How am I supposed to write about this episode without just screaming and posting photos of how great it was? This thing could all be:
Oh no, don’t you let your voice break while talking about how beautiful this moment is, Jenny Agutter. I can’t handle that right now.
No, Kate Lamb. You put that sad face away!
Reggie, you can’t just come for a visit and call Violet ‘mum’ while giving her flowers.
Okay now that I got that out of my system, let’s get on to this review shall we.
One of the first shots was Delia (Kate Lamb) sadly looking through the mail while Emerald Fennell’s credit appeared in its regular spot, which felt like the show saying, ‘don’t worry everything will turn out fine.”
Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) tells her not to worry. Much like last episode, Delia is still having trouble believing her. We then get a group lunch scene of everyone talking about how the clinic is getting a family contraceptive clinic too. The women going to that will have to go in through the side door. Valerie (Jennifer Kirby), Trixie (Helen George) and surprising Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates) point out that is the entrance the unwed mothers use and that doesn’t seem fair. Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) tells them that is just how it is going to be.
Throughout that scene Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) is getting more and more emotional at reading her letter. Once Sister Winifred finally asks what is going on, she tells everyone her father is about to be sent on a mission trip to New Guinea. Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) launches into how that country can be dangerous for missionaries. But Barbara isn’t worried about. The posting is for three years so he wouldn’t be able to attend the wedding. She always wanted her father to officiate her wedding.
This might have been the best season finale in terms of comedy. My favorite part was when Shelagh (Laura Main) nearly started crying to Trixie about how unfair it was that women have to use the side door for the contraceptive clinic and how that will mess up the schedule in the regular clinic. Nurse Crane takes Shelagh to the kitchen and calms her down. Nurse Crane is concerned that Shelagh has been skipping her clinical appointments and hasn’t attended any mother craft classes. Shelagh said she has just been too busy. Multiple previews of this episode said there was going to be a death and I really thought it was going to be Shelagh or her unborn child.
We then meet not wanting to be a mother of the week Wilma Goddens, who goes to the contraceptive clinic to get the pill. We saw her earlier getting new buttons for her work clothes from Violet (Annabelle Apsion) and talking about how excited she was to get back to work. She is relieved that she doesn’t have to get permission from her husband because he is an “man’s man.”
Back at Nonnatus, Barbara and Tom announced that they are going to get married in three weeks, while Barbara’s father is passing through London on his way to New Guinea. Everyone is excited and looking through bridal magazines with her. She doesn’t like the modern style but Trixie says if she wants an inexpensive one on short notice she is going to half to settle. Another great moment of someone getting emotional in the midst of a large scene, Delia is trying to be excited but sadly puts down her magazine because Patsy isn’t there and as she had said before she wants nothing more than to marry her.
The next morning Shelagh comes by to drop off the insulin for her last duty before her maternity leave. She then asks Sister Julienne to be her midwife, because of course she would. But it seemed like Nurse Crane thought they had bonded enough the previous day. Thankfully Barbara notices her disappointment.
The other great comedy bit of this episode is that Violet is going through menopause. Thankfully, Wilma works for a cosmetics company that sells things that can help her. Violet agrees, commenting that she is an excellent saleswoman. Violet has a bit of a break down to Fred (Cliff Parisi) saying she feels useless since she is no longer a mum to her sons or Reggie (Daniel Laurie). Fred comforts her as he fans her with a pamphlet.
Barbara tells Tom about a wonderful day at the fair with her father, when she was able to go on one ride and chose the carousal. She also nonsense tells him she has an appointment at the family contraceptive clinic. Because it is Barbara, Sister Julienne is working the check in table and then Barbara has a few hilarious scenes with a diaphragm.
Over at the Turners’, Shelagh tells Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) that she wants to have a home birth and wants him to stop acting like such a doctor and start acting more like any other husband, but she is also failing to act like a regular mother and is being more of a midwife.
Valerie walks in on Barbara’s disastrous attempt to make her own dress. The rest of Nonnatus takes up a collection to give Barbara the money to buy a proper dress. She picks Nurse Crane to be her bridesmaid, which was the American equivalent of maid of honor. They go to get her a dress and Nurse Crane adorably guards the curtain to stop the attendant from walking in on Barbara.
Then three dramatic things happen at once. Delia is at Gateways, the real-life lesbian club from 5.7, talking to someone, who we don’t see for a bit too long, about how she used to have somebody who cared about her but she isn’t around anymore. It wasn’t that much more than promo and then it zooms out and we see that she speaking with some random girl, who is dressed in menswear, who says she’s going to call her a cab.
Wilma has been having weird pains and collapses while getting her kids ready for school. Dr. Turner runs over and sends her to St. Cuthbert’s, where Trixie has been helping out on women’s surgery. Wlima is having blood clots. Trixie goes to speak with her husband and asks him to have their children brought there and if there is anyone else they should call. He tells her she was brought up in the church.
Shelagh also goes into labor and calls Nonnauts. I am sort of sad we didn’t get a scene of someone answering the phone saying, ‘Nonnatus House, midwife speaking’ and Shelagh smiling on the other end. But, Sister Julienne arrives and starts helping Shelagh, who knows she shouldn’t have eaten an entire packet of pink wafers and knows what the gas and air case sounds like.
Tom comes to the hospital to deliver last rights to Wilma. Trixie decides to touch up her makeup, while nearly crying, because she knows how important it was to Wilma and that her children probably never saw her without it. Most of the time I hate Tom and I hate how much Trixie there is in Tom and Barbara’s relationship but I like Tom and Trixie being professional colleagues.
Shelagh’s labor is taking a while and being incredibly painful, which she knew it was going to be. Sister Julienne tells her she could start singing like the relaxation pamphlet Barbara gave her said. In a perfect being like all the other moms detail, Shelagh didn’t read it. She can’t decided between a song that was the old religious Shelagh or her new having a baby self. Sister Julienne says they are the same person. She then starts singing a song about secret love. Dr. Turner is standing outside the door and picks it up when Shelagh drops off. He then comes into the room.
