she can figure everything out. She then holds her as she cries.
That was beautiful. But six months?! Jesus, characters are dropping like flies this season. Obviously, Helen George needed some maturity leave. I’m glad first-time director Rebecca Johnson went with the who cares approach to covering up her pregnancy because we all know so why hide it.
Overall, this was an amazing episode. I’m not really sure if the Campbells were needed and the Ganis overshadowed them. It looks like Barbara and Tom are back next week, hopefully they can make up for Trixie’s absence.