The entire production of Call The Midwife moved to South Africa for the Christmas Special, we left Trixie there and Barbara and Tom got engaged, but some how far, far more happened in this episode. I think this is the best and most jam-packed season premiere thus far. Almost every character has a story beat worth mentioning and we had a very good mother of week, new/expanded sets, a new character and new opening credits!
After the new in-color credits, we get a feel for what was happening back at Nonnatus while everyone was gone. Sister Monica Joan (Judy Prafitt) turns on the television and then starts dancing (only a bit) to it. But her fun doesn’t last long before a nun we don’t know walks in turns it off and tells her she told her to replace the flowers.
Good job, show. I knew Harriet Walter was joining the cast as Sister Ursula, a new nun who would be taking Sister Julienne’s (Jenny Agutter) position as the head of Nonnatus house. But, damn I did not suspect her to be so terrible so quickly. After taking television time away from Sister Monica Joan, she interrupts Patsy (Emerald Fennell) as she is fixing Delia’s (Kate Lamb) hair and seeing her off to work.
They grumbled at each other about her being in charge while everyone else was in South Africa and say they are glad she will be gone when everyone returns. Shortly after everyone returns, Sister Julienne gets a call from the mother house. She left her office looking so upset I was trying to run through the list of characters and who could have died. But, Sister Julienne loves her job that much and has to tell everyone she had been replaced by Sister Ursula.
Sister Ursula’s long list of offenses include taking away the television, forcing everyone to do handy-crafts together, talking down to Shelagh (Laura Main), making Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryonny Hannah) cry and shipping her off the mother house instead of to Dr. Turner’s (Stephan McGann) suggested treatment, forcing Mrs. B to make a sad lunch, questioning Sister Julienne and overall be absolutely terrible. Or as the cast put it:
There is so much going on in this episode, I am going to divide it by characters. So first off:
Nurse Crane and Trudy
Our mother of the week is Trudy. We met her and her young son, Mickey, at the clinic. Sister Ursula’s new patient number system makes her late for her “obligations” as she tells Barbara (Charlotte Richtie). That turns out to be her picking up her husband from prison. He seems to be part of some group of thugs and gets a car from “the boss.” It hasn’t been mentioned in a while but way before this season started, we were told the Kray twins, gangster who were active in the East End throughout the 1960s, would be included this season. I think this guy was supposed to be in their gang.
We quickly find out that Trudy’s husband is abusive and her mother is fully on his side. He attacks her once in front of Mickey and locks her in their bedroom as he leaves. Trudy goes into labor and is able to make it to Nonnatus with Mickey’s help. Despite, Sister Ursula’s protest, Patsy, Sister Julienne and Sister Mary Cynthia successfully deliver her baby. She opts to go to the maternity home instead of the hospital, but after her husband find her there she flees home. Her husband tries to break in while Sister Mary Cynthia is there but Dr. Turner stops him.
Sgt. Knoakes (Ben Chaplan) and Nurse Crane do their best to help Trudy, but she ends up leaving her kids at the police station and running away, wanting them to end up in foster care rather than with their father. They are able to find her and Nurse Crane convinces her she is their best chance.
She spends some time in a women’s hostel but ends up being granted full custody and re-housed far away from her husband. Overall, it was a hard to watch domestic violence story line. Especially with the references to 5.6. So on to:
Sister Mary Cynthia
Remember how 5.6 was the greatest episode of last season because Bryonny Hannah was given emotional stuff? So did the show. Sister Mary Cynthia has a rough episode. First off, Sister Ursula is the worst when Sister Mary Cynthia goes to her for spiritual advice (she is now in charge of that too) because she is about to take her life vows. Sister Ursula does everything wrong and drives Sister Mary Cynthia to tears.
Sister Julienne tries to explain to her pitiful replacement that Sister Mary Cynthia needs encouragement and compassion, telling her that she wants nothing more than to please others and was attacked last year. Sister Ursula thinks it is good that she barely speaks of it. Sister Julienne begins to question if maybe it isn’t.
Our youngest nun is at Trudy’s when her husband is trying to break in and starts to break down. She barely gets home and gets actual help and comfort from Sister Julienne and Sister Monica Joan.
Sister Julienne asks Shelagh and Dr. Turner to visit her, worried that she might need treatment for “mental instability.” Usually I don’t like when shows do mental illness story lines because they are normally unrealistic and handled poorly especially if you know anything about actual mental illness. But this show and Sister Mary Cynthia does so it is done incredibly well.
Dr. Turner visits Sister Mary Cynthia and tells Sister Ursula he has found her a spot in a “gentle” treatment program near her family. Sister Ursula tells him the order is her family and she sent her to the mother house, without letting anyone say goodbye. Dr. Turner runs into Sister Julienne on his way out and they are both concerned about the decision.
