Previously on Call the Midwife: Jenny got a promotion and Bernadette really, really wanted a baby.
Did you know that nuns get up super early in the morning? That’s about as illuminating as JVO gets this week.
The phone rings and Julienne picks up.
Over breakfast, the girls and the nuns discuss what to get Chummy for her birthday. Someone suggests a record, and Cynthia pitches the idea of a night at the cinema. Winifred suggests they see the 39 Steps, and Evangeline rather threateningly accuses her of having seen it. Which I guess is a no no?
Later, Evangeline’s handing out assignments when Julienne comes in and announces the midwives who usually serve the women at Holloway Prison have influenza, so she and Trixie are taking over the beat for the moment. Trixie brightsides that it might be interesting and Evangeline kinda doubts it, because most of the women there are locked up for petty theft and prostitution.
Julienne and Trixie arrive at the prison and get fully patted down before a female guard escorts them to their patients. Trixie’s nearly overwhelmed by the smell, but Julienne seems not to notice. There are three patients waiting, one of whom seems to be in quite a lot of pain, and another of whom is a giant bitch. Bitchy insists on going first, but Trixie and Julienne firmly tell her they’ll be seeing their patients in alphabetical order, starting with Stella Crandall. Bitchy sneers at her and Stella says she’s pregnant by her fiancé, not some random, and then calls Bitchy a prostitute. Bitchy launches herself on her and the guard pulls her away.
While walking near the docks, Fred runs across some people hawking theatre tickets. He bargains them down to half a crown each and gets his tickets.
Stella and the baby are in good health, and she’s due any day. While she’s getting dressed, she drops an elementary reader, and Trixie mistakes it for something she’s got for the baby. It’s clearly for her, though.
Clinic day! One mother arrives and hands her baby over to Bernadette to hold while mum goes to the loo. She’s quickly followed by a young pregnant woman named Kathy, who apologises for being a bit late. Bernadette goes and tells the midwives that Kathy’s there and they note the baby and Cynthia comments that she seems a natural with him. They really are pushing this hard, aren’t they? Fred swans in and shows them the tickets to My Fair Lady he scored for Chummy’s birthday. Cynthia sighs that Chummy loves a musical. ‘Never mind Chummy,’ Jenny replies. Oh, is it your birthday now, Jenny? What a bitch. He tries to seriously overcharge them for the tickets, but they settle on half a crown and he hands them over.
Stella is told to rest from now on as she’s shown out. The woman in pain almost screams in agony and Julienne checks her out quickly and asks when she last saw a midwife (she’s already delivered). The woman answers that it hasn’t been since they took her baby away, something Stella definitely notes.
Jenny declares Kathy shipshape, aside from some really nasty looking varicose veins. Jenny scolds her for wearing undergarments that are too restrictive and hands over some support stockings.
Julienne insists to the guard that one of the patients be transferred to hospital, and Trixie adds that they’ll be popping in daily from now on. Guard’s not happy about this and says they’ll have to talk to the governor for permission. There’s a kerfuffle and the guards run off to break up the fight.
Back at Newnottus, Julienne thanks Trixie for her help. Trixie goes to drop off their tools and realizes she smells like prison now. Jenny cheers her up by showing off the tickets.
In her cell, Stella practices her writing until lights out.
Trixie joins the others after taking a bath, wearing a really cute little outfit. Cynthia follows her and says she told Chummy about the show and she’s over the moon. They still have one spare ticket, so Cynthia suggests Alec. Jenny doubts it’s his thing, but promises to ask. Trixie asks if they can play the show’s soundtrack to get in the mood, which prompts Evangeline to head out, for some reason.
Kathy wakes early in the morning and goes into the bathroom to get dressed, presumably so her husband won’t see, although he’s really sweet and tells her how great she looks. As she’s finishing up, he tells her he has to head out, and in her hurry to go see him, she slams her leg into a bucket and squeals in pain. He hurries to her and she tells him she tripped.
Bernadette goes to see Turner in his office and confesses she wants to send off a pregnancy test to the hospital, but she can’t do it without his signature. I’m guessing that’s because he’s her doctor, not because he’s her husband. He asks why she was trying to do this on the sly and she says she wanted to tell him when she was certain, so she could see his happy dad face. He promises to pretend this never happened, as he signs the form. She admits that, while she hasn’t had a period in three months, she’s not showing any other symptoms of early pregnancy. He reassures her that not everyone does, and they’ll find out soon enough.
