Well, this was an emotionally draining episode. There have only been a few times when it seems like something happy might happen at the end but then Mature Jenny swoops in and says, ‘nope, keep crying.’
But let’s not focus on that or this:
And focus more on this:
So, female genital mutilation, the Cuban Mission Crisis and Sister Mary Cynthia’s forced institutionalization, let’s get into it shall we.
We start with Fred (Cliff Parisi) finding Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) outside the gates of Linchmere, the hospital Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryonny Hannah) is in. Inside, Sister Mary Cynthia is being taken for ECT again. The nurse commends her for not fighting them anymore but she tells them she is too tired.
Fred bring Sister Monica Joan back to Nonnatus and she tells Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) that she is fasting until they know Sister Mary Cynthia is receiving better care.
Elsewhere in Poplar, a pregnant Somalian mother starts having pains and sends her husband out to call for help. Valerie (Jennifer Kirby) gets the call and brings her to the clinic, which she has never attended despite being late in her pregnant. Valerie starts to examine Nadifa, who is incredibly nervous. Valerie does the normal “I need a more senior midwife” face and looks to Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie).
Barbara asks if she has had surgery and Nadifa tells she was just cut like all the girls were. The midwifes go talk to Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann), who doesn’t know what it is but says he’ll look into it.
Back at Linchmere, Sister Mary Cynthia is taken to the general ward, a ‘reward’ since she is improving. But, her bible gets stolen, she isn’t allowed to pray at normal times and her habit gets lost in the wash for a while. One of the nurse is not the worst to her and finds it for her. Sister Mary Cynthia tells her it is too important to who she is and she is even more lost without it.
The Cuban Missile Crisis is woven in nicely throughout the episode. Early on Trixie (Helen George) and Fred are listening to the new on the wireless. The Turners are discussing it over breakfast while packing up their house. Christopher Dockerill (Jack Hawkins), the hot dentist from last week, comes around looking for Trixie. He almost gets turned away by Sister Monica Joan before Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) appears to save him.
She later finds Trixie and tells her about her gentleman caller. Trixie is nervous about doing anything with him but Nurse Crane tells her to not let fear stop her. When everyone starts losing faith that President Kennedy will make a deal with the Soviets, Trixie calls him and asks him to go out with her.
Sister Julienne and Sister Monica Joan are able to go visit Sister Mary Cynthia. She tells them she thinks she’ll do better at home. Sister Julienne is able to get her discharged to Nonnatus and brings her back.
At first she doesn’t want anyone else to see her so she can rest. Trixie sadly understands and asks Sister Julienne to give her nice soap that she has been saving. Sister Julienne says it might be too fancy but Trixie tells her to do it anyway. I love Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia’s friendship and I love that Sister Julienne doesn’t really get it in that moment.
Dr. Turner finds out what female genital mutilation is and tells the everyone. Everyone is horrified and Trixie is a tad confused that they have never encountered it before. Dr. Turner says its use depends on the country. Valerie volunteers to take Nadifa to St. Cuthbert’s where she is seen by that doctor that talked down to Delia the other week. He might be the “oh god, another one” doctor from 5.4. Anyway, he has bad bedside manner and scares off Nadifa.
Valerie goes to her flat but she doesn’t answer the door. She had been told to call the doctor as soon as she went into labor because they don’t think she will be able to give birth without surgery. A little while later, Barbara runs into Deka, her younger sister who wants to become a nurse. Barbara brings her to Nonnatus, shows her her equipment and gives her supplies for her sister. Valerie walks her home.
They find Nadifa in labor. She starts having flashbacks to when she was cut, Valerie calms her down and has Deka call an ambulance. They don’t make it very far before Valerie has them stop and is forced to deliver the baby, by pretty much cutting it out. That was a rather graphic and horrifying birth.
The baby gets delivered safely and a blood-covered and rather freaked out Valerie gets cleaned up by Delia (Kate Lamb) at the hospital.