Barbara and Tom
This is going to be quick because 1) I don’t really care and 2) a lot of the comic relief falls on Barbara this week, which I am fine with because Charlotte Richtie is great at it but nothing was that important. After being asked by Patsy and Violet to see the ring, Barbara started thinking maybe she needed more than a piece of grass, regardless of how romantic she found it.
She drinks a cocktail with Patsy and Delia because vicars’ wives drink a lot together, which I only really mention because I like Barbara hanging out with them.
There is some cute nonsense and then Barbara buys an engagement ring herself for the both of them. Tom (Jack Ashton) tells her that isn’t how it is supposed to be. Barbara says she knows but she is making a new way for them. And yay that decision had nothing to do with what Trixie (Helen George) said to Tom in South Africa.
Good call, Turnedette fans. There was been a want/theory/fanfic theme of Shelagh somehow overcoming the infertility she was told she had after getting TB and nearly dying in season two.
She spends most of the episode feeling sick but it is not until she nearly vomits at the smell of milk in front of Sister Julienne that anyone puts it together. Thankfully, the show does point out that and acknowledge the contradiction to it is making, so I don’t mind it.
She also adorably tells Patrick by drawing a picture of a baby with Angela and asks Patrick to be its father, which is a callback to Patrick proposing by giving her a picture he made with Timothy asking her to be his mom.
Patsy and Delia
Patsy and Delia were great in this episode. They didn’t kiss but then again neither did the Turners for some reason. Apparently we are only giving kisses to the couple with no fans. Whatever. Did everyone notice that Delia was literally tying a knot on Patsy’s finger in the handy-crafts scene?
It seemed like an unavoidable spoiler that Patsy was going to get news about her father being sick in Hong Kong.
In perfect internalized-homophobia Patsy way, she reads the letter, tries to act cool around the other nurses, snaps at Delia and then slinks into her room to apologize. Delia mentions that she has lost count of the number of times Patsy has sneaked into her room. We see about half of their conversation through the mirror. Remember all those what the world sees versus what is true mirror metaphors we used to make in season four?
Patsy tells Delia the letter was from her father’s nurse. He has been paralyzed by a degenerative nerve disease and wants Patsy to go to him. But, she isn’t sure if she wants to.
Nonnatus House and Poplar
I am including the setting as its own character because I feel like it is and I wanted to comment on the direction and possibly higher budget this episode had. The show has been renewed through its ninth season, so I’m not surprised if the BBC is giving more money for new locations, like the outdoor scene with Nurse Crane and Trudy:
Or wherever this was supposed to be:
But, I’m glad the show is remaining humble and not above reusing sets:
And I don’t know if this was Folkson’s choice or an excuse to use some CGI but hey this is a new shot:
All that silliness aside, I am really excited for this season. This premiere shock up a lot of things. Sister Ursula is here. Sister Julienne is no longer in charge. Sister Mary Cynthia and Trixie are gone. Patsy is probably going to leaving. The Turners are pregnant. And we haven’t even met that new nurse yet (save for in the promo for next week), but after how awful Sister Ursula is I’m probably not going to be that hard on her.
See you next week.
I had been planning to write a few different things about Call The Midwife during the break but after the fears about Patsy being MIA from the promo pictures, fears that Helen George would be leaving and Miranda Hart not coming back, then coming back, then not coming back again I decided I would just wait and see what the Christmas Special had to offer.
And I am so happy this show is back. Yes, there was a lot of the things I don’t really like (looking at you, Tom) and very little of some of the things I like very much (Delia didn’t even have a line) but overall this was a good episode. Little weird for a Christmas Special but whatever. Let’s get into it.
We open at Nonnatus but only spend a few minutes in Poplar. It was quick and just gave us enough information to push us forward. Trixie (Helen George) has been working at The London and witnessing a lot of c-sections. Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) and Shelagh (Laura Main) are still torn up about the thalidomide stuff from last season. Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) and Tom (Jack Ashton) are still very much in love, but more importantly Delia (Kate Lamb) hasn’t become a midwife yet and Patsy (Emerald Fennell) is working at the Turners’ surgeon. Patsy is left in charge of Nonnatus and most of the cast drives through the archway.
Then we’re South Africa. Being South Africa in 1962, I thought the episode would focus on apartheid more but there was a lot going on in this episode. There were apartheid era elements sprinkled throughout but not as much as I was expecting.
I bring this up because the group, which is Trixie, Barbara, Tom, Fred (Cliff Parisi), Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett), Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates), Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) and the Turners, is first greeted by a road block of cold government officers and then by an excited group of nuns, residents and Dr. Myra Fitzsimmons (Sinead Cusack) at the Hope Clinic.