Oh damn, that was beautiful. And I wish we would have cut to Delia for like a second. Dr. Turner and Sister Julienne help Shelagh deliver a perfectly healthy baby boy and nobody died, which I was so worried about. The death ended up being Wilma, who succumb to the blood clots from her birth control.
Trixie heads home with Tom and said she thought the pill was a miracle drug, but she should have known better than to believe in miracles. Tom says he will go check in on the family in the morning. Trixie asks if he is certain, tomorrow is the day before his wedding. He then says it is strange that at one point it could have been them. I nearly groaned but Trixie points out the reasons I actually like Barbara and Tom sometimes. They make way more sense than Tom and Trixie ever did and Tom and Trixie would have never worked out.
Tom says he has high hopes for her and Christopher. Trixie says it is complicated because he has a child. Tom says she has always been good with kids. Dear lord, this episode made me like Tom and Trixie. Also, Christopher’s child is a six-year-old girl. Trixie, why are you even worried?
Of course, the tea and ice cream with Alexandra, Christopher’s daughter, goes perfectly. She likes Trixie’s nail polish and Trixie says they should go look at some other colors after their ice cream.
Back at Nonnatus, Rev. Arthur Gilbert arrives. He seems to fit with the stories Barbara has told about him. She asked him for advice about how happy he and Barbara’s mother were. He is reluctant to give it. It seemed like Barbara’s mother died when she was rather young and I sort of wish we went into that a bit more.
Another good comedy bit was Fred and the parish men’s group talking Tom out for his bachelor party since his best man wasn’t arriving until the morning of the wedding. This whole gag might have been because it is the eighth episode of the season and we need to put Tom into an undershirt for no reason. So there you go ladies, who aren’t here for Patsy and Delia:
As I mentioned earlier, Reggie appears in Violet’s shop with flowers right when she most needs to see him. He attended the wedding with them and everyone else. The wedding was beautiful and I’m a bit glad we didn’t spend too much time going through everyone part of it. Tom and Barbara leave in Nurse Crane’s decorated car. He stops it outside the archway in front of Nonnatus. He tells Barbara to close her eyes and walks her toward Nonnatus. Outside is a carousel, which I guess he rented with his gambling winnings from his bachelor party.
The carousel scene was amazing. Mature Jenny (voiced by Vanessa Redgrave) was giving a great voice over wrapping us up and taking about the changes and how sometimes there is room for tears in the midst of the happiness. Reggie is riding around waving at Fred and Violet. Trixie and Alexandra are riding together and waving at Christopher. Tim and Angela are riding together and waving at their parents and newborn brother. Barbara and Tom are riding on the same horse and kiss.
We then see Delia sadly walking beside the carousel. She peers toward the archway and sees Patsy (Emerald Fennell) standing in the same spot she was during the “where on earth have you been?” scene from the 2015 Christmas Special. Delia walks over, grabs her hand and pulls her further away. Delia said she didn’t know if she was going to come back. Patsy tells her she got on the boat the day after the funeral and was always intending on coming back. Patsy also says she is never going anywhere without her again, then pulls her toward her and kisses her!
They finally kissed!
And it was much longer than I thought it was going to be!
Then Patsy, with her button down and trousers, adorably shoved her hands into her pockets as she followed Delia back to Nonnatus.
I am so glad none of the main cast died. I actually liked Tom in this episode. I’m liking Trixie and Christopher and the possibility of Trixie becoming a stepmom. The Turners were adorable. Patsy is back! Patsy and Delia kissed. That is a thing this show can do now!
I’ll probably do a few post between now and the 288 days until Christmas, but this is enough to hold me over for a while. I will also be continuing my American Recaps of the episode when they air on PBS, starting on April 2.
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 of them. This is my American Recap, which I am using as an excuse to write about the Trixie-Tom-Barbara love triangle episode twice.
Missing Moments from the American Broadcast
As with 5.3 last week, I am going to have to start this with the missing moments. Because what the hell, PBS? You cut all the Patsy and Delia’s scenes?!
Well, time marker 6:50 to 9:15 in this Patsy and Delia complication video for the missing scenes from this week’s episode. Patsy and Delia are only in two scenes in the full length version of this episode and both were cut. And I love the porch steps scene.
The porch steps scene starts with Patsy and Delia sitting on the steps on Nonnatus looking at movie times in the newspaper. Delia is excited about the new Anita Ekberg movie that is coming out, because she finds her attractive and so does Patsy. Delia knows Patsy isn’t working next Friday and asks her to a date.
Trixie then walks out wearing shorts, which was a perfect 1960s touch. She is also excited about the film. Patsy politely invites her, but looks guilty about it after Delia scolds her for inviting a third wheel to their date. Barbara then comes out. Delia invites her too but she fumbled to think of an excuse since everyone knows she has a date with Tom. Trixie is rather mean about it and then storms off, leaving Barbara looking guilty beside an uncomfortable Patsy and Delia.
Everything about that scene was great: the dynamic between all four of the young nurses, Patsy and Delia being a secret couple, Patsy managing spending time with her friends and her girlfriend and the start of Trixie and Barbara’s weird dynamic of dating the same man. Also, the dialogue, the costumes, the facial expressions. This is one of my favorite scenes of the whole season and I am pissed it was cut.
Though I am mad the second scene was cut, I knew it was going to be. It was cute and in a very broad sense is important to Patsy and Delia’s arch this season. It had no baring on the plot this week. Patsy gets home late from a delivery and Delia has waited up for her, so they can be alone and flirty. She also makes her a drink and jokes about how perfect her hair always is. Patsy also makes a lighthearted comment about how no one has ever waited up for her, which is really sad knowing Patsy’s background. But most people probably forgot about it since they cut all the references to it last week.
Two additional things about these cut scenes. 1) Delia has had three scenes in the PBS edited version of season five so far. So, the focus on her next week is going to seem really out of place.
2) Why with the homophobia, PBS? This is two weeks in a row now that all but one of the five scenes featuring the lesbian couple were cut from the episodes. This is really making me start to think this is a homophobia thing and not just a really terrible editing choice.