Valerie goes to speak with Nadifa afterward. She was is freaked out by what the doctor might have done to repair her and says she wants her husband to be happy. Valerie goes to figure out what happened.
Fred, Trixie and Barbara watch the television at the shop by the archway and hear the news that the world is on the brink of nuclear war. We then have a montage of all the couples being together.
Expect for Delia, who is just looking at a picture of Patsy hidden in her book.
Trixie is on a date with Christopher and it seems to be going well despite her being all nervous about dating again. She also seems a little intimidate by the sports car and the doctor status. He seems to use that to his advantage and kisses her.
Which seems more forward than Trixie usually is. Maybe it is just because I like Trixie so much more than Barbara, but I am not as bothered by this kiss than all the making out with Barbara and Tom despite Patsy and Delia still not having an onscreen kiss. The next morning Trixie is peering off into the distance (was that implying she had sex? Did she sleep with Christopher in his car?) and waiting for someone to get out of the restroom. When the door opens she turns around her finds herself face to face with Sister Mary Cynthia.
Sister Mary Cynthia has been struggling to adjust back to Nonnatus, telling Sister Julienne she thought it would be better there but she has been having problems since she got back from the Mother House in season four. She thought it would get better as she got closer to taking her life vows but it hasn’t.
Trixie tells her she should have demanded to go see her. Sister Mary Cynthia tells her the soap and the letter she sent with it was more than enough. Trixie gives her words of encouragement about making it through the bleakest days with a fashion analogy. This is also the most glamorous and 1960s Trixie looks all episode. I love their relationship so much.
Next we see Sister Mary Cynthia, she is speaking with Dr. Turner about a hospital she could go to. He tells her about a nice, gentle place that he once attended. It was also the place he initially suggested before Sister Ursula messed up everything. He said the people there walked the path back with him and he thinks they can do the same for her.
Despite being amazing medical professionals, the Turners don’t do so well with their move. The moving truck accidentally took their belongs to Kent and they gave the electronic company the wrong date. So they spent the first night in their new house in sleeping bags by candlelight.
Trixie goes on another date with Christopher. He brings out two glasses of baby cham for them. Trixie hesitates and then uses the excuse that she is on call to not drink. Last episode, I said he understands Trixie better than Tom ever did, but I think he is only getting the outward appearance of Trixie. And she hasn’t been that silly party girl in a very long time.
Valerie and Barbara go to Nadifa’s to visit her. She is still mad about what the male doctor did to her. Valerie asks where Deka is and she tells them she went back to Somaliland because ‘it was her time.’ Valerie starts to go off at her about how she could let that happen to her. Nadifia starts yelling at her back about how it being the way things are done in her country and how men are not a part of the process. Barbara basically pulls Valerie out of there and they go running to the docks. Deka is waving at them from the ship, saying she’ll see them after her holiday.
I am really glad we didn’t end there. Dr. Turner and Sister Mary Cynthia, in her dress she left Nonnatus in the 2014 Christmas Special in, arrive at the hospital Dr. Turner went to. They are greeted by a kind nurse, who knows Dr. Turner. The nurse says she goes by Barry and asks Sister Mary Cynthia what she would like to go called. She tells her that if it is alright she’d like to go by her name, which is Cynthia.
Thank you for being amazing, Bryonny Hannah or this episode would have ended terribly. Oh and nuclear war didn’t happen, but nobody hugged Delia when they were told the news. It doesn’t look like Patsy is going to back next week but the Mullocks are.
This was an emotional roller coaster ride of an episode. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard, been so scared that a character might die and been so upset all in a single episode of television. Bryony Hannah hit a whole new level with Sister Mary Cynthia and the lesbians reacting to a misogynistic comment is my new favorite screen grab from this show.