Everyone gets settled in and adjusts to the minimal equipment, stark conditions and the weather. There are quite a few shenanigans with the nurses and Tom and Fred. So much so that I was hoping to get some part at Nonnatus, but alas we didn’t. Tom’s there to assess the clinic and see if they can keep it running. He and everyone else is slowly realizing access to clean water is an issue.
Our mothers of the week are Rosa and Constance. They both used to work in Capetown, as a secretary and a baker but came home to have children. Rosa also said she now needs a pass to live and work in the city, but she can never get one. Dr. Myra clashes with our characters a few times because of the differing conditions and way they do things. She also seems sick but is refusing to listen to Dr. Turner’s concerns.
Also somewhere in here, Nurse Crane and Fred go driving into the wilderness to help a man who left his wife giving birth under a tree.
Anyway, the nurses and Sister Winifred, who really seemed like she’d rather be with them than the nuns, are hanging out around the fire. Rosa and Constance come and join them as The Turners, Tom and Dr. Myra are discussing the future of the clinic. The government guys come back and break up the party at the fire. Blacks aren’t allowed to gather with whites. Trixie looks like she about to beat up the officers and then tells them to go away. They go to the discussion table and tell them they have to get the truck (it broke down coming back from the tree birth) out of the road. And they have to push it.
But enough of the shenanigans, let’s get serious. Tom and Fred are trying to find a way to re-route the water pipes and having problems with a landowner with a grudge against Hope Clinic who won’t let them put the pipes through his land. Everyone else goes around and holds clinic in different villages. In one, Dr. Turner has to explain to two young boys that the Polio vaccine cannot cure the younger one’s Polio. They are still having a rough time.
In another, Trixie and Barbara are called to Rosa’s house because she’s gone into labor. Only she hasn’t because she isn’t actually pregnant. Trixie slowly realizes it is a phantom pregnancy. She has to explain it to Barbara and realizes Rosa needed to have a child so badly because she thinks it is her only worth that she tricked herself into thinking she would. Barbara offers to tell Rosa as Trixie hangs back.
Then everyone takes a day off and goes to the beach, which was probably just an excuse to put Helen George in a bikini (I’m not complaining) and Barbara in a super awkward bathing suit (also not complaining).
I am going to complain about Tom a bit. He and Trixie sit back and watch Barbara being a dork. Trixie is talking about how impressed she is by Barbara sometimes and how she is not the sheltered little girl that arrived at Nonnatus. They were really playing up the big sister-little sister relationship between Trixie and Barbara this episode. I really like that dynamic between them and for the story they wanted to tell about Trixie it made more sense for Barbara to be there than Patsy. Sorry, Patsy.
Tom says similar things about Barbara. Trixie tells him that if/when he proposes to not give his grandmother’s ring (the ring he also gave Trixie) because Barbara deserves something new and nice and that is only her’s. I bet he would have if Trixie hadn’t told him. Also he proposes to Barbara later in the episode basically fulfilling exactly what Trixie said. Overall there needs to be less Trixie in their relationship.
Barbara says yes obviously. I really hope they get married really quick and we can stop spending so much time on their relationship and focus on a different one.
Anyway, Dr. Myra is getting sicker. She thinks it is liver cancer but Dr. Turner doesn’t. Sister Julienne goes and talks some sense into the landowner and he agrees to allow them to put the pipe through his land after he sees they are rationing water and can’t give babies baths.
The Turners take Dr. Myra to the hospital three hours away. We have been saying multiple times that Dr. Myra was the only doctor for 30 miles. So while she and Dr. Turner are gone Constance goes into labor. Trixie realizes she needs a c-section.
Sister Julienne says they aren’t doctors and they can’t do it without one. Trixie knows they have the supplies and knows she can do it. Sister Julienne agrees and everyone assists Trixie.
Despite some complications, Trixie is able to successfully deliver the baby via c-section. She goes outside still freaking out a bit and Helen is really great in this scene.
Barbara comes out and tells her she’s proud of her. It was really cute. It was really making me think this possible break Helen might be taking from the show would be Trixie going off to medical school to become a doctor, which would have been awesome.
In the end this is still a Christmas Special so Dr. Myra gets treated at the hospital. Constance’s baby is fine, Tom proposes to Barbara, Dr. Turner and Shelagh find the two boys from the clinic and give the younger one Tim’s old leg braces, Hope Clinic gets a clean supply and Rosa gets hired as the clinic’s administrative manager.
In the middle of the ending voice over, Trixie says she is going to stay and run Hope Clinic until Dr. Myra recovers.
Overall, I liked it. There might have been a bit too much going on but with the location change and about double the number of one-off characters, I’m not surprised. I am more excited to get normal, in Poplar with all the characters Call the Midwife back. I am glad this episode had a lot of Trixie since we will be missing her for a while I’m guessing.
