There is always about one episode per season that is incredibly well structured and all the characters are used perfectly. A few characters have a focus but nobody is felt left out. I’m giving that title to this episode for season six. This was a Tom (Jack Ashton) and the Turners episode but everyone was used nicely. And for the first time ever, I didn’t hate Tom. I still don’t like him but he was all right.
We start by swooping through Poplar to see Trixie (Helen George) is back teaching Keep Fit and get a spoiler from the credits
Trixie and her Keep Fit class are both a little out of shape from the three month break. Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) seems to be doing okay, though. Also, how do we feel about Barbara smoking? I really don’t like it. It would have seemed weird before we had the smoking is dangerous episode and now that our characters know that too, Barbara shouldn’t be smoking.
At the Turners house, Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) is being incredibly cheerful as he rushes off the hospital, leaving Angela and a questioning Tim (Max MacMillion) doing dishes. Shelagh (Laura Main) is doing better and hasn’t had anymore bleeding. Dr. Turner gets kicked out by the matron, Sister Douglas. We also see that Delia (Kate Lamb) is working on the ward and Shelagh has made friends with her bed neighbor, Gloria.
Over at Nonnatus, Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) and Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) are trying to work on the schedule and saying how short staffed they are with Patsy, Sister Mary Cynthia and technically Sister Evangelina’s spots all empty. Sister Julienne says she is going to put in an advertisement in the midwifery journal.
Trixie is having some trouble getting back into work in Poplar and almost makes mother of the week Marne late for her court date. She is having money troubles. Trixie helps her out and then goes to Tom to ask him if he could help her. He agrees too. And yay there was nothing about their previous relationship in that scene.
Back at the hospital, Shelagh is outsmarting the doctor that is using her for observation. Sister Douglas helps her out of bed and sees she has bleed some more. The same doctor is doing observation on Gloria later. He asks Delia is she knows what could be done for her. Delia correctly answers that there is a surgery that could stop her from miscarrying again. He makes a jerky comment and then thankfully disappears.
Dr. Turner comes to visit Shelagh and tells her they were happy before and they will be happy again if their baby survives or not.
Marne gets an eviction notice and goes to her posh cousin, Dot, who popped in earlier. Marne tells her she’ll accept her offer, which we slowly realize is her giving her unborn child to Dot, who can’t have children and her husband. Tom is having a moral dilemma about the issues and brings it up at tea at Nonnatus. Everyone says they should support the decision if it is what Marne wants. He also reveals that he was adopted when he was two-months-old.
That was certainly the show trying to raise the person stakes for Tom in this episode. I don’t know it was the writing or the acting, but it didn’t work as well as it has with other characters in the past.
Hey remember how Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryonny Hannah) is missing? So did Trixie. She goes to Sister Julienne to ask about her. She says she talked to the mother house and Sister Mary Cynthia has been sent to some other facility and they should just wait until she is well enough to call them. Based on the promo, I think Sister Julienne is going to be regretting that decision.
Over at the Turners, Tim calls out his dad for trying to shield him from everything because he is old enough and smart enough to know something it wrong. Dr. Turner gets called to Marne’s birth with Trixie and Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates). Tim then calls a babysitter for Angela and sneaks out to St. Cuthbert’s.
He stands outside not able to go in because he isn’t 16. It was an amazing parallel to when Shelagh couldn’t go in to see him when he had polio because she wasn’t officially his mother yet. Thankfully, Delia is there to tell him nobody will notice and takes him inside.
Shelagh tells him that his father is having trouble talking about everything because Dr. Turner, like her and to some extent Tim, know so much about what could happen and have trouble talking about it emotionally. He is reassured but gets found out by Dr. Turner who beats him home. He thanks him for going to see Shelagh and they have some male bonding time with pale ale and darts.
Over at Marne’s, we see forceps being used. The baby is delivered safely. Marne refuses to look at the child and tells them to give him to Dot. She is incredibly happy. Trixie and Sister Winifred are trying to be encouraging. Marne asks Tom to baptize the child before Dot gets back. He does and tries to say something to make her feel better but he is no Nurse Crane with unwed mothers or Patsy with families with tropical diseases.
Dot ends up taking the baby home. She and her husband want an official private adoption. Marne goes to fill out the paperwork but realizes she doesn’t want to give up the baby. She, Tom and Sister Winifred go to get him back from Dot. Dot and Marne are both super upset.