This episode deals with multiple different layers of misogyny. The first is a rather handsy old man at the senior luncheon Nonnatus is hosting. Trixie (Helen George) warns Barbara (Charlotte Richtie) to watch out for the butt grabber, but he already got her and Shelagh (Laura Main). Shelagh, Tim (Max MacMillian) and Pasty (Emerald Fennell) seem to be scheming about something and not telling Dr. Turner (Stephan McGann), who fall asleep on the couch inside. Our baby of the week is introduced by Thora coming by to drop off food. She is rather pregnant, but has not seen any of the midwives. She tells them she is going to do a hospital birth for her fifth child.
Barbara and Tom (Jack Asthon) are walking home from their date, where they saw a movie with Christian overtones that they think would be good to take the Sunday school class to. That was a small but great contrast with Patsy and Delia (Kate Lamb), who picked their date night movie so they could oogle at the leading lady. Barbara and Tom have a ridiculously cute moment over a lollipop and kiss.
They are then interrupted by a injured woman, screaming for help. They take Lizzie back to Tom’s place as Barbara cleans her up and says they should call the police because she was attacked by a man, who bit her on the neck. She doesn’t want to call the police because she doesn’t want to get a soliciting charge. Nice judgmental face, Tom. Barbara says that will not matter. But, Lizzie doesn’t believe her and leaves to go home to her kids.
Barbara goes back to Nonnatus and expresses her concerns to Patsy and Delia, who aren’t sure what she should do since Lizzie is refusing to talk to the police. Then Trixie comes home. She apparently has been telling everyone she has been taking an art history class on Tuesday evenings while she has been going to AA. Delia comments that she must be emotional about art history since her makeup is running. Patsy seems to be piecing it together.
This might be the dorkiest Turner episode ever. Tim and Shelagh make a huge dinner, with folded napkins, for Dr. Turner to tell him they are going for a week-long camping holiday. Shelagh has found a fill-in doctor for the surgery and the Nonnatans agreed to help if needed.
As they are getting ready to leave, Shelagh is showing the replacement around. I’m just going to call this guy Dr. Asshat because the first thing he does is talk down Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) and call her old. Patrick runs in because he can’t get the kids and the tents in the car on his own. Nurse Crane tells him to go pick up her car rack at Nonnatus.
And this leads to the great scene of Patsy, Trixie and Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates) trying to not laugh at Dr. Turner in shorts and socks and sandals struggling to secure tents to the car. Fred (Cliff Parisi) complements the shorts and says he has a similar pair and everyone nearly loses it.
It is raining when they reach the campsite and they struggle to get everything set up. Patrick and Tim set up the kids tent that quickly collapses and Shelagh is trying to lite a fire from under one of the waterproof sheets from a home delivery kit. Shelagh and Dr. Turner have an absurdly cute moment in their tent before Tim and Angela’s collapses on them and they have to join them. About everything that can go wrong does. Dr. Turner fails to leave work back in Poplar, Angela is afraid of squirrels, their tent has holes in it and it is raining.
They stay for a few days and then Dr. Turner decides they are checking into a nearby hotel.
Barbara brings her concerns about the attacker to Sgt. Noakes (Ben Chaplan), who tells her he can’t do anything since the victim will not talk and she could also be arrested since she was soliciting. Knowing that this episode was going to be about violence against women and a sexual batterer in Poplar, Judith, who has a screaming newborn, seemed like she was only included to be the next victim. And she was while she was walking her baby at night to try to get him to stop crying.
Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) notices she has a bite mark on her neck and tries to get her to go to the police. She doesn’t want to because from her lack of sleep and stress she had walked away from her baby’s pram when she was attacked. Barbara and Sgt. Noakes try to get Lizzie to talk but she doesn’t. He then enlists Fred and the Citizen’s Defense Core, who are kinda jerks about it.
