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.