In the end, Dot’s husband ends up giving all the stuff they bought for the baby to Marne. Tom tells him he can help them with adopting from an orphanage when they are ready.
I just wanted to get Tom out of the way, so over at the hospital Gloria starts going into labor. Delia jumps up to help and assists Sister Douglas, who has realized something is wrong. Gloria delivers the baby stillborn and Delia tries to keep it together. Sister Douglas tells her to take care of the child. Delia walks away trying to be professional.
And that was a heart wrenching parallel. The first time we saw Patsy lose it professional was the first stillborn she delivered. She was then able to go find comfort with Delia, but Delia can’t do that because Patsy is gone.
Later on, Gloria asks Shelagh about what her baby would have looked like since she didn’t get to see her. When Gloria is leaving the next day she tells Shelagh she hopes they see each other in the market in a year both pushing prams. Sister Douglas brought Dr. Turner in to see if they can find Shelagh’s baby’s heartbeat. He does and she is discharged.
Nurse Crane, Sister Julienne and Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) have a fun gag of interviewing the possible new midwife. Nurse Crane set the standards at no men and no Americans. Everyone is seemingly terrible and doesn’t know anything about Poplar. Sister Julienne then remembers Valerie Dyer (Jennifer Kirby) who helped them with the explosion at the docks a few episodes ago.
She goes to see her in the pub where she’s a bartender. She says she left the army because it was all curing and no caring. And that is enough for Sister Julienne. She applies and gets her acceptance letter. I’ve liked Valerie so far so I hope she continues to be a good addition to the cast.
From what I have heard, it seems like episode 5 and episode 6 are going to be dealing a lot with Sister Mary Cynthia’s story line. That is going to be heart breaking but I’m looking forward to it.
This episode seemed to have a lot it wanted to do but wasn’t quite sure how to get there. The whole episode felt a little slow as it was building up to everything crashing down or being revealed at the end. Even the thing I was most excited for in this episode didn’t happen for about 30 minutes, but that’s okay because Trixie’s back!
We open on Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) cycling through a Chinese neighbor and despite everything around us screaming CHINA (including the score. We get it, CtM. They’re Chinese) Lucy grew up in Liverpool and was raised by her English mother but her mother-in-law is wanting her to do things more traditionally.
Over at the maternity home, Shelagh (Laura Main) and Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) are being cute as hell and excited about their new baby. Careful you two, you know the relationship between happiness and CtM.
Dr. Turner is about to go to a meeting about a new hospital plan and finds that Sister Ursula (Harriett Walter) has invited herself. He looks annoyed but it professional about it. That goes away slightly though when they are told the maternity home might get closed down and there is an inspector coming. He and Shelagh go tell everyone at Nonnatus. They all clearly want to help as much as they can but Sister Ursula says the maternity home can’t be there priority because they are short staffed.
Sister Ursula list of offenses continues with her telling everyone they need to limit their visits to 20 minutes. Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) tries to protest but it doesn’t work. She finally goes to speak with Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) about how Sister Ursula is ruining everything. Sister Julienne tells us that Sister Ursula was the matron of the cottage hospital when it was shut down for inefficiency and blames herself. I figured we’d be getting some humanization for her but still not enough.
Barbara stays late with Lucy and her family and misses tea. She then get chewed out in front of everyone by Sister Ursula, who calls her a slacker. Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) is also missing. Apparently she has been taking a lot of walks recently.
Sister Ursula also isn’t allowing anyone to go the maternity home to help out. So Shelagh and Dr. Turner are stressing out while trying to make everything perfect for the inspector. There is a bunch of insane cuteness with the Turners, including all the women in the maternity home realizing Shelagh is also pregnant.
Lucy’s birth goes smoothly but her mother-in-law is keeping the room incredibly warm and insisting that Lucy and the baby stay in the room for 30 days. Barbara goes to check on Lucy and tries to help, but the baby is sleeping and Barbara is running out of her 20 minutes so she leaves without checking the baby, saying she’ll stop by in the morning.
The inspector comes to the maternity home. The inspector is seeming a little disinterested and talks about how easy it would be to have it absorbed into a hospital. Dr. Turner is in the middle of giving him an impassioned speech about why it is needed while over at Lucy’s her baby isn’t moving. She runs for her mother-in-law, who starts running through the street with the baby and Lucy runs after them.