Thora’s story line comes back around when we find out she isn’t actually pregnant but her teenage daughter, Diane, is. Thora is planning to deliver the baby herself and then raise it as her’s so nobody finds out her daughter got pregnant from a one night stand. Diane’s water breaks while they are working at their fish stand on the docks. Thora is able to deliver the baby but Diane is still in pain. Her mother panics and goes to call Nonnatus. Dr. Asshat, who is staying at Nonnatus and still making misogynistic comments at Nurse Crane much to the distaste of Patsy, Delia and Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt), answers the phone.
Thora asks for Trixie, but Dr. Asshat says he, as a doctor, is more qualified. He thinks Thora is one of the midwives and gives her some medical tips. Thora goes back but does them wrong. Trixie runs down because she heard the phone ring and asks who it was. He tells her it was one of her colleagues and he gave her advice. Trixie knows nobody is out and goes to get Sister Mary Cynthia to come with her.
They find Thora freaking out and Diane in incredible pain because Thora pulled on her umbilical cord too hard and nearly tore out her womb. Thora breaks down and says what they were trying to do as Trixie helps Diane. Sister Mary Cynthia goes to phone an ambulance. I seriously screamed when someone approaches her but it was just Fred and the CDC watch.
They get Diane to the hospital. Trixie says she will follow and Sister Mary Cynthia says she is going to clean up the mess in the flat and then go home. So, I had heard all the rumors and speculation about this episode that is was either going to kill off Trixie, because of the funeral-looking behind the scenes picture, or Sister Mary Cynthia, so Delia can become a midwife. And as if the episode knew I was freaking out like that, Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia both go cycling through Poplar in the dark.
Trixie makes it to the hospital, where Diane is OK and Thora is beating herself up about what she did to her daughter all because she was worried about what people would think. She realizes she shouldn’t be ashamed and keeping secrets never causes any good. Hint, hint, Trixie. Later on, Thora tells her daughter she has nothing to be ashamed of and gives her her son.
Sister Mary Cynthia, who was had a brief moment of faith questioning earlier, goes to pray at the docks in an incredibly beautifully shot scene. Then she is grabbed from behind and I yelled really loud. We come back to a horrible wide shot of her laying, beaten on docks. The moment lingers long enough for me to think she was dead but then she moves and gets up. She walks back to Nonnatus and is meet by Trixie, who tries to hug her but she yells for her not to touch her.
The episode takes a huge turn and is so upsetting. Sister Mary Cynthia says it is her fault for stopping at the docks. Trixie is nearly crying when she tells her it isn’t her fault. Sister Julienne and Barbara come down and Sister Mary Cynthia yells at them too when Sister Julienne tries to touch her. Barbara runs off to call Sgt. Noakes.
Bryony Hannah is so fantastic. We have gotten strong-willed Sister Mary Cynthia/Cynthia before but in five seasons we have never seen angry Cynthia and I didn’t realize that until this episode. The amount of anger and hatred in her voice as she explains to Sister Julienne that she had stopped to pray and it was the closest she has felt to god in a long time was amazing and so hard to listen to.
She doesn’t want to talk to Sgt. Noakes and goes to take a bath. She passes Patsy and Trixie in the hall. Patsy tells her she should be resting and Trixie says she shouldn’t bathe because she needs to be examined. She ignores them and closes the door on them. Trixie then resorts to just pleading with her to not lock it because she was knocked unconscious earlier.
That interaction was great. Sister Mary Cynthia wasn’t wearing a veil or anything. We haven’t seen her without one since the 2014 Christmas Special, which was also the last time we saw the three of them together in a Nonnatus hallway.
Sister Mary Cynthia fills the bath tub but can’t get herself to get into it. Sister Monica Joan walks in and doesn’t say anything. Sister Mary Cynthia then starts to cry and let’s Sister Monica Joan help her. She tells her there are times to be ashamed of the flesh but also times to celebrate its strength. Later on, Sister Mary Cynthia comes down to a somber lunch, says she isn’t afraid like the other women were and goes to talk to Sgt. Noakes. She is able to describe tattoos the guy had, which leads to Sgt. Noakes finding and arresting him.