Kathy’s husband brings her in to see Turner, as she’s gone and twisted her ankle. He checks her out and warns her against wearing high heels. He also decides to book her into the maternity home until she delivers. Kathy stresses that her husband won’t find her attractive anymore.
Julienne and Trixie have arrived at the prison again and the guard’s giving them a hard time about seeing their patients. Trixie’s appalled to learn that Stella’s on work duty after being ordered to get some rest, but the guard rather unfeelingly says Stella will work up until she delivers.
Stella and Bitchy are both mopping floors and Bitchy decides to pick a fight. Stella tries to get her to lay off, but Bitchy slaps her and soon they’re tussling while the other girls cheer like it’s a playground. The guards break it up and Bitchy blames Stella for starting the fight.
Alec, of course, agrees to go along to the show, because he adores Jenny and will do whatever she wants. They’re meeting in his dorm-like room and he takes the opportunity to tell her he’s saving up for a better place, and that maybe when he has the cash, she can help him look. She nervously and evasively gives him a ‘maybe’ on that and rushes off. Alec, I hate to tell you this, but it’s time for you to start looking for another girlfriend, not another place to live. She’s really just not that into you, and she’s doing a horrible job of hiding it. Either that or she has real issues with commitment.
While escorting Stella to her cell, Julienne and Trixie are intercepted by Tom, the chaplain on rotation at the prison. And let’s just say that I’ll bet the Holloway ladies are really pleased whenever he comes by. He offers help and Julienne asks him to see to it that Stella remains in bed until she gives birth. He promises, pointedly telling the guard he’ll tattle on her if he has to. In her cell, Stella gets a clean bill of health. Julienne sees the primer and sends Trixie out to wait for her. Rather desperately, Stella explains that she’s not slow, she just had her education seriously messed up by the war, and now she’s trying to better herself before going in front of the board to convince them to let her keep her baby. Julienne admires her for doing so and gives her some pointers. Stella also says that she’s not a thief, despite being locked up for theft, and Julienne soothingly says she’ll be fine, and the board probably won’t take her baby if she has a fiancé on the outside. Outside the cell, Tom asks how Stella is doing. Julienne says she seems anxious that her baby will be taken away. Tom doubts that’ll happen, since she’s in for a first offense and she’s not a prostitute or a drunk. The guard shows up and manhandles Stella out of bed so she can see the Governor about fighting. Julienne insists on going as well.
Kathy’s settled in the hospital, getting a full dose of Jenny’s self-righteousness as she starts applying a poultice to Kathy’s leg. Kathy worries again about her husband, Stan, not wanting her anymore. She says he could have had his pick of girls, and he went and picked her (not that she’s any kind of slouch in the looks department).
The Governor lectures Stella, who says she was only defending herself. Julienne speaks up for her but the Governor tells her to be quiet and informs Stella this will be going on her permanent record and it won’t look good to the child welfare officer. Poor Stella sobs and asks why nobody will help her. Julienne takes her back to her room.
Boxes of books and old toys are being delivered to Newnottus, where Sister MJ prepares to look over them.
In the lab, Julienne and Trixie unpack their kit and Julienne says that Stella feels betrayed. Trixie gently reminds her that she’s said in the past that they can’t save everyone. Julienne doesn’t think Stella is ‘everyone’, she’s one desperate young woman.
Julienne finds MJ going through the donated books, picking out the ones she wants to keep. Julienne finds a copy of Peter Pan and looks thoughtful.
Alone in the chapel, Julienne kneels to pray.
Bernadette’s going through the mail and finds her test results. She hands them over to Turner, suddenly unable to open the envelope. He does and gently tells her it’s negative. Bernadette looks scared and tells him something must be wrong with her, because it’s been 12 weeks with nothing, and she was a bit erratic before that—since she came down with TB. He kisses her hand and promises to get her some help.
Kathy’s in labour, her legs slung up in these awful looking supports in a very sterile room. Dear God, please don’t let this be my birth experience. Jenny’s attending her, coaching her along.
