How am I going to go about recapping this episode without freaking out the entire time? This is the most I have cried so far this season and despite being a Patsy and Delia loyalist, I think this is the best episode of the season. And that is because of the Mullocks.
I love the Mullocks as characters and how they fit into the show. Before 5.8, we never had a mother of the week come back. I thought it was a bit strange that only Rhoda appeared in that episode but it didn’t effect the episode. We had the whole family back this time.
We start with Rhoda Mullock (Liz White) taking Susan to nursery school. She is only 18 months but she is wanting to get her on a waiting list like she did with her other children. She walks out looking disappointed and goes to the clinic. She is greeted by Valerie (Jennifer Kirby), who knows them from the neighborhood. Rhoda asks to see Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann). Rhoda said she was turned away because the school doesn’t teach “sick children.”
Dr. Turner and Shelagh (Laura Main) have the same look of support and guilt as they usually do about thalidomide. And I know the show is mostly episodic but we did a lot of clunky exposition and callbacks to 5.1 and 5.8 to explain this story line.
Our other story line this week involved Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) and the Antoines, a biracial family that is about to have their fourth child. The other three are in the cubs, which Nurse Crane is now leading. The mother insists on having a home birth because she doesn’t want to deal with the stares and talk at the maternity home or hospital.
The fact that Valerie is from Poplar was woven in nicely this episode. She commented about Mrs. Antoine’s sister reaction when she said she was going to marry a Jamaican guy. And we get Delia’s (Kate Lamb) line about not being able to choose who you love. That also introduced Trixe’s (Helen George) story line. She is getting ready for a date with Christopher (Jack Hawkins). He blows her off just like he did for the last two and she spent so much time getting ready with Valerie and Delia, who had very specific tips about how she should dress for the date.
Dr. Turner puts a call into a hospital that makes artificial limbs for the Mullocks. Mr. Mullocks get a little mad because they had decided they were not going to send Susan away, ever. Rhoda counters by saying it is only a week. And shout out to Chris Reilly, who plays Bernie Mullocks. He drove me to tears three times.
They reluctantly agree to take Susan for a visit. While there they meet Lydia, whose son was also effected by thalidomide. And I would also like to give a shout out to Claire Price, who played Lydia. She was basically an exposition dump but she delivered all the lines very well. Mr. Mullocks freaks out and doesn’t want Susan there. Dr. Turner attempts to help but it doesn’t go very well.
Nurse Crane goes to deliver the Antoine’s baby. They run out of gas and air and call Nonnatus for more. Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates), who hasn’t been actually practicing to drive but has been quizzing herself, answers the call. But, since Fred (Cliff Parisi) is doing maintenance on all the bikes she walks instead.
Okay, I have one small complaint about this episode. I don’t know if it is the direction or the editing but multiple scenes that were indoors made it appear to be night but then characters would go outside and it was the middle of the day. It was a bit confusing but didn’t stop this episode from being amazing.
The birth goes fine but Sister Winifred arrives after the baby is born. Nurse Crane scolds Sister Winifred for being so slow and saying it would have taken five minutes if she could drive. She tosses her the keys and tells her to drive them home. With all of Nurse Crane’s intensity, Sister Winifred stalls in the middle of an intersection and Nurse Crane kicks her out of the driver’s seat.
A lot like with the filming of Delia riding that bike in 4.8, this whole thing was making me anticipate a car accident. I really thought Nurse Crane was going to get them into an accident and that crying from the promo was because she had seriously injured Sister Winifred. But then Lenny, the Antoine’s oldest son, runs into the street and Nurse Crane hits him as she is adjusting the rear view mirror.
Sister Winifred tells an onlooker to call an ambulance. Nurse Crane stands stunned. The police arrive. The other Antoine boys run away. The constable asks who the driver was and Nurse Crane tells him she was. She gets taken to the police station and gets booked by Sgt. Noakes (Ben Chaplan). Mr. Antoine comes running in to inquire about his son and yells at her.
Nurse Crane gets released from police custody but is suspended from nursing duties until the police are done investigating. Despite Barbara’s (Charlotte Ritchie) best efforts she can’t do anything to make her feel better. Sister Winifred also gets interviewed by the police. She tells Sgt. Noakes that she saw the other boys at the accident scene but they ran away and she knows why. Peter goes to speak with them and their parents.
They are only supposed to play on a street that doesn’t have traffic. They were but after getting called names by racist bullies they ran away. Mr. Antoine says Nurse Crane is a good woman and he does want to press charges. Peter says there are no grounds anyway, since it was an accident.