I have been wanting to comment on the behind the scenes segments for a while and this is the perfect opportunity. PBS has been playing about a minute and a half of behind the scenes segments during each episode. I like them, but I would rather have that minute and a half of the episode. But, this week after cutting all the gay stuff from the episode PBS fucking played this segment:
What?! Who is making these decisions for PBS? Also Emerald Fennell and Kate Lamb got more scene time during the behind the scenes than they did during this episode.
Five Things I Loved
1. Surprise thalidomide
That might be a crass way to word this but first time seeing this I was not expecting a continuation of the thalidomide story line in this episode. Everything with St. Cuthbert’s seemed to be playing up the modernization theme and I was just as shocked and devastated as Sister Julienne was. Call The Midwife has never done this much of a season-long medical issue and it plays well with the fact that we are not expecting it.
2. Jenny Agutter
I get excited any time Sister Julienne gets to help with a delivery or assist with a case. I could watch Jenny Agutter sitting behind a desk and say administrative things for hours, but getting to see her get more involved is always fantastic. So she was fantastic in this episode. Also she had me nearly in tears about three different times.
3. This love triangle is not about one person
Love triangles are a common troupe, but the Trixie-Tom-Barbara one put a different spin on it. It is not about one person and the two people they are in love with or who are in love with them. It is not even about one relationship. The relationship between Barbara and Tom is just as important as the relationship between Trixie and Tom, as is the relationship between Trixie and Barbara. I like that when the show finally decided to tackle its love triangle it was mostly about Trixie and Tom getting over each other than it was about Tom and Barbara’s feelings for each other. It could have turned rather catty between Trixie and Barbara but it was sweet and a little sad and I really liked it.
Everything about Trixie in this episode was great. We got emotional Trixie, silly friend Trixie, awesome at her job Nurse Franklin, maturity gained through her damage Trixie and slightly heartbroken but moving on Trixie. Also, I don’t know if it is the haircut or the 1960s fashion, but damn Helen George looks gorgeous this season.
5. This framing shot
The ceremony for Sister Hildagard was one of the most overtly religious things this show has even done. And the show, despite half its characters being nuns, is usually rather secular. So, while Sister Mary Cynthia is talking about love encompassing everything, Sister Julienne is flaked by Delia and Patsy, who didn’t need to be in focus at all but they are.
There has not been a lot of Delia. With the scenes cut in this episode, Delia has had three scenes so far this season. I have a lot of issues with 5.5, which I will get into next week, but the sudden strong focus on Delia seemed a bit out of place the first time I saw it. And I had seen the full versions of these episodes. Also without the porch steps scene, we haven’t gotten anything about Delia being a bit of a film/television buff, which comes up later. Overall, Delia hasn’t had that many scenes because during season four and the early part of season five she is just Patsy’s girlfriend and doesn’t get much of her own character moments until this episode.
Ah God, Patsy/Damnit Delia
It was cut! Again!
My first choice was cut. But Barbara and her fuzzy felt apostles were pretty funny.
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 a full length post about each of them. This is my American Recap post, which I’m using as an excuse to write about the leukemia/romantic subplot episode twice.
Five Things I Loved
1. Strong-willed Sister Mary Cynthia
I always enjoy when Sister Mary Cynthia stands up for people, which she did with Connie in this episode. She perfectly handles the mess Sister Evangelina made and then stands up to her to defend Connie and herself well making Sister Evangelina see the error of her ways. And she did all of that without ever getting mad, which is important to her story line later in the season.
2. Perfect ensemble
The structure of this episode, which was written by Harriet Warren, was great. Though for most of the episode there were three separate story lines, they all weaved together nicely as the episode progressed. Everyone was used the perfect amount and the perfect way for this episode.
3. Judy Parfitt’s silent acting
Sister Monica Joan walks into Sister Evangelina’s room and starts unpacking her suitcase. It is so simple and silent but Judy Parfitt makes it one of the most emotional scenes in the episode and it was only two lines of dialogue.
4. Trixie and Patsy
Trixie and Patsy do not have story lines in this episode but everything they do is so great, which calls back to the ensemble thing. They act as big sisters to Barbara in their first scene. They act as the cool, younger friends to Nurse Crane and then they are weaved into the two main plots. Also their silent glances and looks at each other during this episode nearly kill me. It also tells us that Patsy hasn’t told Trixie about Delia and Trixie hasn’t told Patsy about AA, but they both seem like they might know.
5. Patsy sums up most of what’s going on in a few lines of dialogue
“I shan’t ask you a thing about it but we don’t need to pretend nothing happened. People do that much too often and it is utterly exhausting.”
My Complaint (if I have to get nitpicky)
There was a severe lack of Turners in this episode. But, I could say that for most episodes. Truly, I didn’t have many problems with this episode. I thought it was pretty great.
Ah God, Patsy
It was hard to pick Patsy’s gayest moment this week because all she does is wear checkered shirts and say spectacularly gay things. But I have to go with her smoking a cigarette, wearing a checkered shirt and nervously looking at her friends at they talk about not having boyfriends.
Nurse Crane had most of the funny moments this episode. My favorite was her panicking to tell the Spanish teacher to call her Miss Crane instead of Phyllis.
Missing Moments from the American Broadcast
The missing moments didn’t have as much baring on the plot as they did last week. The first was a scene of Barbara, Trixie and Patsy having lunch near the docks. Trixie wishes they were somewhere most glamorous and then Patsy notices Barbara looks distracted. Barbara says she isn’t as good at helping patients as they are. They tell her she just needs some more battle scars. She says she has them, but just doesn’t like to show them.
I get why the scene was cut, the scene with the three of them in Trixie and Patsy’s bedroom pretty much says the same thing. But, the docks scene starts off Barbara’s story line nicely and gives a more concrete reason for Trixie and Patsy’s big sister like behavior toward Barbara.
That was the only full scene that was cut. Trixie and Barbara helping Stella go into labor was shortened, as was Dr. Turner sitting with Johnny in The London.