Turner gets off the phone and tells Bernadette he’s got a friend who’s a Harley Street gynaecologist who can do an exploratory surgery on her, if she wants. She does. Jenny knocks on the door and tells Turner that Kathy’s been struggling for a while and the baby looks rather big.
Julienne gives Stella something for her heartburn and they chat about the fiancé a bit. He’s away at sea. Julienne gives her Peter Pan and promises to help her with it.
Kathy labours away with both Jenny and Turner in attendance. Turner picks up some surgical scissors and tells her he’s going to have to give her a little help. As he gives her an impromptu episiotomy, both she and I screech in horror. Out in the waiting room, her husband hears her screaming bloody murder and kind of freaks out. But a few moments later there’s the sound of a baby crying and he looks like he’s about to cry himself. And then he cheers, adorably.
A little later, he goes in to see his wife and baby. The baby’s a little girl. He looks really chuffed, but also a little nervous, which Kathy, of course, takes as a bad reaction to how she looks, all post-birth bedraggled. He quickly reassures her she looks fine, and she suddenly announces she’s going to be sick. Jenny gets a bowl to her just in time and Stan awkwardly excuses himself.
It’s theatre night, and the girls are getting ready to go. Trixie’s scored them some Campari, which they all hate. Chummy shows up and they all wish her a happy birthday and have a little girl time, messing with her hair and giving her some lipstick. They all talk about how Alec clearly adores Jenny and Jenny tells them she and Alec are perfectly happy with the status quo and she won’t be manhandled down the aisle anytime soon.
Downstairs, Noakes and Alec awkwardly wait for the girls. Alec notes some baby effluvia on Noakes’s jacket. Noakes guesses it’s snot, but he can’t be sure. Alec asks how he likes being a dad and Noakes absolutely adores it. The girls finally appear and Noakes happily says they’re lucky fellas. Alec agrees. They all head out.
Stella’s at work on her handwriting when her water suddenly breaks.
Bernadette watches Turner helping Tim into his leg braces and generally being a great dad and looks a little sad.
At the theatre, the girls debate sweets. Trixie seems suddenly a bit melancholy and distracted, so Chummy asks if she’s ok. Trixie admits the whole prison thing is really getting to her, and that she’s actually looking forward to being on call that night because she knows if she goes out to deliver a baby it’ll be one born of love. Uh, not necessarily, Trixie. We’ve seen several examples where that wasn’t the case. Chummy essentially says the same and says they just need to keep forging ahead. They go back to the sweets, but the boys reappear and regretfully tell them that they won’t be seeing the show that night, because the tickets were forged. They all make lemonade out of these lemons and go to a pub to play darts. Chummy’s a whiz at it, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess she and Noakes had lots of darts and pints nights while they were dating. She definitely didn’t learn it from her ayah.
On the way home, Alec admits he had more fun playing darts than he would have at the show. Jenny tells him he should have said no if he didn’t want to go, but he points out that would have meant missing out on an evening with the woman he loves. Yes, that’s right, he just dropped the ‘l’ word, and just in case Jenny missed it, he tells her straight up that he loves her. Her response? ‘Thank you.’ Oh, ouch. Damn, Jenny. He looks rightfully crushed. Hey, Alec, want some advice? Go knock up some other chick. As we’ve learned from the Jimmy episode, nothing suddenly gets Jenny interested in a guy she was barely lukewarm about faster than finding out some other chick’s got a claim on him.
Inside, Julienne tells Trixie that Stella’s waters have broken and they need to head to the prison.
Cynthia brings Jenny some cocoa while she’s getting ready for bed and Jenny tells her about what Alec said. Cynthia, like most people, thinks Jenny should be pleased but Jenny whines that she’s young and doesn’t want to get married and have kids yet. Jesus, Jenny, he didn’t propose! Cynthia produces a chocolate bar to help take the edge off.
Stella labours away and finally births a boy. She weeps with joy.
Back at Newnottus, Julienne checks the shipping news for any info on Stella’s fiancé. Trixie practically stumbles down to breakfast, and Evangeline brings Fred in to apologise for getting bogus tickets. The girls demand their money back, but he’s already spent it. Evangeline sighs that they’ll just have to put this down to experience. Trixie starts absentmindedly scratching at her head and suddenly stops, realizing what this means.