Sister Mary Cynthia is examined by Dr. Turner, who came home early because Dr. Asshat is terrible, and then given a shot by Barbara, though I wish it would have been Trixie. Sister Mary Cynthia tells her she thought god had betrayed her but then realizes he was testing her strength.
So with all the talk of secrets and strength and shame, I thought one or both of the big secrets — Trixie’s AA meetings and Patsy and Delia’s relationship — was going to be revealed. Earlier, Patsy returned to her room in her pajamas telling Trixie she thought she would already be out. Trixie asks her where she was. Patsy nervously says Delia’s room and lies that she was teaching her a new card game.
The episode ends with Patsy and Delia clearly coming home from a date. They were standing super close and I thought Trixie, who is coming down the hall, was going to see them kiss. They don’t and Delia asks if she is heading to art history. Trixie decides to give up her lie and tells them she has been going to AA. They tell her they are proud of her. She walks off and they keep their secret to themselves.
This is a very long post, but this episode was so great. The humor was fantastic, the attacks were well done and I’m really glad it didn’t kill anyone.
Being that this is our first episode with Sister Mary Cynthia (Byronny Hannah) in the entire thing, we start with Mature Jenny (Vanessa Redgrave) talking about how nursing is about entwining your life with strangers’ and the religious life is about pulling away from it. She says she never would have chosen it but can understand why some people do.
Everyone is getting ready to go on rounds in the morning, when Tim (Max Macmillion) arrives with the insulin from Dr. Turner’s (Stephan McGann) office. Nurse Krane (Linda Bassett) and Trixie (Helen George) complain about the number of diabetics in Poplar and Nurse Krane leaves says she is going to handle it.
She gets out to her car and sees that her hubcaps were stolen. She then goes over and scolds Peter (Ben Chaplan) and Fred (Cliff Parisi), who were chatting nearby. She blames it on “that gypsy camp” who apparently steal lots of lead.
She then arrives at Paulette’s (Nell Hudson) house. She is 17 and one of the youngest cases of diabetes. Nurse Krane says she is going to teach Paulette and her mother how to do the injections herself.
We then pop over to “that gypsy camp” with Peter. The first guy they met is rather mean to them. Peter sees a few babies, one only three days old, before he takes the man’s hints to leave.
Over at the clinic, Patsy (Emerald Fennell) is hanging up a flier for a dance when we finally see her secret girlfriend Delia (Kate Lamb) again. Delia has been getting mentioned a bit but she hasn’t actually appeared since her introductory episode. Delia takes a flier for the dance to put at at the nurses’ home. The dance is a fundraiser for the cubs to go a field trip to Norfolk. Patsy and Delia are both cute and subtly flirting.
Then Sister Evangelina makes her re-entrance by bursting in and barking orders at Patsy and about a minute later is butting heads with Nurse Krane. And it continues during dinner. Peter is there and tells them about the camp and the young mother and baby he saw. Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) thinks they should send someone over.
Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia go together. They are being both ignored and watched by everyone, until someone finally comes outside in the rain to speak with them. Trixie disappears from this story line eventually, so it is the first solo story line for Sister Mary Cynthia. I haven’t really warmed up to Cynthia as a nun yet and this story line would have made me really uncomfortable, but it didn’t because Maria Doyle Kennedy!
Sister Mary Cynthia follow Attracta (Oi, oi Mrs. S). She tells them a midwife wasn’t needed because she has always delivered all the babies in the family since her grandmother stopped. She is also rather pregnant. The young mother, Rita, invites them inside to see the baby, who is fine.
Back at Nonnatus, the nurses are in the party room and talking about the square dance. Trixie is slightly annoyed that a square dance is her weekend plans, Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) is trying to figure out what to wear, Pasty suggests plaid, which of course, she has a lot of.