Most of the time I start writing my post right after watching the episode. But I wasn’t able to do that this week. If I had it would have gone like this:
Ah Patsy and Delia slept together again! Delia is advocating for pre-martial sex! The Gateway Club was mentioned! Are we actually getting that scene?!
They didn’t kiss?
If all that Tom and Barbara making out wasn’t to contrast them with Patsy and Delia who had to go to a special club to do so why was there so much of it?
So, we get to see this girl:
Making out with her boyfriend. But we don’t get to see this girl:
Even kiss her girlfriend even when she has finally found a place where she can? Oh no! Is the BBC homophobic? Was I being too optimistic?
But, I’ve worked out my frustration at the gym and I have thought about this episode for a few hours and I am now ready to actually talk about. So, let’s get into it, shall we?
We open on this:
As Mature Jenny (voiced by Vanessa Redgrave) is talking about the changing times and finding a sense of place, we watch Patsy (Emerald Fennell) wake up beside Delia (Kate Lamb) and then sneak down the hall and back into her room. She and Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) nearly miss each other as Barbara goes out to the window to watch Tom (Jack Ashton) leave for the morning.
Now that was a fantastic contrast between these two couples. Patsy and Delia, who have been together for probably a few years, are sleeping together and Barbara and Tom, who have been together for a few months, are waving at each other from windows.
Our baby of the week couples are introduced right off the bat. Daisy, who has a barge with a husband and children, collapses while trying to do her morning work. Barbara visits Gina, who is getting restless and painting her flat as her disinterested husband Leslie reads the paper.
Back at Nonnatus, Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) is commending Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryony Hannah) for her strength since her attack. She seems uncomfortable since she hasn’t done anything but continued on. They have a brief conversation about how Sister Evangelina’s (Pam Ferris) six months at the silent order is up but they haven’t heard anything from her. Sister Julienne then goes to a meeting with the Turners about a contraceptive pill about to become readily available.
Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) is super excited. He comments on how much easier it will be to get because it will not require a referral to a family planning clinic, something only married women can get. Sister Julienne is concerned about it promoting pre-marital sex. Dr. Turner says 1 in 10 children in Poplar are born out of wedlock and Shelagh adds that it will help decrease that and the stigma for those children and their mothers. Sister Julienne gets a little mad at former Sister Bernadette saying she thought she would be more moral and her biscuits are too fancy.
Nonnatus got word of the pregnant barge lady collapsing and Patsy and Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates) are sent down. Daisy and her family aren’t as mean as some of the other fringe of society families they have tried to help. Daisy takes information about Nonnatus and the clinic from them. She ends up attending and is surprised by what she able to get a clinic. Dr. Turner thinks her having bed rest in the maternity home would be best. After some convincing from Patsy, Shelagh and Sister Winifred she agrees to stay and enroll her four other children in the school.
While they and everyone else is out, Barbara invites over Tom, who has a bunch of hair grease in because he was just at a funeral. They put on one of Trixie’s (Helen George) records and slow dance in the living room. Then they start kissing. Then they start making out, like a lot. His hair grease levels a spot on the wallpaper. They try to wipe it off but can’t and then Sister Julienne gets home and assumes Tom has come to join them for compline.
It was cute and funny. And it being these innocent little dorks I was a bit shocked. The stain is spotted during dinner and Barbara fumbles through pretending she doesn’t know anything. Sister Julienne says they are having a seminar with the Turners and Rev. Herawood to discuss birth control and its moral consequences.
The seminar is on a Tuesday, so Trixie doesn’t attend so she can go to AA. She gives another heartfelt monologue about how much she misses drinking sometimes and how she didn’t know who her real friends were when she wasn’t sober. It made me a little concerned because with Patsy spending more time with Delia, Barbara being with Tom and Sister Mary Cynthia still being a nun her friends aren’t spending that much time with her. Can Trixie meet a hot guy in her AA class or a footballer she can bond over fitness with?
The seminar goes rather awkwardly. Dr. Turner and Shelagh explain how the pill was introduced in the U.S. a few years ago for menstrual problems and will soon be readily available. Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) says it will be helpful because it will be the woman’s choice, instead of men who refuse to wear condoms. Sister Julienne said they have to think about the religious angle.
She asks Tom’s opinion. He is sitting beside Barbara and gives a bible quote about a man and woman only sleeping with the woman and man they are married to. Patsy calls it irrelevant because contraceptives didn’t exist then. Delia, who is sitting beside Patsy, gives a hypothetical about two 19-year-olds loving each other and giving into the urges they can’t control and saying it shouldn’t ruin their lives and reputations.
Sister Julienne is still unsure. Later on, Barbara is going off to deliver Gina’s baby. Tom follows her out and asks her if she is really for pre-marital sex. She says of course not but it happens and people should have options. She also calls him out for trying to be the moral voice of sex and contraceptives when he knows nothing about the medical side and is uncomfortable talking about it. But, she let’s him kiss her again.
Gina’s delivery talks most of the night. She tells Barbara and Nurse Crane, who came to help, that she doesn’t think Leslie wanted any of this. They were only together three months before they had to get married because she was pregnant. Nurse Crane tells Barbara about her mother being unmarried and that she has used contraceptives herself when she was dating an airman during the war.
Later on, Patsy and Delia are spending their night off in the garden behind Nonnatus. Patsy is worried about Daisy’s children, who were getting picked on at school for smelling and having weird clothes. They agree that maybe as a barge family they will never fit in a certain place. Delia then tells Patsy that on their next night off she wants to go to The Gateway Club, which was a really life lesbian club in London in the 1960s.
Patsy says they have talked about it and she doesn’t want to be with other women like them, she just wants to be with Delia. But, Delia wants to and do stuff like hold hands and dance.
In the next scene Patsy is not at a lesbian club with her girlfriend, she is helping Daisy’s children with Sister Winifred, of all people. They have given all the children baths and new clothes so they will not be picked on at school. After school, the kids and Daisy’s husband visit her at the maternity home. She is incredibly mad about how they smell and are dressed. She screams at Patsy for trying to take away who they are. Patsy explains that she was only trying to help, but Daisy just yells at her some more.