Julienne’s back at the prison, showing Stella how to breastfeed. Stella asks her to be a character witness at her hearing the next day. Julienne agrees to help her out and asks for the fiancé’s full name, because she’s been trying to track him down. Stella’s guilty look says it all. There is no fiancé.
Winifred runs a nit comb through Trixie’s hair. Guess it’s good she got that super-short haircut.
Julienne briskly packs her things while Stella tries to explain herself, saying she only lied in the hope she’d be able to keep her baby. Julienne doubts that’s going to happen now and says she can’t lie on Stella’s behalf. Not only does she not lie, she goes right to the governor to tell her what she knows. She does, at least, say that she thinks Stella did it with good motives. The governor is unmoved.
Stan goes to visit Kathy and the baby in the hospital. He leans down on the bed to kiss his wife and she shrieks in pain from the stitches. He mumbles that he can’t stand this and she immediately panics, babbling about how she’ll get her figure back and be back on her feet in no time. He gives her an incredulous look and tells her she’ll be on bedrest for a little while, like the midwife ordered, and he’ll be taking care of her. What he can’t stand is how poorly he feels he handled things the day before and how he thinks he let her down. He takes her hand and promises not to ever do that again. Awww. She tearfully tells him she loves him and says she’s the luckiest woman in the world. Jenny overhears this and puts on her pouty sour face.
Julienne arrives back at Newnottus with a flat tyre on her bike and tells Fred that sometimes tending others is very hard to bear. Inside, he makes her tea and she fills him in on Stella’s story. He figures she was just doing what she had to to hold onto the kid. He remembers how it was when his wife died, with him away from the army. His daughters were shunted from relative to relative, but at least they had those relatives to go to in the first place. Julienne murmurs that Stella has no one. After tea, she gets on the phone.
Trixie tells Jenny she’ll have to get nit checked as well, as they strip their beds to wash everything. Jenny doesn’t really care and Trixie teases her for wanting to stay in and do laundry instead of going out with her dishy boyfriend.
Julienne’s having no luck trying to score Stella a job, even though she’s pulling every string she can get hold of. Evangeline brings her a cup of tea and sighs that human charity and forgiveness seem in short supply. Julienne is determined to keep trying.
Alec meets Jenny as she’s coming out on her way to do rounds, and it’s clear she’s been avoiding him until now. He apologises for having made her uncomfortable before. See, that’s the thing. I don’t know if this is in any way universal, but by the time I was 6+ months into a serious relationship, I was always pretty confidently able to tell if I loved that person or not. The fact that Jenny not only apparently doesn’t have those feelings but is actively uncomfortable with him expressing them does not seem to bode well for this relationship, in my opinion.
Alec backpedals and tells Jenny he really, really likes her, and that’s a sentiment she can return, because apparently she’s emotionally still a middle schooler. He produces some tickets to My Fair Lady (legit ones) and asks her out on a date. She accepts.
Bernadette and Turner arrive at the doctor’s for her surgery and he’s really sweet with her, as always.
Stella’s facing the board, and it’s not going well. Julienne has not appeared as a character witness, and apparently lying in this place is enough to get your baby forcibly removed from you. Harsh, folks. Stella is dismissed while the board discuss her case. As Stella’s being shown back to her cell, Julienne shows up and goes up in front of the board. She announces that she’s found Stella a job and a place to live and tells them that Stella is a determined woman who will do anything to keep her baby. She knows how painful it can be for a mother to be separated from her child and thinks they should try and avoid it at all costs.
Bernadette wakes and asks what the surgery found. Turner gently breaks the news that there was significant scarring in the pelvic area. Bernadette bursts into tears, knowing that this means it’s fairly hopeless. She heartbreakingly apologises to Turner and he tells her not to be sorry, because so many of their dreams came true. ‘Just not all of them,’ she weeps.
The governor and Julienne go to Stella and tell her the good news: she’ll get to keep the baby after all.
While out with Winifred, Evangeline passes those same two people hawking the fake tickets, pauses, and then asks them for a word, wearing her ‘you’re so going to regret this’ smile. Man, I wish we could see the rest of this scene instead of getting another fairly pointless JVO while we see Stella practice writing, Bernadette come home and get hugged by Tim, and Jenny and Cynthia get treated for lice. Evangeline gives Fred his money back and Julienne gets a sweet thank you note from Stella.