They all come crashing into the maternity home. The Turners and Barbara snap into action while the inspector stands around confused. The three of them are able to piece together that it was carbon monoxide poisoning from all the heating stuff in Lucy’s room. Barbara freaks out a bit because she didn’t check the baby. The Turners call an ambulance and get everyone sent safely to the hospital.
Dr. Turner goes to finish speaking with the inspector. Shelagh tells Barbara it isn’t her fault and she should go home. Shelagh has been having stomach pains for most of the episode. She goes to the restroom and realizes she is bleeding. She quietly call Nonnatus and asks Nurse Crane for a ride to the hospital.
On her way out, Nurse Crane runs into Trixie (Helen George) who just arrived from South Africa. Nurse Crane says she is happy to see her but she has to go and tells Trixie to watch the phone.
Trixie walks through an empty, quiet Nonnatus and peers into Sister Julienne’s rearranged office confused.
Back at the maternity home, Dr. Turner tells Shelagh possibly having a miscarriage is a more than reasonable reason to interrupt his meeting. He takes her to the hospital and Nurse Crane finishes the meeting with the inspector. He says he isn’t going to suggest the maternity home be closed immediately but says he doesn’t think it will still be needed in a few years.
At St. Cuthbert’s, they are told that the bleeding has stopped but even with bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy (which is only four or five months along) there is a high chance of a miscarriage. Dr. Turner tries to be optimistic and supportive.
Elsewhere in the hospital, Lucy and her mother-in-law are watching the baby, which is in a coma. Then we get what this story line was building to. Lucy’s mother-in-law had a daughter while she was fleeing from the Japanese army during WWII but because of the rain and the cold the baby died. She just wanted to do everything she could to protect her grandchild. Lucy finally understands her and hug each other and cry. In the end, the baby wakes up and should be fine.
Back at Nonnatus, Barbara comes home to find Trixie putting her clothes away. Trixie asks “where’s Patsy and what on Earth has Sister Julienne done to her office?” to which Barbara bursts into tears. She gets caught up and has the same complaints everyone else has been having about Sister Ursula.
Though everyone thought it was going to be Trixie, it is actually Nurse Crane who finally calls out Sister Ursula on her shenanigans. She tells her about Lucy’s baby and how 20 minutes isn’t enough time and none of this was Barbara’s felt. Sister Ursula goes to apologize to Barbara, while getting some stern looks from Trixie.
After tracking down Sister Monica Joan and the missing television, Sister Julienne goes to find Sister Ursula praying. She says she failed her last mission and failed god. Sister Julienne tells her that isn’t true. They pray together It seems like Sister Julienne tried to convince her to stay but she agrees to leave and go back to the Mother House. It was nicely done. I did start feeling sorry for her but I’m so glad she’s gone.
Right after Sister Julienne finishes rearranging her office, Trixie goes to speak with her. She asks if she has heard from Sister Mary Cynthia. She hasn’t and Trixie is concerned because she spent the night at the Mother House after her ship landed but she didn’t see Sister Mary Cynthia and nobody would tell her what happened.
This episode was a slow build up and a rapid fire end. Everything is seemingly back to normal at Nonnatus, expect for Pasty and Sister Mary Cynthia being in Hong Kong and missing, apparently. I hope they get the television back next week.
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.
As a warning this post might be absurdly long because there was so much going on in this episode and all of it was great. All the story lines were fantastic and both had twists I was not expecting. Also every member of this cast from Emerald Fennell to the toddler that plays Angela can say so much with only facial expressions something is going on all the time. I could probably write an entire post about the porch steps scene and it barely had anything to do with the plot of this episode.
Anyway let’s get into this. The episode starts with Trixie (Helen George) treating a woman with sores on her arms and a rather bad cough. She is a long-time employee at the local paint factory. Her son, Ian, runs in excited with his acceptance letter to university. Over at the clinic, Shelagh (Laura Main) is giving a talk about home vs. hospital births, which are becoming more popular because modernization theme. This is the introduction to our first baby of the week with Mrs. Cottingham saying she is having her baby at home. It’s her fourth and she doesn’t need any of that fancy hospital stuff.
Ian meets his girlfriend, Linda, who works at the paint factory along with her father. Ian says he is going to get them out of Poplar with his education but she is pregnant. They have a bit of a freaking out fight through the docks as they try to figure out what this means for them.