Then a freak storm hits Poplar on the night of a full moon, which is the busiest night for midwives, according to Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt). The power starts going out and Trixie is called to the Turners’ surgery to help because two women have gone into labor at the same time. Trixie runs into a third trying to get there. Nurse Crane is called to Gina and Leslie’s because she is feeling sick and can’t see. Lou, Daisy’s daughter, defies her mother’s wishes and runs to Nonnatus to get Patsy because her mother has gone into labor and isn’t feeling well. Trixie is juggling two deliveries while Tim is out in the hallway keeping the lights on with a hand crank.
Gina and Leslie quickly bond over their situation and he refuses to leave her side to wave down the ambulance. Nurse Crane struggles to get them and their baby down the eight flights of stairs, because the power is out and the elevator isn’t working. Patsy arrives at Daisy’s barge. There are a bunch of other women there, who have already taken her husband and three youngest children to their barges. Patsy tells Daisy she doesn’t have to be there if Daisy thinks she can handle it with her friends. Daisy tells her they aren’t her friends they are just other barge women and they look after each other. But they leave, taking a terrified looking Lou with them.
Daisy delivers her baby mostly on her own. She tells Patsy though being an outsider in Poplar and getting her help was nice for a while, being who she is is important especially because she knows she is part of something bigger. Hint, hint, Patsy.
The next morning after all the babies were delivered safely, Sister Julienne and Sister Mary Cynthia try to make their way to their rounds but are met with storm damage that Fred (Cliff Parisi) and the CDC are trying to clean up. They also get the surprise return of Sister Evangelina.
I’m going to forgive this surprise being in the teaser because their faces and Sister Monica Joan’s later was so great. Sister Evangelina tried to call but the phone line was knocked out, so she quickly strong arms a shop keeper into letting them use his phone. Back at Nonnatus, she tells Sister Julienne she would like to just do the district rounds to start then ease back into midwifery.
Sister Julienne corners her in the garden later and asks her what her real reason is because she has noticed it looks like she can’t move her left arm. She tells her she had a stroke two-months into her stay with the silent order. She regained almost everything but the use of her arm. She sees it as a sign from god that she wasn’t supposed to leave midwifery or Nonnatus because there is where she belongs.
Mature Jenny wraps up all the story lines with her voice over. Mature Jenny seems to be getting really specific, have I just never noticed that or is that new? Anyway, Leslie and Gina are actually in love like they are supposed to be and Daisy and her family leave but Sister Winifred is sending school work to the children.
Mature Jenny continues on about finding your place and being were you need to be. We cut between Sister Evangelina hanging out with Sister Monica Joan and Patsy and Delia going to the Gateway Club. They nervously take each other’s hands inside, go to the dance floor, spin around and nearly kiss.
I’m not as mad about them not kissing as I was initially. It was still a parallel with Barbara and Tom, who we also saw dance this episode but they could at Nonnatus. Also, Delia said in S4Ep6 that she wanted to dance with Patsy without half of Poplar watching and there had to be somewhere. Patsy told her in S4Ep7 she would find a way for them to be together. So, I liked it. I liked it a lot. Am I annoyed that I have seen Tom grab Barbara’s butt but I haven’t seen Delia kiss Patsy? Yes, yes I am.
But hey, we might get a kiss next week. It looks like Delia and Patsy might be having a story line together. Apparently, Mrs. Busby is going to be in the next episode too. I am nervous about that but excited for the final episode. Whatever happens it can’t be as emotionally destroying as Season 4 Episode 8 was.
I wanted to start with that picture because it illustrates my favorite thing in this season so far. And that is the different pairings between characters. That is Nurse Crane just hanging out with Patsy and Trixie. We also got some great nuns pairings and Trixie stepping up to look after Barbara.
Anyway, to this episode. The modernization theme is continuing. At the clinic a lady is giving a talk about formula’s benefits. Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) is not having it and yells at the lady, while Shelagh (Laura Main) tries to keep everyone calm.
This is the start of our baby of the week B plot. Sister Evangelina is trying to help Connie prepare to breastfeed her baby. Connie’s baby is born easily but she can’t get him to breastfeed. Sister Evangelina keeps telling her to try harder and says breast milk is what real mothers do not formula.
Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryony Hannah) is our voice of reason in this story line. After the baby nearly dies of dehydration, Sister Mary Cynthia stands up to Sister Evangelina and tells her she has to choose her words more carefully because of her amount of influence in Poplar. Yay for the return of strong-willed Cynthia. I feel like we haven’t seen much of this side of her since she became a nun.
Sister Evangelina goes and apologizes to Connie, who forgives her. Sister Evangelina then realizes she has gotten too caught up in her work and has stopped listening to god. She gets a transfer from Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) to go to a silent order for six months. I was already sad about this and then while she is packing, Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) walks in and starts taking her clothes out of her suitcase. They share a sweet moment about how much they will miss each other. The episode ends with Sister Evangelina walking away from Nonnatus.
I just wanted to get that out of the way because the nuns had their own story line this week, while the baby of the week A plot and the romantic subplot involved all of the nurses.
This was mostly a Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) and Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) themed episode but the others were woven in nicely. Barbara gets the main focus. She is struggling to help Stella, who is rather stressed because of her husband’s cut hours at the docks and her high blood pressure. Throughout the episode, the show does a good job of continuing Barbara’s tendency to make a fool of herself.
She does right out the gate with Stella. She voices her concerns to the older nurses earlier, who tell her she just needs a few more battle scars to get the hardness and experience they have. Barbara said she has them but just doesn’t show them. That bleeds through a bit when Barbara tries to help Stella by telling her about the national registry (is that what they said? I’m not sure. It’s welfare, for my fellow Americans)
Barbara is writing home to her father, a vicar in Liverpool, to ask for advice. She is in Trixie and Patsy’s (Emerald Fennel) room and Trixie teases her about the letter not sounding very exciting. It seems Barbara’s home life was only about the church and helping others, before it always seemed like it was a focus but it seemed to overtake everything. Patsy and Trixie seem to be having their own story line in the background of this episode. Barbara emphasizes in her letter that she does not have a boyfriend. Trixie makes an annoyed face at that and Patsy shoots Trixie a nervous look that I’m not sure she saw.