I really don’t know how I feel about American Horror Story: Roanoke. For a series that I truly think peaked in its second season, I sometimes wonder why I even come back every season. It is always with differing degrees of excitement. I was pretty excited for season three and it was super fun nonsense. Season four was OK. I gave up after about five episodes of season five. But, I have decided to stick with season six. Though I am not sure if it is out of enjoyment or curiosity.
I didn’t start watching this season right when it started airing, which is something I haven’t done since season one. I had given up after the bit of Hotel I had watched. But, from being told it had a strange new format and that Sarah Paulson was looking incredibly attractive, I decided I would tune in.
And for the most part, I think I like AHS: Roanoke. It might get a bit of slack because it has basically been two shows within one season. The first was the fake documentary series. Now, I love a bad, low-budget true life haunting shows. So, I was a big fan of the first part of this season, because it had a hint of that and everything I like about this show; creepiest, actual scares and, the main draw for this show anymore, its cast. Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Lily Rabe, Francis Conroy, minimalist Lady Gaga, eventually Evan Peters and Cuba Gooding Jr. making the jump over from American Crime Story.
In the earlier episodes, I was getting annoyed that nobody in the show seemed to know about the lost Roanoke colony, even when people were yelling Croatoan at each other. Did none of them take American history ever? But, I guess I shouldn’t be so annoyed given the amount of times characters on Designated Survivor have had to explain what a designated survivor is.
I do have to admit, I didn’t like “Chapter 6”, the first episode after My Roanoke Nightmare ended and Return to Roanoke: Three Nights in Hell began. Of all the possible actors to seeming be the lead of the second half of the season, why make it Cheyenne Jackson? He is all right, but within my view of this show he is just one of the indistinguishable white guys from season five. I know she is probably busy with Scream Queens but how great would it have been if that asshole producer was played by Emma Roberts? Or hell even Taissa Farmiga, just someone I know and like.
There was one thing I really, really liked about the big twist of season six; the show finally put Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters together in a romantic way (and more than just at the very end like in season four). Though Sarah Paulson’s incredibly bad British accent was distracting me, she and Evan Peters were great. But because this show always has some problems, it kills Rory (Evan Peters’ character) way too quickly. It also killed his My Roanoke Nightmare character way too quickly.
The show seemed to course correct a lot of the problems I had with “Chapter 6” in “Chapter 7”. It killed Cheyenne Jackson very quickly and Sarah Paulson toned down the accent and started sounding less like Mary Poppins and more like an actual British woman.
“Chapter 7” did suffer a bit because we already saw so many of the characters before just played by different people, and those people mostly being the actors who have been watching since 2011. It mostly made me wish the show had waited and had Francis Conroy playing the real Mama Polk and Lady Gaga playing the real Witch of the Woods. And I really thought the episode was building up for the real butcher to be someone we knew (Jessica Lange would have been an amazing surprise) but then she ended up being an actress I have never seen before.
Story wise, I have really been liking this season. It has had a few missteps but for the most part it is OK. I think I might start posting about it each week because hey it might not have the best story, Evan Peters and Kathy Bates might be dead but Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Lily Rabe and Cuba Gooding Jr. are still running around. And that really is why I keep coming back.
The American airings of Call The Midwife have now ended. Meaning there is more than six months until there is new Call The Midwife or even episodes I have already seen airing with terrible edits in the U.S. So, I decided to write out my speculations and hopes for season six.
Things 5.8 set up
Thalidomide is not over
The thalidomide story line was great. I like that the show as able to a season long medical arch. Rhoda and Susan Mullock were a great way to simplify and humanize a larger issue. Everything surrounding thalidomide started slowly coming to the surface and I don’t think we are done with the issue. The last time it is mentione Rhoda and Dr. Turner both seemed to take the blame for the issue. I would love to see Rhoda back, but if we don’t Dr. Turner and Shelagh are going to have to deal with this sometime.
Lesbians in Paris
Patsy is taking Delia to Paris for her holiday in the spring. Spring is usually the second, third or fourth episode of the season. And with most of the show travelling to South Africa for the Christmas special, I have a lot of hope for the Paris trip. Take the production to Paris or build a Paris looking set, I don’t care, just please show us it and don’t have Patsy and Delia just be missing for an episode when they are off being “thick as thieves” in Paris.
Delia is the new midwife
Okay maybe this belongs in the speculation section, but Delia said she might be enrolling in a midwifery course. Also, it is more rewarding than male surgical and is what her girlfriend and everyone she lives with does. Throughout season five there were little hints about Nonnatus being understaffed; Nurse Crane apologizes for having to give Trixie so many night shifts in a row, Nurse Crane introduces a new charting system to keep everyone more organized and everyone being out on rounds lead to Delia’s story line in 5.5 and the Barbara and Tom make out session in 5.7.