Meanwhile, the nuns and midwives of Nonnatus have a long conversation over dinner about home vs. hospital births. St. Catherine’s had asked for someone to help out for a few weeks. Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) sends herself despite Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) saying it might be too strenuous and Patsy (Emerald Fennel) being a bit jealous because St. Catherine’s is a nicer version of The London.
Also in this Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryony Hannah) is charged with planning the ceremony in honor of Sister Hildagard, the founder of Nonnatus House. Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) is annoyed that she wasn’t picked but willing to help Sister Mary Cynthia when she asks her.
So to this porch steps scene. Delia (Kate Lamb) and Patsy are sitting on the front steps of Noannatus looking at movie times in the paper. Delia has been looking through the roster and knows Patsy can see a movie with her on Friday. They are having a conversation about how attractive the actress is and Trixie joins them with the perfect straight girl response. Patsy politely invites Trixie and Delia looks annoyed that she invited a third wheel to their date.
Barbara joins them and Delia invites her too, since Patsy has already ruined her plans. Barbara awkwardly makes up a story about cousin being in town because she totally doesn’t have a date with Tom or anything like that. Trixie storms off and Barbara is left looking defeated on the steps.
This is one of only two Patsy and Delia scenes. Later on, Delia stays up to meet Patsy when she gets home from work late, like they had planned to in their flat. They flirt and hug and Delia is making them spiked tea.
This scene almost swayed me away from a Patsy and Delia rant I have been planning for a while but it still fits. I have been wanting to comment on the fact that Patsy and Delia are the only long standing couple on this show that we haven’t seen kiss yet. It would have made sense in their second scene together. My feelings on this are exactly the same as Delia getting hit by that stupid car: this isn’t the BBC being homophobic, it fits with the show that they haven’t.
Delia’s big fantasy in that scene was to make Patsy tea and play with her hair. Patsy has had pretty good indications from Nurse Crane and Trixie that they already know but she is still too scared to even let Delia take her hand to comfort her in front of them.
So, I perfectly understand why we haven’t seen Pasty and Delia kiss yet. It is because Patsy and Delia aren’t ready to let us see yet and I am fine with waiting until they are ready.
Where was I? Oh right, our love triangle. Barbara finds Tom (Jack Ashton) outside of Nonnatus and breaks off whatever is going on between them because Trixie isn’t over him and he isn’t over Trixie and she doesn’t want to be with him if it is going to hurt Trixie. She then gets call to deliver Mrs. Cottingham’s baby with Nurse Crane. There are a bunch of complication and Mrs. Cottingham is sent to St. Catherine’s and into Sister Julienne’s care.
Trixie and Tom both get entangled with Linda and Ian. Trixie is still taking care of Ian’s mother and acting as Linda’s midwife. Tom had helped Ian with his university application process and provides some counseling when Linda’s father finds out she is pregnant. Ian and Linda don’t seem to have a lot of options so Ian buys a ring and proposes to Linda.
Trixie and Tom have a cute moment together at the engagement party. Tom gets into a debate about doing the right thing and acting out of love. Ian says he loves Linda but he isn’t sure if he loves her enough to give up his dream of university. Starting to sound familiar, Tom?
Over at St. Catherine’s, Mrs. Cottingham is having more problems and the doctor calls for an emergency c-section. And just when I was thinking how great of a modernization story line this is and the fact that we have never seen a c-section before, the doctor gets the baby out and says, ‘oh god not another one.’
I was nearly crying along with Sister Julienne because I was expecting to see a continuation of the thalidomide story line about as much as she was expecting to see another Susan Mullocks. Sister Julienne offers to hold the baby after nobody else will, but it is quickly taken away.
Much like how Rhoda Mullocks feared, the baby is left in a room alone to die. Luckily, Sister Julienne finds the baby. She promised Mrs. Cottingham she would take care of her baby, who she was hoping would be a girl. The baby, which was so disfigured the doctor couldn’t determine sex, dies in her arms. Sister Julienne nearly loses it and starts relying religious facts to the nurse she had made friends with. She could have baptized the baby herself but she didn’t think to.
