Call the Midwife: A Place of Safety

Call_the_Midwife_has_swapped_cosiness_for_serious_social_issues___and_is_all_the_better_for_itPreviously on Call the Midwife: Trixie apparently started developing alcoholism following her failed engagement to Tom, Fred proposed to Violet Gee, and Patsy and Delia dreamt of a life together.

Patsy and Trixie get ready for their day while JVO talks about how mirrors see everything: our hopes, our dreams, our disappointments.

Fred brings Violet to Nonnatus for an engagement celebration, she wondering if she was being too extravagant bringing cut flowers. He tells her to just relax. She admits she’s nervous and he reassures her that Nonnatus is just one big happy family.

Inside, a chimney is smoking. Evangelina says that Fred hasn’t been seeing to it as he should, and now it’s blocked. MJ guesses it’s blocked by a bird’s nest. Evangelina pokes away and gets a faceful of soot for her trouble. MJ tries not to laugh. Julienne goes to let Fred and Violet in and accepts the flowers with a ‘how extravagant!’ comment. Violet gives Fred an, ‘I told you!’ look.

In the dining room, Winifred sets down an engagement cake and Trixie immediately zooms in on the fact that it’s using the same cake board that was employed for her engagement cake. Winifred says they couldn’t throw it out, since it cost money and all. Barbara reassures Trixie that it won’t bring the new couple bad luck. Trixie still looks alarmed.

Chummy! She’s outside in a car, playing ‘this little piggy’ with her little boy, who’s about to embark on a trip to his grandparents’ with Noakes. There’s some talk of potty training and the fact that Chummy’s doing a fortnight’s course at the London. She bids them both farewell and steps out of the car. Noakes reminds her to take a cake tin that’s on the floor of the back seat, they exchange ‘I love you’s’ and he sets off.

Inside Nonnatus. Fred and Mrs Gee cut their cake and answer questions about the wedding. Violet says it’ll be soon, once her son gets leave from the Navy. Winifred asks if Fred’s daughters are coming. One is living in Australia, so not her, but Marlene is in Birmingham, so she might make it. They haven’t heard one way or the other yet.

Chummy rings and is let in by MJ, who happily greets her and is equally happy to see the cake tin. She pops it open, but instead of cake she finds the urn with Chummy’s mother’s ashes inside. She quietly replaces the lid and suggests they’re a comfort to Chummy. ‘Yes and no,’ Chummy responds before going to join the others.

It’s clinic day. A blonde woman is there with a toddler. Another woman named Carole comes in and greets her and gives her a name, Maureen. They exchange pleasantries, Carole has a brand-new baby and Maureen is pregnant again. They talk about the pill. Carole pulls out some baby food for her kid, who seems really, really young to be on solids. I know they weaned earlier back then, but that baby looks like he’s only a couple of months old. She chatters about what’s in the baby food, and Maureen vomits right into her purse.

Marlene’s here, strolling up the street, greeting everyone. She arrives at Fred’s flat and greets her dad with a hug. He asks if he heard about his engagement and the smile vanishes from her face immediately as she says she did. I guess she’s not here to RSVP to the nuptials in person.

Maureen is being seen by Evangelina. She’s a bit better now and tells Evangelina that a tea leaf in her tea that morning brought on the sickness. Oh dear. She’s been like this since she first got pregnant. Barbara returns with Maureen’s handbag, all cleaned out, and a cup of tea. Maureen asks her to put the tea elsewhere. Barbara offers her a mint, which she accepts.

That evening, Chummy goes to visit Trixie before bed and finds her whipping up egg whites for a protein mask. She offers some to Chummy, who slathers some on as well.

Marlene pokes around her dad’s flat while Fred fetches some tea. When he returns, she asks where her dad plans to live after he and Violet marry. They’re moving into Violet’s place, which upsets Maureen. He explains that it’s handier, since she lives over her shop. Marlene obnoxiously tells him he hasn’t thought this through, and she’s going to stay until he does.

Chummy talks about her mother, who told her in her last moments to look after her face and don’t worry about anything else. Chummy says she has to find a place to scatter her mother’s ashes, but she doesn’t have a clue where to take her.

The next day, Trixie goes to visit an expectant mother at one of the new tower blocks. The woman doesn’t hear her come in, and Trixie realizes that it’s because the mother’s deaf. The woman manages to ask Trixie if she’d like some tea, and Trixie accepts.

After tea, they go into the woman’s bedroom for a checkup. Trixie tries asking questions, but this isn’t working well, so she writes them down. Seems the woman’s recently moved to London from Manchester. Her husband, thankfully, returns home, aplogising for being late. He adorably greets his wife with a signed ‘hello beautiful.’ His name’s Kevin Dillon and his wife is June. He tells Trixie that the moment he met his wife he decided to learn sign language. June signs that he won’t win any prizes at it, but he’s ok. She’s sweet and affectionate about it. They’re a cute pair.