A lot of that was because of Sister Evangelina not being there and now that she is still no longer there, someone is going to have to fill her spot and the extra position Nonnatus seems to need.
“Let’s see what Father Christmas brings”
That is a strange thing for you to say to Trixie in probably late October or early November, Nurse Crane. It was rather on-the-nose set up, but whatever it excited me. One of the big themes for Trixie in season five, which she states in 5.8, is that she doesn’t know where she belongs anymore. So, I guess she is going to find it during the Christmas special.
Thoughts on things we actually know
Christmas in South Africa
Most of the characters are going to in South Africa to help out at a hospital there for the Christmas special and production actually moved to outside of Cape Town to film it. And by “most of” I mean everyone expect for Sister Monica Joan, Sister Mary Cynthia, the Turner children and Patsy and Delia. I am super excited about this because the South Africa story line seems really interesting. It is also late 1961, so that is right in the middle of apartheid. But, I really hope we still get part of the episode back in Poplar because with that being who is left behind at Nonnatus this Christmas special might be even gayer than the last one, which was pretty god damn gay.
Chummy is back
Miranda Hart is coming back as a full-time cast member for season six. I am not sure how I feel about this. Clearly, I like Miranda Hart and I always liked Chummy, but I don’t know if she needs to come back. This show is different than it was in season three, the last time Chummy was always around, and I don’t know if she fits into the narrative anymore. Also, in Chummy’s absence I have grown really attached to everyone else from Patsy and Trixie all the way down to Violet.
But then again, should I be doubting this show? It hit a lesbian with a car and then completely redeemed itself within two episodes and actually made me like that that happened. So, Chummy’s return will probably be great.
Rumors and speculations
Why does everyone think Trixie is leaving?
I hope this is just some terrible rumor with no truth behind it because why does everyone still think Helen George is leaving? She can’t leave. I love Trixie too much. This was a fear through most of the latter half of season five because of this photo that was posted on Helen’s Instagram and then taken down:
Because that looks like a funeral scene that Helen is not in, which lead to everyone thinking she was going to die in 5.6 or 5.8 But:
I thought we were done with this. But now everyone is thinking Trixie is going to find where she belongs in South Africa and possibly stay in South Africa. I don’t want to say I would hate that because as I said above this show can make me like lesbians being hit by cars, but I don’t want Trixie to leave. Miranda Hart coming back after being MIA for more than a season does give me hope that if Helen George decides to take some time off we will still see her again.
When is someone going to find out about Patsy and Delia?
I recently re-watched 4.3 with my aunt who is getting into the show and was reminded of one of my favorites moments in Patsy and Trixie’s friendship. Patsy is asking Trixie in their room if she is the only one who doesn’t hate the queers. Trixie asks her why she cares so much, Patsy gives a weak response and turns off the light. Trixie peers into the darkness like she might realizing something then takes a drink. That was more than a season ago and still nobody (save for Mrs. Busby) knows about Patsy and Delia.
Trixie isn’t that high on my list of people who have worked it out anymore, because Nurse Crane and Sister Monica Joan clearly know. I loved the subtly and reluctant acceptance of Mrs. Busby. Can we have some other scenes like that in season six? Of course with more acceptance, I don’t think anyone is going to a jerk about it. Well, expect for Sister Winifred.
Out there hopes
This hope might not be that out there. I have seen this a few times of people wanting a non-white new midwife. I don’t think it is going to happen in season six because our new midwife slots seem like they are going to be filled with Chummy and Delia. But, if we get actual new midwives later on it would be cool to see a Sylheti or African midwife.
Father’s Day episode
This has just been a weird hope of mine for a while, but I really want to see an episode where all the nurses and maybe the young nuns’ father come to Poplar for some reason. Multiple of the characters have mentioned their fathers many times while barely ever speaking of their mothers. I want to see the dynamics between the main characters and their fathers. And I really want to see Welsh draper shop owner Mr. Busby, international businessman Mr. Mount and Rev. Gilbert interact with each other. I doubt Mr. Franklin would show, if he is even alive, but that would create a really good story line for Trixie.
I got too excited about Call The Midwife after the 2015 Christmas Special and could not wait until the American airings to write about it. So, I have seen all these episodes already. I have also written full length posts about each. This is my American Recap, which I am using as an excuse to write about the finale twice.
Six Things I Loved (because I needed an extra one this week)
1. Perfectly handled death
How could I not start with this? It is the main reason this episode is so great. It handled a death of an original character absolutely perfectly. It didn’t seem out of place and it wasn’t to forward another story line, it just happened. It was done respectfully and everyone was respectful about it.