Back at Nonnatus, Sister Mary Cynthia and Sister Monica Joan are working on the ceremony in the chapel when Sister Julienne gets home. I loved this little scene. Sister Mary Cynthia is just hanging out with the older nuns, which is great to see. And Sister Julienne asks Sister Monica Joan for advice and if it would be a sin to lie to Mrs. Cottingham about her child. Sister Monica Joan says a lie with the intention of protecting someone can’t be a sin. Sister Julienne ends up telling Mrs. Cottingham that her daughter died in her arms, but she doesn’t have any answers for her about why.
Over at the clinic, Trixie is treating Linda when she starts to miscarry. When she is talking her and her future mother-in-law, Ian’s mom, home they find Tom trying to break into their flat. Ian is inside and the gas is on. Last we saw Ian, he was trying to go to this first shift at the paint factory but couldn’t force himself inside. Tom and Trixie run in and are able to save him from committing suicide.
This is was a great reminder of all the things I used to like about Tom and Trixie, when they were working together as equals and were helping people just in completely different ways. But, they only loved each other enough. They start to have a conversation about what their relationship is now and why Barbara is causing such a problem for them. But, Trixie gets too uncomfortable, and there is vomit on her shoe, and runs inside.
She is treating Ian’s mom when Linda breaks off her engagement with Ian because she doesn’t want to stand in the way of his happiness. His mother keeps the ring so it will be there when they need it. Trixie realizes what she has to do and goes home to talk to Barbara
Trixie tells Barbara she isn’t going to stand in their way anymore. She and Tom weren’t right for each other and she wants both of them to be happy. Their contrast in this scene is great. Trixie tells Barbara she is too nice, which Barbara said to Trixie when they first met. Also, Trixie is dressed all cute and Barbara looks like a fricking church lady. The episode ends with Trixie helping Barbara get ready for a date with Tom and their new big sister, little sister dynamic is amazing.
Sister Julienne reports to the Turners about what she saw at St. Catherine’s. They go into research mode trying to find a connection between Rhoda Mullocks and Mrs. Cottingham. Despite us knowing it is their morning sickness drug, the Turners make it some god damn compelling. They work late at the office, with brief interruptions from Tim and Angela.
They then go home and keep working into the night after their children have gone to bed. Shelagh tells Patrick (Stephan McGann) they have to call it a night because they have patients in the morning. She also says she loves him the best when he is turning himself into a disheveled mess to help someone. He says his least favorite thing is admitting he doesn’t know something, which is currently where they are in the thalidomide story line.
Mature Jenny (Vanessa Redgrave) is much vaguer this time about how there is still so much to uncover and they still have so much to learn. I really liked this episode. It was a great way to continue the thalidomide story and we don’t get a lot of sole Sister Julienne. I’m also really glad the resolution of the Trixie-Tom-Barbara love feud was mostly about Trixie and Tom sorting out their problems. Hopefully, we get more of the Turners doing their Sherlock and Watson thing this season.
I loved the Christmas Special of Call The Midwife, so much so that I decided I’m going to blog about this season now because I can’t wait until the American airings. (Though I might still do shorter posts during those). If I wanted to get really nitpicky about the Christmas Special, I would say it lacked two things: Trixe and a continuation of the thalidomide story line that was introduced in “Season 4 Episode 8.” This episode made up for that beautifully.
We are dropped back into Poplar shortly before Easter, as Trixie (Helen George) is getting her instructor certification from her Keep Fit class. In a perfectly Trixie way, she talks about how she found the class at a rough time in her life and it helped her make it through and it also helped her loss weight and go up a cup size. So you know, the important things.
Our baby of the week couple is introduced by a kid wearing a spaceman helmet coming to Dr. Turner’s office asking for the morning sickness drug from Shelagh (Laura Main). She gives it to him and he goes home to his mother Rhoda Mullocks. As with the brief introduction of this story line, its continuation was perfect in the most heart wrenching sort of way. Everything was done so subtly and everyone is just trying to help while we know they are all making it worse.
Back at Nonnatus, the nurses are all excited about their new uniforms. All four of them actually bond a bit over it and we get to see a bit of the group dynamic that isn’t shown very often. Also Trixie is trying to push her Keep Fit class on everyone. Patsy (Emerald Fennel) and Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) reluctantly agree to go. Down at lunch, Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) is mad that the nuns are forced to have only bread and butter and they had to give up cake for lent.