Amid all that, Nurse Crane starts attending a Spanish class at the community center and hits it off with Tommy. There is a super cute montage of Sister Monica Joan, Patsy and Barbara being perplexed by a love struck Nurse Crane.
As Barbara is making a delivery for another patient, she finds Stella’s husband Johnny at a pub while he is supposed to be at work. She is conflicted about what to tell Stella. She goes to Tom (Jack Ashton) for advice. He is no help but they still have a cute little time together. This story line is going to be my Cynthia becoming a nun from last season: I kind of want to like it but it is making me really uncomfortable. Why Barbara of all the women in Poplar, Tom? And why do all your compliments for Barbara sound like knocks on Trixie?
Barbara doesn’t get a chance to tell Stella about Johnny being unemployed because she finds out on her own. Barbara is uncomfortably there during the fight and makes a fool of herself while trying to make sure Stella doesn’t over stress herself. Stella kicks out Johnny and Barbara is having a rough day.
Back at Nonnatus, Nurse Crane, who has already gotten tea with Tommy, asks Trixie and Patsy if she could use their record player to listen to Spanish love songs. She then asks for make up tips. They jump at this idea. They also have a great but incredibly frustrating conversation with Nurse Crane (calling her Phyllis still seems weird). Patsy makes a comment about being the only one drinking and Trixie gives the comment about her complexion again. Patsy then says in admiration that Nurse Crane has been able to do what she wants in life and not be asked when she is going to find a man and settle down. The looks between Patsy and Trixie in this scene nearly killed me!
Not only does Trixie still not know about Patsy and Delia, Patsy doesn’t even know about Trixie’s alcoholism and the reasons for her sudden devotion to Keep Fit. Will somebody sit these two down and make them talk about their problems with each other?
Stella’s husband Johnny gets a shift at the docks where he family has worked for generations but collapses. Dr. Turner (Patrick McGann) is called in and Barbara takes Stella to the hospital. It turns out Johnny’s inability to work and fatigue is because he has rather advanced leukemia. He is admitted to The London and given only days to live. Stella asks Barbara if she could make her baby come faster so her husband could see it before he dies. Barbara promises she will.
That idea does not go over so well with the nuns because it is not for a medical problem with the mother. Great tiny character things in this argument, someone points out that Dr. Turner would agree if they suggested it and Sister Winfred (Victoria Yeates) is the most vocal opponent. That bitch. Trixie says she will assist Barbara and Sister Julienne agrees.
Then in a rather heartbreaking scene, Nurse Crane goes to assist a lady suffering from dementia. From a mix up with a new charting system, Patsy ends up there too and just in time for the lady’s husband to arrive home. And it is Tommy, Nurse Crane’s gentleman friend who said he wasn’t married. The nurses quickly file out and once in Nurse Crane’s car Patsy offers to buy her tea. She declines. Then Patsy delivers the line that I feel sums up her story line since the end of season three and all the nurses currently story lines, “I won’t ask you anything about it, but we don’t have to pretend it never happened. People do that all too often, and it’s exhausting.”
Barbara and Trixie take Stella to the maternity home and try to induce her labor as Dr. Turner sits with a dying Johnny at The London. There is a lot of back and forth of thinking Johnny will die before his child is born, but it turns out Barbara’s plan worked and Johnny is able to meet his son, John, shortly before he dies.
Tommy comes by Nonnatus and apologizes to Phyllis, saying his wife hasn’t remembered him for five years and he hasn’t felt happy since he met her. Phyllis tells him it doesn’t matter and actually runs off. She gets some words of encouragement from Patsy, who treated his wife, later and says his wife truly seems to be gone. Phyllis ends up going back to Spanish class and sits beside Tommy, saying she is only there for the class but seeming to imply there might be more in the future.
Barbara and Trixie attend the wake for Johnny. Stella says she is doing well despite the circumstances. She gets a donation from the dock worker head guy, who fired her husband and tells her there is a job for her son when he is old enough. The dock worker guy thanks Barbara for making him realize he was being a Capitalist asshole. Tom, who is also there, then finds Barbara and flirts with her as Trixie looks away awkwardly.
Overall this episode was fantastic. There was tragically little of the Turners and no Delia, who isn’t moving into Nonnatus until June. It is probably late April to early May in the show’s timeline. The show has been doing a great job of creating new dynamics between charterers and slowly, so slowly building toward the plot points I want to see so much. Trixie and Patsy, will you two talk to each other already?
I wanted to start this post with that photo to comment on how seamlessly the show as able to transition from season three to four despite half the cast being written off completely or temporarily. I know this happens on British shows all the time, but this stuff does not usually work on American television. But, I think Call the Midwife has made it work.
But, they also aren’t afraid to point out the differences by having Nurse Krane (Linda Bassett) complain about Trixie (Helen George) being late to clinic and telling Shelagh (Laura Main) how to do her job.
When we do see Trixie she is walking with Tom (Jack Ashton). He has been contacted by a Bishop who is interested in the work he has been doing and wants to meet him. Trixie asks when they will be meeting him and Tom tells her he forgot to ask if she could come. Trixie tells him to call him back. When Trixie arrives to the clinic she gets chewed out by Nurse Krane.
Our baby of the week is introduced by a young, unwed mother named Bridget getting checked on my Sister Winfred (Victoria Yeates). She hasn’t been able to go to the clinic regularly because of her job. The B plot baby is introduced by Mrs. Robbins and her husband as Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) goes to visit them. The husband, who owns a rope making business called Frank Robbins and Sons, is convinced the baby has to be a boy.
Back a Nonnatus, Barbara is in Pasty (Emerld Fennell) and Trixie’s room teaching Trixie how to act around a Bishop. Barbara’s father is a clergyman in Liverpool. Patsy isn’t really helpful on the acting proper front, but is there to make a mildly concerned face when Trixie gets up for another drink.
