Call the Midwife Season 8 Episode 4 Recap: Caught Out

We’re halfway through the season already! Can you believe it?

Let’s start with the warm-and-fuzzies pars of the episode.

First: Crane and Wolff go on a date! To an art gallery! Except it doesn’t seem like Crane quite understands that this was a date, so I guess the slow burn on that one continues to, uh, burn slowly.

Also, there’s a mother-daughter pair: Cilla (the daughter) and Enid (the mother). Both are pregnant, which Enid finds somewhat mortifying. Equally mortifying is the fact that Cilla’s husband is (gasp!) an Indian immigrant. This has clearly caused a rupture between mother and daughter, who don’t even speak when they’re standing right next to each other at the clinic.

Cilla’s happy in her marriage, which is lovely, and refuses to be shamed by her racist mother. She and her husband are trying to save up so they can have a place of their own (they’re currently rooming with several other Indian men), but Pardeep’s discovering that his boss is about as racist as his mother-in-law.

Both women find themselves in the maternity home at the same time, waging a petty war from across the ward. But then Cilla winds up with toxemia, which her mother knows is VERY BAD INDEED, because she had it as well, when Cilla was born. Cilla is delivered of a son, and the whole situation worries her mother so much a magical reconciliation is inevitable. Look at that, she’s not racist anymore! She then gives birth to a daughter, with Cilla at her side, and her husband gets Pardeep a better job as a bus driver.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Not so happily ever after though… Well, brace yourselves.

Trixie has this friend, Jeannie, whose life is just where she wants it to be. She has two little boys (and that older one, who’s maybe two, is super cute!), a loving husband, a part-time job, and a new house she and the family are getting ready to move into. She’s even the star of Trixie’s Keep Fit class, which is preparing to host some sort of Jamboree.

So what does she not need? Another baby, that’s what. She had her life planned out, and she was using birth control, so this comes as quite a shock. She goes to Turner, asking for a termination, but he explains that that’s illegal and he can’t help her. So, she goes the route of Cath and seeks out a back-alley abortionist.

It goes even worse for her than it did for Cath. A couple of days later, she begins spiking a serious fever and then becomes unresponsive. Her freaked-out husband immediately calls for Turner, who realises what happened and sends for an ambulance. He does all he can, but she dies on the way to hospital.

It falls to Sgt Wolff to follow up this sad case. He questions Trixie, who gives a whole impassioned speech about how horrible it is that they can’t do anything to help these women, except smile and pat them on the head and tell them to buck up, it’ll be fine. Except it’s not always fine, is it?

The Jamboree goes on, without Jeannie. Everyone looks a bit like they want to cry, but the show, it does go on.

I have to take a moment to commend CtM for not taking the easy route with these abortion storylines. It would have been easy for them to make this a totally black-and-white issue, in which the women were seeking abortions because they were suffering from abuse or serious poverty, or something of that nature. But they didn’t.

These women were seeking abortions for reasons that many might consider selfish: these pregnancies did not fit into their life plans. It’s the sort of reason that usually provokes a lot of debate, but the fact of the matter is, women should be able to determine the course of their lives. We’re not walking wombs, and when precautions are taken and things go wrong, well, should we be condemned to either deadly danger or bearing an unwanted child? Should the child be brought into the world unwanted? It’s a more provocative way of going about the question, so well done, show.

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