Barbara and Tom’s (Jack Ashton) flirtation fest from the Christmas Special is continuing. He left making the Easter bonnets for the Easter parade to the last minute and asks Barbara to help him. I’m not sure how I feel about this story line. I like the idea of Barbara having a love interest. But seriously, Tom? Of all the women in Poplar, you had to go for your ex’s friend? Anyway, they have a lot of cute scenes of making Easter bonnet’s together. Trixie makes faces at them a few times and Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) is forced into a few awkward situations of asking the nurses if it is all right if Tom comes to lunch. This will probably create a fun little story line, but logically I’m just annoyed with Tom. But, Trixie did break up with him, so I’m not sure how I feel.
Everyone is sent out for their rounds. Trixie and Barbara run into a freelance photographer, who follows them around for the day. Patsy is called to the maternity home to deliver Mrs. Mullock’s baby. We know where this is going, but I loved the characters it chose to make a part of this. There are a lot of problems with the delivery and Dr. Turner is out, so Shelagh comes in to help Patsy. Much like the first stillborn we ever saw, Patsy is the first to see our first thalidomide baby. She is better at being a hard-ass this time but still doesn’t know what to do and Shelagh takes over. The baby girl almost dies but Shelagh gets her breathing. She then takes her to the nursery, without saying anything to her mother. I could do a reaction shot of everyone involved because they were all so great. Here are a couple:
While the Turners end up dealing with each other, Patsy is back at Nonnatus alone in her room. Then she has what might be her first one-on-one scene with Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryony Miller) ever. I’m not even sure she ever had one with Cynthia. The way the characters are paired in this episode is great. Sister Mary Cynthia is able to comfort Patsy and tell her everything isn’t going to be as bad as it seems in the moment. She then asks if she is going to Trixie’s Keep Fit class. She does because she thinks it will be for the best. The class goes great and Trixie is pleased.
Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann) stays with the Mullock baby overnight because he thinks she is going to die. She doesn’t and there is a super cute scene of Shelagh coming by to check on him with Angela and finding him reading a medical journal to the baby like a bedtime story. They realize the baby is going to live and they have to break the news to her parents. The dad sneaks away from Dr. Turner, finds his malformed daughter and flips out saying he isn’t going to let “that thing” in his house. With some help from Sister Mary Cynthia, Shelagh is able to introduce the baby to Rhoda much more smoothly. This is also the first Sister Mary Cynthia and Shelagh one-on-one scene despite their character arches mirroring each other.
After Rhoda’s initial shock, which was nothing more than her saying what a mess — about the same thing she said to her son getting paste on the kitchen table — she decides she doesn’t want her daughter sent off to a hospital for tests that aren’t going to change anything and she isn’t putting her in a home. Sister Mary Cynthia gets a lot of great characters moments in this episode. She convinces Rhoda’s husband to stop being such a prick and sews special baby clothes to fit the baby, which Rhoda names Susan. We also find out Sister Mary Cynthia had a disabled brother, who died when she was a child. She tells that to Sister Winfred, who keeping with my season four feelings about her, is kinda a dick about it.
The Mullocks end up all viewing Susan as just another member of the family and it is very sweet. Mature Jenny’s (Vanessa Redgrave) ending voice over about thalidomide seemed a little out of place. She outlined, I’ll admit vaguely, the entire thalidomide issue and what is to come. Mature Jenny has only told us more than what the characters could know once, with the Child’s Migrant Program in first episode of season four, but that story line was never mentioned again. So, it deserved that wrap up. But, this cannot be the last episode about thalidomide, because multiple characters said Susan Mullock was not Poplar’s first case. Maybe this was in reaction to not enough of the fans knowing about thalidomide but even if that was the case this episode was much less vague than the season four episodes about it.
So, to the other great character moments of this episode. Patsy uses her day off to have lunch with Delia (Kate Lamb), who is back in London for more tests. She meets Patsy, who is wearing an amazing dress, at a nice restaurant. Delia then tells her she got her job back at The London.
Patsy voiced my statement, by saying this is too good to be true. And it is because then Mrs. Busby waltzes in and says Delia is still coming back to Wales because she can’t live on her own and her renting a flat, like Patsy suggested, is ridiculous. Patsy looks too nervous to protest further and Delia gives in to her mother’s demands.