Paulette sneaks out of her house and starts kissing a boy in the street, who is her boyfriend and an ex-con on probation. He then walks away and finds out his little brother and his friends stole Nurse Krane’s hubcaps. Nurse Krane comes over the next day and realizes Paulette isn’t just sick from her diabetes, she is also pregnant. Nurse Krane then has to tell Paulette and her mother. Her mom doesn’t take it too well and calls her a slut. Nurse Krane stands up for Paulette.
Dr. Turner comes in and says the safest route would be a medically inducted abortion. Paulette doesn’t want to do that and runs out. Paulette and her boyfriend, Vaughan (Sam Giffins), decided to keep it and get engaged. After being rejected by Paulette’s mother but supported by Nurse Krane, Vaughn goes to Nonnatus to give back the hubcaps. He doesn’t think Nurse Krane will believe that he didn’t steal them but she does. They get talking. Vaughn says he doesn’t want his child born a bastard because that is no way to start life. Nurse Krane ensures him you can get past that because she was born out-of-wedlock. Paulette gets taken to the hospital, because her mother forced her too. Vaughn comes to get Paulette and they run away.
As kids from Poplar, they don’t do very well camping in the woods trying to get to Vaughn’s cousin’s house. Paulette almost dies during the night. Vaughn knows he has to do something, even if it means they will loss the baby. So, he steals a car and gets help back in Poplar.
Attracta’s grandmother is sick and she is trying her best to care for her herself so she doesn’t end up in the hospital. Sister Mary Cynthia ends up looking after the baby and helping with the grandmother. Sister Mary Cynthia tries to get Attracta to go to the maternity home because it is her 11th child. She tries to refuse her help saying she can do it by herself, but she isn’t that forceful about it.
Sister Mary Cynthia arrives back at the camp a few days later as Peter and the other police constables are trying to serve an eviction notice because of a new law. There is a tiny moment in here between Sister Mary Cynthia and Peter. She stands up to him, telling him she knows his job in important but so is hers and the camp can’t move right now. Peter reluctantly agrees and helps her get through the almost rioting crowd.
Attracta goes into labor and shortly after the baby is delivered successfully, her grandmother dies. But before she did, she got the strength to walk over and see her great-grandchild. It was all very cute and heartwarming.
Delia and Nurse Krane join in on the square dance pre-gaming with Trixie, Barbara and Patsy. There are a bunch of super cute dancing scenes mixed with Vaughn doing everything he can to save Paulette. He brings her to the maternity home and Sister Evangelina sends him to the dance to fetch Dr. Turner.
Then there is a very cute and sad scene as Delia tells Patsy she wants to dance with her without half of Poplar there so they can do it properly. Patsy says there isn’t a place they ever could. Delia says there has to be somewhere and until they find it they will just have to dance together in their heads.
Vaughn then runs in and Dr. Turner and Nurse Krane follow him out. The police find the car Vaughn stole and he is sent to jail. He calls Nurse Krane to find out if Paulette is OK and for her to stand up as his witness in court. Paulette’s mom seems to change her mind about the situation after seeing everything Vaughn did to protect her.
There are also two cute, little story lines that are fun but not that important. Violet (Annabelle Apsion), the love interest they introduced for Fred last week, has joined the Citizen’s Defense Core. They have another cute scene and we are told they have both been widowed. He also takes her to the dance.
And the Turners are being adorable as always. Shelagh (Laura Main) is running around doing a bunch of things, including ordering clothing labels for Tim’s new grammar school uniform. He wants to wear pants instead of shorts, but Shelagh got him shorts and he is too nervous to stay anything to her. He tells Dr. Turner, he is adorable about it and Tim gets uniform pants.
I really liked this episode. Paulette and Vaughn are pretty high up on my list of favorite baby of the week couples, the dance was adorable and, of course, the Patsy and Delia scenes and Maria Doyle Kennedy were fantastic.