Sister Winfred goes to the address Bridget gave her for a home visit and realizes she lives in an apartment above the brothel where she works and is still working at. Bridget starts to notice Sister Winfred judging her and reminds her of what she said in their first scene together about leaving talks of wickedness at the door so they can just be a patient and a midwife. This is a topic that has come up a few times in the show, but I like that someone had to remind Sister Winfred about it, especially after her homophobic reactions in last week’s episode.
Bridget says the brothel is her home and her family and she isn’t leaving. Bridget is also living with a older lady named Dora, who she is taking care of. Sister Winfred can tell she has advanced Syphilis. Bridget already knew and tells her she can handle it.
Over in Barbara’s story line, Mrs. Robbins has been knitting all blue baby clothes. She says she doesn’t can what it is as long as it’s healthy, which was a funny but I’m sure unintended reference. Mrs. Robbins said she doesn’t want to disappoint her husband by having a girl. Barbara gets back to Nonnatus and vents about this to everyone. Trixie said she is surprised that anyone still thinks girls aren’t equal to boys. Pasty says they are better. Sister Winfred then chimes in with saying some women don’t seem to see it that way, especially the ones selling themselves at the brothel. Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) points out what else were they supposed to do, just live with nothing.
Nurse Krane then says it is strange that women took up all the jobs during the World Wars but are supposed to act like it didn’t happen afterward. And that makes a great time for me to plug Bomb Girls. If you like Call the Midwife and haven’t seen Bomb Girls go watch it on Netflix. It is pretty much this show taking place 20 years earlier in a bomb factory in Canada.
Dr. Turner (Stephan McCann) gets Sister Winfred to come with him to visit Bridget. She has Syphilis too. They want to take her to the maternity home. She ends up going. She confesses to Sister Winfred that she tried to get rid of the baby a few times, but if it didn’t work the baby must have wanted to be born. Now, she is worried she is going to bring it into the world diseased. This all convinced Sister Winfred to change her mind about Bridget and prostitution. She asks Shelagh about ways to help stop other women from getting STDs. Shelagh said she once tried to get the girls to ask their clients to wear condoms, but the men didn’t like them and that ended the discussion.
Sister Winfred then finds Peter (Ben Chaplan) in the Nonnatus kitchen and asks him if he can introduce her to some prostitutes. She plans to educate the women about safe sex and decrease the amount of disease. Sgt. Koakes goes around with her and it doesn’t go too well.
Back at Nonnatus, Trixie is listening to loud music and pre-gaming a night out with Barbara, who is telling her more about the bishop. When they get back, Barbara seems a bit tipsy and jokes a bit about how much Trixie drinks and how she and Pasty have talked about it a bit behind her back. Trixie seems offended. Barbara tells her they are just joking around.
When the Bishop comes to Poplar to met with Tom and Trixie, he asks Tom to lead a parish in St. Anne’s in Newcastle. The men have been mostly ignoring Trixie and continue too when she says they had planned to move somewhere more rural to raise their family. Tom gets mad at Trixie for speaking out of line. Trixie is mad that he excepted her to not say anything while a stranger planned their future. She storms out across the street to Nonnatus. Tom chases after her and says he will go wherever god will send him. Trixie says she doesn’t want her children to grow up in Poplar or anywhere like it. Tom tells her marrying him is marrying the church. Trixie says she has never looked at it that way before.
She starts to see all the contrasts the show has been playing up this season and goes to her room to drink.
One of women Bridget works with comes to break her out of the maternity home because Dora needs her. She quickly goes with her. Shortly, after she arrives she goes into labor. Sister Winfred and Nurse Krane arrive to help. They have to call Dr. Turner. Her baby ends up being fine and Bridget helps Sister Winfred teach the other women about safe sex.
A woman arrives at Nonnatus in labor, the only people home are Sister Monica Joan and passed out drunk Trixie. Sister Monica Joan takes her through the rain to the maternity home. The only person there is Shelagh. The lady is concerned that the secretary is going to deliver her baby. Shelagh reminds her, what everyone seems to have forgotten, she was a midwife for 10 years. Sister Monica Joan helps her through the labor and the lady thanks her by naming the baby Monica, which was just what Sister Monica Joan, who was feeling like she couldn’t help anyone anymore, needed.
Later on, Barbara gets home from delivering her second baby of the day. Sister Julienne is home now too. They just got another call from Mrs. Robbins about her baby. Sister Julienne tells Barbara to go wake Trixie and have her go. Barbara finds Trixie, hides the evidence that she was drinking and sneaks out to cover for her.
Barbara ends up delivering Mrs. Robbins’ daughter. She has to go to the hospital. Barbara has to tell Mr. Robbins that he as a daughter. He refuses to look at the baby or his wife. Barbara, who has been working for almost 24 hours, gets rather pissed and starts yelling at him. Dr. Turner talks her down and then drives her home. Later on Dr. Turner goes to talk some sense into Mr. Robbins and convinces him a daughter is just as good as a son. Mr. Robbins takes his daughter to the factory and when his wife arrives he says she has to know how important it is to their family.
When Barbara gets back to check on Trixie, Sister Julienne is already there. Barbara apologizes for hiding the evidence. She says nobody else has to find out about it. Sister Julienne meets with Trixie in private the next day. Trixie is half crying as she explained that everything seems like it is falling apart with Tom and she might not make a good cleric’s wife. She is worried she is turning into her alcoholic father and doesn’t want to tell Tom because she is afraid he or no other man would want to marry her.
Tom and Trixie finally talk. Trixie tells him she can’t life up to his and the churches standards and gives him her engagement ring back.
In terms of Trixie’s season arch, I am really glad that show did this episode. Up until this point, I felt like the alcoholism story line it seems to be hinting at was out of place. Trixie liking to drink and go out was a normal and fun part of Trixie’s character since the beginning but now that it has started to interfere with her work it feels like an actual problem.
In the first episode of its fourth season Call the Midwife is quickly able to prove it is just as good despite being down its original lead Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine) and Cynthia (Bryony Hannah), who has left for six months at the Mother House for her nun training. Also, where did Jane go? Was that explained and I missed it or did she just disappear?