Trixie gets in a bit of a stand off with Sister Julienne this episode. It seems the theme of tradition versus modernization is carrying over from the Christmas Special. Trixie gets into trouble when that freelance photographer sells a story about the nurses and Trixie’s Keep Fit class to the local paper. The three young nurses pretty much ignore the first warning. Patsy brings home donuts. Barbara, using her knowledge from being a pastor’s daughter, convinces Sister Monica Joan that the end date of lent can be seen in different ways so it isn’t a sin for her to eat cake. She does and then she goes to the class with the young nurses.
During the class, Trixie helps one of the members who seems to be in serious need of vaginal reconstructive surgery. I’m not going to get into the details of what this lady was doing in terms of DIY care. This show is good at pointing out how long humanity knew nothing about medicine.
Trixies gets chewed out by Sister Julienne for going against Nonnatus traditions. Trixie points out that they are not nuns they are nurses and the world is changing and some women, like the one she helped, know nothing about their own bodies. Trixie gets amazingly feminist and stands up for herself when Sister Julienne almost talks down to her about attending AA and being so focused on Keep Fit. After Trixie tells her it is important to her recovering and educating the women of Poplar, Sister Julienne agrees that maybe a bit of modernization isn’t that bad.
Patsy invites Delia and her mother to Nonnatus’ Easter lunch because it would be the only way for them to see each other before she heads back to Wales. During lunch, the nurses and young nuns are commenting on how great it is that Delia got her old job back and ask where she is going to live. Delia says she can’t stay because she no where to live. Then Sister Julienne, this episode’s unsung hero, says Delia could stay at Nonnatus. This is another incident of my reaction perfectly meeting Patsy’s:
Sister Julienne says, with a nod to Trixie, that it is important for women to look after each other. Mrs. Bubsy agrees and holy shit, Delia is going to be living in Nonnatus! I don’t know if I can express my appreciation for Call The Midwife‘s LGBT representation enough. This show seriously went from almost killing the lesbian to Lost Girl level awesome in the course of like three episodes.
I am so glad this is back. See you next week.
After a quick word from Mature Jenny (voiced by Vanessa Redgrave) about the heat and summertime in Poplar, this episode jumps right in with our baby of the week couple as Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) is delivering a baby for a Christian Science couple.
Over at Dr. Turner’s (Stephan McGann) office, he and Shelagh (Laura Main) are talking about him handling patients from other doctors that are sick. Shelagh is worried he is taking on too much and stressing himself out, which is understandable because most of the time it seems like he is the only doctor in Poplar.
Back at Nonnatus, Trixie (Helen George) is sorting through her engagement gifts and giving Patsy’s (Emerald Fennell) back. To again highlight the miscommunication theme between Trixie and Patsy this season, Trixie is going on about gifts and lipsticks, while Patsy is trying to offer words of encouragement and the hope that Trixie could talk it through with Tom (Jack Ashton). It doesn’t go anywhere. Trixie doesn’t seem like she is ready to face everything yet as she hides from Tom later on.
Outside Barbara (Charlottle Ritchie) spots a rather pregnant and uncomfortable looking woman. She asks if she needs help. Her son runs up tells Barbara she doesn’t speak English and translates for her. The mom says she is fine, but the son says she has been having trouble walking.
Sister Julienne goes to visit the Christian Science family. It has been a week and their baby has been crying constantly. Sister Julienne realizes he might have a broken collarbone, which she thinks happened during the birth.
At the mother house, Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) pops around a corner and tells someone she better get going or she is going to miss the train back to Poplar. And we get our first shot of Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryony Hannah).
She says she is excited to get back to work but nervous about everything else. Sister Evangelina tells her to just trust in god’s plan for her. When Sister Mary Cynthia does arrive at Nonnatus one of the first things she sees is Nurse Krane (Linda Bassett) driving away, just to point out how different everything is going to be. She is greeted by the nuns first, then by Trixie as she is running done the stairs to answer to phone. In her excitement, Trixie forgets and calls her Cynthia. They don’t hug, stand super far apart and then leave each other as Trixie goes for the phone and Sister Mary Cynthia follows Sister Winfred (Victoria Yeates) upstairs. Trixie lingers back for a moment and sadly watches her walk away.
As I have said before the Sister Mary Cynthia story line makes me really uncomfortable. Maybe it is because my personal experience with nuns all involves being yelled at to take off my hat in church. But, I don’t have a problem with nuns when they are spunky older British ladies. Despite all the religion, this show never tries to push one or the other. It is more about supporting everyone’s decision to find their own religion. I want to support Sister Mary Cynthia’s decision, but I hate what it has done to her and Trixie’s relationship.
