Welcome back, everybody! Are we all enjoying our own big freeze?
Proving that history does, in fact, repeat itself, the good people of Poplar are enjoying quite the snowy setting. It’s still the brutal winter of 62-63, and there just aren’t enough hot water bottles or Horlicks on earth to make this bearable. To add to the misery, everyone’s experiencing rolling power cuts. Fun!
In an effort to keep Sister MJ busy, Julienne sets her the task of checking when power cuts are going to hit their district, so they can plan around them, but when she misses one cut, poor MJ dissolves into tears and frustration over her fast-deteriorating mind.
And on that sad note, let’s turn to the depressing storyline of the hour: Ruth Gelin. She’s a lovely-seeming lady who escaped the Nazis with her husband back in the 30s and then settled in Poplar, where they bought their own house. The husband, Arnold, is wonderful too, and seems to be gearing up for the Bake Off. His strudel looks amazing. These two are in a bit of a pickle because the whole street’s been marked for demolition. They’re the only ones who haven’t moved, because they’re owner-occupiers, which makes it pretty hard for the council to chuck them out. There’s also the fact that Ruth has bowel cancer that’s metastasized, so there’s no way she’s going to be able to move anywhere anytime soon. Nurse Crane and Turner are attending to her.
The other houses on the block are coming down, and the road’s blocked off, but that’s not about to stop Crane, of course, because she’s 110% awesome and NOTHING stops Crane, not even that asshole sergeant, Wolff, who I guess is the new Noakes? It seems a bit strange that both Chummy and Noakes, who were both such important, integral parts of the show, vanished without so much as a comment by anyone else. I mean, even Patsy and Delia got a brief mention by Sister Julienne (apparently they’re on some kind of around-the-world trip. Or something.)
At last, the Gelin house is the last to go, but Ruth is in her final hours, so Crane has a word with Wolff and tells him the situation. He finally shows a human side, backs down immediately, tells the workers to stop what they’re doing and repair the phone line (so Ruth can speak to her son in America, if he telephones) and sits by to wait.
It’s not a long wait. Arnold gives his wife the most unbelievable, heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching goodbye speech you have ever heard in your life, and if you didn’t start bawling at this point, then you are made of STONE. Not joking. Ruth passes away, with her husband and daughter by her side, and afterward is treated to the full funeral honours, despite the fact that neither she nor Arnold were active in their local synagogue. It’s implied that Wolff had something to do with this, and when Arnold gives Crane a thank-you-for-all-you’ve-done strudel, she takes half of it to Wolff at the police station.
Ok, dry your eyes, folks, that’s the gut-punch out of the way.
There’s a new midwife! Let’s welcome Lucille, who’s from the West Indies and is our very first midwife of colour. Progressive! I’m sure she’ll come slamming right up against the harsh wall of social injustice and racism really soon, but for now, she’s just battling terrible weather (which stranded her on a train for 14 hours) and a UTI. Rough intro to life in Poplar, Lucille. But this girl’s got gumption, and I like her.
Our Mum o’the Week is Nadine, who works as a stripper. Now, you’d think that her present condition might be something of a detriment in that line of work, but she’s cleverly found a way around it by hiding her giant belly in a big fur coat and basically just giving the men tantalising glimpses of thigh. That doesn’t suit her employer, though, who tells her to take her baby bump and scram.
She relocates to Poplar, where routine tests reveal she’s Rhesus negative, which can cause problems in second and subsequent pregnancies. No problems here, though, as this is her first baby.
Except: it’s not. When she goes into labour she confesses to Trixie that she had another pregnancy terminated, so this is just her first live birth. Jesus, Nadine! They ask these questions for a reason!
To add to the complications, the baby’s breech.
Poor Lucille has to be dragged out of her sickbed to go assist, and she’s a total champ. Nadine gives birth to a baby girl, whom she names Elizabeth because it sounds proper and is the sort of name you can go far on. It’s certainly better than my idiot in-laws, who named their daughter Lzzy (no, that’s not a typo) because they don’t know how vowels work.
The baby winds up with jaundice and has to go to the hospital, but ultimately she’s fine, and Nadine decides to keep her and sells her mink coat to buy a dancing school. All’s well that ends well!
The only loose end left to tie up is Trixie. Now that Lucille’s in place she and Christopher can go off on their skiing holiday! Which is clearly also going to be a sex holiday, something she seems only to be realising now! And that freaks Trixie out, especially since apparently his poisonous ex is already calling her a whore. Trixie hems and haws, but for some reason the birth of Nadine’s baby convinces her to throw caution and virginity to the wind and just head off into the Swiss sunset with her handsome dentist. Not sure how an illegitimate and rather fraught birth to a woman already struggling to make ends meet managed to do that, but it’s Call the Midwife, and we don’t ask too many questions, eh?
Fun fact! Helen George, who plays Trixie, was pregnant during the filming of this season (and Jack Ashton, who plays Tom Hereward, is the dad!) so expect to see some rather sneaky belly-conceals. Bring on the bulky jumpers, bags, and cloaks!