2. Judy Parfitt and Jenny Agutter
Clearly this show is filled with powerhouse actresses but only every so often do we get to see them be this emotional. Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) gets a few more chances than the others. But, Jenny Agutter in playing the always calm and even Sister Julienne usually never gets to. That is why hearing the sadness in her voice as she replied to Sister Monica Joan is so upsetting, along with watching she go from laughing to sobbing and seeking comfort from Sister Mary Cynthia, who looks a mere child beside her.
3. The Lesbians are not just lesbians
In most other shows I would be annoyed if a character was commonly called the lesbian or a couple was called the lesbians by the fandom, but I am fine with it in Call The Midwife. And that is because it is basically a play on the fact that Patsy and Delia are so much more than that. Though this episode aired on May 22 on PBS, it first aired on March 6, which was three days after The 100 episode 307 aired and right in the start of the LGBT Fans Deserve Better movement. I just wanted to yell at everyone who was freaking out about that “but are you watching Call The Midwife?”
With all that swirling in the U.S., I was taken out of the episode for a moment when Nurse Crane sends Sister Julienne home from the Turners’ surgery and asks her to send Nurse Mount to assist in the thalidomide research. That makes perfect sense, Patsy is the most organized of the Nonnatans. And that is why I love this show, yeah we might sometimes call them The Lesbians but they are so much more than that and so much more important to this show than checking off a diversity box.
4. Rhoda Mullock
Do they give out BAFTAs for best guest starring roles? Because god damn Liz White is great as Rhoda Mullock. In the first episode I thought she was the greatest type of loving, happy-go-lucky mother to give birth to a thalidomide baby. Then she returns in this episode to be the struggling mother trying to create a normal life for her disabled child. Her line about watching Susan play with her other children and the remembering later that she isn’t like other children was so heartbreaking.
5. The nurses’ moment
This wasn’t even a full scene, it was just a shot in a mourning montage but it was fantastic. Every part of it was great, from Barbara crying because of course she would be the one to be with Nurse Crane taking care of her, while Patsy and Trixie sadly and anxiously pass a cigarette between them and Delia leans away from everyone because she barely knew Sister Evangelina.
6. Trixie and Peter
This was another tiny moment but dear lord was it great. For a moment I couldn’t work out why Trixie and Peter talking about Sister Evangelina was so great and then I realized it is because they are the only two non-nun characters, save for Fred, who have been here since the beginning. This show is usually rather episodic and when it pulls out these awesome serial moments, I am always floored and amazed. Also, both of them admitting that they used to be afraid of her was both a great show of their character growth but also a parallel of the audience’s growth.
My Complaint (if I have to get nitpicky)
I still don’t really like Barbara and Tom. When this story line first started, I compared it to Cynthia becoming a nun in season four. It was a story line I wanted to like but I didn’t for some reason and I couldn’t really work out why. But, Bryony Hannah, a guest appearance by Mrs. S and the moment between Sister Mary Cynthia and Trixie in 4.8 made me like it.
I know one reason I don’t like Barbara and Tom. Of all the woman in Poplar you had to pick your ex-fiance’s friend that she lives with, Tom? Trixie literally has one friend who would be interested in dating you and that is the woman you pick? Despite that (and their incredible sweetness), they make much more sense as a couple than Trixie and Tom ever did. Maybe the show will do something with them next season to make me like them more.
Ah God, Patsy/Damnit, Delia (the gayest moment)
Ah God, Patsy has got to be how perfectly she was having a I dislike my mother-in-law situation throughout this episode. And the nervous face when she tells Mrs. Bubsy she is taking Delia to Paris.
Delia, is this your I’m confident about my sexuality shirt?
There really isn’t one this episode. Some parts of it were fun, like Sister Monica Joan blaming the mice for the missing cake she is still holding the plate from or Patsy and Mrs. Bubsy sassing each other, but nothing was really funny this week.
Missing Moments from the American Broadcast
I don’t know. Great way to end my American Recaps, right? My little sister graduated from high school during the airing and I couldn’t track down a DVR I could use. If anyone watched it live and knows, please put it in the comments or hit me up at reviewsbymarika.tumblr.com and I will be incredibly grateful.
I will probably be doing a speculation, rumors roundup post about season six sometime soon because I don’t want to go seven months without Call The Midwife.
I got too excited about Call The Midwife after the 2015 Christmas Special and could not wait until the American airings to write about it. So, I have seen all these episodes already. I have also written full length posts about each. This is my American Recap, which I am using as an excuse to write about the sex(y) episode twice.
Five Things I Loved
1. The moral issue of sex
I really enjoyed how much this episode talked about sex. This whole series is really kind of about sex but just focusing on the baby part. The show has dealt with unwed mothers, prostitutes, cheating wives and accidentally pregnancies but this is the first time we have really talked about how we got there. And watching everyone argue about it was pretty great.