Over in the Mullocks’ story line, Rhoda takes Susan to the hospital without telling the rest of the family. Belinda and Perry get mad at her. Belinda asks if Susan cried when she was left there. Perry says Mr. Mullocks is going to be pissed, which he is. Rhoda tells Bernie that they can’t keep protecting Susan all the time. They have to let her go a bit and that includes admitting there are things they can ‘fix’ with artificial limbs. Can the Mullocks get their own spin off?
Though she isn’t facing any charges, Nurse Crane is still questioning herself in terms of nursing and driving. She sits in the garden, per Barbara’s suggestion and then Tom (Jack Ashton) brings her tea. He tries to help but Nurse Crane shoots him down in the best way possible saying people like him look to the almighty for answers while she, as a rational atheist, only has herself to answer to.
Trixie actually goes out on a date with Christopher. He explains that he blew her off the other three times because he has a daughter and is divorced. I saw a spoiler for this and I was really hoping he was going to have an out-of-wedlock child. That seemed like it would have fit better with his character. Trixie gets mad that he didn’t tell her. She is in the midst of realizing she is being hypocritical when he asks if they could go to a pub. She quickly leaves.
Back at Nonnatus, she is eating custard (with bananas so it is healthy) in the kitchen with Valerie. She says it is hard to tell people secrets especially if they are afraid of being laughed at or judged or prosecuted. Interesting word choice, Valerie. She doesn’t know about Trixie going to AA it seems. I am not sure how much I believe this Valerie is also gay and is going to drive a wedge between Patsy and Delia theory, but homosexuality was grounds to be discharged from the British Armed Forces until 1994.
Trixie ends up inviting Christopher to tea at Nonnatus. She tells him the truth and he says “good for you” and jokes about not bringing drinks to dates anymore.
Nurse Crane gets left on call at Nonnatus with Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt). A mother calls that she is in labor. Sister Monica Joan finds Nurse Crane nervously staring at her car and says she must not know the directions but she does so she will come and assist. The drive and birth goes well thanks to Sister Monica Joan’s encouragement.
All of the Mullocks go visit Susan and Rhoda and Bernie get invited to a thalidomide parents group by Lydia. That parents meeting got me crying again. Mature Jenny (voiced by Vanessa Redgrave) tells us about the work of the thalidomide parents and how they spent 50 years trying to get justice for their children.
Also at the end of the episode, Nurse Crane finds Delia sadly reading a newspaper. There is an obituary for Patsy’s father. He died two weeks ago but Delia hasn’t heard anything from Patsy. Nurse Crane reassures her that she will write soon. Delia doesn’t sound so certain.
Patsy better be back next week. It also looks like Shelagh is going into labor and Barbara and Tom are rushing to get married for some reason.
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.
I decided to start with that because this is the Turner focused episode of the season, usually there is one per season. Actually calling this the Turner episode might be unfair, it is more the episode of characters we haven’t seen a lot of recently. The Turners, Fred and Violet and Delia played a significant role, while Trixie and Patsy each have a scene a piece. It was a fun way to mix things up. Maybe a little weird, but hey I still enjoyed it.
Of course, the Turners are being dorks in the first time we see them. Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) is running in excited that his copy of the medical report has arrived. Tim (Max Macmillan) says he thought it was the new James Bond novel because of how excited he was. Shelagh (Laura Main) then creates a story about Patrick being the James Bond of medicine and her being the Bond girl.
A little while later, they are going through the report taking about the chest clinic Dr. Turner is holding the next day as Tim is just casually reading Freud beside them.
Violet (Annabelle Apsion) attends Trixie’s (Helen George) Keep Fit class and falls victim to Trixie’s slave driver ways. At home, while she is trying to get Fred (Cliff Parisi) to do exercises with her, she throws her back out. Dr. Turner stops by and tells them Violet is going to have to rest for the next two weeks. Fred agrees to look after her shop. Violet isn’t that keen about the idea.
Our baby of the week is introduced by incredibly nervous mother Rosanne. She has an older, rich husband but it seems like there is some secret we do not know about her. While she struggles to read a pamphlet she was given at the clinic, her water breaks. She phones Nonnatus and Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) tells her she will be there in five minutes. There was some mix up with the schedule and Delia (Kate Lamb) and Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) are the only ones left at Nonnatus. Nurse Crane tells them to run to the clinic and get Patsy (Emerald Fennell) if anything happens.