Speaking of religion, Sister Julienne goes back to see the Christian Science family. The baby is still screaming because the mother didn’t give him the medicine. Christian Scientist don’t belief in medicine and the mother says they are praying for him because that is how you get rid of pain. Even Sister Julienne says that seems a little extreme. She tries to come up with another option.
Barbara is able to track down the foreign lady, Ameera, through her son’s schools. Barbara deals with a bunch of cultural differences and translations.
Back at Nonnatus, Patsy is trying to get Trixie to come out with her, Barabra and Delia (Kate Lamb). Trixie stays behind. She is working on erasing Tom from all her things. In doing so she finds a photo of her and Cynthia. But, when she takes it down the hall to show her, Sister Mary Cynthia is praying. Trixie leaves just before Sister Mary Cynthia notices her and she seems to nervous to follow her.
Ameera and her son come to the clinic. He has to sit on the other side of the curtain to translate. Trixie and Barbara run into a problem because it would be strange for them to ask a 9-year-old to translate everything they need to do, like an internal exam. The son said his mother doesn’t have any female friends because they usually stay behind but she loved his father too much to stay behind. This almost drives Trixie to tears and she finally goes and knocks on Tom’s door in the next scene. They go and talk. Trixie apologies for breaking things off but says he should have a girl who would follow him anywhere.
Fred (Cliff Parisi) thinks he might know someone who could translate for Ameera. Barbara goes with him to find her. She splits off and does. Fred stays behind to speak with Violet (Annabelle Apsion), who owns the buttons, ribbons, fabric store. He invites her to come join the Citizen Defense Core.
Christian Science Mom takes her baby to see Dr. Turner and he says the baby will have to go to hospital for a broken leg. Dr. Turner and the doctors at The London start to think it might be child abuse. The dad gets rather pissed. Dr. Turner brings his concerns to Sister Julienne. They speak to child protective services and the baby is taken into protective custody. The parents question each other about it later and Dr. Turner feels terrible. They both can’t explain what happened to their baby.
The baby’s foster mother ends up bringing him into Dr. Turner’s office with another injury. Dr. Turner realizes it is brittle bone disease and takes the baby to the hospital. Dr. Turner and Shelagh realizes what has been done to the Christian Science couple. Dr. Turner has a bit of a freak out on the way home, which is inter-cut with Trixie finding more photos of Tom and taking a drink from the bottle she has been glancing at all episode. To be expected, Shelagh handles the situation the best.
Sister Julienne and Dr. Turner have to go apologize to the Christian Science parents. The dad is still rather pissed. Dr. Turner then goes back to his office, but has a bit of a freak out while he is checking on Fred’s back. Fred makes jokes about some war memories. It has been a while since the show has mentioned it, but Dr. Turner suffered a mental breakdown after his stint as a medic during the war. Fred gets Shelagh to go help. She decides he needs to go home and she and Patsy handle his patients. Everyone keeps thinking Shelagh is just the receptionist so she goes and changes into a nurse uniform, which is a great visual contrast between her and Sister Mary Cynthia. This is the first time we have seen Shelagh is a nurse’s uniform.
Sister Julienne helps the Christian Science Mom once the baby gets back. She doesn’t seem to fully understand the situation and says he will be cured with enough prayer. Sister Julienne doesn’t say anything and realizes how strong belief can be sometimes. She tells this to Shelagh, when she voices her concerns about not knowing how to help Dr. Turner believe in his abilities again. He finally realizes once he sees his living room filled with presents that people have been dropping off and some encouragement from Tim.
The lady Fred knows is able to translate and Barbara is able to do a full check up on Ameera. She brings food to Nonnatus to thank her for the medical help and spending time with her. Ameera gets sick later and Barbara and Sister Mary Cynthia go to help her. Sister Mary Cynthia goes to fetch Dr. Turner after an ambulance doesn’t arrive. He is able to save her and stop the outbreak from spreading. He thanks Shelagh for helping him when she arrives to help. At the end of the episode, Ameera is at the clinic getting a check up with all the other mothers.
The Turners haven’t been getting that much screen time so far this season, so it was nice to have an episode devoted mostly to them.