2. Birth control being perfectly woven in
I really liked how Leslie and Gina were used in this episode. It could have been rather on the nose with it but it waited a bit and left us wondering what was going on with them. It made the reveal that they could have really used some birth control much better. It also created a good conversation about birth control between Barbara and Nurse Crane.
3. Couples contrast
Parts of it were bad and I will get to those, but parts of the contrast between the two main couples at the moment were really good. The maturity level between Patsy and Delia and Barbara and Tom was played perfectly. In the first scene, Patsy and Delia have slept together (again) and Barbara and Tom are waving at each other from a window. The Bible Babies (do they have a real couple name?) are against pre-martial sex while the lesbians understand that it happens sometimes.
Also, Mr. and Mrs. Church can dance together at Nonnatus, while Pupcakes has to go to a secret club to do so.
4. Former Sister Bernadette
I love when the show decides to be like, ‘hey remember when this awesome nurse/modern wife/mother of two used to be a nun? That’s weird, right?’ Usually when we are reminded of Shelagh’s former nun-ness it is played for a laugh, but I kind of liked that Sister Julienne was kind of scolding about it this episode.
5. Strategic editing for the lesbians
I know I already brought this up in my 5.5 American recap, but I never expected PBS to cut out so many of Delia’s scenes. But this episode is the first that is incredibly strategically edited to ensure Patsy and Delia’s inclusion. They have three scenes together. The first is during the opening voiceover and the third is during the closing voiceover. Both of those can’t be cut. And without their second scene we have no idea what is going on in their third scene, which has no dialogue.
I don’t know if this episode was written or edited with how the stupid Americans at PBS would edit it down in mind, but regardless thank you.
Patsy and Delia didn’t kiss this episode.
As I have said before, I don’t want to make the LGBT representation in this show a Patsy and Delia vs. Barbara and Tom thing. But, I feel like this episode made it a Patsy and Delia vs. Barbara and Tom thing. During some parts they are so perfectly contrasted: the opening scene, what Tom says versus what Delia says during the birth control discussion.
All my problems with this episode would be resolved if either Patsy and Delia kissed on the dance floor at Gateways or Barbara and Tom didn’t kiss at Nonnatus. For the contrast to work they both needed to kiss or neither of them needed to kiss. If both the dance scenes happened at Nonnatus it would have made sense for only Barbara and Tom to kiss. But Patsy and Delia sought out a secret club instead of being at home. Was that not a contrast about where these couples could safely kiss?
And that isn’t even including Barbara and Tom’s kiss in their last scene, because I completely forgot about it. It didn’t need to be there and after the lesbians don’t kiss it seemed like they were rubbing it in our face that the longest standing couple on this show has never kissed.
Maybe I am being so particular about this because I thought the contrast between Patsy and Delia and Fred and Violet in season four was done so well, especially in 4.8. But that contrast was all about simplicity versus difficulty.
Patsy and Delia seemed to have moved past that difficulty a bit now though. They are being so god damn bold. So why can’t they make out in a common area and then freak out when someone gets home, too?
Ah God, Patsy/Damnit, Delia (the gayest moment)
I usually do these moments as a joke because they are so cute, but I’m going to have to get serious this week. This is the gayest episode of the season (especially in the PBS edits after what happened to 5.3).
For Ah God, Patsy it has to be her internalized homophobia this episode. She tells Delia she doesn’t want to be with women like them just her. And then in her next scene she is ensuring kids can fit into regular society with Sister Winifred, her most judgmental, homophobic friend.
For Damnit, Delia, it is the look on her face when she is standing at the top of the steps in Gateways. She looks at the girl walking past her realizing she is probably like her and the girl probably realizes the same about her and that is probably true for everyone there and she doesn’t have to worry or be afraid and everything is going to be fine.
Holy shit, I don’t know how Emerald Fennell and Kate Lamb can be this great at this. Also, I’m sorry that these stupid PBS edits are going to continue hindering you guys getting the recognition you deserve in the US.
Barbara fumbling around trying to cover up knowing what the stain on the wall was was pretty great.
Missing Moments from the American Broadcast
The cuts were not too bad this week. Sister Julienne getting a call to go the Turners’ surgery was cut. She also had a line about Tom coming to the birth control discussion for the moral angle. The scene with Sister Monica Joan and the apples on the porch was shortened.
And then the music in the Gateways scene was different. I have no idea what the reason behind that was.
I got too excited about Call The Midwife after the 2015 Christmas Special and could not wait until the American airings to write about it. So, I have seen all these episodes already. I have also written full length posts about each. This is my American Recap, which I am using as an excuse to write about the best episode of the season twice.