Nurse Crane’s car won’t start is she is forced to take a bike.
It takes her much longer and Rosanne calls Nonnatus again and starts freaking out to Delia, who has never done midwifery and works in male surgery. Delia tells Sister Monica Joan, who is still eating Violet’s jam from last episode, to go get Patsy. Delia talks Rosanne through her contractions, when she starts bleeding, as her baby is born and how to get it to start breathing after it is born.
Nurse Crane arrives at Rosanne’s as Patsy runs to find Delia asking if it is a girl or a boy. Aw look at how proud she looks:
At lunch everyone honors Delia for everything she did though she feels silly since it is what they do all the time. She then says it is much more rewarding than male surgery. I think this whole ordeal and the multiple schedule mix ups and talks of being understaffed recently is slowly building toward Delia becoming a midwife. God, I hope so. What do you think, Patsy:
Dr. Turner hosts his clinic with help from Shelagh and a reluctant Tim. One of this patients, Frank, has lung cancer but is refusing to get radiation treatment. As Frank is leaving, Tim watches him and Dr. Turner lite a cigarette. Tim brought up earlier that there is a link between cigarettes and lung cancer. Dr. Turner told him that is only one school of thought.
Fred tries to run Violet’s shop for the day, but is having problems with all the lady things, like bra fittings. He drags in Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) from her half day off and she assists him. Rosanne, who has been having trouble connecting to her baby, stops by and is acting rather weird. As Barbara is leaving, she finds Rosanne’s baby in its pram outside with no Rosanne in sight. Nurse Crane brings it back and tries to get an explanation out of Rosanne. She doesn’t get anything, but we see her tell her husband she isn’t real and she isn’t good enough for the baby, which they still haven’t named.
Dr. Turner gets invited to an autopsy by a friend of his from medical school for a guy who died of lung cancer. And Dr. Turner gets a real life this is what smoking does to your lungs scare. His friend believes that cigarettes cause lung cancer. Dr. Turner is flipping out a bit over this and then goes home to see Tim lighting a cigarette and trying to smoke it. He yells at Tim, who sasses back saying what is he going to do since he is smoking all the time. Tim runs off to his room as Shelagh tries to calm Patrick down.
Patrick goes to apologize to him and says he is going to stop smoking. He lumps in Shelagh with that promise too and she reluctantly agrees. They spend the rest of the episode making origami frogs and eating biscuits to cope.
Dr. Turner goes to the head of the Poplar board of health and is able to expand his chest clinic, using a psychology trick Tim taught him. He then realizes it was the same Tim used to get his parents to stop smoking. Frank also agrees to get radiation treatment and stop smoking so he can spend more time with his family.
Nurse Crane goes back to Rosanne’s to check on her and finds her child alone and a note of her apologizing to her husband. He says she must have gone to see her mother, but we see her walking through a street filled with prostitutes and then goes to see an old friend, who is still in the business. Nurse Crane realizes she didn’t go see her mother with some help from Shelagh. Rosanne was abandoned as a child, grew up in an orphanage and spent some time in jail on a soliciting charge.
Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates) overhears the conversation and Nurse Crane asks her to come and get Rosanne back. She and her husband are rather religious and maybe Sister Winifred has had some growth since nearly killed a woman with how uncaring she is. But, then again she has done well working with prostitutes before.
Nurse Crane and Sister Winifred are able to convince Rosanne she can still raise her baby right and be a good mother, despite never having one herself. She also deserves the life she has created with her husband. Nurse Crane talks about mothers doing whatever they can to give their children their best chance. Nurse Crane also hints that her mother, who we knew was unmarried, seems to have been a teenager who was kicked out by her parents.
Nurse Crane gets Rosanne home, she connects with her child and names her Faith.
No surprise, Fred ends up messing up and forgetting to place an order for Violet’s shop. They have a bit of a fight but Violet isn’t as mad at him as she is at a customer who says she should except it because everyone knows Fred Buckle can’t follow through with anything. Violet kicks out the customer. She apologizes to Fred, but also says he is not allowed in her shop anymore.
Overall, this episode was pretty good. I thoroughly enjoyed all the Turners stuff. It was a little strange that the majority of the episode took place outside of Nonnatus and the only Nonnatan who was around for most of it was Nurse Crane. But whatever, next week is the violence against women episode that I keep hearing about and Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia had a scene together in the teaser, so I am excited for that.
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?