Over tea at Nonnatus, Trixie tells the others about this little adventure and says it went ok. Trixie breaks the news that she told June that her husband could be with her when she gives birth and there’s a general freak out, with Evangelina protesting that there’s no need for husbands to be there. Uh, Evangelina, there is if you can’t communicate with the mother without him. Crane says she had a dad in there once, but there was a fainting episode. Barbara points out that they’re going to need the guy to communicate with his wife. Cynthia says she knows a little sign language and can teach it to Trixie. Trixie agrees, but says June needs at least one person there who really understands her. Julienne agrees.

Delia and Patsy go out and Delia announces that she’s moving out of the nurses’ home. She wants to get a flat with Patsy, so they can live as ‘roommates’. She paints a lovely picture of the two of them living in domestic bliss with nobody the wiser. Patsy’s surprised there’s no rule against this, but she agrees.

Marlene goes to Violet’s shop and shortly announces that she’s Fred’s daughter. She remembers coming there with her mother and getting hair ribbons. Violet remembers: blue for Dolly and yellow for Marlene. Wow, that’s some memory, Mrs Gee. Marlene pulls out a cigarette, despite Violet saying she doesn’t like them being smoked in the shop, because she’s clearly determined to be as big an obnoxious bitch as possible here. She lights up and suggests her father’s only marrying Violet for her nice, steady business. She claims Fred even referred to the shop as a proper little gold mine. Violet looks disturbed. ‘He’s always had an eye for the main chance, my dad,’ Marlene says. Wow, Marlene. Before she leaves, she tells Violet that she used to get the blue ribbons. Sky blue, like her mother’s eyes.

Trixie and Cynthia get ready to lead some sort of antenatal class. Kevin and June arrive and Cynthia signs a bit to June. One of the other women asks what a man’s doing there. The ladies explain the situation, someone cracks a joke, and Kevin reassures his wife that everyone’s lovely. She looks a little nervous.

Fred swings by Violet’s with a surprise meringue, because she loves them. Aww. He kisses her on the cheek and reminds her of their daily walk the next morning. He then jokes about the cash she’s holding in her hand, not realizing he’s playing exactly into his nasty daughter’s plan there.

Patsy tells Julienne that she wants to move out, explaining that she’s never lived independently and really wants to give it a go. Julienne asks if she’ll still join them for lunch every day and Patsy promises.

Barbara visits Maureen at home. The woman is in terrible shape. She can’t even drink a cup of tea or bring herself to warm up some milk for her toddler, because even the thought of it makes her sick. Just saying the word makes her vomit into the sink. Barbara asks if there’s anyone who can help her. Nope. She doesn’t speak to her mother and her husband’s locked up for burglary. Woah.

Barbara calls Turner’s clinic to ask for the doctor to come out. Bernadette dismisses this as just a case of morning sickness, despite Barbara saying it’s clearly much more than that, and advises Maureen just come into the clinic the following Tuesday, putting all this down to nerves.

Fred meets up with Violet the next day and hears about his daughter’s visit. He immediately apologises and says his daughter can be ‘a right madam.’ Violet says she seemed like she was just being honest and asks Fred if he’s made any provision for old age. He admits he hasn’t. He lives in the now! She asks why he wants to marry her and says she’s not interested in looking after someone. She doesn’t think he’s doing this for the right reasons. Fred, looking a bit frantic, says he asked her because it seemed like they fitted together. She doesn’t seem to think so, and returns the ring and breaks up with him. Oh, come ON! First Tom and Trixie and now this? Are the writers from Grey’s Anatomy working on this show? Because nobody’s allowed to be happy on that show either!

Fred glumly walks home. Marlene makes him some bacon to try to cheer him up, but he won’t be cheered.

Clinic day. Crane lets everyone in while Barbara works a phone. When she hangs up, she gleefully announces to Evangelina that she’s managed to find a council nursery space for Maureen’s son. She figures that, if the problem really is nerves, then if she has a bit less stress and more rest then the problem will resolve itself. Evangelina approves.

Chummy sits in the chapel, eyeing the urn. MJ joins her and notes that Chummy seems rather burdened. Chummy agrees and admits that she feels she’s trapping her mother here. MJ urges her to release her then. Chummy still doesn’t know where, though, and is afraid that, if she picks the wrong place, it’ll haunt her.

Barbara gets the paperwork from the nursery and takes it to Maureen’s, only to find the woman passed out on the floor of her flat.

Crane answers the phone at Nonnatus. It’s Kevin, saying he thinks June’s labour has started. Crane agrees to dispatch her midwives.