Anyway, while Mature Jenny (Vanessa Redgrave) is talking about the magnificence and simplicity of childbirth, Patsy (Emerald Fennell) comes home exhausted by a delivery and Trixie (Helen George) runs out of Nonnatus for another delivery. She is offered a lift by the milkman, who takes her to a lady giving birth in the back of a car.
Trixie is all kinds of hilarious in this scene, by saying she arrived by magic carpet and agreeing that blondes have more fun as she realizes she is kneeling in some type of bodily fluid.
Back at Nonnatus, Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) is concerned that someone new is coming and they don’t have any cake while everyone else is having breakfast. Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) says a baby being born in a car must be a first for Poplar. Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) blames the growing popularity of hospital births. Sister Monica Joan also vents about how child will not know work like she did because of electric floor sweepers.
Chummy (Miranda Hart) is there but she is planning on leaving to take over the mother and baby home from The Holiday Special. She attempts to drive out of the episode, but can’t and Peter (Ben Caplan) and Freddie have to come with her.
Later at the clinic, Shelagh (Laura Main) helps a young boy named Gary (Alfie Davis), who is pushing a baby in a stroller. He is there to collect the milk tokens and orange juice. Both of the children look rather unkempt and Gary says their mom is working.
We pop into the market and get our introduction to the new nurse, Barbara Gilbert (Charlotte Ritchie). She asks for directions, which is given in addition to bananas. She reaches Nonnatus and is met by Sister Monica Joan, who first says everyone has gone aboard but then takes the superfluous bananas and helps her once dogs start running away with her belonging.
I like Barbara and her introduction. I’ve seen people call her Jenny’s or Cynthia’s replacement, despite her being mostly like Chummy’s replacement in this episode. Truly, I don’t see her as anyone’s replacement. She is enough of a mix of our three missing nurses and her own character for her to be a fun new addition.
Back at the clinic, Shelagh realizes Gary’s three younger siblings that he has told them about have not been brought into clinic in a very long time. She gets Trixie to help her out. Trixie asks Gary to stay because she thinks Coral, the baby, is sick. Gary acts cool but quickly runs out right past Barbara and Sister Monica Joan.
Later on, Gary arrives home to his two other sisters, who have been locked into their flat by their mother. Gary ran into her on the way home. She seems to be a sex worker. It is clear that Gary is the one raising the other three children.
Back at Nonnatus, Sister Julienne is showing Barbara to her room. We are told she is a clergyman’s daughter from Liverpool and grew up in a around the church, which is probably why this next scene goes so hilariously. Trixie and Patsy invited Barbara to come drink in their room.
It’s a little scene but it gives us a bunch of character moments. Trixie is complaining that Tom (Jack Ashton), her cleric boyfriend, is spending more time working than with her. Trixie says she thinks he might break up with her, Barbara says she is too nice for that. Trixie and Patsy laugh. Then Trixie says Patsy is the unlucky one without a boyfriend at all. Patsy just sighs. The moment is broken by them having to run Barbara to the bathroom to vomit. Patsy then covers for her with the nuns in the morning.
Trixie goes to the address that Gary gave her and the milkman says it has been abandoned for months. She has Tom help her track down Gary’s family. Tom hasn’t been able to find them. Trixie is relating to Gary because she also knows what it like is to put on a brave face for other people. Trixie explains this to Tom later in the episode. But she told Jenny last season, she played like Shirley Temple so no one would notice her wrecked home life because of her alcoholic father suffering from severe PTSD.
Gary goes back home again but the key fell off the string and he is locked outside while his three siblings are inside. Pouring milk through the mail slot doesn’t work as well as Gary hoped it would, so he tries to steal some biscuits from the market. The unsympathetic shop owner drags Gary to the constable station, but luckily Sgt. Koakes is on duty.
Peter starts to question Gary. He is scared but eventually tells him the biscuits were for his siblings. Gary has realized how bad the situation is and tells Peter everything. Peter and the police break into the flat. They are disgusted by the conditions and call it Dickensian.
He takes the children and tells the police to stay and arrest the mother when she gets back. Shelagh (Laura Main) and Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) do their best for the children. They realize the baby has to be taken to the hospital. Shelagh calls Nonnatus to have two nurses come assist. Trixie heads out and Sister Monica Joan asks to come because what they will see will not shock her as much as it will Trixie.
Gary is still trying to do everything to make sure they don’t appear poor. Trixie is quickly to side with him. No emergency foster parents can be found so Trixie brings the three older siblings to stay at Nonnatus. It is clear this is all becoming a little too much for Trixie, who goes and pours herself a drink in her room.
The next day, Gary and his sisters are getting ready to be taken to a short-term foster home. Trixie is nervously packing up extra clothes for them and is about to cry. She can’t bring herself to say goodbye to them as Sister Monica Joan is playing with them outside. She then explains her childhood to Tom, but she lets her guard down only for a moment.
But, it seemed to be enough for Tom to realize her doesn’t want to loss Trixie. So, in their next scene he proposes. He says he talks about love all the time but didn’t realize what it meant until he met Trixie. She says yes, of course.
Gary’s mother gets arrested by Peter. She loses custody of her children. The baby was adopted and the three others are being sent with the Child Migrant Program, which sent orphans to Australia for a better life. Mature Jenny crushes our hope by saying the program was a scam, but the only good part is maybe the hope made them happy for a while.
The Turners are part of the small B plot about breastfeeding versus formula, hospitals versus home births and a very nervous mother. It was good and cute, but didn’t have much for the overall season arches. Except that Shelagh is missing nursing and is going to be Dr. Turner’s medical secretary.
Also, Sister Julienne sends Barbara and Sister Evangelina to the maternity home for a while because she can tell Sister Evangelina is sick. She doesn’t take it too well. She takes her frustration out by throwing jabs at Barbara and Sister Monica Joan. She is the one who convinces her to see a doctor. Sister Evangelina and Barbara get roped into the B plot, which was good but with the intensity of the A plot it felt rather trivial in this episode. In a different episode, it would have probably worked better. But aside from that, I have nothing negative to say about this episode.