Call The Midwife: “Season 7 Episode 5”Posted: February 21, 2018
This was not a very plot heavy episode and I feel like it can be best summed up with this photo of Nurse Crane and Val:
That is them saying goodbye to Trixie (Helen George) as she goes to visit her aunt in Italy for a while for rehab/Helen George’s maturity leave. But I feel like this gets to the deeper issue of why this season has felt strange so far. We seem to have lost our close knit, large cast of characters and have been left with an odd splitting of characters into groups. Only two people come outside to say goodbye to Trixie! Everyone lined up for Patsy.
As the with beauty contest in 7.3 and the Poplar picnic this episode, the show is trying to increase the scope by having these community wide events but only Fred and Violet are really included in them. And there needs to be a deeper and character level connection to really have those events make for meaningful story, like the Rose Queen Festival in 4.3. That included the entire community, dealt with our parents-to-be of the week, Trixie’s insecurity about her relationship with Tom, Patsy’s internalized homophobia, and numerous character’s views of sexuality.
This was a fun, but overall pretty forgettable episode.
After Trixie gets a a ride to the airport from Christopher (Jack Hawkins) as a friend, we cut over the docks for an incredibly uncomfortable scene. A group of white sailors are forcing a black sailor, who is covering his face, off the boat with brooms and shouting at him. The sailor, Ade as we later learn, struggles to get anyone to help him but eventually finds the Seamen’s mission.
He hides out there praying under a blanket until a drunken sailor messes with him, sees his marked face, and starts shouting about smallpox. That then leads to everyone freaking out that a sailor brought smallpox over from Sweden. The Nonnatans, the Turners, the board of health, and the police are looking for him.
In our other story line, Eunice Dobson has not been attending her clinic appointments. Her husband, Kenny, is concerned and Lucille (Leonie Elliott) agrees to go visit her at home. Eunice didn’t want to see her or talk about anything and tells Lucille to leave, which she does. The plotting really didn’t work well in this story line About four different times Lucille went to see the Dobson, was sent away, asked someone for advice, returned and had a brief conversation with Eunice. Last week, the story was perfectly relieved slowly. This was just repetitive story telling and there wasn’t even that good of character moments within those repeats.
One time Lucille is hanging out with Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) and Val (Jennifer Kirby) but even with that all we get is a story about Jamaican coffee. And Lucille adorable nightgown.
With the success of the beauty contest, Violet (Annabelle Apison) is charged with taking care of the Poplar picnic. She and Fred (Cliff Parisi) go through planning and collecting donations. Reggie (Daniel Laurie) comes for a visit and gets roped into helping. While running one of the chores for Violet, he sees Ade in an underground tunnel. He is the first person who isn’t afraid of him and offers him the bread he was supposed to bring home.
Ade tells Reggie he is sick so to not come close to him. That doesn’t stop Reggie from bringing him food numerous other times. He eventually tells Fred and Violet that he has been bringing his new friend food but doesn’t tell them his location because Ade told him it was a secret. Violet freaks out like all the other parents of Poplar and runs Reggie to Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) to get checked for smallpox. He doesn’t have any of the symptoms.
Reggie eventually tells Nurse Crane where Ade is. She takes him to Nonnatus, which he sees as an answer to his prayers. He has been praying throughout the episode on a wooden cross. Dr. Turner examines him and sees he has leprosy. With all the religion around, Ade is as concerned about leprosy as he was about smallpox. But, Dr. Turner tells him it is curable nowadays and called Hanson’s disease. Also, there is a hospital in Surrey that can cure him. Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) says he can stay at Nonnatus until a space is available.
He bonds with Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) in the chapel and she is sad when he has to go even through he is going to get treatment. She gives him her book of prayers and he gives her his wooden cross.
Through the repeats with the Dobson, we find out forceps had to be used in Eunice’s last pregnancy and she is terrified of giving birth again. She tried numerous ways to get out of having a baby and now is in a denial about having to go through it again. When her labor starts, Eunice has locked herself in the bathroom saying she is not having her baby. Kenny calls Lucille and she, Dr. Turner, and Shelagh (Laura Main) head over. Lucille is able to get her out of the bathroom.
Shelagh helps with the delivery and allows Lucille to comfort Eunice and talk her through it. Everything goes perfectly and Eunice thanks Lucille. I still feel like Lucille is being a bit underused. This was her first delivery with Shelagh and nothing really happened. Same with Shelagh too, she assisted in a delivery and it didn’t really seem like that big of a deal.
Then we get to the goofy Poplar Picnic, where the dialogue got all awkward. It seems like our characters don’t know each other that well. Like remember the senior’s luncheon at the start of 5.6 that is how these characters should be. Anyway, the main point to this event is that Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) and Tom (Jack Ashton) return and are back for good.
Overall, this was not that great of an episode. Thankfully, Barbara is back. She can hopefully pick up the comedy torch. But there is still so much missing from this season, I don’t even know if superfluous bananas can lift this season above an average score.