Turner is summoned to Maureen’s and hears that she’s been sick 20 to 30 times a day. Dear God. My grandmother apparently went through this with both her pregnancies, and it was utter and absolute hell. She couldn’t even get through a normal day, had to quit work and everything. She actually found herself knocking her head against the wall in the bathroom in frustration. How horribly awful. Turner diagnoses extreme dehydration and probably hyperemesis gravidarum, which we may as well start referring to as Duchess of Cambridgeitis now.

Cynthia checks June and breaks the news that things aren’t actually on the move just yet. She’s really disappointed, because she was really, really looking forward to meeting her baby that day. I hear you, sweetie. I felt the same way the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Kevin translates for her. She wonders if her baby will be born deaf and says she needs to hold him and look into his face, because until she does that, she won’t be able to tell him he’s loved. Kevin embraces her.

Chummy finds MJ sitting in the dining room wrapped up in a blanket. MJ says the boiler has died from inattention, and Fred hasn’t been by since Violet dumped him. Chummy seems concerned, figuring he’s distraught.

Maureen’s been admitted to the maternity home. She asks after her little boy and Bernadette reassures him he’ll be looked after. She panics at the idea of him going into foster care but Bernadette promises he’ll be fine and she needs to focus on getting better.

Patsy and Delia hunt for flats. Fred looks sadly at Violet’s shop and doesn’t even notice Chummy when she greets him. Maureen looks sadly at a picture of her little boy, propped up on the table beside her bed, and cries. Patsy and Delia view the flat, which is kind of crap. Someone’s left behind an ugly jug. But they love it.

The girls borrow some cleaning supplies from Nonnatus, flirt a bit, and get ready to take it all to the new flat. Delia uses Patsy’s bike, despite Patsy’s protests that there’s a knack to it. Delia sets off, a bit wobbly, and nearly takes out Trixie, cycling home and looking pissy.

Chummy goes to Fred’s flat and finds him sitting around glumly, in his undershirt. She hands him the Sporting Life, which he hasn’t collected in days, so we know it’s serious. She tells him about the blocked chimney and the dead boiler and he says the man before him warned him about the boiler. What? Wasn’t the original Nonnatus destroyed after that bomb hit, necessitating a move to a whole new premises? Did they take the old boiler with them? Fred moans a bit about bad-tempered women, referring to both Marlene and Violet. Chummy asks if Marlene’s still staying and learns that she’s gone to stay with a friend because, apparently, she’s ‘fed up looking at Fred’s long face.’ Jesus, that girl’s got some nerve. She does keep coming around the flat, though, and Fred sighs that it’s like she’s fixated with the place.

Bernadette asks Turner if there’s anything they can give Maureen, asking if one of the drug salesmen who come around has an anti-emetic. He promises to check the log.

Delia and Patsy picnic in their new flat and talk interior decorating and china patterns. Delia wants real flowers all the time, in the ugly jug on the windowsill. She likes the jug, because it’s like someone left it for them, like a gift.

Turner finds something in the log and hands the info off to Bernadette, who goes to order some pills.

Patsy and Delia head out. Delia’s running late for work and Patsy offers up her bike and her scarf. Delia thanks her and calls her an angel before blissfully biking off. And then getting hit by a car. Of course. She’s taken away by an ambulance and Winifred comes by, notices the bike and the scarf with Patsy’s initials on it and looks a bit freaked out.

Thankfully, Patsy goes to Nonnatus for lunch every day, so they know she’s not hurt. Once Winifred apparently reports in about what she saw, Patsy calls the hospital and inquires about Delia. But because she’s not family, she can’t get any information. Patsy, just lie that you’re her sister or something. But yeah, that’s the tragedy, isn’t it? People in relationships that aren’t legally acknowledged run the risk of this kind of horror, and that’s incredibly awful. Every time I hear people bleating that gay people don’t need to get married I want to punch them in the face and remind them of situations like this. Crane overhears the conversation and comments that this is such a shame, because Delia’s so nice, and her parents, who live in Wales, will be beside themselves. Patsy gets off the phone and reports that she can’t get any news. She tries to put on a brave face, but everyone knows it’s all for show.

Chummy sits down with Maureen and Fred, and Maureen immediately turns her bitchery on Chummy and accuses her of interfering. Chummy says she knows how hard it is to say the things one should. Maureen tells her father that this is their family home. He reminds her that they didn’t move in until 1946 and her mother never even lived there. She knows, but this is where they put the tragedy behind them. She explains that she went back to the bomb site where their old home was, looking for souvenirs, but it had already been bulldozed, and every time she comes home, there’s another gap where something used to be. He agrees that that’s totally true, adding that it seems only the river stays the same.

Patsy takes some flowers to the London and tries to get in to see Delia. Delia’s mother comes out of her room and Patsy introduces herself. The name takes a moment to register, and then the woman only recognizes her as the woman Delia helps with the cubs. Yowch. Patsy’s face falls. Delia’s mum explains that Delia’s having frequent seizures now, from her head injury.