Nine Things I Loved (because five isn’t enough this week)
1. Bryony Hannah
I was tempted to make her 1 through 5, but I’m just going to cover every aspect of her performance because holy shit she was fantastic. From the nervous, youngest nun that she is early in the episode to the incredibly skilled midwife she is during the middle part to the amazing levels of emotion, guilt and strength in the ending part, it was all so great.
2. Angry Sister Mary Cynthia
As I said in my full post, I didn’t realize until this episode that in five seasons we had never seen Sister Mary Cynthia/Cynthia angry. It is the only the second time this show has had a character yell at another and I have genuinely thought it was too private and I shouldn’t be seeing it.
3. Broken Sister Mary Cynthia
This scene gets me every time. I love that it is Sister Monica Joan that Sister Mary Cynthia losses it in front of, because whenever one of the nuns is desperate for comfort or advice Sister Monica Joan is there. Also, I love that Judith’s dialogue in the next scene overlaps and the first part of sometimes babies cry line plays over Sister Monica Joan holding Sister Mary Cynthia.
4. Sister Mary Cynthia and Nurse Franklin
Though I love Trixie and Patsy, Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia is my favorite friendship on this show. It has been around since the beginning and it is so complicated and different than it used to be. I am a horrible sucker for Sister Mary Cynthia and Trixie being awesome professional ass midwives together.
5. Sister Mary Cynthia and Trixie
These two working together is so fantastic I’m not sure I can put into words how great emotional moments between the two of them are. The anger in Sister Mary Cynthia’s voice and the sadness in Trixie’s during this scene at the table is one of the reasons this is the best episode of the season. And that on top of Trixie holding back while Sister Julienne and Barbara don’t understand why they should be makes me want to cry again.
6. This moment in the hallway
This moment felt like such a throwback, I was actually confused for a moment when Patsy calls Sister Mary Cynthia “Sister.” It felt like such a season three moment and might be the one of the first times we have gotten the three season three nurses together in a very long time. See 5 and 6 for my feelings on Trixie nearly crying as she pleads with Sister Mary Cynthia to just not lock the bathroom door.
7. The cinematography in these shots
This was beautiful
This was horrible
This was more horrible
8. This guy wasn’t a big deal
I like that almost no time was dedicated to the attacker. All we know is that he was Soviet and did some jail time. It was a great way for the show to make a story like this about the women and show that it doesn’t have to be some monster of a man.
9. Sgt. Noakes’ dedication to the law
Though it makes him seem cold sometimes, I do really like Sgt. Noakes dedication to the law. It has never waived and is a good consistent character trait for him.
My Complaint (if I have to get nitpicky)
I only have one complaint about this episode. I wish it was Trixie, instead of Barbara, in Sister Mary Cynthia’s examine scene. Everything Sister Mary Cynthia says in that scene is so religious, which doesn’t raise any conflict or issue with vicar’s daughter, super religious Barbara. But it would raise an issue with non-religious Trixie and it would reference the wedge that was driven between the two of them during season four because of Cynthia becoming a nun. Of course Trixie wouldn’t say anything about it but she would make a subtle facial expression and we would know.
Ah God, Patsy/Damnit, Delia (The gayest moment)
They are domestic as hell and wear coordinated colors. So really anytime they are are on screen this episode. And of course that late night “card game” that messed up Patsy’s always perfect hair.
Any time the Turners are on screen is pretty hilarious, but Patsy, Trixie, Barbara and Sister Winifred trying not to laugh at them is pretty great.
Missing Moments from the American Broadcast
It was going to be Ten Things I Loved but PBS cut the scene with all the young nurses in the kitchen, so I had to removed Patsy and Delia being domestic from the list because they are much less domestic in the PBS edit.
So in that cut scene, Barbara comes home from helping Lizzie and talks with Patsy and Delia in the kitchen. They had stayed up and made drinks because Delia needed help sewing her dress. Patsy tells her she should still go to the police. Delia gives her some words of encouragement when she feels she didn’t do enough to help. Trixie comes home from “art history.” Delia says she must get emotional about it because it looks like she has been crying. Trixie makes up a lie to cover up her AA meetings.
This scene is a lot like the cut porch steps scene from 5.4. There is a lot of Patsy and Delia but it is also a great display of the dynamic between the young nurses. Also, I love when the either Patsy, Trixie or Delia give big sister advice to Barbara.
That was the only cut that I felt hurt the episode. The others were fine. During the senior luncheon, Patsy helps Tim and Shelagh get the cub gear for the camping trip. There is also a cut scene of the Turners packing up that gear. Also, Sister Monica Joan was fasting because she said she has little joys and needs to give up something to the lord so cake clearly.