Marlene goes to see Violet and immediately apologises and says she was selfish and wrong. What brought this on? Did she just need to say what she was thinking about that flat out loud to realize how ridiculous she was being? Whatever, Marlene says her mother would kick her ass if she knew Marlene tried to stop Fred from being happy.

So, Violet goes outside, where Fred’s waiting. He tells her he’d live in a ditch if it were with her. She embraces him. Yay!

Patsy finally gets in to see Delia, who is an absolute mess. Tragically, Delia has no idea who Patsy is. Patsy can barely hold it together as she explains that they’ve been friends for a while. Mum comes in, and Delia doesn’t know her either. Oh man. Delia asks her mother if she can help Patsy, because she’s really sad. Mum pats Patsy on the shoulder and bursts into tears herself. Outside her room, Patsy asks Mum if Delia’s memory will ever come back. Nobody knows; they can only hope. So, they’re taking her back to Wales to look after her. She needs 24/7 care now. Patsy asks if she can come visit and Mum gently suggests they see how she does. Patsy then asks if she can call. They don’t have a telephone, but she’s welcome to write. Patsy pulls herself together, looks at the flowers, and says she knows where they can go.

June’s labour has begun. She hangs on her husband, who rocks her, while Trixie coaches her along.

Patsy returns to the flat with the flowers and gets to work scrubbing the hell out of the place, crying the whole time.

Trixie coaches June while Kevin translates. Once the head is born, June reaches down to touch it. Trixie asks for one last big push and the baby, a son, is born. Trixie holds him up and everyone’s all teary and happy, including me. The baby is handed to June, who signs that she loves him, and his father loves him, and she just wants him to know that they really, really love him, no matter what.

Patsy sets the flowers in the ugly jug on the windowsill, just like Delia wanted.

Trixie cycles home and runs into Tom outside. She’s looking kind of haggard and explains that she’s just delivered a baby. He’s off to sit with a dying man. Circle of life, eh? He heads off, and she goes inside and pours herself a GIANT drink.

She then goes downstairs, makes a cup of tea, smokes a cigarette, and phones the Samaritans, asking if it’s ok for her to call if she really just wants to stop drinking. Cynthia overhears her, takes the phone, thanks the person at the other end, and explains that Trixie’s not alone and is in a place of safety. Trixie sobs. Cynthia promises that she’s not alone. They hug.

Patsy, looking pretty wrecked, watches the sun come up and light up the bouquet. She smiles sadly for the life she very nearly had, then gets up and leaves the little flat behind.

Violet, Chummy, and Marlene discuss trimmings for their wedding hats. Violet hands Maureen some braid for her hat, blue, like her mother’s eyes. Marlene looks touched.

Maureen gets ready to leave the maternity home, looking much better. Her little boy’s brought to see her and she greets him happily. Turner gives her a bottle of pills, telling her to take one a day, as she has been. She tells him that everyone’s going to want this stuff and asks what it is. It’s thalidomide.

Maureen: Awesome! I’m going to tell all my friends to ask for this!

Shudder.

Trixie attends an AA meeting and tells everyone about her father, who used alcohol to deal with his PTSD. She explains that she needed midwifery, because it put her in the middle of happy families for a little while, but then she had to go home and all she wanted was a drink when she got there. Someone hands her a handkerchief and she does the ‘My name is Trixie, and I’m an alcoholic’ line. She seems relieved.

Chummy, Noakes, and little Freddie take her mother’s ashes to somewhere near Tower Bridge and dump them in the river. Interesting choice.

Fred and Mrs Gee get married and have a reception at Nonnatus. MJ is happy with the Battenberg cake. Tom stares at Trixie, who smiles briefly back over her cup of tea.

Well, that was a bit of a downer ending, wedding notwithstanding. Surely that thalidomide is going to come back up next series, right? Joy! And my God, poor Patsy! And Trixie! Can’t anyone be happy? Sigh.  But, overall, not a bad series, this first one post-Jenny. I don’t miss her in the least, and I like Barbara and Crane. I missed Chummy, but I understand Miranda Hart has a new show she was working on, so I’m not surprised she was MIA for so long. Still, she was missed. I hope we get more of her next year. Until then, everyone!



2 thoughts on “Call the Midwife: A Place of Safety

  1. I agree this episode was kind of a downer! I expected Trixie to hit bottom at some point, but I thought she might have a “wake up call” that resulted from her not being sober on the job, thus putting a mother and child in danger or something equally dramatic.

    And poor Patsy and Delia! I guess the writers couldn’t come up with a storyline that would have fit in with the early 1960s. They’d already done the “arrested for indecent acts” storyline in another episode. I guess they couldn’t just let these two start a life together with no one the wiser. ::sigh::

    I enjoyed the Jenny character— but I think the show is just as good without her.

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